Name Help: Brother for CamName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

Maddie writes:

We named our first son Stephen Cameron, but call him Cam. Stephen is my father-in-law’s name. I really didn’t like the name, didn’t like the idea of family names in general, and I still find it frustrating when he’s called Stephen instead of Cameron or Cam.

Cameron was my choice, though, and I still think it’s a great name that suits our son perfectly. If we’d gone with Cameron Stephen, I think I’d like the name better, but my husband insisted Stephen come first.

Our last name sounds like Willis with a T.

Now our second child is due in a few months, and I find myself wanting to use a name from my side of the family. Maybe that’s not fair, because I really didn’t like the idea with Cam. But having used one for our first child, it feels like it’s my turn.

My dad’s name is Wayne, which I really only like as a middle name. My husband is arguing for Andrew Wayne – Andrew was what he wanted for Cam. I like Jackson/Jack, Nathan/Nathaniel/Nate, Owen, Benjamin/Benji/Ben, and Hayden/Hayes. Andrew feels kind of old-fashioned to me.

The only other name my husband likes besides Andrew is Matthew, but I think Matt would be confusing with my name.

He says that, since I chose Cam, it’s his turn to decide. But I feel like I really let him have his way with Stephen, so I should be more say this time.

Who’s right?

Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Dear Maddie –

How exciting to be welcoming a second son!

I feel your frustration. Most of us have been there! We have a great name our partner just won’t consider, or a personal favorite that only gets used as a middle, or a family name we give into because … well, you get the idea.

Compromise is a big part of parenting, and it’s absolutely an essential part of naming.

It sounds like you compromised nicely on your son’s name. (Though I tend to agree that Cameron Stephen might have been a more practical choice.) It’s a name your husband felt strongly about, combined with a name you love best – and your pick is the one used daily.

Which makes Andrew Wayne seem like the logical name for your second son.

It’s a name rich with meaning for you, combined with a choice your husband prefers strongly for daily use. Would you call him Drew? Because Cam and Drew sound very much like brothers to me.

It feels like your argument is that you compromised more for your first son’s name, and so your husband should compromise more this time. I get that. But I don’t think it necessarily means you get to choose Benjamin or Jackson this time around.

If Andrew really isn’t a name you can live with, then I’d propose that you put both lists aside – his two-name list, as well as your slightly longer one – and start fresh.

I’ll make just a few suggestions that feel like they’re in the same ballpark as Andrew, Cameron, Benjamin, Jackson, Nathan, Hayden, and Owen:

Hunter – What do you think of an ends with -r name? There are oodles of them. I put Hunter on the list, but Carter comes to mind, too. (If you don’t mind your boys sharing an initial.) Or maybe Asher, Archer, or Walker?

Levi – Levi doesn’t sound much like anything on either of your lists, but if you’re stuck, maybe it’s time to go a different direction? I like Levi and Cameron together quite a bit.

Jonathan, called Jon or Jack – If your husband isn’t gung-ho on Jackson, I wonder if he’d be more interested in Jonathan? It sounds slightly more traditional, plus it’s long like Jonathan. It shortens to Jon or Jack, which is on your list.

Theodore, called Theo – Matthew and Andrew lean a little more traditional, as does Theodore. But Theo is bright and modern. Would it be another great compromise?

William – Then again, maybe a more traditional name that you like would appeal? The alliteration of William Wayne appeals to me, but there are certainly plenty of traditional boy names to consider.

I think lots of couples get stuck at moments like this. It feels like our partner’s preferences carried more weight when naming their first child, and it makes us anxious for a bigger say the second time around. (This was certainly true for me!)

Some couples do agree to alternate. My own parents did. But even so, there was a certain amount of compromise in their decisions.

And most of the time, we have to find mutual agreement. So hard! But worth it.

What what you suggest as a brother for Cameron? And how have you resolved compromises on names in your relationships?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Growing up, my mother always told me she hated my name, but my father chose it.

    Now, I read on name blogs how some parents are telling their children, “Your father loved your first name so much. It was a gift he wanted to give you. And I gave you your middle name. Together, we gave you a name we love almost as much as we love you!”

    That would have been nice! But it is the truth, right?! Both parents want to give their child a name they find precious, something with meaning, or a promise of who they can become.

    So all other issues aside, what gift do you REALLY want to give this new son of yours? A sense of history through your father’s name? A friendly title for the world to hear and welcome? Or something else?

    Best wishes to you and your family!

  2. Not sure if this is going to fit your style, but what about Stewart, nn West? Cam and West sound like brothers. Stephen and Stewart sound like brothers. Stewart has the same ew of both Andrew and Matthew. Stewart Wayne “Willis” rolls nicely.

  3. What about Zachary called Zack? I think it has a lot of overlap with the choices of Andrew/Drew, Benjamin/Ben, Cameron/Cam, Nathan/Nathaniel/Nate, and Jackson/Jack. It feels like a nice compromise. Zachary Wayne is very handsome and Zachary and Cameron/Zack and Cam definitely sound like brothers!

  4. I recommend digging deeper into you family tree and finding an honor name you like. What strikes me about your situation is that you seem to be using your “spot” in the name on a name that you don’t particularly like or want to use day to day. Is there another way to honor your side of the family? A wearable surname? A modern take on a different name in your family? Or a name that starts with W to honor your dad that way? I think William fits your style, but it’s a little rhyme-y with your last name. Maybe Walker? Cam and Walker is a pretty great sibling set. Wyatt could also be nice.

    If you’re super set on Wayne for the middle maybe you can get your husband on board with something besides Andrew, I suggest:

    Good luck!

    1. Bennett, Benedict, Benson, or even Bernard seem a better match for Cameron than Benjamin for me.

    2. Looking into your family tree or picking another W name you like in the first position both are great ideas

  5. I empathize with your strong feelings about naming your second child, and it’s hard when you don’t necessarily like your child’s name . I do agree with Abby that naming the baby Andrew Wayne is the fair choice… BUT I think its important to find a name you and your husband both love this time around, (or at least like) especially since you don’t love Stephen. If you had a different list of names for Cam than you do for baby number two, maybe its time to go back to that list. Why? Your husband already had his mind made up the first time around, and you may find he actually likes one of those names. That’s what happened with my husband and I. He had his heart set on Balor for our first son together, and rejected at least forty names. I originally started from scratch for this baby because, duh, he already rejected all those other names. We ended up choosing Ambroze if this baby is a boy. That name has always (pre-husband) been in my top three, and he likes the pop culture reference.

    Writing all that made me think of a second point. Try to see if there’s a name you like with Stephen even though you call him Cam. It will help you warm up to the name over time. I HATED Balor, but I couldn’t convince my husband on any other name. I was able to accept it partially because I like the look of it with Logan (his step brother), and I planned to put both names on the wall in their room. I feel like Ambroze really rounds out the set, and it makes me like Balor even more.

    Sorry for the novel. I hope you’re able to find the perfect name.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head.

      For many, Stephen is clearly a dad or grandfather name; however, with the right pairing the tone can change.

      For instance, Stephen is the first Christian martyr. I would, therefore, look to other first century saints to match with; however, that is not an approach that suits everyone.

      Other approaches could be a nod to pop culture (Stephen (Tyler) and brother Keith (Richards), sports (Stevie (Yeizerman) and Wayne (Gretzky)) , fashion (Steve (Madden) and Karl (Lagerfeld)), etc.