Spot the Missing Sibling: A Baby Name Challenge

Jan 26th 2012

Of all the features of the Baby Name Wizard book, I've always believed that the brother and sister name suggestions are the most important. Not only do they give you sibling name ideas and alternate paths to follow, but they define a kind of "style space" for each name. Together, the group of suggested names show you the stylistic and cultural place the name occupies.

Not surprisingly, this most important feature is also the most challenging. I've developed all kinds of tools to help me identify stylistic matches, but the ultimate selection is a hands-on process. The set of names should carry a similar feeling, but not be too close in sound to the original. Variety is critical too. It's no help to parents to suggest brothers named Kayden, Hayden, Grayden and Jayden for a boy named Brayden.

In many cases, the group of names also has to reflect a complex cultural setting. Take Tyrone. Tyrone is the name of a county in Northern Ireland, which became an American boy's name quite suddenly in the late 1930s thanks to actor Tyrone Power. Over the decades the name was embraced by African-American families and influenced other popular names like Tyrell and Tyree. It remained an African-American favorite through the '90s, but is now slipping out of fashion. No other single name can capture that whole story, but as a group the suggestions should come close.

So that's a tough job. And for the upcoming 3rd edition of the book, I've made it far, far tougher for myself. In a moment of wild optimism, I decided to expand from 10 suggestions for each name to 16: eight brothers and eight sisters. And rather than just tacking on extra names, I'm wiping the slate clean and starting each sib set from scratch.

Hmm...let's imagine that I spend just 10 minutes on each set. With a planned 1,750 full name snapshots, that should be 291.7 hours of sibling selection. Ok, breathe slowly Laura....

Sorry, sorry, back on topic now. Here's what I meant to say:

With 16 suggestions for every name, the new sib sets define their name spaces more clearly than ever. That makes for a nifty baby name brain teaser. If these names all gather around one name in their center, can you identify that name? Who's the "missing sibling" tying together each of the following sets?

1. (Girl)
Brothers: Camden, Kingston, Cooper, Grayson, Trenton, Chase, Bryson, Hudson
Sisters: London, Peyton, Aspen, Berkeley, Gracelyn, Alexa, Sydney, Bristol

2. (Girl)
Brothers: Leo, Sam, Oscar, Charlie, Max, Jack, Henry, Oliver
Sisters: Ruby, Ella, Sadie, Gracie, Lena, Stella, Alice, Molly

3. (Boy)
Brothers: Gideon, Beckett, Sawyer, Cassius, Soren, Emerson, Tennyson, Phineas
Sisters: Beatrix, Paloma, Oriana, Hermione, Guinevere, Aurora, Briar, Athena

4. (Boy)
Brothers: Michael, Anthony, Philip, Thomas, Andrew, Daniel, Mark, Matthew
Sisters: Diana, Theresa, Christine, Rebecca, Cynthia, Andrea, Laura, Deborah

5. (Girl)
Brothers: Talon, Maverick, Orion, Tristan, Chance, Jett, Maximus, Zion
Sisters: Genesis, Destiny, Serenity, Nevaeh, Journey, Phoenix, Cadence, Harmony

6. (Boy)
Brothers: Julian, Damian, Xavier, Sebastian, Rafael, Dominic, Elias, Gabriel
Sisters: Natalia, Isabella, Giselle, Emilia, Mia, Ava, Valeria, Sofia


Given it your best shot? On to the answers!


By Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm (not verified)
January 26, 2012 2:42 PM

Oh, fun game! But I really have no idea. Going to have to wait and read others' suggestions. :)

By estella (not verified)
January 26, 2012 2:55 PM

My guesses:
1 - Brooklyn
2 - Lucy
3 - Atticus
4 - this one was tough - maybe Robert?
5 - Trinity
6 - Nicolas

January 26, 2012 2:57 PM

#2 - I guess Lucy!

Mostly because our cats are Lucy and Oliver.

The rest, I'm lost.

January 26, 2012 3:01 PM

1. Brooklyn
2. June
3. Atticus
4. Adam
5. Skye
6. Alexander

January 26, 2012 3:03 PM

Ooo Just saw your reply. We agree on 1 & 3. What a surprise to see a match so soon. I wonder if we're on to something?

By moll
January 26, 2012 3:08 PM

I love playing this game when someone I know has a new baby - guessing the missing new baby name out of the siblings' names!

#2 is cracking me up because it includes 5 of my nephews' names (in a row!) and my own name, as well as two girl names that were the alternative choice if one of my nephews had been a girl. I'm going to guess a comfy "great-grandma"* name like Lucy, Rosie, Lily, or Daisy, which were other names my sibs had in the running if the boys had been girls.
(Though I'd maybe be more likely to pair Lucy with sisters like Charlotte and Caroline).

