Baby Name Theft?

Sibling rivalry over a name

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

They love the name Josephine, but could their choice lead to family drama? Her sister has called dibs on the name, and says they ought to respect her wishes.

Alicia writes:

I am due with our second daughter in a few weeks.

Our first is named Aurora and we call her Rory. We started with the nickname Rory (from Gilmore Girls) and worked backwards to get Aurora. I love that it is elegant, not overly common, and with a spunky, unique nickname. And we love connection to the Northern Lights, too.

We’ve had a really tough time naming our second girl. I have always loved the name Josephine, called Josie or Jo. My sister likes it, too. She doesn’t have kids yet, but really wants them. To be considerate, I asked if she was okay with us using Josephine for this baby. She said it was fine.

My husband and I decided to use the name. Rory calls her sister Josephine, and we’ve been referring to the baby by name, though we haven’t officially announced it.

Just recently, my sister told me that she’d changed her mind, and she wants to keep Josephine for herself. Now she’s not speaking to me.

We don’t want to change the name. It fits for many personal reasons, and it’s the name we both love. Yet now when I hear it, I feel frustrated and sad.

We’ve also considered Eleanor, but Ellie/Ella is too popular a nickname. We love Adeline, but not Addie/Del/Lina. We prefer longer names with cute nicknames, like Rory and Jo. Autumn is great, but there’s no nickname.

All this is to say, I am unsure what to do about naming this sweet baby girl.

Any suggestions?

The Name Sage replies:

Imagine that you had gone into labor before your sister’s phone call. You’re snuggling your new daughter in the hospital. Introducing her as Josephine. Heck, maybe you’ve already filled out the paperwork for her birth certificate.

What if that was the moment your sister declared that she’d changed her mind, and could you please choose another name?

While this case isn’t quite as extreme, it seems like you had decided on Josephine. Your sister isn’t asking you to take one possibility off your list; she’s asking you to change your already-named child’s name.

If you choose to honor that request, it is an act of generosity and love. You were not obligated to ask permission in the first place, and asking permission did not grant your sister indefinite veto power over her niece’s name.

Which doesn’t necessarily make your decision any easier, right?

In cases like this, the best course of action is to look for an alternate name. Since you started with a favorite nickname for Rory, let’s do the same here.

Kit Kit and Rory share a borrowed-from-the-boys vibe, without being overly masculine. Kit reminds me of Jo, too – brief, but still big on style. Kit can be short for Katherine/Katharine or any of the variations, like Katrina and Katarina. Since it is also used for Christopher, I can imagine a Christina called Kit.

Lulu or Lou – There are lots of great Lou names, and happily, many of them are relatively uncommon. Louisa and Louise are obvious choices, but I wonder if you would like Eloise, called Lou. It reminds me of Eleanor, but isn’t nearly as popular.

Poppy or Pippa – Is Penelope too popular for you to consider? Like Aurora, it has ties to the ancient world. It’s also rich with fun, spunky nicknames, like Poppy and Pippa. Pippa traditionally comes from Philippa, another option.

Viv or Vivi – There are some great ways to get to Vivi, staring with Vivian, Vivienne, and Viviana, of course. But there’s also Genevieve and Lavinia, Ivory, Livia, and Victoria.

Sosie Josie always reminds me of the more obscure Sosie. It probably evolved from the Susan names, but could easily be short for another S name. Sophia, perhaps, though that probably feels too popular. There’s also Simone, or maybe even Susannah. If Sosie feels almost-but-not-quite, I wonder if you’d like Sylvie, short for Sylvia or Sylvana.

Cora – Because you love Adeline, but not the nicknames, and Josephine also ends in –ine, I wonder if Cora, short for Coraline might appeal? It would also work as a nickname for Cordelia or Coralie.

Charlie – Before girls answered to Rory, there were girls called Charlie. It’s short for the very popular Charlotte, and the not nearly as common Caroline. Rory and Charlie sound almost as great together as Rory and Jo.

Jules Jules can be short for Julia, Juliet, Juliana, or any of the other related names. Aurora and Juliet are great together; so are Rory and Jules. The leap from Josephine to Julianne seems like an easy one.

Maybe one of these names feels every bit as right as Josephine-called-Jo. If so, problem solved.

If this exercise leaves you feeling frustrated, I think it’s a strong signal that your daughter already has a name, and the moment for discussion has passed.

I do think that the child being named now takes priority over future daughters that might be born someday. While it might make for a few awkward family dinners – though at this point, that’s probably true whether you decide to use the name or not.

Let’s have a poll, though, because I’d really like to hear from readers. What would you do if you were faced with this dilemma?

Would you change your child's name at your sister's request?

  1. ANo, and it is unfair of her to ask.
  2. BYes, because no name is worth harming a relationship.
  3. CMaybe, but only if we found another name we loved nearly as much.
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About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at
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63 Responses to “Baby Name Theft?”

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lamarks Says:

October 18th, 2016 at 11:05 pm

This is quite unfair of your sister. I couldn’t imagine being in the same situation but I wouldnt change my choice since name choice’s can change for her before she has children. What if she doesn’t use the name? Won’t that possibly ruin the relationship too? (Just as much as you using it now).

lesliemarion Says:

October 18th, 2016 at 11:39 pm

This kind of thing drives me nuts.

Nobody owns a name.

You are pregnant with an actual child and she simply likes a name.

