Letter T (Silver Spring, MD)
Letter T from takoma bibelot via Flickr

Editor’s note: Long-time readers will recognize Fran from the many great Baby Names of the Day she’s suggested. This is the story of her youngest child’s lovely name – and proof that narrowing down your list can be a nine-month process – or even longer!

My youngest daughter is Matilda Winifred Jane, nicknamed Tilly. My older children are GenevieveNeve“, OliverOllie“, TobiasToby” and LenoraLena“.

Her name was literally a last minute decision, due to the fact that we could not agree on a name before hand! It wasn’t until we saw her, and my husband held her that he commented that she was a Matilda.

She was going to be Amelia or Amelie for months, so much so I was calling the bump Amy for what seemed like ages. Then she was going to be named Juliet until a friend had their baby, a surprise girl, who was named Juliet. To her credit we didn’t tell her our choices, it just seems we were on the same wavelength! Tilly was also nearly Penelope or Eugenie, both which just didn’t seem perfect enough.

I don’t know if we had as many criteria as we had with her older siblings, but we were looking for something that would fit with her brothers and sisters, plus a longer name with a cute nickname that was preferably useable on it’s own.

The whole family were involved in this, with suggestions ranging from Cordelia to Pepper! (In the extremely unlikely event we have another child at some point we now have an extensive list for girls)

The meaning didn’t really matter too much, but I do like the fact now that the name means “battle-mighty” according to my naming book. Even at 9 1/2 months old she certainly is a little fighter!

She’s the only daughter that I haven’t second-guessed her name in some way. Nobody has asked me to repeat, spell, or explain my choice – which has happened in the past. If she meets another one when she starts school then it doesn’t matter because the name suits her so much. She is just an amazing Matilda!

Thanks so much for sharing, Fran. Tilly is a great name – well worth all of the effort!

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. I love all your children’s names, thanks so much for sharing! I really like the nn Tilly, it’s cute but not cutesy. And Lena for Lorena is super 😉

  2. What wonderful names! I absolutely love the combination you chose for Tilly – Matilda Winifred Jane is fantastic! Tilly is great as well! And I really enjoy the names and nns of the rest of your bunch (I have an Oliver “Ollie” too). Thanks for sharing!

  3. Matilda is a truly fantastic name, I do love her. Although I will admit I’m not a fan of Tilly, I think she sits perfectly in the sibset you’ve created. Seeing you use Winifred has raised a smile in me, I love seeing names dubbed as unusable by some making an appearance, and Jane is one of my favourite middle names.

    Altogether, I think you did a fantastic job, and I agree, from what it seems, the more children you have, the more restrictions you put around yourself in choosing a name. One of the reasons my parents dropped Clover at the last minute for my youngest sister was because of daughter #2, named Heather. They thought I’d feel left out as the only one without a flower name, even though I’d been the one to suggest it.

  4. Gorgeous name! My last was almost Matilda. I gave a lot of thought to Matilda Jane Beatrix. I love Winifred even more. It’s one of my very favorite names.

  5. A Matilda! Yay!!! *dances around* And you picked Winifred as a middle name, which is one of my favourite names ever, due to it being completely adorable, yet dignified.

    A lot of people would have gone with nice plain Matilda Jane, but that Winifred in the middle just gives it something special.

    Tilly is such a cute nn as well.

    It goes beautifully with your older children’s names, which are all fantastic as well.