Name Help: A Brother for Tessa and SophieName 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!

Alison writes:

Our son will be here around Thanksgiving, and right now, he’s going to be called Puffy (younger daughter’s suggestion) or Rubble (older daughter’s suggestion, thank you PAW Patrol.)

Our older daughter is Tessa Eleanor, but we call her Tess 99% of the time. Our younger daughter is Sophie Isabelle.

At first I was a little sad, because I had so many names I wanted to use for another daughter! And boy names are harder for us.

My husband has shot down:

  • Felix – Because he’s “not a cat.”
  • Arlo, Milo, and mostly anything ending with O because the baby’s last name will begin with O. (It’s Ol!v3r.) I think it still mostly works. If anything, I feel like Tessa Ol!v3r is harder to say.
  • Bennett, Beckett, Emerson, Elliott, Anderson, Harrison, Greyson because his last name will be a first name and that could be confusing. (I agree with this, but I also think we’re being too picky.)

Names that we haven’t completely ruled out are:

  • Henry, but there are lots of Henrys that we know already, though not really any that mean we couldn’t use it.
  • Charles/Charlie, but I only like Charlie and he doesn’t want him to be just Charlie.
  • Travis, probably his name if he was born today, but only because neither of us has actively said no. But it doesn’t feel like us at all.

I think we need some new ideas!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

I agree that some fresh ideas might help. Your husband’s point is a good one: when your last name is a common first name, it can be confusing to have a last name as a first name. I mean … that sentence is tough to follow, right?

Except that the average playground is packed with kids named Walker and Hudson and Grayson. It sounds a little wrong to our ears, maybe … but only at first. Say “Grayson Ol!v3r” a dozen times and it clicks.

Still, I’ll try to steer clear of anything that feels too surname-style.



Archie reads like a mix of Henry and Felix and Charlie, but will you feel the same way about Archie as you do about Charles/Charlie? Archer and Archibald are both formal options, and even Arthur works. But just Archie is the most popular option, and the one I like best with Sophie and Tess.


It’s a bit of a British import, but then there’s a vaguely continental vibe to Sophie and Tess, too. It shortens to Cal if you like, but it really doesn’t have to.


A literary name that feels bold, even dramatic, Holden has surname style while feeling very much like a given name.


If you know some Henrys, well … I’m guessing you know a little Jack or three, too. But it’s the masculine equivalent of Sophie and Tess, isn’t it? It’s a Charlie kind of name – casual, but traditional. But unlike Charlie, where it’s obvious that it is sometimes (often?) short for Charles, we don’t have the same automatic assumption with Jack.


Many of Jack’s best qualities apply to Max, too. It’s got a little more old-fashioned appeal, too. And it feels like a midpoint between Jack and Felix. More common, yes, but with that great X ending.


Because Travis ends with S, I wanted to suggest Otis. But O.O. seemed like a bit much, so instead I’m adding Miles to the list. It’s traditional and vintage, but with plenty of twenty-first century energy, too.


I think Tate is the perfect brother name for Sophie. Short and compact, with a bright, distinctive sound. But is it too close to Tess? I think it’s completely fine, especially since your kids would be Tessa, Sophie, and Tate … but it’s worth mentioning the potential similarity.


Wesley is one of those surnames we forget hasn’t always been a first name. Wes shares the S of Travis (and Miles) and has the same brief, distinctive style of Max or Tate. It falls midway between Henry/Charlie and Bennett/Elliott.

Overall, I’m really drawn to Jack! Something like Jack Wesley, or even Jack Travis, maybe?

If that’s out, my next choice is Miles. Miles Henry?

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother for Tess and Sophie?

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. Julian Oliv3r! Tess, Sophie and Julian.

    Nicholas Oliv3r. Tessa Sophie and Nicholas or Tess Sophie and Nico/Cole/Nick

    Phillip Oliv3r. Tess Sophie and Pip!

    Everett Oliv3r. Tess Sophie and Everett.

    Congratulations on your little guy!!

  2. With Harrison on your vetoed list, and Henry on your maybe list … what about Harry? Harry could be a nickname for either of those, but could just add easily be a standalone name.

    From the other suggestions I quite like Miles, Isaac, Lewis (or Louis) and Rory.

  3. Random suggestion but how about Isaac? Isaac Ol!ver sounds smashing and I think it would bypass any confusion over which name is the first name and the last name. Zac could be a cute nickname if you want one but just Isaac is perfect too. Maybe Isaac Travis?

    Tessa, Sophie, and Isaac
    Tess, Sophie, and Zac

  4. I think you have a winner with Charles. He wants Charles for the birth certificate, you already have a kid you use a nickname for 99% of the time. So you get your Charlie.

    I also LOVE Travis and it’s so refreshing to hear someone considering it. My cousin is Travis and while I kinda get the cowboy vibes, he’s urban (and a lovely human, a doctor to boot) and he is called Trav like 75% of the time.

    You know what IS a good Paw Patrol name? Marshall!

  5. -Archer nn Archie
    -Otto (A bit much with the surname, but it’s cute and fits well with Sophie and Tess)

  6. Patrick O.
    Frederick O.
    Toby O.
    Julian O.
    Edmund O.
    Ralph O.
    Reuben O.
    Rory O.
    Ryan O.
    The R names are meant to go on with the initials pattern: T, S, R.

  7. Oh boo! My first thought was Felix… Tess, Sophie & Felix sound perfect together, and it’s not a cat name to me at all. However, your hubby doesn’t like it.
    I really like Callum, as you suggested, Abby.
    I noticed your first daughter’s name has 1 syllable, 2nd daughter has 2, would you like a 3 syllable name for your 3rd?
    Tess, Sophie & Jonathan?
    Tess, Sophie & Theodore?
    I’m sure the perfect name will come to you in time, or the name you give your son will become the perfect name for him.

  8. Tessa was one of my top names for a girl (though not used since we had only boys) so I’ll share some of my boy name list in case anything appeals! Some with an “S” in the name as well. I agree with the vaguely continental feel of Tess and Sophie and I think some of these fit —


  9. I really like these suggestions! Wesley and Mikes stand out because then all three children would have an s in their name. I also have a Callum and am a big fan of that one.