Name Help: A Brother for Lawton JamesName 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!

Alyssa writes:

When my husband and I were engaged, we discovered that we’re distantly related. We’re both from the same area, and our families have been here for generations, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise. It turns out we’re something like third cousins, once removed – so not really close, but a funny story.

The part of our family tree where the branches overlap are the Lawtons. After joking about it my whole pregnancy, we ended up naming our son Lawton James.

People sometimes ask if it’s a family name and we say yes, but we don’t necessarily share the story, of course. We like that it sounds like a regular name you’d hear but is a little different and special to us.

We are expecting our second (and probably last) child next month and it turns out that it’s tough to follow up a choice like Lawton, especially for another boy.

Other family names don’t have the same kind of sound. But maybe choosing a name that just goes with Lawton without the story is a little disappointing?

Names we just like and agree on so far include Hudson, Weston, Crew, Colby, Cade, Wells, and maybe Wilder.

I’m making myself crazy overthinking this and could really use some outside perspective.

Our last name sounds like Rue-So.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

What a great story behind Lawton’s name! While I’ve never heard anything quite like that before, it does often happen that there’s this one Amazing Family Name that gets used for a firstborn child, leaving the parents feeling like no name can ever be as good, or at least as meaningful.

The good news? You’re going to love this child every bit as much as your firstborn, and that will make his name so much more. It’s just going to take a minute – or maybe a month or three – for This Name to begin to feel quite the same way.

It sounds like you’re very open to names that feel like a style match for Lawton. I think that helps a lot here. If someone introduces me to her sons “Lawton and Hudson,” I hear them as perfectly compatible sibling names and don’t give it a second thought. If anything, I’m less likely to ask if Lawton is a family name when it’s clearly the sound and style the parents prefer.

So let’s unpack your current shortlist and see what might work best.



I’m putting this last only because you’ve listed it as a maybe.


Crew is perfect with Lawton, but … it rhymes with your surname. And Crew Rue-so gives me pause.


This is completely up to you, but I wonder if another ends-in-ton name feels a little too close?


Hudson is one of the names I would’ve suggested if you weren’t already considering it. While it’s another -on ending, I don’t find the -ton/-son as much of a conflict.


I love the bright vowel sound of Cade. And, just like Lawton, Cade feels a little different and I like them together for that reason, too. I think it’s particularly good with your surname.


While Wells is more common than Lawton, it ranks about the same as Lawson, with an S. I also like the way both names share L and W letters without overlapping sounds.


Colby is immediately familiar, but surprisingly uncommon. It ranked just #597 in 2022. Lawton and Colby sound like they might both be old family names, or maybe just two choices for parents who love that style.

I’m putting Colby ahead of Wells and Cade because I think it’s a better match, popularity-wise … but I think all three of them are great names for Lawton’s new brother.



Because you have Wilder on your list, I wonder if another ends-in-R name might appeal?


A possible substitute for Wells. It’s popular, but it also has a great sound, mixing country music and outdoorsy vibes with a nicely buttoned-up appeal.


Another R-ending name, a little more refined than Cade.


It sounds like a straight-up nature name, but Forrest spelled with two Rs has been in use as a surname for ages.


Midway between Cade and Wells.


As in the real McCoy, referring to something authentic. It’s an intriguing sound, something different and fresh, but still not completely unknown.


Another brief surname name in the key of Cade and Crew.


A logical substitute for Cade, a little more polished and traditional.

Overall, I do think Colby is an excellent choice for Lawton’s brother. From my list, I do really like Calder. I think Lawton and Calder sound exactly like brothers, with on-trend names that are pretty uncommon.

So maybe Lawton James and Calder Joseph? Or Lawton James and Colby William?

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother for Lawton James?

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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. Also: with Weston, Wells and Wilder on your list I suppose you’ve considered Wesley? I like the sound of Lawton & Wesley together.

  2. I have a grandson named Kolby James so I am partial to the name! And I agree, it is familiar but not common. They chose to spell it with a K because his mom’s family had a dog named Colby growing up! Colby Hayes has a nice ring to it – would tie the middle names together with similar sounds.

  3. Bridger is great as it means to bridge the families together! Kindred is a rarer name option that has a similar meaning.