Baby sister for Evan and Alexander

So after an unexpected 2.5 year infertility journey, we're finally pregnant with #3 and just found out it's a baby girl! I'm thrilled and nervous and excited to be here!

As far as a girl baby name goes, we had Elizabeth Mae picked out for the past 7 years and during both of my previous pregnancies. BUT my cousin used the exact same first and middle for her baby girl two years ago (I posted about that here: ) This summer, this cousin is back local. (And expecting twins! Luckily, both boys, so no potential name overlaps there!)

After two years of coming to terms with it, I still don't feel comfortable using the exact same first and middle names. But any other name I’ve looked at just doesn’t sit right either. (Though I’m wondering if that’s just because I haven’t spent years doodling other names? Is this normal??)


So here’s where things currently sit:

My last name: McD----

My boys' names: Evan and Alexander (usually Alex) 

Mae was my grandmother's middle name; since both of my boys have familiy names (named for my father and father-in-law) and since I'm not crazy about my mother or mother-in-law's name, I'm pretty firm on using this as a middle name here. 

What I love about Elizabeth: literary connections to an independent female character, the British connection, that it’s a well-known long name that's not mispronounced and not often misspelled, that the long version is “formal” but has several informal nicknames. 

Girl names I love but don’t feel I can use because they’re too close to my kids’/relatives’ kids’ names: Evelyn (nn Evie), Alexandra/Alexis (nn Lexi), Elizabeth (nn Lizzy/Ellie), Olivia (nn Livvy), Isabelle (nn Izzy), Lily,  Catherine/Kathryn/Kaitlyn/Katie, any M name because I'm hesitant to have first/middle/last start with M. 

(And yes, there’s definitely a trend in the nn’s I love for those names—would love suggestions in the same vein for those nn's.)


Here’s the current list of frontrunners, but I'm not strongly attached to any of them:

Eliza <-- I love the idea of Eliza ("Beth" is my least favorte nn for Elizabeth thanks to Little Women) BUT I already have a son named Alexander, so having an Eliza just seems too...Hamilton for me. (But before Hamilton, there was Eliza Doolittle, who I adore.)

Eleanor <-- I think this is a beautiful name and I love the nn possibilities, but for whatever reason, when I think about it in terms of my baby girl, my mind just thinks of old Eleanor Roosevelt rather than a cute Elle/Ellie/Nora

Jocelyn <-- My cousin suggested this name, and I like it and the nn Josie and the nn connection to Jo from Little Women. But is it well-known enough that she won’t have to correct pronunciation or spelling for her whole life? And is it too different in style from my boys' names?

Ruby (girl) <-- This is a family name my husband likes, but I miss the nn possibilities (Is Bea the only option here?). And I can't shake feeling like I'd just be naming my daughter after a rock. A really pretty rock, though. And is it too different in style from my boys' names?


I'm grateful for any suggestions you may have!!


July 10, 2018 3:06 PM

Caroline - Callie, Calla, Caddie, Carrie, Cara, Caro

Josephine - Josie, Posie, Jo, Fina

Rebecca - Becca, Becky, Bex, Reba, Rex

Anne or Anna - Annie, Nina, Annika, Nancy, Anita (repeats Alex's initial though, and Anne Mae isn't great)

Louisa - Lou, Lulu, Lucy(?), Lulita, Lola

Susannah - Susie, Sukie, Suze, Sue, Zan/Zanna/Zannie, Annie

July 10, 2018 3:11 PM

Oh, or how about Lydia?  Liddie fits right in with Lizzy, Lexi, Livvy, and Izzy.

July 13, 2018 1:37 PM

I *love* Caroline and nn Callie, Cara, Caro, but I get hung up on the line/lynn distinction and would have to give a name that's up for correction all the time. (Same with Madeline!)

I also love Josie, but Josephine is just a little stuffy for me. (That's what led us to Jocelyn, though I'm not dedicated to that name either.) And I'm not comfortable giving Josie as a full name because I can't see it grown up.

I hadn't thought about Rebecca, but I like Bex a lot as a nn, though it's not an obvious girl name. 

