To match or not to match

Jan 5th 2007

"But do you think it really goes with Mackenzie?"
"What's a good match for Leo and Max?"

Questions about sibling names can start to sound like interior decoration. A few readers here have worried that parents who search for names that go together are treating children as accessories rather than individuals.

Certainly, some parents do focus on making a matching set. In Victorian times that impulse yielded sisters with names like Lily, Iris, Rose and Daisy. Today it's more likely to show up as alliteration -- the Kaylee, Kaylin, Kayden, Kaycey, Kaydence brood. But most often parents are looking for a subtler kind of match, a match based on the feeling and style of the name. And most often I think the impulse is a positive one.

It's no surprise that I'd feel that way. After all, The Baby Name Wizard is built around the idea of finding names that share a common style. The primary reason for this isn't to guarantee a matching set of kids but to match the parents' sense of style: look up a name you like to find others that hit the same notes. Realistically, if you chose Henry and Julia for your first two kids you're not likely to leap on Cheyenne or Maddisyn for baby #3. But would it matter if you did?

In our daily lives as adults, most people don't know or care what our siblings are called. Our names have to stand on their own as symbols of our individual selves. Yet to some extent, siblings are a set. They grow up together, and as children are often treated as a collective whole. They also compete and compare with one another and are exquisitely sensitive to any perceived inequities.

Imagine you meet a family with four daughters. Three of them, from the time they're born, are always dressed in the frilliest, girliest outfits available. The fourth is outfitted from babyhood in jeans and sweats. I think most of us would find that parenting choice unsettling. It signals to all of the girls that one of them is different, separate, and that the parents have different expectations of her. Now suppose instead that the four girls are named Arabella, Artemisia, Araminta...and Carter. What message does that send?

That's an artificial example, but variations on the theme happen all the time in the real world. How about a family with four girls, Kenzie, Jaelyn, Bailee and Kaiya, and then after them a boy, Douglas Richard Jr. Might those parents unintentionally signal to their girls that they had been waiting and waiting for a boy to inherit family traditions...for a boy to matter?

I'm not about to advocate siblings named April, May and June (or girls named Douglas Jr.) Sibling names can be wildly different and work wonderfully. But the cardinal rule among all sets of siblings is fairness. If you know that an eventual son will be a Junior, I'd make sure that your daughters' names also have some family connection that will feel special to them. If you start out with Arabella, Artemisia, and Araminta, an "A" or a lacy name is a nice signal of sibling connection and togetherness. And if your kids are Erasmus, Brayden, Guido and Harold, well feel free to forget about matching altogether. But if your tastes are really that unpredictable, I haven't met you. Parents are people, and they usually choose names that match their own consistent tastes, values and dreams.


By Smiley (not verified)
January 5, 2007 4:59 AM

Laura, your wise words (as always) come at the perfect time.

Naming my third boy (due any day) has been quite a challenge, mostly because I want him to "fit" with the other two.

No, I don't want a "matching set" or coordinated accessories, but I do want Baby Boy #3 to feel a connection to his older sibilings. It's the same drive that prompts me to set up a special "baby" section in the playroom -- I don't want my third to feel separate or left out.

Perhaps this is all superficial and trivial, but I think you are right, Laura; in the end, it is these subtleties that can shape a child's perception.

My oldest is named Ford, and the youngest is Owen. Both get alot of attention for having names that "pop" (especially Ford). Their new brother, already at a disadvantage by being the third and separated from the first by more than 6 years, needs a name that stands a fighting chance!

By Buffalo (not verified)
January 5, 2007 11:19 AM

I've always been very much in favour of sibling names that complement each other, mostly for the fairness reason that you cited, Laura.

As a Marie-Claire I was always glad that my sisters were Karelia and Dominique; had they been boys they would have been Patrick & Brendan which would have left me feeling a bit left out!

I think for a child with an unusual name, it helps to have someone close to you with an equally unusual name. Likewise, I imagine that a child with a more common name would feel a bit hard done by having a sibling with an unusual name - as if their parents couldn't be bothered to come up with anything interesting for them.

I read a true story once about a man who almost died when he was trapped in his car during an ice storm. What I remember about the story are the names of his children - Kim, Tim, Jim & Eugene. Now I don't advocate giving your kids rhyming names, but if you've started, at least continue. Or, don't have a 4th child if you don't want him to end up as .. Rim? Lim? Dim?

