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 three year old daughter, Susanna Jeanne, and we’re expecting another girl in March.
Our list for Susanna was pretty much Susanna and Penelope, and we went for the less popular choice. I’m so glad we did, because there are two Penelopes in her nursery school class already.
Jeanne is for my dad, Eugene, but I thought Jeanne was prettier than Gene/Jean.
This time, we’re talking about Louisa or Marina, but I feel like they’re not quite right.
Can you help us come up with some new ideas?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Jo –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
My initial reaction is that Louisa and Marina both make great sister names for Susanna. I suppose you could end with up Sue and Lou, which would be way too cute. But … what are the odds that you’ll choose those nicknames?
But the more I thought about it, I wondered if Susanna feels like a summer name, all white sundresses and big, floppy hats. While Louisa and Marina feel like autumn. Maybe – just maybe? – there’s some essential lightness that defines Susanna?
I’m stretching, but I can almost hear why they’re not quite exactly right as sisters for Susanna.
Let’s see if we can come up with some ideas that are romantic and feminine, relatively rare, and have that same summery ease.
A SISTER FOR SUSANNA
Brief and tailored rather than flowing and elaborate, Blythe shares Susanna’s light, bright feeling, possibly because of the name’s meaning – happiness.
Relatively rare, but familiar thanks to actor Calista Flockhart, this name’s meaning also appeals: most beautiful.
Possibly Cordelia fits more with Louisa and Marina, but it’s an equally familiar name that’s seldom heard. Just Delia could be an option, too.
Take Georgia, mix in a healthy dose of Juliette, and this vintage rarity is the result.
Legendary dancer Isadora Duncan might be the most notable bearer of the name.
If Susanna’s name was almost Penelope, then maybe a similar choice would work for her sister? Persephone is the logical alternative. While it does rank in the current US Top 1000 at #924, that’s far from saturated.
Lots of the Rose names might be perfect sisters to Susanna, especially because Susanna means rose. (Or lily. Or possibly event lotus!)
A New Testament name, Tabitha has been used in small numbers for years – but remains relatively uncommon. If you like the idea of sticking with Biblical names, Susanna and Tabitha could be perfect together.
I think Susanna and Calista might be my favorite combination. It’s a good balance of gorgeous names no one is using, but everyone has heard.
Then again, you haven’t mentioned middle names. Is there a family member you plan to honor? Because something like Louisa Blythe could be downright gorgeous, too.
Readers, what would you suggest as a sister name for Susanna Jeanne?
Love to hear Susanna, and Susanna Jeanne is such a cute combination! I agree it has a summery/nature vibe–I think of black-eyed susans. I think Isadora and Tabitha from Abby are great, and from pps I like Georgia, Eliza, and Tess (might prefer Tessa for you).
Marian (could be Molly, Mae, or Maisie)
Lisa T. says
Josephine is my favourite suggestion!
I’m going to throw out one I don’t think anyone else will suggest – Yolanda. It sounds perfect for a sister to Susanna and it has the pretty meaning of Violet.
I haven’t seen Clara suggested. That would have been my Susannah’s little sister if that baby had been a girl. Older sister is Harriet, if that helps 🙂
Names that spring to mind to me as a sister for Susanna:
Judith (a rogue choice but I love it)
Loooove the suggestion of Judith. I know sisters named Judith and Meredith and think both are great with Susanna!
I think Shakespeare named his two daughters Susanna and Judith! You’d be in good company!
I prefer a name that does NOT end in an “a.” I can imagine Dorothy, Felicity, Marielle, Phoebe, Charlotte or Rachel as a sister to Susanna
Congratulations! Here are a few more suggestions that might hit the same note as Susannah, especially paired with a vintage middle:
This may be my favorite “Name Help” post ever! If I am fortunate enough to have another baby girl, Susanna would almost certainly be her name. It checks all the boxes for me– nature name, saint’s name, underused, excellent nickname possibilities. So many of the sister names recommend are among my favorites, as well, and I hope we will eventually get to hear what you choose. 🙂 Of those Abby recommended, Georgette and Cordelia are so lovely and sweet with Susanna, and from the comments, I adore Belinda, Juliet(te), Phoebe, Felicity, Matilda, Gwendolen, Rosalie, Bonnie and Tess. All beauties and darling with Tess! Congratulations and best wishes!
Oops! Meant darling with Susanna.
Erin Beth says
I quite like the suggestion of Lydia and Phoebe. Other ideas:
Susanna was on our list for a girl and I always like Belinda for a sister name.
Oh or Bethany.
Oooh Belinda! Definitely a name that we should talk about more often!
Hmm. Of your two options, I prefer Louise. Of Abby’s suggestions, I like Isadora and Calista best.
A few additional suggestions:
Elizabeth, nn Betsy
Margaret, nn Maisie
Teresa, nn Tess
Millicent, nn Millie
Beatrice, nn Bea
Katherine, nn Kit
I suggest looking a different ending instead of A, maybe that is what is giving it the just not right feeling.
Susanna is wonderful.
I am just head-over-heels for Abby’s suggestion of Delia! Susanna & Delia would make stunning sister names.
Matilda or Magnolia (maybe different enough from Marina?)
Marigold (another flower name, like Susanna)
But my personal favorite for this family is Clementine. Susanna and Clementine 🙂
I was coming to suggest Clementine too! When I see Susanna I hear ‘Oh! Susanna’ and ‘Oh, My Darling Clementine’ feels like a lovely sister name.
Would Eloise feel nicer than Louisa? Or Mirabel instead of Marina? I agree that having different endings makes a nice sibset.
Or maybe Natalie. Susanna and Natalie!
If it’s the ending vowel tripping you up, maybe Maren instead of Marina? I like Abby’s suggestion of Calista. Do you like Lillian or Josephine? Best of luck and congrats!
Alison Doherty says
I’m wondering if both names in the a vowel is what’s tripping you up. Maybe Louise or Eloise would fit but not be as rhyme-y. Other thoughts that had Penelope vibes were – Calliope, Lucille, Rosalie or Rosemary, or Vivian.
I think Calista is a great suggestion, especially if the uniqueness appealed to you so much in selecting Susanna. Nicknames Susie and Callie seem well paired too.
While Abby suggested Georgette, what about the more familiar Georgia? I think they pair nicely as sister names and both have the summery vibe Abby mentions.
In the vein of Penelope, what about Anastasia? It seems you like the longer names (3+ syllables), plus it has the same familiarity but lower usage of Susanna and the same accomplished, feminine vibe as your other names.
Lastly I think Louisa Blythe is lovely. Susanna Jeanne and Louisa Blythe sound great together.
Susanna is one of my favorite names – so lovely! I’d suggest Claudia and Philippa, which to me share the same “recognizable but not common” vibe. Good luck!
I don’t get a summery vibe at all from Susanna. It’s a Biblical classic or, these days, a rather rare English classic name that was quite popular in Elizabethan England. My suggestions, some of them frillier than others: Clarissa, Delia, Petra, Petronilla, Priscilla, Helena, Julia, Lucinda, Marcella, Mariah, Millicent, Rosalie, Thea, Victoria, etc. I also had a classmate named Patricia who had an older sister called Susanna.
Andrea, I think that’s a good point. I’m not sure why I hear Susanna that way, but it does fit with Priscilla + Marcella + the other names you’ve listed, too.
I love Louisa! It makes me think of Little Women and Sound of Music, both happy associations. From Abby’s suggestions, Tabitha is my favorite! In the Bible she was “always doing good and helping the poor.” Tabitha is a beautiful and not so common name. I like both of these for a sister to Susanna