Name Help: A Sibling for Sophie and OliverName 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!

Marie writes:

We have two children: Sophie Claire is six, and Oliver Ethan will be almost three when this baby arrives in March. We knew sex in advance for both Sophie and Oliver, but this time we’re having a surprise. Our last name sounds like H@ns0n.

If it’s a boy, we have a pretty good list and could probably be happy with one of these, but none of them are perfect.

  • Charles/nickname Charlie – I feel a little weird because we’d have Sophie (not Sophia), Oliver (not Ollie), and Charles called Charlie. It feels maybe inconsistent or confusing? But we can’t get our heads around the idea of just naming him Charlie, and my husband says that no one will notice except us. (Which probably means me.)
  • William/nickname ? – We know a few Williams called Will, but Billy seems like it’s not really our style. Maybe he’d just be William? Also maybe it’s a little too predictable?
  • Owen – probably my favorite right now, but two boys sharing an initial isn’t my first choice.
  • Cameron – my husband’s favorite, but I’m not sure how it sounds with our last name. I really like it with Sophie and Oliver, though.
  • Bennett, Walker, Wesley, Beau – all names we like, but maybe we like them for somebody else’s kid!!

For a girl, we’re not nearly that together. Names we have considered:

  • Alice
  • Ruby
  • Daisy
  • Juniper
  • Millie
  • Sienna
  • Genevieve
  • Ada
  • Elaine/Elaina/Elena, called Lainey/Laine
  • Marcella
  • Lena/Leanna – my husband likes, I’m not really into it
  • Nicole/Nicola – my husband is Nick, so we thought about making Sophie’s middle name Nicole/Oliver’s middle name Nicholas, but I really don’t love the idea of family names. Feels like lots of people do this, but not sure it’s right for us?

We always talked about having four kids, so even though we don’t know what will happen for sure, we don’t want to choose any names that lock us into a pattern or would make it feel like another child’s name wouldn’t fit.

Can you help us narrow down our boy’s list and narrow down and/or find the missing name for our girl’s list?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new baby!

It sounds like your boy’s list is in good shape, so let’s start there. I’m going to rank these from my least favorite for you to my top choice.



Yes, let’s drop them. I agree – they’re all great on someone else’s kid!


It sounds like you like this name, but aren’t sure how you’d actually use it. I wonder if it would be a little awkward in practice? Let’s move on, at least fo rnow.


I don’t think two O names commits you to naming a future son Otis at all! But I hear you about repeating initials and I can see it’s not ideal. So even though Owen is a great choice with Sophie and Oliver, I’m ranking it a little lower.


Okay, I think your husband is right – you would notice that you had a Sophie-not-Sophia and an Oliver-not-Ollie … and I think you might be the only one to notice. Here’s the really tough part: would it make you crazy? If your daughter’s name is accidentally printed “Sophia” in her second grade dance recital program, or if someone says “Sophie, Ollie, and Charlie are such sweet names!” would you cringe?

Having a variety of approaches to nicknames is perfectly fine. But if you know that subtle difference in how your kids wear their names would bother you, well then … that’s why Charles/Charlie comes in second place on my list.


I think I hear what you’re saying about Cameron not being ideal with your surname. But I suspect that you’d quickly get over that. Cameron strikes me as a contemporary traditional. It’s relatively new in the US; up until about the 1940s, it had only appeared in the US Top 1000 a handful of times. Compared to William, that makes Cameron downright modern. But it’s been a Top 100 name since 1987. A generation of men has grown up answering to Cameron, and it wears nicely. Sophie, Oliver, and Cameron. I like it a lot.

Maybe Cameron Charles, to add a little more traditional middle?


Now, on to the girls!

It was hard to drop any of the names on your initial list, because it’s easy to argue that all would or could work. Or I want to tweak them, just a little …

Okay, well, let’s drop Nicole. Because it sounds like you keep adding it to your list but won’t actually use it. And that’s fine! Nothing says parents (or any family member) has to be honored with their child’s name.

Let’s see if we can describe your ideal name:

  • It should be complete. Either there’s no nickname or it’s the obvious nickname, no explanation required.
  • It should be traditional. Not necessarily a hardcore classic, but nothing too novel, either.

The problem is that DOZENS of names fit those criteria!

Let’s add a few more:

  • In order to avoid repeating initials, we’ll probably say no S or O names.
  • We’re not using family names. Though there aren’t many on your list to start with, right?

Okay, after that, I think we can cut:

  • Sienna – there’s no need to repeat that S initial unless it’s The One.
  • Elaine and variations; Lena and variations – it sounds like they don’t quite hit the note for you.

That leaves eight names. Let’s rank them!



It’s a lovely name, and yet Marcella feels a little elaborate, even fussy, compared to Sophie and many of the names on your list.


It’s a great choice, but as with Marcella, it feels like it’s maybe for another family.


Sophie and Daisy sound great together. But is Daisy a little too casual? If I were assigning letter grades, Daisy would still get an A, but more like a 91/100. So it comes in sixth on this list.


Will you have the same issue as with Charlie? Millie can be short for lots of names, from Amelia to Millicent. But since you haven’t mentioned any, I’m guessing it’s just Millie on your list.


Ruby strikes me as pretty close to perfect, and yet it’s not leaping out at you just yet.


Such a great name, but it does have lots of nickname options.