By Kristen (not verified)
January 5, 2007 11:26 AM

I love how clearly you define an issue. It's easy to get confused by someone bringing up the "matched accessories" argument, but you cut right through that to what is important. We're trying to name an impending fifth child, and we keep running into the "it doesn't go with the other names" wall. Or sometimes it's the "it goes TOO well" wall--when a name is so much a similar name, it starts to seem hard to remember which sibling is which.

By Helen (not verified)
January 5, 2007 11:49 AM

My grandmother used to tell stories about a family she knew that had four daughters and a son (the youngest). The girls were named Jacqueline, Nicola, Georgeann, and Alexander, and were called Jack, Nick, George, and Alex. When the boy finally came along, what did they name him? Herman! He was his mama's boy, "her man."

By Keren (not verified)
January 5, 2007 11:57 AM

I know a family that seems to have an alphabet theme..Amy, Billy, Connor, Daniel..but I'm not sure if it is on purpose or not.

My children's names don't really seem to go together - Phoebe and Judah, but most people don't know about their brother Daniel who was stillborn. I like the fact that his name seems like the missing link, because it goes with both his siblings.

By Meg (not verified)
January 5, 2007 1:08 PM

I know 2 families, each with 4 daughters.

The first has: Claire, Hannah, Molly and Grace.

The second has: Rebecca, Josephine, Sarah and Danielle.

I do wonder where the names Molly and Danielle came from, but it doesn't seem to impact the children particularly.

As a name fan, I do see the point of having the kids' names fall under the same general umbrella. But, it seems the fashion (perhaps just because I read the name boards) just now to match with a kind of obsessive gusto better reserved for throw pillows.

Pick a special name for each child. Tell each child that you love him/her, and perhaps why his/her name is special, and let the kids grow merrily on their way knowing that they are a part of your heart.

Sweater or first name, I would rather have something selected with me in mind than something picked to match my sister's.

(And not to single her out, but if Thomas seems like a "Tommy", please feel free to call him that despite how it might match.)

By Tina (not verified)
January 5, 2007 2:19 PM

I have two children, a daughter and a son. I admit that when it came time to name my son, who is the second born, I went conservative. His name is Evan. My daughter has an unusual name and although it may not go well with my son's more conservative name, I always felt that you can be more creative with girls than with boys.

By Jessica (not verified)
January 5, 2007 2:41 PM

I'm one of three daughters, Rebecca, Sara, and Jessica (in age order). I've always felt that my name was my parents' "third" choice. If Jessica had been their favorite then they would have started with Jessica. My friend who is also the third of three daughters is Nesya (pronounced Neysha )with sisters Emily and Anna. Her parents say that they had never thought of the name and when she came along it was a new favorite. As a fellow name buff, she's always felt special knowing that. I think that's a good argument for totally unmatching names.

By shaina (not verified)
January 5, 2007 2:50 PM

My two children have seemingly matching names, but it was purely coincidence.
The first is Henry. Which we knew from the start. The second name we had trouble with. We kept the sex a surprise, and could only agree on a boy name.
So when my daughter was born, we named her the one name we had agreed on, in passing.
It didn't fit. I kept calling her other things.
It was weeks later, that I recieved a Harriet Carter catalog in the mail. Harriet! Of course! It fit her perfectly. We got an affadavit and changed her name.
So, we have Henry and Harriette. People think it's adorable, but it was really just a lucky accident.

By Jenny A. (not verified)
January 5, 2007 2:54 PM

I have a friend who has two boys and a girl with all C names and all 6 letters each name! I don't know what would have happened if there was another child---is there another name out there to fit the pattern? Bu, it gives them a connection. The Mom came from an all D names family.

Each kid's name should be considered carefully, and you should think about how the names sounds on a grown-up person, since life is mostly spent in grown up bodies! So if it's a name to match a pattern, and it isn't a good solid name by itself, that's a bad choice.

I'll say again, that long names that have nickname possibilities are great because they leave room for individual personalities. We can't look at a baby and really know what kind of personality he'll have. Like for me, I'm Jennifer, but I have always felt more comfortable being Jenny with my friends.

But that's just my opinion! Variety is the spice of life.

By mj (not verified)
January 5, 2007 2:58 PM

First, congratulations to Laura on her appearance in this month's National Geographic!