#4 - maybe Steven, Christopher, or David?

#6 - Alexander?

#3 contains the oddest mix of names I love (Beatrix, Paloma, Gideon) and loathe (Emerson, Sawyer), so I'm at a loss there!

*Yep, I'm fully aware that a lot of ACTUAL, more likely great grandma names like Barbara, Gladys, and Thelma would make an entirely different sib list!

January 26, 2012 3:06 PM

1. Brooklyn
2. Ivy (2nd choice was Lily)
3. Elliot
4. James
5. Eden
6. Dorian (this was the hardest one for me)

By KB1 (not verified)
January 26, 2012 3:13 PM

Have no idea but to throw out some ideas...

1. Brooklyn
2. Sophie
3. Matthias
4. Jeremy? Justin?
5. No idea!
6. Alexander? Lorenzo?

By melanie1 (not verified)
January 26, 2012 3:18 PM

I don't think I'm very good at this and I did read the other guesses and now I can't get Lucy or Atticus out of my mind for numbers 2 and 3, but I had already guesses Brooklyn for the first one. I'll try and come up with something else for 2 and 3 just for variety. So let's see about my guesses:

1. Brooklyn
2. Lily
3. Bennett
4. Luke
5. Ily
6. Liam

By JenS (not verified)
January 26, 2012 3:23 PM

I cannot decide on a few of them
1. Harper
2. Lucy or Lily
3. Atticus (I can't wait for the answer to this one since this is a popular guess. I didn't look at the previous comments before making my list)
4. David
5. Melody
6. Marco

January 26, 2012 3:30 PM

Without looking at the previous responses or without using Nymbler or your excellent tools:

1. (girl) Madison (for the sound, trendiness, and place name)
and if a boy: Logan

2. (girl) Violet, but could also be Ivy or Hazel
and if a boy: August
(Were you writing about hyz's family?)

3. (boy) Archer (not sure about this one)
and if a girl: Willa

4. (boy) Paul or Steven, with a slight edge to Paul only because so many of my own family's names are on there
and if a girl: Michelle
(this group is for zoerhenne!)

5. (girl) Trinity
and if a boy: Levi (not a good choice, but the best I could come up with)

6. (boy) Felix
and if a girl: Gianna

January 26, 2012 3:34 PM

Of course! Atticus is definitely the answer for #3. Cassius was throwing me off, but the inclusion of another ancient name (and a surname with a literary flair) ties all of those names together. Brilliant choices, Laura!

By Jane 7 (used to be Jane 6) (not verified)
January 26, 2012 3:41 PM

2 - Lily
4 - Timothy

January 26, 2012 3:41 PM

Atticus is a strong contender for number 3.

Another guess, Harper?

By 4boyzmd (not verified)
January 26, 2012 4:21 PM

Most of them stumped me, but without looking at any of the other comments, I guessed Eliza for #2, Scott for #4, and Trinity for #5. After looking at the other comments, I like David better for #4, although I was thinking "late 60's / early 70's popular boy name" for that one, and both David and Scott fill the bill.

By natalie7s19 (not verified)
January 26, 2012 4:58 PM

Not looking at other comments yet... I would guess:

1. Brooklyn
2. Lucy
3. Atticus
4. Robert
5. Trinity
6. Adrian

January 26, 2012 5:13 PM

Here are my guesses (I tried not to look at anyone's comments):

1. Ireland
2. Charlotte
3. Dante
4. James
5. Jubilee
6. Donovan

By Guest 123 (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:14 PM

Ooh yes, looking at the list for number 3 again, I see that it is the literary component and not mythology that's the common denominator - I'm sure those of you who came up with Atticus are right.

By Guest 123 (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:15 PM

Oops, my first post went to moderation so the second looks a little funny as an addendum to something that's not there. Hopefully it will show up with my guesses!

By HFS (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:17 PM

1. Harper? A surname-as-first name for sure.

2. Masie? or maybe Harriet? (I'm going for stylistically, rather than rhyming...)

3. no idea, sorry!

4. William or David

5. Gaia, Freya, Faith?

6. I think it'll be something 'Irish', but I can't seem to pin anything down. Hmm.

By alr as guest (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:22 PM

Okay, I managed to make a list before clicking on the 'comments' to see others' lists - I can't wait to see if I overlapped anyone!! I put more than one for each, but always listed my favorite first. :)

1. Harper, Piper, Brooklyn

2. Nora, Emma (and so many others! Lucy, Ava, Lily...)

3. Persephone, Isis, Daphne

4. Christopher, Ryan

5. Trinity, Fantasia

6. Hugo, Alexander

By Ambersim (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:28 PM

1. Caylee
2. Poppy or Pippa
3. Hammish
4. Christopher
5. Lyric
6. Alexander

By FranX (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:32 PM

I made my guesses before looking at others and was surprised I guessed a lot of the same as other people. So I thought I'd add my second choices too.

