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Fresh Surname Names for Girls

Naming a sister for Paxton and Crosby

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

They love surname names, but can’t agree on the right one for their December daughter.

Erin writes:

We are expecting a little girl in December. We have two boys, Paxton David and Crosby Jordan.

We like surnames as first names, as you can see. For a girl, I like Emerson, Sawyer, and Greer.

My husband nixed Emerson, knows a family with a girl Sawyer, and is unsure of Greer.

His favorite is Davis. I don’t know if I’m 100% on board with Davis. What are your thoughts?

The Name Sage replies:

The good news: you know your style, and you and your husband agree! You’ve chosen two handsome, contemporary names for your boys. Finding the right choice for a daughter ought to be straightforward, right?

Maybe not. Because the world has caught up to you. As of this year, Paxton charts at Number 203, and Crosby at Number 623. That’s relatively uncommon, but I’d guess both names were even rarer when you chose them.

I’d say that your style isn’t just surname names. It’s underused surnames. And that’s where both Sawyer (currently in the boys’ Top 100) and Emerson (hovering in the mid-100s for girls) might disappoint.

Because they’re far less frequently heard, Davis and Greer sound more like a sister for Paxton and Crosby.

But since you’re not sure about Davis, and he’s said no to Greer, it’s time to start fresh. Let’s find some surname names for a daughter that stand out in a sea of Harpers and Madisons.

Adair – I’ve suggested Adair several times, but this Scottish surname has never quite caught on. Given the popularity of Addison and Harper, Adair seems like the perfect fits-in/stands-out choice.

Collins Collins caught on for girls thanks to a real-life character in the 2006 bestseller turned 2009 hit movie The Blind Side. It brings to mind Colleen and Colette, but remains fresh, unexpected, and all surname. As a bonus, it shares the ‘s’ ending of Davis.

Ellery – Girls called Ellie are everywhere, but English surname Ellery has been overlooked. It sounds like an Ella/Avery hybrid, but actually is cousin to the old Roman name Hilarius, meaning cheerful.

Ellis Ellis might follow Paxton and Crosby straight up the popularity charts, but I’ll suggest it anyway. It reminds me strongly of Davis, and slightly of Emerson, too. While Ellis currently ranks higher for boys, it ranks just inside the girls’ Top 1000, too.

Hollis Hollis started out as a surname for someone living near holly trees. That might make it exactly right for a December daughter. Once again, the ‘s’ ending feels like a nod to Davis.

Langley – We love a great –ley ending name for a girl – just ask Ashley, Hailey, and Paisley. A common place name, Langley might not work if you live in Virginia, where it’s an Air Force Base and home to the CIA. But in most of the country, it’s an intriguing and uncommon sound.

Linden – Tree name/surname Rowan has become a twenty-first century favorite. Linden offers a promising alternative. Used in small numbers for boys and girls alike, Linden shortens to Lindy or Lin, but works beautifully without a nickname, too.

Reeve Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh gave this family name to their youngest daughter. Today it brings to mind unisex surname name Reese, as well as the traditionally feminine Eve.

Sinclair Sinclair started out as St. Clair, a French place name. The writer Sinclair Lewis put it on the list of possibilities for a boy. Given the popularity of Clara and Claire, today it feels every bit as reasonable for a girl.

Winslow – With Harlow and Marlowe in the spotlight as surname names for girls, why not Winslow? Winnie names, from modern Winter to vintage Winifred, all feel stylish. Winslow Homer lends it some artistic sensibility, but this one succeeds on sound alone.

Overall, I love the sound of Reeve with your older children’s names. But since you’re expecting a winter baby, I find Hollis terribly appealing. It’s rare, but instantly recognizable. And it gives each of your children a distinctive-sounding name: Paxton, Crosby, and Hollis.

Readers, over to you. What would you name a sister for Paxton and Crosby?

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About the author

Abby

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.
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comments

27 Responses to “Fresh Surname Names for Girls”

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mill1020 Says:

September 19th, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Linden is my favorite from this list.

QuirkFlower Says:

September 19th, 2017 at 11:43 pm

I agree that Hollis is the best fit from the suggestions. I think the biggest trick is to find something distinctly feminine since all three children will be sharing surnames. Collins also feel very girly to me, though that’s probably a direct influence from The Blind Side.

LoveBugsMama Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 12:08 am

All great suggestions by Abby. My favorites being Ellis and Sinclair.

I’ll add…
Tatum
Callaway
Anniston
Wallis
Spencer
Arden
Quincy/Quinlan
Baylor

BlueLavender Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 12:10 am

I know a little girl named Lawrence – that could work too maybe?

jmsouthern Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 12:31 am

Hollis is a fantastic idea. I used to babysit for a really neat single mom named Hollis.

A few additional ideas, from among the smart, well-named young women of my acquaintance:
Sterling
Spencer
Camden
Austen
Gray

Kjh446 Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 1:01 am

I like the idea of Hollis but my favourite from this list is Linden.

