A sister for Jane

My husband and I are expecting our second child, a girl.  Our naming styles vary quite a bit so we have a hard time finding middle ground.  My husband is the kind of guy who gravitates toward names from the 80's/early 90's.  He would happily name his children Melissa and Kyle and be done with it.  I am a more eclectic namer. I like the "old lady" names and names with history, literary connection, and/or quirky interest.  With a different partner, I might be naming kids after constellations and Greek muses, but with my husband I am looking more for classic English names that aren't too fussy or too overused. 

Our first child is Jane Elizabeth.  For a second girl I'd like a name that doesn't overshadow Jane's simplicity too much.  I'd also like to find a name that doesn't relegate the sibset into the land of Snoozeville, but it can't be too weird or it will not appeal to my husband.

We have a few other constraints:

- The baby's last name will sound like the name Rhys.  This pretty much eliminates names ending in R or the "S" sound.  Bye, Alice.  Bye, Beatrice.  Bye, Eleanor.

- The baby's middle name must start with E, as all the cousins in her generation have E middles.  We'd prefer to use a family name, either Evelyn or Ellen, but we are open to other E middles if they fit better with a first name that we love.

- We would like to avoid the first initials T, M, and J as they have been used by Rhys cousins and we'd prefer this baby to have different initials.

My husband has suggested:

Annabel  (this is my favorite of his list)
Natalie (can't use because it's a cousin's kid)
Sarah (can't use because it's a cousin's kid)

My favorites at the moment:

Ida (thoroughly vetoed by my husband because of the potential teasing "Ida-ho")

My daughter (age 6) suggests:

Susannah  (I actually kind of like this one)

I'd love some suggestions that I could bring to the table that might win my husband over, or thoughts on the names above!


By Guest (not verified)
June 10, 2012 2:23 PM

Susannah Ellen Rhys would actually be pretty great!  Jane's a smartie. :) And that's a pretty cute story, letting her older sister name her.

I also like Annabel Evelyn.

By hwar
June 10, 2012 3:06 PM

I know, right? I was surprised she came up with such a real contender after some of her other choices.  She originally suggested Egg for a boy but says it is not right for a sister, ha ha! My husband likes the nicknames Susie and Annie too, which are points in favor.

I like Annabel Evelyn too. I worry that it's a little too flowery next to Jane. I wonder if something like Annabel Emma would tone it down a little, even though we'd lose the family connection.

June 10, 2012 3:35 PM

Just throwing it out there: Annabel Eve Rhys would keep the family connection and has quite good flow, I think.

By hwar
June 10, 2012 10:15 PM

I like Eve with Annabel! My husband had suggested Eve as a middle for some other name that didn't have as nice a sound and I crossed it off the list but I'll have to add it back. :)

June 10, 2012 10:37 PM

Great! Eve isn't typically my style, but I really liked it with the rest of the name, so I'm so glad that you do, too!

June 10, 2012 2:43 PM

Jane Elizabeth is great, I like both names alone and think they are lovely together.

My first thought for you is Doughnut Elephant, but perhaps Elephant is too close to Elizabeth?  :)

I had actually though of Anna before I read Annabel and think they are both very good.  I do prefer the simpler spelling Anabel next to Jane though.  Anabel Evelyn and Jane Elizabeth.  Actually, I like everything on your husband's list except Jenna.

I also like your list, with the exception of Ida.  Do you like Ada?  Similiar feel but eliminates the Ida-ho concern.  With Jane, I think my favorite from your list would be Caroline.  I like them, but Nora and Stella seem a little off to me, I can't think of an E middle that doesn't cause the names to run into each other.  Nora starts to sound like a direction (like Nor'easter) and Stella causes a sentence.  Stella Ellen...Still a Ellen.  Stella Evelyn....Still a Evelyn.  

Susannah is also quite nice, but again I think I'd prefer a simpler spelling next to Jane.  Susana?

Other names I thought of are Claire/Clara, Rose, Lucy, Cora, Ruth, Amelia, Molly and Iris.




By hwar
June 10, 2012 3:22 PM

I love Elephant as a middle but my husband won't go for it. Heehee. 

