Or did we?
Perhaps it never even occurs to the parents that Joanna and Jackson are both related to John. Or maybe the first time you think of the famous actress is when you introduce your daughter Grace, little sister to Kelly and someone asks if you’re a fan.
Siblings’ names will be said together countless times. The names we like often have much in common. So how can you tell if your choices make for a compatible sibset, or if they’re much too close?
Here are ten factors to consider:
Trouble comes when your family of two ends up a family of four or five or more. Your first two are the nicely paired Hazel and Ivy, but after using Olive and Jade, your choices for #5 narrow to Loden, Fern, and Moss.
9. The names share the same origins. Name aficionados know that Jacob and James are related. I’ve groused that naming your twin daughters Isabella and Elizabeth is like naming them Mary Anne and Marianne. Except that it’s not really so.
8. You’ve neglected 25 letters of the alphabet. Sometimes this is unintentional. You’re naming your sons after their grandfathers – Michael and Matthew. Or you just happen to like the names Julia and Jason.
But let’s say you choose a letter with fewer options. I remember hearing about a family with four sons – Henry, Heath, Hugo and Hatrick. Are they hockey fans, or was Harvey not their style? And if you’re on the second generation sharing the same syllable, your options might be very limited.
7. The names are linked in history or pop culture. If the movie was a bust, or we’re talking minor comic book characters, this matters not at all. (You can safely ignore “But Sami named her twins John and Alice on Days of Our Lives.”)
Then there’s Gillian Anderson’s threesome – Piper, Oscar, and Felix. Her kids might not know The Odd Couple, but it is hard to imagine that it didn’t occur to mom. Or the truly unthinkable – siblings named Romeo and Juliet, or even, in our Twilight era, Edward and Bella. (Though it can happen after the fact – in which case, all you can do is laugh.)
6. Your choices can lead to same nickname. Sure, you never intend to call Kathryn or Katelyn by the nickname Katie. But it could easily happen. And how will their sister Annie feel about having an unrelated name?
This usually occurs because of #9 or #3. But not always – Amelia and Marianna could both shorten to Mia. Alexander and Natasha could both go by Sasha. The harder you have to think about it, the less it becomes a concern.
5. Your favorites share the same ending. If you like Isabel, you might also like Annabel. Ditto names like Parker, Carter, and Harper. But sharing the same ending is another sign that your favorites might be too close for comfort – especially if you’re hoping for a bigger family.
3. They share the same first syllable. With #10 through #4, it is easy enough to come up with examples that work, despite being close in some ways.
And so I’d love to know: what choices have you had to reject because they’re just too close to an older child’s name – or the name of another family member?