Brother and Sister Names in the News

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

If naming your first child is a challenge, naming baby number two – and maybe three and four – can start to feel like a puzzle.  Should you repeat first initials?  Should everyone share the same first initial?  If your son’s name is a Top 20 standard, is it okay to give your daughter a name that’s never cracked the Top 1000?  How about honor names?  If your daughter is named after your grandmother, will his grandmother expect to be next?

There’s no right answer, but there is a right choice for every family.  This week, sibsets were in the baby name news – and on my mind.

Blame it on a trip to the zoo.  We’re lucky enough to live in the Land of Bao Bao, also known as Washington DC, home to the Smithsonian National Zoo.  As we crowded into the panda habitat the other morning, parents called their kids’ names.  Mostly Sophia, with Noah, Aiden, and Hayden tossed in for good measure. And then, from right behind me: Zelda and Maxine, come on!  We’re going to see the elephants.


Quirky, cool, and unexpected, but not too out there, either.  I could barely stop myself from tracking down their dad and asking all about their family.  Did they have any brothers?

Plenty of families were naming siblings this week – for an Indiana family, five at once, since they welcomed quintuplets.  And then there were the not-quite-twin brothers on a new Bravo reality series.  Plus Iceland weighed in with another inscrutable name-banning … though so far, only the sister has made headlines.

There’s no perfect formula for naming siblings, but this week’s news was filled with interesting approaches:

Aurora, Brielle, Delilah, Elias, and Felicity – Multiples are often referred to as Baby A, Baby B, and so on while in utero.  Some parents keep these designations, resulting in sibsets like Avery, Bentley, and Cassidy.  Michael and Roxanna Hoffman of Arizona went with alphabetical names for their quintuplets.  But where’s C?  That letter was already taken by their 6 year old son, Connor, who took the lead in choosing his younger siblings’ names.  Nicely done, Connor!

Dean Danny Benjamin – Model Anansa Sims and her NFL alum husband David Patterson welcomed their third child last week.  Dean joins older brother David III and big sister Ava at home.  It’s subtle, but Ava shares mom’s first initial, while the boys all start with D.  The first middle name honors Anansa’s late father, Danny Sims, best known as the music producer who signed Bob Marley.  Ava, David, and Dean – it’s not a trio I would have suggested, but it does feel nicely complete.

Harriet – Once upon a time, I heard Reyjavik and thought of the Northern Lights.  But lately, Iceland is all about bureaucratic snafus related to baby names.  Remember Blaer, the girl who was told that her name was masculine, and therefore couldn’t be registered – never mind evidence that Blaer had been used for women before?  Now a British father and Icelandic mother have been told that their daughter Harriet cannot receive a new passport.  Sorry, Ms. Beecher Stowe, Ms. Tubman, and plenty of Swedish women, but Harriet does not appear on the official registry of Icelandic names.  Hendrikka, Henrietta, and Henrika are all okay.  The Cardew family has three other children – Lilja and Belinda, born in France, and Duncan, also born in Iceland.  I can see the couple’s conundrum – the official name list is extensive, but if you need more than one name that works in Icelandic, English, and possibly other languages, too, it’s not so easy.  Though if they’d went with Snaebjort and Reginbaldur, the kids wouldn’t have made headlines.

Jax and Jett – Speaking of headlines, new Bravo reality series Ladies of London introduced us to a headline-grabbing pregnancy.  Caprice Bourret was born in California, but is better known in the UK, where she’s been a model, actress, television personality, reality star, and now manages her own lingerie company.  Caprice and partner Ty Comfort turned to a surrogate when they couldn’t conceive – only to find that Caprice was pregnant, too!  The boys were born within a few weeks of each other, and Caprice is keeping mum about which son is which.  Jax and Jett are matchy-matchy, but naming not-quite-twins might call for a combination like this.

WilderThe Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg and wife Jocelyn Towne welcomed a son this week.  Their older daughter is Adeline, and the new addition is Wilder.  Wilder is a little more daring than the lovely, vintage Adeline – this pair reminds me of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Charlotte and Rocky.  And yet, Adeline and Wilder seem more compatible, even poetic – like character names from a black-and-white Hollywood classic.

AdelinaSurvivor alums Rob and Amber Mariano have stuck to a very consistent style for naming their daughters.  New arrival Adelina joins Lucia, Carina, and Isabetta.  The names make for a compatible quartet – feminine, Italian-inspired, current without being common.  The four sisters have something else in common, too – they all share the middle name Rose.

Did you find it harder to name your first child, or later children?  Does your favorite name rule out any names for future siblings?

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15 Responses to “Brother and Sister Names in the News”

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sarab.cook Says:

June 29th, 2014 at 11:12 pm

I find it much harder to name later children. With the first child our options were limitless, now we are tied to that style. So style rules a lot of names out for us. As do other rule we have imposed, like not repeating starting or ending sounds for individuality. So eclectic in sound but consistent in style. We are currently debating whether or not we would use Rosalie for another girl or if we would hold out for our favorite boy name, Rufus. Such a great article as this topic has been on my mind.

indiefendi Says:

June 29th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Hey my name is Caprice! (well Caprice with a K) I love it when my name pops up places haha 😛

Adelina is so pretty and dainty to me.