I love Lucy/Lola (and Lyla) but they don't have an immediate nickname. (Like Evan, which was my main hang up when we named our son, but it was the only name my hubs and I could agree on so it stuck.) Do they grow up OK?

And I love Lydia/Liddie—my cousin named her baby girl that! ;) 

July 13, 2018 6:10 PM

For what it's worth, my good friend is a highly-educated professional with Josie on her birth certificate and it works just fine. As with birth certificate Kates, Annies, and other such names, she does sometimes have people ask her if it's a nickname, but not often enough to be annoying and a simple, "Nope, it's just Josie" ends that line of inquiry. The most bothersome thing is actually that she says the name as JO-see but some people call her JO-zee.

A nickname for Lucy is Lulu. The Lyla I know gets called Lylee a lot, but that's the sort of natural nickname that leads an Evan to become Eh-vee. In practice, has it been a problem for you that Evan doesn't have an easy nickname?

July 10, 2018 4:17 PM

I remember you posting on this before, and trying to brainstorm literary names. I feel like you're still stuck on Elizabeth, quite likely because of all the years spent doodling. If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about associations at the moment; just focus on finding names you like and then try and find out everything about them, doodle them, read up on historical figures who bore them, etc. For example: Eleanor. To banish Roosevelt, I would read about Eleanor of Aquitaine, watch The Lion in Winter (Katharine Hepburn is no spring chicken in that, but she is certainly strong), doodle on everything for a month, and accept that it may not feel perfect until it's had time to settle in a little.

Jocelyn does strike me as different to your boys in style, and like something that could be mispelled. I like Ruby. It's a little different from your boys, but I absolutely would not bat an eye at a sibset with those names. Any interest in Josephine? I will also throw out Isadora for Izzy, Theodora, Livia or just Liv, Edith nn Edie, Lucy, Cordelia, Penelope and, in the "posh British" category, Ottilie, Leonora, Winifred, Matilda and Imogen (I know Matilda violates your M rule, but I figure you could use Mae as a nickname for Matilda and then free up the middle spot for Elizabeth!).

I do really love Eleanor for you though. I think it has everything you're looking for and isn't as overused as Elizabeth.

July 11, 2018 2:16 PM

I like Matilda nn Mae a lot. It's British, literary, and theatrical now that there's a musical :). Plus it has a lot of great, different nicknames (at least Matty, Tilda, Tilly, and Millie, in addition to Mae). 

July 13, 2018 1:18 PM

Thanks so much for the response! I'm absolutely going to take you up on the advice to get familiar with other historical figures with names we're considering, starting with Eleanor! 

I'd never thought of Isadora, and I love Edie as a nn. Cordelia is my grandma's sister's name—I'd never considered it either! 

July 10, 2018 5:26 PM

Eliza is lovely and Eliza Mae is adorable

Eleanor is ok

what about Josephine,  Jocelyn is nice though

Ruby is nice too


Isabella, Juliet, Lillian, Natalie, Sophia, Gabriella, Grace, Ella, Samantha, Victoria, Caroline, Lucinda, Rebecca, Susannah, Sophie, Kate, Stephanie, Genevieve, Vivienne, Cassandra, Fiona, Sylvie, Gwendolyn, Felicity, Leticia, Jessica, Natalia, Penelope, Vanessa, Veronica

July 13, 2018 1:23 PM

Thank you!! So you don't think Eliza's too Hamilton-y? Or maybe in 5 years the fever will be over and people won't make the connection? I love the long I sound in it and it's different from my boys' sounds.

I love Sophia/Sophie, Valerie/Vivienne/Vanessa are all beautiful; I hadn't considered them because of the similiarities to Evan. Are they too close? I like Jocelyn/Josephine mostly for the Josie nn, but Josephine just seems old to me. 

July 11, 2018 9:07 AM

I personally think that Eleanor is a wonderful name, and that it'd be a perfect subtitute for Elizbeath.

