Update: Welcome to the world, Ruby Helen! Kara writes: I liked the idea of Ruth, maybe because it reminds me of Lucy, a name we ruled out because it’s basically part of our last name. At first, I thought Ruby was maybe too modern, but it was my husband’s favorite after reading it on this list. She was going to be Ruby Irene, which we love, but then we realized her initials would’ve been RID, so we made a switch to Ruby Helen at the last minute.
Our fourth baby is due at the end of October, and nothing seems right!
It’s a girl. We already have:
Alice Mary – Middle name is for my husband’s grandmother.
Jack Henry – No real reason for either name, we just loved it.
Levi Michael – My brother, Michael, passed away shortly before Levi was born.
Here are my rules:
- No nicknames. Call ’em what they’re named. I don’t want a name that sounds like a nickname, either, like Ellie or Lulu. I know that Jack is technically a nickname, but that doesn’t bother me. Maybe because it’s not cutesy?
- Nothing that ends with ‘a’ because our last name is Italian, and ends with a. It sounds like D+Luca. People always say it’s fine, but I just don’t like the sound of Clara D+Luca or Emma D+Luca.
- Nothing too weird. It’s just not for us. I want a name people know.
- But, of course, nothing TOO common. Emma was my favorite name for years and years, but I could never do it now, even if it worked better with our last name.
- I don’t want to repeat initials, either, so no K (for me), N (for husband), or A, J, or L.
- The name should have one spelling only. Introducing myself as Kara-with-a-K got old by first grade.
Names we’ve considered, but don’t work:
- Kate – Because I’m Kara.
- Margo/Margot – The whole silent ‘t’ thing trips me up. But if we don’t use it, she’s Margo-no-t.
- Claire – Or would it be Clare?
- Lucy – Too close to our last name, and repeats Levi’s first initial.
I feel like we’re stuck. Help!
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful responses in the comments.
Dear Kara –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
It sounds like you know exactly what you want – but that doesn’t mean the process of finding it will be easy.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about something.
You’ve got a lot of rules!
That can be a good thing, because it creates a very short list.
But it can also be limiting. What happens if you find a name you love, but it conflicts with a rule? I’d almost always suggest you use the name you love anyway.
Or maybe finding that elusive name that meets your criteria AND you kinda-sorta like will be enough? Some families seem to take the latter approach, and I think it can work just fine.
So I’m going to focus on finding names that conform to your rules, but I do think it worth considering if some of your rules were made to be broken – at least for this baby.
Eden – I’d call Alice gently old-fashioned, so I’m not sure if Eden feels like too much of a style switch? It’s a modern favorite, closer to Levi and Jack than Alice, perhaps. But I think it satisfies your criteria and feels different from the rest of the family’s names.
Grace – Nickname-proof Grace hits all the marks. Bonus? It seems like a style-match for every one of your older kids’ names. It’s even close to Kate, but without repeating an initial. One possible downside? Grace has appeared in – or just outside of – the US Top 20 ever since the year 2000. I don’t find it too common, but, of course, that really depends on how many little Graces you know.
Helen – I always think of Helen and Alice as sisters. Theyr’e tailored, but feminine; vintage, but not too antique. While Alice has returned to the US Top 100, Helen remains relatively rare – but no one could ever argue that it’s not a name instantly recognized and easily spelled.
Irene – File Irene with Helen. It’s ready for rediscovery!
Pearl – Some short names, like Grace and Rose, are nickname-proof, and yet, it’s common to hear them extended to Gracie and Rosie. Pearl, on the other hand, is far more likely to be just Pearl.
Rose – I’ve just mentioned one possible drawback to Rose – hearing your daughter called Rosie – and yet, I think it hits the instantly recognized, but not too popular mark exactly.
Overall, I think I like Grace best with Alice, Jack, and Levi. It seems like a style match that meets every point on your must-have list.
But now I’m wondering: is that enough? Or should you revisit names like Emma and Clara? It all comes down to personal preference, so there’s no right or wrong answer.
Readers, I’d love to know how you handled a surname that ends in ‘a’ – and what other names would you suggest for a sister to Alice, Jack, and Levi?
Alice/Ruby are my two middle names. Perfect sibset that I already know go together but are very different! Also love Marie, Maureen, Ruth, Rose
Zena Eve says
Opal, Rhiannon, Esme, Iris, Mary, Odette, Eve, Coral, Susan
Ruby for sure!!!! Or Gwen, Tess or Olive.
I have an Alice Kate. I have all girls but Levi was a name we chose for a boy. And NO nicknames. So we have a bit in common. My girls are Claire, Lilly, Alice, Madelyn (Maddie is not allowed).
My suggestions would be Ivy, June, Claire, Nora, Sybil, Ruth
Erin Beth says
Violet, Hazel, and Edith were my first thoughts for you.