It’s not even a rare or unheard of name.

Follow your name bliss is my advice and don’t ask others for permission.

Pam Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 12:00 am

First , Abby, I think your advice is brilliant. And maybe there’s a name in there you love and you can circumvent this whole
Problem. Wouldn’t that be nice?? Maybe this question is especially resonant for me because I’m the parent of a Rory and a Joe (male). They are a great pair. I love Josephine too and might have used that if I’d had another daughter. Whether or not it’s right of your sister to claim the name, the fact is she has and her feelings about it have caused a huge rift between you. That must be very painful , especially on the eve of this happy occasion. Maybe you should ask her to come up with a name you’ll like better? It might be fun and bring you closer together. And maybe, since we seem to have the same taste in names, I’ll throw out a few of my favorites: Margaret or Marguerite called Daisy, Helena or Eleanor or Penelope called Nell, Beatrice called Bea. Good luck ! Can’t wait to hear how you resolve this!!

bjoy Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 12:10 am

She’s not speaking to you?! Now that’s a little childish. If you’d like to take the upper road and extend a gesture of goodwill towards your sister (not because you’re giving in, but because you’re being a grownup), and you can imagine naming your baby something else, than it’s worth considering. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about not wanting to rename her, and Josephine is a gorgeous name.

My daughter is also an Aurora “Rory”; if she’d had a sister instead of three brothers, the sister would have been named either Juliette “Jette” or Dahlia “Dolly”. We also liked Calliope “Callie” and Verity “Veri”. You can go lots of ways with a sister for Aurora!
Follow your heart on this one, whether it’s Jo or something equally pretty 🙂

dresdendoll Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 12:49 am

Please name her Josephine. If you don’t and your sister ends up using the name, it may hurts things in the long run anyway. Your sister will just have to get over this.

GPU Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 2:42 am

I say go for Josephine! You would have used it if you hadn’t asked your sister!

Wittyusername103 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 3:56 am

Why don’t you name her full name Josie? That way your sister can still use Josephine if she wishes as long as she finds a different nickname like Finny or Finn? The other option I like for you is Eliette with Etta as a nickname. Eliette can also be Elliotte if you wanted to go back to the boys roots like with Rory.

Lulu82 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 5:38 am

I have a friend who had the opposite situation, her sister used her favourite boys name. She was initially upset and disappointed, although she didn’t actually say anything to her sister. Unfortunately my friend has since found out that she is unable to have children. Therefore she is pleased her sister used her favourite name as she has a gorgeous nephew with a name she adores. My point is that you can’t give up your favourite name because of a future niece that may never exist (what if your sister only has sons?). I strongly believe that you can’t steal a name and quite frankly it’s a case of first born first named! The only exception is if there was a name you loved equally as much as Josephine, but by the sound of it there isn’t and it sounds like you had pretty much named her Josephine already. So I say stick with Josephine, your sister will get over it (eventually!)

jessiemay Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 5:55 am

I think you should only change your baby’s name if you find another one that you love as much as Josephine. Your sister is being totally childish and unreasonable! And like dresdendoll said, if you don’t use it just to appease her, then she does end up using it down the track, it will just bring up old issues.
If you’re still looking for other options, here are some you might like:
Everly/Evelyn “Evie”
Beatrix “Trixie”/”Bea”
Indiana “Indi”
Francesca/Frances “Frankie”
Odessa “Odie”
Juniper “Juni”/”Juno”
Emmaline/Emerson “Emmy”
Sunniva (suh-nee-va) “Sunny”
Marigold “Goldie”

Good luck! X

AldabellaxWulfe Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 6:04 am

1. Your sister is not expecting a child.
2. Your sister could be weeks, months, or years away from having a child.
3. Your sister might never end up having a child.
4. Your sister, if she does have a child or several children, might not ever have a daughter.
5. Your sister, if she did have a girl, might not love Josephine as much by that point.
6. Even if your sister managed to overcome all those points and was still intent on using Josephine for her daughter, there’s no guarentee that her partner would agree with using Josephine.

With all that in mind, you didn’t need to ask permission from her. But you did anyway, and she gave her consent. And I’m sorry but, she can’t just change her mind because she’s no longer in the mood for sharing. The reality is that no one owns a name, and in this case Josephine isn’t even a unique name, so chances are if you don’t use it for your daugher, then your sister will simply encounter it elsewhere – either in your extended family, or her circle of friends, or at her future child’s school etc. Everyone in the world has the right to use the name Josephine, and you sister is just going to have to come to terms with that. And if she doesn’t, and instead chooses to continue behaving like a toddler, she’ll accomplish nothing except making herself look ridiculous.

So if I were you, I’d use the name you love, and leave your sister to her own devices. She’ll either come around or she won’t, and if she doesn’t, then that’s her problem and not yours.

Tina_and_Bert Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 6:16 am

Hmm, while I understand others’ comments, especially those that mention there’s no guarantee your sister will even use or want to use Josephine, I still think the relationship is always more important. Names seem really important to us here on the this website–and to an extent, they are–but your family is more important. I would try to talk to her. Try to figure out why she’s hurt, how you can compromise with her, if you can convince her to concede, or maybe have her help you narrow down other choices. It would be a shame to ruin a relationship just for a name. It just doesn’t seem worth it.