2. ADA

Brief and complete. Sweetly vintage like Sophie. Vowel-forward like Oliver.


Alice is pretty much tied with Ada, but visually, I appreciate the extra letters in Alice with Sophie and Oliver.



Looking for middle ground between Marcella, Alice, and Ada brings us to the Ella/El- names. Except if Oliver ever did go by Ollie and you had an Eloise called Ellie? Possibly that would be too cute. But I don’t know that it would happen, either.


June is a lot like Juniper but more in the classic category. (And yes, ranking Juniper seventh was rough!) So I wonder if just June – or even Jane? – might appeal.


I hear lots of L on your list, particularly Lena/Leanna. But Lucy edges a little closer to Ruby, a traditional name with a complete vibe. It’s more Mary than Millie or Daisy, but nicely current, too.


Again, looking for middle ground between Daisy and Millie leads to Maisie. Strictly speaking, Maisie is a diminutive for Margaret, typically Scottish. But I feel like that’s not widely known, so Maisie feels a little more complete.


Florals appear throughout your list, and Violet is among the most polished of them all. I love it with Sophie and Oliver.



Combining two of my A+ names? Feels like an obvious choice. I particularly appreciate the way Genevieve visually lengthens Ada.


A little bit of Marcella mixed with unexpected Juniper.


Maybe it’s not fair to combine two of my suggestions, but I think Maisie Violet hits the same note as Ella Juniper.


I love this combination. Lucy Elaine works, too! It’s traditional but not in the most buttoned-up kind of way. It’s still cozy and fun, without sacrificing history.

Overall, I’m most drawn to Ada Genevieve, with Alice Genevieve and Ella Juniper as close seconds.

But I’ll pause here because Alice/Ella could maybe possibly conflict with Oliver/Ollie. It seems unlikely. And really – if his lacrosse friends or her soccer team adopts a nickname in the future? It’s probably still not a thing within your family.

Still, that rockets Ada Genevieve to the very tip-top of my list.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother or sister for Sophie Claire and Oliver Ethan?

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. If you’re open to a nickname, William called Liam seems like it fits to me. For girls, I absolutely love Alice and Lucy! Alice Nicolette is really perfect.
    Other thoughts:
    -Evelyn (could be called Evie)
    -Eliza (Possible nicknames of Ellie and Lizzie, but just Eliza works too!)

  2. For a boy:
    Rowan instead of Owen
    Bennett, from your list, sounds great

    For a girl:
    Ruby, from your list, is beautiful

  3. For me, Cameron is repetitive with the last name. But that is entirely a personal preference. I do like the suggestion of Callum!

    I was wondering if Beau plus Owen means you would like Bowen?

    Lastly there is Ethan. Owen took me to Ewan which took me to Ethan. Sophie, Oliver and Ethan.

    I do love Violet with this sibset! So classy yet tailored. I also like another floral – Lillian or Lily – which is similar to Lena.

    Genevieve and Alice make me think of Charlotte or Eleanor.

    Your nickname names like Ruby or Daisy, make me think of Mae. Maelle is also stunning and similar to Marcella.

    I like Lily and Ethan best with Oliver and Sophie.

    Best of luck!

  4. For a boy, I really like Charles, nickname Charlie!

    I don’t think it’s at all odd to have only one kid with a nickname. I’ve been teaching for 13 years, and in my experience, it’s completely normal for one kid in the family to use a nickname, and others not to.

    I tend to agree that Cameron H@ns0n feels like a statement. It’s not a bad combination, but to me it stands out as different from your older children’s names. What about these alternatives to Cameron?


    For a girl, I generally agree with Abby’s rundown.

    However, I think Elaine/Elaina, nickname Lainey, is a great option! Sophie, Oliver, and Elaine make a beautiful trio. It might actually be my favorite on your list!

  5. Personally, “Cameron” feels and sounds absolutely perfect with your H-letter last name! “Alice” also would be my pick, so I’m in agreement with Abby.

    “Lucy” feels at home with siblings “Sophie and Oliver” but so does “Violet”.

    All fantastic choices – trust your first instinct when baby arrives!

    Congrats on your third & be well!

  6. If you like Owen but don’t want the boys to share an initial then how about Nolan? Similar in sound to Owen but gives each child their own initial. You seem a bit unsure about using a name with a nickname and Nolan is relatively nickname free too. I like how it shares a long O sound with Sophie and an L with Oliver.
    Sophie, Oliver, and Nolan
    Or what about Malcolm instead of Cameron? They share a lot of similar sounds but I think Malcolm works a bit better with the surname. You could use Mac as a nickname but I don’t think it would intuitively be shortened to that by others if you didn’t prefer to use it.
    Sophie, Oliver, and Malcolm

    You have lots of lovely names on your girls list! I think Alice would be my pick. Some other ideas: Audrey, Norah, Hallie, Eloise, Amelia
    Sophie, Oliver, Audrey
    Sophie, Oliver, Norah
    Sophie, Oliver, Hallie
    Sophie, Oliver, Eloise
    Sophie, Oliver, Amelia
    My top picks would be Alice, Amelia, or Norah.
    If you aren’t totally turned off on using a family name in the middle spot I wonder if you would like Colette? It feels Nicholas adjacent but not as obvious.

  7. Congratulations!

    Sophie, Oliver, Graham (love!) or George or Miles.

    Sophie, Oliver, Amelia (or Camila or Evelyn).