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 have a son named Sebastian and twin daughters named Victoria and Aurelia. Now we’re expecting our fourth child. We’re team green this time (as we have boy and girl gear ready to go, LOL!) but it’s making finding a name doubly hard.
If it’s a boy, we’re pretty set on Julian, though we like Augustine/Augustus a lot, too.
But I don’t want to repeat initials. (I’m one of four kids, all with R names, because my parents both had R names. Love my family, but no thank you!)
Girls we’re stumped. While we like long names and use cute nicknames at home, we call our kids by their full names in public. So don’t want something that feels like it would be shortened. (Worried with Victoria but hasn’t happened.)
Plus, feeling this is a girl!
Names we considered:
Evangeline – but I like -a ending names better, maybe?
Isabella – too popular? Almost Aurelia’s name
Liliana – but don’t know how to spell it, and feel like it would just be Lily
What haven’t we thought of that would be perfect?
Read on for my response and please share your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Rachel –
Congratulations on your new baby!
It can be hard enough finding one name you love, so I completely understand why it’s even tougher to settle on two – knowing you’ll only use one of them. But I think Julian checks every box for a son – it’s a good match for your older kids’ names, and it doesn’t repeat initials. And while I’m sure it can be shortened, to Jules and Juju and lots of other nicknames, it really doesn’t need to be.
Now let’s pause on the initials-repeating question. I hear you loud and clear on having everyone share the same initial. But you have S, V, and A so far. It seems like you could repeat one of those without feeling trapped in a pattern – or even having anyone notice that the names repeat.
I’ve avoided those letters, along with R, for my list. But if you stumble across a name like Saskia or Veronica or Arcadia and feel like it’s meant to be your daughter’s name? I wouldn’t hesitate.
On to the suggestions!
LONG, LYRICAL GIRL NAMES
Cecilia – A flowing name with a lovely, liquid sound, it’s easy to imagine Cecilia being used in full, without a nickname.
Cordelia – A name everyone recognizes, but nearly no one is using, literary Cordelia seems like a great fit with Victoria and Aurelia style-wise … but maybe these ends-with-lia names are too close to Aurelia?
Davina – A feminine form of David, Davina is relatively uncommon in the US. But it’s unlikely to be shortened, and it sounds just right with your kids’ names.
Felicity – You’ve mentioned a preference for -a ending girl names, but maybe Felicity is that name worth making an exception?
Linnea – I agree that Liliana presents a spelling challenge, but how about Linnea? Also known as the twinflower, it’s named for botanist Carolus Linnaeus.
Mariana – Maybe Mariana shares the same issue as Liliana – spelling. But someone Mariana feels like less of an challenge. It’s elaborate and romantic, the perfect sister for Aurelia and Victoria.
Ophelia – If popularity weren’t a concern, I imagine Olivia might’ve been on your list. (But it’s the #1 name for girls in the US right now, so … maybe that rules it out?) I’m suggesting Ophelia instead, with the bonus that it seems very unlikely to be shortened.
Theodora – Theodore is a fast-rising favorite for our sons, and now Theadora is gaining attention for girls, too.
Overall, my favorite is Davina.
I think it hits the same familiar, but not wildly popular note as Aurelia. It’s not likely to be shortened. It doesn’t repeat an initial.
And, of course, if it leaves the door open to naming a future son Julian, should that come to pass.
But let’s open it up to the community, because I know readers will have some great suggestions.
Clementine, Matilda or Marigold!
Octavia seems like a perfect fit to me. Great names by the way!
(Written before reading Abby’s ideas or other comments)
First of all, I think Julian is a perfect choice for a boy in this sibset. Excellent match! Sebastian and Julian both end the same way and have that international flair, but have a different number of syllables, a different starting initial, and all different letters in the beginning. Love it. It’s just the right name.
For a girl…
Inspired by Liliana: Mariana. I had a coworker who went by Mariana in full. We all pronounced it Mair-ee-ah-nuh. Each A had a different sound.
If you love Isabella, go for it. Popularity is a factor to consider, but the possibility of meeting another child with the same name (a possibility with most names) doesn’t outweigh a strong personal preference. Isabella has a beautiful sound, and its A ending matches the other girls’ names.
If not Isabella, maybe Bellamy. It doesn’t end with A, but it has 3 syllables and the Bella sound, it’s not as popular, and it starts with a fresh initial.
I imagine you’ve already considered Evangelina? Or Angelina (but it repeats an initial). Or Evelina.
I notice all the older children’s names are accented on the second syllable. It might be fun to continue the trend if you find a name you love in that category.
Celestine (similar meaning category to Aurelia – golden/halo/dawn/sky/heaven)
Julienne (If you like Julian for a boy, but this is your last child and turns out to be a girl, you could feminize it to Julienne. But there is the carrot-cut reference. Not a big deal to me, though.)
Why not Juliana?
