Boy and Girl Name Help for Helena's Sibling - can't commit to any on the shortlist and due in 5 weeks!

Hi All. First time posting. I am due in 5 weeks with our second child (gender a surprise!) Our first time around we were set on a boy and girl name, but this time we are struggling. Our style is mostly names that have been used for a long time but aren't overly popular and that have nickname potential in case the child doesn't like the full given name. We try to consider honoring a family member when possible. We also would like one of the names (first or middle) to be a saint name/religious in nature as we are practicing Roman Catholics. Our daughter's name is Helena Ruth and our last name is two syllables - first syllable is Tim last syllable is check. Our ideas:

Girls:

Annalise (Anna, Elise) - husband's favorite, I am undecided but like the Anna portion

Beatrice (Bea) - husband liked this best before Annalise was discussed, my concern is pronunciation

Camilla (Cammie, Cam, Millie) - husband not sold, I like this one and the nickname options

Isabelle (Izzy, Isa) - both of us feel it is too popular, but it is a family name (grandmother and great-grandmother)

Middle Names Discussed: Clare (my mother's middle), Kathleen (my godmother), Katherine (godmother hates her name so thought this may work?)

 

Boys

Augustus (Augie, Gus) - I think this one is my husband's favorite

Alexander (Alec, Xan, Xander) - both of us have always liked this one but worried about popularity, especially where we live

Edmund James/Jerome (Ned, EJ) - husband hates Ned as a nickname due to the Simpsons (I love it but more due to Game of Thrones, old fashioned nickname - Simpsons is not my first association)

Theodore (Theo, Teddy) - was our original chosen name last pregnancy but we are worried about how popular it has gotten since, especially where we live, also grandparents hate and only think of Alvin and the Chipmunks

Veteoed names by husband: Julian, Alden (too close to Aidan)

Middle Names Discussed: James (husband's middle), William (brother-in-law's middle), Jerome (my father), Edwin (father-in-law's middle)

 

So what do you all think? Any that stand out to you? Any nickname ideas we are missing? Any other names we should be considering? Starting to worry about how to tell delivery nurse we haven't picked a name when this baby arrives! Thank you all for your help in advance!

Replies

1
July 26, 2017 6:28 PM

Annalise

-This one will have spelling problems.  Anneliese is the original spelling.  It's also properly pronounced with 4 syllables, but I would expect almost everyone to use only 3.  It is pretty though.  For another Anna- option, have you considered Annabel or a double name such as Anna Jane or Anna Elizabeth "Anna Bess"?

Beatrice

-At least in my accent, and to the best of my knowledge, the different possible pronunciations of this one are very similar to each other.  Would it bother you if others said it slightly differently from how you do?  Or perhaps Beatrix would solve that problem.

Camilla

-You could also get to the Millie nickname from Amelia, Emilia, or Matilda (or, of course, Millicent or Mildred).

Isabelle

-I agree that this one is too ubiquitous.  Since it's a family name, I would suggest it in the middle... but I always think it sounds like a phrase that way: "Mary is a bell(le)".

Each of the girls' names falls into the category of "nice enough, but not something that particularly appeals to me."  I mildly like each of them, and can't say that I really prefer one over the others.

2
July 26, 2017 6:29 PM

I'm having spam filter issues, so please excuse the multiple posts as I try to work out which part has the problem!

3
July 26, 2017 6:31 PM

Huh, it let me post everything once I broke it up into chunks.  Now I'm completely dominating this thread! :D

4
July 26, 2017 7:20 PM

Beatrice is also pronounced bay-ah-tree-chay (chay as in chair). And some say bee-tris.

Edmund is the English spelling and Edmond is French. Ted is a traditional nickname for any of the Ed- names.

5
July 26, 2017 7:29 PM

Isn't the bay-ah-tree-chay pronunciation from a non-english language/country though (I want to say Italian but I'm proabably wrong)? I feel like (assuming the OP is in the US) it's unlikely anyone they meet will default to that way of saying it. 

6
July 26, 2017 8:30 PM

It's Italian,  but familiar from Dante. I think that the two-syllable bee-tris may be more likely in the US, at least in some regions, than the three-syllable bee-ah-tris.

7
July 26, 2017 7:24 PM

I think that is a good point about if the different pronunciations of Beatrice would actually bother you? Does it matter if some people say it slightly differently or could you roll with it?

