Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Most Saturdays one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We have a 6 year old daughter, Eleanor Rae, and a nearly 4 year old son, Charles Andrew. They’re called Ellie and Charlie. We planned for just one more, but guess what? We’re having twins!
I’m due in late December, but will probably deliver earlier.
We never gave our kids’ names a lot of thought. I’d always liked Eleanor and Charles. They were the names we talked about when I was pregnant with Ellie, and when we found out our second was a boy, we knew immediately he would be Charlie.
The only other name we’ve talked about is Elizabeth, but with an Ellie already, that seems confusing. I like Alice but Ellie and Allie? If we hadn’t used Andrew for Charlie’s middle name, it would probably be our top choice, with the nickname Drew.
Our nieces and nephews are Jake, Liam, Colin, Gabrielle, Hailey, Morgan, and Brooke. Other names we can’t use include Max, James, Julian, Madeline, Sophia, Amelia, and Evelyn.
I would say we like traditional names with nicknames, but obvious nicknames, not Byron-called-Buster nicknames. Our last name starts with a W and ends with -er, is two-syllables, and is pretty common.
We just need some ideas to get started! Can you help?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear MJ –
Congratulations on your twins!
Plenty of parents have a favorite name or two. After they’ve used them, it can feel like there are no names left. It’s one of the reasons naming a second – or third or fourth! – child can feel like such a challenge.
I think the key is to realize that it takes time for a name to feel like The Name. When you’re busy raising children, sometimes you fall in love with the name after you’ve chosen it – and that’s perfectly fine.
The good news is that you do seem to have a clear idea of what you want. And while the list of names that are already taken is long(ish), it still leaves lots of names that feel like good matches.
I did exclude a few traditionals without immediately obvious nicknames, like Henry. (Sure there’s Hank and Harry, too, but that’s not quite as easy as Charles-called-Charlie.)
Names for Girls
Margaret – Margaret boasts at least a dozen nicknames, but Maggie is probably the most obvious by today’s standards. Ellie and Maggie sound like sisters. Ellie, Charlie, and Maggie. I think it works.
Josephine – Along the same lines, Josephine shortens to all sorts of creative things. Josie is the equivalent of Maggie in this case, and works for all the same reasons.
Edith – Would Edith called Edie be a possibility? I’m not sure if Ellie and Edie feel too close to you. Some families try to avoid repeating a first initial; others don’t mind. I think Ellie and Edie are sweet together, and not too similar.
Katherine – The more ideas I came up with, the more I realized I was using all ends-in-ie names. Is that a problem? Katherine might be Katie, but it could also shorten to just Kate.
Louisa – On my search for girls’ names that easily shortened to a non-id-ending nickname, I thought about Louisa. Louisa becomes Lou or even Lulu. I really like the sound of Ellie, Charlie, and Lou.
Names for Boys
Theodore – It was so much easier to find non-ie-ending boy names! Theodore could be Teddy, but I think Theo is the go-to nickname.
William – Do you mind the idea of alliteration between your first and last names? I think William W—er works nicely, as does Will W—er, but it’s a personal choice.
Alexander – Or maybe Alex? The strength of Alex is that it feels very traditional, but that ‘x’ makes it distinctive. And, as the mom of an Alexander-called-Alex, I promise you that it is the go-to nickname.
Nathaniel – Likewise, Nathaniel tends to shorten to Nate. You probably wouldn’t want to choose Katherine and Nathaniel – Kate and Nate! – but Nate pairs well with lots of other names on this list, including Ellie and Charlie.
Joseph – Joseph is so traditional that I think we tend to overlook it, unless we’re actually naming our sons after grandpa Joe. But it’s a great name, a classic worn by many accomplished men. Ellie, Charlie, and Joe are great together, and Joe pairs nicely with all of the girls’ options, except, of course, Josephine.
I’m having a tough time picking my favorites for you, but I think I’ll go with Margaret and Theodore. Ellie, Charlie, Maggie, and Theo. Each child has a separate first initial, which can be helpful for labeling things. And the names share the same style without feeling similar in any way.