1. Brooklyn/Savannah
2. Lucy/Sophie/Rose
3. Atticus/Holden
4. Peter/David
5. Trinity/Haven
6. Adrian/Maximilian

By alr as guest (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:35 PM

Oh, man.. now that I'm looking at your posts I'm realizing I did a girl for #3 and it was supposed to be a boy. Bummer. :) Loving seeing how many we agree on. Don't think anyone else said Nora for #2 - which surprises me. It was 'Lena' that pushed Nora into my front runner on that one.

And off topic - I have a naming question for you all!! My sister and brother-in-law are expecting #3 any day now and are stumped for a boy's name. They don't know what it will be and have decided on 'Josie' for a girl. Their two other kiddos are Micah (boy) and Avery (girl). Their #1 right now for a boy is Isaac. They don't love it but haven't found anything they like better. Here's what I suggested:

Boaz (I knew it wasn't likely, but I love a good unique name with an cute nickname - 'Bo')
Ezekiel (bc I love 'Zeke')
Eli (Elias, Elijah)

They don't like any better than Isaac. But still don't love Isaac either. Worth note, they almost went for Zadok - started to get excited about it, then made the fatal mistake of telling some family members that said they hated it and it sounds like an alien, so they won't do it now. Boo.

Any suggestions for them? Baby's due in two weeks!

By Angela Dawn (not verified)
January 26, 2012 5:38 PM

Fun, Fun

1. Sadie
2. Maisie
3. Basil
4. Peter
5. Trinity
6. Marcus

By Hera
January 26, 2012 5:44 PM

Fun! Here are my guesses and then I'm going to have to go back and read everyone's guesses.

1. Brooklyn
2. Nora
3. Graham or maybe Homer
4. John or David
5. ?
6. Hugo

By hyz
January 26, 2012 6:06 PM

Ok, without looking at anyone's guesses, I was going to say:
1. Madison
2. Mabel (not really satisfied with this, but looking for something cute and/or nicknamey, and vintage)
3. Everett (hard one--wanted something a bit quirky and artsy--not satisfied with this, either)
4. John (feeling an apostle here)
5. Trinity
6. Matteo (feeling something continental and stylish here, leaning Italian)

After reading others' choices, I revise as follows:
1. Madison or Brooklyn
2. Lucy
3. Atticus feels like it matches the boys list here really well, less well with the girls imho
4. John, also like Paul
5. Trinity
6. Matteo, but also like Adrian here

January 26, 2012 7:33 PM

1. Brooklyn
2. Lucy
3. Atticus
4. David
5. Trinity
6. Luca

These are my first thoughts without "looking" at other answers. I wavered between Robert and David for #4 and I also had thoughts of Nicolas, Matteo, and Marco for #6.

By TamaraR (not verified)
January 26, 2012 7:38 PM

My guesses, trying so hard not to look at anyone else's list...

1. Brooklyn
2. Lucy
3. Byron, or Ulysses?
4. Stephen
5. Trinity
6. Roman, with Lucian as an alternate choice.

The most fun part of this for me was how the hints I was gleaning (for right or wrong!) was different between the sibsets. Especially #3, which was giving me the most trouble.

By TamaraR (not verified)
January 26, 2012 7:48 PM

ohhh, now that I'm reading the other lists, I love Dante for #3! I had been thinking of Beatrix as in B. Potter, not as in Dante's Beatrix.

By Jude
January 26, 2012 9:09 PM

I have been lurking for years - this challenge was just too much fun not to comment at last!

1. Brooklyn
2. Eleanor
3. Holden
4. David
5. Serena
6. Diego

By Ellie'smom (not verified)
January 26, 2012 9:12 PM

I haven't read the other comments (but I will as soon as this is posted)! Here goes:

1. Piper
2. Lola
3. Caspar/Casper
4. Timothy or maybe Stephen/Steven
5. Trinity
6. Eliana

By Ellie'smom (not verified)
January 26, 2012 9:18 PM

Oh man, #6 was a boy? I'm going to go with Hugo.

By Melissa Code (not verified)
January 26, 2012 11:02 PM

5.Haven or Heaven

January 26, 2012 11:14 PM

Wow, you guys are GOOD! One response actually has an amazing 5 out of 6 right. (And every single name has been guessed right at least once.)

