Name Sage: Choosing a Family Name for Baby #3

They have a long shortlist, but finding the right combination is tough

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

Tania writes:

We are expecting our third child this June and are super excited – although I am tired of calling him my little Ninja!

It’s a boy.

My name is Titania. I was named for the character from Shakespeare, though I go by Tania. Our last name sounds like tea-sharer.

My husband is Vincent Avondale Lastname II. He goes by Vince. Our son is Vincent Avondale Lastname III. We call him Dale.

Our daughter is Juliet Elise. Juliet is my mom’s middle name.

My preference is that our new son is named after some elder in the family so he does not feel left out.

Some family names are: Christopher, Clarke, Connor, Matthew, Mitchell, and Patrick. Other names we have considered include Andrew, Colin, Daniel, Evan, Gabriel, Johnathan, Julian, Nicholas, Timothy, and William.

We both like Andrew as a middle name and that would make all their middle initials a vowel. I also want their names to flow well together. Dale and Jules sound good when I say it, and so do Vincent and Juliet.

Also, I don’t want my sons to be RAT, or some other initials that will not work together.

Lastly, my son has decided that the baby’s name is DJ and is sticking with it, I just thought I would throw that in there!

The Name Sage replies:

Usually it’s the first name that proves challenging, and once that’s settled, the rest falls into place.

But in some naming situations, it’s the combination that matters. I think you’re struggling with how to best mix and match the options on your list to find a first and middle combination that’s every bit as pleasing as your older children’s names.

You’ve done a beautiful job of reinventing family names for your children. They’re connected to their elders, but both children still have names for everyday use that are uniquely their own. I tend to agree with you that it’s important to find a family tie for your new son’s name, too.

Another thing that leaps out at me? Nicknames! Your older children’s names shorten easily to Dale and Jules. Even if they’re only for family use, it seems like the right name will continue that pattern, too.

So we’re looking for a combination with a built-in nickname, that incorporates a family name, avoids potentially awkward initials, and works well with your older children’s given names. And if we can use the initials DJ, that’s just icing on the cake!

Here are my top suggestions:

Andrew Christopher – It seems like Andrew is one name that speaks to both you and your husband. Rather than tuck it in the middle, would you consider it as a given name? The initials ACT are active and appealing, and Drew is the kind of nickname that pairs well with Dale and Jules.

Gabriel Connor Gabriel doesn’t have a family tie, but I think it works well with family name Connor in the middle spot. Gabriel shortens to Gabe, another great match for Dale and Jules.

William Patrick – This is probably the most traditional combination that can be made from your existing names, but here’s why it appeals: Dale, Jules, and Will all share the letter L. It’s a subtle connection, but one that ties the names together nicely.

Matthew Clarke Matthew is, hands down, my favorite of the family names. It shortens to Matt, if you like. And I think it has the same solid, not trendy, feel of Vincent and Juliet. I like Matthew with Clarke especially, but it does make for a short name – three syllables, rather than the five for your older kids’ names. Matthew Timothy or Matthew Julian might also be great options.

Daniel Johnathan – If Dale says that his brother is DJ, it would be sort of fabulous if you could find the perfect DJ name, wouldn’t it? The trouble is that there are no D or J names on your family name list. Maybe the story of his brother choosing his name is enough of a connection to overcome that lack. Another option might be to use Daniel Julian, since there is a Juliet in your family – but then you’re using two related names for sister and brother, and honoring your mother twice. Would that cause hard feelings with other family members?

Nicholas Connor – I wonder if you would like the nickname Nico for Nicholas Connor? It works on two levels. First, Nico can be short for Nicholas. But it’s also a combination of NIcholas and COnnor. Dale, Jules, and Nico. Vincent, Juliet, and Nicholas – I think it might be my favorite combination of them all!

