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Sibling Names: Should They Share the Same Initial?

Amelia and Alexandra and ?

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

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! – 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.

AlstonAlston 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.

AshbyAshley 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.

MirandaMiranda 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 VictoriaVica” 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?

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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.
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37 Responses to “Sibling Names: Should They Share the Same Initial?”

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bjoy Says:

July 11th, 2017 at 11:04 pm

I think the “A” thing does not matter too much since your daughters go by nicknames that are different letters entirely. Mia, Lexie, and _____(nickname to any name, “A” or not) perhaps matter more than continuity in the first letters of the given name. I am biased towards Aurora “Rory”, though, and think it’s a great choice for you if you decide to stick with the theme. I personally probably would, seeing as it’s the last baby, but only if you find an “A” name you adore. Otherwise, don’t worry about it 🙂

mill1020 Says:

July 11th, 2017 at 11:38 pm

I think Ariana “Ari” would be perfect for a third girl.

JH Says:

July 11th, 2017 at 11:46 pm

The fact that all the girls’ names have L’s in them sticks out to me more than the A starting. I’d pick Juliana because it’s beautiful with cute nicknames!

jmsouthern Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 12:53 am

I’m the middle of three sisters. We shared (until marriage) all THREE initials: JMH. We are Jodi Machelle, Julie Marin (that’s me), and Joanna Megan. Like you and your husband, our parents had a longtime choice for a boy name (which ultimately went unused): Jason Matthew. I can’t tell you how many times we were asked whether our parents “did that on purpose”. My dad would invariably reply, very dryly, “Nope. Just a coincidence.” Haha.

I would definitely encourage you to stick with your established initial pattern. Growing up in a matched sibset felt as though we were an exclusive club; the “Hansen girls” were unique, and it kept us close.

I might suggest Adelaide for a third daughter; aside from the initial A, it also fits the royal theme.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am also partial to the Sage’s suggestion of Calista, as it’s close to Calyssa, the name I gave to my own daughter.)

kennamoon Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 1:20 am

To make the third sister feel included you could make her initials from both of her sisters nicknames, M for Mia and L for Lexi… for example either Leighton McKenna or McKenna Leighton? or maybe Malia Lacey or Lindsey Matilda or Marlowe Lucy 🙂

as for A name suggestions..

Ayla
Aria
Ariadne
Arielle
Aziza
Azra
Ana
Angie
Anya
Addy
Avery
Alana
Alora
Aya
Ari
Avi

PrudenceA Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 5:55 am

Really like Aurora with her sisters.

A few more suggestions;

Adaline/Adalina
Arabella
Araminta

Maerad Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 5:57 am

I love the name Arianna, so I think I’d probably go with it. If this was baby #2, I’d stay away from A names to avoid a theme 😛 but since you have two A girls already I don’t see any reason to avoid using one.
That being said, I knew a family (kids were my age) where the boys were Benjamin, Barney, and Oliver. Oliver didn’t even notice the lack of B name until I mentioned it – so I really don’t think it’s a big deal if you don’t use an A name. I just happen to like Arianna best.

jessiemay Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 7:12 am

My personal feeling is that you should definitely stick to the A theme, something long and classic with a cute, modern nickname like your older girls. Not that I think siblings should necessarily share initials, but given that the older two have such a similar feel I think it would be best to stick to it so the baby doesn’t feel left out as she grows (if it is a girl!). My suggestions would be (I’ve included some slightly more unusual ones too):
Adelaide “Addie/Della/Laidy”
Annabelle/Annabella “Belle/Bella/Annie/Abby”
Arabella “Ari/Bella/Abby”
Abigail “Abby”
Anastasia “Aster/Annie/Asia”
Angelica “Annie/Angie/Ellie”
Avalon “Ava”
Arianwen “Aria/Wren”
Aquinnah “Quinn”
Amberly “Amber”
Aviana “Ava/Avi”
That said, if you stumble across another name that isn’t within your established ‘theme’ but is the perfect fit for you, I think go for it for sure! You’ll know when you find it. Good luck xx

gummybear0724 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 9:21 am

Another thing is, both of your daughters names also end in a. You could go off of that. Instead of Oriana (beautiful btw!) maybe Oksana? Its more of a stretch in style but is still fun and fabulous.