I agree that names choices that share a general style or at least methodology work best both for the children and the parents. My name is very unusual, and I liked it, but also liked that most of my siblings' names were, too.

Also, while I agree with Meg that I would like to have a name that my parents picked out for me, the fact is that all names are picked out for the parents. Whether you choose a family name, a traditional name, a Biblical name, or a creative name, you're choosing what you think is important. It's impossible to pick out a name for someone you've never met, and whose personality you won't truly know for years. Children always seem to grow into their names, because their name is part of their identity. Since you can't know whether your child will like common or unusual, for example, you just have to give them a name that reflects what you think a name should be, and hope they appreciate the effort.

By ruthie (not verified)
January 5, 2007 3:11 PM

I know a family with 5 kids, 4 girls and 1 boy.

their girls--Piper, Perry, Peyton, and Pace

their boy--Robert (named for his father)

just like the family in Laura's example, and I have always found it odd. Cute kids, though!

By Beth (not verified)
January 5, 2007 4:27 PM

The best twin names I ever heard were Claire and Lauren.

The names share some the same sounds without being TOO similar (Claire and Clarice? Lauren and Laura?) or rhyming (Claire and Cher?) Also, they have the same sort of resonance to me, if that makes sense; both are feminine and pretty without being TOO girly

I used to go to school with a Melissa and a Melia; I always wondered if their parents liked the name Melissa and made up something to "go with it" when they found out they were going to have twins.

Finally, I know a couple who named their first son Austen, the mother's choice. She promised that Dad could have his choice, Matthew, if they had another boy, but they ended up naming him Kendall, because, to quote the mother "You can't name one Austen and call the other one Matt."

I still don't see why not.

By Kristin (not verified)
January 5, 2007 4:57 PM

My sister and I have the same initials (or did before I got married and changed from a KML to a KLW); she's Kelly Marie, and I'm Kristin Michelle ('80s kids). The same initials thing was a pain when we tried to keep score in Tic-Tac-toe! :)

I don't plan to have same-initials kids, but I agree with Laura that equality and cohesiveness are important with siblings.

By Beckie (not verified)
January 5, 2007 5:18 PM

Continuing the twin conversation, I have a twin sister who was not expected. My name was always going to be Rebecca Sue, but afte I was born there was a totally unexpected second daughter. It took my parents a couple days to come up with the perfect name. Karena Rae.

It has served her well since you can imagine that on a subconcious, and sometimes not subconcious, level my sister wondered about whether or not she had been "wanted." But her name was just enough different and pretty and unusual to indicate that my parents thought pretty highly of her. At one point during our teenage years when my mother and sister were fighting often she even commented that "at least you gave me a good name."

Now I am 6-months along with our second son who is already an Evan. His 17 month old brother is Brendan. Similar sounding with the A N ending, not unpopular, but not in the top 10 either. And both names fit our last name well.

By sv (not verified)
January 5, 2007 5:48 PM

I know a family of 4 boys, John, Joseph, James and Jason. 2 of them now have two children each - one has Evan and Emma and the other Colin and Cayla!

Maybe it is hereditary.... :)

Another thought, does anyone use the name Jason anymore. It was so popular awhile back but I never hear it now.

By Claire (not verified)
January 5, 2007 5:49 PM

I love this entry topic! Ironically enough (or maybe not so ironically), we have a daughter Julia, and we were considering Henry if we had a boy. Talk about predictable!
To be fair, my father-in-law's first name is Henry, so it isn't a complete trend seeking thing. I tell ya!
I think Laura hits the nail on the head when it comes to complementary sibling names. Nothing too match-y, but certainly similar styles are nice. Laura, when are you coming out with a second book?! I'm dying to read it!

By Mindy (not verified)
January 5, 2007 5:56 PM

I have always struggled with my name. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that my siblings, in my opinion, have very elegant sounding names and I have what I consider to be a very "hillbilly" style name. (Mindy Sue) It was frustrating for me and made me feel somehow less than special.

I had always wanted to give a daughter a long, frilly name simply because my name was not. :P When it came time to name her, the long frilly name seemed to be "too much". My husband and I have very casual names and my son's name could go either way. It just didn't feel right to go with something super formal for my daughter. Her name, is formal (Georgia Catherine), but I think has a very familiar sort of feel to it as well. Because of my experience, it was important to me to find a name which didn't seem out of place or off-beat.