I like my husband's list too (except for Jenna, as you mention).  I don't think we're TOO far apart...he just likes names that are slightly more feminine/prettier/common than me. Names that attract him, I suppose, whereas I'm looking at names I would like to have myself.  I would love to be a Harriet, nn Hattie, for example, but he doesn't view that as the name of an attractive woman.

We both love Claire but feel it runs into Rhys and ends up sound like Clarisse (which I do not like, and my husband loves because of the Silence of the Lambs, so he always says it in a creepy voice).  I also love Clara but he has nixed it for some reason! I think maybe because it has the same unidentifiable issues as Nora and Stella. I agree with you that there's something about them that isn't perfect. I hadn't even picked up on the Nor'easter issue! There are some other nice names that are awkward with Rhys too...like Calla ("calories"). Ida is a lost cause, I just put it there because I've loved it since childhood because of the Maurice Sendak book Outside Over There.  "When Papa was away at sea, and Mama in the arbor, Ida played her wonder horn to rock the baby still..." 

I like your other suggestions too, a lot. Unfortunately I think most of them have been discussed and nixed...you can see our difficulty!  Rose is my sister's middle and we'd love to use it but Rose Rhys is too tongue-twistery. Iris Rhys has the same issue, although I love the name.  Lucy is used a lot in our circle already (daughters of close friends and family...we would have it on our short list otherwise). Ruth is tough with Rhys plus is my husband's ex. :/  I suggested Molly (both as a nn for Margaret and on its own) and husband vetoed as too childish.  I think Cora has the same difficulties as Nora...just doesn't flow with an E middle and last name starting with R.

Cora makes me think of Leah, which might be a possibility that hasn't been mentioned before, although I'm not sure of which middle would sound nice with it. Leah Ellen maybe?  I have suggested Lila, Delilah, and Leona as similar names that have all been vetoed but I think my husband would consider Leah.

June 12, 2012 12:50 AM

I love Leah--what about Evangeline as a middle? Leah Evangeline has a similar feel to Jane Elizabeth to me. 

June 10, 2012 3:08 PM

Susannah Ellen is definitely my pick as well. Gorgeous! I don't think the length of Susannah outshines Jane in any way; there's an antique charm they both share that ties them together rather than seeming incongruous. It definitely helps that your daughter came up with it, since that could help both your daughter in feeling involved with the new baby and sway your husband.

Although, Doughnut does have an old-fashioned simplicity to it. Doughnut Eclair, perhaps?

I really like Annabel from your husband's list as well.

Other first name suggestions:

  • Violet
  • Ivy
  • Lucy
  • Vivian
  • Frances
  • Flora
  • Rosemary


By hwar
June 10, 2012 3:31 PM

Doughnut Eclair is genius!  Nickname Nutty Clair of course. 

It's kind of wonderful that you mentioned the name Violet. Violet Evelyn was my great-grandmother, and Viola is my husband's aunt.  My husband isn't really enthused about the name but he hasn't vetoed and I think it's a possibility that might grow on him.

Rosemary has been on the table in the past, too. I worry a bit that the repetition of sounds might be a dealbreaker.  RosemaRY RHYs. And when shorted, Rose Rhys is really close to my husband's name (first name like Joyce but starts with R. Yes, with the last name Rhys...and he's a junior so TWO sets of parents thought that confusing tongue-twister was a good idea). 

Thanks for your feedback on Susannah not overpowering Jane. It's really growing on me.


June 10, 2012 4:59 PM

I really like the suggestion of Violet-and added points since it is a family name.  But really, I think we all know you should use Nutty Eclair.  Best name ever.

Since Cora is out (I agree the flow isn't great) I had thought of Coral...but Coral Rhys sounds like Coral Reef so maybe not-but what about Cordelia?  It has the same old fashioned feel of Jane, but I can't decide if it is too flowy.  If could give you the Cora nickname without the weird run-on.  

Instead of Stella maybe Estelle?  

If Lucy is out & Molly is childish, maybe Ruby?  Though that gives you the RR problem again.  Bah, this is harder than it looks.  I feel like the just perfect name is on the tip of my tongue, I just can't quite place it.

I'll throw out Dorothy too.  I know twins names Dorothy and Jane who are in their 20s and I always thought the names were a pleasant surprise for their age. 


By hwar
June 11, 2012 12:51 AM

Cordelia is an interesting thought. I like the nicknames Cora and Delia. My husband pronounces it so-so which means he might consider it, ha ha.

