Name Help: A Sister for Kate, Liddy, Jack, SamName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. We discuss readers’ name questions.

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!

Melanie writes:

I am due with our fifth baby early in 2024. Names have always come easily to us, but this time it feels like we just can’t decide.

It’s also the only time we’ve found our baby’s sex in advance. We’re having a girl! For us, we probably had three or four more boy names we could’ve used, but girls’ names have always been a little harder. This is probably our last baby, and I think I’m also feeling overwhelmed knowing this is the last name I’ll choose!

Our four children’s names are:

  • Katharine Grace, usually called Katie but now Kate as she’s getting older. Katharine is a very important name on my side of the family, though the older Katharine is called Kathy.
  • Lidia Marie, usually called Liddy. Lydia was my favorite name, but my husband preferred it spelled Lidia. It’s been a little bit of an issue, but she doesn’t seem to mind.
  • John Matthew, called Jack. John is an important name for my husband’s family. His dad is also John, and it’s my husband’s middle name but our Jack is the only (living) Jack in the family.
  • Samuel Henry, called Sam. I love this name so much! I’d always imagined naming a baby boy Sam, and I love the way Jack and Sam sound together.

Names we’ve discussed so far:

  • Margot, partially because I really like the name and partially because Margaret is a big name in my husband’s family, but this generation already has a Margaret, called Maggie.
  • Eliza/Elisa/Elise, from my middle name, Elizabeth, but I don’t really want to use Elizabeth, and I’m not sure about the nickname Ellie. It’s sweet, but we know lots of Ellies already.
  • Ellen, one of my long-time favorite names, but I worry that it’s maybe a little quiet compared to Katharine and Lidia?
  • Miriam, completely new to my list, but I like it so much! My husband isn’t sure, and I don’t know about nicknames, but Mimi could be really sweet!
  • Evangeline, has been on my list forever. I know it’s too long (like Elizabeth) but I really like the nickname Evie/Eve/Eva and I feel like I can’t let it go. My husband is less enthusiastic, but he says he doesn’t hate it.
  • Alice, a name that has been on our list since Jack, but has always been more of my husband’s pick than mine.
  • Rosalie – another name that has been on our list for ages, and I think we could both be happy with it, but I’m worried we’re overlooking something. If we don’t name her Rosalie, we’d probably use the middle name Rose.

What do you think? Is one of these names it, and we’re just not seeing it? Or is there some other name we should think about?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

Naming is that rare parenting task that gets harder. We know so much more! And we know so MANY more children, too. Knowledge, it turns out, isn’t always helpful when it comes to this kind of decision.

I do think any of the names on your current list could be perfect with Kate, Liddy, Jack, and Sam. They’re all traditional but with a cozy-casual vibe.

Of course, lots of girls’ names fall into that broad category. I’ll suggest a few more, but first let me rate your current shortlist, from least to most suggested.


I agree with you that there’s a simplicity to Ellen. And yet, I don’t think it’s too basic. If anything, it’s one of my favorite under-the-radar names. But, but, but … the only obvious nickname for Ellen is Ellie, and since you’re not crazy about it, I’m inclined to put it last.


It’s lovely with Katharine and Lidia, but it sounds like you both don’t agree.


I like this name even better with your older kids’ names: Kate, Liddy, Jack, Sam, and Evie. Swoon! But as with Alice, if you’re not both on board, it moves down the list.


Is there an echo in here? Again, Miriam is perfection, but I’m not sure it’s so good that it makes up for your husband’s hesitation. (But a thousand yeses to Miriam called Mimi!)


This might be my top name except … do you have the Ellie issue again? Elise/Elisa could be Elsie and Eliza could be Liza or Lizzie, but it’s still a factor.


What a great name! Love it with your older kids’ names, too, but … will you miss the lack of an easy nickname? Is this stepping on your family member’s toes?