By Stephanie A (not verified)
January 5, 2007 6:18 PM

I certainly like the idea of matchING names as opposed to matchY names. I don't particularly like the cutesy feel of everyone having the same first letter or rhyming names. In fact, that's one reason I've always wanted twins - so I could give them each their own name and never dress them alike!

I would think, too, that staying within a basic style category would be natural in a family. I don't think it's weird to look for names that sort of go together even if they aren't "matchy".
I DEFINITELY agree that once you start a trend of naming kids with a family name that it's good to carry that through. Our first dd has two family names, and now that we're expect #2 I'm very concerned about making sure this one knows he/she "belongs" and has an important name that connects to the generations like his/her sister. I don't particularly like Jrs because of that precedence it seems to give one child over others.

(My sister Kara, husband Adam, named #1 DD Emma. #2 was named Zoey partly to stick with the 4 letters)

By Stephanie A (not verified)
January 5, 2007 6:26 PM

Another thing I just thought of about matching and styles and stuff, particularly in reference to the book. I have found that some style categories match some better than others. Some names, probably obviously, appear in more than one category. My daughter, Karoline, is like that (although without the Danish "K" spelling). Hers is considered "Timeless" and something else I think. I have found names for #2 in that section (our boy choice "William" for example), but also a few others that seem to match our family, our style, and our daughter's name. I tend to gravitate toward "Ladies and Gentlemen", "Antique something" and even "New Classics". (The book is new and not in front of me so please excuse my misnaming of categories).

My question or thought to add, I guess, is: what categories/styles do you see as going together or not going together? We've talked about it some with formal/informal and some of those Why not? names in the middle of a traditional family. Just curious about others thoughts!

By Jordan (not verified)
January 5, 2007 6:40 PM

I've been thinking about this a lot lately myself!

Sibling sets:
Jordan, Jaime, Brooke, Jasmine.
Rebecca, Michelle, Jessica, Danielle.

Those are my and my younger sisters' names. Seems like Brooke got left out, eh? It helps that she's the only one of us with dark hair, brown eyes and olive skin (so much for Dad's 'dominant' genes).

Does she feel left out? She takes pride in being 'brown' (instead of feeling blue, she feels brown. Really.). But she really hates being called J'Brooke.

The second set is our middle names (Brooke's first name). I think our middle names have a certain feminine style to them. "Brooke" stands out among them, but Jessica fits in better.

How about these names for my kids?
Hayden (already born, please don't tell me his name is 'played out'... just wait until you see my other choices)

Side note, Meg: I think Danielle and Josephine from set 2 are quite similar in style as female, French variations of Bible names to match the biblical Sarah and Rebecca.

By Lara (not verified)
January 5, 2007 7:11 PM

I'm one of those that thinks children's names should "go" but NOT rhyme or start (or finish) with the same sound.

William's sister shouldn't be Taylor (too gender-neutral) or Hayley (too trendy). Catherine or Eleanor might be good matches. His brother shouldn't be Taylor either (again, too ambiguous!), nor Wyatt. Theodore or Charles would fit nicely.

Do I like old names? Yeah. :) At least we had Henry back in 2000, before Henry was a cool name! (Everyone HATED it!)

By CN (not verified)
January 5, 2007 7:29 PM

My DH and his brother both have J names, and I've never felt this was my style. Whenever we talk about baby names, his dad only gives M names, b/c we already have a Matthew. Some people prefer that, but I prefer for each child to be named seperatly.

Growing up it seemed like my mom had gone with all T names, b/c My family nn is Tina and my brother is Timothy. Not as noticable now that I go by Christina everywhere but home.

By TM (not verified)
January 5, 2007 7:48 PM

Althought I don't specifically pick names because they all begin with the same letter -- in fact I really dislike it for twins (my dad is a twin -- Timothy and Theresa) -- I often find that I gravitate towards names that start with certain letters. (For me the letters are "E" and "J".) I just happen to like names that begin with those letters in particular -- I don't know why. So while I don't intend for my kids to have all the same first letter, it's not inconceivable. Anyone else gravitate towards certain letters?

