Name Help: A Sister for Eliza and CharlotteName 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!

Maddie writes:

We have two daughters, Eliza Ruth and Charlotte Jeanne, and we’re expecting our third girl in March.

Our tastes are pretty traditional, so you’d think it would be easy to find a name we agree on. It always has been before!

This time, though, it feels like every name we think of is already taken. And if it’s not taken by a friend/family member, there’s some reason it won’t work.

Names we had considered for Eliza and Charlotte but that feel out for this baby:

Amelia – Almost Charlotte’s name, but my sister named her daughter Emilia.

Anna – My best friend’s daughter’s name (who is also my goddaughter) so it feels like it’s the most taken of the taken!

Caroline – I feel like this is almost like repeating Charlotte’s name. (I’m always bothered by Elizabeth/Isabelle in the same family, too!)

Claire/Clara – My sister-in-law is Claire and they named their oldest daughter Clara.

Eleanor – It’s complicated, but we have a relative with this name and we don’t want it to seem like we’re honoring her. (Because we’ve avoided honor names.)

Emma – We know SO many Emmas, and it’s too close to Emilia, my niece.

Evelyn – Probably the name we’d use if we had to choose today, but we disagree on the nickname. Is it Evie, rhymes with Chevy, or Evie, like Stevie? We disagree completely.

Katherine – My sister’s name. We’re just not really into honor names for lots of reasons.

Margaret – I feel like we should love it, but we just … don’t. And I don’t like the whole choosing a nickname part, either.

Nora – A long-time favorite that maybe I still like, but we know a few.

Sophia – Same thing as Emma/Nora, we know a few.

Theresa – Just feels very old to me.

Victoria – Has always seemed like too much name, and I don’t care for Vicki/Vicky as a nickname.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

I want to pause for just a minute and talk about what it means for a name to be taken.

It is taken because using the name would cause confusion or hurt or some combination of both? I can see that Claire/Clara would be out. Same with Eleanor – it sounds like avoiding family names is a priority that truly rules out considering the name.

But sometimes a name just feels less special if we’ve heard it on other kids in our community. That might be worth sitting with for just a minute. Because when we like more traditional names, it’s often very easy to think of some other person who already has the name.

In other words, are Emma, Nora, and Sophia really out of the question?

As for Evelyn, would you like it more if you never shortened it? It doesn’t sound like you regularly shorten Eliza or Charlotte, and I know plenty of Evelyns who never shorten their name, either – possibly ending the whole Chevy/Stevie debate.

For now, let’s look at some new possibilities.



Traditional, but never common, Adelaide feels like a sister for Charlotte and Eliza. Yes, you might shorten it to Addie – but there’s no reason you need to do so.


I almost suggested Alice, but I think it’s pretty close to Eliza. So maybe Frances? The sounds are similar, and I love the way Eliza, Charlotte, and Frances sound together.


There’s something about Helen. It’s a classic with a spare, strong sensibility. Helena and Elena are options, too, but I like the way Helen has a different ending sound than your older girls’ names.


There’s so much energy with Josephine! It feels like a natural fit.


Choosing an L name to put on this proved challenging! I consider Leah and Louisa, too. But Louisa sounds a little too much like Eliza, and maybe Leah is too brief with your older girls’ names? Lucy, though, could be exactly right – old-fashioned but with lots of twenty-first century appeal.


Parents often reject these names as too common, but if we’re talking babies born now? Mary is almost rare. I never hear Marie. And while Maria is more popular, it’s definitely not a Top Ten pick. But they are easily spelled, instantly recognizable, with lots of history.


Elegant Rose is too often stuck in the middle spot, when it really wears well as a first. Another option: a longer name, like Rosalie, which might balance out the length of Eliza and Charlotte nicely,


There’s something a little offbeat about Veronica, but only a little. It’s a fun name to say, with lots of bounce.

Overall, my favorite is Rosalie, or possibly Marie. That is, of course, that I can’t convince you to use Evelyn and not shorten the name.

Maybe Rosalie Grace, Marie Adelaide, or Evelyn Sophia?

Readers, over to you! What would you suggest for Eliza and Charlotte’s sister?

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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. So many good options on this list! I love Helen, Josephine, Lucy, or Veronica with your sibset!

  2. I know I’m repeating some of what others have said, but I thought I’d echo some suggestions with the thought that it might give them more weight. Charlotte, Eliza, and….