Name Help: A Sister for Anastasia GraceWe have an update!

“Hi Abby! I meant to send an update and Thank You to you and your amazing readers for helping us name Anastasia’s little sister. We seriously considered Josephine, nn Sophie (big sister’s name for baby), as a reader suggested. And will probably keep it on our list if any more girls come our way! Your final suggestion of Evangeline was very on point and would absolutely have been an top contender if it weren’t one of our best family friend’s daughter’s name. In the end, Genevieve Adele flew into the world happy and healthy on August 3. Her big sister calls her Vivi! 😍

Here’s the original post:

Stephanie writes:

Hello! We have a three-year-old named Anastasia Grace, nn Anya and need help finding the perfect name for her baby sister, due in early August.

My husband gave me a list of names early on and I really do like a lot of them. I’m just not sure any of them are IT, and I keep thinking there’s must be a name I’m missing.

I love long, feminine, nickname-rich names, names that are familiar, but not necessarily expected and have lots of personality.

With our first, we knew that we wanted to honor Gramma Elverna Sylvia, but how? My husband fell in LOVE with the name Anya. I kept trying to brainstorm longer name ideas and eventually came up with Anastasia, which had been on the long list of girl names that I had collected over the years. After I told him the meaning of Anastasia, resurrection/one who will rise again, he was 100% sold. It was the perfect honor name, without feeling forced, and hit so many style notes and preferences!

We would love a name with Greek origins, because all three of, including Anya, have one, and it would be a fun, subtle connection. A saint’s name would be great, too. (Our daughter was born on Saint Anastasia the Patrician’s feast say – confirming that it was perfect!)

My favorite names are A names and my husband is almost completely against any more A names. He and his three full siblings all have A names and they have cousins who all have A names, too.

My husband’s list:

  • Gabrielle – I like Brie or Bria; husband likes Gabby for a nickname.
  • Roseline – Pronounced like Rosalyn, with a hard Z, unsure of spelling but he suggested Roseline. One of my husband’s top names, with the nickname Rosie. I’m not a fan.
  • Sophie – Anastasia has been calling the baby Sophie since before we knew she was a girl. We all really like it. I can get past popularity if it is THE name, but I would really love a long name with Sophie as the nickname.
  • Caroline – I’ve always loved Caroline, but I have a co-worker with the name. I like her, but it feels a little odd.
  • Julia – Another names I’ve loved and kept on my list for a long time, with family connections.
  • Michaela – I liked it until there were so many “alternate” spellings. Plus, our godson is named Michael.
  • Emilia – One of my husband’s favorites, but does it feel too much like we’re just trying to avoid an A name?I do really like the E spelling, and it hits our Finnish heritage, too. I’m not a fan of Em- nicknames.
  • Everly – My husband’s current favorite. I like the sound, but it’s trendier than I would like. Maybe as a middle name?
  • Chloe, Hannah, Bailey, Madelyn, Mackenzie – Just not my style.

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

Dear Stephanie –

Congrats on new daughter!

I see what you mean – your list is long, but most of those maybes feel like they’ll become nos, right?

Four possibilities leap out as potential compromise choices:

Caroline – What if you chose an unconventional nickname? I’ve heard Lola and Rory suggested; there’s also Caro, and I think Coco works, too. You might even opt for Carolina, which makes this even more flowing and feminine.

Emilia – I know what you mean about Emilia feeling like the slightest tweak to Amelia. But it works! Emilia Clark on Game of Thrones helps the spelling’s visibility. Besides, strictly speaking, the names claim different roots. Nicknames Millie, Mila, and Mia all substitute for the Em- names that you’d rather avoid.

Gabriella – Funny, I heard a commercial for Chanel’s Gabrielle fragrance the other day, and found myself thinking that it’s more of a classic than we really acknowledge. But I wonder if Gabriella is the better form to satisfy you and your husband? You might use Ella or Ellie as a nickname, both choices that you haven’t mentioned.

Rosalie – Do any other Rose names appeal to you? I’ve always like Rosamund and Rosemary, because they offer potential nickname Romy. But if Roseline tops his list, I wonder if he’d agree to another Rose name? Double-names, like Annarose can suggest some unusual nicknames, too – like Ari.

But maybe fresh ideas will work better? I’m putting these in alphabetical order, but one stands out as my personal favorite for a sister for Anastasia – that’s listed after the suggestions!

Caterina, Catalina, Katrina – Would one of the European variations on Catherine/Katherine work? They remind of Caroline, but sidestep the co-worker conundrum. Plus, they feel more elaborate and less expected – a good thing for Anastasia’s sister. Lastly, they remind me – ever so slightly – of Michaela, which I agree, has gone from obscure-but-lovely-feminine-form to perpetual spelling hassle.

Cecilia – I went looking for names that could maybe lead to Sophie as a nickname and struck out. But would Cecilia/Cece appeal? There’s the saintly connection, the romantic sound, and the easy nickname.

Evangeline – Evangeline takes trendy Everly in a literary direction. It shares the -line ending of Caroline, and sounds very much like a sister for Anastasia without being too similar. Other Ev- names come to mind, like Everild and Evadne, but I think Evangeline hits the familiar-not-common mark beautifully.

Genevieve – While we’re talking about Ev- names, I tend to include Genevieve in that group. Sure, the -eve is at the end rather than the beginning, but it’s most definitely there. It also seems like a good alternative to Madelyn/Madeleine and Gabrielle.

Persephone – I think you could stretch and call Sophie a nickname for Persephone. It might be too mind-bending for your husband, but if we warmed to Anya/Anastasia, he might get on board with this idea, too. Parents love Penelope, which has some considering Persephone as an alternative. It’s much more wearable than, say, Sophonisba. Or, of course, you might just consider Penelope, a name with nicknames galore.

Seraphina – Persephone and company always make me think of Seraphina. No, you really can’t get to Sophie from this name – there’s just no O. And yet, it sounds like your style of name. Sera could be a great sister for Anya.

If I didn’t give it away above, my top pick for you is Evangeline. It feels like it fits exactly in the middle of what you both love. Plus, the idea of Evangeline Sophie – to include the name her sister chose – seems really appealing.

Readers, I’m so curious to hear your thoughts. Are there other names that leap out to you as obvious choices for Anastasia “Anya” Grace’s sister?

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. My older daughter picked the name Sophie for my youngest & I ended up sticking with it. I actually expand it to “Sophronie” sometimes or use “Fifi” as a nickname. I also love Josefina/Josephine as an option & Serafina.

  2. I like the suggestion of a Katherine/Catherine variant. There are so many that could easily fit the style of Anastasia. Bonus is the nn Katia/Katya fits with Anya.

  3. Before reading the site’s response to the question, based on her preferences, I immediately thought of Evangeline, Sophronia, and Theodora/Theodosia.

  4. The preference for Greek-linked, saint-linked, feminine, nickname-rich names, names that are familiar, but not necessarily expected and have lots of personality made me think of:

    – Roots are Greek, including some references in mythology
    – A few saints to choose from in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches (Pope Callistus)
    – Means fairest, most beautiful
    – Familiar because of Calista Flockhart, but not overused
    – So many nicknames! Cal, Cali/Callie, Ali, Lissi, Listi, Cala, Lili

    And depending on your last name, Calista Sophie could work.

  5. There is a Rv host whose daughter is named Epiphany. There are a lot of possible nn there.

    Any S name teamed with Epiphany could nn Sophie.