Colin Andrew – I’m having a tough time making Andrew work as a middle name with any of your family names – I suspect you’ve had the same reaction! I think the initials CAT work just fine, which means that both Christopher Andrew and Clarke Andrew are options. But for pure nickname-ability, I like Colin Andrew, called Cole. Dale, Jules, and Cole gives you the shared letter L again.

Another option, of course, is to go back to your family tree one more time, and see if there’s something you’ve overlooked. You might even try a name inspired by your given name – Tanner, Tate, Titan, and Ty are all possibilities.

Readers, can you suggest some name combinations to Tania for her son?

Do you think it’s important that the third child’s name includes a family name, or should they start fresh?

  1. ANo, there’s no need to continue using family names.
  2. BYes, since the older two children have family names, it’s important to have a similar tie for baby #3.
  3. COnly if they can come up with a combination they love using family names.
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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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24 Responses to “Name Sage: Choosing a Family Name for Baby #3”

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KBiz Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 12:29 am

I -LOVE- Andrew Christopher!!! Favorite out of the whole bunch. Also love the Daniel J. idea and Matthew Clarke!

Tania, you and your husband have done a WONDERFUL job with naming your children!! If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you two were right out of a BNG 😛 Love the name Avondale too and what you did with your name 🙂 Whatever you choose will be wonderful!

Lanternlight Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 1:56 am

I really love Nicholas Conner nn Nico and Colin Andrew nn Cole or Col. What a gorgeous sibset it would be with Nico or Col added to it! 🙂

esita Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 5:47 am

I like the idea of Patrick Christopher. 🙂

Sweetchariot Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 9:47 am

I’ll suggest something not on any list but that might work: Alexander Oberon. Alexander shortens to so many great nicknames that complement your other two. Alexander, Vincent and Juliet. Dale, Jules, Alex. Dale, Jules, Xan.

A middle of Oberon would be a way of honoring YOU as his mother 🙂 and starts with a vowel. Since your husband has a “junior” it seems fair! Of course, you could always do Titan as a middle name which would be awesome but wouldn’t start with a vowel.

Sweetchariot Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 9:48 am

Andrew Oberon would work as well, obviously 🙂 and keep Drew as a nickname for the D of DJ!

jpruitt76 Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 10:13 am

I like Andrew Jonathan or Andrew Julian as it gives you the option for Drew or DJ but also uses two family names. AJ would also be a cute nn.

If you went with Daniel, I wanted to suggest the nn Dane.

LoveBugsMama Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 11:48 am

Another great list of suggestions, Abby! My favorite is Nicholas Connor with Colin and Andrew tied for second.

Kirstenanna Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Why not keep with a Shakespeare theme? I know Juliet was to honour a family member, but it doubles as a Shakespeare name. Here are some nice Shakespearean names I came across:

Caius Andrew nn. Cai
Conrad(e) Andrew
Leonardo Andrew nn. Leo
Marcus Andrew nn, Marc
Sampson Andrew nn. Sam

I also thought it was kind cool to mention that Vincentio is a name from Taming of the Shrew!

Tatiana729 Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 3:02 pm

OMG!!! I was sooo excited to read your response to my post today. After I read the post, I felt such a sense of relief because you so very clearly articulated exactly what my challenges were, I was not able to put my finger on it, but you absolutely hit the nail on the head. Also, I LOVE your suggestions and I am so excited to finally pick a name for our little ninja/ DJ  I will keep you posted on what his name will be. Thanks so much.

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions, they are super nice and so very helpful as well.

ARead Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 3:33 pm

I like Gabriel Connor best–it’s slightly less mainstream than the other first name suggestions, so feels fresher and goes well with Vincent, which ranks nice and low on the popularity charts. My second choice would be Colin Andrew. Good luck!

boyandgirl Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 4:03 pm

I suggest Walter Andrew. Walter and Vincent are perfect together. So are Walt and Dale.

ashbee Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Christopher Andrew Tea-sharer nicknamed Kit.
Kit, Dale, and Jules go splendidly together.

