Name Help: Cousins Emmie & EvieUpdate: They stuck with Emmeline Jean! Thanks to everyone for their input.

Clara writes:

My husband and I are expecting our second child in June. Our son is named Asa Bear, and goes by all variations of first and middle.

We don’t know the sex of our second baby yet, but have picked two perfect names – Forest Jude or Emmeline Jean (nn Emmie). My husband especially loves the name Emmie and I love seeing him say it with such obvious affection for a possible daughter. I love that Emmeline has an elegant, old school feel and is recognizable without being close to the top 100 (a personal naming rule of my own).

The problem? My sister will have a baby girl in January and is naming her Evangeline nn Evie. Both names would be pronounced line as in bovine. We live twelve hours apart and see each other maximum three times a year, but I’m still worried it’s too close. My husband disagrees and thinks cousins named Evie and Emmie that close in age is “adorable”.

Should we use a name that we love and have had picked for several years, with the misfortune to be pregnant a mere six months too late? If not, should we consider an alternative given name for Emmie or find another name altogether?

I am heartbroken at the thought of giving up a name that we love so much, but maybe there is a good alternative that we could learn to love.

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

Dear Clara –

Congratulations on your second child!

The short answer: you should use the name you love. Yes, even if it causes the occasional moment of confusion at a family reunion. The names might be a little close for siblings, but for cousins? Not at all.

But that’s not a very satisfying answer, so let’s dig in a little deeper.

Not so long ago, cousins routinely shared the same name, even when they lived in the same tiny town or on the same city block. Maybe they were both named for grandpa Bill, or maybe both parents just plain loved the name Mary. Families found ways around this, some graceful – one girl is Mary Anne while the other is Mae – and others less satisfying, like Big Bill and Little Bill. But no one thought that sharing names – even the identical name – was a problem.

In many respects, families have not changed. But our culture has shifted. Parents often prefer that their child’s name be unique, at least within their circle of friends and close family. That poses a problem, because we’re also unwilling to choose really unusual names. Yes to Vera and Eden, but Perpetua or Cayenne? Maybe not. And so our list of possibilities is winnowed with every passing year, because we used to work with that nice accountant who had granddaughters called Phoebe and Ember, or there’s that family at church with a Genevieve.

At these moments, we can go too far. Much too far! Because, after all, our close family members and friends often share our same taste in music and movies. We read the same books, travel to the same vacation destinations. It’s reasonable to imagine we’d like the same kinds of names. No surprise when Jake’s cousin is Nate, or when former college roommates both name their daughters Ava.

It’s worth noting that this might not be a problem at all. Asa Bear might end up big brother to Forrest Jude – a handsome and distinctive name.

But if it’s a girl, I’d still use Emmeline “Emmie” Jean because:

  • The girls (I assume) have different last names.
  • Your families see each other infrequently.
  • The names are similar, but far from identical.

About that last point: lots of girls will have similar names in their generation. Evie will go to school with girls named Evelyn and Ava. Emmie will probably know a few girls called Emma or Emerson or Millie. In other words, if you went out of your way to find a new name that was less like Evie, there’s a good chance your daughter would still share her name – at least a little bit – with other girls her age.

Stick with your favorite girl’s name. And I give you permission to shrug if anyone complains that your daughter and niece have names that are similar. If families can make Seniors and Juniors work, there’s no reason why Emmie and Evie can’t occasionally enjoy their close-in-age cousin with a name that is – I’ll agree with your husband here! – sweetly similar.

Readers, what say you? Are Emmie and Evie so close that they should reconsider their name choice?

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 go with adorable. Do you know if they’re calling her ev-ee or EE-vee? If it’s EE-vee, there will be even less confusion. Caveat: you might want to talk with your sister ahead of time about this, so she’s not surprised. My husband’s family has Christopher and Christian [same last name] born within 6 months of each other, and it’s not ever really been an issue.

  2. Use the name you love! They are different, and you always call your daughter Emmie Jean when she is hanging out with your family if you want to differentiate between the names further. Name were repeated in my father’s family; I have cousins with the same names, and I always loved having the same name as my favourite cousin.

  3. I’m completely with the chorus on this one: Not too close! Use the name you love! It is worthwhile to consider that while you might choose the nicknames Emmie and Evie, your daughter and niece might choose to go by Lina and Vangie later in life.

  4. I agree that maybe the names are too close for siblings, but definitely not for cousins. Emmeline Jean is a beautiful name, and I would not give it up. Plus, I am on your husband’s side: Evie and Emmie are adorable together as cousins! The names are not too similar at all.

  5. I don’t think they are too close at all. Use the name you love the most or you will probably have regrets. In 2016 my we had a girl and a couple months before my husbands cousin had an Aria- for me it was a reason to cross one of my favorites off the list but I see now it really wouldn’t have been big deal. You’re concern is understandable but it’s not like your faviorite name was a Evangeline too, which would have been a lot harder….
    Stick with your fave!! Hopefully Emmie and Evie will be best friends for years to come.

  6. I know twins named Emmie and Evie, I think Emmanuelle and Evangeline, but I’m not 100% sure on the full names. It’s not too matchy for them. I say go for it!

  7. Definitely use Emmeline (Emmie)! I think it’s nice that the girls will have similar names. It might even be something to bond over. 🙂 And even if it’s not, who cares? You love the name, use it!