I do think this is the name to beat. First, because you agree. Second, because it’s got the same great style as Katharine and Lidia, Jack and Sam. And the nickname works, too: Kate, Liddy, Jack, Sam, and Rosie. What’s not to love?

But since you’re hesitating, let’s consider a few more possibilities.



I’d call Cecilia a classic, but it probably feels a little more vintage than strictly traditional. Nickname Ceci/Cece would fit with your older kids’ names so well!


Yes, I know – it’s off your list. But … what if you called her Betty? All the time, just like your Katharine is always Katie/Kate. It’s a fresh, vintage nickname with plenty of spirit, instantly familiar and seldom heard all at the same time.


I’ve waved off other El- names because of the Ellie issue. But Eloise can so easily be Lola that I’m tempted to call this the one El- name that might just work!


If Evangeline isn’t quite it, could Genevieve be the name that satisfies you both? Nickname Evie could work for Genevieve every bit as well, or there’s Gen, Genna, Vivi, Gigi …


What do you think of Lucia or Louise called Lucy? Or Lucinda, Louisa, Lucille, Lucienne … or some other Lou-/Lu- name?


If Miriam is not quite right, does Mariana satisfy? Mimi could work as a nickname, along with other choices, like Mia.


Nickname Tess/Tessa sounds so much like a sister for Kate, Liddy, Jack, and Sam.


I love the way Veronica feels quirky and different, traditional and classic, all at the same time. Shorten it to Vera, Vica, Nica, Vero, or Ronnie, or even just Vee.

From your choices, my vote goes to Rosalie. From my list, if I can’t convince you of Elizabeth called Betty, then I’ll vote for Genevieve as a strong alternative to Evangeline.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Katharine Grace, Lidia Marie, John Matthew, and Samuel Henry?

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. My favorite Elizabeth nickname is Betsy. I met a toddler Betsy recently and it was ADORABLE ! Don’t rule out Elizabeth. Elsie is also so so so sweet. But Katie, Liddie and Betsy plus Jack and Sam. I mean…. It sounds like perfection!

    Rosemary nn Rosie/Rose comes a close second.

    Best of luck!

  2. I would love Margot with the nickname Meg…… Kate. Liddy. Jack, Sam and Meg

    I also think Mary with the nickname Molly should be considered….. Kate, Liddy, Jack, Sam and Molly. You would have good chance to use some of your favorite names in the middle name spot and the flexibility for her in the future to perhaps use her second as a first.

    Mary Margaret
    Mary Elizabeth (Elise, Eliza)
    Mary Alice (Alison)
    Mary Eloise (Louise, Louisa)
    Mary Ellen ( Helena)
    Mary Rose (Rosalie, Rosamund)
    Mary Genevieve
    Mary Gwendolyn / Gwendolyn /Gwyneth

  3. Three things to consider:

    1. Is Evangeline really too long? Who says its too long?

    2. I know multiple Elizas and none of them have ever gone by Ellie. Eliza feels to me more like a name without an obvious nickname. Is having a nickname already picked out important to you?

    3. You mentioned that if the baby is not named Rosalie, her middle name will probably be Rose. Is it possible that the “Rose” part already feels like her name, but you’ve relegated it to the middle when it should actually be in the first name spot? You could follow the same general pattern as your oldest: formal name, cutesy nickname when she’s young, and then a more tailored short version as she gets older. Katharine to Katie to Kate is very similar to Rosalie to Rosie to Rose. I wonder if focusing on finding the right middle name could actually make finding the right first name easier. You can use another one of your names you love and potentially honor a family member and it might make the name feel more special and complete.

    Rosalie Margaret
    Rosalie Margot
    Rosalie Elizabeth
    Rosalie Elise
    Rosalie Evangeline

    or if you want another short, feminine, classic nickname like your other girls

    Rosalie Claire
    Rosalie Mae
    Rosalie Pearl
    Rosalie Faith
    Rosalie Hope
    Rosalie Eve

    Rosalie Margo Lastname and Rosalie Faith Lastname are probably my personal favorites.