Readers, I know you’ll have some great suggestions for MJ and her family. What would you name a brother and sister for Eleanor “Ellie” and Charles “Charlie”?
I LOVE Maggie (and Rosie and Josie), but I also think Abby (Abigail) could work well.
Wilhelmina and Howard, nn Minnie and Howie. Actually I think you have several great choices for a nn for Wilhelmina. I just love Howard and Wilhelmina together.
Nathan and Harriet, Nate and Hattie. A little on the nose for (child) lit lovers but also kind of irresistible because of that.
Kelsey D says
Ah I forgot to say I like Beatrice and Oliver. Bea and Ollie.
Kelsey D says
I love with Eleanor and Margaret. Ellie and Maggie.
I also love Eleanor and Rosalind. Or Rosamund. Ellie and Rose/Rosie. We have a Rose and absolutely love her name.
What about Vivienne? Viv or Vienna or Vienne are all super cute shortened names.
We also have a Juliet and love her name. Jules is a cute nn.
Eleanore and Louisa are a nice pairing as well.
Rosalind and Edmund or Rosamund and Edward are smashing twin pairs… that are sort of matchy but not too much.
I also love George and Theodore.
What about Maxwell? Nn Max or Wells.
Franklin or Frederick are cute. Frankie or Fritz are super cute nn
I love Walter, Charlie and Walt. Super super cute.
Good luck and keep us posted!!
Abigail — Abby
Anne — Annie
Beatrice — Bea
Caroline — Carrie
Genevieve — Gennie, Jenny
Penelope — Nell, Penny
Philippa — Pippa
Rosalind — Rosie
Theresa — Tess
Victoria — Tori
Virginia — Ginny
Anthony — Tony
Edmund — Ned, Teddy
Francis — Frank
Franklin — Frank
Frederick — Freddie, Rick
Henry — Hal, Hank, Harry
Tobias — Toby
Vincent — Vin
Wallace — Wally
Winston — Win
Oh my goodness! Congratulations on twins! I have to say I love Lou, or Lulu. But, if you like Elizabeth, she could always go by Libby. Then it wouldn’t be too close to Ellie’s name, maintain the alliterative y ending, but you wouldn’t have to lose the regal, and beautiful name you’ve already fallen for. As for your little boy, I would think Samuel (Sammy, Sam), Thomas (Tommy), William(Willy, Liam) Ellie, Charlie, Libby, and Sammy. So very adorable.By now, you’ve already chosen a name, but regardless of what you chose, I hope you are enjoying family time!
C in DC says
Sarah, nn Sally
Annabel, nn Annie (or any other Anne name)
Edward, nn Ted or Ed (I like Edward better than Theodore with Charles)
Harriet, nn Hettie/Hattie
Juliet, nn Jules
Magdalena, nn Maggie or Lena
Robert, nn Bert
Alfred, nn Freddie or Fred
George/Geordie or Georgia/Georgina/Georgette nn Gigi (or Gette)
Francis/Franklin or Frances/Francesca/Francine
Adele (no NN needed, but Addie would work) or Adeline
Hazel (no NN needed, although Hayley or Zellie would work)
Philip (Flip) or Philippa (Pippa) or Piper
Ruth or Ruthanne
Congratulations on your twins! And congratulations on the beautiful classic names you chose for your first two!
Here are my favorites for you:
Rosemary Alice nn Rosie
Mary Adelaide nn Addie or just call her Mary! Beautiful!
(I love all these evergreen boys names: Philip, John , Joseph. Henry, Louis, George. You can’t go wrong with almost any combination!)
Disclaimer: My kids’ names are somewhat similar to yours and I love Rae as a girl’s mid name. They are:
Joseph Anthony Phillip nn Joe. Never called Joey. Named after a favorite uncle.
Annalie Charlotte nn Annie.
Charles Kieran nn Charlie.
Lots of great choices. I really like Eleanor, Charles, Samuel & Katherine. Ellie, Charlie, Sam & Kit (I also like Kate), but I like how Ellie & Charlie have matching endings and Sam & Kit are both three letter nicknames.