Some more ideas:

Sloane
Brooks
Lennon
Holland
Harlow
Jennings
Carlisle
Briar
Hadley
Rowan
Sutton
Madigan
Channing
Miller
Avery
Sullivan
Winslet
Gray
Campbell
Darcy
Paisley
Elowen
Logan
Ramsey
Gilligan

BrittanyBrown Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 5:29 am

I would suggest:

Gabel
Goodwin
Farrow
Phieffer
Morrissey
Nightingale
Bellefluer
Iverson
Quigley

I think your suggestion of LANGLEY is SUPER cute. How fresh, interesting and adorable. It also goes nicely with brothers, Paxton and Crosby! Nicknames could be Glee or Leelee. SO CUTE.

paw Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 6:25 am

I would suggest:

Darcy
Winslet
Malloy
Darrow
Bellamy

jpruitt76 Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 8:43 am

Agree with Hollis being a great choice for this sibset. I really like Collins but, personally, wouldn’t repeat an initial. Greer is the best of the ones they mentioned but I don’t see Davis on a girl at all.

A few others:

Tiernan
Tierney
Merritt
Ainsley
Flannery
Flynn
Sheridan
Windsor
Sutton
Torrance
Darby
Blair

Callmecalliope Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 9:14 am

What a phenomenal list! I love the suggestions of Winslow, Hollis, Ellis, and Reeve.

I’ll add:

Carlisle
Dallas (similar to Davis but slightly better suited for a girl, somehow?)
Arden
Morris
Maren/Marin
Reid/Reed
Rowan
Frasier

stephaniebrooke Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 10:43 am

I would rule out Davis simply because it is so close to David. I like Greer a lot.

From the suggested list I think Hollis, Ellis or Ellery would be best.

Some other suggestions/seconding previous suggestions:

Anniston
Arden
Darcy/Darcey
Bellamy
Monroe
Sheridan
Chandler
Bardot
Darby
Carrington
Afton
Shea
Brighton
Hartley
Ramsey
Destry
Garnet
Whitley

Yuma Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 11:30 am

Kimble
Sutton
Davie
Ellery

ju_spe Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I am surprised only one other person suggested Ainsley/Ainslie!

I agree with others that Hollis is a solid option.

Bobcat108 Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Of the Name Sage suggestions, I really like Hollis, Linden, & Ellery.

Other suggestions (apologies for repeats):

Kimber/Kimberle
Tiernan/Tierney
Kiernan/Kierney
Oakley
Darcy/Darcey/Dacey
Arless/Arliss
Brooke/Brookes
Everly/Everley
Devon
Kestrel
Langston
Mistral
Quinn/Quill
Willis
Tennyson
Alcott

Nysha Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I like Ellery and Langley from the list. Names that have been suggested that I like are Everly, Flannery, and Bellamy.

I also like Monroe and Parker, but they may be too mainstream. What about Remington or Revere?

Lo Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I really like the suggestion of Linden.

GirlyWhirly Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 2:23 pm

I agree Hollis does sound perfect!

I won’t add anymore suggestions since there are already so many great ones! My favorites from pp are Sutton and Winslet! To me Winslet sounds very feminine and I think it it fits well with Paxton and Crosby.

zsazsa00 Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Lots of good suggestions! I like Linden and Hollis as they are names I have considered putting on my list since I like nature themes. I also really like Ellis and I think that is my favorite The Sage recommended.

Monroe and Winslet are great too and I love the Hollywood glam attached to the names. Plus Winnie is a cute nick name.

I would also like to recommend Adler / Auden / Delaney / Devon / Jensen / Seeley.

ceryle Says:

September 20th, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Greer is amazing, but as usual Abby has great suggestions too—love Hollis, Ellis and Winslow! Ellis is my favorite with Paxton and Crosby, though I dig the December-holly connection with Hollis.

Also want to second Monroe, Merritt and Winslet from previous commenters.

Other ideas:

Barrett
Garner
Keller
Murphy
Rhodes

GnMs8 Says:

September 22nd, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Hollis is my favourite

kennamoon Says:

September 22nd, 2017 at 11:11 pm

I really like Winslow!! and Reeve, Ellery and Sinclair are cute too!

other suggestions –

Paxton, Crosby & Karson
Paxton, Crosby & Brighton
Paxton, Crosby & Leighton
Paxton, Crosby & North
Paxton, Crosby & Sloane
Paxton, Crosby & Sawyer
Paxton, Crosby & Mason
Paxton, Crosby & Delaney
Paxton, Crosby & Marlowe
Paxton, Crosby & Harlow
Paxton, Crosby & Hadley

starophie Says:

September 23rd, 2017 at 10:54 am

I LOVE Hollis — I read a book as a child about a main character called Hollis Woods and have never forgotten her! But I have to say, I am partial to Sinclair because it’s my middle name 🙂

In high school, I knew twin girls named Maddox (Maddy for short) and Lowry. I also like Callahan/Callie, Maguire/Maggie, and Leland/Lela. I was really amused that Abby suggested Langley because I am from Virginia — my dad went to high school at Langley!

colls39 Says:

September 23rd, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Auden immediately came to mind when I read this letter. I think it works well with brothers’ names!

Gia.berry Says:

September 24th, 2017 at 5:18 am

I love Hollis! I also like suggestions of Marlow and Hadley. I once new a pretty, intelligent girl called Landry, which could work.

ruolan Says:

September 25th, 2017 at 1:40 am

I like Hollis, Linden, and Collins from Abby’s list. I would add Campbell and Sutton.

JamiJae Says:

September 29th, 2017 at 10:58 pm

My suggestions are:

Kerrigan (Nickname: Kerri)
Campbell (Nicknames: Cami, Belle)
Sloane
Sutton

Haids1987 Says:

October 3rd, 2017 at 9:53 am

Ha, you mentioned Ashley and Hailey under “Langley.” I’m Hailey and my big sister is Ashley 🙂

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