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 two sweet girls, Amelia Jane (8) and Eliza Leigh (5). We thought our family was complete, but surprise! Our new little one is due in April.
If it’s a boy, his name will be Oliver Reese, a name we’ve had picked out since we were expecting Amelia.
But if it’s a girl, we’re not sure where to begin.
Our last name sounds like Heart-with-a-y, so names like Lucy and Ruby don’t work.
I guess Olivia is the logical choice if this baby is a girl, but we know three other girls with the name already. We don’t mind popular, but we don’t want to feel late to the party, if that makes sense.
Sophia might work, except it’s the name of my husband’s grandmother. We haven’t used family names, and I think it would be awkward to do so now, and impossible to say that it wasn’t after her.
Friends have suggested names like Eliana and Ariana, but they don’t feel right.
Where do we start?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Julie –
How exciting to be expecting baby #3! I think Oliver is perfect with Eliza and Amelia.
And yet, I know what you mean about being late to the party. It’s one thing to know that your child’s name is popular in theory, but it’s another thing to know other children who already have the name. Even when there’s no practical concern about duplication, it can still take the shine off a former favorite.
What you’re looking for seems pretty clear – a traditional girl’s name, feminine in style, popular circa 2020, but not necessarily pegged to this decade. I suspect that’s the issue with Eliana/Ariana … they feel a little newer than the vintage-style names you’ve used for your older girls.
Interestingly, the pool of names that fits your criteria isn’t all that deep – at least if we’re sticking to relatively common choices. And because many of them share sounds with Eliza and Amelia, lots of them are immediately ruled out.
Because there’s a d/t sound in your surname, I also found myself ruling out names like Charlotte and Adelaide, because I wasn’t sure if you’d like the repetition. (I object to it less in Adelaide Heart-with-a-y; more in Charlotte Heart-with-a-y, but that might come down to personal preference. Both could be a little hard to say.)
But I did come up with some suggestions I think work beautifully with Amelia and Eliza.
Clara – It’s shorter than Amelia and Eliza, but shares the same vintage-with-roots style.
Felicity – I know you’re concerned about ends-with-y names. And I’d agree – Lucy or Ruby is sing-songy with Heart-with-a-y. But a three-syllable name? It makes for a far more pleasing cadence. Rosalie, Natalie, Dorothy … I think lots of them have potential. But I liked the light sound of Felicity best with Amelia and Eliza.
Fiona – Nothing sounds quite like Fiona. Well, maybe Top Ten staple Sophia. But you’ve already ruled that name out.
Josephine – After I’d ruled out Charlotte, I immediately thought about Josephine. It’s traditional, and while it might be a little more tailored than Eliza or Amelia, I think it sounds like the perfect sister name.
Louisa – Not only are Eliza and Amelia both three-syllable, ends-with-a names, they share a strong L sound, too. Given that, I feel like Louisa is the logical suggestion. I don’t think they’re too close for sisters, but it’s worth saying the names together five times fast!
Lydia – Along with Louisa, Lydia feels like an obvious name to consider. I think the ‘d’ in Lydia is the right amount of repetition with the t/d sound in your surname.
Susanna/Susannah – I’m not sure if Susanna ought to be on this list because it’s not even in the current US Top 1000. On the other hand, isn’t it just bananas that Susanna doesn’t make the Top 1000? It sounds great with your surname, and your girls’ names.
Victoria – Regal and strong, but also flowing and pretty, there’s lots to love about Victoria. I love it with Amelia and Eliza because it sounds compatible, but doesn’t risk running into your girls’ names. It’s distinct and distinctive.
Overall, I love Louisa – if you don’t mind the repeating sounds in Amelia, Eliza, and Louisa. (I find it just enough repetition to be charming.)
But Josephine remains my favorite. I think it matches the style of Amelia and Eliza best, with a certain spirited vibe.
Readers, over to you: what would you name a sister for Amelia and Eliza?
My first thought was Jane.
Your children’s names coordinate so well! Oliver is a perfect boy name, and, if you don’t need to save it for a future Oliver, Olivia is a perfect girl name.
I thought of Elena and Felicity, then saw they had been mentioned, along with a bunch of other awesome choices!
