CA writes:

I’m writing because you helped us with our last son’s name dilemma and we’re expecting again and would love some help this time around too! 

In the end, he became Aleks@nder Bl@ise Louie, often called Bl@ise Louie. It’s a name that has a lot of meaning for us and we went with the more informal Louie so that it would get pronounced the way we intended. It suits him well!

Now we’re expecting a little girl – our fifth and definitely final baby – in May. Girl names come easier for us, but we’re getting close and still haven’t settled on The Name for her. After the challenges of Bl@ise Louie’s naming adventure, I’d really like to be settled before she comes. The other three kids were named well in advance, so I feel like we’re starting to cut it close again.

Our family blends two cultures and languages – American (English) and Czech.

Since we live in Prague, we have to adhere to Czech naming laws, which means an approved name and since there are no middle names, any middle we want will have to be a double first name. Obviously, double names work for us, luckily!


We’ve narrowed down our list to the following main names, which we seem to love equally in turn depending on the day.

Anna Klara – Our newest name discovery, and I like how it’s similar, but different, to my own name. Ann variations are a family theme. We’ve always liked Clara/Klara, though it is similar to an older daughter’s name. (Starts with a C and ends in a.) Maybe Anna Klara sidesteps that? Klara is also pronounced a bit differently in English and Czech. Annie is a sweet nickname though!

Augusta – A long time favorite and it fits our love of old world, pan-European, slightly royal names. Maybe a bit fusty and pronounced differently in our languages. We don’t love the nicknames other than August, but we have loved August for a girl for a long time too (but love Augusta in full even more)! I also don’t think people would nickname Augusta as quickly as they would for Augustine or August on a boy.

Hazel – Definitely more popular than we normally go with, and the most non-European name on our list. I’m not sure how saturated it is back in the US (where we’ll likely end up raising her). It is also very close in sound to Bl@ise, especially considering their small age gap. However it’s packed with meaning for our family and we’ve loved it for a long time.

Helena – This seems to tick all the boxes for us, including being a family name. And fortunately it’s pronounced the same for both of us, or at least the Czech pronunciation is the same as how I intuitively pronounce it in English: basically, Helen-uh. We like the nicknames too, especially Nell or Nella. But it feels a bit buttoned-up and something has held us back from saying it’s The Name (though it certainly could be… as they all could, it seems!)

Adelaide – A new possibility, called Adela for short, though we think it doesn’t outshine our other choices.

Ingrid – Last, but not least, this is our longest favorite. It’s about as common in the Czech Republic as in the US and so crosses our cultures and languages just as effortlessly as Helena. I think this is the name my husband would go with still. However, I’ve gotten cold feet. Maybe it’s the lack of an -a sound in there, which warms up most names to me?


Names we’re considering include Agnes, Annemarie, Aveline, Beatrice, Catherine, Juliette, Noemie, and Pearl.


Names we can’t or won’t use include Astrid, Greta, Ines, Katerina, Magdalen(a)/Magda , Martina, Susannah/Zuzana, Sylvia/Sylvie, Teresa/Tessa, Vera, Veronika/Veronica, and Viktoria/Victoria.

I’m not sure if we’ve found the name or if there’s something else out there? Depending on the day, I feel like any one of them could be perfect, so I think we’ve probably got a good list and maybe just need a fresh perspective?

Thank you so much for any thoughts or help you might have!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

When I talk with families who name their children across a dozen years or more, two things often stand out.

First, our tastes definitely shift, at least a little. But second – and this is where the challenge comes in – the considerations that applied when we named those first children are still factors now, and we tend to want some family cohesion.

There’s a lightness to the girls’ names you love best, and that seems like it hasn’t changed over all these years. Finding a name that works across languages and cultures remains a priority. From your current lists – both of the names you’re actively considering, as well as the ones you’ve already ruled out or put in the middle name only category – it’s tough to think of anything truly new.

So let’s rank the names you’re currently considering, because I feel like the right choice is probably already here.



I’m not sure how I’d rank this name independently, but you’ve mentioned it’s lower on your personal list, so I’m going to move on, too.


I want to love Ingrid. It’s perfect! Ingrid checks every cross-culture/classic/familiar/not too popular box and has so much strength and character, too. But it feels like it’s not really your vibe. The two nicknames I’m aware of are traditional Inga and modern invention Indie. I triple-checked Nordic Names to make sure I hadn’t missed some fabulous Scandinavian option, but no. It would be perfect for almost exactly your family, but I feel like it just barely missed the mark.


Augusta is similar to Ingrid, isn’t it? It’s waiting on several royal family trees, a pan-European name with history to spare. Also like Ingrid, though, there’s something slightly heavy about Augusta. Take away the final -a and August is a completely different name. But Augusta feels a little more serious. Regarding nicknames, they’re certainly something you can try to avoid – and many, many parents do! But my impulse to shorten Augusta to Aggie is strong. (Maybe that’s me?)