That being said, I really like the suggestion of Penelope, as it shares the ancient feel of Aurora, but I prefer the nickname Nell or Nellie. Beatrice nicknamed Bea/Bee also seems to fit nicely, as it has that single syllable like Jo. Rory and Bea is very cute. Good luck! I hope everything works out to everyone’s satisfaction!

Tina_and_Bert Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 6:17 am

Oh, and I wanted to mention that my favorite long form of Sylvie is Sylvanie, which might work for you.

MGK Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 6:20 am

Josephine it is.
I remember dating a fellow named Jeffrey who had a first cousin named Jeffrey. The two moms loved the name, had babies one year apart and just went for it. One went by Jeffrey and the other went by Jeff. It’s simply not the end of the world. This is also very common in certain ethnic families where children are named for parents, grandparents or great-grandparents and you have multiple children with a variation of the same name Remember that scene in the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, where all the kids were some variation of the name Nicholas? Haha
The other thing that sometimes happens in families is that the person who is not expecting a baby can feel a little left out – especially if they want children and it hasn’t happened for them yet. That could be part of the explanation as to why it seemed OK with her at first but as the pregnancy progressed she became more distressed about it. Perhaps you will find a way to actually bond over your mutual love of this name or maybe you can give your sister a special role in the child’s life by inviting her to be a godmother or something along those lines. This could keep her connected to a name she loves and a child who will grow to love her. Just a thought. Good luck

boyandgirl Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 7:59 am

While I agree with what everyone is saying, I still think I would find a new name. Besides preserving the relationship, I would want a fresh name that didn’t have controversy surrounding it. Suggestions:

Gwendolyn-Winnie, Gwen
Francesca-Frannie, Frankie
Cecelia-Celia, Cece

Cordelia16 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:04 am

It’s a very difficult decision. On the one hand, I agree with not having to change the name you love as a way to appease your sister (I understand her not being happy, but not speaking to you is childish imo). You should discuss the situation like adults and see if you can find a way to compromise (such as neither of you using the name).

On the other hand, I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to choose a name she has said she likes just because you’re pregnant and she’s not (surely that’s not her fault!). That hits very close to home for me. I remember being in my early 20s when my eldest brother and his wife were expecting a son (their second child). Everyone in my family (including my SIL) knew that I loved the name Daniel… and had loved it since the 4th grade. I had said many, many times that if/when I had a son he would be called Daniel (I especially adored the nn Danny). I was very vocal about the name, even though I wasn’t even close to having a child. When my nephew was born, my SIL announced happily that they had chosen the name Daniel for him… I was shocked. When she saw the look on my face she said “Oh I know you said you wanted it, but I have a son before you do”. I have never forgiven her for this… my nephew is now 26 (and this is the first time I’ve told anyone this story). And guess what? I have 3 sons, none of whom I was able to name Daniel.

Please let me stress that your situation, OP, does not seem even remotely like mine… you seem to genuinely love Josephine (whereas my SIL chose Daniel ONLY because she knew I loved it… she admitted years later that she wasn’t even fond of it). My point is that it’s not necessarily fair, imo, to choose a name your sister likes just because you are pregnant with a girl first. Whether or not she has children or girls is besides the point… you’re taking away her possibility of using the name.

I think there have been so many amazing alternatives given by Abby and the other posters. Best of luck in coming up with the best solution for naming your daughter. Josephine is a lovely name, and it’s understandable you don’t want to give it up!

(sorry for the tl;dr post)

Titus245Mama Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:07 am

I’m wondering if there’s more to the story about “she doesn’t have any children but very much wants them”. Is she perhaps going through infertility? I think there’s a huge difference between “I’m not in a relationship and babies aren’t really even on the horizon” and “we’ve been trying for 3 years and still aren’t pregnant”. It’s the one scenario I can think of where I would understand your sister’s strong emotional reaction and the sudden change in your relationship. If that’s the case, I would strongly urge you to consider a different name. A second pregnancy for you when she can’t manage to achieve a first, while not your fault, is probably pretty painful to her, and hearing you use the name she has always pictured embroidered on her baby blankets might just be too much to bear.

I really like Pam’s suggestions, especially Helena nn. Nell. Rory and Nell would make fabulous siblings. I also like Louisa or Eloise, nn. Lou/Lulu. If you choose Louisa, you’ll also have a connection to Josephine/Jo through Ms. Alcott and “Little Women”. Charlotte nn. Charlie would also be a delightful choice.

I wish you all the best, whatever you decide.

jtucker Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:16 am

I think that since you had already asked permission and she said yes, then you go for it. It is not your fault she changed her mind once you actually named your little girl that. Your daughter calls her that already, why should you have to change it?

When my Mom was pregnant with me she liked Nicholas for I I was a boy, since I was a girl I got Julia instead. My aunt (mom’s sister) then had a son the year after I was born and named him Nicholas. A year later my mom had my brother and chose Alec. My Mom had no hard feelings about her using the name.

ZPK Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:17 am

I would look into other names, but if Josephine is the one, use it. Don’t settle.