Other suggestions

Abilene/Abigail
Alina
Amara
Aubrey
Audrey (or even Audra or Audrina)

JustBrowsing Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 9:21 am

Lots of great names suggested.
My first reactions were Ariana and Ilyana/Eliana.
Other suggestions:
Ainsley for a girl or Veronica (nn Nika or Vero)
‘Anna’ names like Annaliese, Annalea, Annabeth, Annabelle.
Also, Lucy (you could use Lucille, Lucinda if you want)

Maisieleaf Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 9:40 am

I would go with Anastasia, spelling it with an s as it’s traditional and definitely a “royal” sounding name to go with the other two. There’s also some good nickname options like Anna, Annie, Tansy, or Tess. Classic but also fun, and goes with her sisters too.

Nathalia Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 9:46 am

When I think about all the sibsets I grew up with, I can think of several that had repeating initials of 2 that weren’t shared with a 3rd child. Nobody noticed. I never heard it discussed. I’m not sure why the initial letter matters so much to so many, especially when other similarities (ending letter, number of syllables, similar vowel sounds) don’t require a “theme”. I can see using another letter A if it’s a FUN connection or if it HELPS the naming process for some reason. However, it is simply NOT necessary or required. My siblings and I felt very connected, even without matching initials. I personally would much rather have a name that my parents loved than a name they felt they HAD to give me because of the first letter.

That said, many lovely names have been suggested, both with A and without. Congratulations on the new baby and best of luck with choosing a wonderful name that fits the child as well as the family.

Schickler Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 10:44 am

I am LOVING Adelaide for you. Nickname Heidi. Mia, Lexi and Heidi! Although Dell is also super cute.

I think you’re on the right track with your A-loves. I was coming to suggest Annabella, Arabella, Ariadne, Antoinette, Arietta or Aurelie. I like Aurelie nn Rae or Ariadne nn Rad.

I would be tempted to stick with the theme. Although I do agree two is a coincidence and three is a theme. But I’m a name nerd and would want to see cohesion in the names. Long flowy elegant A-name with a modern, punchy nickname with their own initial.

Or if you want to stick with the A-theme but go more modem, there’s Avalon or Averie or Akelee or Aven or choose one of your more modern non-A picks and smoosh it, like Anna-Grey? Ooh.. I really like Anna-Grey for you!

Abby Sandel Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 11:00 am

So many great suggestions – thanks!

@Schickler – I’m swooning over Anna-Grey!

@jmsouthern – I’ve been wondering where I first heard Calyssa! It must be you. 🙂 Such a great different-but-familiar name.

tiannarose Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 11:32 am

I personally love Abby’s suggestion of Adair! Posh, sophisticated and keeps the A theme alive.

zsazsa00 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 11:39 am

This is a tough one. I agree with @bjoy that they go by nicknames so it probably won’t matter if you don’t choose an A name. But I am a stickler for patterns myself so I get it.

I like Aurora nn. Aurie / Rory and Anastacia nn. Staci / Anna / Annie / Sisi / Sia from your list.

To keep the pattern maybe go with a princess name so they share meaning instead of the letter. Like how Leigha is on your list, but with a modern spelling to boot. Loving it!

Some princess/ royal names I would like to suggest:

Odette
Aida
Zelda
Tatiana
Antonia / Antoinette
Cleo

Good luck!

ClaireEliseWren Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 11:58 am

I think choosing a name you love is more special that choosing one that matches.

That being said, there are loads of gorgeous A names…lucky you!

I love Adele or Adela as a sister for your girls.

Good luck!

jpruitt76 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I would personally want to continue with the A theme as the lack of symmetry would bother me. And I think you have some great options:

Aurora, nn Rory
Arabella or Ariana, nn Ari
Antonella, nn Nell or Nellie
Antonina, nn Nina
Adrienne, nn Dre or Andi
Adelaide, nn Ada or Addie
Allegra, nn Allie
Abigail, nn Abby
Audrey
Adele
Ainsley
Adair
Ashby
Ada

If you drop the A theme, I still think a feminine name with a nickname is your best bet. I like Abby’s suggestions of Calista (Callie) and Victoria (Tori). You could also do something like Josephine, nn Josie, or Francesca, nn Frankie.

jpruitt76 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 2:32 pm

I forgot Annabel, nn Annie

morgantaylore Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Aurora nicknamed Rory is a standout to me. It matches your other girls name and is adorable.