Delilah and Elias are a bit too close together in sound if you ask me. Aurora, Brielle, Connor, Delilah, Elias, and Felicity are all beautiful together regardless.

bookworm26 Says:

June 29th, 2014 at 11:59 pm

I love the sibset Adeline and Wilder, the names are two completely different styles, vintage and southern, that just fit together so well.

Entangler Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 12:39 am

I also love Adeline and Wilder. They just have such a romantic feel as a pair. I agree with po about Delilah and elias. Way too similar.

A friend of mine was telling me earlier of a sibling set he knows: !mogen, Th@addeus and Lok! With another sister he couldn’t remember. Totally all over the place but I appreciate the parents abilities to just go with what they love and disregard any contemplation of a “sibset” or stylistically matching siblings. Radical.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 8:25 am

I also adore Adeline and Wilder. I’ve never thought of Wilder as a name but it does have a nice ring to it. And it really seems to balance the very feminine, dainty sound of Adeline.

Though I’m years from having kids, I’ve often thought about this as well. As a woman with lots of people in my family that I’m close to, I know I’d love to go with names that honor. But I’m also for individuality. Maybe it’s because I was named after my mom’s favorite aunt. Letter for letter, her name is my name. Which is fine, Irene is a perfectly fine name. But there’s no real individuality, other than nicknames (she gets called Nena and I got Winnie). So I had decided that, in honoring particular people, I’d love that the name be their own. But does Reyes (which is letter for letter after my grandfather) go with Emilia (the girl name after my brother) or Jeremiah (after my cousin)? Does Georgianne (after my mother) go with Stella (after my aunt)? Does Peter (after my grandmother) go with Milo (my male take on my brother’s name)? Does Jeramyn (the female take on my cousin’s name) go with any of the other names I’ve chosen?! I’m hoping I end up with a man that could wrangle me in because at this point, I’ve got the names but no clue on how to use them!

Anaxandra Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 9:28 am

Zelda and Maxine! I love that sibset.

larkub101 Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 10:13 am

I am thrilled with the quints names, although I also noticed how Delilah and Elias run together. Fortunately, since they’re boy/girl it shouldn’t be as much of a problem. Zelda and Maxine is fantastic. I really should add Zelda to my list.

bowtiful Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 10:15 am

I’ve never been a big fan of Wilder, but Adeline and Wilder are darling together! Very different yet they mesh well

axps123 Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Zelda and Maxine! I’m swooning.

Sarabi Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 4:05 pm

What a timely blog post. I’ve been going back and forth with naming a next daughter Zola. Our first is Clementine. But they’re from such different categories.
Zelda and Maxine, however, have a very similar ring to Zola and Clementine and I’m getting more and more confidence on this decision.

Abby Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Sarabi, I think Clementine and Zola would be great together – and yes, very much in the spirit of “Zelda and Maxine,” I think!

Good point about Delilah and Elias running together. I think that must be a BIG struggle after baby #3 or #4 – inevitably some favorite sound repeats … but it does seem especially pronounced when you’re saying the names of multiples …

@CsprsSassyHrly – Ah, and don’t forget that your future partner may have a family full of loved ones to honor, too! Our kids’ names don’t match perfectly – our daughter has three names and is known by a barely-related nickname; our son has two names and goes by the obvious short form for his given name. And yet, they DO match because they’re both family names (mostly, with some tweaks to work in 21st century American English), and somehow, over the years, they’ve become a compatible set. Alex and Clio, Clio and Alex … you’d expect Alex’s sister to be Eliza, but over time, the names you choose start to sound right together.

sunflower30 Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Hi Nameberry Administrators:

I have been reading Nameberry for a long time and enjoy it so much. It is so fun to connect with a global community of name nerds.

As the mom of a black/Asian baby, I have a suggestion. I am constantly reading Namberry articles and seeing photos of white babies accompanying the articles. I feel a little sad, because I rarely see a baby that looks like mine. I would love to see photos that celebrate babies of a variety of races.

A few statistics about U.S. demographics:

*One in every 10 opposite-sex married couple is an interracial couple.

*There were more babies of color than white babies born in the USA in 2012 for the first time in history

I know Nameberry readers came from around the world but just wanted to throw out the statistics for the USA.

Thank you so much!

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

July 1st, 2014 at 10:46 am

@Abby – Geez… I’d forgotten about that, lol. I guess any kids I have are just going to have more than one middle name. Maybe I’ll just end up like those people that give their kids outrageously long names, since I really don’t intend on having a flock! I wonder what people will think when they hear me yell for little Georgianne Stella Jeramyn (partner’s family name) Emilia (partner’s family name) (partner’s family name) Mireya (partner’s family name)! Seems borderline criminal!

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

July 1st, 2014 at 11:03 am

@Abby – I accidentally hit to post before I could finish my thought! I blame my job! I really like Alex and Clio together. That’s a lovely combination, even without knowing they’re family names. Both are two syllables with an l sound in the first with a very final sound at the end.

kitchi1 Says:

July 1st, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Zelda and Maxine! Swoon!

And little Connor did a REALLY good job! Better than most parents!

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