Name Help: A Sister for Andrew and MarnieName 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!

Jemima writes:

I would love your and your readers help choosing a name for our third baby!

Our son is named Andrew Nicholas and our daughter is Marnie Isla. This baby is going to be a girl and I’m just really struggling to find a name I like as much as Marnie.

I love Marnie because it is British (I was born in England and grew up in Scotland), classic and yet unique. I guess I like it so much because I grew up with a unique, yet classic, British name, and I can’t imagine having been one of many with the same name at school growing up. I liked being unique and want that for my children.

So why would I name my son a popular name like Andrew? My husband’s family are of Greek heritage, and it is his family’s tradition to name the first born son in the family after the child’s paternal grandfather. We actually haven’t had any issues with other Andrews his age, and I do really like that St. Andrew is also the patron saint of Scotland.

As for this baby, I have been keeping a list of names I like, but so far there’s nothing I love. I feel like this baby’s name can’t start with an M or have an “y” or “ie” sound at the end of it will be too rhyme-y with Marnie. I don’t love the too frilly/girly names like Amelia, Arabella, Aurora, Ariella, etc. Anything too unusual won’t fit with the classic feel of Andrew and Marnie.

I’ve ruled out Briony and Poppy for that reason. India is taken.

Other options I was considering, but am not sold on (either I don’t love or are too popular) are:

  • Blair/Blaire
  • Georgia
  • Sable
  • Scarlett
  • Grace
  • Briar
  • Laine
  • Bridget
  • Brielle
  • Nora
  • Selene

We’ll most likely use Evangelia as a middle name (my husband’s great-grandmother – a lot of the women in his family have this middle name), but that’s not definite.

Our last name starts with L and ends with an IS.

Please help!

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

Abby responds:

Congratulations on baby three!

My mom’s family follows a similar custom for naming their children, so I completely understand how you ended up with a traditionally-named son. We modified the practice, but our son ended up with a Top 25 classic name, while our daughter’s name is really uncommon.

Naming your third does present some challenges, but I think you’re on the right track. Andrew and Marnie sound a little throwback, kind of vintage, but with a lot of modern energy, too.

In this case, it probably makes the most sense to focus on matching Marnie without getting too close – and it sounds like that’s what you’re focusing on, so that’s a step in the right direction!

We need something that reads a little British, so I’m going to look to the England and Scotland popularity charts for names that are bigger in the UK than the US. We’re avoiding anything too frilly and probably any M names or names ending with the EE sound.

That seems like it should leave lots of options, right? But I can see how hitting that right mark in terms of popularity and sound is tough!



Even though Freya is borrowed from a Norse goddess name, it’s been big in the UK in recent years. That makes it feel nicely British. And while it’s catching on in the US, it’s yet to crack the Top 100. It’s a perfect style match, but it is possible that you’ll look up in another five years and feel like all the new babies are being name Freya, so I’m not sure it checks the uncommon-enough box.


Ida, like Marnie, isn’t in the current US Top 1000 – that’s pretty rare! While Marnie spiked in the 1960s, Ida was a nineteenth century favorite. Still, I think they’re both clearly from another time. (There’s an old Gilbert and Sullivan musical titled Princess Ida.) And the name is brief, complete, and easy to wear.


Midway between popular, classic Grace and current, stylish Laine is Jane. It’s bright and spirited, a little bit of insightful author Jane Austen and acclaimed sharpshooter Calamity Jane, all at once. It’s possible that your Jane might become a Janie, which is closer to Marnie. But otherwise, Jane feels like the perfect bridge between Andrew and Marnie.


I’m not positive that I’m pronouncing Lara correctly in British English. Sometimes – in all accents – it sounds like Laura. But I’m thinking of Lara, rhymes with Cara and Sarah. And it’s a good mix of familiar and underused, especially in the US.


Possibly the most obvious Nora substitute ever. Orla has never been especially popular in the US, but it’s a go-to name in much of Great Britain.


Niamh strikes me as Irish-y Irish, at least in the US. Spell it Neve, though, and it’s a rare, tailored possibility.


