Name Help: Sister for Amelia JordanName 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!

Clare writes:

We thought we were one-and-done with our now eight year old daughter, Amelia Jordan. Amelia is the kind of pretty, feminine name I always loved. Jordan was for my husband’s brother, who passed away when they were young. She mostly likes to be called A.J. and she’s a bike-racing, soccer-playing ball of energy.

We’re excited to be expecting again, but names feel impossible. If this baby was a boy, we were leaning towards James, for my dad.

But for a girl, nothing feels right. I still like feminine names. My favorites are Aurora, Eliza, Cecilia, Eliana, and Stella. Cecilia is too close to Amelia, so it probably shouldn’t be my favorite, but I like the sound of Cece.

My friends are suggesting names like Harper, Zoey, Quinn, and Piper. They’re great names, but for someone else’s daughter. But when I hear “A.J. and Quinn” they sound better together than “A.J. and Eliza.”

Is there such a thing as a pretty, feminine that still works if she’s just like her awesome big sis?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your second daughter!

A few things leap out at me:

  • It’s always different to name our second child. Unless you were a kindergarten teacher, becoming a first-time parent usually means you go from being mostly unaware of the most popular kid names to hyper-knowledgeable overnight. Time passes, and we’ve mentally noted the names on countless mom-and-me swim clubs, class lists, and sports team rosters.
  • You’ve already learned that kids take over naming themselves at a young age! This one surprises parents, but early elementary school is often the age when kids recognize that their names were chosen … and their parents could have made a different choice.
  • The closer in age, the more often their names are said together. (But it fades for everyone, even twins.) When our kids were little, their names were a matched set, at least some of the time. But now that they’re older – really, once our older kiddo went to middle school, that was less of a thing. Even if your new daughter is a mini me of Amelia Jordan? That age gap works in your favor – it means that they’ll overlap very infrequently in sports leagues, schools, etc. Their names can be perfectly matched or very different – they just won’t be said together so often that others will notice.
  • We often assume our second child will be something like our first. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes … well, my kids are so different that they might as well be different species. It’s staggering, really. The only sure thing? This kid will surprise you, too, and trying to name her based on your firstborn? Probably won’t work except you’ve learned a lot about what you like in a name. And that information is powerful.

My suggestion is this: look for a name with the same degree of flexibility that you discovered with Amelia Jordan.

There’s more than one way to do this!

Before we dive in, I noticed that Amelia’s middle name is borrowed from a masculine family member. Would you consider using James for this daughter’s middle name?

It’s not perfect, because sisters nicknamed AJ and DJ or AJ and JJ are confusingly close. But you have plenty of options!



The good news: one of your favorites makes a great sister name for Amelia and has a built-in boyish nickname: Aurora, called Rory for short.


Plenty of conventionally feminine nicknames come with built-in unisex nicknames. Charlie is popular for boys and girls alike now. Amelia and Charlotte sound exactly like sisters, as do AJ and Charlie. Or Cece, which brings me to …


Another middle initial that works really well for nickname generation? C in the middle! I’ve suggested Clara Cecile because it gives your daughter a name inspired by your own – but more feminine. (And if you used Clarice or Clarissa, it would be even frillier still!) But something like Kathrine Clare – KC – or Madeline Clare – MC – or even Lily Clare – LC – has potential, too.

Of course, another form of Cecilia works. Cecily, maybe? Cecile? I’m still pairing Cecily with Clare, but Cecily James is an appealing choice, too.


Another middle initial with a great sound? V. Eliza called Evie might be a stretch, but Eliza Verity is gorgeous. Of course, Eliza could be Elle or Eli, too.


Georgie fits with boyish nickname names like Charlie.


Of course, Josephine called Josie or Jo is another in the Charlie/Georgie category. And JC could be a sister for AJ.


PJ is just as appealing as AJ, so I wanted to suggest at least one feminine, current sister name for Amelia.


There are so many nicknames for Theodora! Theo and Teddy (or Teddie) are the most boyish choices. I’ve suggested Theodora James to get to TJ, but I think Theodora Clare – TC deserves a look, too.

I’m stuck on Aurora “Rory” James. No, she couldn’t also be AJ. (Well, she could. But it feels unlikely, unless, say, she’s also captain of her high school soccer team and then the shared nickname is a flattering one, deliberately used as a nod to her sister.)