Also: Bibiana, Calista, Cassandra, Christabel, Christiana, Clarissa, Corinna, Cressida, Diotima, Eloisa, Eloise, Emmaline, Eulalia, Eulalie, Flavia, Florencia, Francesca, Georgiana, Geneva, Genevieve, Ginevra, Ianthe, Isadora, Jacquetta, Jessamyn, Jocelyn, Jordana, Kassiani, Lorelei, Lucasta, Luciana, Mariella, Marina, Marissa, Millicent, Nerissa, Oriana, Persephone, Philomena, Priscilla, Rosabel, Rosanna, Tatiana, Theresia, Theodosia, Zinaida.
Sarah Elizabeth says
I thought of my twin great-aunts names for you: Genevieve or Georgiana
I second Geneva, Cassia, and Catarina! All beautiful names with a classic vibe to them like Sebastian, Aurelia, and Victoria are, but much less common. Lucia is gorgeous too, but very popular. Maybe Lucinda instead of Lucia?
From Abby’s list, I love Theodora, Mariana, and Cecilia.
I love long, frilly, classic girls’ names too. lol
Helena (pronunciation could be an issue though. I prefer Hel-ay-na, but could deal with Hel-ee-na. Not a fan of Helen-ah)
Juliana (since you have Julian as your boys’ pick, which I love btw)
Lilia (my favorite all-time girls’ name and easier to spell than Liliana)
Marina (similar to Mariana, but less chance of being misspelled)
Gabrielle/Gabriella (I prefer Gabrielle. Less common and more likely to be called by her full name than Gabriella)
I also thought of Evangelina right away, but I assume you already thought about adding an A (maybe it gets too long??)
So we’re avoiding R, S, V, A… and maybe T if you call Victoria ‘Tori’, and B if you call Sebstian ‘Bash/Baz’, at home? And maybe O cause Aurelia has that sound to start… And J in case you have a Julian in future..
I vote Cordelia from Abby’s list – I know it technically repeats the -lia ending, but I say Aurelia O-RAIL-YA. Phillipa and Natalia are great suggestions.
But I get a more timeless/global vibe from your set, so how about:
Sebastian, Victoria, Aurelia & Geneva
Sebastian, Victoria, Aurelia & Cassia
Sebastian, Victoria, Aurelia & Lucia
Sebastian, Victoria, Aurelia & Catarina
Zena Eve says
Emilia, Miranda, Odessa, and Leona were the first few to pop in my head. All have nickname potential but are also frequently used in full on their own. I like Miranda a lot because it means “wonderful, to be admired” and you don’t hear it too often.
I love your choice of Julian for a boy!
Kirstin G says
Congratulations! I like the idea of continuing the -a endings. Here’s a few suggestions.
Isadora is so gorgeous. It feels like a good substitute for Isabella.
I wouldn’t go with another name ending in lia although I like Cecelia and Cordelia. And I’m glad you’re not looking to repeat an initial.
My faves from both of your lists are:
A few others:
Carina (love the meaning)
I think my fave might Estella or Carina.
Love Davina, Evelina and suggesting Olympia. Gorgeous !!
I like the theme between Victoria, Aurelia, and Olympia.
I second Evangeline, Felicity and Cecilia. Felicity is particularly good for avoiding nicknames. Other ideas:
Penelope, Genevieve, Isadora, Magnolia or Christiana.
I love Abby’s suggestions and agree that one overlapping initial probably wouldn’t be noticeable. If you’re committed to no repeats, maybe:
Katrina (or Katarina)
And if you’re willing to stretch the initials rule…
Seraphina** (to me, Sebastian, Victoria, Aurelia, and Seraphina sound SO lovely together)
Julianna (although this would probably make Julian a non-starter if you plan on having more children)
If Julian is your boy name perhaps:
Instead of Evangeline perhaps:
Evangelina, Evelina, Esmerelda, or Serafina
Instead of Isabella perhaps:
Isolda, Bellamy, Mirabelle/Mirabella, or Christabel
Pretty flowery names
Bellaflor, Rozabella, Rosalinda, or Rosalia
Lobelia, Camelia, Floriana, Jacinta/Xacinta
From Abbey’s list I quite like Cecilia, Cordelia, Mariana (though I’m partial to Marietta), and Ophelia (a LONG time favorite). I would probably go with Theodosia over Theodora.
I love Vel’s suggestion of Helena. Along those lines, I might consider Eleanor.
Have you considered Octavia? It’s a powerful, Latinate name just like Victoria and Aurelia. It also perfectly combines the vowel forward style of Aurelia with the strong vee sound from Victoria.
Eloise (and while I think of it, I know of a little Eloisia)
And if repeating an initial is a rule that can be broken for the right name, there’s
Adelaide or Susannah
Love Abby’s suggestions of Felicity and Mariana!
I suggest Helena, Marina, Lydia, Natalia, and Gemma.
Julie G says
Oh, and I like Davina a lot, too!
Julie G says
I came up with a short list before I read Abby’s reply and we only matched on one name, but it is a beautiful name….
Lyra (not long, but so pretty)
Evangelina was my first thought as well.