Poppy might not work, but how about Pippa? Yes, Americans think it’s British thanks to Pippa Middleton. But it does have the same feel as Marnie – casual, but with a long history of use. Sparky and intriguing. And definitely not common in the US!


Because you ruled out Sable, would you ever consider Sybil? Andrew, Marnie, and Sybil sound like they belong on the passenger log for an ocean liner a hundred years ago. They’re polished and poised, and – at least for the girls – names no expects, but everyone recognizes.

Overall, I keep coming back to Sybil and Pippa. Avoiding a Top 1000 name in the US might matter most of all here, and I like the way they sound with Marnie and Andrew, too.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Andrew and Marnie?

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’m late to the party, so my names are mostly affirmations of suggestions from those who commented earlier.

    From your list I absolutely LOVE Brielle!

    Bliss — I really like this name, but I imagine it sounds sing-songish with your last name.
    Hannah or Hanna
    Heather — falls somewhere between a grandma/mom name, but it’s sweet.
    Meredith — if you didn’t mind repeating initials, this would be lovely.
    Thea — I also like Athena and Althea

    Best wishes to you!

  2. I love Andrew and Marnie together! Congratulations on your new baby!

    A few suggestions…

    Andrew, Marnie, Laurel

    Andrew, Marnie, Simone

    Andrew, Marnie, Helene

    Andrew, Marnie, Elaine

    Andrew, Marnie, Odette

    Andrew, Marnie, Esther

    Andrew, Marnie, Farrah

    Andrew, Marnie, Blythe

    Andrew, Marnie, Gloria

    Andrew, Marnie, Elinor

  3. Ida was one of my first thoughts, too! And Orla is a lovely suggestion.

    You mentioned that you like your son’s connection to Scotland through Saint Andrew, and I suspect this might be why Georgia is on your list, as a nod to England’s patron saint. Would you consider using one of these English saints’ names?


    I especially love Hilda with Andrew and Marnie.

    Some other possibilities:


  4. Andrew and Marnie make such a charming pair! I love those 2 names together.

    My suggestions:

    Iris, Thea, Fiona, Greer, Rhona

    I really like Greer for you. It’s similar in style and sound to Blair, and meets your other criteria of starting and ending letters, and popularity (or lack thereof). It’s tailored, not frilly. It’s Scottish in origin, while sharing the first 4 letters of “Greece” as a subtle nod to your husband’s heritage.

    The only thing that gives me pause is that Greer Evangelia is kind of rhymey in my accent – but it may not be a problem for you.

  5. My grandmother was a Margaret who was apparently called Marna as a child by her Swedish family, so I always assumed Marnie was a Margaret derivative. When I look it up, it’s actually a Scandinavian nickname for Marina, though I doubt many people were ever named Marina. I bet it was a nickname for both Mary and Margaret. That actually makes me wonder if you’d like some of the variants of the classic English names: Sandra (Alexandra): Alice; Bea, Beah (Beatrice, Beatrix); Claire; Cora; Beth, Bethan, Eilish, Eliza, Elspeth, Ilsa/Ilse, Liza (Elizabeth); Katha, Katya, Kit (Elizabeth); Greta (Margaret); Jean, Jennet; Rosa; Tilda (Matilda); Thora (Victoria, as in one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters)

  6. I’m feeling like the sweet spot names I can suggest are names that I can picture and English mum calling at the school gate…

    Definitely on board with Freya and Imogen. Noting all Imogen’s I’ve ever known called Immy which has the eee sound at the end.

  7. Have you thought of using Evangelia as inspiration? For instance the name Lena can easily be made from Evangelia, Lena is just slightly less popular (in both England and Scotland) than Marnie and Andrew, Marnie and Lena sound so good together. Also, similar to Andrew Lena comes with the royal stamp of approval, the late Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall named her second daughter Lena 5 years ago

  8. Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions so far! I got very excited about Pippa then a Google search revealed that it is slang in Greece for something very “rude”. My husband is Greek and so this is a no go! So sad! Imogen is a maybe. I love hearing your suggestions, so please keep them coming!