I’ve been on the other end of this, for years I wanted a son named Maximus. I had two girls and was going to try for a third baby. My sister was pregnant with a boy and asked if she could use the name Maxwell. I was upset, and told her I preferred she didn’t, but if she did we would both have a Max, so it was up to her if she wanted to “share” the name. She ended up not using it, and by the time I got pregnant again I didn’t even want to use the name Max anymore. I felt very selfish. People’s tastes change, she probably won’t even want the name if she ever gets a daughter. You shouldn’t be able to place a “hold” on names. BTW my sister had another boy (I had a third daughter) and she used the name Maxwell after all 🙂

clairity Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:34 am

I had the same situation-we loved Judah and my brother “claimed” it but I was due first and we flat out said we’d use it. Turned out we had a girl and he had a boy called Judah. We are so glad he used it cause we moved on and we now have an adorable nephew. I definitely felt the name was tarred by the rivalry but we had no other options at the time. Go with the name you love and she’ll get over it by the time she has kids-which may all be boys she can call Joseph ??

Daphodil Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 8:55 am

I would use Josephine. You already did the considerable thing which was to ask your sister beforehand if she was okay with you using the name. It is completely unreasonable for her to change her mind about it now.

Revlon Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:20 am

I wonder why your sister is so attached? Certainly there are no guarantees she will have a daughter. All the same, maybe the fact that she is keenly aware of this fact is adding some hurt and emotion.

A very close cousin of mine, much like a sister, and I overlap on a ton of name preferences. We have talked it out and decided that if we end up loving the same name we should use it anyway. After all, they aren’t siblings, they are cousins. For small children they might even find it fun to share a name with their favorite cousin.

Names with family meaning can be so personal and important. I’d prefer to duplicate the names and have some sort of nickname distinction for family gatherings to allow both me and my sister (or whoever) to honor the loved one we both choose.

mother_dragons Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:21 am

I, personally, would find another name I love even if I don’t love it as much. I can find another name, but I will never find another sister.
I do think she’s being childish and rude, though. Not only are you pregnant, you had already asked for permission (which you needn’t do) and named the baby before she decided she didn’t want you to use it. And not speaking to you because of that is just trying to avoid the problem. I think you should try talking to her and explain how her position is, quite frankly, selfish. She might never have children, she might never have a daughter, she might decide she doesn’t want to use it after all. You are pregnant with a girl and decided to use it. If she doesn’t want to undertand and respect that, then she’s on the wrong. You can’t just dibs on a name.
I think talking it out is the main thing to do. Maybe consider other options but if nothing else fits, use Josephine and try to get your sister to understand. If you truly loved each other you wouldn’t fall out over name.
Best wishes to you and I hope everything turns out just fine!

clairels Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:29 am

Sorry, but your sister is being a (w)itch. It’s bad enough that she’s making you change your name in favor of a daughter she doesn’t yet have, but to give you the silent treatment to boot? It sounds like you’ve probably spent your whole life appeasing her and tiptoeing around her capricious moods, and it stops now. Name your daughter Josephine and don’t look back. Once your sister realizes that she can’t walk all over you, your relationship may even improve.

stellarevolution Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:46 am

It doesn’t sound like your sister’s being fair to you. You were being kind and considerate by asking her feelings about you using Josephine, and she initially said it was fine for you to use the name, and then went ahead and changed her mind later when you already have your hearts set on it. Even if she does end up having kids, who knows if she’ll have a girl? There’s also the likelihood that by the time she does potentially have a daughter, she wouldn’t want to use the name anyway.

I would still look for an alternate name just in case, because who knows, maybe there’s something out there you’ll like better than Josephine. And you could always use Josephine in the middle spot.

Also… You could just go ahead and both use Josephine, really. Especially if you want to use a certain nickname for it, and maybe she doesn’t.

peach Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:47 am

It is impossible for me to fully understand the situation without knowing the details of your relationship with your sister and the disagreement about the name. It seems like that since you thought it necessary to ask her permission to use Josephine that you knew of her attachment to it before. That isn’t something to ignore completely. A more extensive conversation is needed.

If you let your sister keep the name would you regret it in the long term, regardless of whether she used it? Is it really the only name you love or just one you like/can’t think of anything better? Is there a family connection to the name that is part of the reason you both are attracted to it? Would you consider using Josephine as a middle name instead so she still had the option of using it as a first?

Whether your sister would actually use the name, in the near or far future, can’t be the only factor: some of my favorite names in the past 5-10 years have become too popular for me to want to use, even names I loved before I now rule out. I have now found new favorites. Also to consider is the possibility that her future partner (if she doesn’t already have one) could rule out Josephine for reasons neither of you could know now. It really depends on the situation.

I do think that you being pregnant now does take some precedence but not 100%. Encourage your sister to discuss the details of the situation in more depth and come to an agreement both of you can accept. There are so many beautiful names out there, Josephine is just one.

CaitlinBrittin Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 10:12 am

Perhaps I am very petty but I have always been vocal about my love for the name Daphne and even though I am not even close to having children if one of my sisters used Daphne I would be upset (I don’t think they would since we have very different name styles, but hypothetically speaking). In fact if and when I have a girl I would go on and use the name Daphne even if one of my nieces was already named that. I mean I love the name and would it really be so bad to have two people in an extended family with the same name? And emotionally speaking I would get over the name being ‘stolen’ and my sister would have to get over me using it even though it is already ‘taken’.

I think if your okay with the possibility of sharing your daughters name with a future niece go ahead and use it, if not you should consider something else and/or work this out with your sister before the baby arrives.

CaitlinBrittin Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 10:12 am

Perhaps I am very petty but I have always been vocal about my love for the name Daphne and even though I am not even close to having children if one of my sisters used Daphne I would be upset (I don’t think they would since we have very different name styles, but hypothetically speaking). In fact if and when I have a girl I would go on and use the name Daphne even if one of my nieces was already named that. I mean I love the name and would it really be so bad to have two people in an extended family with the same name? And emotionally speaking I would get over the name being ‘stolen’ and my sister would have to get over me using it even though it is already ‘taken’.

