Need help finding a baby name to fit in with siblings

We have two sons, Finlay Hudson & Jasper Cragg.
We have a daughter, Brontë Eleanor.

For each, the first name is something we just like, and the middle name is something that is either in the family, or has a special meaning to us.

For a girl:
I like the name Imogen, but my husband hates it.
We also like Beatrice, but I think it's becoming too trendy.
I also like Felicity, but my husband will only say that it's better than Imogen.
And I like Clementine, but my husband doesn't.

He prefers Esther, which I would like as a middle name.

For a boy:
We are almost settled on Gilbert Job, but we are open to other suggestions.

We are looking for new suggestions that would fit in with our other children, especially for a girl. I think that Brontë is such a beautiful and unusual name, that I just don't think Esther can live up to it. He thinks that in choosing Imogen, I am trying to hard to come up with something unusual.

What do you think?


June 1, 2013 10:17 PM

I'm usually not in favor of repeating initials within a sibset, but Bronwyn came to mind right away.  

Some other ideas-Cordelia, Elodie, Florence, Isadora, Guinevere, Briony, Cecily, Estelle/Estella/Stella, Viola, Agatha, Eloise.

June 10, 2013 7:09 PM

Thanks! I think Bronwyn is too close to Brontë. Same with Briony. Some of the other names you suggested, though, are lovely. I particularly like Agatha.

June 2, 2013 1:42 AM

You have already chosen the surname of important female literary figures, so you could continue in that vein with the surname of another female literary figure, whether novelist, poet, dramatist or short story writer.  Examples: Austen, Alcott, Millay, Atwood. Shelley, Christie, Hurston.  Or perhaps the first names: Zadie, Anais, Flannery, Zora, Willa, Daphne, Carson, Eudora, Ursula, Edith, Aphra, Iris, Amandine/Aurore (George Sand's names), Agatha, Phillis, SImone, Maya, Sylvia, Nadine.  Well, there are a lot of female authors whose names would match with your daughter's; the list could go on and on.  And if  Brontë  doesn't fall into the category of trying too hard, I daresay most of these don't either.  For the record, I don't think Imogen is trying too hard.  It is an established name, although not used very often in the US.

Just for the heck of it, I looked up the names of all the women who have won the Nobel prize in literature:  Herta, Doris, Elfriede, Wislawa, Toni, Nadine, Nelly, Gabriela, Pearl, Sigrid, Grazia, Selma Ottilia Lovisa.  Of course, this prize is awarded to authors from all over the world, so some of the names would be difficult in an English-speaking context, but most of them would work. 

June 10, 2013 7:12 PM

Thanks, Miriam! Do you know, you helped give me advice when I had my second son? I was looking at the name Gulliver, but my husband would not get on board! We ended up settling on Jasper. You once again, have great advice.


I like both Flannery and Agatha quite a lot. I like Aurore, too, but I have trouble with too many Rs or Ls too close together. Trouble pronouncing it, I mean. I have an uncle Rory, and a friend Lila, and I have a hard time saying their names without slowing down and concentrating.... which is fine, for extended family members, but not good everytime I want to speak to my own child!



June 2, 2013 10:57 PM

First of all, I Adore the name Bronte.

As a group, your kiddos' names have a style I lovingly call, "Portland farmers' market."

While they're artsy with classic influences, they also seem contemporary and eclectic. My personal thought on your current list is that it's slightly too classic in sound.I could get behind Clementine and Imogen because I think they have the right amount of spunk, but Felicity and Beatrice seem both too traditional and too-I don't know-delicate?

Esther just doesn't work for me with the group-Finlay, Jasper, Bronte, and just doesn't fit for me.

Would Gilbert go by Gil? If so, I can get behind it. Otherwise, I think it's a shade too stuffy next to the sporty, almost cowboyish quality I hear in Finlay and Jasper as a pair.

Thoughts: Tessa, Lucia/Lucy/Lucinda, Cordelia, Tallulah, Dinah, Miranda, Penelope, Simone, Sabine, Rosalie, Poppy, Honor

Ezra, Jude, Judah, Dashiell, Asa, Wesley, West, Easton, Brooks, Cormac, Shepard, Ansel, Royal, Rhett

By Coll
June 6, 2013 3:10 PM

Portland farmers market-- I love it!

