Name Help: A Sister for Huck JamesName 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!

Hollis writes:

Our second child, a girl, is due in November. We are a family of unexpected names: I am Hollis, my husband is Percy, and our 3 year-old son is Huck James.

Both kids and dad will share the same very common Hispanic surname, beginning with R and ending in -ez.

I’m stumped naming this little girl. With our son, we wanted a very rare/unexpected name. I love Huck’s name for a few reasons: the literary link to an adventurous little boy with friends from all walks of life which (luckily) fits our son to a T. It’s energetic and percussive which I love with the surname. It’s a little southern which touches on my style and upbringing. An unexpected but established first name with a classic, honor (my dad and grandpa) middle for balance. I certainly don’t expect to find all of these qualities in name #2 but obviously we want to love it.

Plus, I do have a few preferences and I’m worried I’ve dug myself into a big hole:

  • I love a great sib-set. Huck and… A LOT of names sound like a country western singing duo. Oops.
  • No names beginning with H or ending with R or ez/s.
  • I want to honor my side of the family somewhere because the kids will all share my husband’s last name.
  • While I had no qualms naming Huck a nickname-name, girl nicknames tend to lean pretty precious. I prefer a more formal name if we also plan for a cute nickname.
  • We like them rare but not made-up/trendy, I’m picky about word and animal names, not nuts about international or ancient names when paired with big brother.

My style typically leans rare, southern, a little tailored, and I love a new take on an honor name. Here’s our working list:

Josephine nicknamed Posy: This is my husband’s *heart-eyes* favorite. Joseph is his middle name and it honors his grandfather. He also loves that we would have a H/H, P/P symmetry situation. But Josephine is very popular and Posy is sooooo sweet that I wonder how long we/she’d actually use it. Josephine has always been a strong middle contender, too.

Etta: This is more aligned with my general style and comes from my mom’s middle name, Henrietta. I like the Etta James reference, a musical tie to match my son’s literary. My husband likes it enough to not veto (I think it’s hard for him to see past Josephine) but I’m worried about the Emmas and Ellas of the world.

Mirabel nicknamed Mimi: Mimi is what everyone called my dear grandmother from the day I was born. I’d prefer a long form name and Mirabel is one we like the most/dislike the least.

Georgia: From my mom’s first name, Georgina. More popular than we’d like.

Other names on the list include Blythe, Dove, Mabel, Merritt/Merit, Delia, Calla, Imogen, and Tess. We can’t use Poppy or Lila/Layla/Delilah.

I’m looking for suggestions, please. Or, if the name/name-combo is staring me in the face, I need you to talk me through it. This is also most likely our last child so I know I’m cramming a lot of hopes/dreams/demands into two names!

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

Dear Hollis –

Oh, I’m still smiling every time I think about Huck and Posy, the winners of the CMA Award for Vocal Duo of the Year. We do name ourselves into corners, don’t we?

And yet … if a nicely matched brother-sister set matters, then I promise that ANY two names you choose will sound at least a little bit like that. Even Huck and Elizabeth.

I mean, maybe they won’t sound like they’re straight outta Nashville, but I can imagine an upscale children’s clothing line or maybe an animated series called Huck & Posy, Huck & Georgia, Huck & Josephine. And so on. It’s the first name Huck that does it … not so much whatever follows. And that’s perfectly fine.

In fact, that’s good news. Freeing, even! Because that means that you can take the pressure off. Your kids will both have great names, that will sound amazing together.

And if they someday land a recording contract? Well … you’ll know you didn’t it plan it that way.

Okay, now, what do we know?

We know that Josephine is almost certainly the most logical middle name for your daughter. That takes Posy off the table.

Before we get to the names on your list that are already perfect, I wonder if you’d consider:

Cecile, Cecily or even Cecilia – I’m guessing Cecilia is too mainstream for you, but both Cecily and Cecile are nicely under-the-radar, and Cecile has some of the same style as Josephine.

Daphne – It’s ancient, but feels kind of jazzy and fun.

Georgette – Georgia is popular, but no one is using Georgette. It feels retro and vintage, but in a fun, upbeat way. Nicknames Georgie or Gigi might the short form that makes its more wearable.

Laine – It’s Elaine without the ‘e’, a surname-style name that’s borrowed from the boys in some ways. But also calls back to “Penny Lane” and Gilmore Girls.

Pippa – If Posy and Poppy are off the list, how about Pippa? It could be short for Philippa – the obvious, Pippa Middleton-approved choice – or possibly Penelope or Piper or some other P name.

And yet, why not Mirabel Josephine, called Mimi?

It’s a long name, true. And Huck and Mimi are all kinds of darling together.

But it’s also a substantial and unexpected first name. It fits in with Isabella and Annabelle, but feels markedly different. And it sounds like it’s not your favorite, and not his favorite … but you both like lots of things about it. Plus, it honors your family, as Josephine honors his, so there’s some great balance to the name.

One last factor: because her last name sounds like R—ez, I think the ‘r’ in Mirabel creates an interesting hook. The most memorable names often share subtle repeating sounds, like this one.

So that gets my vote, because it checks all the boxes and because it’s just a great name.

But I can’t wait to hear what the readers suggest, because I know they’ll think of things I’ve overlooked. So … dear, thoughtful community of name lovers, what would you name a sister for Huck James?

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Of the lists, my favorite names with Josephine would be the following:
    Etta Josephine
    Cecily Josephine
    Calla Josephine
    And I guess I could suggest a name like Georgiana, different from Georgia and Georgina, but still similar. I think all of those name could go well with Huck.

  2. Hello sorry I’m late to the party. How about? (consider any repeats as seconds) –

    Huck and Cecily
    Huck and Louisa
    Huck and Fiona
    Huck and Lyra
    Huck and Natalie
    Huck and Juno
    Huck and Noa
    Huck and Frida
    Huck and Marisol
    Huck and Violetta
    Huck and Heidi (Too matchy?)
    Huck and Lana
    Huck and Gwen
    Huck and Willa
    Huck and Sierra
    Huck and Lorelai
    Huck and Abby (I know you said no nickname names but I think this one is strong enough)
    Huck and Myra
    Huck and Meredith
    Huck and Macy (I really like how they sound)
    Huck and Marilyn

  3. Huck and Pearl/Perla was my first thought. I know a little Delia as well which I think fits and I do like Mirabel and Georgia! Clementine was another thought. Maybe too southern but I like it. Huck and Clemmie or even call her MiMi?

  4. Love love love Etta Josephine! Huck and Etta or Huck and Josie or Huck and Posey. I think Etta or Josie would age a bit better than Posey so either of those two are my favorites.

    Also if you like Georgia and Etta then I wonder if you would like Greta? Greta Josephine! You can still get Etta, Josie, or Posey from it. Huck and Greta sound like quite a dynamic duo.

    Also I have to say I absolutely adore Huck for a little boy 🙂

  5. Wren, Phoebe, Petra or Tessa.

    Phoebe has that Josephine sound and P initial, and sounds like Mimi but is a full name.

  6. How about Josie as a nickname for Josephine? It’s well jnown but not used much. It’s cute on a little girl but grows with her into adulthood.

    Also, maybe this is a stretch but could you use Imogen with Immi or Mimi as a nickname?

    Lastly, how about Marietta for a full name with Mimi or Etta as the nickname?