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’re expecting our first baby together in 2021! It was a complete surprise, but the best kind of surprise. I’m 43, and we’ve only been together for a year, so to say this was a shock is the understatement of ALL understatements.
This baby – it’s a girl! – will join my 7 year old twins, Chloe and Hudson, plus my husband’s teenage daughters, Veronica and Elise. For this past year, all of the kids have overlapped at our house a lot, but I’m guessing that’s not going to be true for that much longer. (Can I hope?! Oh, the LAUNDRY!)
With everything going on, names kind of fell off our list of things to think about. But the girls brought it up over Christmas, and now we have a list made by all six of us.
And that’s okay! I think it’s kind of great, really. But I’m not sure which of these names sound like they go with our family.
Also, I found this site because we’re not sure what to do about our last name. I’ve always kept my maiden name; my kids have their dads’ last name, the older girls have their mom’s last name hyphenated with my husband’s surname, and my husband has just his original last name. So we already have FOUR surnames in our family. Which is fine, but it makes me wonder what last name to give this baby. So advice on how to choose that would be SO great, too.
Here’s our list of names we all liked (or at least no one said was awful!)
Kinsley, Savannah, Piper, Stella, Naomi, Jewel, Eliza, Lily, Rose, Lily-Rose
Is there another name we’re missing?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful comments in the suggestions.
Dear Lauren –
Congratulations on your baby. That is the most wonderful kind of surprise, right?
I wonder if you might want to start by considering your child’s last name. Not because you have to choose that first, but because knowing it will naturally help you narrow down your list. Some firsts just won’t sound as good with certain lasts.
To help puzzle it out, I’m going to insert some generic surnames. Your family consists of:
- Lauren Smith and David Jones
- Veronica and Elise Wilson-Jones
- Chloe and Hudson Miller
That’s a lot of surnames, but the three basic options are: Smith, Jones, and Smith-Jones.
I’m not sure if the surnames you’re working with are that short, but the hyphenated name will inevitably be longer. A longer surname probably works best with names like Rose and Miles. And something like Lily-Rose Smith-Jones probably feels cumbersome – a hyphenated first and last.
There’s really no right answer, and no way to have everyone in your household share a single surname. (Which is completely, absolutely fine, and if it makes your Christmas card signature a little longer? So be it.)
I’m going to suggest you hyphenate: Smith-Jones. Partly because I’m curious to see if that feels right. Or if it feels too complicated/cumbersome. Maybe it’s the option to rule out first – maybe because it gives this daughter a surname specific to her point in family history. (If that makes any sense at all!)
Moving on to first names!
A SISTER FOR CHLOE, HUDSON, VERONICA, and ELISE
Chloe, Veronica, and Elise sound like sisters. They’re familiar, mainstream choices, conventionally feminine but not especially frilly or super-traditional. Looking through your list:
- I’m guessing you’ve already ruled out Eliza because it’s much too close to Elise.
- Jewel and Lily-Rose seem a little too different compared to your girls’ names.
- Kinsley isn’t quite the same style – it’s more modern surname.
- Piper, too, feels a little more like a surname. But because it’s more popular, I think it might work.
- Likewise, Savannah, Stella, Naomi, Lily, and Rose all seem very wearable.
If we narrow the list to Piper, Savannah, Stella, Naomi, Lily, and Rose, my vote goes to Stella. I like the vintage sound and style, plus it’s shorter. And while I can imagine any of these six names working well, Stella just seems like it locks into place.
Plus, you brainstormed names over Christmas, and Stella means star – so maybe that part of the story is swaying my opinion, too?
I’m not sure you’re missing any names, really. If I were starting from scratch with Veronica, Elise, Chloe, and Hudson, I might suggest:
GEMMA – A more mainstream alternative to Jewel, with the same meaning.
GENEVIEVE – A traditional name that isn’t heard too often, though if you opt for a longer surname, it might feel like a bit too much.
IRIS – A flower name a little less common than Lily and Rose, and every bit as lovely.
JOSIE – Midway between Lily and Rose, sound-wise.
