Welcome Charles RogerUPDATE: He’s here! Kaitlyn writes: Thank you so much for all of the ideas and suggestions. What meant the most was the many people who said Charles/Charlie wasn’t off the table. We tried to choose another name, and we did really like Beckett Roger. But in the end, we decided Charlie was the name we really wanted to use, and so we went with Charles Roger. A friend of mine said that we should see it as a connection between the boys, and since they have different last names, it’s actually kind of nice to share a name. I love that! Again, thank you for everything!

Kaitlyn writes:

My first son is named for his grandfather, my ex’s dad, Martin. I chose the middle name Charles, and I thought that we would call him Charlie. But it never really stuck, mostly because we lived with my ex’s family at the time and they all refused to use his middle name.

Now he’s six and he’s Martin, pretty much all of the time, except with my ex’s mom, who calls him Marty (to distinguish from her husband.)

When I look back, I still have lots of name regret and it feels weird to introduce my son by such an old man name. At the same time, my little guy makes me see all the good things about his name, too, and it never seems to cause him any problems.

Now I’m expecting again. This is my new husband’s first, and he doesn’t have any really strong opinions about what to name this baby.

If it was a girl, I don’t think I would be so worried about it. We both agree on Aurora, Delilah, maybe Viviana, Cecilia.

Naming a boy feels harder. Charlie was my all-time favorite name, and I’ve used it, but can’t use it, if that makes sense.

Names that my husband and I mostly agree on are Beckett, Knox, Griffin, Hayes, and maybe Callum.

Except do they sound Martin’s brother? I’ve also considered naming him Roger, for my dad; Raymond, for my new husband’s dad; or maybe Alan, for my mom’s brother who we were really close to growing up and is now like a bonus grandpa to Martin. (My dad passed away before Martin was born.)

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

And yes, this is a dilemma.

Let’s talk through your options:

One: Name this son Charles/Charlie. On the positive side, Martin and Charles/Charlie sound like brothers. It’s really not Martin’s name, in the sense that he doesn’t use it or think of himself as Charlie, right? So I don’t think it’s completely off the table. But I can see that it’s not ideal, either.

Two: Name this son a current, stylish name like Beckett/Hayes/Knox/Griffin/Callum. This feels like an obvious approach. Start with a blank slate and choose a name you both like.

Three: Use a meaningful family name. I get the appeal. Roger/Raymond/Alan all sound like Martin’s brother, and it ensures that both boys have a namesake.

Four: Split the difference. Choose a more traditional name, like Charles/Charlie that sounds more like a brother for Martin. Names like James, William, and Thomas sound just right in most decades. This feels logical, and yet – does it just result in a name that pleases, well … nobody? 

My inclination is to suggest that you combine the middle approaches, using a current, stylish first with a meaningful family middle.

Here’s why:

  • It’s a name formula that works. Countless families repeat this pattern, year after year. A first name they love that sounds just right for their child’s generation, paired with a family middle to remind them of their roots and honor a loved one.
  • Would it help with name regret? It sounds like you still regret choosing a name that’s stuck in style limbo for your first son. It also sounds like a) your son wears it well and b) you’ve come to appreciate his name. But, but, but … wouldn’t you have the same feelings with a name like Roger, Raymond, or Alan?(Or even Charlie, if only because you’d wonder if you’d taken something from your firstborn.)
  • Nothing says that sibling names have to match. Lots of families name their firstborn after a loved one and then go their own way for younger siblings. We’ve all met plenty of families with a David Jr., followed by Grayson and Walker – or something like that. It works absolutely fine.



I think it’s tough to choose a favorite, but I’m leaning towards Beckett Roger. It feels fitting that you use your dad’s name this time, and I really like the flow of Beckett Roger. Plus, when you say them together, Martin and Beckett both sound like appealing surnames – somehow they do feel matched, even though they’re from very different decades.

Readers, over to you. What would you name a brother for Martin Charles?

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’ve always liked Martin and I think it deserves a lot more love than it currently gets. It’s one of my son’s middle names – a traditional middle name for my husband’s family – and if not for that, I would have had it on my list for a first name.

    I think you’ve had a lot of great suggestions already. I like the idea of using Charlton or Charleston to get to Charlie.

    My suggestion is to use a combination of names to get to Charlie, so that you aren’t re-using Martin’s middle as such, but creating a new name. Something like Callum Hayes Roger gives you all the sounds of Charlie – or perhaps go for the Charley spelling, so then you have all the letter too.

  2. I can sense that perhaps you have a bit of name regret with Martin, especially given that you feel that Charlie is now lost.
    My first thought is to reframe the name Martin in your mind.
    I too realised, as others said that it’s also a surname.
    Martin is a popular French surname.
    Martin is also an Irish surname said to be from Mac Giolla Mhártain from my reading.
    Think about it more like a classic surname used as a first name.
    Martin opens up some possibilities in my mind. You could consider starting a new nickname for your son, I feel 6 is plenty young enough to do that. I suggest Mac. It links to that history of the Irish use of the surname Martin and Mac means son of.
    Which brings me back to your new baby boy.
    I feel that choosing a surname style name would be really bring your two boys together.
    Many of your preferred names work as that surname feel.

    You could nod to the Irish surname style and choose something that is also Irish.
    Your suggested idea of Hayes or Griffin fits this perfectly.

    To recapture the Charlie vibe but with a surname, maybe:

    Other Irish surname ideas
    Nolan (this is similar to the popular Noah)
    Campbell (Cam, Cammy)
    Thompson “Tom” or Thomas (French surname)
    Finnegan (Finn)

    I fear it may be similar old man style your are seeking to avoid but I also love Fergus with Martin
    Fergus nn Gus

    Maybe a surname from your family might offer a great first name option?