Name Help: Sibling for Matthew RogerName 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!

Kellie writes:

With our first baby, it took us all 39 weeks and 4 days to choose a name. We finally settled on Matthew Roger, after becoming those crazy people who were letting friends, family, and even the nursing staff vote.

Roger is my dad’s name. Matthew we just liked. We sometimes call him Matty/Matt at home, but we introduce him as Matthew.

Other names we both (mostly) agreed on for him were Joshua, Adam, Andrew, Nicholas, Caleb, and Cameron.

We had a much longer girls’ list: Brooke, Shelby, Paige, Kennedy, Sienna, Natalie, Elizabeth, Hannah, Addison, Zoey, Willow, Violet, Melody, Cara, Ava, Isabelle, Molly. There are a few more than we added/crossed off, but these are the ones that made it to the final cut of the list I’ve had on my phone for the last couple of years.

If it’s a boy, his middle name will be Marshall (for my husband’s dad) and if it’s a girl, her middle name will be Michelle (for my mom).

We’re due in December, and it would be great to choose her name before we’re those people again!! We just want a good name for our baby that he or she will grow into. Our last name is very common, starts with a W and ends with SON.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your second!

We often assume it’s hardest to choose names when we have lots of criteria. And yes, if you wanted a family-inspired name that starts with a G and isn’t in the current US Top 1000 and only has one obvious spelling and has a really good meaning, well … that’s a riddle to solve.

But when our goal is more straightforward, it can actually get harder, not easier. Because lots of names satisfy your criteria: a good name that will serve your child well. I could list dozens of names that fit that criteria. And then I could triple that list.

Instead, let’s try to focus what you’re looking for a little more. Based on your son’s name, I’m going to suggest your new child’s name should be:

  • A traditional favorite – A name everyone will immediately recognize, ranked in/near the US Top 100 over the last twenty years. Timeless but current, too.
  • Not easily nicknamed – While many names can be shortened, since you’ve opted for Matthew rather than Matt or Matty, I think we should focus on names that share that quality.
  • Compatible with your chosen middles – Matthew Roger W-son is great – a rock solid choice. A great many names will work with Marshall and Michelle, too. But it might help drop a few options to keep this criteria in mind.
  • Not duplicate sounds from Matthew’s name – Whether or not to repeat initials is very much personal preference, but since your middle names both begin with M, I wonder if we shouldn’t just drop any M names?

With those criteria in mind, let’s look at your lists again.


  • I’d drop Andrew, because the ending is so similar to Matthew’s name; Nicholas, because it’s so easily/automatically nicknamed; and Joshua, for the same reason.
  • That leaves Adam, Caleb, and Cameron.
  • I’d put Adam as my favorite of those three, mostly because it has the same timeless quality. Caleb and Cameron feel traditional, too, but maybe not in the same as Adam.


  • I’d drop Melody and Molly because of the initial M issue; Brooke, Paige, Shelby, Sienna, Kennedy, Addison, Zoey, Willow, Melody, Cara, and Ava because I think they’re all a little more trending than traditional; and Elizabeth, because it’s so automatically shortened.
  • That leaves Hannah, Isabelle, and Natalie.
  • Of those, I like Natalie the best. It has a very long history of use and feels equally timeless. Natalie can be the grandmother, the mom, the baby … it’s a generation-spanning name and an obvious sister for Matthew.

Maybe you want to agree with me and say, oh yes: Adam Marshall or Natalie Michelle, we’re all set!

But it’s always good to come up with just a few more suggestions, just in case …



Like Matthew, there’s no need to shorten Anthony. And it’s quite dashing in full.


The first name that came to mind. Like Matthew, it’s a generation-spanning choice.


If you love Natalie, would Nathan appeal?


While Ryan peaked in the 1980s, it’s since mellowed to a very traditional choice for a boy, ranked in the US Top 100 since 1971.



A possible compromise between Cara and Elizabeth/Isabelle.


As brief and crisp as Brooke or Paige, but with a little more of a timeless vibe.


As sweet as Molly, but without the repeating M challenge.


