Harriet and Henrietta: too similar to be sisters?

We already have a Harriet.  Considering Henrietta for #2.  Do you think the names are too similar to each other to use together as siblings?  Thanks for any opinions you have!

 

Replies

1
October 26, 2018 8:33 PM

I would say yes, they are too similar. I wasn't sure if Harriet and Henrietta are related, but looking them up on behindthename, they are different variants of the same name. Soundwise, they are obviously similar but not too close (not as bad as, say, Madelyn and Madison for sisters). However, what trips me up is potential nicknames - and this is where the relatedness is more apparent - if you have Harry and Henry, well, I know that Harry is a nn of Henry, and that kind of messes with my mind!

 

Both are great names which I like very much, but personally I wouldn't use both together. Some suggestions of other names you might like and sound good with Harriet: Louise or Louisa, Dorothea or Theodora, Eleanor/a, Alice, Claudia, Georgina, Imogen, Philippa. If you want another H name, I think Helena would work beautifully, or Honora.

 

2
October 26, 2018 8:51 PM

I believe that this is a case of loving a name because it's so similar to the name you've already used and love. Unfortunately, I think that you need to consider other options. 

3
October 26, 2018 9:02 PM

No, you cannot give your second child the same name as your first!  Harriet would be a very natural nickname for Henrietta (does it have a history of use as one, does anyone know?), meaning that the time to get both would have been when your oldest was born.

I was thinking the same thing as Karyn, that what you really love about Henrietta over other options is probably how much it reminds you of your daughter's name.

 

Harriet and... Cordelia (or Cornelia?), Georgia, Imogen, Josephine, Olive, Beatrice, Cecily, Susannah, Rosalie (or Rosamund), Wilhelmina, Felicity

4
October 26, 2018 11:42 PM

No I think they are too close, Henrietta is a variant of Harriet

other names Dorothea, Theadora, Eleanora Eleanor Beatrice Caroline Lilian Lucinda Josephine Philomena Adelaide Ursula Agatha Guinevere Fredrika Edwina Francesca Victoria Elsbeth Primrose Prudence Elsie Cora Cordelia Cecily Rosamund Rosalie Wilhemina Lucille Estelle Cecile Leonora Daphne Audrey Delphine Delma Edith Sidney Millicent Beatrix Esme Bridget Patrice Jocelyn Phillippa Bernadette Olive Bernadine Thomasina Ramona Alexandra Eugenia Eugenie Penelope Clementine Lenora Raphaela Helena Gwendalyn Gwyneth

5
October 27, 2018 12:24 AM

Joining the "no, don't do that" chorus.

They're not just similar. They're the same name. Harriet originates as the English pronunciation of the 16th century French invention of Henriette. Both Harriet and Henriette were generally rendered in Latin as Henrietta.

Henrietta to honor a Harriet, or vice versa, would be fine. Sweet, even.

As sisters, they're an absolute no-go. Might as well name their brothers Henry, Harry, and Henri.

6
October 27, 2018 9:52 AM

I think Henry and Harrison would be an apt comparison, but to me those sound even more different than Henrietta/Harriet. I wouldn’t do it, because like others said they’re essentially the same name.

7
October 27, 2018 10:29 AM

I have to agree with everyone else I find them way too similar to be used for siblings; it's not only the similarity in sound but the fact that they're essentially the same name twice. Would you name sons Harry and Henry? 

If you want help with other ideas we'd be happy to suggest things, just tell us what sort of name you're looking for. :-) 

8
October 30, 2018 6:55 PM

We're looking for a traditional name that isn't too common that goes with Harriet. 

Harriet has worked out so well for us!  People like it when they hear it, know how it is spelled (for the most part), and can easily pronounce it, and aren't like "what's the name?" or make us explain it. 

Those are basically our criteria again this time.

Welcoming any suggestions!!! 

Thanks for your response Natasha!

9
October 31, 2018 12:47 AM

Taking "goes with Harriet" in the historical sense of "names popular at the same time as Harriet", this list of Georgian names offers some good options: https://www.britishbabynames.com/blog/2013/01/gorgeously-georgian.html

I think Margaret, Alice, Agnes, Martha, and Georgiana are especially likely to fall into the same familiar-but-underused category as your daughter's name.

10
November 10, 2018 2:13 PM

I also like Agnes, but not sure how others would react to it.  Harriet has had such a universal positive reaction that I want that again for the next one.

Thanks for that link.  Those are exactly the kind of names we like.  Sooo many to choose from.  It's hard to narrow it down, but we have time :)

11
November 10, 2018 4:27 PM

I'm going to strongly recommend that you choose a name that YOU love, not a name that you think others will like. I can tell you from personal experience that I have lied through my teeth many a time, telling people how lovely their children's names are while mentally hating the name or rolling my eyes at their complete lack of creativity. 

I fully understand your desire to pick a name that people love. My daughter's name is rare and tends to elicit ooh and aahs and that feeling is fantastic, and I'd definitely have the desire to repeat that positive public response if choosing another name. But ultimately, people tend to be polite when reacting to children's names, so choose something that makes your heart sing and you can't go wrong. 