So, I’m seconding all these:
And, I think these are new (sorry to PPs if not):
Michaela (I’ve also heard it pronounced “Mi-shay-la,” which sounded pretty to me, but does come with some necessity of correcting others)
Chelsea (continues the ends-in-A theme, but with a different end sound)
Leah (choose your spelling – pronounced Lay-uh)
Sara L. Uckelman says
I would go with another slightly old-fashioned classic name ending in “-a”. What about Rosa?
Kirstin G. says
I’ll add Eloise and Matilda (already mentioned) to list for consideration. They both have the same British and literary charm to me as Amelia and Eliza (and Oliver).
I like the suggestion of Louisa too.
Julie G says
Middle name Claire
Love love love Louisa to go with Amelia and Eliza!
So many great suggestions already, you can’t go wrong with any. I’ll add:
Mariella / Mariel
Elena (maybe too close to Eliza?)
Beatrice (seconding this one because there is something so fun about sisters Amelia, Eliza and Beatrice!)
My favourites from the suggested names are Fiona and Lydia. They would fit perfectly.
Other names I’d like to suggest are:
Ava or Eva
Chloe or Zoe
If we’re sticking on theme I’d suggest Junia , Aviva or Quinta and if we’re not I’d suggest Jocelyn , Juliet or Caroline
Erin Beth says
All of my first thoughts have been suggested: Josephine, Lydia, Celia, Julia, and Victoria. I would add Phoebe, Cassandra, Virginia, and Sylvia.
If it were me, I’d want to continue the subtle “a” ending theme but not repeat a first initial. I don’t think you need to go so far as to have the same number of syllables though.
From Abby’s suggestions, I think Lydia is just perfect…def my fave for you. I also like Cora and Louisa and Victoria. Also wanted to suggest Nora.
What about Helena? Amelia, Eliza and Helena. Helena Heart-a-y. The illiteration is either something you’ll love or hate. I’m in the former. I like that the names all have a romantic but strong vibe and all seem to be from the same era.
Best of luck!
In keeping with the pattern (begins with a vowel and three syllables — if three is good then four should be good too, right?), I like Isabel, Ophelia, and Olympia, with Olympia perhaps as my favorite.
For non-vowel beginnings, I like Fiona (love Fiona!), Lydia, Magnolia, and Portia.
My favorite middles are Grace and Claire.
Breaking the pattern and going with a short first name, I think Claire Magnolia is a beautiful pairing and Magnolia Claire sounds equally lovely.
I love the suggestions of Clara and Lydia; I think a name with a strong “l” sound works beautifully for you, as it creates a subtle hook between each of your daughters. One quick thought: If Lucy is a name you like in theory, but doesn’t work with your last name, would you consider Lucille or Lucia?
Violet or Eleanor would work so well with your L trend!
I love the suggestions of Fiona and Lydia, they pair so well with Amelia and Eliza. I don’t know if you’d want to do something one syllable since your daughter’s have 3 for their names but I think Rose fits well. Also, if you don’t want to use Olivia, what about Olive?
You seem to like longish names heavy on vowels and end in A. Also the repeating L sound.
Isabella and Eleanora/Lenora fit this pattern best.
Both names start with vowels so maybe Iris (though it seems a tad short) or Irena (ee-ray-nuh).
Louisa fits nicely and has me thinking something starting with L would suit nicely.
I like Leona, Lileas, and Luella best, but there’s also Larissa, Lorelai, Laurena/Lorena, Liora, Lucia and Lucinda that would fit nicely.
Even though I really think something starting with a vowel or the letter L would fit best, Victoria is so gorgeous I couldn’t help but add Valeria.
Good luck 🙂
I had an afterthought the Heloise could work well. It starts with a vowel sound but doesn’t repeat initials.
It seems like you really like strong vowel sounds and a liquid flow. Olivia is a perfect fit in that sense, but Oliver is just so lovely that unless you’re sure you’re done, you may want to save it.
Melania (…admittedly political just now)
Elena (too close to their girls)
Of those, the ones that seem closer in style to Eliza and Amelia are Gabriella, Juliana, Sylvia, and Carolina.
I know a Eliza Magnolia sister set. I wonder is Magnolia would appeal to you?
Cora is the first name that came to mind for me. Please do let us know what you choose in the end!
I think you have the name already. if the only thing holding you back is that you’d feel late to the party, then I say, go for it! Olivia is a beautiful, timeless name.
Here are a few more suggestions:
Or if Olivia isn’t doing for you, then perhaps Ophelia? Or even Octavia or Olympia?
No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be gorgeous. Good luck!