welcome Milo FletcherUPDATE: He’s here! “All the comments helped us feel confident in choosing a name we really loved instead of trying to match, and especially the feedback about it being normal for siblings to share a middle name like Fletcher. Owen was at the top of our list for a while, but then my husband suggested Milo from the comments, and I loved that he’d have my initials, too. So he’s Milo Fletcher. Appreciate the help so much!”

Marissa writes:

We have a three year old son named James Fletcher LastName, and we’re expecting another boy in March.

Our first son’s name was sort of decided before I even met my husband, so he agrees that I can choose our new baby’s name.

Except I really don’t know where to start!

My husband is the fourth generation named James. Every James has his mother’s maiden name as a middle name, so they’re not juniors/IIIs, but it’s still a lot of repetition.

My husband is Jay, his dad is Jim, and our son is Jamie.

At first, I didn’t like the idea of not getting to choose our son’s name at all. Except I loved the idea of using Fletcher as a middle name, and the way that the tradition incorporated the mothers’ families/my family, too.

We both agree that we’re completely done with family obligation names, and this decision is ours alone, and mostly mine.

Here are my questions:

  1. Will our new son feel left out that he doesn’t have a family name?
  2. Do you think we should match the style of James-called-Jamie? We’ve discussed Charles-called-Charlie and Benjamin-called-Benji.
  3. Would it be weird for both boys (and any future children) to have the middle name Fletcher?
  4. Names I liked before I realized our first son’s name was set: Hayes, Miller, Owen, Elliot/Elliott (not sure about spelling), Jack/Jackson, Theodore/Theo, Henry, Max/Maxwell, Andrew, Adam, Crew, Vaughn, Drake.

Any help and new names ideas appreciated!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

I’ve heard of this naming tradition before, and I like it for the reasons you’ve mentioned – it’s not all about handing down a name from dad’s side.

Okay, on to your questions.

Will one son feel left out if he doesn’t have a family name?

Maybe, possibly. But probably not. Plenty of families do exactly this – their firstborn is a junior, or named for a grandparent. And then they go their own way with future children. Since it sounds like there aren’t any other family names that you’d like to consider, I think you can safely drop this one off your list of worries.

Should you match the James-called-Jamie style?

If it speaks to you, sure.

The challenge of using a family name for your first is that you haven’t really defined your style … but you can feel obligated to match it anyhow.

But I think the important part is to choose a name you love that sounds like a brother for Jamie. Any of the names on your long list fit that broad description.

So while you can name your son Charles-called-Charlie, I don’t think it is a requirement that your son receive a classic formal name with a cuddly nickname.

Would it be weird for both boys (and any future children) to share the middle name Fletcher?

No! In fact, I think this is more and more common. On the downside, you’re losing a chance to choose a new middle name that you love every time. But it connects all of your children to your family history. Also, it’s a great name!

So what should you name a brother for James-called-Jamie?

From your current list of Hayes, Miller, Owen, Elliot/Elliott, Jack/Jackson, Theodore/Theo, Henry, Max/Maxwell, Andrew, Adam, Crew, Vaughn, and Drake, I’m going to pull out a few that I think work really well.

#3 Owen – We tend to think of Owen as current, but it’s got centuries upon centuries of history, too. Like Jamie, Owen has a bright, open sound. I think these two are great together.

#2 Theodore/Theo – While you don’t have to continue the pattern, I like Theo with Jamie for the same reasons I like Owen.

#1 Maxwell/Max – Okay, it was a close call between Max and Theo for the top spot. But I love the sound of Maxwell Fletcher LastName, so that swayed me. Also, while Max is plenty traditional, Maxwell feels just slightly more modern.

I’m not clear if Charles-called-Charlie and Benjamin-called-Benji are names you also like, or names you considered mostly to match James-called-Jamie? I do think they’re great choices, but I’d prioritize finding a name that you love over one that completes the pattern.

Of course, if this list makes you realize that you’d far prefer something completely modern, like Crew? That’s fine, too. Sometimes the best outcome of a #namehelp post is to realize that all of the advice is the exact opposite of what you want!

Readers, over to you – what would you name a brother for James Fletcher? Also, if you have advice on how to match a family name while still preserving your own style, please share!

