Sibsets in Synch: What’s your take?
“Sibset” — it’s something of a buzzword on the, but is this preoccupation with perfect pairings and stylish sibling sets just one more thing for us name nerds to obsess over?
Celebrity parents are certainly in on the act too. From Jessica Alba’s alliterative brood (Honor, Haven and Hayes) to the beautiful botanical daughters of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (Hazel and Violet), a nicely co-ordinated sibset is as important as a picture-perfect outfit for stylish Hollywood parents.
So, today we’re asking for your take on super slick sibling sets.
How important is it to you that siblings’ names “go” together?
Where do you draw the line between nicely matched and matchy-matchy?
What do you think makes the perfect sibset, and what would your ideal set be?
What are the best sibsets you’ve ever come across in real life? And your favorite celebrity set?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, or join us on or to continue the conversation!
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on August 27th, 2018 at 11:22 pm
I think that it’s a bit weird when names are radically different (like Ava, Aiden, and Marmaduke). Other than that, as long as the names aren’t super matchy, I think it’s generally fine.
on August 28th, 2018 at 5:53 am
It would be too much for sisters called Ava and Eva, obviously, but I think it would also be odd if you had children called Asher and Mary since you have too very different styles.
on August 28th, 2018 at 6:40 am
The only reason I think sibling names should “go” together is for the sake of the children involved. I have seen situations where mismatched “style” has caused problems in the family.
1) In one family I know, two of the three children were given top 20 names and the third (happened to be the middle child) was given a very rare name. The child who could never find her name on any gift shop items (pencils, little license plates, lanyards, etc) always felt left out and the Mom was always having to order customized items with her name to address the issue. But she never had the joy of randomly finding her name on something in a store. As an adult, it is an issue she still mentions occassionally.
2) In another family I know, the oldest boys were given very traditional masculine names. When the last child was born and was also a boy, the mother knew she would never have a little girl and gave him more of unisex/leaning girls name (this isn’t it but think of something like Robin or Leslie). He was teased by his brothers alot for his “girls” name and certainly felt that he was a disappointment to his parents.
I like sibling names that match in relative popularity, and gender identity (all clearly gender specific or all clearly unisex) obviously. I like names that are similar in length but differ in beginning and ending sounds.
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:06 am
Before I came on here and properly became a namenerd, I thought Pandora & Aurora were perfect siblings because they rhymed. Of course now I’m on the other end of the spectrum and fuss way too much about sibsets. My biggest sibset naming worry is having one child feeling left out of a sibset greater than two, because of their name. Letter length and popularity are the two things I like to be consistent in my own ideal sibset. I don’t like having 1 out of >2 kids with a different number of letters in their name if the other siblings all have the same letter length, although I’m trying to get over that. Popularity is easier since I want all my kids to have rarer names.
Other than that, I don’t mind stylistically different choices, as long as I love all the names. I don’t like overly matchy names. To me that’d be names that have too many similar sounds. I’d prefer to avoid repeated initials, but I think they’re okay as long as the sounds are different (Peter and Phoebe) or the rest of the name isn’t too similar sounding (Cara and Coleen). I wouldn’t use them for more than 2 kids unless there are a lot of other siblings with different initial letters. Repeated end sounds bugs me a little too. Some are less obvious, mainly -a endings, but otherwise I wouldn’t use two ‘-ia’ or ‘-o’ names (for example) together. One thing I really don’t understand is giving kids a different number of middles, I don’t have siblings but I know that would irritate me.
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:09 am
I agree with above but as an argument for being less fixated and going for the name you love in itself, we don’t get asked for our siblings’ names all that often after about age 14. We namers need to remember that kids don’t spend their whole lives as a sibset. Well, they do, but it is not always primary!
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:13 am
I think it’s nice when names match in style, popularity and “trendiness” but have different first letters and different sounds. I am particularly drawn to 5 letter names, and I haven’t decided how I feel about sibsets like Lydia & Eliza (which I think pair beautifully). If you have a 3rd girl, do you need a 5 letter, 3 syllable first name?
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:40 am
I have three children, all of whom happen to be years apart in age from one another. I was married twice, so, there are two different fathers and thus different surnames and family traditions to take into consideration. At first glance, my kids’ names don’t “go together” well. (Well, Kid two has a name that jibes fairly well with both his older sister and that of his much younger brother, but when you compare Kid One and kid Three, it’s obvious that 15 years and many changes occurred between their births.)
