Name Help: A Sister for Catherine and CeciliaName 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!

Natalie writes:

We have two daughters, Catherine Hailey and Cecilia Jordan. We’re expecting our third in March, and we have a dilemma.

Catherine was named for my grandmother. Haley is a family name on my side, but we added the ‘i’ because we both liked that spelling better. We call her Catie and Cate.

We didn’t really agree on a second girls’ name. My husband wanted Jordan and I wanted Cecilia or Amelia. His sister named her baby Emilia midway through my pregnancy, and I finally convinced him that Jordan sounded too boyish with Catie/Cate, so Cecilia Jordan was our compromise. We call her Ceci and CJ. Now, of course, we can’t imagine her name being anything else!

If this baby is a boy, we’d always planned to name him Charles Murphy, after my husband’s grandfather.

But if this baby is a girl, we don’t have a single name we agree on.

Also, I think we should really use another C name. We’ve always talked about a big family. If we do eventually have a fourth child, and it’s a boy, it would definitely be Charles. That would be leave one daughter without a C name, which could lead to hurt feelings, I think.

My husband says that if we can’t agree on a name, we shouldn’t make it harder by only using C names.

Because of family/friends, we can’t use Chloe, Charlotte, or his favorite, Cameron/Camryn.

Is there a perfect C name that we haven’t thought of yet? Or do you think that I’m wrong to push for another C name?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your third!

First things first: your husband is right. If you fall in love with a name that starts with A or J or S, then yes. There’s no reason not to use that name. Patterns were made to be broken.

Except you’re right, too!

Thinking about potential siblings names is smart. You have two C names, and can easily imagine using a third in the future.

But what if you use a C name for this child, and later you have another daughter? I’m guessing you’ll feel like another C name is a must. And maybe that will prove impossible to find … when the stakes feel even higher.

I think I’d make the decision this way:

  • How big is a big family? Some people find three or four kids a full house. But others love the idea of five, six, or more. If you’re thinking – or if your age suggests – that four is probably the limit, then I’d feel differently about choosing another C name now. But if you’re 27 and love the idea of driving a 10-passenger van? It sounds like you could run out of C names for girls before your family is complete.
  • Are there other names you love? You haven’t mentioned a non-C name that rises to the top of your lists. Is it possible that there’s another family name – like Catherine and Charles – that just happens to start with another letter? Being the only E, but being named for grandma Elizabeth, is different from being named Monica just because.
  • What matters more – continuing the pattern or choosing the name you love? My sense is that you would like to continue the pattern, and your husband is more lukewarm. You’re right that it’s no fun to be the odd one out among siblings. (Kids definitely notice.) But are you willing to make a modest sacrifice now – settling on a C name you like, but don’t love – to avoid future (possible) sibling tension? Or … does the idea of all-C family please you so much that it’s worth limiting your search?

I do think it’s worth considering potential family names before you go any further.

But if none of them seems right, I think focusing just on C names is perfectly reasonable.

After all, there are plenty of great options!



Cameron meets Charlotte in Camille. It’s gently French and still shortens to Cam. That might be an issue depending on why Cameron/Camryn had to be taken off your list, or it could be just different enough to work. And, of course, shorten Camille to Millie and it’s a have-your-C-and-avoid-it, too kind of compromise.


Catherine and Cecilia are a little more traditional, but I like Carina because it’s still conventionally feminine while sounding sharply different from your older girls’ names.


From a Welsh word meaning love, Carys seems like it ought to have caught on ages ago, but remains rare.


Elegant Celeste sounds like a sister for Catherine and Cecilia, but lacks an easy, obvious nickname.


You might choose Claire, Clarice, or any of the longer Clare names. But Clara seems like an obvious one to consider.


Like Camille, Colette feels like a logical substitute for Charlotte. I’d shorten Colette to Coco, though Lettie is another option.


Brief and complete, Cora has the same traditional vibe as Catherine and Cecilia.


Or maybe a longer Cora name would work better? Cordelia seems like an obvious choice, though the endings of Cecilia and Cordelia might be a little close.

Overall, my favorites are Colette and Camille … though, of course, Camille might still be too close to Cameron/Camryn, depending on why you had to rule that name out.

I think they’re feminine and traditional, with good nickname options. I particularly like the fact that Colette could be Lettie and Camille might be Millie … meaning that you’d have another C name but also a non-C nickname, which gives you just the tiniest amount of breathing room, too, in case you do go with another initial for a future child’s name.

Readers, what would you name a sister for Catherine Hailey and Cecilia Jordan?

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. Caroline is a great fit! Nicknames Carrie, Callie, or even Liney?
    Seconding Cora and Claire. Also like Camille or Camilla, or maybe even Camellia, though that might be a bit out there. Corrine/Corinne/Corinna are also great choices. Clementine, maybe. Cassandra, too. What about Chiara or Carissa?
    Maybe you could use a C name in the middle spot if you don’t love any other C name–could split the difference, keeping a lowkey connection but not wedding yourself permanently to the pattern.

  2. Not sharing an initial is a relatively small problem if you look long term. Is it really going to be an issue 20 years from now? But! If it really does bother you now:


  3. One C name I haven’t seen mentioned as an option is Cosette. I remember reading about someone – it might even have been here on Appellation Mountain – who had a daughter named Cosette. Her nickname was Cosy and I thought it was completely adorable, and feel like Cosy would fit in very nicely with Cate and CJ!

  4. A couple other options for a “Cam” or “Cammie” nickname:


  5. I like the idea of looking to family names as a way of removing any awkwardness around breaking the C pattern. I know a family of 5 siblings (all adults now) named Donna, Dean, Diane, Vincent, and Denise. The fourth child, Vincent, was born on his father’s birthday and so inherited dad’s name. It’s a very easy explanation for anyone who asks.

  6. For me, if “big family” means four kids, then I would stick with Cs probably. But if “big family” is 4+ I would not feel compelled to stick with C’s.
    For C names, I like Abby’s suggestion of Carys and Cora (I especially like Coraline). Maybe Cleo.
    For names outside the letter C: Matilda, Eloise, Penelope, Olive, Alice, Daphne, Frances. I think it’s easier to consider other names by (for the fun of it).
    -Catherine, Cecilia, Frances, Charles and Matilda
    -Catherine, Cecilia, Eloise, Charles and Felix.
    -Catherine, Cecilia, Penelope, Charles and Graham.

  7. With everyone talking about Cassidy, a long time favorite of mine, to be honest. I thought, well, why not Cassandra? It classic like your two daughters’ names, as well as lending itself to a small collection of nicknames, like your current daughters’ names. It might be a little too classic for your husband’s modern vibe but maybe not. I also love the suggestions of Camille as well as Carmen.

    While on the subject of C names I work for a toy company and the other day I sent a toy to a little girl name Carver. Just thought I would mention it.