Inspired by Cara, Ava, Hannah, and Sienna. It’s an enduring name that feels fresh, even surprising, on a child born today.

From my list, the two that jump out are Jonathan and Caroline. They’re timeless, traditional, still very much in use and yet sogmehow they feel like names we don’t hear that often.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother or sister for Matthew Roger?

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. Brooke Michelle W.. Son no obvious nicknames but Brookie is likely
    Shelby Michelle W.. Son too much shel sound for my ear, sounds like a tongue twister.
    Paige Michelle W.. Son sounds nice and a bit different. I’m rather looking that together.
    Kennedy Michelle W.. Son in not a fan of Kennedy myself. But if you both like it does sound good.
    Sienna Michelle W.. Son it’s really pretty and a known name but no nickname
    Natalie Michelle W.. Son I’m going to agree with others on Matt and Nat issue
    Elizabeth Michelle W.. Son I’m slightly not liking Elizabeth with your last name and there are rather a few L sounds in there. If you’re happy with it though and don’t mind a nickname then this is great. But you can still introduce her as Elizabeth.
    Hannah Michelle W.. Son solid choice, no obvious nicknames
    Addison Michelle W.. Son do you like Addy with Matty? I’m not a fan
    Zoey Michelle W.. Son this freaks me out as I’ve always known it more often as Zoe, so she may have people spell it Zoe. Overall I think it’s great and solid
    Willow Michelle W.. Son that option has many W and Ls… I’m not a fan of that as I feel like I’m tripping over my tongue
    Violet Michelle W.. Son in not a fan of Violet with your last name as Violet has the L in the middle
    Melody Michelle W.. Son I love Melody but I’m not sure it’s right with Matthew
    Cara Michelle W.. Son that sounds really pretty now I’m saying it.
    Ava Michelle W.. Son this sound good as a whole name. It works with Matthew. So if you like it it’s a good choice.
    Isabelle Michelle W.. Son I want to love it but with all the L sounds I’m not loving it
    Molly Michelle W.. Son the double M plus M with Matthew, then all the L sounds, I’m not loving it.

    Sienna, Hannah, Cara, Paige and my favourites with Michelle W.. Son
    I think from your names Sienna is my top choice as I like the cadence of 3, 2 2 syllables for a girl better than 2,2,2

    2 further suggestions
    Sophie Michelle W .. Son
    Emily Michelle W..son look I know it’s popular but it sounds great with Matthew and with your last name.

    Joshua Marshall W..son will get Josh, do you like that? It’s a good sounding brother with Matthew.
    Adam Marshall W..son good name with a nickname. Solid choice like Matthew.
    Andrew Marshall W..son sound kind of similar with the w ending but not in a bad don’t choose it way, but do you like Andy or Drew?
    Nicholas Marshall W..son will likely be Nick, do you like that?
    Caleb Marshall W..son this sounds like a great match to my ear
    Cameron Marshall W..son also a very solid choice

    Adam, Caleb or Cameron are all great choices.

    Three further suggestions… Luke Marshall W..son
    Jack Marshall W..son
    James Marshall W.. son

  2. I love love love Natalie but I wonder if Matt and Nat would be an issue. Would Emily suffice instead? It follows the same 3 syllable, ends in -ee sound as Natalie and feels just as timeless. Emily Michelle sounds lovely. Emily and Matthew sound smashing together. I know Emily kinda had its heydey back in the 90s and has always been pretty popular but it’s popular for a reason and I feel like I don’t meet many baby Emilys anymore. Such a lovely evergreen name.

    For boys, Zachary has always struck me as a great sibling name to Matthew. Zachary Marshall. Matthew and Zachary. Matt and Zack. And same as Emily, I don’t meet many baby Zacharys anymore and would be delighted if I did! It feels like such a modern classic now.

  3. I really like Violet for you off your list. Matthew and Violet just sounds like a sweet and timeless pair.
    And I’ll chime in with everyone else, I like Caleb and Adam from your boys list though I lean slightly more towards the former than the latter.