12
November 11, 2018 8:55 PM

Great advice, Karyn!  Thank you!  :)

13
October 31, 2018 1:46 AM

what about any of these names

Dorothea, Theadora, Eleanora Eleanor Beatrice Caroline Lililan Lucinda Josephine Philomena Adelaide Ursula Agatha Guinevere Fredrika Edwina Francesca Victoria Elsbeth Primrose Prudence Elsie Cora Cordelia Cecily Rosamund Rosalie Wilhemina Lucille Estelle Cecile Leonora Daphne Audrey Delphine Delma Edith Sidney Millicent Beatrix Esme Bridget Patrice Jocelyn Phillippa Bernadette Olive Bernadine Thomasina Ramona Alexandra Eugenia Eugenie Penelope Clementine Lenora Raphaela Helena Gwendalyn Gwyneth Esme Georgina Magdalene Magdalena Agnes Constance Maribel Celeste Alice Coraline Winfred  Clara  Dorothy Matilda Arabella, Ailsa Adelaide Claudette Raphaela Theodora Bridget Francine Geraldine Georgiana Katherine Mabel Patrice Phyllis Thomasina Valerie Valma Araminta Clementine Florence Gwendolyn Nelda Winsome Enid Louisa Clarice Kathleen Elinor Fleur Margaret Marguerite

14
November 1, 2018 2:54 AM

Suzannembrown is listing Thomasina twice, and I thus third it as a suggestion. It's a name that's served my daughter well; many nickname choices to allow reinvention, familiar but surprisingly rare, and having a similarly pleasingly hefty, funky-clunky feel to Henrietta.

It's also worth noting that both names are also united in being feminine forms of names that are far more frequently used in their male version. That formula actually tends to nail my taste in female names generally, and I think it might be worth considering for you as well, because the very commonplace nature of Henry and Thomas really makes their feminine counterparts somewhat familiar and accessible, even as Henrietta and Thomasina are still (shockingly) underutilized. I might especially go looking for feminine forms or more standard male classics that don't have the -et (or -etta) ending. In addition to pulling Wilhelmina, Philippa, Josephine from the Suzannembrown's list (and also my own short lists for when we were expecting), I might also think about Jamesina or Davina. 

And if you're looking for sleeker names that share the unfrilly, slightly outmoded names that Harriet has for me, can I suggest Mavis?

Eleanor has really taken off in my area -- I think it felt a decade or two ago like Harriet feels now. Now it's more of a sibling name for Henry than for Henrietta, if that makes sense.

15
November 8, 2018 4:00 PM

SInce we're plugging our daughters, I'll throw in my youngest's name; Sybil. I spelled it another way, which I like but which has not proved intuitive to people, and as a result I know that S-Y-B-I-L is intuitive, that most people know it, and that it's very rarely used. 

One of my friends has a Harriet, which makes me think of the other girls in our wider group: Mae and Mabel. I think both of those could be lovely with your daughter's name.

16
November 10, 2018 2:21 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

Thomasina, Jamesina and Davina are definitely ones to consider!

I do like Philippa a lot, but it might conflict with our last name because of rhyming issues.  Is Wilhelmina too heavy?  

And yes, Eleanor is quite popular now as is Evelyn.  Both nice names, though.

17
October 27, 2018 12:15 PM

As first names I do find them too close; however, I think Henrietta could be a fantastic middle name for all kinds of first names, and that would fit a name you love into your child's name while being less of a concern.  

18
October 27, 2018 5:35 PM

I agree that they're too similar. I think using names that are actually the same name is only okay if they're very distinct sounding, e.g. Jane and Ivanna or James and Jacob.

How about,

Georgia

Maude

Katharine

Joan

Virginia 

19
October 30, 2018 12:54 AM

I think they're too close.

Other options:

Hermione

Helene

Loretta

Sylvia

Georgia

Gabrielle/Gabriella

Pauline/Paulina

Felicity

Eloise

Louise

Josephine

Lorraine

Cecilia

Angelina

Clementine

Beatrice/Beatrix

Esther

Estelle

Roslyn

Lucille

20
October 30, 2018 2:19 PM

awesome everyone!  Thanks for your feedback on my question.  We'll come up with some other options and look at your suggestions and repost sometime :) 

I thought they might be too similar and it sounds like everyone agrees they are!!!  :)

21
October 31, 2018 1:10 AM

While I am chiming in a bit late, I am nevertheless going to offer a dissenting voice.  Yes, Harriet and Henrietta are matchy-matchy, but if those are truly the names that make your heart sing, just go for it.  I have a close friend whose children's names are even closer, simply because they are a trilingual family (his native tongue, her native tonge, speak English together) and the pool of names that worked in all three unrelated languages was very small.  Factoring in what names they like, well, very few to choose from.  And they are SO glad they did not give their son a name they liked less, just because it's so similar to his sister's.  It's the name they WANTED, and in the end none of this is a big deal at all.

Do you use nicknames?  The matchy problem would magically disappear if Henrietta's everyday call-name was Rita or something.  Then again, if you're going to call her Rita, then why not just name her Rita.

If you hit on Henrietta becasue it "goes with Harriet" rather than you really and truly adore the name Henrietta, that's another matter.  Avoid.

 

22
November 1, 2018 12:33 AM

The problem with Henrietta as the little sister to Harriet is not so much the matchiness, but more "what happens when Henrietta finds out she was given the same name as her big sister". It's bad enough to have to wear your sister's hand-me-down clothing, but to have to answer to her hand-me-down *name*? It's not exactly a recipe for sibling harmony.

(Yes, it's theoretically possible to present the information in such a way that it becomes a cool family story rather than a source of sibling rivalry, but even so, if I were Henrietta, I'd harbor at least a modicum of resentment against my parents. Plus, all us wannabe name experts would be laughing at said parents behind their back, like with the James and Jacob sibset my sister knows.)