Name Help: Sister for JackName 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!

Kelsey writes:

We are Team Green for our first baby, due on Mother’s Day!

If it is a boy, he’ll be John David III, called Jack. (My husband is Jay or JD; his dad is John.)

If it’s a girl, I feel a little lost. Part of it is knowing that even if this baby is a girl, any future son would still be named John David III, so it’s we’re almost naming our second kid.

Because I agreed to Jack for a son, my husband says that I can (mostly) choose the girl’s name.

  • I’ve always liked Caroline, but it feels WAY too Kennedy with Jack!
  • Josephine is another name I like, but I don’t want to be a family of all Js. (Well, except me.)
  • I love the sound of Everly, but I’ve always been frustrated at how 1990s/time-stamped my name is, so I really don’t want that for my daughter.
  • Victoria is great, but I don’t like any of the nicknames, and I’m not the kind of person who would want to use that long name in full for a little baby. It’s not my husband’s favorite, either.

Names we can’t use because of cousins/close friends’ kids include Hazel, Hannah, Sophia, Lily, Naomi, Genevieve, and Amelia.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your first! How exciting to be due on Mother’s Day.

The first question I have to ask: are there any family names from your side that feel worth considering? Maybe a grandmother’s name, or even something less specific. Even something that reflects your side of the family’s heritage in broadest terms? If not as a first, then possibly as a middle?

While it’s not necessary, if there is something that feels significant, it might help narrow your name list – and make any name you choose feel more significant, too.

For now, I’m going to assume the answer is “not really” and move on to some fresh ideas. From Victoria, Caroline and Josephine, I assume we’re looking for something traditional but current, feminine but not too elaborate, and possibly nickname-proof. (Though I suppose it depends on how you feel about the nickname!) I’m also going to avoid Js.


I think of Beatrice in the same category as Caroline and Josephine. It’s traditional, with a long history of use. Like Victoria, nicknames abound. But also like Victoria, there’s no requirement to shorten this name.


Another spare, tailored name with plenty of elegance.


Eleanor sounds like a sister for John David. And Ellie – or Nora – could be the perfect sister name for Jack.


Of course, if you’re not sure about nicknames, Eliza is a classic that works well without any shortening at all.


Katharine – with the double A – feels sophisticated. (It’s the spelling used by Katharine Hepburn, among others.) But Katherine is every bit as lovely, or maybe even just Kate?


Marie has been stuck in the middle spot time and time again. But choose this as a first name and it manages to be immediately familiar and surprisingly refreshing.


Vivian is an obvious alternative to Evelyn, not quite as popular. And Vivienne feels like the oh-so-French Josephine and Genevieve.

If there’s no family/personal name you hope to pass down, I think it’s worth sitting with the idea of nicknames for a while. I love Marie or Evelyn if you’d prefer to avoid shortening your daughter’s name. But if you’re open to nicknames? That’s a tougher decision. I think I’d be more inclined to suggest Beatrice in that case, though that’s mostly because Beatrice “Betty” or Beatrice “Birdie” appeals so much as a sister for John David “Jack.”

Readers, over to you. What would you name a daughter knowing that a future boy would be called Jack?

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. I just thought of Verily as a sounds-like-Everly name, but definitely without a timestamp. Verity is not uncommon where I am (Australia) and could be another option.