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Category: names for siblings

Sibling Names: Does Flow Matter?

hispanic-siblings

A lot of the discussions about sibling names on the nameberry message boards come down to one question: Does flow matter?

To some parents, flow seems to be the most important quality, and any names of little brothers and sisters have to “flow” — be perfectly compatible in sound and feel — from the names that came before.

Some passionate berries, as nameberry aficionados have come to be called, talk about sibsets: groups of sibling names high on flow.

To others, flow and sibsets matter less….or not at all.

What’s YOUR feeling about sibling names? How much does flow matter? Did you think about sibsets when choosing names?

And what, in your opinion, are some of the best and worst sibling names you’ve ever heard? Tell all!

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siblings

One of our favorite baby name blogs is Nancy‘s Baby Names, written by Nancy C. Man, which is where we found this wonderful piece on baby name patterns and sibling names.

Humans love patterns. Just look last year’s list of popular twin names:

Jacob & Joshua
Daniel & David
Jayden & Jordan
Ethan & Evan
Taylor & Tyler
Gabriella & Isabella
Isaac & Isaiah
Madison & Morgan
Elijah & Isaiah
Ella & Emma

Eight pairs start with the same letter. Seven have the same rhythm. Another seven end with the same letter (and many of these nearly rhyme).

For twins and other multiples, name patterns are easy. You know the number of children and their genders ahead of time. But what if you want a name pattern for an entire sibling set? That can make things tricky. You don’t know how many children you’ll have, or what their genders will be. You also don’t know how your tastes may change over time.

If you’re thinking about a name pattern to cover all of your kids, here are three pieces of advice to consider before you begin:

Don’t lock yourself into something limiting.
Let’s say you like flowers. You have a daughter and you name her Lily. You have another daughter and name her Rose. Then another, Jasmine. And then a fourth, but…you don’t like any other flower names. Iris? Too old. Poppy? Too young. Zinnia? Too weird. Amaryllis will never be spelled correctly. And Daisy is the golden retriever down the street.

Or, let’s say you have a son named Alexander. Then you have another boy, and you decide to name him Xavier so they both have that X in common. Then baby #3–a little girl–comes along. Well, you can’t do Alexis–that’s too close to Alexander. You won’t go near Maxine because you fear maxi pad jokes. Roxanne reminds you too much of that song. Xena reminds you too much of that show. And Beatrix makes you think of rabbits.

When you play chess, you have to think ahead several moves. Look at sibling name patterns the same way. Think ahead as many kids as possible. If you can think of 10 or more usable names that fit the pattern, it’s probably a safe pattern. If you can’t, the pattern may be too limiting to be sustainable.

Consider the pros and cons of visibility.
Have you heard of the Duggars? They have nearly 20 kids, and all of those kids have a J-name. This type of name pattern is one of the easiest to spot. (Especially in large families.)

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When Siblings Get Into the Baby-Naming Act

harry-potter-chamber-of-secrets

I had my three children over 11 years, and of all the disadvantages of spreading your kids that far apart, one of the biggest is that the older kids will insist on having a say in their baby brother or sister’s name.

When we found out our youngest child would be a boy, my husband and I were delighted that we had a name all ready for him: Edward, to be called Ned.  That had been our second-choice name for our older son, whom I insisted on naming Joseph after my dad.  But my husband and I both loved Edward and Ned, and we were thrilled and relieved to be set with our name.

Not so fast, said our older children.  Any kid named Ned, they claimed, would be sure to be called Nerd in the playground.  They weren’t too fond of the name either.  In fact, they said, if we named him Ned, they already knew they weren’t going to like him.

Sigh.  We couldn’t very well give the baby a name his older siblings hated, so we went back to the drawing board.  Luckily, my husband and I quickly found another name we both loved: Harry.

Even Harry Potter couldn’t sell our kids on that name.  No, they said.  If Ned was a nerd, Harry was “hairy.”

Well, we asked, what did they think we should name the baby?  Our son Joe, who was three at the time, loved the name Jim — but as a name book author I thought I would never to be able to tell interviewers I’d named my own sons the oh-so-plain pair of Jim and Joe.  That was like being a fashion editor and dressing in head-to-toe Gap.   Joe‘s next best idea: Rainbow Boy.

All I remember after that was holding my newborn son in my arms in the hospital, the other children at my bedside, still debating his name.  Finally we came up with Owen, my grandfather’s middle name and one that we all at least agreed on.  My husband and I hated giving up the names Ned and Harry.  But as difficult as it can be to arrive at a name two of you love, it can be almost impossible to please four people.

Did any of you have older children who had strong opinions about the baby’s name?  How did you consider their ideas and did you end up taking their advice?  We’d love to hear!

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