Name Help: baby five in a blended familyName 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!

Jenna writes:

In September, my husband and I will welcome our first child together. This baby will join:

  • Ruth Margaret, his college-aged daughter from his first marriage. Ruth was named for his ex-wife’s grandmother.
  • Logan Jesse, my high school-aged son from my first marriage. My ex and I picked Logan together. Jesse is a family friend who passed away while I was pregnant, but the name had more meaning for my ex than for me.
  • Hailey Katherine, my middle school-aged daughter, also from my first marriage. Similar story here. Katherine was a middle name from his side and Hailey a named we agreed on.
  • Dylan Marie, his 8 year-old daughter from a prior relationship. His ex mostly picked the name and he admitted that it’s not what he would’ve chosen, but it was important to his ex.

I know it sounds complicated. It can be complicated! But we’re determined to make all this crazy work.

We both have a tendency to let our partners take the lead when it comes to names, so I’m not sure either of us has a definite style.

At first, it bothered me that the kids’ names are so different, but it doesn’t really matter now. I’m not trying to come up with the one perfect name that will make them all work together, either. (It’s pretty uncommon for all four kids to be together, except for a few holidays/family events.)

This will be our only child.

Names we have discussed include:


  • Addie – we don’t agree on Addison/Adeline, but both like Addie – except maybe it’s a mistake to not have a full name?
  • Nora – we keep coming back to this name
  • Sloane – a long-time favorite of mine, but my ex wasn’t into it
  • Tori/Torrie – his favorite name, but all I think of is Tori Spelling
  • Veronica – too out there? Hailey’s idea, but that might be Riverdale talking


  • Andrew – a family name on my side, but not sure I want to use family names at all
  • Crew – a name I just like, he’s not so sure
  • Jeremy – one of my husband’s favorites, but it would’ve been Ruth’s name if she was a boy and that just seems old/tired to me
  • Nash – another one I just like, same as Crew
  • Paxton – found this on a name site, really warming up to it BUT the baby’s last name will be H@ns0n, so not sure it works
  • Stephen – my husband’s dad, but it seems too old to me and not sure about family names
  • William – the only name we both sort of agree on, though not sure we actually like it enough to use it

As you can tell, we’re all over the place. Help!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new baby!

And this is a challenge, but I think your attitude is exactly right. There’s not a ton of middle ground here, so why not start fresh? Choose a name you and your husband love, one that suits this moment in your life together.

Instead of adding lots of names to your list, I’m going to try to narrow things down a little.


It seems like you’ve got some overlap with Nora and Tori. If you both keep coming back to Nora, I can’t see a reason in the world to not use it.

But I also wonder if you’d like Rory? Strictly speaking, it’s an Irish boys’ name. But in the US, it’s been used steadily for girls. Golden Age Hollywood actor Errol Flynn named his daughter Rory way back in 1947. More recently, Gilmore Girls put it on parents’ radar as a unisex possibility.

I love the idea of something like Nora Sloane, or maybe Rory with a more conventionally feminine middle. Rory Genevieve, maybe, as a subtle nod to your name?

And if you’re both open to Veronica, but not sure if it’s quite right, I wonder if Vera would appeal? It’s as brief as Nora, with a handful of great meanings: faith and truth. Plus, in Albanian it means summer. Again, I like the sound of Vera Sloane.


When I see Andrew next to Crew on a list, it strikes me the perfect compromise is Drew. It’s as casual-cool and breezy as Crew, but a little closer to traditional, buttoned-up Andrew, too.

If you like Paxton, along with short names like Nash, would Max appeal at all? It’s more traditional than some of the names on your list, but not nearly as buttoned-up as, say Stephen or William.

Speaking of William, how do you feel about Liam? It is very popular, indeed – and yet the most popular names aren’t nearly as common as they used to be. It’s potentially another compromise name, one that bridges different styles nicely.

Based on your current list, I love the idea of something like Drew William, Liam Andrew, or maybe Max Stephen?

Readers, over to you – what would you suggest to Jenna to go with Ruth Margaret, Logan Jesse, Hailey Katherine, and Dylan Marie? 

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. If you like Addie but want a formal version, what about Adair? It feels traditional (as a boys’ name) but for a girl it’s a bit closer to Sloane in feeling. Or perhaps Ada, which has a similar feel to Nora.

    Otherwise I think Nora itself is perfect for you.

    For a boy, Wyatt seems like a good compromise between all the names on your list. And I agree with Abby’s suggestion of Drew!

  2. It sounds like you both deserve a name you love.

    For a girl, what about Victoria Sloane? You get the longer formal name (similar to Veronica) but the nickname option of Tory (or Rory). It is a more traditional name to balance out Ruth but the nicknames gets you closer to Hailey or Dylan. And you get your long time favorite of Sloane, which could be viewed as an honor nod to Stephen too. Victoria Sloane H@ns0n.

    For a boy what about Grant? It sits between the contemporary single syllable sound of Crew and Nash, yet is more established but perhaps less time stamped than Stephen or Jeremy. It hangs well with Logan and mirrors Ruth’s single syllable. Grant William H@ns0n. I also kinda dig Pierce for you all. Pierce Emery (latter being a compromise on Jeremy).

    Come to think of it, for a girl, Emerson Sloane, nickname Emy could be a nod to Jeremy too plus your Sloane.

    Best of luck

  3. Love Abby’s suggestion of Rory! Love these with your set:

    Adley, Story, Orla, Nova

    Remy, Pax, Stellan, Will

  4. Hailey, Logan, and Dylan strike me as modern/fresh names (unlike Ruth which is Biblical). It also seems you’re leaning towards solidly feminine names for the girls. I’d suggest Piper Elisabeth or Adele (Addie) Caroline.
    If you’re willing to go more unisex, Riley for a girl (in the style of Dylan), with Elisabeth, Madeline, Caroline, or Genevieve as a middle. Riley Paxton might work for a boy. Wesley, Chase, Jonas, or Pierce might also work. Good luck!

  5. I see a few common features in all 4 names: short names, no nicknames.
    So I’ll try to suggest names along those lines.
    For a boy, Garrett, Jules, Sully, Finn, Chase, Zane.
    For a girl, Thora, Gwen, Ada, Phoebe, Fiona, Zoey.

  6. I agree on Nora and Drew. Vera, Ronnie, Nica and Nicky all work as nn for Veronica, I’m currently loving Veronica nn Ronnie. If William is close, what about Killian; the traditional nn is Lian, and I think Ken works as well.

    I love Cruz for either gender. It fits stylistically with Sloane and Nash, but I think more importantly that it’s great with Dylan and nice with the rest of the siblings. I think Pax is in this category as well, and shortened goes well with H@ns0n.

    I have the same struggle with Stephen, but found I’m quite fond of the Scottish spelling: Steaphan. Spelling doesn’t really matter if you put it in the middle spot. If you do go the family name route I think Andrew “Drew” Steaphan H@ns0n sounds lovely. I do think you should use a name from each side if you choose family names, since it will be your only child.

    I tried to stick with your list, but Artemis just feels perfect. Similar to Cruz and Pax, I like it for a boy or a girl. In mythology Artemis is female, but in pop culture Artemis is male. In fact in most eastern bloc languages iterations of Artemis are male. I think it goes great with H@ns0n AND all the sibling names. If you want to shorten it there’s Artie and Emmie, which fit right in with Addie (which you can’t settle on).