I think if your okay with the possibility of sharing your daughters name with a future niece go ahead and use it, if not you should consider something else and/or work this out with your sister before the baby arrives.

tiannarose Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Aurora & Juliet – Rory & Jules – is perfection. Love it even more than Josephine.

Great advice Abby!

chi1127 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 11:35 am

I wanted to be clear that I answered the question as “Maybe”, because it asked what I would do. I love several names. If I were in this situation, I would likely just choose another name. However I do not think you should feel obligated to change your daughter’s name. You went out of your way to make sure your sister was comfortable with you using Josephine. She’s not even pregnant with a daughter, and she has all of the sudden changed her mind and decided to sulk about it. You asked permission to be kind, and she gave it. You should tell her that your daughter is already named.

Millikate Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 11:43 am

It’s unfair of her to change her mind after she gave her consent and then let you fall in love with it, and then told you, not to name her Josephine. She had her chance. Name her Josephine and she’ll get over it or there is nothing to say that you both couldn’t have daughters named Josephine.

Adeline is on my list, but Addie is too popular for me. I came up with Adeline “Andie” so I’ll put that out there as an option for you.

Good luck!

Sweetchariot Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 11:55 am

Ideas for repairing relationship with sister that haven’t been mentioned.

1) find out why she loves Josephine so much and talk about shared love of name. Maybe she’s taking a stand because she doesn’t understand how much you love the name or has some other special reason why she loves it.

2) do you like the nickname Joey? Does she? Maybe eventual cousins multiple years apart would be wonderful? Big Jo and Little Jo? Remind her of this if you’re okay with it.

3) find out what about Josephine is so perfect. Is it the -ine ending? The boyish nickname? The flexibility? All of the above? Julianne/Jules is super close to hitting all three. I also think Severine (Sev, Sevy) or Vesperine (Perin, Esper, etc) might work.

4) consider finding a name that works with aurora that complements the northern lights/dawn aspect. Twilight names? Other northern names? Star names? This is actually why Vesperine could really fit despite being more out there than your other choices.

marisarose Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I can feel from both sides of this issue. I’ve had a few names on a short list since high school. My best friend got pregnant and told me she wanted to use my favorite girl name: Eveline nn Evie. I was upset, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t say anything. Four months along and she lost her baby. We were all devastated and I was glad I’d never said anything about the name. Two years later I was pregnant with my son. I used the name Liam and my best friend confessed it was her top boy name. I asked if she wanted me to change it and she said absolutely not. My baby came to term with no issues. Now she also has two children: both boys: Wesley and Theodore. Names I love! We have similar naming styles.

I say: talk to your sister and explain. If she’s still being a pain, meh. She’ll get over it when she holds her beautiful niece 🙂

joquinta Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 12:34 pm

This is such a hard situation. I am sorry you’re having to deal with this when you should be celebrating your little one.

I like Abby’s suggestions of Kristina caled Kit, and Juliana called Jules.

Since you already decided on the nickname Jo or Josie, what about Joanna? I know it’s not as long and doesn’t carry the vintage charm that Josephine does, but it might work. My name is Joanna and my family and childhood friends call me Jodi. Also, in the movie Disney’s “The Kid” his sister’s name was Joanna and he called her Josie. I think these types of nn for Joanna is what carries the vintage charm. Jo is also a very very common nn for Joanna. Best wishes.

gummybear0724 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 2:11 pm

What about Delaney? It may be considered unisex, but I can’t picture a boy with it. You could call her Lane, which might be too Gilmore Girls-ish, but I doubt many will see the connection.

Bobcat108 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 2:17 pm

I’m sorry that you’re having to deal w/such an emotional situation…

I really can’t add to what others above have said, other than to say I’m in the “use Josephine” camp. That said, if you do want to find a variant of Josephine, here are some suggestions from

The name Josephine is widely used; it has 80 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of the name include Feeney, Finetta, Finette, Joetta, Joette, Jolene, Joline, Josana, Josanna, Josanne, Josebe, Josefena, Josefene, Josephe, Josephina, Josephyna, Josetta, Joseva, Josianna, Josianne, Josphine, Josy, Joxepa, Jozephine, Jozsa, Jozsi, Pepina, Sefa, Yoseba, and Yosebe. Other English forms include the contracted forms Jo and Jose (used in Dutch too), the diminutives Fife, Fifine, Fina, Jody, Joe, Joey, Jojo, Josee, Josette (used in French too), Josey (used in Hebrew too), Josie, Pheeny, Posey, and Posy, and the spelling variants Josaphine, Josephene, Josephin, and Josephyne.

Forms used in foreign languages include Giuseppa (Italian), Giuseppina (Italian), Guiseppa (Italian), Guiseppina (Italian), Iosefina (Samoan), Iosepine (Hawaiian), Josefa (Czech, Portuguese, Scandinavian, and Spanish), Josefin (Scandinavian), Josefina (Spanish), Josepha (German), Josée (French), Joséphe (French), Joséphine (French), Josiane (French), Josina (Frisian), Jozefa (Polish), Jozefina (Polish), Józefa (Polish), Józefina (Polish), Peppina (Italian), Seosaimhín (Irish), Yosefa (Hebrew), and Yosepha (Hebrew). Specific foreign forms include the diminutives Fifi (French), Josi (German and Hebrew), Jozie (Hebrew), Pepita (Spanish), and Pien (Dutch), and the spelling variant Josefine (German).

