Name Help: Sister for Beatrice & EleanorName 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!

Jenna writes:

I’ve always loved names, and my husband and I have always agreed easily, but with our third child it’s becoming a struggle.

We have two favorite boys’ names: Edward “Ned” and Maxwell “Max.” We also have two favorite girls’ names, which we’ve used for our daughters, Beatrice and Eleanor. We call them Bea and Ella.

All of our children have my last name as their middle name, M!ller, and share my husband’s last name, which sounds like Carrie, but is spelled differently.

Our list of maybes:

ESTHER – A friend suggested it, and much as I like it for someone else, I wonder if it sounds like we’re just trying too hard?

KATHERINE – My sister is Katelyn, and she’s sometimes Katie at home. This would be my first choice, but I’ve always felt a little awkward about it. None of our kids have family names, and I don’t want to steal my sister’s name or make it feel as though I’m singling her out for an honor. (I love my sister, but I feel like it would open questions about why we honored this sibling and not another, or not our parents, etc.)

LUCILLE – I like Lucy, but it’s not great with Carrie as a last name. Lucille feels very old lady to me, but maybe that’s wrong.

MARIA – I love the name Mary, and I really liked the idea after Downton Abbey. But Mary rhymes with our last name. My husband suggested Maria and I’m thinking about it. But does it sound too Italian/Spanish? Are there nicknames I’m not thinking of?

RUTH – Another friend suggestion, and I like it, but maybe it’s not really us?

I’m not sure if the name is on our list already and I just can’t see it, or if we need some new ideas.

Names we cannot use include Elizabeth, Julia, and Margaret, as well as names we probably wouldn’t consider, like Willow and Sloane.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

From your current list, I was ready to push for Maria. It’s a classic, used across many countries and languages. While I know plenty of women with Latina or Italian heritage named Maria, it’s truly universal. And it can be nicknamed, to Mia, Mimi, or Mae.

Except … with your last name, I say Maria sounds-like-Carrie and it’s very close to Mariah Carey. Not unthinkably close, but probably closer than I’d like. Since this isn’t a front-runner name for you, I’d probably move on.

That leaves me thinking hard about Katherine. Would you consider calling her Kit instead? Katherine-called-Kit isn’t too close to Katelyn-sometimes-Katie at all. And it fits nicely with Bea and Ella, too.

I’m inclined to drop Esther, Lucille, and Ruth. It feels like those are names you’d like to like, but aren’t quite working.

Let’s see if we can think of some more tailored classics with easy nicknames.


There are lots of girls out there answering to Addie, but most of them are some spelling of Addison or Adeline/Adelyn. Among the crowd, Adelaide stands out. It’s a substantial name with a bright, strong sound, one that sounds just right with Beatrice and Eleanor. Shorten it to Ada, and it’s perfect with Bea and Ella, too.


Cecilia is more popular, but the restrained, French style of Cecile seems like a better match. Either way, the nickname Ceci is an obvious, wearable option.


Frances is buttoned-up and lady-like; Frannie is high- spirited and all-girl.


I agree that Lucille isn’t my favorite, even though it seems like it ought to be just right for your family. Would you consider Louise instead? It’s every bit as traditional – probably a little more – and nickname Lou, Lula, and Lulu are all good choices. Lucy, too, could work.


Maria sounds-like-Carrie might not work, but Marianne could be perfect. Nicknames are all the same – Mia, Mimi, Mae – plus maybe Anna/Anne/Annie.


If Maria feels traditional, the related Miriam feels like more of an antique. The Old Testament form of Mary shortens nicely to Miri or Mimi. (Or, if you’re a fan of television series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, possibly even Midge.)


While there’s no question that this name is an unassailable classic, it’s surprisingly rare by 2023 standards. Nickname Tessa ranks hundreds of spaces ahead of Teresa. But that’s not bad news, really – and Tess is very much a sister name for Bea and Ella.


All those sharp, sophisticated V sounds! Vivian is a timeless name, and Vivi or Viv an appealing short form.

As I look at the list, I’m stuck on Cecile – the very first name that came to mind. But I wonder if Marianne or even Miriam might be more your speed?

Readers, what would you name a sister for Beatrice “Bea” and Eleanor “Ella”?

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. Consider any repeats seconding! From Abby’s list, I love Adelaide.

    Rosalie/Rosemary or even just Rose

  2. My suggestion is Audrey.
    Beatrice, Eleanor and Audrey sound like sisters.

    Other possibilities

    Perhaps you could use Miller as the first name? Millie
    As also suggested Millicent
    Or even Amelia nn Millie