Sunday Summary 11.15.20Pretty much every morning, I go for a walk. And this walk takes me by a Starbucks. Call me a creature of habit, or even an addict. It’s hard to start my day without that combination of fresh air and caffeine.

It also means that I pay some attention to the contests Starbucks runs seasonally. The most recent one? Starland. And when they sent out their email announcing the Grand Prize winners, I eagerly checked to see if I’d won free drinks for a year.

Alas, no.

But the Stars of Starland – the grand prize winners – were named Peter, Leah, and Shantel.

Those names don’t go together. Different generations, for starters. And yet … it kind of rolls off the tongue.

Which reminded me:

We angst too much over sibsets.

I mean … I certainly do.

But the reality is that any set of names can sound just right together. Think of couples you know with mismatched names. There’s no reason Bryan can’t be married to Agnes. For every generationally-correct Ryan and Jordan, there’s a Maren and Bob.

Besides, parents’ names seldom match their children’s names. How many parents with names like Ashley and Kaitlyn call their babies Evelyn and Charlotte?

Repeat it often enough, and it becomes a match.

I do believe sibsets are worth discussing for a few reasons:

  • Children can become obsessed with fairness. If one child has a significant family name, but the other kid’s name is just cute, well … that’s the kind of thing that fuels complaints over Thanksgiving dinner for years.
  • Practically speaking, an older child’s name often hints at the names we’ll like for future children. But it’s a guideline, not a rule.
  • Patterns are pleasing. We might come to like, even love, the idea of our children all sharing C names, or names inspired by literary characters. And if we want to avoid such patterns, well … that’s equally helpful information.

Do you have friends and family with names that seem mismatched … but actually go together perfectly?

Elsewhere online:

Congrats to Leslie Odom, Jr. and Nicolette Robinson. They recently announced that they’re expecting a son, a brother for Lucille Ruby. They won the Instagram pregnancy announcement category with this line “We’ll make it right for you” from “Dear Theodosia,” the optimistic lullaby from Hamilton. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Looking for a name that crosses language barriers? Clare has a comprehensive list of strategies here. I’ve heard all of them in use.

Loving this Name Explain video explaining the backstory of Penelope. Everything about it makes me love the name even more.

While we’re watching YouTube, how lovely is SJ? She recently covered all of the craziest 2020 names. And she does it with SO MUCH GRACE. Even though she says that no, you really shouldn’t name your child Sanitizer. Also, I think she voices what lots of us are feeling: naming a baby now might call for some sort of acknowledgement. And her suggestions? Just brilliant. I’m sold on Annabelle Locket. Also loving the idea of Twenty as a middle. (Roald Dahl had a daughter called Olivia Twenty.) I need to add it to my list of number names.

Ava and Zeke rounded up royal names. Real and fictional, titles and meanings.

If you haven’t heard it yet, please check out my chat with Jennifer at the Baby Names Podcast. Our topic? Can choosing the right baby name set your child up for success?

That’s all for now. Thank you so much for reading!

Boy Names 11.15.20 Girl Names 11.15.20

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 think my mom picked a really weird sibset for my brother, sister, and me. Similar in style and popularity to Robert, Tammy, and Geraldine. My brother’s classic name peaked in the 50s but was still top 40 throughout the 80s when we were all born. My name was more of a flash-in-the-pan 60’s name that was plummeting 20 years later. Then my sister, the second daughter, got the rock-solid but fusty family classic name, which peaked in the 1910s (plus my mom’s first name as her middle, while I got a random 80s name middle). My sister and I never understood why SHE got the old-fashioned but very special honor name, while I got the random nickname name. Why wouldn’t you use the honor name the first chance you get? Even weirder, my mom consistently used nicknames for my sister while insisting (to this very day) that my brother go by his full formal name despite the obvious nickname (like Matthew to Matt obvious). My sister and I feel like we put about 1000x more thought and effort into naming our own kids.

  2. I grew up with one cousin having a rare retro-style name and and her sister having a super classic name. Never struck me as odd until I was an adult. I also know a couple named Chris(m) and Junoir(f) which confused me for quite awhile.

  3. I agree! My brother and I are probably the only sib set with our combo of names, but to everyone who knows us, the names go together perfectly. It was never weird, and our middle names happen to match the other siblings’ first name, purely by coincidence. Also our mom mixed our names up a lot as it was, if they were even remotely similar I can’t imagine how that would go down.

  4. Yes! I know a family with names very similar to Anna, Jane, Calliope & Charles. “Calliope” was a surprise to everyone, but it just rolls off the tongue now, as you say.