Josephine is a popular baby girl name, and it is also regarded as trendy. At the height of its usage in 1916, 0.749% of baby girls were named Josephine. It had a ranking of #21 then. The baby name has seen a steep drop in frequency since then. In 2015, it ranked at #131 with a usage of 0.128%, having regained some lost ground in the recent decade. Within all girl names in its family, Josephine was the most popular. Josephine was 94% more widely used than the 2nd most popular name, Josie, in 2015. The name Josephine has been mainly given to baby girls, although it has also been used as a boy name in the last century. There were 118 times more baby girls than boys who were named Josephine in 1911.

Baby names that sound like Josephine include Josefene, Josephene, Jakobine, Javonna, Javonnah, Jeovanna, Jeveny, Jobina, Jobyna, Josaphine, Josefin, Josefine, Josephin, Jovana, Jovani, Jovanna, Jovanni, Jovannie, Jovanny, and Jovany.

Because Abby mentioned the nn Kit, I thought I would share w/you that my now 18-year-old daughter goes by Kit, which she chose for herself at age 7. Her name is actually Kiersten (Keer-stin) & she got tired of her soccer coach calling her Kristin. So if you do like Kit, you have other options than just Katherine & Christina.

Best of luck to you & congrats on your new daughter! 🙂

Pansy Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 2:35 pm

I personally think your sister is being ridiculous but if you’re not comfortable using Josephine anymore, what about Jocelyn, nickname Josie? And if you like Eleanor, there are plenty of other nicknames you could use besides Ellie, such as Nell, Nora or Lin.

Abby Sandel Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 2:39 pm

@gummybear0724 – Aurora & Delaney called Rory & Lane? Mind. Blown. That is completely awesome.

Millia Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Primrose or Penrose nn Posey/Posy?

Ducaliter Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

I am thinking Izzy for Isaline or Isolde !

But yu should call your child Josephine, your sister doesn’t really own the name.

rosebudstar Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 4:05 pm

From your post, Josephine definitely feels like her name. The only other name that I think might fit your criteria would be Juliet/Juliette nicknamed Jett/Jette cause I think it makes a perfect sister for Aurora with the boy roots of nickname Jett and the flowy, romantic Juliet

Suzannah Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 4:55 pm

I think a little more information is needed. If Josephine is a name that both you and your sister casually mentioned liking, I would go ahead and use it–especially after she said she was fine with it. If Josephine is a name that your sister had pretty much settled on for a future daughter, I think you would be wrong to use it. My opinion depends on the strength of her desire to use Josephine and whether she had put you on notice of that desire.
My older sister was pregnant before I was and when we were discussing names, I told her of THE name that I planned to use for a future daughter. A few weeks later, I was shocked to hear her tell someone that “my” name was in the running for her child. I reminded my sister of our conversation and she plead amnesia. God answered my prayers by giving her a boy first and then me a girl.

grace147 Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 6:13 pm

I cannot believe your sister, who doesn’t even have kids and may never have kids, is not talking to you over a baby name she supposadly is keeping for herself. That’s very childish if you ask me.
While I agree it may cause some future awkwardness, I think if you just sit down and talk with your sister about how this name is the one you chose and she needs to respect that, she should eventually come around and be mature and understanding enough to let it go.
If not, oh well. I’m stubborn and like doing things out of spite, so I’d say no matter the situation you should stick with Josephine.
She’ll eventually realize that not speaking to you or watching you in your amazing journey of raising a family is a really big price to pay for something as silly as a name.
Your other family members must think this is ridiculous, too. And if she still remains silent, they’ll eventually think she’s silly and she’ll be the villain, not you.
Stay with the name and be strong!!

JulesBerry Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Your sister is being pretty childish and unreasonable. Not talking to you? That’s incredibly immature. I’m pregnant too and we’ve been set on the name since before we found out the gender (had a pick either way). Since we found out he’s a (third!) boy a few months ago, we’ve been calling him Max. If all of a sudden someone told me I couldn’t use that name, I’m not sure I could find another name that felt right. We have named our baby just as you have.

I agree with others that say that you should sit your sister down and explain how this is already your baby’s name and it wouldn’t feel right changing it. Hopefully she’s mature enough to understand.

dresdendoll Says:

October 19th, 2016 at 11:40 pm

“Please name her Josephine. If you don’t and your sister ends up using the name, it may hurt things in the long run anyway. Your sister will just have to get over this.”

Adding to this…another nickname choice: My Dutch mother, Josephina, goes by Fietje.

Care Says:

October 20th, 2016 at 3:28 am

You asked, she said OK.
Case closed!
What makes her so sure she’ll get a girl?
After 3 or 4 boys, she could give up.
Or by then your Josie could be in college!
Or the name could go out of style
OR become so popular she wouldn’t even consider using it.
Is she even married??
And what about the sibling that is already talking to her little sister Josie?
Rory could become very upset, it’s just not worth changing the name now.