8
July 26, 2017 6:29 PM

Augustus

-I love this, and even more so Augustine.

Alexander

-This is handsome and classic, but also a little bland from frequent use.  I do love the nickname Sasha though.

Edmund

-Edmund and Ned are great.  Keep in mind that many will spell it Edmond, if that's a concern for you.  I'm not a fan of initial nicknames, personally.

Theodore

-Edmund and Edward are not high up on my mental "lists" because Theodore and Frederick are favorites, and how many -eddy names can I even hypothetically consider? :)  Alvin and the Chipmunks is something the grandparents will quickly get over.  You can also remind them of other Theodor(e)s such as Roosevelt, Huxtable, and Geisel.  It's hardly a single association name.

 

I really love your taste in boys' names.  Since Julian has been vetoed, how about Julius?  Jude could make a great nickname for it (yes, it's a full name in its own right, but I think it works).

9
July 26, 2017 7:21 PM

I think you have some really great names there, I totally get having a hard time choosing. 

Annalise is pretty, but if you're not sold on it have you considered Annabelle? It's less popular than Isabelle and would allow you to keep the Anna part you like.

With Beatrice it's always hard to discuss pronunciation in writing but I can say I have only ever heard Beatrice said one way: bee-ah-tris, I would only change the way I said it for the spelling Beatrix (which would end with tricks how I say it, like Beatrix potter), I am in the UK though so I really have no idea what pronunciation you might get in the USA. 

Camilla is not my favourite, but I do love the nickname Millie. You could also get Millie from Emilia or Emmeline if either of those appeal?

I absolutely think you can use Katherine as an honour for Kathleen, just tell your godmother/family that's why you picked it. :)

Augustus-while I personally prefer the shorter August I do like this names and the nicknames, you didn't actually say how you feel about it though?

Alexander is a great classic name and I generally say don't worry about popularity and just go with the name you love but I confess being in a real pocket of the name would bother me. Really only you can decide if it's just too used in your area to make it unusable to you.

Edmund is probably my favourite (just) of your boy names. I love EJ as a nickname and I think you could definitely have Teddy as a nickname for Edmund as well (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Teddy is the traditional nickname for Edward so using it for Edmund is really not much of a stretch; you still have the Ed-Eddy-Teddy pattern). It would also be possible for you and your husband to use different nicknames, although the workability of that would depend on now much he hates Ned. 

Theodore is a lovely name, and I like Theo as a nickname but again it comes down to how you feel about its popularity where you are. I wouldn't worry about negative family comments, they'll likely get over it once it's a real grandchild. ;)

 

Honestly I would be tempted to ditch the names one of you is unsure about which from your list would leave you with Beatrice for a girl, which I happen to think is a lovely name and goes well with your older daughter's, and Augustus or Edmund for a boy of which my vote would be Edmund. 

10
July 26, 2017 7:23 PM

I pretty much agree with everything Natasha-Rhiannon said, except I definitely prefer Theodore or Augustus over Edmund! To me, Edumund is a bit stuffy- not sure why, but I just picture the Narnia character, which is not my favorite series.

11
July 26, 2017 7:35 PM

The Narnia character is part of the reason why I like it! Although I also don't love the whole series I like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on it's own and I like how Edmund is a fallible character who learns from his mistakes. Plus Helena and Edmund sound appealing as a set to me, like little Victorian children. :D

12
July 26, 2017 8:07 PM

Annalise is pretty, but it does seem very frilly next to Helena.  With Helena, I actually like just Anna better. FWIW, I'm saying Helena like Helen-ah.  I agree with previous comments that you'll need to correct spelling sometimes.  However, that's true for a lot of names and it's really not a big deal.

Beatrice is lovely, and is my favorite for you.  I'm not sure what your concerns are about pronunciation.  I've only ever heard it said as Bee-ah-tris, with the "ah" syllable being rather quick.  I'd probably call it 2.5 syllables as opposed to 3 syllables.  Perhaps there is a regional thing that I'm not aware of?

I'm kind of meh about Camilla.  I'm also pretty meh about Isabelle, mostly because I know so many.  As it is a family name, I wonder if you've considered it as a possible middle? It is a variant of Elizabeth, so it would meet your religious criteria + being a family honor name.  I think something like Beatrice Isabelle would be lovely.

