Welcome Laine ElizabethUpdate: We liked a lot of the names suggested, but still felt like none of them were special enough. And then my mother-in-law mentioned that her older sister’s name was Elaine, and she was very close to my husband when he was little. (But had passed away before we met.) Suddenly, Laine/Laney/Lainey was the perfect name. Even though we thought we didn’t want to use family names at all! It took us a while to find the right spelling and decide on the Y or not. She was Lainie for a few days, but ultimately, we settled on Laine Elizabeth (Elizabeth is my middle name), and we’re so happy with our choice. Love to everyone who helped!

Danielle writes:

We have a daughter named Hallan Grace, who we mostly call Hallie. Her name comes from my dad, who was Harvey Allen, but always went by his middle name – H. Allen. Changing the spelling to Hallan was a very eleventh hour decision, but we think it looks prettier this way. My mom’s mom was Grace, so her name is all from my family.

If we have a boy, we’ll name him James after my husband’s dad, with possible middle names Anthony or Ellis, both from his mom’s side.

But we’re having a girl this time. We always imagined having three or four children, so I think we don’t want to use a J name or anything like Ellison/Allison for this daughter.

For lots of reasons, we also don’t want to use a family name this time.

We’ve been going in circles, though, about what we do want to name her! We like names like Mila, Ava, and Nora, but they seem too plain next to Hallan. I kind of like the idea of Harper or Harlow, but I’d want a nickname. My nieces/goddaughters are Riley, Addison, Evelyn, Bella, and Sadie, so those are all off-limits.

We’ve been putting off this conversation, but my due date is January 18th, and Hallie was a week early, so time is getting very short! Any ideas would be great!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

This is a dilemma, isn’t it?

If you wanted to use family names for every child, then the obvious name is there: Ellis/Ellison called Ellie. It’s a little close to Hallie, but since they’re both nicknames for very different given names, I think it would work.

But you very much want to avoid that, so Ellis/Ellison is off the table.

Still, I wonder if we should be looking for names in that general style: gender neutral, surname-style first, with a sparky, throwback nickname for everyday use? Names like Madison “Maddie” and Emerson “Emmie” succeed because they offer the best of both worlds – just like Hallan “Hallie.” If you love your daughter’s name, sticking with this style feels right.

But first, a question:

Should we consider H names?

It sounds like you’ve seriously considered Harper and Harlow, but worry about the lack of nickname.

The challenge, of course, is that contenders like Hollis-called-Holly are just too, too close to Hallie.

You might consider:

  • Haddan “Haddie”
  • Hadley “Haddie”
  • Hamilton “Millie”
  • Hathaway “Hattie”
  • Hatton “Hattie”

Hadley seems like the strongest candidate to me, and yet, I’m not sure it works.

  • While Hallan and Hadley sound different, Hallie and Hadley are very, very close.
  • And while Hallie and Haddie work together, imagine welcoming a third daughter. I think you might find yourself a little hemmed-in by your pattern.

So none of them feel like a home run! Let’s keep looking, moving away from the letter H.



There’s Cameron, too, of course, but because Hallan is rare, I’m inclined to suggest something like Camber or Cambry, equally distinctive choices.


Cassidy has plenty of history, and briefly spiked in use in the late 1990s/early 2000s. But it never quite caught on, and it’s seldom heard today. Hallie and Cassie are great together!


Delaney is rising in use, a current favorite among surname names for girls. But it’s still great, and Laney is a fantastic sister name for Hallie. Lanier is a French surname for someone who worked with wool; Lainier is another spelling. Pronunciation gives me pause. In French it’s more like lahn yeh; Americans tend to say it like lah NEER, rhymes with veneer. Still, I think it’s a possibility.


Any Ev name could be great, but I’ll stick with straight-up word name Ever.


While Juniper is more nature name than surname, I think it sounds right with Hallan.


I can see why Harlow isn’t quite right, but would you consider Marlowe? For reasons I can’t explain, the most popular spelling is with the E, but Marlow and Marlo are equally valid options. I think Marley and Hallie work as nicknames. You might also use Lola or even Mari.


Maguire might be less name-like than some of the choices on this list, but when shortened to Maggie, it works.


If Harlow and Marlowe are up for consideration, Winslow could be too – especially with sparky, vintage nickname Winnie.