LaineyRose Says:

October 20th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

This is silliness. If you love Josephine, name your ACTUAL, REAL baby Josephine. Your sister isn’t pregnant, and even when she does have kids, there’s no guarantee she would have a girl to use the name for – she could have only boys, or even change her mind and decide not to have kids after all. Or a few years from now, she could change her mind about the name entirely, and decide to go in a different direction. You were so considerate to ask for her feelings on this, and she answered. It’s not your fault she changed her mind, and you’re under no obligation to “give” her the name.

SweeneyxxTodd Says:

October 20th, 2016 at 8:01 pm

My first reaction is to say just use Josephine anyway. She already gave you permission to use the name long ago even though you weren’t obligated to ask for it in the first place, and rescinding that permission now, after you’ve already attached the name to your child, is selfish and petty. But at the same time, if she’s really not speaking to you over this, you might have to make some concessions to repaire the relationship. If you wanted to stick with the nickname Jo, you could find another name that gives you the same nickname, such as Joanna/Joanne or any of the spelling variations, or possibly Joellen, Joelle, Jocelyn, Jolene, etc.

labelo Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 8:49 am

If your sister is still that attached to Josephine in the theoretical future if she has a yet-to-be-conceived daughter, she can still name her Josephine. Your children will be cousins, separated in age by (likely) several years, and there are plenty of nicknames that can be derived from Josephine if she wants something distinctive. For most of yours children’s life they won’t be seen together, and the fact that they share a name will be irrelevant. Your daughter is, functionally, already named Josephine, and there’s no reason for you to change it.

My husband and his cousin are both named Matthew, share the same last name, AND were in the same grade at the same school. Nobody was traumatized. In generations past families often shared small pools of names and it wasn’t uncommon to have several closely related people with the same name. Odd naming pairs happen with marriage anyway (my uncle Terry married a woman also named Terry, and I’ve had several friends who married men with sisters who had the same name as their wives!), so it’s always seemed silly to me to worry about avoiding similar/the same name as extended family.

MelbellandBaby Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 10:42 am

If I were in your place, I would probably be more inclined to just let the name go and find another one. While I don’t think it’s right for her to change her mind on you like that, I don’t think I would want the name to be attached to frustration or bitterness with a family member. I feel like it’s something that I (and the family member) would think about often if I ended up using the name and I don’t think I could deal with that tension within myself and between her in the long run. I would rather find another beautiful name that’s untouched by frustration or bitterness.

heatherjoy92 Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Okay, so I initially picked to just use the name since you loved it, but after reading all these comments I have changed my thoughts on it. I think you should sit down and have a discussion with your sister over it. Maybe she loves the name more than you knew, especially since she has stopped talking to you over it. It’s true that you’re pregnant and she isn’t, and she might never have a girl in the first place, but if you talk to her and realize she loves it so much, it might not be worth risking your relationship over. Since your daughter already calls the baby Josephine, I might start looking for other names to go with the nickname Jo/Josie. So if I were you I would weigh how much you like the name and how important your relationship with your sister is before making a decision.

sanctanomina Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 6:24 pm

I just read this dilemma to my 12yo son, and he had an immediate suggestion: Jacinta. I think it’s a pretty great idea! It’s got a similar beginning sound to Josephine, and has cool nickname options Jacey, Jet, Jinny/Jinna, Jenny, Jess/Jessie, Jazz, and even Jinx (like Halle Barry as Bond Girl Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson). I think they’re great nicknames with big sis Rory!

ceryle Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 8:14 pm

I’m in the Josephine camp, but as I don’t know you or your sister, I can’t fault you whatever you decide.

As for alternatives, I like Abby’s suggestions of Kit and Jules. I’ll add:

Andy // Alexandra, Miranda (and I love Millikate’s suggestion of Adeline nn. Andie!)
Bess // Beatrice
Bree // Gabrielle
Cleo // Clementine
Danny or Dani // Danielle
Evie // Evangeline, Evelyn, Geneva, Genevieve
Gio or Jo // Georgia, Giovanna, Joanna
Jazz // Jasmine, Jessamine (though Aurora and Jasmine might be too Disney)
Jet // Juliet
Lolo // Eloise, Louisa, Penelope
Lu // Lucia, Lucille
Vi // Viola, Violet

ceryle Says:

October 21st, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Drew // Andrea, Adrienne
Lindy // Rosalind
Romy // Andromeda, Ramona, Rosamund, Rosemarie

willa_cather Says:

October 22nd, 2016 at 12:08 am

I think this is more about jealousy that you’re pregnant (again) than it is about a name. I agree with others that you have a legitimate right to Josephine – and yet, she’s choosing to try to grasp some power in this situation by holding onto the name.

I agree with others that it’s time for a talk. It’s hard watching others have babies when you aren’t yet at that place yet, whether for circumstantial reasons or because there are physical problems. I strongly believe this has to be about that (unless she’s always dramatic or selfish).

I had a sort of similar situation. A friend I grew up with had a fairly common middle name, and had always talked about using that name for a hypothetical future daughter. When I was naming my daughter, my husband really loved a variation of that name for her middle name, and it flowed really beautifully, so I agreed to it. I let her know we were using the name and she made a big fuss over it, which felt icky. But I decided that I didn’t want the friendship if couldn’t endure me making a decision that simply made me happy especially since she can still use the name when/if the time comes (she lives in another state!). This is easier than a sister situation, so I feel for you.

Here’s another post about sisters feuding over the name Sylvie!

jrocky Says:

October 22nd, 2016 at 3:07 pm

1. Name Sage–you hit this one sooo far out of the park! There’s not a single suggested name that I wouldn’t happily give my own child. Well done!