Ruby is a cute name...a good friend of mine just used it for her new baby, as a nickname for Rebecca! I thought that was pretty charming. They have an R last name, too, but it's two syllables which dilutes the sound a little bit and makes it sound like a movie star name instead of a nursery rhyme.

It's funny you mention Dorothy too. I just met a Dorothy and was thinking what a nice, underused name it is. Husband vetoed immediately but it goes on my "name a pet or car" list. :) 

June 11, 2012 1:04 AM

Don't neglect computers, digital readers, mp3 players, cameras, etc. They need some name-lovin', too!

June 11, 2012 1:27 AM

I like many of the names on your list but you are right that the surname makes a lot of them difficult. I agree that Nora, Cora, Stella and Ida are probably out.

I also adore Susannah and think it works with Jane. While I prefer Susannah, just Susan could be an option if you wanted something simpler. Susannah Ellen, Susannah Eve or Susannah Evelyn all work for me.

Annabel is also nice but I find it a little too trendy with Jane. I could totally get behind an Anna or Anne with a sister Jane though.

From your list my favourites are Caroline and Olive. Caroline Evelyn and Olive Evelyn make fantastic combos and work well with Jane.

I am not sold on Violet as a sister for Jane. It has the same issues that Annabel does for me. I love both names but not next to Jane.

Have you considered Marian, Mary, Maren, Helen/Helena, Claire, Amelie, Louise/Louisa? I know some of the initials were double ups but I thought I'd mention them.

I second the suggestion of Cordelia. I think it works really well with Jane and is an all time favourite name of mine.

June 11, 2012 3:40 PM

I think Anne and Jane are an absolutely perfect sibset. I normally prefer Anna, but in this case Anne-with-an-e just somehow works better.

Anne Evelyn Rhys, Anne Ellen Rhys, or even Anne Eleanor Rhys all work for me -- middles are used aloud so seldom that the adjacents Rs shouldn't be a problem.

By hwar
June 11, 2012 9:29 PM

If we kept having kids we could have all the Tudor wives! And I do like the name Henry despite its ever-increasing popularity, so a boy name would be covered too. ;)

All kidding aside, I am going to mull over the possibility of no -bel on Annabel and see how it sits.  I think whether we chose Anne or Annabel, we would use the nickname Annie in childhood. Anna would stay Anna, however, so that does make it a different feel.

By hwar
June 11, 2012 8:43 PM

You've given me a lot to think about!  It's interesting that you view Jane as a trendy name when it's paired with Annabel or Violet.  I hadn't really thought about that angle. Violet has such strong family connections that it doesn't bother me but I do think Annabel is on the trendy side.  My husband's heart is set on Annabel at this point though, so it's a matter of whether I like it enough to use it.  He vetoed Susannah yeseterday which bums me out because I was leaning in that direction. I thought maybe he'd be happy with the Anna/Annie nickname possibilities but it didn't fly. But it's usually the classic situation where I propose names and he says no to them, so it's kind of a miracle that he came up with Annabel on his own. 

I haven't decided whether Anna or Anne works for me. I would normally lean toward Anne but since Jane is already one syllable and quite simple I think it might be TOO simple to have another one-syllable girl that uses the same letters. I think the two syllables in Anna work better.  We have some friends with a little Anna so I have some hesitation about using the name because we are around them enough that it might be confusing to have two Annas so close in age.  We know SO many kids though, that it's not practical to cross all the names we encounter off our list. They aren't family or really close friends, just close enough that we cross paths once or twice a month at birthday parties and other events.  

Thanks for your input on the other names for consideration.  Most are out for various reasons (close relatives and friends with the same or extremely similar names, too close to our names, or repeat sounds from our surname). Claire would be perfect for us because we both like it but the end sound is the same sound as our surname's beginning sound, so they run together. The good news is that Clara is back on the table because someone at a party suggested it to my husband and there was a chorus of favorable reactions.  :)



June 12, 2012 12:33 AM

Quick question: Do you pronounce Clara as Claire+a? If so, I think that other choices that you've listed might be better. When I say Clara the way I normally would, (approximately the first English pronunciation here,) it runs together a bit but basically sounds fine, but when I try it as Clara Rhys beginning with "Claire", it sounds to me like Claire Arisse. (It reminds me of how it took me years to discover that her name wasn't "Helen Abonham Carter".)