MAREN – A little more tailored, like Piper, but closer to a given name than a surname.
I’m not sure any of these tops Stella. You haven’t mentioned middle names, but if that’s up for discussion, Stella Kinsley could be great together.
Congrats on your baby!!
I suggest Meredith!
I notice most of the names of your older kids are quite French? Chloe and Elise very much so, Veronica is similar to Veronique and I feel like I’ve seen French Veronicas? Hudson is the outlier there but it reminds me of the Hudson Bay company and French Canada? So I wonder if a French name would tie everything together? Of your existing list Stella or Naomi would tie in – or Margot, Sylvie, Juliet/tte, Amelie?
Alison Doherty says
I vote for Stella, Naomi, or Rose – all beautiful and great matches with your family. I also think Rosalie would be beautiful if you want something a little more unique! And I would do whatever you want with last name – if hyphenating feels fair go for it! If you don’t care – maybe just use Dad’s last name? Or yours? Whichever you like more?
Hyphenate your maiden name with the dad’s surname. Though, for what it’s worth, most of the people I have encountered with long hyphenated last names usually use just one of them and usually the dad’s name.
Re surname: if you end up just using Dad’s surname, I like the idea of using your maiden name in the middle name spot. Otherwise, I think hyphenate them both or just use yours as you’re the only surname not currently represented by any of the children.
And I agree with Abby that Stella is the best choice from your list. I also like Naomi and Lily. I do love Piper but don’t think it’s the best match stylistically. Gemma is a great suggestion as well.
My personal preference is to choose something that complements but that doesn’t repeat an initial.
A few additional suggestions:
Tess or Tessa
C in DC says
For last name, may I suggest mom’s maiden name “Smith”? Just Smith. Both dads’ names are well represented already. Just a thought.
My first thought with Chloe, Hudson, Veronica, and Elise was Harper, with Piper if you didn’t want to repeat an initial. I also like Savannah from you list because it seems to bridge the gap between Chloe/Elise and Veronica. Since you mentioned Eliza, Angelica or Angelina would also bridge the gap.
I think any of the names you mentioned would be lovely. Other suggestions that seem to go with your tailored girl name style: Audrey, Margot, Sophie/Sophia, Holly, Willow, Juno.
What about Penelope?
Penelope is historic yet fresh much like your other girls names, so I think it matches well in style. I like that it has four syllables like Veronica to balance out the two syllables of Elise and Chloe. I am personally a huge fan of shared letters among sibling names. To me, it makes the names hang together better without being too matchy. In this case, Penelope shares the l and e of Elsie and Chloe, plus the o and n of Hudson and Veronica. It weaves both subsets together nicely both in sound and style. Piper could be a nickname so you are sticking with the kids’ list, or Posey or Nell or Lola if she/you prefer.
Elise, Veronica, Chloe, Hudson and Penelope
Congrats!! I usually love brainstorming more options, but I totally agree with other posters that it’s so meaningful that the names on your list were brainstormed as a family. And I bet with 4 kids from 7 through teenage years, plus two adults, you probably have a lot of names between you that have associations with (or family/friends wearing them)! One of my dear friends was totally stuck on what to name her second daughter with her second husband, and her first daughter came up with the perfect name for them. I love so much that she helped name her sibling. And now they have another daughter and the whole family chose her name.
Abby makes some great points about how the names on your list may or may not fit with the sibs. If you’re looking for ways to trim down, I’d also strike out Lily as it repeats with your initial, and kinda close to Elise. My fave is definitely Stella. And I know I just said above that I think you should choose from your list, but what about Posey? Could be Piper-Rose nn Posey?
Veronica, Elise, Chloe, Hudson & Posey
Have you talked to your stepkids about how they feel about their hyphenated surnames? Especially Veronica with the three syllables? If it were me, I think I’d lean towards a new name, not shared by anyone else. My nieces have different surnames, their parents chose each by what worked best with their first name, and I can tell you there is a lot of “I’m in the this name camp vs this name camp” (they’re teenagers.) Also, I gave my first daughter my surname as second middle, but gave my second daughter a maternal family name as her second middle, and recently there were tears over that. So. If you all have different surnames, maybe that’s your pattern. Give her something no one else has. Whether that’s a hyphen of mom+dad or a smoosh or a totally new name. It’s hard without knowing all the surnames but wouldn’t it be brilliant to have a name that smooshed ALL the surnames?
