She’s here! Welcome to Caroline Joy, a sister for Emma Jeanne.
Meghan writes: Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. We appreciated the feedback that Caroline went well with Emma Jeanne, and that made our decision easy. We debated her middle name a lot. It was Jane, then Rose, then Jo, and finally Joy. It’s the perfect choice!
We named our daughter after my husband’s great-grandmother, Imogene. Mostly. I’d always liked the name Emma, and we really didn’t agree on many names. We knew Emma was popular at the time, but thought it wouldn’t bother us.
Now? It probably does bother me a little. I call her “Emma Jeanne” a lot because I feel like there’s so often another Emma.
Now we’re expecting another daughter in May. If this baby was a boy, he would’ve been Peter James, possibly called PJ. (That was our boy name for Emma Jeanne, too.) I like the way that the name is one everybody knows, but not the kind of name you hear everywhere. Peter is a family name from my side.
We don’t feel like we need to pick a family name, but we keep coming back to them.
Right now we sort of agree on Caroline, because there are Carols in both families, but I’m not sure if it’s too different from Emma Jeanne?
Also, we realized that my husband and I both have J middle names, just like Emma Jeanne, and like we would use for our (maybe future) son. Should we use a J middle name for this baby, too?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Meghan –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
A few things jump out at me:
First, you’ve used a family name already. And you have more family names on your possibilities list. But it’s tough for us to guess what other gems – or candidates for reinvention – might be on your family tree. (Emma Jeanne for Imogene is brilliant!) So I wonder if any names we suggest will fall flat, simply because they lack that connection.
Second, a sister for Emma is a little different than a sister for Emma Jeanne. Not dramatically so. Caroline matches both! But, as you say, Emma is a little more common than you’d like. So we’re really looking for names that match Emma Jeanne better … but would a second double name feel too coordinated?
Lastly, I think another J middle makes sense if you’d like to continue. And, of course, it’s an easy practice to let go if, should no J name feel quite right. Trying to find a family first and a J middle initial feels a little like solving a riddle, where only a very few names could possibly satisfy. If that’s fun and meaningful to your family, then go for it! But if it feels burdensome or impossible? Let go of whatever part isn’t working.
CAROLINE: THE NAME TO BEAT
As I mentioned above, I think Caroline is perfect with Emma – two traditional, Top 100 choices. And because Caroline is longer, it feels very compatible with Emma Jeanne, too.
The fact that it’s a family name checks another box. But I wonder if that’s a potential negative, too? After all, should you have a third daughter, it might leave you feeling like a family name is a must. And that pressure can be so frustrating.
So while I think Caroline is perfection, let’s look at some other options, too.
MORE NAMES FOR EMMA JEANNE’S SISTER
Anna Jane, Anna Jewel, Anna Josephine – If double names appeal, then Emma Jeanne and Anna Something could work really nicely. There are bunch of potential J middles. Anna Josephine could be Anna Jo, but I think Anna Jewel – a mix of the traditional and the unexpected – might be perfection.
Charlotte – It’s a little less obvious, but Charlotte is another form of Charles … just like Carol and Caroline. Would Charlotte appeal more and/or feel like just as much of a nod to those Carols? Of course, Charlotte is closer in popularity to Emma, so perhaps that’s a consideration, too.
Eliza – I think Eliza stands up nicely to Emma Jeanne, no middle name required.
Josephine – I mentioned Josephine with Anna, but I like it as a sister name for Emma Jeanne, too. You might not use a J middle with Josephine, but everyone still has a J in their name somewhere, right?
Lily – It’s not especially common in the US, but English parents are wild about double names beginning with Lily: Lily-Rose and Lily-Mae are the biggies.
Lucy – I think Lucy works beautifully with Emma. It could be a double name – Lucy Josephine might be Lucy Jo, for example. It’s classic, spirited, and not too popular.
Mary – The original double name starter. Mary Anne, Mary Jane, Mary Beth … And while we sometimes perceive Mary as too common, the reality is that Mary is fresh and surprising for a girl born today. Marie and Maria could be options, too.