With Anna Rhys or Annabel Rhys, it's clear where the names separate. Not sure why Clara is worse with Rhys than other names, but that's how it strikes me. You may feel differently, or it might not bother you, but I thought that it was worth mentioning.

I like both Anna and Annabel as a sister for Jane, for what it's worth :)

By hwar
June 12, 2012 12:58 AM

I think Clara has the same problem as Nora and Cora. "R" surnames are really tough!  And maybe it's because Rhys is a common phoneme, so it sounds like part of a word instead of a whole word.  It's really annoying that so many of my favorite names are ruled out because of it.



June 12, 2012 1:06 AM

Well, most names have their challenges. Even a great name like King, the name my kids will be lucky enough to have, makes a whole bunch of names sound like verbs. Luckily, all it takes is one good name combo!

By hyz
June 12, 2012 11:19 AM

I also like both Anna and Annabel very much as a sister for Jane--and I think they both work much better than Anne in this instance, since Anne and Jane sound too similar to my ear.  Of the two, I would tend to favor Anna, but Annabel is lovely too, and I haven't met any young Annabels in my circles.  I would have loved Violet, too, but it sounds like that one is out. 

June 12, 2012 2:49 PM

I agree that both Anna and Annabel work well with Jane but I also slightly prefer Anna. 

June 12, 2012 8:01 PM

Bugger that Susannah is out because I did think it was pretty much perfect! I really prefer either Anne or Anna with Jane. Even though, I'm normally a fan of Annabel, it just doesn't seem right with Jane.  I do like the option of Annie as a nickname for childhood. I think Anna can just as easily be an Annie.  Seeing the names written together I like Jane and Anne but spoken I prefer Jane and Anna.

I realised after my last post that Claire is bad with your surname. Clara is slightly better but still not great. I thought of Mae? I think short simple names go well with Jane, but Rhys is a difficult surname to work with at times.

I like the sound combo of Violet and Rhys but not the slight trendiness of Violet with a sister Jane. How about Vivian/Vivienne? Verity is another V name that seems to work for me.

By Guest (not verified)
June 12, 2012 9:30 PM

Cora Evelyn

Lila Evelyn

Katherine Evelyn

Faith Evelyn 

By Guest (not verified)
June 12, 2012 9:31 PM

Cora Evelyn

Lila Evelyn

Katherine Evelyn

Faith Evelyn 

June 15, 2012 5:44 PM

Congratulations on daughter #2!

Too bad Susannah's off the table! That would have been my favorite. Of the others:

  • Annabel - This works. For some reason I personally just don't love Annabel, but that certainly shouldn't stop you. (I guess it just seems a little too sweet and diminutive for me, and with so many -belle names it feels more popular and trendy than it is; I realize it's still pretty rare.) It is a little frilly next to Jane, but I wouldn't say too much so. You will likely have to clarify the spelling (-bel vs. -belle), so if that would annoy you, you may want to take a pass. I'd probably go with Evelyn over Ellen for the middle name to avoid the -el El- repetition, but I'm not sure I love that both names have the same three-syllable rhythm. (However, flow is not necessarily the most important thing - I'd give priority to the tribute name, myself.)
  • Jenna - Too close to Jane; absolutely doesn't pass the "holler test."
  • Rachel - I like Rachel: like Jane, it's classic and flexible, and it fits a girl or a woman of any personality or profession. I don't really like "Rachel Rhys" as a combination though. Alliteration doesn't always bother me, and I think I'm more sensitive to the R sound than to many others, so take that with a grain of salt... Again, I think Evelyn flows better for a middle name than Ellen.
  • Beatrix - Sadly, I don't think this is really any less tongue-twistery than Beatrice with Rhys.
  • Caroline - Fits well enough and has a similar classic feel to Jane. Carrie or Cara don't make the best nicknames with Rhys due to the repeated R sounds though. I've met a Caroline who goes by Line (too similar-sounding to Jane?) and I think Calla would make a great alternative nickname but realize that you've already ruled out Calla Rhys = "calories." If you use the full name though it could work very well. I don't love the combinations with Ellen and Evelyn though, due to the doubled n endings; if you pronounce Caroline like "lynn" then Ellen ends exactly the same way, and as with Annabel the three-syllable rhythm with Evelyn is a bit singsongy. Again, not the end of the world.
  • Nora - I like this with Jane, similarly short and sweet and classic, but again if you have other choices you like I'd probably steer clear of the -ra Rhys combination. Evelyn sounds better to me in the middle than Ellen; I like the contrast in number of syllables and emphasis.
  • Clara - ditto
  • Olive - This feels like a very different style of name than Jane, and rather bold and perhaps contrarian statement. It feels more old-fashioned than Jane, almost aggressively so, because it's tied to a particular era of usage, whereas Jane seems more timeless. I like its quirkiness and the association with peace, and to me (perhaps not so much to others) it very strongly calls to mind the color olive green. Altogether it makes Jane seem a bit bland. The popular Olivia seems like a more likely pairing; true, it's a bit flowery but its feminine sound and Shakespearean origins fit better alongside Jane than the hipster chic vibe of Olive.
  • Stella - Like Olive, this carries a bit of a hipster vibe to me, but it's a bit more feminine and overall feels rather contemporary rather than being a deliberate throwback. Again I think it upstages Jane a bit but is probably a more natural pairing than Olive. Ellen wouldn't work for the middle name, but Evelyn is OK.
  • Anne/Anna - Anne feels like exactly the same kind of name as Jane: classic, with a no-nonsense sleekness and some royal associations lending a touch of elegance. I do think it sounds too similar to Jane though to pass the "holler test." Anna fares better on this account. I generally like Anna better than Annabel, but I'm not sure for you ...

Other ideas (not necessarily better, and sorry for any repeats): Ada, Amelia, Annette, Antonia, Bridget, Catherine, Cecilia/Cecily, Charlotte, Cynthia, Diana, Dorothy, Emily, Hannah, Helen/Helena, Lily/Lilian, Lydia, (Margaret), (Marian), (Miriam), Sylvia, Vivian, Willa ... (Sadly ruling out Cora, Edith, Flora, Laura, Leah, Louisa, Lucy, Mary, Nina, Rose, Ruth, Vera.) Hope that helps!

June 15, 2012 7:06 PM

Associations are funny things. If someone asked me what colour "olive" makes me think of, I would definitely say "green"; however, when I hear the name Olive, I picture black. Not black olives, just the colour black comes to mind. If I had to guess why, I'd say that it was because of Olive Oyl's hair from Popeye. It's the only reason I can think of.

By Guest (not verified)
June 21, 2012 7:57 PM

We have a 2 yr old daughter named Jane Elizabeth as well! We had similar desires in naming our second daughter as you have. We considered many of the names posted here, and we finally decided on Katherine Elise. We feel the timeless nature of both names ties them together (vs Katherine overshadowing Jane). Plus, Kate is such a great nn. You could use the "c" spelling too. 

Anne and Anna were on our short list too. We didn't go with Anne bc it sounded too much like Jane (even though we both love it). Either would be beautiful though!

Other names for the middle "e"....Elsa or Elsie.


By hwar
June 23, 2012 3:46 AM

Aw, yay for Janes! We would definitely be considering Katherine except that our Jane's best friend is a Katherine called Katie.  It's a great name with tons of lovely nicknames. And like Jane, it's a name that can fit all kinds of girls and women.  Katherine Elise is really pretty! 

By Guest (not verified)
June 21, 2012 8:00 PM

We have a 2 yr old daughter named Jane Elizabeth as well! We had similar desires in naming our second daughter as you have. We considered many of the names posted here, and we finally decided on Katherine Elise. We feel the timeless nature of both names ties them together (vs Katherine overshadowing Jane). Plus, Kate is such a great nn. You could use the "c" spelling too. 

Anne and Anna were on our short list too. We didn't go with Anne bc it sounded too much like Jane (even though we both love it). Either would be beautiful though!

Other names for the middle "e"....Elsa or Elsie.


By Guest (not verified)
June 21, 2012 8:26 PM

We have a 2 yr old daughter named Jane Elizabeth as well! We had similar desires in naming our second daughter as you have. We considered many of the names posted here, and we finally decided on Katherine Elise. We feel the timeless nature of both names ties them together (vs Katherine overshadowing Jane). Plus, Kate is such a great nn. You could use the "c" spelling too. 

