I like nearly all of the names you have listed, with Henry my favorite (as if my opinion matters). Why is it so hard? & what do you do if you have namers remorse?? We sort of do b/c we didn't want to name our 4-month with an ultra popular name, but I fear we did, though we spelled it differently. It's such a fine line between wanting to have a unique name but not wanting to look like you just randomly threw syllables together just to be different.
I've been thinking of this all afternoon, ever since I read the comment. It brings up so many interesting issues.
Issue the first: Avoiding an overly popular name. One reason I love The Baby Name Wizard (both the book and the blog) is that she gives the heads-up on which names are getting too hot to handle. But her book also gave me some of the most reassuring baby-name-choosing advice I've ever had, which is that it's not necessarily a bad thing to choose a popular name: it's popular because lots of people like it, and that means lots of people will like your baby's name. You wouldn't necessarily want to go with Hortense or Herbert just to avoid popularity. I also like to keep in touch with The Social Security Administration's list of baby names, since that's a great way to see which names are rapidly shooting up in popularity even though you hardly ever hear them: you can type in a name and it'll tell you the popularity rank of that name every year since 1991. Sometimes I use it to avoid popularity, and sometimes I use it because I actually want a more common name.
Issue the second: And that brings me to namer's remorse. We didn't name our second son William, as you know from my post on pseudonyms, but it would have been a better choice than what we DID name him, since there were three children with his same name in his preschool class. There are two with that name in his kindergarten class. Holy crap, we had no idea. We thought we were choosing a boy name that was common, yes, but in a one-per-classroom way, not in an everywhere-you-turn way. We can't totally regret the choice, because now the name is HIM; he IS that name. But on the other hand, I've winced many times over the years since he was born, wondering if we should have chosen something different. You can legally change the baby's name if the remorse sets in right away, but pretty soon it's too late and you just have to give a shrug and a wry look and say "We had no idea!"
Issue the third: The point Laura Wattenberg (The Baby Name Wizard's author) makes about how you don't necessarily want to choose an unpopular name brings me to the issue of whether or not I would want the opinions of other people on the names we're considering. The answer is YES. For example, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that two people already have voted for Henry, because it's a name I worry about using in case it gives too many people the feeling of "old man name." Other people's opinions are an important part of which name we choose, and so I'm glad to have input.
Issue the fourth: Why is choosing a baby name so HARD? Shelly, my empathy buckets RUNNETH OVER. I think the reason it's so difficult is that it's so important, and because there are so many choices. Sometimes I wish I were part of a group that had specific naming rules, such as that the baby had to be named for a relative or a saint, because it would narrow things down a little. You have to choose how popular a name you want (three in her class with the same name? or mocked because her name is so crazy?), and what style of name you want (flowery? androgynous? classic?), and whether you want to name her after a family member. And of course, most people have to make all these decisions with another person--sometimes a person with whom you can't even agree on a thermostat setting. It only gets harder with subsequent babies, since then the names you choose can't be too similar to what you've chosen (if you choose Owen, you probably won't want to choose Ewan) or too different (if you choose Matthew, you probably won't want to choose Jett).
If anyone else would like to chip in here on choosing names, please do. Tell how you chose, or what factors were most important in your decision, and whether you regret any of your choices. Tell about your own name, how your parents chose it, whether you liked it or didn't.