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. Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your son!

    First thought was “Jamie” or “James” with nickname “Jamie”. Or even “Jim/Jimmy”.

    And I second the suggestion of “Edmund” as a 1st name or middle name.

    Edmund “Eddie” James O.
    James/Jamie Edmund O.
    Jim “Jimmy” Edmund O.

    Hope we are helping & that you find something you and your partner will love soon!!

  2. I think @Renee has a good suggestion about Charles nn Charlie. It sounds like you both could agree on it as long as he’s always called Charlie?

    Another option would be something like Charlton or Charleston nn Charlie.

  3. It’s a little surname-y-ish but what about August? August Ol!v3r sounds great, and the nicknames Augie or Gus are right there if you want them but not necessary if you don’t.

  4. Max strikes me as perfect with the sister names. I also really like Henry, Blaise, and Rafael/Raphael.