Good luck! Can’t wait for this update!
Okay I LOVE this. What about two middle names? So for example Stella Wilson Miller Jones-Smith. Just keep in mind that the first and middle names must total less than 24 characters to fit on the US Passport Card. My kids have first middle middle dad-mom, and multiple middle names are more and more common.
I like Stella or Naomi from your list.
I love Stella and think it fits perfectly with the older siblings’ names. While I like the idea of the brand-new surname suggestion (Rose or Lilly), I think I’d like it better if she weren’t the only one who’d wear it. Good luck with your new baby! How exciting for your family!
Can I float an out-of-the-box surname idea? It struck me that both Lily and Rose seem to be especially popular with your crew and both of those names are also sometimes surnames (although I think Lily is more often spelled Lilly as a surname). You could use one of those as your daughter’s surname. She wouldn’t share it with any older siblings, but her siblings would have had a role in choosing it, so in that way, it would connect her with all of them equally and could be really special. It’d be a family name if the family chose it together. Either your surname or your husband’s (or both!) could be a middle name if it’s important to you to link generations that way. Genevieve Smith Rose? Juliet Jones Lilly? Maybe a new-to-you surname feels all wrong with your family, but I thought I’d mention it, in case it fits.
Best wishes to your growing family!
I really like this idea!
I like all of Abby’s suggestions! A hyphenated name, if that feels right to you, marks this baby’s unique position in your family as all of the other last names do.
Stella is also my favorite from your list. It’s another sweet spot name – known but not as commonly used yet. I like the s sound like Elise since Verónica and Chloe share a hard c.
Here some others to consider:
Lila or Lola
I agree with Abby that hyphenating the last name feels like the way to go, but mostly I would stick with your own list of first names. That’s just because it feels more meaningful for the siblings to be involved in picking a name, particularly in a blended family. I like to say all the names together to pick what sounds best. Personally I like:
Chloe, Hudson, Veronica, Elise and Kinsley
Chloe, Hudson, Veronica, Elise and Piper
Chloe, Hudson, Veronica, Elise and Stella
Chloe, Hudson, Veronica, Elise and Juliet nn Jewel as suggested by FE
I think Kinsley and Piper being surnames ties Hudson in a bit more rather than making Kinsley or Piper stand out.
However, I agree Stella feels particularly special being brainstormed by the family at Christmas.
I think the hyphen-hyphen question comes down to : Do you like very long names on very small children?
It seems like you all really like flower names, but I think Daisy goes best with the rest of the children’s names.
“That’s just because it feels more meaningful for the siblings to be involved in picking a name, particularly in a blended family.” This is a really good point. And at that point, any names you considered on that day do fit with the style of the family’s names, by virtue of the family deciding on them together.
Maybe you’re right; as long as everyone liked the names that made the working list I think I could agree.
I just keep thinking of my step-son wanting to name baby #2 Junior, which my husband and I immediately shot down.
Naomi and Stella are my favorites from your list, and from Abby’s, I love Genevieve. And I love Jewel for a middle name– so sweet! Congratulations and best wishes to your entire family.
I like Naomi and Lily from your original brainstorming list! I like the idea of using your last name or both names as a combo or a hyphen since you’re the only one who has it in the family, but it’s up to you! I like Abbys suggestions of Gemma and Maren, and you may also want to consider the name June! It seems to suit your style more than Jewel, but it has the same sound.
I like Naomi from the brainstorm day! Lily is a sweet name too. I like Abby’s suggestions of Gemma and Maren. I’ll also throw out the suggestion of June!
Stella was the one I thought fit best as v well.
How about Juliet? I like that all names would have different endings, and I think Juliet overlaps in style with several of the names on your list. You could even use Jewel as a nickname
Veronica, Elise, Chloe, Hudson & Juliet.