2. That sister better have a daughter named Josephine if she’s willing to start such drama over it…

fraukeiser Says:

October 23rd, 2016 at 4:41 am

I think the Name Sage was right to a point: Josephine is your already-named baby. Your first-born daughter is calling the fetus by name. What are you going to tell her? “You can’t call the baby that anymore. It upsets your childless aunt.” (Obviously you would be more kind, but the message is the same.)

Do not change your mind on names unless you really want to. You haven’t taken anything from your sister. She has no right to be evrn annoyed at you, much less upset to the point of not speaking to you.

You haven’t taken a name that she has wanted for years. She isn’t even pregnant. You can change your mind, but you can’t change her bratty behaviour.

Abby Sandel Says:

October 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 am

@willa_cather – That story about the three Sylvies is bananas, isn’t it? But I like the way they resolved it.

willa_cather Says:

October 23rd, 2016 at 10:32 am

I’m glad the Sylvie mothers resolved it, and I’m glad they all were satisfied at the end. But if my sister – who is older – picked a name that I loved, I would just pick another. This happened with her using a beloved grandmother’s name as her daughter’s middle name. As the younger sister who had my baby later, I just thought, first come, first served! I’ll pick another name.

kennamoon Says:

October 23rd, 2016 at 10:45 pm

I adore Rory short for Aurora!

Right away I thought of Penelope with the nicknames Nellie or Nell. I think Nell(ie) has the same spunky unique tone as Rory and Penelope sounds perfect with Aurora…

Aurora & Penelope “Rory & Nellie”

Quickly after i thought of Estelle “Stellie”

Aurora & Estelle “Rory & Stellie”

I’ve only every met one Stellie and I think it’s a beautiful slight variation off Stella. You could also go with Estella so you have the option of Stella as well.

Effy (Or Effie) is another super fun and underused nickname! It can be short for Elizabeth, Persephone, Stephanie. I think the best combo with Rory would be…

Aurora & Persephone “Rory & Effy”

Etta is a fun one to work backwards with. It can be short for any name you like that ends in Etta! Even possibly just -ette names. Most popular is Henrietta and personally I like Annetta, Elisabetta and Loretta. My favorite would be-

Aurora & Annetta “Rory & Etta”

I like that they both start with ‘A’ but don’t have ‘A’ nicknames.

Another media based name I love is Ginny (Harry Potter). Instead of being short for Ginerva it could be short for Genevieve or Virginia.

Aurora & Genevieve “Rory & Ginny”

Ky would be a cool nickname to go with Rory. Rory and Ky share the same boyish charm with a still very feminine side. Kyla, Kya and Kylie aren’t long full names but they are cute! I like-

Aurora & Kyla “Rory & Ky”

Nico is another cool name for a girl. It could simply be short for Nicole or you could go with Nicolette, Nicola or Nicoline.

Aurora & Nicolette “Rory & Nico”

I’ve always thought Saf was a cool sounding nickname. It can be short for Saffron or Safiya. I prefer-

Aurora & Safiya “Rory & Saf”

Not everyone likes the name Stassie but I think it’s so cute. Pronouced STAH-SEE. It’s short for Anastasia.

Aurora & Anastasia “Rory & Stassie”

Aurora & Talia “Rory & Tally”

Aurora & Gwyndolyn “Rory & Wyn/ Wynnie”

kennamoon Says:

October 23rd, 2016 at 10:48 pm

also Aurora & Juliette “Rory & Jette”

beynotce Says:

February 14th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I absolutely disagree with posters who say that you need to have a conversation with your sister or that you need to consider how attached she is to the name. You. Already. Did. That.

You were very considerate and asked your sister if it would be okay to use the name you both love. She already agreed that it was fine. The fact that she’s this upset now is entirely her own problem. She’s being incredibly childish. If she was so deeply attached to Josephine and feels that it will be unusable if you use it, then she shouldn’t have told you that it was fine with her.

I also disagree that you should choose another name to “preserve the relationship,” because that implies that by naming your child the name you have already chosen with your sister’s consent, you are the one doing something damaging to the relationship. You are not. You are simply naming your child after careful consideration. Your sister is the one who is pulling an emotional bait-and-switch, trying to control and manipulate you, and ultimately being very toxic, to the point where you’re beginning to be put off by your own child’s name. You don’t need to tolerate that behavior, and you don’t need to give in to it.

cj85 Says:

April 8th, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Even if she does have kids, she might not even have a boy. You asked. She said yes. You went ahead with the name. She needs to get over it. No one owns a name. Also, in five+ years she might not even like the name for her kid and want to change something else. My cousin wanted to name her daughter Kara for forever and changed her mind and named her Lauren when she saw her. Kara just didn’t “fit” her.

tr1anglessk Says:

July 1st, 2017 at 12:15 am

I know I’m in the minority, but here’s where I stand:
My brother mentioned for quite some time that he would love to name his daughter Olivia, and a son Jack. There was a third name too, but I forget what it was. I immediately fell in LOVE with those names, and have loved the names Olivia and Jack ever since. Even though I will be pregnant first, I am not likely to use either name, because I feel guilty when I think about it, and I wouldn’t want to feel guilty forever. It’s the same as not choosing a name simply because some random person in your past that you used to know had it. It doesn’t matter, and yes you could do it, but if you do you will always subtly think of that.

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