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Name Sage: A name for a girl Junior’s sister

December 1, 2015 Abby Sandel

Andrea writes:

We are expecting our second daughter on January 11th. I have been obsessed with naming children for as long as I can remember. My best friend even gave me the book Beyond Jennifer and Jason as a present in the sixth grade.

Surprisingly enough, I never imagined it would be this difficult to choose a name for my child. Our first daughter was named a day after we were engaged … it was easy and perfect. She has the same full name as my husband – Morgan Campbell – but we call her Junie, short for Junior. We love it and it fits her just perfectly.

For the second though, we are all over the place. I’m afraid my problem is that I’ve thought TOO much about this over the years. The “rules” I have in place for the perfect name all contradict each other, so no name is perfect. Until, of course, I think I find the perfect name only to have my husband simply say, nope.

We would like the middle name to be Clyn (pronounced like “Klein”, my father-in-law’s first name) or Christopher (my mother-in-law’s first name).

We have considered the following names, but none of them seems quite right: Caroline, Kendall, Halle, Marlowe, Autumn, Isla, Abel, Georgia, Annika, and Bronwen. My husband likes Campbell and Parker, but I don’t. I like Corinne, Korin, Eden, Elin, AJ, EJ, or Eira, but my husband does not.

In general, I’d like something that is different, but not made up; feminine, though I seem to love unisex names. I’d like it to go well with Junie if at all possible, but not too matchy. Except I love most nicknames ending in the ‘ee’ sound.

I’m so afraid it’s going to end up being a last minute decision that’s going to feel like we are settling and would really love to avoid that, if possible.

The Name Sage replies:

How fabulous that you were able to hand your husband’s name down to your daughter, and find a completely unexpected nickname, too! When you get your first child’s name exactly right, it can really turn up the pressure when choosing names for future children.

But when I look at your shortlist, I think you have plenty of options. While Morgan Campbell is – obviously! – a unisex name, Junie is different. It’s retro and spunky and clearly feminine.

When it comes to unisex names, it can be tough to figure out what, precisely, that means. There are names like Madison that are unisex in theory, but are far more common for girls. The opposite is true, too – I’ve yet to meet a girl named Dexter. And then there’s everything in between. It seems that you lean towards tailored names, so I’ll try to stick to choices that are a little more streamlined.

Let’s see if we can find another meaningful name with a sparky nickname.

Caroline Clyn, called Cece – Usually I save my favorite choices for last, but this time I can’t resist putting my favorite first. Caroline Christopher also works for the nickname Cece, of course, but you’ve mentioned that your last name is short, and among the most common of English surnames. That makes me think that using a really bold name like Clyn in the middle could be a good choice. Morgan and Caroline are both tailored names, and Junie and Cece sound like sisters.

Hadley – I know you have some hesitations about Halle because it might be mistaken for Hailey. That makes me think of literary Hadley, the name of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, and the subject of the fictionalized biography The Paris Wife. Hadley is popular – the name ranked just inside the US Top 100 in 2014. But I think it has a distinctive, standout sound that makes it feel different. Morgan and Hadley; Junie and Hadley. I’d say Hadley works with both.

Averell – I know what you mean about Abel. Sometimes any –el ending name feels like it could be feminine. And yet Abel is very different from Morgan or Campbell – it’s a given name exclusively used for men. Instead, what do you think of this surname name? It brings to mind W. Averell Harriman, former governor of New York. Also spelled Averill, the surname could be related to the month of April, or might be a place name.

Matilda – I can imagine a sister for Georgie being called Matilda. And since Georgia is a near miss for you, I wonder if the less common Matilda might appeal? It shortens to Mattie or Tillie, both names that sound exactly right with Junie. I’m particularly drawn to Matilda Christopher, but either combination works. This would also give your daughters the same initials. If you’re hoping for a big family, you might not want to still be dreaming up M.C. combinations with baby number five. But assuming that’s not the case, sharing initials can be a subtle way to link two names.

Marlowe – You’ve mentioned Marlowe, and I think it’s one that you should consider – except I think that the legacy of playwright Christopher Marlowe means that you’d need to favor the middle name Clyn! As with Matilda, you’d have shared initials between your daughters. While Marlowe has been catching on, it’s not currently in the US Top 1000 – it’s trending, but not nearly as popular as Madison, Harper, or Mackenzie.

Carys – Take one part Caroline, add two parts Bronwen’s heritage, and you’ll have Carys, a Welsh name meaning love. Carys Clyn and Carys Christopher could be Cece, too!

Louise or Louisa, called Lulu – This is something of a leap, but would you consider the nickname Lulu? Junie and Lulu are sweet together, and Louise could be that tailored but feminine, familiar but not common name that you’re after.

Adelia Annika and Georgia remind me of Adelia. It’s a rare name from the AdelaideAdela family, which makes it both on-trend and surprising. There are nicknames galore – Addie, Delia, Della, Dee, Didi, Lia. I do think it could be misheard as Amelia quite often, which might be a concern.

Caroline Clyn or maybe Carys Clyn, called Cece, is still my favorite from the list of possibilities. It seems to combine a lot of the qualities that you like in names in general, plus you have other initial names (AJ, EJ) on your list already.

Marlowe Clyn is a close second, because it does seem like the shared initials might be a nice way to coordinate the girls’ names without begin too obviously matched.

Readers, what would you suggest to Andrea for Junie’s little sister?

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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