By anon (not verified)
January 5, 2007 7:50 PM

My daughter's name is kind of striking. Now I'm having a hard time coming up with another girl name if we have another girl. I'm afraid the second girl might be jealous if her sister's name is prettier than hers. This isn't something I thought much about when I named the first! Her name was chosen for a reason and I didn't really think of family style. This post is making me realize that now I need another flashy girl name!

By Heather A (not verified)
January 5, 2007 7:57 PM

Well, really who can say what does or doesn't go together? I personally couldn't walk around in a chartruese and orange feather boa paired with wellies and a cowboy hat; but there are some that can, and look fabulous to boot.

So that said, there are definitely catagories of names in the book that I'm drawn to more than others. But it still all comes down to the individual name.

For instance, my son is named Zane, but when I read the brother and sister suggestions in the book I didn't like any of them. I actually don't really like any of the names in that "Brisk and Breezy" catagory.

The book still fascinates me though. I'm constantly amazed at how culturally astute it is. Laura is usually right on in her analysis and observations. So maybe it is the exception that proves the rule. . . But I still say just go with what you like.

By Elisabeth (not verified)
January 5, 2007 8:14 PM

We ruled out he name Story in part because we couldn't think of anything we liked that "went with" it; we usually like more classic names, and it's just a word name that really struck us.

We're waiting for #1, and our top two boy and girl choices (Samuel and Asher, and Ivy and Lydia) all feel like they could be siblings.

By Claire (not verified)
January 5, 2007 8:19 PM

To TM:

I absolutely am drawn to certain letters. I like C, E and J.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
January 5, 2007 8:28 PM

Elisabeth, I love all your choices! Good luck with the delivery.

My children each have a repeating vowel in their names, something I didn't realize until Peter was about 12 months old. (Our daughter is Sarah.) I joked with my husband that we should have three more children named Iris, Otto, and Lulu to complete the vowels, but not being a name-nerd, he didn't think it was funny. Maybe he was just horrified at the thought of three more children!

By Cathie (not verified)
January 5, 2007 8:41 PM

Hey, something I disagree with Laura on! I don't see why one child would feel less special based on a name -- unless the parents made them feel that way otherwise too.

I grew up in a household of "mismatched style" names - mine common (eldest), my sister's unusual and whimsical, my brother's common. They were just the names that worked for my parents, and I I never gave it a second's thought. But my parents were good at making us all feel special :) Come to think of it, my mom is one of 5 daughters - 4 sensible names and one artistic name!

My daughter's name is very unusual and my son's name is salt of the earth (and a name that runs in the family too, horrors!). They are special names we chose for each of them for different reasons. I highly doubt they'll wind up in counselling some day because we don't have a rigid naming style.

Although most families choose names of matching styles and it's a useful guide, many don't and I really think that's fine too -- as long as they are all chosen with care.

By Kathleen (not verified)
January 5, 2007 9:19 PM

I think that my sisters and I have names that "go" well: Kathleen, Laura, and Anna. I've always felt that my name (if you think about it enough, which obviously I did!) was the odd one out - I was the only one with a nickname (always Katie growing up), and, worse, the only one without a family name. I didn't feel less special - they obviously liked my name best, since I'm the oldest! - but I did always feel like I "should" have a family name, too. I'm thrilled with the name I do have, but I have to wonder why family connections were more important with my younger sisters.

By Christiana (not verified)
January 5, 2007 9:20 PM

I've always worried about subsequent children wondering if their name was "an afterthought", especially since I'm such a name-aholic. Our sons will be very classic names - (Charles and Theodore to the person who mentioned them as a good pair!) and they will most likely me nn-ed Tre (Charles III), and Ted (there are lots of Theodores in my family and the nn's vary between Tedo and Ted). Didn't initally intend for boys nns to match like that. Some of the girls names I like are very classic, others are artsy or modern classics. But if #1 is "my favorite name" will #2 always feel she got the leftovers?

Thanks, as usualy Laura for the wonderful post.

Jordan - what made your parents call Brooke by her middle name if they were sticking with the "J" trend in naming?

I heard about a family in which the father's name was Robert. He named his son Robert and his 1st DD Robert. When DD#2 was born, she was named SUsan & felt like her daddy didn't love her.

