Name Help: A Sister for Henry and Alice

Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, 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!

Jen writes:

We’re expecting baby number three in September. It’s a girl. Naming our first two children was easy, but this time, we agree on NOTHING!

Our son is Henry Elliot. Henry has been my favorite boy name forever. Elliot is from my husband’s family tree, but really, we just kind of liked the two names together.

Our daughter is Alice Kimberly. There’s no real story to Alice, it just was the first name we agreed on, and I’ve come to love it more and more. Kimberly is my aunt’s name. She’s also Alice’s godmother, and I wanted Alice to have a name from my side to balance things out.

Last name sounds like Woffet, but with an M.

Names I like, but my husband does not: Cora, Louise/Louisa, Clara

Names my husband likes, but I don’t: Sarah, Emily, Ruby, Daisy, Jane

We agree on Charlotte, but we know three already. (We also know two other Henrys, and we know of one other Alice, but we didn’t know any of them before our kids were born, and somehow I’m not bothered by the idea that there are other kids out there as much as I feel like I’m repeating when I already know the kids.)

Also, Charlotte doesn’t sound great with our last name. That’s probably why we dropped Violet, another name that we almost agree on.

Because his dad and my grandfather are both Joseph, we like the idea of Josephine, but I hate, hate, hate Josie. So I don’t want to use it as a first name. And I really don’t care for nicknames in general. I think that’s why I can’t get behind Jane, which I almost like and might not rule out if we really had nothing else – but would it always be Janie? I don’t irrationally dislike Janie the way that Josie makes me cringe, but it’s still not a name I would choose.

If Alice had been a boy, we would probably have named her Max or maybe Maxwell.

Talking about this is making me nuts, and we’re getting closer and closer to my due date with no names. Help!

Read on for my response, and please leave your helpful suggestions in the comments.

Hi Jen –

Congratulations on baby #3! It feels like you and your husband have very similar taste in names, and you’ve done a beautiful job naming your older children. I’m sure the right name is close – even if it doesn’t feel that way right now!

We’re looking for a girl’s name that is:

  • Traditional
  • Nickname-proof
  • Goes well with Henry and Alice

A great many traditional names come with nicknames galore. Katherine, Elizabeth, Margaret, and company are all out. But I think there are still quite a few to consider.

Claire – Claire is close to Clara, from your list, but also reminds me of Jane. Unlike Jane, it’s relatively rare to meet a Claire called Clary. (It happens, of course. In The Mortal Instruments, Clary is short for Clarissa.) Claire is classic, and sounds like a sister for Henry and Alice. Plus, I love the sound of Claire Josephine!

Lucy – Lucy sounds a lot like Ruby from his list, but also the Louisa/Louise from your favorites. Henry, Alice, and Lucy work nicely together.

Margot – Daisy is sometimes considered a nickname for Margaret, but you’ve ruled out nickname names. Margot also started out as a form of Margaret, but stands on its own in 2016. I love the way Margot sounds with your surname. (And since you’ve considered Max, I’m assuming you’re on board with the initials M.M.)

Kate – Recommending Margot rather than Margaret made me think of Kate. The downside to Kate is that it could easily become Katie, which is exactly the problem you’re hoping to avoid with Jane/Janie. And yet, I do feel like it fits with your overall style well, so I’ll let you decide if it works or not.

Emma – Normally I don’t recommend the most popular names. Except. Emma would be a great compromise between your Cora and his Emily. And you haven’t mentioned knowing any other Emmas, the way you know Charlottes.

Iris – Because Violet was almost the name, and Daisy is on his list, I wanted to find another floral name. Iris is elegant and nickname proof, but I wonder if runs together a little bit with Alice? To me, Henry, Alice, and Iris sound great together, but I’ll be curious to hear others’ reactions.

Nora – If Cora is out, how about Nora? I think it feels a little more traditional and buttoned-down, but still has some of Cora’s vintage appeal.

Georgia – I would probably call Georgia nickname-rich. There’s Georgie and Gigi, after all, and I could probably find a few more options. Except that the Georgias I know typically don’t use nicknames. So I think Henry, Alice, and Georgia would go together nicely.

Overall, I think Claire is my favorite. It’s so close to names you’re already considering, but it sidesteps the problem of Jane/Janie. Though there are lots of options that work beautifully, and I also love the sound of Henry, Alice, and Nora.

Readers, what would you suggest to Jen? Are there other names they should consider for Henry and Alice’s sister?

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. I know this isn’t exactly traditional, and the baby is already born, but I adore the thought of MAXIE with the other two. It doesn’t fit your style, but its what first came to the top of my head. Sure, jokes galore. But, if you could look past the jokes, and initial reaction, its a really cute name!

  2. Oh, I’m late to this one but I love a lot of the suggestions, and am going to throw Carrie in the mix!

  3. Mary was the first name to come to mind. Or Marie if you want to stay with 5 letters/2 syllables. Both work with Josephine as a middle. Macy or Maisy, too.

    Audrey Josephine
    Hazel Josephine
    Teresa Josephine
    Delia Josephine
    Betty or Betsy Josephine
    Ella Josephine
    Annette Josephine
    Adele Josephine
    Maeve Josephine
    Flora Josephine
    Fiona Josephine

    (So many options!)

  4. My favorite suggestion is Nora Josephine. Henry, Alice, and Nora/Norah is gorgeous! If you use the Norah spelling then all 3 kiddos will have names 5 letters long (sweet but subtle connection among them)

    What about
    Eloise (it’s a nice combo of your Louise and his Emily)
    Vera (this is great with Alice and Henry and virtually nickname proof as well but it also sounds similar to your other choices of Violet and Cora)

  5. Suggestions: Thea, May, Rose, Joanna, Flora, Imogen, Eliza, Eloise, Fiona, Belle, Edie, Helen, Elaine, Tessa

  6. Whoops, hit post too soon. Then I saw your husband nixed Cora, and was bummed. I think you should convince him, but barring that, Nora Josephine is just as good, I think! What lovely names your older two have. Congrats!

  7. Before reading the post, I thought of Charlotte. It’s perfect for your style. If it’s out, though, I like the suggestions of Lucy, Eleanor, Emma, and Claire.