Rosalie, Rose – I’m less certain of a Rose double name, but I think Emma Jeanne and Rosie are adorable together. Or choose Rosalie. It sounds a little like a double name, so it matches well with Emma Jeanne … but could still be Rosalie June (Or Joy or Jo or …)
J NAMES FOR GIRLS
A few of these have already come up, but June, Joy, Juniper, Jo/Josephine, and Jane feel like obvious J name options.
Overall, my favorite is Rosalie. Emma Jeanne and Rosalie sound like sisters. But you might also end up with, say, Emma Jeanne and Rosalie “Rosie” June if your daughters really crave matching first-middle names. So I think it could be the best of all possible worlds.
If not Rosalie, I love Lucy! (No pun intended.) Lucy Jane or Lucy Josephine could be a double name … or not.
But I’m still not sure any of these names top Caroline, which feels like a tailor-made sister for Emma Jeanne.
I think Caroline is a great pick. For another Carol variant, consider Charlotte. I would rule out Anna because it sounds too close to Emma. Anne/Annie could work though. If you end up with three kids with totally distinct first names but matchy-matchy middles of Jeanne, Jane, and James, that would be fun.
What about Ivy Joan – Emma and Ivy seem like sisters. Mini names with lots of history. Ivy reads contemporary through the v, which balances Emma’s popular appeal without being so widely used. And I adore Joan. While maybe not ready for a first spot, Joan of Arch gives this name a lot of strength and conviction of purpose. Two things little girls in this era need in spades.
Emma, Ivy and Peter. Emma Jeanne, Ivy Joan, and Peter James.
Joan of Arc. Damn autocorrect.
Caroline is *chefs kiss* adorable. It also can be nickamed fairly easily, but stands on its own so well against what is functionally a double given, for you.
Erin Beth says
Caroline Joy seems like a wonderful option! Caroline Julia is also very pretty.
I love the idea of Emma Jeanne for Imogene.
For her sister:
Cara Lynn (for Caroline)
Ruby J_____ (mom’s middle)
Grace Louise nn Gracie Lou
I think Rosalie/Rosie June is perfect!
I also suggest Carlotta/Lottie Joy.
I’ve always loved Petra for a girl, but if that makes naming a future boy too hard, then I’d skip it.
Caroline is classic and beautiful, and I like Caroline Joy
Lucy Josephine is a lovely match
A previous poster’s suggestion of Cora also appeals – especially Cora Belle and Cora Jane
I like the tweak of Imogene to Emma Jeanne and it would be amazing to find a similar tweak over two names. Your Carols seems like the perfect source… so maybe any Ca- first with a Ro/Ol middle? Or a Jo- middle to stick with your theme.
Callie Rose / Joelle
Carys Olivia / Jolene
Cate Romy / Josephine
Cassidy Olive / Joan
I really like Carys Olivia, both as a name that is similar enough to Carol, but Emma and Carys is sweet.
Anna Marie or Eloise Mae (Ella Mae) would be a nice name for Emm@ Je@nne’s sister.
I can imagine ….
Emm@ Je@nne and….
Rebecca Jane….. Becca Jane
Elizabeth Joan….. Libby Jo
Mary Gwendolyn….. Mary Gwen
Antonia Mae…..Anna Mae
Katherine Josephine…..Kate Jo
Alison Doherty says
I think Caroline is great! Since it’s a longer name maybe a one syllable middle? Caroline Jane, Caroline Jade, Caroline Jae, Caroline Jude, Caroline Joy!
I also am leaning toward Caroline! It is absolutely not too different from Emma Jean in my opinion. If that’s the name y’all want, go for it! From Abby’s list, Emma and Marie make a fantastic sister combo, what about Emma Jean and Marie Josephine? That would be so cute in my opinion, and it fits with what you like about Peter: everyone knows it, but not because it’s a chart topper. Marie is not even in the top 500 right now. I love how y’all made Emma Jean out of Imogen, you are so creative, so I am sure you would have no problem getting a family name to fit the J scheme somehow.
I have to throw in Polly as an option as well! Emma and Polly make such a sweet sister set. Polly is also one of those names that could be attached to any number of family names. Polly also makes me think of Sally, which might be something you’d be interested in!
Best of luck and best wishes!
Love Emma Jeane and it’s relationship to Imogen
I love the name Cora for a girl.
Cora Josephine Cora Jo nn
Find a different middle name for Peter