And yes, great suggestions from everyone. Nothing really to add! I think Imogen would be delightful and I wish your husband would get on board. So often the stumbling blocks, those husbands.

June 10, 2013 7:21 PM

I feel exactly the same way with Esther not working with the group. I like Penelope, though. Although it would mean that everyone ends in an "ee" sound except for Jasper. And I agree that I don't want a girl's name that is too frilly or delicate, as you say.


You are making me rethink my boy's name. I didn't get the cowboyish quality out of Finlay and Jasper, because I think of them as very old-fashioned Irish/English/Scottish names. (Finlay is actually a more modern spelling of the old "Finlugh".) But you're right, when I think of them in the right way (especially Finn and Jasper, which they are often called) I can hear it. One of my other names was Gordon, and somebody had the same reaction -- that it was much more traditional than my other children. I tend to think of them as very old, traditional names, but I guess the problem is that Gilbert and Gordon were still in more popular use 60 or 70 years ago, so they have a more recognizably traditional feel than my boys' names, which did not have as much resurgence at that time. Like everybody has a grandparent or great-uncle named Gordon or Gilbert, but don't remember having great-great-greats names Finlugh or Jasper!

June 10, 2013 8:46 PM

It's funny. I don't associate Gordon and Gilbert with the same time period, even though they enjoyed similar popularity trajectories. While I know that Gordon is a long-standing Scottish surname and that it was popular in the 1920s, I can't dissociate it from Baby Boomers nicknamed Gord. However, because I associate Gilbert with Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables, Gilbert has maintained a very positive, dashing image for me.

June 7, 2013 10:51 AM

Maybe some new girl suggestions to shake things up? Here are some excerpts from my stash of girls' names I've always liked but can't get my husband on board with.


Good luck! 


June 10, 2013 7:23 PM

I love your name style. All those names are beautiful, and I love the old-fashioned feel to them. But I've kind of ruled out names ending in "a" (too feminine to match with Brontë, I think) and with the "ee" sound (because it would make the third child ending with that sound, and I think that's too much). But your names are gorgeous. I really like Calliope and Persephone, in particular.

June 10, 2013 8:40 PM

I love Agatha and Beatrice, and I don't think Beatrice is going to get too popular.  I like Miriam's idea of the literary connection.  Beatrix can  also be a choice (Beatrix Potter).  

June 10, 2013 8:44 PM

Yes, I really like those, too. It's funny, for the most part I've decided against names ending in 'a,' but Agatha is a real exception, because it doesn't come across as frilly-feminine with that hard 'g' near the beginning. So it's really growing on me.


June 10, 2013 9:44 PM

Ok. Some of these may be completely off the map for you (and all over the map anyway), but here goes:

Adair, Evangeline, Maeve, Estelle (which means the same as Esther), Josephine, Camille, Gillian, Charmaine, Constance, Helene, Adelaide, Justine, Celeste, Charis/Carys, Blythe, Aisling/Aislin (Irish that often gets Anglicized as Esther), Belle (Emily wrote under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell), Alden, Brigid, Briar, Ingrid, Eaven/Eaven/Aevyn, Hollis, Ingrid, Kerrigan, Isobel, Laiken, Larken, Manon, Astrid, Rhiannon, Tamar, Tamsin, Vivian, Meredith, Isolde, Harriet, Simone, Cadence


Any of those spark any interest?

June 11, 2013 4:48 PM

For the record, I like Imogen, Persephone, Evangeline, Ophelia, Clementine and Calliope. I also like Gilbert. Going with another author's last name for the first name is a bit too matchy-matchy for me, but here are a few other girl ideas:

  • Isolde
  • Astrid
  • Guinevere
  • Ginevra
  • Alice
  • Agnes
  • Gertrude
  • Hermione

For a boy:

  • Conrad
  • Angus
  • Silas
  • Atticus
  • Gideon

Good luck!


