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Name Sage: A Sister for Beatrice and Amelie

October 20, 2015 Abby Sandel

Louise writes:

We have twin girls called Beatrice Willow and Amelie Isobel. We also had a little boy called Finnian Robert, sadly stillborn at 36 weeks. We are now expecting another girl in November. Any suggestions for something that would go well with our older kids’ names?

I like French influence in girls’ names. I would like something that goes with Beatrice and Amelie, but I can’t stand how common Amelie is now, and prefer the less used Beatrice.

I liked the name Roberta, but my husband has vetoed it. I love the name Willow, but feel I couldn’t use it since it is already Bea’s middle name!

The Name Sage replies:

First, I am so very sorry for your loss. It might be lovely to incorporate a name related to your son into your new daughter’s name, if that’s something that you and your husband both want. More on that in a minute.

Beatrice Willow and Amelie Isobel are nicely matched. It seems like there should be plenty of girls’ names that would work beautifully with such a lovely pair of girls’ names.

And yet, here’s the challenge: Amelie isn’t very popular at all. In fact, Amelie and Beatrice were both given to fewer than 500 girls born in 2014. Beatrice ranked Number 601 last year, while Amelie lagged behind, at Number 667.

The secret to finding a name isn’t just matching your style. It’s avoiding a name that is part of a popular name family. You probably don’t meet many girls named Amelie, but I’ll bet you hear Emily, Emma, and Amelia all the time.

Let’s take a look at some first names that share the romantic style of Beatrice and Amelie, but don’t come from a name family that is very popular today.

Cecile – You’ve mentioned that you prefer names with French influence. Cecile is the French feminine form of Cecil, a cousin to Cecilia and Cecily. It’s as tailored and restrained as Elise, but much less common. It is out of favor in France, and hasn’t ranked in the US Top 1000 since the 1960s. Despite that, I think it feels like a stylish choice for a daughter in 2015.

CordeliaCordelia is a long and lovely name. Like Beatrice, it’s a name from Shakespeare. One hesitation? While nothing sounds quite like Cordelia, Cor– names are having a moment, including Cora and Coraline. In fact, Coraline was the name I almost suggested – it’s French, just like Amelie. Except that Coraline is awfully close to Caroline, a Top 100 name. Cordelia seems like the more distinctive of the possibilities.

Clementine – Is Clementine too homespun to stand up to the elegant Beatrice and Amelie? It shouldn’t be – it’s also French, and has a long history of use. Mrs. Winston Churchill was a Clementine, and Kate Winslet wore the name in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. One hesitation with all thee C names: you’d have chosen names for your girls from the first three letters of the alphabet!

DaphneDaphne isn’t French – it’s Greek, as in Greek myth! At Number 355 in 2014, it’s also more popular than Amelie and Beatrice. But just like Cordelia, I think it’s tough to find a name that sounds anything like Daphne.

Harriet – Like Cecile, Harriet isn’t currently ranked in the US Top 1000, which makes the name rare. But like every name on this list, it’s easily recognized as a girl’s name. It’s derived from Henriette, the usual French feminine form of Henri. Harriet’s –et ending is stylish, and the nickname Hattie has attracted some notice recently. But Harriet feels like a stand-out choice, and a great sister name for Beatrice and Amelie.

Marguerite – This is one of the names I can’t stop recommending. But it hits every note. It’s French, rare, and works well with Beatrice and Amelie. In fact, it’s one of my favorites for you, because it gives all three girls a name with a different ending sound. Margaret and Margot are slowly making a comeback, but even if they were Top Ten names in the US, Marguerite would still feel nicely different.

Sabrina – Like Daphne, Sabrina ranked in the US Top 400 last year. The similar-sounding Serena ranked Number 455. Both names have literary ties and a romantic quality, too.

Willa – I do think that it’s a mistake to reuse Willow. But I wonder if you might consider Willa. It has more of that old-fashioned charm that Beatrice and Amelie boast, and while the sound is very similar, it’s not the same name.

Now let’s take a look at middle name options. Fiona reminds me very much of Finnian, in terms of sound. Finn or Finley could be middle name options, too. Robin is another Rob– names, and Rosebud includes the letters Rob, but split up.

For something truly subtle, you might consider the meaning of Robert – bright. Names like Clara and Claire, Niamh and Neve, as well as Phoebe, Phaedra, Roxana, and Zahra all share a similar meaning.

My favorite combinations are Willa Rosebud, Cecile Finley, Marguerite Neve, and Daphne Claire.

Readers, what would you name a sister for Finnian Robert, Beatrice Willow, and Amelie Isobel?

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. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

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