By Beth (not verified)
January 5, 2007 10:18 PM

Well, the unspoken words here are class and nationality/ethnicity. It would be very odd to have kids named Catherine and Julio, or LaTasha and Margaret, or Tiffani-Amber and Charles, or Pierre and Moishe. Not that it isn't ever done, just that sib sets, if they are not connected by things like number of syllables, first letters, etc., are often unconsciously matched in national origin, ethnic naming patterns, or social class. That's how I read Laura's sib sets, more or less.

By Eleni (not verified)
January 5, 2007 10:26 PM

I too have thought about the "second-best" name issue, and I've concluded that for me this will never be an issue unless I'm having twins of the same sex.

I've always loved a set of names, some coming in and out of rotation, but my favorite has a tendency to shift. So it's kind of like musical chairs: when the music stops (or the baby comes) I will seize the name that currently sings most loudly to me.

TM: I tend to gravitate toward names beginning with "C" and "A," and I have some intense favorites that begin with I. My favorites, with some notable exceptions, all tend to end in "A."

As for styles, I like the "Exotic Traditionals," "Ladies and Gentlemen" and "Shakepearean" in general, but am also fond of "English" and a few of the God and Goddess names.

By Eleni (not verified)
January 5, 2007 10:43 PM

Oh, and I agree that "matchy-matchy" names are never good . . . I prefer more individualization within a common aesthetic.

For example, two of my favorite girls names, Isadora and Esmee, sound lovely together and would be good names, in my opinion, for a pair of sisters. While they are similar in aesthetic, thay don't have the whiff of a "matching set," if you know what I mean.

As MJ pointed out, when choosing a name you're signaling not only your tastes, but also what you admire and what's important to you.

Of course parents' tastes and opinions change, but I suppose what feels most harmonious to me is a familial style that isn't all over the map, that points to semi-coherent and at least remotely consistent sensibilities and tastes.

Which isn't to say that there couldn't be perfectly wonderful reasons behind a pair of brothers called Cayden, Juan and Dashiell . . . it's just not apparent to me. But then, that's okay too, especially if there's some fun family lore that explains those choices . . .

By Eleni (not verified)
January 5, 2007 10:46 PM

I mean, "a trio of brother" . . .

By mj (not verified)
January 5, 2007 10:47 PM

Beth, I think there's definite truth in that. My husband is Cuban-American, and I really thought about giving our second son a Spanish name. But since our other son and daughter have British names, I thought Diego would just seem weird. Especially since our last name is also British.

I also agree with the "musical chairs" naming! In fact, the boy's and girl's names that we loved best when we got married were discarded by the time we had a baby.

By Stephanie A (not verified)
January 6, 2007 12:39 AM

TM - I've noticed myself gravitating toward certain letters, too, For a girl I keep leaning toward A and E names, but our last name begins with A so both are pretty much out. Well, As for sure - A.A. initials just don't work for me. E names aren't bad, but I'm having a hard time convincing my husband on two vowels for initials. Also, he can't stand the name Eleanor, my FAVORITE E name.

I think I'm so stumped on a girl name right now because of my real desire for an A name.


By Shari (not verified)
January 6, 2007 1:31 AM

What names are you considering to go with Ford and Owen? Here are some ideas from me:
Troy (or Trey, which fits for a 3rd child)
Zachary (Zack)

By Eleni (not verified)
January 6, 2007 1:35 AM

You know, many A names can be mimicked by E names. For example:

Amelia can turn into Emilia
Alana can turn into Alaina = Elena (my name!)
Alisa can turn into Elisa
Alice can turn into Elise
Aileen can turn into Eileen
Amara can turn into Enora
Ava can turn into Eva (although this name is overused these days)

I mean, the Es are different, but there are some similar elements. I like Eleanora, myself. What do you think of Evelina? Elodie or Elodia?

Good luck Stephanie!

By Eleni (not verified)
January 6, 2007 1:57 AM


It's totally true that class and ethnicity are (fairly large) elements in the whole sib set concept. I don't think they're the whole picture, of course, and I know you weren't suggesting that.
Side note: I LOVE the name Diego (some friends named their son Diego, after an artist they admire - they're both anglos) and I could see pairing it with an more anglo name that had similarly exotic leanings and perhaps a more pan-european flavor, like Francesca, Lucia, Isadora or Sophia for girls, or Raif, Nico, Rafael or Luca.

Class blending is trickier, largely because it's harder (for me anyway) to pinpoint the class factor in some names.