The two that are proving the toughest are #4 and #6, both traditional and "normal" names. #4 in particular makes me wonder whether there's a realm of names so "normal" they almost blend into the background rather than leaping to mind.

I'll definitely run another batch of these by you soon. I think the most interesting cases are names like #3, where the various siblings approach the name from different angles.

I've come to imagine a multidimensional name space where two names may be close in origin, distant in current popularity, etc. etc. You can't expect, to find, say, 8 names that match Ariel in sound, biblical, Shakespearean & Disney usage as well as androgyny and popularity history! So the challenge is to compose a SET that reflects all of those dimensions, and gives options to parents who like the name for different reasons.

January 26, 2012 11:46 PM

Did not read anybody else's post to avoid any outside influence

1. Brooklyn

2. Lucy

3. Atticus

4. James

5. Trinity

6. Adrian

January 26, 2012 11:52 PM

I’ll be honest I did skim over the comments but these are totally my own ideas. *waves at Elizabeth T re comment*
5=Liberty (used Nymbler for ideas)
6=Simon or Felix

(After re-reviewing the other comments, I really don't agree on Brooklyn for #1. However, I am usually in the minority anyway. It is interesting how many others said David for #4 though. Trinity was a guess for #5 though I liked Liberty better). This was fun!

alr-I would simply say Josiah if they are going with Josie for the girl. Their other two children suggest they like unisex type names that "lean" a bit. So other suggestions might be: Jayden; Carson; Parker; Elliott; Tobin; Quinn; Jordan; Logan; Bailey

January 27, 2012 12:52 AM

alr- I know a gal who has three boys: micah, isaac, and silas. :) I might be tempted to add ezra to the suggestion list.

January 27, 2012 3:20 AM

1. Sierra
2. Lucy
3. Dashiel
4. Joseph
5. Liberty
6. Hugo

By Maja
January 27, 2012 3:26 AM

1. Brooklyn

2. Lily

3. Atticus

4. Luke

5. Eden

6. Adrian? Fabian?

This is difficult!

By Guest-2011 (not verified)
January 27, 2012 4:21 AM

I fast-skipped the other comment to guess uninfluenced ...

1. Chelsea
2. Olivia (this one is the toughest to guess for me)
3. Percival
4. Charles
5. Faith or Hope
6. Alexander

By SusieQ (not verified)
January 27, 2012 4:57 AM

Without looking at others' choices, I guess:

1. Brooklynn
2. Lucy
3. Harper
4. Timothy/Peter/James?
5. Trinity
6. Gael

By Guest
January 27, 2012 9:31 AM

Here are my guesses:

1. Brooklynn

2. Lilly

3. Merlin

4. Charles

5. Melody

6. Zachary or Augustus

January 27, 2012 10:40 AM

1. Brooklyn
2. Lucy
3. Austen/Austin
4. Paul
5. Trinity
6. Adrian

January 27, 2012 10:52 AM

#2 and #4 fit my naming style, so I'm just going to go with my DD's and DS's names - Lucy and James (and scrolling up the list I'm not alone, which is pretty amazing b/c it's real life for me!)

other suggestions for #2 - Anne, Mary, June (future names I love for future DDs)

By Tonia (not verified)
January 27, 2012 2:32 PM

I have absolutely no idea on the quiz, but I needed to include my own story on how helpful the suggestions can be. In 2008, I was one week away from my due date with baby girl #3 and NO name ideas. We've used family names and tributes as parts of our girls names, and had a solid boy's name (Robert ) that had become useless. Looking at sibling names for Diana (our second), I saw Laurel (our oldest is Lauren) and Rebecca, and realized that that sounded perfect. Rebecca was born about a week later, one day before her due date. Your help was invaluable!

By Louise (not verified)
January 27, 2012 4:27 PM

1. Piper
2. Lucy
3. Atticus
4. Stephen
5. Trinity
6. Marcus

This was fun!

January 27, 2012 4:29 PM

Tonia-Congrats! Those names sound lovely together.

Not that I'm pregnant or going to be soon or anything, but just curious what you guys would put with Eric + Natalie. Just found out that Brian (one of my fav boys names would be a no). The girls names I can't use from my profile-Shannon, Samantha, Alexandra, and Miranda. Pretty much no A's or ending in -ah sound.

By dee
January 27, 2012 7:11 PM

This post is wonderful!

I can't resist asking, though: when is the next edition slated for publication? I'm due with a 2nd child in August, and my 1st edition book has been well-thumbed for years... I'd love a new book to mull over if the pub date is in the first half of this year!

By Mrs. Knightly (not verified)
January 27, 2012 8:45 PM

I'm a lurker who had to give it a go.
So much fun!!!