Name Help: Sibling for James, Alice, MatthewName 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!

Stacie writes:

We have three children, all named for family. Each time, the right choice immediately came to us. For this baby, though, it feels like we’re running out of good choices. Can you help us narrow down our list?

We will find out gender, but not for a few more weeks. And since this might not be our last baby, we feel like it would be good to have lots of name ideas!

Our kids are:

JAMES – Named for both of our dads. It’s my husband’s middle name, too. Super easy. His middle name is Nicholas, for my husband.

ALICE – Named for my grandmother, Mary Alice. He also had a grandmother named Marie, so her full name is Alice Marie. We thought we’d call her “Alice Marie,” but she’s always Alice.

MATTHEW – My mom’s maiden name was Matthews, and since neither of her parents were honored with James and Alice’s names, it feels like it sort of covers everyone. His middle name is Patterson, which is Nick’s mom’s maiden name, so it’s perfect.

Our last name is a color/metal that rhymes with Cold.

Here’s our list:


Bailey – Another family name, but not sure if this is a boy or girl name?

Bradley– A family last name, but I feel like this is very 80s. Maybe as a middle.

George – I don’t like it with our last name, though George was my husband’s favorite uncle.

John – Another grandfather.

Joseph – Another grandfather; also Nick’s brother, so we’re not sure if it’s really ours to use.

Roger – From family surname, Rogers.

Thomas – From another grandfather.

William/Wilson – From my maiden name.


Anna – Love this name, but maybe it’s kind of plain. My mom’s name is Cheryl Anne, and while I adore her, we both agree her first name isn’t really ready to be passed down.

Elizabeth – My middle name. Not sure how I feel about shortening it. (Though I know I don’t like Lizzie.)

Genevieve – I just plain love Genevieve, but I would like to find a family name if possible.

Lynn, Lindie, Madeline – From my grandmother, Linda. But Madeline is maybe too much of a stretch, and I don’t know if I like Lynn/Lindie enough to choose them. Linda just feels like too much of a grandma name.

Rebecca – The name of a close family friend, and I like the sound, but Rebecca feels like such a mom name.

Rose – My mother’s confirmation name and my confirmation name, so Rose would be perfect, but not with our last name, Cold-with-a-G.

Susan, Suzanne, Susanna – For my husband’s mom, Sue (Susan).

Up until now, it’s felt like we can just use family names, without having to think about it a lot. But maybe we’ve used up all of the logical ones, and needing to stretch a little makes the names feel less special? Like we’re not really honoring the people we love, if that makes sense? But choosing names we just like seems like it would be harder AND maybe leave those kids feel like they’re left out.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new baby!

I think this is one of the conundrums of family names: it’s easy to choose the first family name. Or maybe two or three or four. But at some point, inevitably we run out of a) obvious people to honor and/or b) names we can really bring ourselves to use.

Both James and Alice were straightforward choices. Matthew is maybe a little more creative, but only a little.

If you’re going to continue using family names – and it seems like that’s your preference – it’s going to require a little more flexibility.

And that’s a good thing!

Let’s think through some options.



I don’t think Anna is dull at all. Bonus? You could use a much bolder middle. Anna Genevieve is gorgeous, and something like Anna Bailey could be great, too.


Does Ella feel connected enough to Elizabeth for you to use? It sidesteps the Lizzie problem neatly. Elise, too, a form of Elizabeth … except I think it’s way too close to Alice.


If George isn’t right for a son, could Georgia work for a daughter?


Same question here. I understand not wanting to use a brother’s name if he has his heart set on naming a future son Joseph. But Josephine is a little bit different.


It’s not Linda, but it’s only one letter removed – and far more contemporary in style.


This feels like the best of both worlds – Sue plus Anna.



As with Georgia and Josephine, this is a gender flip. What if you honored Rebecca with a son named Beckett?


Building on Joseph, could another Jo- name work?


I’m guessing that John isn’t ideal with a short last name, but how about Jonathan?


My favorite from your current list. Excellent with James, Alice, and Matthew!


Oh wait, this might be my favorite from your current list. Not only does it go together well, but it honors you. Which seems especially lovely.

Overall, my favorites are probably Georgia for a daughter and William for a son, but I think there are lots of possibilities here.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sibling for James, Alice, and Matthew?

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. Using and adding to suggestions above:

    – Susannah Lily (nn Suki?)
    – Willamina Elsie
    – Georgia Elspeth
    – Georgiana Liesl
    – Josephine Annabel

    (I love Rose names but I would avoid with your last name to save kid boring jokes about favourite g*ld types)

    – William Roger
    – Thomas William

  2. James, Alice, Matthew, and…

    Thomas Wilson- my fav

    Thomas Ambrose nn TAG

    George Wilson (I like alliteration)

    Thomas Bailey

    Thomas Bradley

    Lily (Susan meaning) Anastasia (Anne & Stacie).

    Eliza Bailey

    Lindy Anne

    Lindy Susanna

    Jane (for John) Elizabeth

  3. Congrats on your upcoming 4th!

    Definitely seconding ROSALINE/ROSALIND with nickname “Rose”. It would be an honor name for both yourself & your grandmother, so there wouldn’t be too much to compromise but loads to feel great about!

    As for a strictly boy name, WILLIAM/WILSON has got my vote. What a nice way to honor yourself but also your family. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with honoring a mom by naming a son after her. It’s actually refreshing!

    Hope you come to an agreement that feels just right. Best of luck!

  4. Abby has really suggested some great options. Particularly swapping to Georgia.
    I did some research and thinking about the name Cheryl. Several sources link it to Charlotte. Let me add a suggestion of Charlotte Anne which is clearly a link you your mum with the sounds and the use of the middle name.

    I think Eliza is also a great match with Alice.
    Thomas and William are both excellent choices with the siblings.
    I’d leave Joseph.

  5. I think you could use Anne Charlotte in honour of your Mum. Anne Charlotte from Cheryl Anne sort of mirrors Alice Marie from Mary Alice, though granted you did have another honoree for Marie as well.

    Anne (and Anna) may seen plain on paper, but I think it’d be a refreshingly beautiful surprise to meet a baby Anne.

  6. Oh, man! If I had the chance to have the name Rose (C)old, I would LOVE it! Please at least use it as a middle name! It’s just too good!

  7. What about doing the exact same thing you did with your husband’s name? Just switching first and last for your daughter:
    Elizabeth Stacie
    I like how it’s classic, just like James, Alice and Matthew.

    Thomas Wilson for a boy.
    Another grandfather + another family last name

  8. I like Thomas George and Joanna Elizabeth or Joanna Lynn. Girl nicknames could be JoBeth, Jolie, JoJo/Jojo . . .

    Best wishes to you!