Clare is very pretty, and I think it could be a decent first name option.  Clara could work as well.  Have you considered Caitlin as an option for Kathleen?  You could say it to sound like Kathleen, or you could go with the more American Kate+Lynn.

Augustus is fantastic, and I love the nickname Auggie.  I'd probaby pair with James, Augustus James.  That would also give you the option of AJ as another potential nickname.

I also like Alexander, and with this one, I don't think I'd be too concerned about popularity.  It's popular, but it kind of always has been, so I don't think it's likely to feel date-stamped in the way Isabelle might.  If you can't get past the popularity, maybe another variant like Alistair would appeal?  Other nickname options include Sawney & Sasha.

I really like Edmund/Ned. But, I get the feeling the nickname is an issue, so I'd lean towards eliminating this one.  If you only had one or two names, I'd say the nickname doesn't matter & just wait to see what happens organically.  However, you have so many nice options, I think finding reasons to take names off the list would be helpful.

I love Theodore & would encourage you to not be overly concerned about what the grandparents think.  Grandparents generally don't like the names that are currently fashionable.  They also tend to get over it once the name is attached to an actual baby.  Theo & Ted/Teddy are also great nicknames.  I also don't think it's too popular to use, at least not where I live.  I have yet to actually meet a Theodore.

You have some decent middle name options.  I could see James having potential as a first name.  I could also see using something like Jeremy or Jeremiah inspired by Jerome (though technically the names aren't related).

13
July 26, 2017 9:33 PM

Thank you all for your quick replies! I'll try to address everyone's comments/questions here.

Girls Names:

Annalise - thank you all for your feedback on the spelling being an issue. I think part of my hesitation on this is I love the Anna portion and I also like Elise as a name by itself but am not sure about the combination. Also, from what I could tell from research, the name is newer and not used for as long as others we are considering. I think after sharing all of your thoughts with my husband, we both realize we really just like Anna, but that doesn't fit our criteria of longer name with nickname/other options in case she doesn't like it. So for this name maybe Anna Katherine as the given?

Beatrice - I think my concern with pronunciation is what was brought up a few times - whether someone says the name as 2 syllables or 2.5/3 syllables: Bee-tris vs. Bee-ah-tris. I pronounce it the second way, but not sure how others will pronounce. Pronunciation is not a deal breaker for me as I already have a Helena which we pronounce Hel-LAY-na, though it can also correctly be pronunced Helen-ah and Hel-LEE-ah (I am in the U.S. so Helen-ah is like the captiol of Montana and Hel-LEE-ah is a city near Napa, California). I think if we choose Beatrice the middle would be Clare. And I vetoed Beatrix because my husband would call her Beatrix the Aviatrix (which would annoy me!)

Camilla and Isabelle - These sound like far 3rd and 4th options from all of your feedback, though I will have to talk with hubby a little more about Millie as a nickname and other names to use to get to it. For Isabelle as a middle name, I never thought of it sounding like "Is a belle" but that is true. Also the I initial sometimes creates words with our last initial T (Like BIT with Beatrice that I'm not particularly fond of). 

Clare as a first - our neighbor just had a Clare two weeks ago (sister is Amelia!), but even before this, we both felt Clare may be too short of a first name, even though we liked it before we were actually pregnant and seriously considering names. 

Boys Names

I'm glad everyone seems to like all the choices overall. Kind of makes the decision harder!

Augustus - For the poster that said that August was their preference, I felt the same originally, but my husband likes Augustus more and I thought it could be potentially weird to have an August born in August! I guess it is helpful to have the extra ending too so that the T from August doesn't blend into our last name that starts with T. And I like Augustus. I think my issue is I really go back and forth between which of the four boys names I love best and I may prefer nicknames from the other names more (Ned and Theo). Gus and Augie are great for now but I am not sure how a little Augustus will feel as a college student/professional with the nicknames Gus and Augie. So definitely would need the J middle name to get AJ for his future. I am definitely fine with the full name too, just don't know how he will feel about a full name.

Alexander - I considered the other variants, but husband dislikes them all. I think this will get naturally eliminated if we have an Anna, becaues I am not sure I want siblings with the same first initial. This is probably also true for Augustus, so we basically have to decide which is better- Augustus or Alexander and I think we lean toward Augustus. 

