Sibling Names: Should They Share the Same Initial?

Sibling Names: Should They Share the Same Initial?

Update: Cora’s brother has a name!

They gave their first two daughters traditional, feminine A names. Should they stick with that style – and letter! – for sibling names or try something new if their next baby is a girl?

Holly writes:

My husband and I are happily expecting our third (and last) child in October of this year. We have two girls, Amelia (Mia) Noelle and Alexandra (Lexi) Seeley. While we don’t know the gender of this little one, I have a strong inclination that we will have three girls in our future.

If we do have a boy, we’re all set. We’ve had our boy name picked out for nearly a decade.

Girl names however, turn into a word association game. I’m not convinced we need to go with another name that starts with A, though my husband seems to think that this little one will be left out if we don’t. I can’t find any that I absolutely adore; like yes, but not enough to say “That’s the name!”

We have Aurora, Anastacia & Audrey. Other names we’ve discussed are McKenna (DH likes McKenzie which I don’t), Julianna, Teagan, Tarryn, Lochlyn, Grey (a variation on our chosen boy name), Oriana (DH says it reminds him of Oreos), and Leigha/Leighton.

I know our girl names both start & end with A’s as well as they are princess/royal names. Middle names always come from somewhere in the family.

Please help! I feel like this little one will be nameless forever.

The Name Sage replies:

Here’s what jumps out at me: your style has evolved.

It happens to most of us. If we had to name our children on their 21st birthdays, they’d be very different than the names we choose after life – and parenting – experience changes the way we see the world.

You started out with a preference for traditional, feminine names with history galore and easy nicknames. Now it sounds like you’re leaning towards unisex, nickname-proof names like Teagan and Grey. They’re great choices, but they don’t quite sound like sisters for Alexandra and Amelia.

The good news? No rule dictates that sibling names have to match. And yet, I suspect that you and your husband are both looking for a name that feels like it completes the set, and hesitating to choose something that strays too far from your older daughters’ names.

Two possible compromises come to mind. First, you might choose a tailored/surname/unisex A name, something that feels more like Lochlyn and Leighton. The name will be a different style, but connected by the shared first initial.

What would you think of:

Adair – Wildly underused, this Scottish and English surname reminds me of Lochlyn. Amelia, Alexandra, and Adair go together better than you might expect.

Alston – Alston feels like a modern update to Allison and Addison, an unexpected choice that would wear well in 2017.

Amory – Surname Amory makes a logical choice, only the spelling might be problematic. Emery ranks in the current US Top 200 for girls. Amory, Amery, and even Amerie are seen, too, though they’re much less common.

Ashby – Ashley dominated the 1980s. Ashby seems like a fresher alternative.

Or maybe you’d prefer to stick with more conventionally feminine names, but avoid another A name? There’s no shortage of possibilities.

Calista – From a Greek word meaning beautiful, Calista has never been especially popular. It peaked in use after Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart rose to fame in the late 1990s. Today it feels unexpected, but would make a great sister for Amelia and Alexandra.

Elena – If you’d like to stick with something a little more mainstream, Elena might appeal. It shortens to Ellie or Laney – though Laney might be too close to Lexi. The name falls just inside the current Top 100. If you’d like something even more elaborate, Eliana ranks about the same as Elena.

Lilia, Liliana – Pick your spelling! The Lily names have been popular for years, with Lily in the Top 50 for over a decade, and names like Lilianna and Lilly and Lillian are all very popular. They remind me of the L sounds in Leighton and Lochlyn, but with a more feminine sound.

Miranda – Miranda reached the Top 100 in the 1990s, but it still feels underused. Maybe that’s because there’s so much to recommend this name, from the meaning (wonderful) to the name’s Shakespearean roots.

Serena – There’s a big group of S- names that seem like they’d fit your style. Sierra and Sienna feel more modern, while Serena and Sabrina have longer histories. Seraphina is the most elaborate of them all. I like Serena with Amelia and Alexandra, a feminine name with plenty of strength.

Victoria – The British royal family includes princesses named Amelia and Alexandra, so maybe your youngest daughter could take inspiration from another member of that family, the legendary Victoria? Rich with nicknames, it’s easy to imagine Victoria “Vica” or “Tori” as a sister to Lexi and Mia.

There’s no shortage of options, and yet I think my favorite name for you is hiding in your original list. What if you spelled Oriana with an A? Ariana sidesteps the looks-like-Oreos problem your husband mentioned. It comes with the great nickname Ari. And it matches Amelia and Alexandra nicely.

Because while I don’t think you must choose another A name, there’s also no reason to avoid one if it’s the best choice for your family.

Let’s turn this over to the community. I know they’ll have some great suggestions! Readers, what would you suggest to Holly if their third child is a girl?