Welcome Hayden "Hayes" LukeUpdate: We were stuck until the morning after our beautiful son was born, when we decided to do the same thing we did with Elijah/Eli. Hayden “Hayes” Luke is here and we’re all in love. Thanks to everyone who helped!

Hannah writes:

We have two boys, Owen Michael and Elijah Stephen, who we call Eli. Our last name sounds like Rye-Neck.

Our third son will be here in a few more weeks and we cannot agree on a name.

For me, part of it is knowing that this is our last baby and I’ll never get to use my girl name. (Lucy Annabelle, for as long as I can remember.)

We also couldn’t agree on Eli’s name at all. I wanted Elijah, my husband thought it was too long, so we compromised by calling him Eli. We’re happy with it now, but I feel like we looked at every name under the sun then, so everything feels like a leftover, if that makes sense.

Maybe we need some new names, or maybe we just need some other opinions on our list?

  • Abel – I like this a lot, my husband isn’t a fan
  • Arlo – Doesn’t sound right with our last name – maybe?
  • Beau – my husband likes it, I think it’s meh
  • Carson – not really our style, but I do like the way it sounds with Rye-neck
  • Hayden – I really like it, but feel like maybe there’s a backlash against all of the Jaydens
  • Ian – my husband liked for Eli, but I thought it was too similar to Owen, and now too much like Eli, too
  • Rhett – my husband likes it, I really don’t
  • Sullivan – same thing as Carson

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your third!

Most aspects of parenting get easier with experience. Naming? It gets harder!

The good news: it sounds like you both generally agree on a style of name. And you’ve chosen two great names for your older boys.

Looking at your current list, it seems like lots of these are probably close … but not quite.

The one thing I wonder about is Luke, Lucas, Luca, or Lucian. If you’re confident that this child completes your family, would a masculine form of Lucy appeal? I particularly like the sound of Owen, Eli, and Luca.

If not one of those names, would you consider …



A vowel-forward name, like Owen and Eli, but a distinctive choice, too. Lots of R-enders would blend in with Rye-neck, but I think Asher works.


If Carson, Hayden, and Sullivan are close but not quite, would Declan appeal? Nickname Dex is all kinds of charming, but I’m guessing Declan is usually used in full.


Rhett and Everett share sounds, but Everett feels like a completely different name somehow.


It’s a different, distinctive kind of name. Though I suppose two Biblical E names might make Owen seem like the odd one out? Still, I love it with Owen and Eli.


The -aiden name question is a tough call. I do really like Hayden – and Aidan, for that matter. But they do feel a little time-stamped. Would Hayes work instead? I think it sounds great with your surname.


The first name that came to mind. It shares some sounds with Lucy, and that U sound is bright and different from Owen and Eli. They sound perfect together.


In thinking about Hayden alternatives, I wonder if you’d like Tatum? It’s a fast-rising favorite for boys and girls alike.


If Hayes is close, but not quite right, I’d suggest Wells as another name – similar style, great meaning, but still a little unexpected.

Overall, my favorites are Jude and Hayes. I think they’re both close to sounds that you like, and very compatible with Owen and Eli.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother for Owen Michael and Elijah “Eli” Stephen?

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. You’ve got long o, long e and long I covered. Maybe look at long a or long u names like James or David or Cooper or Lucas. Lots of classic two-syllable Bible names available for a middle name.

  2. Our son is named Arlo, in part thanks to this site, and we love it…but it is rising in popularity (if having a unique name is a concern). I like Lucas and Luca – what about Luke – maybe these fur a middle name? But maybe you also don’t want this little guy to “stand in” for Lucy. Jude is great. What about Reece (vs. Rhett) or even Reeve? Good luck! Naming boys is a challenge, three times over especially!

  3. On, hear me out: Gene! Gene Rye-neck is so handsome. A little Gene is unexpected and cute. Owen, Eli and Gene sound like brothers to me, but not in the “I know a family with three brothers names that, too!” way

  4. Congratulations!
    Before I even read Abby’s suggestions I thought “Luca or Jude”. I also like Adam. And maybe Andrew as a middle name?