Edmund - didnt think about having to correct spelling. I was slightly concerned about this for Helena, but have been surprised that really the only issue is people mishear it as Elena (not that big a deal). I also like the Chronicles of Narnia, so that is not a bad association for me. There are a few St. Edmund's that also make this name work for me (the original St. Edmund and St. Edmund Campion - a Jesuit). My husband didn't think about using Teddy as a nickname for Edmund, so this one will require more discussion. I am not sure how much he hates Ned and whether he woud get used to hearing it associated with a baby and not the Simpsons character and stop being bothered by it. And for the poster that said they find Edmund stuffy, this is my one huge hesitation. Not sure how a school age Edmund will do, but I am hopeful the nicknames would help with that. 

Theodore - not sure if we have talked ourselves out of this one and moved onto Augustus and Edmund as the top choices. It's good to know none of you really think popularity is an issue. In the recent Social Security statistics, Theodore is top 50 for my state. When I take my daughter to playgroups, music class, there have definitely been Theodores present. My husband was at the park recently and met brothers named Theodore and Augustus (this was when I was hesitant that Theodore was too popular but he didn't believe me)! So not sure if its just where I live or that I hear it because I am considering it, but it makes me feel like maybe Augustus and Edmund are better choices for our family.

James as a first - my cousin has a James who is a preteen. He doesn't live close to us, but it may come off as weird if I selected it as a first. I think my husband and I are pretty set on this as a middle name. 

Hope I addressed everyone's comments/questions. We will keep discussing and see what comes out of it!

14
July 27, 2017 12:37 PM

If you like Anna better, I think it is worth consideration.  There are nicknames for Anna besides just Ann and Annie, especially if you are willing to look at non-English variants.  Anika, Anita, and Anya come to mind.  There are also the more old-school nicknames of Nan and Nancy.  Anika especially appeals to me since it could be considered a mash-up nickname for Anna Katherine.  Anna Katherine would have the option of Anna Kate and I think Anna Clare would work too.  And I believe someone else has already mentioned Annabell (I actually prefer Anabel), which would open up the Bell/Bella/Elle/Ella nicknames.  Since you like initial nicknames, that might be another option for Anna.   For example, you could do something like Jacquelyn as a cross-gender namesake for James.  Anna Jacquelyn called AJ.  

I will also second Karyn's suggestion of Theodora for a girl.  

15
July 27, 2017 1:38 PM

Short names can have lots of nicknames, too, and Anna has been popular enough for long enough that it has plenty of options: Annie, Annette, Nanette, Anita, Annika, Nan, Nancy, Nannie, Anouk, Ninon, Anka, Anya... But I share your taste for long feminine names (for their own sake, too, not just for the flexibility), and the name that occurred to me for you is Anastasia. I know an Anastasia who goes by Anna about half the time, and she has said that she enjoys having the longer name for the times she wants to stand out plus the shorter name for the times she wants to blend in. (Her maiden surname is very common.)

I have a Julianna born in July, but that would've been her name no matter when she was born, and I didn't even really notice the coincidence until she was a toddler. I think either August or Augustus are fine for a boy born in August. (You generally enter birthdates using numerals anyway, which makes me glad I don't deal with any fall birthdates -- I'm sure I'd enter October as 8 about half the time.)

I really like Edmund for you; I can see how it could still feel a bit stuffy for some people, but for me it has already crossed over into "feels fresh" territory. It could be the next Henry or Theodore, in fact. But I do think you're noticing Theodores around you because you're paying attention to that name, not because it's especially overused in your area. It's the cognitive bias known as the frequency illusion (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Frequency_illusion).

16
July 26, 2017 10:01 PM

Before I read your post, from the title I thought of the girl's name Theodora. Then I saw Theodore on your boy's list and wonder whether this might appeal. You have nickname options such as Thea and Dora, and even Thora. Helena and Theodora make an elegant pair, in my opinion!

 

(My brother in law's brother used to date a girl named Isabelle and his father would frequently say "Isabelle was a bell, now she is a door knocker." It doesn't make much sense and it must have gotten old *really* quickly.)

17
July 26, 2017 10:23 PM

So specifically for the girls names, Beatrice Clare sounds fine with our last name, i think. But if we just used Anna and used middle Katherine, every name is two syllables (including last name). I thought that maybe I would post significant women names from our family to see if anyone has ideas on name combinations with Anna (either to make it longer so that Anna could be a nickname or for a better middle option). Not sure how we feel about hyphenated names, since they sound very southern to us, but willing to consider options since Annalise may not be the best fit. 