To me, however, they sound just fine when I list them. I think time and life circumstances and other changes need to be taken into consideration, rather than just naming kids deliberately so that their names seem to “go” together. Mine are all young adults with lives of their own now, and the names of their siblings have had little to no bearing upon their lives.
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:50 am
The longer I’ve been here, the more obsessed with this I’ve become? haha. I do think it’s important for the names to vibe well together, whatever that means to you. For me personally, I think I’ve become a little too concerned with finding the perfect level of coordination and boxed myself in too much at times with my self-imposed rules. But it all comes down to what you personally love.
Although, I will say I find it jarring when I meet a sibset such as one I know where there are three girls, one with a very common name for her age group, one starting with the same initial who has a very dated/older generation name, and one who has a different initial name that is much rarer (and prettier IMHO)–seems very strange to me that these are three sisters all named by same parents! It’s also a pet peeve of mine when authors do this.
on August 28th, 2018 at 9:46 am
In answer to the question regarding Eliza and Lydia, I see several things the names match on – 3 syllables, 5 letters, strong L sounds, ending in a. I would try to match on one or two of these factors but not all. For example, Julia fits all of these but strikes me as matching on too many fronts. With Eliza and Lydia, I might name a third daughter Flora (only two syllables) or Diana (no L) or Olive (no a).
on August 28th, 2018 at 10:09 am
I was acquainted with a family that had six daughters, and all of their names started with J and ended with A. Jessica, Julia, Jenna, etc. I’m all for a nicely matched sibset, but that’s a bit *too* matchy, in my opinion. Not sure what they would have done if they’d ever had a boy–called him Joshua, I suppose!
on August 28th, 2018 at 10:11 am
Rhymey, matchy sibsets are so annoying – Steph & Ayesha Curry’s girls are named Ryan & Ryley (ugh), then the boy got Canon!
I thought for sure the next one would be Ryker or Ryka!
I am the #1 in paw’s post. My siblings have common names, while my name is rare.
I do think that sibsets should be similar in style. Parents shouldn’t use all of the same letter, in my opinion – they often run out of good options, and one child gets stuck with something weird or outdated. They shouldn’t use similar sounding names either (like The Curry’s) too confusing. In my opinion, cousins shouldn’t have similar sounding names either, but some people don’t think of these things like I do.
on August 28th, 2018 at 10:15 am
It was important to me that they all sound good together and come from the same general geographical and historical area. My brother and I have wildly different names. Mine is a common, but older Spanish name with no nickname, my brother’s is an English surname with a nickname. They don’t sound good together at all IMO. I have 3 daughters. They all have 3 syllable first names, 2 are of German origin, 1 is French, all have nicknames ending in -ie/-y that sound quintessentially English. Their popularity ranges quite a bit more, but I was less concerned with that (500’s, 100’s, <1000), as they are all recognizable (though some people have trouble with the least popular one at first). Is it the most important thing that sibsets sound good? No, of course not, they are all individuals who will have their own lives, but when you are a name nerd it certainly helps focus your name choices if you have a pattern established/
on August 28th, 2018 at 11:09 am
I have four siblings and we all have the same initials. Growing up, our cousins, neighbors and childhood friends also shared the same initials with their siblings. Obviously, this was a trend among people we knew. We were the “M-kids” who lived next door to the “T-kids” and down the street from the “J-brothers” and shared a lake with the “C-sisters”. There was, however, a great sense of pride and togetherness that we felt in being one of ‘those’ sibsets. We never felt the need to blend in or fit into something at school, we blended just fine with each other. I imagine this is what my parents hoped for.
As adults, some of my siblings have given their children the same initials. Personally, I’m unsure if I’ll do the same. I want to choose a name truly because I love it and not simply because it fits a theme. I would love for all of my favorite names to start with the same letter but as a lover of all things names, I doubt it.
on August 28th, 2018 at 12:29 pm
I am also the first example in @paw’s post. My two brothers and I have names that match well enough, I think, considering we’re from three different marriages and there’s a 17 year age gap from the oldest to the youngest. It still bugged me that my name is by far the rarest (both their names are top 10 and mine is about #80 or #90), and most people can’t pronounce it right on the first try. It was always a big thing when we could find my name on knickknacks at the store, but my brothers’ names were always there, which bugged me as a kid. I’d like to give my own kids names that flow better together, though I know that my parents didn’t have a ton of control over it.