But with Rory as option, she’d never need to consider AJ.

I also love any of the possibilities that lead to the nickname Cece without creating an Amelia/Cecilia name rhyme.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Amelia “AJ” Jordan?

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. I see a lot of support behind James as a middle name to get similar nicknames like CJ. I’d like to offer another perspective… AJ might prefer her younger sister did not have a nickname so similar to hers. She might feel like her name was being hijacked. I was that younger sibling who looked up to their older sibling and copied everything they did and liked. I actually copied my brother’s nickname as it was based on our surname. It would’ve been really irritating for my brother. Of course, she may never want to be called by her initials but there’s a possibility. I also think AJ and CJ are a lot more similar than Amelia and Cecilia are. Just thought I’d share as something else to consider.

    I like Cecilia best from your list too. I think it could work if the similar endings didn’t bother you that much. The girls would probably find their own distinct nicknames regardless, just as AJ already has. Cecilia might decide she wants to be called Cece, Lia, Celia and so on. AJ might later decide she prefers Amy, Ames, Millie etc. I don’t think they’d be any confusion.

    But onto other ideas:
    Veronica – Vera, Vee, Nica, Ronnie
    Matilda – Tilly, Mattie, Tilda
    Leonora – Leo, Nora, Leonie, Leni
    Vivian – Vivi, Vee
    Florence – Flo, Wren, Florrie
    Helena – Leni, Nell, Lena
    Julia – Jules
    Lucia – Lou, Lucy

  2. My experience as both a teacher and a mother of two kids of the same gender is that siblings can be very different so we shouldn’t approach our parenting or naming as though our second kids are mini-me’s of the first.

    That being said, I also think that plenty of girls with long elaborate feminine names who are athletic, tough, dig-in-the-mud kind of kids. Lots of parents named their kids Madison instead of Madeline to have a more unisex vibe, but all the Madeline’s and Madison’s wound up on the same soccer teams.

    I was pretty determined to give my son a cute nickname that really hasn’t stuck even though several family members tried using it.

    My opinion is to name your daughter the name you love and you’ll just see what she determines her name is down the road. Best of luck!

  3. My first thought was Cecily, as well! I love the idea of Cecily “Cece” James.

    Aurora “Rory” James is pretty perfect, too! I like the idea of sisters sharing initials, especially with middle names that have such meaning for you. Aurelie “Rory” James is another lovely option.

    I also like how Eliana is practically an anagram of Amelia – and starts with the last 4 letters of Amelia! A.J. and Ellie sounds adorable to me.

    I also love nicknames formed by E plus a middle initial, such as Evie (for E.V.) and Edie (for E.D.).

    How do you feel about Eleanor, Evelyn, or Elisa?

  4. I think you should use whatever name you love. There’s no reason a girl with a pretty, feminine name can’t also be athletic (or do anything else she wants).

    My first thought was Jasmine, which is my favourite way to honour a James for a girl. It’s pretty and flowery, but nn Jazz is spunky. She could also be Jamie, Jem or Jimmy, Mina or Minnie or Jessie … lots of options.

    I also like Jacqueline, which is a feminine form of James. Flowing and feminine Jacqueline, short and spunky nn Jackie seems perfect.

    I also love the idea of Aurora “Rory” and Cecily “Cece”!

  5. My first thought was Eliza, nn Eli. That might work for Eliana too, but nn would probably be El or Elz. Aurora is a feminine name with a boyish nickname, I think it would actually make more sense to go with a similar feminine name for your second daughter (which is what you prefer anyway!) than it would to go with a gender neutral name.

  6. Had my brother been a girl, his name would have been Amelia. Andrea is still used quite a bit. It’s a top 200 name. Andie or Drea are nicknames. Mine was Annie. Andriana is a Bulgarian variant.

  7. My first thought was also to get to Cece through a C-Name + Clare Combo:

    I like the suggestion of Charlotte Clare. Other ideas:

    Cassandra Clare– my favorite!
    Caterina Clare
    Catalina Clare
    Camilla Clare
    Corinna Clare
    Catherine Clare
    Christina Clare
    Cynthia Clare
    Carolina Clare
    Colette Clare
    Cecily Clare