Isabelle Mae

Janet Clare

Theresa Ann

Elizabeth 

Carmella Veronica

Kathleen Mary 

 

And regarding Theodora - it's a great suggestion with good nickname options, but just isn't our taste. 

18
July 27, 2017 3:46 PM

Isabelle Mae - is nice

Janet Clare - not keen on

Theresa Ann - not keen on

Elizabeth Clare is lovely  or Elizabeth Mary/Mae/Anne/Kate

Carmella Veronica - good prefer Camilla Veronica

Kathleen Mary- good

Anna Katherine is lovely

 

Dorothea?  Tessa ? 

19
July 27, 2017 3:41 PM

Annalise - I love,  other Anna names Annabelle, Annabeth, Annabella, Annali, Annalisa, Anastacia, Annalynn, Annamarie, Annette, Annamaria - other nn Lise,  Lissey,

Beatrice is ok - I pronounce it 2 syllables - in Australia though  another nn Trixie, Tricey

Camilla is nice  nn Milla

 Isabelle - oh this is lovely,  I love names with special family connections too,  or you could use the Belle with your Anna name  nn Belle

 Clare, Kathleen or Katherine (or you could use Kate) are all nice as middle names - what about your name or middle name

I like them in this order  Annalise, Camilla, Isabelle, Beatrice

 

Augustus - I prefer Augustine or Augustin  or Angus or Fergus

 Alexander  - great name,  if you love it use it  nn Alex, Lex    Lysander is similar too

 Edmund James/Jerome - nice  nn Eddie

 Theodore (Theo, Teddy) -  I think this is nice

I like them in this order  Alexander, Theodore, Edmund, Augustus

 James  - I love the connection with parents,  but the other mn's are nice too

20
July 27, 2017 5:49 PM

I love your lists, and I love Anna! Have you thought about Susanna? It can take all the Susie/Sukie nicknames, including sweet Zuzu, as well as all the Anna/Annie nicknames. St. Susanna's feast day is in August, which would be a nice bonus.

For your boy list, I had three ideas, all inspired by rhe length if your previous favorite Theodore: Thaddeus (nns Ted, Teddy, Tad, Taddy), Sebastian (nns Seb, Sebby, Bash, Baz), and Benedict (Ben, Benny, Beck, and I've seen Ned used for it too). All great saint names!

21
By rfb
July 28, 2017 4:48 AM

Funny that you liked both Helena and Theodore - my daughter is Helena D0r0the@! 

I'd be careful with Beatrice - it trips me up in combination with your lastname, ending up in ...-trice Trim...

22
July 28, 2017 10:53 AM

Dorothea was another name that I thought of, but based on Theodore being on the boy list, I went with that one!

My grandma is named Helen Dorothy, so I love that your daughter's name is a softer (perhaps more modern in an old-fashioned way) version of her name! The year she was born, 1924, Dorothy was the #2 name and Helen was the #3 name (Mary was, of course, #1), so your daughter's name is a wonderful tribute to that era!

23
August 1, 2017 4:52 PM

First and foremost I think all of your names are wonderful! You can't go wrong with any of them. Hopefully, my opnions will help you during your slection process!

Girls:

Annalise (Anna, Elise) - Sweet name that isn't used very often. Another nickname could be Lisa.

Beatrice (Bea) - Not my favorite, but still cute.

Camilla (Cammie, Cam, Millie) - I really like this name!

Isabelle (Izzy, Isa) - Very pretty. Not as popular as Isabella, but still pretty common. Probably not the best option if you want to refrain from popularity.

Girl Suggestions:

Christina (Chrissy, Christi, Tina) - Stands for "follower of Christ". It's the perfect name to represent your religious values. I think it's very beautiful.

Veronica (Vikki, V) - Represents Saint Veronica. Also a very pretty name.

Possible Combinations:

Christina Clare

Camilla Annalise

Christina Veronica

Camilla Isabelle

Boys

Augustus (Augie, Gus) - I really like this! I think it's very unique!

Alexander (Alec, Xan, Xander) - I love this name, but it is extremleyyyyyyyyyyyyy commom.

Edmund James/Jerome (Ned, EJ) - Personally, I am not a fna of the name Edmund

Theodore (Theo, Teddy) - Very cute name!

Possible Combinations:

Theodore James

Augustus Alexander

Christian Alexander

Joseph Jerome