on August 28th, 2018 at 3:07 pm
My rule is, as with fashion, they don’t have to “match,” but they have to “go.” One of my favourite games to play when I find out a friend or family member is having a baby is guess the name based on their style and the names of their previous kids. When my cousin had her third baby, I was convinced that because she had two girls named M—e and M—a, it had to match in first letter and number of syllables and end in a vowel, but not the same vowel or vowel sound. Tho me, that pretty much left Margo, and I just felt in my bones that would be it. In the end she chose a name that followed none of those rules, although it wasn’t too far off.
on August 28th, 2018 at 3:08 pm
I’m for it! It’s fun and like previous posters have said as adults they are known by their own names. I have two kids and one on the way. Boy,girl,girl. No one is posting their names so I feel weird posting mine. Haha We have an aviation theme. My husband and I have been together since high school and we joked/discussed names we liked. A boy version and a girl version. And to our surprise (because boys run strong on his side) 12 years later we had a boy and then a girl. Our plan worked out perfectly. And then we were surprised with another girl! Now what? We have a name picked out but it isn’t as obvious as the other two. I feel like I have to give the meaning for people to relate it to her siblings. There are other names I like more but they don’t carry the same theme. And the name we have is SUPER popular. But I wouldn’t want her to feel left out. And I guess I’d like them to match more then picking a name I really like??? But once she’s older it wouldn’t make a difference or would it? Ugh
on August 28th, 2018 at 3:19 pm
I personally find sibsets important. Though they will grow up and not be put together all the time, as a parent, you will always refer to all your children at once at one time or another so I think they should sound nice together. Length and style are the two big ones for me. Its odd to me when one child has a very short name and the others have longer names and go by their full names. I know a set of sisters named Emma, Catherine and Arabella and Emma seems very short in comparison though the style works. Style is the number one thing. I don’t mind if they are different styles, but when they are drastic, such as sisters name Brogan and Arianna, it seems a little much for me. Matching letters and such are fine, but it cannot be overwhelming. For example, Juliet, Jenna and Jacob are okay even though they all share the letter J, but Jason, Jacob and Jayden would be a little much for me as they all have very similar Jay sounds in the beginning.
on August 28th, 2018 at 4:47 pm
Without using our exact names, my name and my siblings are like: Rachael, Noriko, and Giogia. Same parents, they just chose names they liked and it’s not a big deal at all! I think the idea of a “sib set” is worried about too much.
on August 28th, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Ps “Escape hatch” names might make a good blog post. I saw it mentioned in the blog recently. I gave both of my daughters very common and popular middle names to go with their more unusual first names, in case they wanted something simpler.
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:03 pm
How important is it to me that siblings’ names “go” together? Of utmost importance. Where do I draw the line between nicely matched and matchy-matchy? Matchy-matchy is names rhyming or every name starting with the same letter. What do I think makes the perfect sibset? Stylistically equivalent names with the same syllable count.
on August 28th, 2018 at 7:47 pm
Sibsets are great! I especially like them with twins nicest with twins. One pair of twins I know were named (something like) Joy and Hope. Both one syllable, both virtues, but sound completely different. Another pair of twins I know were named (something like) Cora and Charlotte. Both older names that began with the same letter, but sounded very different from each other. Both pairs of these parents did a nice job picking names that went together but weren’t too similar. In contrast, I’ve heard of sisters named (something like) Karyn and Kara, which are too alike for me!
In answer to paws, I am one of seven siblings and all of us have familiar names except one. She likes the fact that her name is unique and does not care that it is different from the rest of ours. The attitude of the sibling whose name is the odd one out can completely change the situation!
on August 28th, 2018 at 9:34 pm
It’s quite fun but it can be quite tricky to place. I typically like sibsets with a particular style for example Briggs Elijah , Presley Louise , Clayton Samuel & Harlow Katherine – They each have their own initial but it’s a similar style with surname names as firsts and classic middle names.
However some names shape shift style depending on the combo for example the name Teagan. Teagan & Marlowe sound as good as Teagan & Sylvie however the first set has more of a spunky unisex vibe whereas the latter sounds more soft & elegant.
on August 28th, 2018 at 9:45 pm
I agree with many of the previous posts that mention matching or rhyming names are too far. Aiden, Kaiden, and Jaiden is a bit much in my opinion. I’m also big on looking into the origin and meanings of names. I had twins at work one year named Will and Liam and I don’t know if the parents realized Liam is a nickname for William. I’m also not a fan of twins like Jada/Jaden, even though they are multiples they are individuals. Also I personally would never repeat an initial so I could mark things for kids using their first initial, but it doesn’t bother me when other people do it.