Here are some suggestions:

Charlotte (Lottie/Char)

Lillian (Lilly)

Cecilia (Cece/Cissy)

Amelia (Millie)

Stephanie (Annie/Steph)

Veronica (Roni)

Scarlet (Lettie)

Felicity (City)


July 13, 2018 1:27 PM

Thank you for the sugestions! I really like Amelia (Amelia Bedelia is a favorite kids book and Amelia Earhart is a great historical connection), but is Amelia Mae McD---- too much Ms?

I hadn't thought about Lettie as a nn for Scarlett, and I like it. I'll see with the hubs thinks. And I love Charlotte (Lottie), but the hubs makes jokes about doing a spider nursery >:|

July 13, 2018 1:49 PM

You're welcome, I'm glad I could help! I think the repeating M sound in Amelia Mae McD---- is actually quite nice. When you say it outloud it sounds like it flows togther naturally and it has a very sweet air to it.

By EVie
July 13, 2018 2:01 PM

Aw, you could totally own that Charlotte's Web nursery idea—make it a farm nursery with cute fluffy sheep and piglets and ducklings, and include some tasteful and understated spider web art. If you wade through the Halloweeny stuff, you can find some really beautiful stained glass pieces or photography of dewy spider webs in the sun. 

July 13, 2018 1:39 PM

I think it's pretty as a standalone name, but Annabeth Mae just feels a bit like three first names to me. Thank you!!

July 13, 2018 1:47 PM

(And I apologize for the delay in responding to your suggestions—when I'd click on the link to the forum, it kept telling me that the most recent post was posted 19 weeks ago and I didn't see any of these responses until today!)

July 13, 2018 2:27 PM

Congrats on Baby #3!

I think from your list, Eleanor is the most logical alternative to Elizabeth as it shares many of the qualities you like in Elizabeth, including that its a formal name with great nickname potential. If you do go this direction, I think this name will quickly be associated in your mind with your baby instead of Eleanor Roosevelt. However, choosing a name for your child is definitely not always about a logical choice and if you're feeling hesitant about it there are plenty of other options out there.

A few other suggestions:

Victoria: Some people view common nicknames like Vicki or Tori as dated, but Vi, Via or Ria are lesser used options

Coraline: Similar to Caroline but eliminates the line/lyn confusion (at least I think); nickname Cora

Lucille: Formal name for Lucy which you said you liked; also Lucinda or Louise/Louisa could work as formal names for Lucy

Juliet/Julia: nn Jules, Etta, Lia?

Genevieve: lots of options for nicknames

July 13, 2018 6:24 PM

Joining the chorus that Eleanor sounds perfect for you. I think "of Aquitaine" long before "Roosevelt", but my first association is actually a friend's four-year-old.

Another thought: Julia, nicknamed Ruby (because it's the birthstone for July).

July 14, 2018 7:58 PM

Agree on Eleanor! Beautiful & elegant - and I think Eleanor Roosevelt is an excellent association. I couldn’t picture my kids’ names ’suiting’ then really until they were born. 

Victoria, Philippa, Jacqueline, Lydia, Felicity?

July 16, 2018 5:44 AM

If Eliza is out, how about just Liza?  That's beautiful, and you get your Liza Mae without over-matching your cousin's child Elizabeth Mae.  I think that's a real winner myself.  Kids don't have to have nicknames at all; I never did.  But if you really wanted to go that route, Zaza, Zaz, or somesuch would be great fun from Liza.

Sylvia strikes me as something you might like as well.



July 16, 2018 2:34 PM

I think Madeleine Belle would work really well with your sons’ names! I second Liza Mae! My 8 year old is named Madeleine Belle, and she goes by Maddy, Bella, and Lynnie. I think Elizabet/Eliza is too much with the sibset. How about Zara?

July 16, 2018 11:14 PM

somewhere along the way, I saw this elegant name...Elixavette, or Elyxavette. Its up to date with both an x and a double t ending. Just a suggestion.

July 18, 2018 4:27 PM

Elizabeth always brings me to Katherine and Josephine. Josie is one of my favorites right now.  what about searching for a variant of Josephine, I found some more unique ones like Josette, and Josiane.