Just like Ingrid, Helena strikes me as practically perfect. It’s a family name. Pronunciation is shared across both languages. And you agree on a potential short form. (Nell/Nella is just darling!) Is it buttoned-up? I guess so. Maybe I think of Helen as the most tailored, serious version of the name and the Latinate Helena as a little more fanciful. One possible reason: the love-struck Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Shakespeare also used the name for a character in All’s Well That Ends Well, and I think she’s the more interesting of the two.) I would probably rank Helena higher, but I’m factoring in your hesitation.


Because Helena gives you pause, I’m bumping Hazel up one spot on my list. Drawbacks: I do think she’ll share her name – at least occasionally – in the US. And I agree that Bl@ise and Hazel overlap in terms of sound. But I think it’s a good choice for you, nonetheless – a strong, appealing image. One question: how easy/difficult would this name be in Czech? If it’s on your list, I’m assuming it’s wearable – but is it more/less wearable than your older children’s names and is that a potential issue?


That leaves Anna Klara, and it’s the name I was immediately drawn to while reading your list. It picks up on your family tradition of using Ann- names, including in your full name. Klara sounds like a sister for your older children – traditional, European, but with a lightness, too. (I mean … Klara literally means bright or light.) While it’s newer to your list, I don’t think that’s a drawback at all. Anna Klara feels like the kind of name you would only arrive at after considering lots of other names, if that makes sense. And there’s some really appealing balance to having a youngest child’s name echo your own in a subtle manner.


Other names I considered don’t really rise above Anna Klara, to be honest. But just for the sake of mentioning them:

  • Cecilia/Cecilie – I feel like Cecilia and Helena appear on the same lists of classic girls’ names, at least in English. But I’m not clear on Czech pronunciation.
  • Eva/Evalina – Because Aveline is on your middle name list – and because so many parents seeking crossover names arrive at Eva – I wonder if Eva/Evalina has come up?
  • Justine/Justyna – It’s not as regal as Augusta, but there’s a similar sound.
  • Sabina/Sabine – One of my favorite big-in-Europe, seldom-heard-in-the-US names that I feel like American parents should import more often.

So Anna Klara, called Annie or Klara or any combination of those names gets my vote. Would you still add a middle name? I’m assuming the answer is yes. My favorites are:

  • Anna Klara Noemie
  • Anna Klara Juliette
  • Anna Klara Catherine

I like the fanciful, romance language lift that Noemie or Juliette add to Anna Klara. But something traditional like Catherine could be great, too.

Readers, over to you! What would you suggest for an American-Czech crossover name?

Get new posts sent to your inbox!
Don’t miss out! Subscribe and get all the new posts first.

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful post and so many helpful thoughts and comments! I’m actually surprised how much love Anna Klara has gotten, particularly since it was a recent addition! We definitely have a lot to think through in the next few weeks, including pondering some great suggestions. We’ll let you know when she’s here and named (which will hopefully be before she arrives)!

  2. I feel like Anna Klara is a winner for you. I wondered if Hazel could work as a middle for it: Anna Klara Hazel? Since Hazel is a meaningful family name, it’s the perfect choice for a middle, and avoids the popularity and similarity to older brother’s name issues.

  3. I wondered if an ends-in-a second name might lighten Ingrid for you? Ingrid Anna as a double name is lovely, and you could still use Annie as a nickname. And, if you were to add a bonus middle name … Ingrid Anna Klara is delightful!

  4. I think Anna Klara perfectly blends Czech and American naming sensibilities. It sounds Czech but it’s perfectly recognizeable in English speaking countries. And honoring mom with the last child’s name is so cute.

  5. I ADORE both Ingrid and Helena. They were high on my lists too. And part of what I love is that can trend formal (Justice Ingrid…) and also seem at home playing barefoot in a creek. To me, that adaptability is part of the benefit.

    For Ingrid, I had wondered about Greta as a nn. A bit of a stretch but better than Alexander/Sacha kind of swing. I saw Greta on your liked by unusable list as a formal first but Ingrid nn Greta may overcome the obstacle.

    1. Greta for Ingrid is really, really interesting – I think it works! And nice point about how versatile the name feels …

  6. I think your naming ideas are great – love Anna Klara and also Ingrid. I have used Sabina and Justina as characters in my fantasy novel for kids 10-12, yet to be published, so I like those two as well. I also have an Agnes in my book (one of your middle name choices). Just wanted to add these additional names for you: Nina (this is my nickname & I think it works well as a given name too), Kaja, Mara, Nikolina, Paulina, Tatiana, Renata, Eliska, and Hana. Sending best wishes to you & your family!