I personally would continue your trend. No one likes to be the left out sibling.

Other “A” options

Adelaide
Adeline
Adrianna
Annabel
Adele
Annalise
Ansley
Ainsley
Anya
Aspen

RachelAbigail Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I agree with previous commenters who say you should go for the third A name because their nicknames are so different.

Adeline (nicknamed Della) seems like a perfect fit, in my humble opinion. It’s vintage, yet cool – and Mia, Lexi, and Della definitely sound like sisters!

saoirse123 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 4:46 pm

There are many similarities between your daughters’ names, so I would advocate that a third daughter will not feel left out if she has a name with a different initial.
I remember my childhood’s best friend’s mother was very worried about how to name the last baby because the first two had elaborate hyphenated first names, and all she wanted was to name the new baby Amelie. She did in the end, and I never heard Amelie complain that she didn’t fit in the family because of her name, quite the opposite since the name fit her so well.

The suggestion of Anna-Grey was a good one in my opinion, so was Ariana (or Adriana), and I also like Audra, Ainsley and Adair in the “A” category.

Other things Amelia and Alexandra have in common, other than “A”, is long and fairly constant history or use as well as German roots. They sound refined, and could be the name of princesses/royalty, and because of this, they made me think of Shakespearian names. So here is a mishmash of all those criteria:

Louisa
Matilda/Maude

Queens:
Aenor (ancient german, mother of Eleanor of Aquitaine)
Arsinoe (the name of a few queens thoughout history)
Beatrix
Maeve (Irish warrior queen)
Raina (germanic and means queen)
Zenobia (could also be cute to go from A to Z)

Other rare germanic choices:
Odilia/Odelia
Aloisia
Lorelei
Lenore/Leonora
Gisela/Griselda

Shakespearian ladies:
Cordelia
Ophelia
Portia
Rosaline/Rosalind
Viola

KiwiLexi Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I thought of Ariana before I had finished reading! I think Ariana fits well not only for the points Abby made (close to Oriana, starts and ends in “a”) but also the Royal connection – Amelia, Alexandra & Ariana are used by royals in Continental Europe.

(I actually created an account to comment here as no-one seemed to have yet mentioned that variants of these names were used for the daughters of the King and Queen of the Netherlands: Catherina-Amalia, Alexia & Ariane!).

As for a nick name for Ariana that also fits with Mia and Lexi, how about Nana? It’s pronounced to rhyme with Anna (NAN-a) not nah-nah. Also vintage and underused.

Good Luck!

btoom17 Says:

July 12th, 2017 at 10:24 pm

I suggest you look at the names of Ariel & her sisters:
Arista
Attina
Alana
Adella (my favorite)
Andrina
Aquata

I also like Aurora, Arabella, and Annabella to fit your theme.

megank4 Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 5:37 am

I vote for start with A or else first letter of a parent’s name. If for example the first and third kids’ names started with the same letter but the second’s did not, it wouldn’t feel as deliberate as making the third onés different from the first two.

iipostmvh Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 7:08 am

I like the suggestion of Ariana, but not the nn Aria or Ari. It’s just too expected. I’d go with either Ana or Riana.

ErinE Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Personally, I think you got it right yourself with Aurora, nn Rory! Ameila, Alexandra, and Aurora all sound great together, but more importantly, Mia, Lexi, and Rory all sound fantastic together! I love it!

kelllly Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 5:09 pm

I’ve seen this a lot I’m families–2 people with a certain first initial and the other (or the rest with other initials). It didn’t feel odd at all! I think that when every child starts with the same letter it’s a little hokey. I’ve seen this growing up, and I remember it always seemed so unnatural.

That said, you have 2 beautiful names for your daughters, and I worry that you might feel constrained or reaching to include another “A” name. Plus, like someone mentioned above, your daughters go by nicknames starting with different letters.

RL Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Some of the names you are considering seem to have a Gaelic feel; have you thought about Aisling/Aishling (nickname Ash)?