I’ll add Jackson “Jack”, Benjamin “Ben, Finley “Finn”, Nicholas “Cole, and Oliver “Ollie”.
I’ll also add Adeline “Addie or Andie”, Grace “Gracie”, Lillian “Lily”, Annabel “Annie or Belle”, or Olivia “Liv/Livvie”.
Katherine called Kitty. Then you could have Katherine and Nathaniel, Kitty and Nate. 🙂
The Mrs. says
Peter nn Pete
James nn Jem, Jamie, Jims
Philip nn Phil
Thomas nn Tommy, Tom
Simon nn Si
Dorothea nn Dot, Thea
Frances nn Franny
Maryanne nn Mary
Meredith nn Merry
Sarah nn Sadie
Beatrice nn Bea
Viola nn Vi
Katherine I think is the perfect suggestion with nn Kate
Miriam nn. Mary
Annabelle nn. Annie
Bethany nn. Beth (Also Elizabeth could shorten to this)
Rebecca nn. Becky or Becca
Amelia nn. Amy
I know a girl named rosemary who goes by rosie which is really cute.
Maybe you could shorten Alyssa to Alice
I liked William the best. I think Will W–er is nice.
David nn. Dave
Michael nn. Mike
Daniel nn. Danny or Dan
Timothy nn. Timmy or Tim
Nicholas, Christopher and Benjamin were great suggestions too I think. Very traditional with obvious nicknames
Eleanor and Charles are both British royal names (Eleanor of Aquitaine might be the only royal but she’s extraordinary), as are many of the other suggestions. I’d let that be the unifier and place to look for more inspiration.
As well as Elizabeth and Katherine there’s:
Matilda nn Mattie
Anne nn Annie
Mary (no obvious nickname but a great name)
As well as Charles and William and Andrew:
Henry nn Hal or Hank or…
James nn Jamie
There’s lots more!! Good luck!!
From what’s already been suggested I think I like Theodore nn Teddy or Theo the best for boys or Nathaniel/Nathan nn Nate. I’m having a hard time choosing between all the suggestions for girls! I really like Katherine, Josephine, and Margaret. I think Kate and Theo would make a nice set.
Robert nn Robbie
Benjamin nn Ben
Walter/Walden nn Wally
Gabriel nn Gabe
Nicholas nn Nick or Cole
Christopher nn Chris
Zachary nn Zach
Lucille nn Lucy
Ann/Annalise nn Annie
Rosalie nn Rose
Caroline nn Carly
Gwendolyn nn Gwen/Winnie
Winifred nn Winnie
Margaret (Maggie) seems perfect to me! Louisa (Lulu), and Catherine (Kate), Frances (Frankie, Francie), and Genevieve (Genna or Evie) would also work well. For boys I like Thomas, Henry, Oliver, and Leo.
Lucille/Lucy and Oliver/Ollie is my vote!
Otherwise some other ideas:
Benjamin or Bennett, nn Ben or Benny
Elijah, nn Eli
Lillian nn Lily
Vivian nn Viv or Vivi
I like the suggested Samuel, William and Margaret too.
Charlotte @ To Harriet Louise says
I like a lot of your suggestions, especially Margaret and Josephine.
Samuel nicknamed Sam was the first thing that came to mind. I also like Patrick nn Patch and Thomas nn Tom. Felicity (Tilly if they want a nn) and Rosemary nn Rose, too. My favorites would probably be Samuel and Rosemary. Ellie, Charlie, Sam, and Rose.
Also wanted to add that I think Elizabeth is fine with Eleanor. There’s always Liz or Eliza, neither of which feel too close to Ellie to me. Ellie, Charlie, Sam, and Eliza. Ellie, Charlie, Sam, and Liz.
I’m on board with a lot of these suggestions! Sam seems like a great brother for Ellie and Charlie. Elizabeth/Elisabeth has so many potential nicknames, as mentioned above – Betty and Betsy make great additions to the list, I think!
Sam and Betsy!