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. I will cast my vote as being in favor of using “Fletcher” as a middle again, if you see your kiddo and feel it fits when he arrives! Agree with Abby that I’m of the opinion it is a great name, especially if you have that personal connection.

    Also, I knew of a restaurant whose co-owners were 2 brothers who had different first names but the same middle or “second name” which was “Salvador”. They owned a restaurant that specialized in paella and they really embraced their heritage, so it was heartwarming to see how much of a family connection was strong between them and to make a restaurant happen. The food was amazing!

    And out of the names you loved before your 1st son arrived, I think I’m drawn to “Maxwell” aka “Max” too.

    If I were to add to the list, I’d go for:

    * ZACHARY — Zachary “Zach/Zack” Fletcher LastName?

    * WENDELL — Wendell “Dell” Fletcher LastName

    * BRYCE/BRYSE — Bryce/Bryse Fletcher LastName… nickname could be,“Bry” or flexible compound nickname, “Brett”!

    * MARREN — “Mer” or “Ren”

    Best of luck on the naming journey and congratulations!! x

  2. I’ll include Rhys as a name. It has a subtle tie to Marissa. It could work as either a first or middle. Rhys Fletcher or Owen Rhys.

    BTW, my daughters both have my surname as their middle name.

  3. From your list of possibilities I like:
    Owen — James and Owen. Not sure about a nickname for Owen — O or O + middle initial?
    Maxwell — nicknamed Max. James and Maxwell. Jamie and Max.
    Theo — I think Theo stands well on its own and I prefer it to Theodore, jmho. James and Theo. Jamie and Theo.

    From others’ suggestions I like:
    Malcolm — nicknamed Mac. James and Malcolm. Jamie and Mac.
    Miles — could be nicknamed Milo. James and Miles. Jamie and Milo.

    I also like the suggestion of choosing an M name, as suggested by Renee.
    Michael — Nicknamed Mike, Mikey, or Micah. James and Michael. Jamie and Mike / Micah.

    Names I like:
    Thomas — nicknamed Tommy or Tom. James and Thomas. Jamie and Tommy / Tom.
    Hugh — could be nicknamed Hugo. James and Hugh. Jamie and Hugo.

    As far as the middle name, you might consider using your mother’s maiden name as a middle.

  4. My favorite from your list is Andrew. James and Andrew. Jamie and Drew.

    Other suggestions….James and Miles or James and Nathaniel (Nate.). If you are uncertain about repeating Fletcher, I’d use something in the surname category that ends in ER, perhaps Thayer, Cooper, Parker, Walker.

  5. We have sons, now grown, named Robert and James who were called Robbie and Jamie when young. I liked the names together because they are both timeless traditional names and because of their strong historical associations with Scotland (I have some Scottish ancestry). As they grew up, Robbie eventually was called Rob and goes by Robert professionally. When he was in 4th grade Jamie, sometimes also calley Jay, asked to be called James. Today within our family they are called Rob and James.

    Of the names you’re considering, I especially like Andrew (Drew) with James (Jamie). I also like Owen for Jamie’s younger brother.

    Best wishes!

  6. I’d like to suggest Fletcher up front! People have done this before, plus it elevates your very useable maiden name. I know an adorable Fletcher.

    Next I’d like to suggest an M name for you!!! Jay & Jamie, Marissa & Max! So Maxwell ‘Max’ or Miller are great. Or any M name. My cousins family did this – match initials with each parent and it’s pretty sweet if it’s just a bonus to using a name you love anyways. Other Ms that go well with his brother:


  7. I wouldn’t worry bout matching the brothers’ names.
    You didn’t choose your first kid’s name, so now choose like it’s your first child.
    Maybe Miller Elliott?
    Or something else, like Everett, Grayson, Graham, Garrett, Finn or Milo.

  8. Andrew and Henry from your list are as traditional as James, Fletcher is a great middle for all your sons, and you could call him Drew or Hank, Andy or Harry.

  9. My favorites from your list are Maxwell called Max or Theodore called Theo. They go with James called Jamie really well and have nicknames, but they also feel distinct and kind of exciting.