I know the trendy, kre8tive spellings and faddish, celebrity-inspired names are generally regarded as class-marked, and perhaps also the old-school "Bobby-Joe" and "Cindy-Lou." Can I imagine Madyson and Trinity with anything outside of their sib crowd? Maybe.

What about a Madyson and a Cindy-Sue as siblings? Doesn't work. This is harder than ethnicity blending!

By Laurie (not verified)
January 6, 2007 2:01 AM

When it came time to name our son, my husband and I agonized over the decision. Our favorite name really didn't go well with our daughters name, Audrey. Sure it started with the same letter (by coincidnce), but as Audrey is an English name, the name we liked for our son was of Greco-Russian orgin. We actually gave our son a different name (Pierce) for a whole 5 min. before we went with our first choice-Artem (not a famliy name).

As we look at it, both of our children have names that were lovingly picked for them.

A side note. After picking out our children's names a pattern did emerge. My name, Laurie and my daughter's Audrey are similar and of English orgins. My husband's name Dimitri and my son's name Artem are of Greco-Russian origin. Just not the pattern most perople look for.

By MSC (not verified)
January 6, 2007 2:49 AM

My favorite "set" of names is actually a set of middle names. One of my uncles has 4 daughters, and they all have feminine first names and male middle names. The names all sound beautiful, and all the middle names are family names. Also the two youngest who are twins are Anna Jack and Jane Anthony, so they have criss-crossed initals, too!

By Amy (not verified)
January 6, 2007 3:18 AM

Class was a huge factor for us while choosing all three of our children's names. It would never do to give two children Gold Coast names and a third child a wrong side of the tracks name. Very unfair. We have similar hopes for all of our children, so we tried to choose names that expressed our hopes to a similar degree.

By Leticia (not verified)
January 6, 2007 3:21 AM

I have always been conscious of my kids' names going together but actually never minded that the names of my siblings and me (Marilyn, James, Melisa, David, Leticia, Duane, Marcus, Amber) don't really go together. I just remember the stories my mom told of choosing each name and the thought that I saw went into each. She and my dad, too, had a way of making us each feel special.

By Lauren (not verified)
January 6, 2007 3:29 AM

I think Beth brought up an interesting point earlier, class connotations are implicit in our name choices. If anyone here has read the excellent book "Freakonomics" you will probably recall there is a fascinating study with California name data that links name trends with education levels. I agree that these implicit connotations of class, or education, often factor into whether we think names "go together."
On a completely different note to Laurie, I think the names Audrey and Artem sound very nice together and represent both parents beautifully.

By Kate (not verified)
January 6, 2007 3:40 AM

Maybe Laura has blogged about this earlier, but can anyone tell me what sparked the Kayden/Jayden/Hayden trend? I know seven boys under the age of six with variations on this name. Forgetting Hayden for a second, all of the mothers of Kayden/Jaydens have told me they don't know where they got the name. One mom confessed that she thought her "Jaydon" was her own invention and she was shocked other kids at our daycare had similar names. Can anyone enlighten me here? By the way I live in the Midwest and this naming trend has been hot for nearly five years now.

By RobynT (not verified)
January 6, 2007 5:15 AM

Very interesting!
going with the left out idea, it seems like it wouldn't be such a big deal with only two children. I mean, maybe, if one is a family name and the other not. Maybe also if one is really elaborate and the other really plain, but for the most part, i guess the pattern gets more noticeable when you have more than two kids.

I also think same initial names are not too matchy if it's just two kids. But then... I suppose you can't always plan how many kids you'll hve.

And then, i think kids can also feel left out because they are the only boy or girl no matter what their name is. And I think people do often have pretty different aesthetics when naming girls vs. different boys. Laura's example does show one of the problems with this sort of thing. Hopefully in most cases it's not as extreme as that, but I dn't think it's too rare.

By Abi (not verified)
January 6, 2007 1:19 PM

I never really thought about whether my name (Abigail) 'goes' with James, my brother's name. They both are traditionally Scottish names, although obviously that is not their origin.

My purely hypothetical names for girls at the moment are Freyja, Jemima and Beatrice.
For boys: Oscar, Jonas and Reuben.
I think they all sound good together, despite beginning with different letters and being from different origins.

By Susan (not verified)
January 6, 2007 3:09 PM

For Smiley, who is looking for names that go with Ford and Owen:
Trey (mentioned earlier)