Your family’s named do seem like they were dreamed up in a NB forum!

ashbee Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 5:18 pm


mdog Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Both of your older children’s names remind me of literature/fantasy a little bit – like Avondale and Juliet. Because of that, I thought Clarke was the best option (with the subtle connection to Clark Kent). I don’t think Matthew, Christopher, etc are quite as spicy and unique, though maybe they could go by less traditional nicknames like Kit? I agree that your kids have really beautiful names and I’m sure you’ll do a great job with #3! Please let us know what you decide 🙂

southern.maple Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 9:10 pm

Are there any efforts made to ensure that the inquiries selected for Name Sage posts are coming from real parents?

nomen Says:

March 16th, 2016 at 10:48 pm

I agree southern.maple, this seemed odd too me too. Sounded more like a baby name game than an actual family.

Tatiana729 Says:

March 17th, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Hi Southern.Maple and Nomen, I want to assure you that yes, I am real 🙂 We are an actual family and are looking for a name for our 2nd little guy. I take it as a compliment that my first 2 children have such beautiful names/ nicknames it’s hard to believe they are real, but now I suppose you understand the struggle with finding the perfect name for this little one.

Also, my email to NameSage/ Abby was twice as long as what she actually published, she did not bore her readers with all the details of the origin of each of the family names that we are considering :)Hope this helps put your concerns at rest.

Thanks again for all the comments/suggestions. I really enjoy reading them and as promised when my little guy arrives, I will share his name.

bellaczh Says:

March 17th, 2016 at 7:09 pm

I like Matthew Andrew T with the nickname Matt. Mat(t) will be his initials and short for Matthew.

southern.maple Says:

March 19th, 2016 at 1:03 am

I would rather receive confirmation from Abby, Pam, or Linda.

broberry Says:

March 21st, 2016 at 12:52 am

I love Clarke as a first name. You say you’d like Andrew included as either a middle or first name. So my suggestion is Clarke Andrew T[lastname]. Yes, from the info you’ve given this means initials CAT. However, even as an admitted ‘dog person’ this doesn’t sound bad. Also, I think the formal names in sequence (Vincent, Juliet, and Clarke), sound as great as the nicknames in sequence (Dale, Jules, and Clark/Clarke. With my preference being Clark, so they each have ab opportunity to be incognito).

Whatever you go with, great choices on the first two. I love the blend of heritage and names that sound appealing today.

Congrats on your third!


broberry Says:

March 21st, 2016 at 12:58 am

Just read southern.maple ‘s post.

… Why would there be? Does not being a parent yet imply disregard for the seriousness of a lifelong name? I don’t think so.

Current parent, future parents, and never desiring or expecting to be parents can all appreciate the profound impact a name can have on a person. Please take a moment to reflect on the difference between intention and background. Correlation is not causation.

amie1la Says:

April 9th, 2016 at 4:06 am

Clarke Andrew, Nicholas Connor and Gabriel Connor are my favourites. You could also use Connor Andrew, as well. Good luck!

HistoryGirl Says:

June 12th, 2016 at 5:24 pm

I like the suggestion of continuing with a Shakespearean name.


Tatiana729 Says:

January 12th, 2017 at 9:46 pm

This reply is long overdue. Baby ninja has a name!!! He came to us on June 26th and his name is Daniel James (Tea+sharer). It works out kind of perfectly because:
1- Big brother got to give his little brother a name (DJ)
2- We still have a family name; James- I have 2 uncles (one was more like a dad) and my dear cousin (who was one of my best friends growing up, he actually has 2 middle names, one of which was Christopher, that I named my nephew almost 20 years ago since his passing.
3- We even managed to get a name from Shakespeare also (James is in Richard III, Romeo & Juliet and King John). I thank the reader who pointed that out to us because I never even made the connection that we all have Shakespearean names so I was glad to find that out and make surer our little guy was not left out.
It could not have worked out any better; Dale, Daniel, and Juliet. Our naming journey came to a wonderful close, thanks for your great suggestions and feedback.

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