Sticking with the rules because I like a good challenge:
Alice, Jack, Levi, and….
Belle, Coral, Darcy, Elaine, Faye, Gwen, Heidi, Irene, Mabel, Quinn, Olive, Ruby, Sybil, Trudy, Wendy
My personal favorites for them are: Gwen, Ruby, Trudy, and especially Wendy
Delphi (like British actress Delphi Lawrence)
I empathise with you…I had a ton of rules, the biggest being no repeating initials. I knew it was ruling out some great choices but I knew it would bug me so I stuck to them.
I think Grace and Helen are pretty darned perfect for you. I also like Pearl and Irene as well as reader suggestions Iris and Ivy. From your list, I would def go with Claire. And I love Margot (but prefer the t spelling).
I also think Phoebe or Daphne could work. Or perhaps Faye or Daisy or Bridget?
I do like Helen. Or maybe Ellen? Ruby is another nice suggestion.
Helen Kate might be my favorite!
I live Iris. Like Alice it is vintage, nickname proof, easy to spell and very classic.
I also like Hazel, Violet, Ivy, Maeve, Anna. Anything short, sweet and vintage!
Gemma (I really don’t think this sounds bad with the surname, and it’s similar to Emma but not as crazy popular)
Hazel! I can’t think of a more perfect name with all these requirements 🙂
The Mrs. says
There’s Jean, but she doesn’t quite seem as classic as Alice…but she works beautifully with Levi. Oh, but she starts with the same letter as Jack!
June would be marvelous except for sharing Jack’s initial, too!
Depending on how cool you are, Doris might tick all your boxes.
Alice, Jack, Levi, and Doris
Ooh! How about Violet? Both she and Alice sound refined. She’s well-known but not too popular. There’s only one dominant spelling, AND she has her own initial.
Alice, Jack, Levi, Violet
Esme is nice as well. She’s grown more familiar, has an independent initial, doesn’t end in ‘a’, and fits well with her siblings.
Alice, Jack, Levi, and Esme
Then there’s Ivy! She’s not cutesy, but maybe you think she’s too close to Levi? If not, she hits all your markers.
Alice, Jack, Levi, and Ivy.
Blythe might not be as standard as you prefer, but she’d be a lovely fit in your family.
Alice, Jack, Levi, and Blythe.
Abby’s suggestion of Irene is pure genius.
Congrats and best wishes!
I personally wouldn’t use Rose with a brother already named Jack…just throwing that out there.
Just reading through the previous suggestions: Ruby, Tess, Daisy, Esther, and Violet are great! I’m also liking Eden from Abby’s list. If you’d reconsider your stipulation on the name not ending in -a, I’d suggest Cora.
Audrey — Yes, it starts with an A, but it is a style match.
Iris — Just sounds so sweet with the other names…
Molly — Once a nickname, sure, but the name now stands totally on its own.
Sylvie — Technically it’s not a nickname, even though it sounds like one.
A. Waguespack says
How about Imogen? Similar sound to Mom’s fave Emma. Doesn’t end in an a. Just as nickname proof as Alice. Doesn’t share any initials and sounds nice with sibset and last name.
Alice, Jack, Levi and Imogen D’Luca
Celeste -is another great nickname proof name!
If not Emma maybe Emily? It’s classic and as nickname proof as Alice (and Alice and Emily sound great as sisters)!
I love Grace or Rose too – you really can’t go wrong with either.
Our last name is Italian and ends in A. Two of our three girls have longer ends in A names (but go by shorter nicknames mostly) and our third daughter has a more tailored name that ends in a consonant. All of their names sound lovely, but the longer a names have more of a romantic vibe you could say :)…
Congrats on baby number 4!!
Grace sounds perfect to me. I also like the suggestion of Tess. I do think -a names sound fine with your last name. Most Italian girl names end in -a so it’s not like it’s an unusual combo. And the Clare spelling of Claire is much less common, so I don’t think that should be a deal breaker if you like it otherwise.
Caroline (I guess Carrie is possible, but all the Carolines I know go by the full name only)
Jordan P says
I love the suggestion of Pearl but I’m finding it hard to say with the last name. I’ll siggest Daphne. I have one and it’s lretty nickname proof.
I think Grace is perfection here! I just found out my friend with a Grace is expecting a baby girl and when I was brainstorming names Alice felt right. How about Holly? Or Gwen?
I’m a Gwen Grace 🙂
Love Grace and Rose with this subset. Also Camille, Violet, Hazel?
Rose fits so perfectly with the sibling set
I have all the same criteria for naming my kids!
If I have a girl her name will be Leona.
Other names on my list are Myra, Vivian, Ada, and Sylvia.
Brooke, Daisy, Chloe, Daphne, Erin, Hope, Mae, Paige, Quinn, Reese, Tess, Violet, Zoe