Overall, I think my favorite is Delaney called Laney. It’s more mainstream than Hallan, but I don’t think that’s a problem. And it leaves lots of room for naming future children – whether that’s a son named James, or a daughter with another surname-style choice.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Hallan “Hallie” Grace?

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. Lettie would be sweet next to Hallie.
    Hallan Grace & Allette Danielle

    Essie is lovely, too:
    Hallan Grace and Estry Carys

    Could you smoosh together your name and your husband’s to make something amazing? (That way she wouldn’t be the only one without a heritage name)…
    Dani makes a cute nickname (unless you’re using it yourself!).

    Avalane could give you Ava or Laney.

    Minnie would be darling as a sister. Minalla and Hallan.

    Congratulations and best wishes!

  2. Harlow nn Loie, which sounds similar to the -loi in Eloise. This also works for Marlowe and Winslow.

    Winslet another Winnie name, but you could also use Leti.

    Margrave, pretty much all the Margaret nicknames work here. Marky could also work.

  3. I’m liking Abby’s suggestions of Delaney and Marlowe as they seem to feel right with Hallan.
    My only additional thought is to bring the nicknames more towards your preferred names of Mila, Ava and Nora by using an “a” ending.

    Delaney could be Lana (pronounced Lar Nah or Lay nah)
    Marlowe could be Mara

    Hallan Grace “Hallie”, Marlowe Winter “Mara” and a future James Elliott

    Hallan Grace “Hallie”, Delaney Winter “Lana” and a future James Elliott

    My own input….
    You seem to lean towards a, l and r sounds.

    Getting towards Mila Ava or Nora…
    Delilah nn Lila (ly_lah) similar to Mila
    Avalon or Avery nn Ava
    Eleanor is an obvious way to get Nora but honestly the El part feels a bit too similar to the Al part in Hallan.
    Florence nn Flora? Instead of Nora
    Nova instead of Nora?

    Lula would make a great match. It feels familiar with the “L” sounds in Hallie yet complete different with the other vowel sounds.
    Hallan Grace “Hallie”, Lula Neve “Lulu” and a future James Elliott
    I suggest Neve (snow) as a nod to January since it’s winter season.

    January baby name suggestion….
    Aurora Hope “Rori”
    Hallan Grace “Hallie”, Aurora Hope “Rori”and a future James Elliott

    Good luck, not too far away now. Please let us know what you decide as I would love to hear about your new princess.

    Also, strangely enough. I also thought of Sinclair like Iris did. Clair or even Clara as a nickname. It’s not even a name I would normally think of, it just somehow called out to me as a match

  4. Okay, I know nicknames are important, but I think Greer is pretty perfect with Hallan/Hallie. She could be Gigi if you REALLY need a nn. If not that, what about something that gets you Tess/a as a nickname?
    Therese, Thessaly, even Tessa on its own.

  5. What about taking one of the short names you love and using it as a nickname for a longer name? For example…

    Mila could be a nickname for:
    Emila or Emilia
    Millay or Millais

    Ava could be a nickname for:
    Aveline or Avelina
    Avia or Aviana

    Nora could be a nickname for:
    Alienor or Alienora
    Eleanor, Elanor, Elinor, or Eleanora
    Lenora, Lenore, or Leonor
    Noralee or Noralie
    Noreen, Norene, or Norine

    My favorites to go with Hallan “Hallie” Grace are Camila, Maeva, Lenore, and Noralie.

  6. Marigold nn Goldie
    Bellamy nn Belle or Bella
    Laramie nn Lara or Mimi
    Pierson nn Sunny
    Winsley nn Winnie
    Henley nn Hennie or Lee
    Quincy nn Quinn

  7. Ooo, I do like the suggestion of Cassidy and Verity.

    Zelda- Zellie
    Willow- Willa
    Sunniva- Sunny
    Winry- Winn
    Tallulah- Tallie
    Anwen- Annie

  8. I think Cammie and Hallie sound cute together! Is Camden too close to Hallan? For what it’s worth I think the name Nora on your list can hold its own with Hallan.

    Maybe Vienna nn Vinnie or Vinny?

  9. I love the creative way you found to honor your dad!
    Maybe you can do Jameson nn Jamie for this girl.

    Also, you like H names and Nora, so Honora nn Nora.
    Verity nn Vera
    Hadley nn Heidi
    Sinclair nn Claire
    Katherine nn Kay