June 11, 2013 6:57 PM

I was just reading about the name Elowen, which is apparently Cornish and means Elm. I think it would sound lovely with your children's names.

June 11, 2013 8:54 PM

Miriam's list of literary names reminded me of one of my favorite potential names: Merriam. Yes, as in Merriam-Webster, as in the dictionary. Mariam/Maryam are more traditional (forms of Mary, I believe), but I'm a word-geek and like the dictionary reference (pardon the pun).

June 11, 2013 10:02 PM

Mary is a form of Miriam (in its various spellings from different languages). Miriam (and its other spellings) is not a form of Mary.

June 15, 2013 2:34 AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply any particular chronology to the relationship, only that they were related. I suspect linguists think about these things differently, but I would probably say "lingua is Latin for language" when speaking to an English speaker, even though of course the English word 'language' descends from the Latin rather than the other way around.

June 14, 2013 9:35 PM

What about Vesper or Briony for a girl?

June 25, 2013 1:27 PM

They are nice names (Vesper is maybe a bit too Catholic-sounding -- Vespers, for evening prayer), but too close to Jasper & Brontë for me.

June 26, 2013 6:30 PM

I suggested them because they were close to Jasper & Bronte.  But I understand wanting different sounds.  I see that you settled on Emogen with nn Emmy.  If you hadn't settled, I was going to suggest Welles.  :)  But I like Emmy.

June 18, 2013 12:56 AM

I like Beatrice the best, hands down.

By hwar
June 19, 2013 3:16 PM

I 100% agree that Esther doesn't live up to Brontë.  I think you should definitely go literary for the first name.  I think Beatrix works better than Beatrice, for example. But the first name that came to mind was Anaïs.  It's more unusual and has a similar ending sound to Beatrice.  It also has an umlaut like Brontë, which is kind of cool.

June 19, 2013 6:31 PM

Just to pick a nit, it's a diaeresis, not an umlaut.  A diaeresis indicates syllabification, while an umlaut changes the pronunciation of a vowel.  So the diaeresis indicates that the -e is not a silent e, but its own syllable, and that the ai is not a diphthong, but that the a and i are in two separate syllables. In contrast an umlaut over an a in German changes the vowel sound from the ah in father to the a in cake.

By hwar
June 20, 2013 1:27 AM

I should have known someone here would know the correct term! I couldn't tell from internet definitions whether to call it a diaresis, a trema, or an umlaut. All look like two dots, so I hope the original poster knew what I meant even though I picked the wrong one! Thanks for the correction.

June 25, 2013 1:29 PM

Miriam is right, but you can also call it a trema or diacritic. I usually call it a trema, because we are Canadian, and the French here still use tremas, so it's more familiar to people here, or at least, it is to French-speaking people here!

June 25, 2013 1:36 PM

I think my husband and I have found our compromise on a girl's name!


One day, he suggested Emily or Emmy. These are lovely names, but I prefer names that I may have heard of once or twice, but can't think of anyone actually having.




His problem with Imogen was that it was too bizarre for him, and he couldn't find a potential nickname for it that he does like. He didn't like the obvious Immy, Midge, or Genny. What struck me when he suggested Emmy as a name, is how close it is to Immy.


While he couldn't be converted to Immy based on its similarity to Emmy, I could be converted to Emogen. While I prefer Imogen, as the standard spelling and pronunciation rather than a variation, Emogen is a legitimate variation. It doesn't fall within the category of "made-up" names, which I tend not to prefer.


So I think we are going to go with Emogen Esther. And my husband will call her Emmy.


And if it's a boy, I think we are still on with Gilbert Job.


I am 37 weeks now, so I am relieved to have this sorted out. Thanks for all your help.

June 25, 2013 2:20 PM

Doesn't it feel good to have names settled? We finally had that with my DD at 36 weeks and 3 days. She was born 5 days later. :-)

June 26, 2013 7:56 AM

I love Emogen Esther and Gilbert Job!

By Coll
June 30, 2013 3:26 PM

Good work! I'm glad you found a name that makes both of you happy.