Personally I tend to sibset names with similar style and popularity. My brother was given a name that was uncommon when he was born but is a top 20 now, my sister (and his twin) was given a name that was only popular for a couple of years around the time they were born but has now dropped below the top 500, and I have a name that most people consider a classic but with many different spellings. My brother rarely found his name on anything and can find it on everything now that he’s old enough to not care, my sister stopped being able to find her name on things, and I have pretty much always been able to find some spelling of my name on things in gift shops but would get upset when I was little if I couldn’t find the correct spelling. My parents chose the names they loved and in those certain instances it was probably annoying to have 1-2 of their kids crying but as adults it really doesn’t seem to matter anymore. In the end, I will probably choose names I love for my kids, most of which happen to meet the criteria of 1) they will grow with the kid, from preschool into a nursing home, 2) flows with the middle name chosen which will be an honor name because I personally see very little purpose for a middle name unless the kid is in a lot of trouble, so I might as well use that spot to give their name more meaning, and 3) names have one spelling more commonly used than others or only have one spelling that way they don’t have to spell out their name all the time and still have it spelled wrong. Whichever names meet those criteria will end up being my children’s sibset.
on August 28th, 2018 at 11:20 pm
I’m the one with the ‘black sheep’ name in my family, and I’m the oldest sibling. My name is glaringly different (from all angles) than my siblings, and the funniest thing is – I never realized it until I got older… in my 30’s! When we’re so used to hearing things, they sometimes just become normal to us. And now it makes no difference at all.
on August 29th, 2018 at 8:26 am
I once went to school with a girl who had 3 other siblings. Their names? Stephan, Stephanie, Stephania, Stephanina. I’m not kidding, I wish I was but I’m not.
on August 29th, 2018 at 12:28 pm
It terms of celebrity sib-sets, I’m in love with the names Taylor & Natalie Hanson have chosen for their brood.
Jordan Ezra – “Ezra”
Penelope Anne – “Penny”
River Samuel – “River”
Viggo Moriah – “Viggo”
Wilhelmina Jane – “Willa”
and they are expecting number 6, I can’t wait to hear what they choose!
on August 30th, 2018 at 11:52 am
All of our children are adopted from foster care. Out of 5, 2 have changed their first names upon adoption to something we all felt suited them more. Our oldest two are boys and do not have matching names, but the youngest 3 (4, 5, and 6 years old) happened to all have “A” names coincidentally. Now I wonder if we get more young children and have the opportunity to adopt, would we (or should we) make sure those children have “A” names as well, or should we just let it go and make sure they have a name everyone’s happy with?
on August 31st, 2018 at 7:54 pm
I think length, popularity, and style are the most important criteria. I think that sibsets should try and stick to those criteria in an ideal world. I do, but with each kid it gets harder and harder to find a name that we love that also fits this criteria. Also, to avoid confusion, they should begin and end with different letters. I say that, but 2 of my girls’ names end with silent “e”, though with different sounds.
on September 2nd, 2018 at 9:59 am
For me it’s important that the matching doesn’t prevent me from using a name I’d really love to use. So if my Top favourite names match each other that’s cool but I think in today’s global world with so many multi-national families it’s definitely overrated. But the best matched sibset that I’ve come across so far would be me and my sister because even though I’m not fond of your two names (Eliane and Fabienne) they go well together.
on September 2nd, 2018 at 2:11 pm
opinions? My sons name is cole. Would Cole and quin be too matchy mathy for brothers?
on September 3rd, 2018 at 9:02 am
I do like the thought of having matching starter itinitals for siblings, I find it very unique and very much adorable. My partner and I both start with the letter A, and i found many cute names both girls and boys names that would even match the middle names I had picked out for them but my partner prefered to have each child with different names. Its a kind off love hate thing as I do love it, but many people dont.
on September 3rd, 2018 at 6:48 pm
Interesting discussion. Our son is Theo and we are still trying to find a name for our 3 week old daughter that goes with Theo. Possibles are Alice, Juno and Phoebe. Is Juno too matchy?
on September 4th, 2018 at 6:37 pm
In regards to the Eliza + Lydia question. I’d probably be tempted to use Jane, Mary or Catherine (Kitty) to help round out the Pride + Prejudice Sibset. . But it is one of my favorite books.
I agree with Previous Posters that the names should go together and have a similar ranking in popularity etc. but I’m also considering what the name of #3 would be while trying to consider #2. I’ve nixed A names (because DH and I have A names and #1 doesn’t), J names because they sound different in every language we speak at home, and now L names because what if we have #3 and can’t find a third L name we love. Etc. all that said DH wouldn’t agree to a name we didn’t both love so all that might be mute. 😂
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