Amelia, Alexandra and Aisling
Mia, Lexi and Ash

JamiJae Says:

July 13th, 2017 at 10:08 pm

If you want to stick with the A beginning, I would suggest going with Allison. It is classic like the two names you have already chosen for your older girls. It also has a few nickname choices, like Ali (Allie) or Lissy (Lissie). I also like Alice as another A name that would sound lovely with your girls’ names. If you aren’t feeling the A beginning any longer, perhaps an A ending would suit your style now as well as giving you a name that sounds like it belongs with the other two. If that is something you would consider, a few suggestion I have for that are: Cecelia, Lydia, Fiona, or Sophia. All of these names have relatively soft beginnings and a strong A ending. Amelia, Alexandra, and Sophia sound like they belong together just as much as Amelia, Alexandra, and Allison. In the end though, it all comes down to what you and your spouse prefer. I hope this helps!

BrittanyBrown Says:

July 14th, 2017 at 2:20 am

Here’s the deal, you NEED to go with an A name, period. If you don’t, everything seems, looks and feels uneven. Trust me, you will feel much better about naming your child (if girl) an A name.
Amelia and Alexandra are amazing names!
So here are a few that I could think of:

Andrina

Aella

Arista

Astra

Attina

Acantha

Ayla

tfzolghadr Says:

July 15th, 2017 at 1:56 am

I would not have noticed as much if both of your girls have A names that also end with an A. I’d keep the pattern…
Augusta
Anastasia
Aurora
Adia
Adela
Aida
Asha
Anna
Aria
Ariana
Athena
Azalea
Acacia
Antonia
Aurelia
Audra
Adalia
Adelina
Acadia
Arcadia

ElsaAnne Says:

July 16th, 2017 at 11:43 am

Like other berries, I love a pattern, so I’d love to see another ‘A’ name. With Amelia and Alexandra, they are both four syllables, so I’ll recommend some more four-syllable, start-with-A, end-with-A names. I’d avoid anything that’s too similar to Amelia or Alexandra. However, choose the name you love! Me and my sister have the same first initial, whereas my brother has a different one. A few people have commented on it, but it’s hardly an issue; and even if he was a girl, my mum had a different initialled name picked out for him.

Names already mentioned that fit this pattern: Acadia, Adalina/Adelina, Adriana/Adrianna (Adrienna), Anastacia/Anastasia, Angelica, Annabella, Antonella, Antonia, Antonina, Arabella, Araminta, Arcadia, Ariana/Arianna, Arietta, Aviana

Suggestions from me: Abelina, Abriana/Abrianna, Abriella, Adamina, Adelaida, Adelaina, Adelisa, Adelita, Adelphia, Alethea, Aliana, Alidia, Alivia, Almeria, Aloisa, Amadea, Amadora, Amapola, Aramantha, America, Aminata, Anahera, Anamaya, Anarosa, Andromeda, Angelina, Annaliesa, Antoinetta, Apollina, Ardesia, Ariella, Aristana, Aristina, Athalina, Aubriana, Aubriella, Audriana, Audriella, Augustina, Avelina, Azuria

Bobcat108 Says:

July 17th, 2017 at 1:13 pm

I can’t remember if Adrianna has been mentioned… Nns could be Adri, Adria, Dria/Drea, Anna… Good luck! 🙂

blackcatsmeow Says:

July 17th, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Personally I don’t think it’s important to keep the same initials, but the same style might be nice. I really like the suggestions of Adelaide and Antonia on this thread already. Also like Name Sage’s suggestion of Arianna. I also love Juliana from your list.

But what I notice from you list is a lot of Gaelic sounding names. So with that in mind I’d like to suggestion.

Maeve- Is a beautiful but rarely heard Irish name with a poetic meaning. Nickname could easily be Mae or May which fits with your other girls names beautifully. Lest “frilly” then the longer names which might appeal to your more modern tastes.

Fiona- With Fee or Faye as a nickname this again fits nicely into you other girls.

Greer – With Greer Garson being a classic movie star from the 40’s, this name holds onto it’s feminine identity with out being as obvious about it as others. Nick name could be Gigi.

If I was going to suggest names based of your other girl names it would be,..

Athena- Nick name Thea. A wonderful strong and grounded name.

Isadora- Many nick names including Dora, Issy, and Sadie.

Elettra- Nickname Ella, Ellie, or Lettie.

Good luck!

bogill Says:

July 17th, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Ava for sure! Sounds good with Alexandra and Amelia.

lyd810 Says:

August 15th, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Aurora nn Rory would go great with the names of the sister and their nn and it is super cute. I also like the idea of Ariana nn Ari.

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