Welcome LouiseUpdate: I went into labor a little early, just a few days after this ran, and we still didn’t have a name. I was almost hoping for a boy because at least we agreed! But we had our third girl. And it turned out that choosing her name was easy, thanks to the most amazing labor & delivery nurse named Louise. As soon as I heard her name, I realized it was just meant to be! Our girls call her Lou Lou and all sorts of silly, sweet names. Thanks to everyone for your help and all of your suggestions. We read through every one of them in those early stages of labor and we really appreciated it!

Kristen writes:

We have two daughters, Helen and Frances. Both girls have my (unusual) last name as their middle name.

Our third and final child will be here in early August. If it’s a boy, we will name him James and call him Jack.

I know that’s not the usual nickname, but it’s the one we both like best.

We’re struggling with girl names. Many of the names we liked with Frances and Helen now feel too popular, including Abigail, Alice, and Evelyn.

I don’t like names that end with a, or really with vowel sounds. Though I do like Henry, so perhaps the right name could change my mind.

Not repeating initials is important to me.

With the exception of a few names, like James/Jack, I really don’t care for nicknames. And I don’t like names that feel like nicknames, even if I know they’re not. (My husband likes Lucy, but I feel like it’s short for Lucille, which I don’t care for.)

Can you help us find a girl’s name that goes with Helen “V@shek” “Nole$” and Frances “V@shek” “Nole$” without repeating an initial?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new baby!

I think the challenge with naming as our families grow is the sheer number of children we know. Neighborhood kids, the siblings’ of our children’s friends, the names of classmates in nursery school or swim class or any other formal program. Even if you’re just hanging out at the playground, you’re hearing names, names, names.

And so it probably won’t help for me to insist that Alice isn’t really common. Because to your ear, it’s overexposed. Maybe you even know one – or more!

The good news? Lots and lots of traditional, tailored names for girls remain far less popular. And they’d be perfect sister choices for Frances and Helen, too.



Adelaide and Adeline are options, too, but I think the two-syllable, compact Adele is the perfect balance for Helen and Frances.


Spare Claire is a Top 100 choice in the US, and has been since the late 1990s. But it seems more classic than trendy, a long-standing name with a lovely meaning: bright.


The storybook hero makes this name feel equal parts vintage and daring. It’s every bit a sister for Helen and Frances.


Long before Harper and Piper, Esther was the girls’ name ending with R that appealed to generation after generation.


Another name with a powerful meaning – peace – Irene is an earlier generation’s style star. Today it feels surprising and familiar at the same time.


Would Louise appeal to your husband? You mentioned Lucy is on his list, but you’re not a fan of Lucille. Louise might be the best of both worlds, with no shortening required.


Originally a Margaret nickname, Margot now stands on its own. It’s a name that feels creative and strong.


This simple name borrowed from the Old Testament has an enduring quality.

Overall, my favorite sister name for Frances and Helen is probably Dorothy, with Adele a close second. I think they’re good style matches for her sisters, but a little different, too.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Helen and Frances?

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. Speaking as someone whose sister is Frances Helen and whose name is Caroline Louise. I approve of these name choices! If they had a 4th girl, Caroline is always an option!