Name 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!
We have a daughter named Louise Eleanor, sometimes called Lou and Lulu at home, but usually Louise by everybody else. Finding her name seemed easy. It was traditional, but we didn’t know any other girls with the name. But no one thinks it’s weird, either.
Now we’re expecting a second daughter this August and feeling stuck. We’d like the same kind of name this time, but we’re having a hard time finding one that fits.
Here are the names we’ve considered, but have ruled out:
- Elizabeth, Katherine, Margaret – because we don’t really want something that ordinary, and we don’t like the idea of a nickname
- Helen – love, but there’s some family drama that makes this difficult, and we’re avoiding family names in general
- Emilia – we know lots of Amelias, this just seems too close, though it was almost Louise’s name
- Alice – my best friend’s newborn daughter’s name
- Eleanor – because it’s Louise’s middle name, but also because we felt like we were hearing it a lot, and so used it as a middle name instead with Louise
Any R name is also out, because our surname is hyphenated, and sounds almost like Rooney-Rosh. The only R name we really thought about was Rose, for my grandmother, but it’s too much R.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Kari –
Congratulations on your daughter!
So we’re looking for classic, nickname-proof, and not too common, right? Too bad about Helen, because that was my first thought.
Because we’re looking for something less common, I’m going to avoid all Top 100 picks – though I don’t think that’s necessarily a rule you need to follow.
I’m starting with this list for inspiration:
Would you consider:
Beatrice – Lovely Beatrice nicknames abound, but none is required. Like Louise, Beatrice is the kind of name that everyone knows – but relatively few families are using. It currently stands at #573, a little more popular than #800 Louise, but not by much.
Edith – At #518, Edith is the same popularity range as Beatrice. You could use sweet nickname Edie the same way that you’re using Lulu and Lou, but Edith is a short, strong name that requires no shortening.
Florence – There’s a strength about Florence – maybe thanks to Nightingale – and a romance, too, probably from the fabled Italian city. Like Louise, it’s a former favorite that left the US Top 1000 for some years. Now it’s back, at #971.
Frances – Louise and Frances sound like sisters to me. At #445, Frances counts as a name everybody knows, but few of us are using.
Jane – The thing about Louise – and Alice and Eleanor – is that there’s a tailored restraint to these names. Jane shares that quality. At #291, it’s more popular than many on this list, but still relatively uncommon.
Marie – Want to do something crazy? Name your daughter Mary. Yup, the former #1 name has been out of the Top 100 for years. But Marie – the French form – is even more rare. And while lots of women are Ashley Marie or Olivia Marie, almost none answer to it as a first name. It ranks just #576.
Simone – The other thing about Louise is that it feels subtly French. So does Marie … and Simone. At #733, it’s pretty uncommon.
Sybil – Despite the broad appeal of Downton Abbey, and beloved mother-daughter characters named Sybil, this name remains unranked in the US. I think it’s a great stands-out, fits-in choice.
Teresa – It seems like it would be more popular, but this is the only spelling currently ranked in the US Top 1000 – and that’s at #798!
My favorite with Louise Eleanor is probably Jane. Maybe Jane Florence? Or Edith. I love the idea of Edith Simone – slightly French, just like Louise, and traditional without being too expected.
Let’s open it up to the community, because I feel like I’m missing dozens of possibilities.
Readers, what would you name a sister for Louise Eleanor?
As someone who also has a Louise, Beatrix and Nell are the top of my list if i ever have another daughter. Classic but with a little spunk, just like Louise.
Estelle or Sophie
Greta would be lovely with Louise!
I also love Edith.
Your first daughter’s name is just lovely! Here are a few ideas for her sister:
Marion? Or Ellen, Marjorie, Judith, Nina, Patrice, Susan, Caroline, Rosalie, Josephine, Virginia. Or you could take a look at the most popular names list and go through names that have between about 300 to 500 uses to find a familiar but not overused classic name.
Ooh, love Rosalie!! Josephine would be a great match, too, though it is becoming pretty popular–way more so than Louise.
Willa!!!! Or Harriet.
How about Dorothy or Nicolle?
My daughter’s name is Marta. I think that pairs well with Louise! We call her Marty but I don’t think people would assume to call her that if we didn’t tell them.
I love Jane Frances for your daughter. Pairs well with Louise Eleanor and the one syllable first name balances out the multi-syllable hyphenated last name. Jane is unlikely to be called Janie other than by close family and friends. Congratulations to you!
My first thought was Beatrice, and then every other name mestioned I was thinking ‘Yeah!’, ‘Yeah!’, ‘That one too!’ I think this list of recommendations is spot on! Only other ones I thought of are Matilda or Tabitha.
Erin Beth says
Louise is such perfect example of the type of name you like I can see why you are struggling. My favorite options for you: Jane, Marie, Frances, Therese, Genevieve, and Anne.
I totally love Helen for you so I’m a little bummed…but Abby offered some fabulous suggestions that might just work. My top choices are Sybil (love nn Sybi), Frances (nn Frannie or Francie), Edith (nn Edie) and Beatrice (nn Bea).
and definitely Frances.
C in DC says
Love Jane or Mary. Also, Terese (a little more French than Theresa), Audrey, Claudette, Juliet, Celine, Lydia, Nadia, Elena (variant of Helen), Nelle, just Kate, Cadence, Margot, Elspeth, Joan, Nicole.
I love Florence of the suggestions. Sticking to a French theme, what about Sylvie, Delphine, Annette, or Colette..
What about Agnes?
Julie G says
Beatrice nn Bette or Betty
Emmeline nn Millie or just plain Millie : )
Margot is the first name that jumped out when I saw Louise Eleanor. I would also add Susanna (it’s equally classic and underused right now). 🙂
Congrats on your 2nd baby girl!
I love the suggestions of Edith and Marie, and Anna from the comments. I also think Cecelia, Matilda and Harriet would make wonderful sister names to Louise.
Katerina or Katrina
I love Edith, Jane, and Marie with Louise! Also, @Megan’s suggestion of Marie Elise is lovely.
I’d also suggest:
Andrea Young says
I was going to recommend Emmeline and Harriet! Excellent choices!!
Marie works as a great middle for all the other names Abby listed, except maybe Simone. Marie Elise sounds nice, and Elise has the Alice vibe. I think Jane works as a nice middle for Florence, Frances and Teresa.
For some reason Zelda feels like a sister name to Louise to me. I think Celeste, Celine, Colette, and Cora all work too. I do love Priscilla, but that shortens to Prissy (eek!), and on that note Florence shortens to Flo and Frances to Frankie.
Love Simone and Frances! And I think Anna, Caroline, Corinne, Genevieve, Gwendolyn, Susanna, Theodora, and Whitney would all sound wonderful with Louise.