Anne and Anna were on our short list too. We didn't go with Anne bc it sounded too much like Jane (even though we both love it). Either would be beautiful though!

Other names for the middle "e"....Elsa or Elsie.


By Coll
June 26, 2012 8:51 PM

Oh, Susannah Ellen was my favorite, too. Just lovely with Jane Elizabeth.

I also like Annabel Eve and Caroline Emma (don't like the repeated final -n sound with Ellen and Evelyn).

What about Charlotte or Cecilia? Both go nicely with Jane. Or Felicity?

By hwar
June 27, 2012 1:09 AM

The current short list:

Rachel Evelyn
Penelope Evelyn
Annabel Evelyn
Evelyn Eleanor

These are the only four names my husband is willing to consider at this point.  They are in the order of his preference, but I think he would agree to any of them if I liked one better than another.  I think they're all nice names but I don't have strong feelings about one name over the others.  I'm starting to think I should just let him choose one of the four, since I find them all equally acceptable (for different reasons).  That feels weird since I am usually the leader on these things but maybe it's his turn.

By EVie
June 27, 2012 1:31 AM

I love Annabel Evelyn as a match for Jane and with your LN, and the initials AER are very cool. I like how Annabel picks up on the sweetness of Jane and energizes it a bit without overwhelming it. My second choice would be a tie between Penelope and Evelyn. Penelope is a very big name next to Jane, and for that reason I prefer Evelyn in terms of matching the sibset; however, I don't love the flow of Evelyn Eleanor (both names have e-l-n in the same sequence, and they're also the same rhythm—too similar to go well together, for me personally). Rachel is one of those names that I've always found kind of meh (though it's perfectly fine), and I don't like Rachel Rhys (while I don't mind alliteration for many letters, R is one that doesn't work for me—it makes a name sound like it's being spoken by Scooby Doo). 

Incidentally, my LN is very similar to yours, so we'll be dealing with the same issues down the line. Good luck!

By hwar
June 27, 2012 12:30 PM

The length and rhythm of Penelope are my hesitation too.  We would probably call her Penny, though, which is more on the scale of Jane I think. I don't love the sound of Penny Rhys but it's not a dealbreaker either.

The "meh but perfectly fine" name is kind of the hallmark of my husband's naming style, ha ha!  The R-R alliteration doesn't bother us (my husband is an R-R and likes it).  I've been surprised how difficult his last name is to pair with first names!  Some friends of ours with an R last name just had a little girl named Ruby and her alliterative name manages to sound like a movie star instead of a tongue twister. We haven't had the same luck, though, I think because our R-surname is only one syllable.


June 27, 2012 4:55 AM

They are all lovely names so you can't really go wrong. I think my favourite is Penelope. I like it next to Jane and it adds a sweet but slightly old fashioned vibe. I especially like it if you used the nickname Nell rather than Penny. But the full Penelope is also lovely. The length of Penelope next to Jane doesn't bother me at all.  

Jane and Penelope or Jane and Nell are just gorgeous together.

I think I'm prettty evenly split on all the others. Rachel I don't mind but I find it a little dated. I quite like the combo of Rachel Rhys though. That's a point in it's favour for me.

Annabel I like but not overly next to Jane. I still prefer Anna or Anne. That said, Annabel is lovely and there is really no reason not to use it.  It does have that sweet vibe that Penelope has.

Evelyn is OK. I actually like the name but I know a heap of Evies at the moment (most of the full names are Evelyn). So it just seems a little more common to me. It may not be for you though, so feel free to ignore me on that one. I don't like the flow of Evelyn Eleanor. Too clunky for me. Evelyn Anne or Evelyn Rachel could work?

By hwar
June 27, 2012 12:40 PM

I wish we could use Nell, but it's our dog's name!  It's a big bummer. Penelope was on our short list for Jane when she was born, but we got the dog from a rescue when Jane was 3 and she came with the name Nellie.  We liked it so didn't change it but maybe we should have thought ahead a little bit. At that point I'd had a couple miscarriages so it didn't seem like another child was in our future.

The popularity of Evelyn does give me pause, but the really strong family connection overrides it for me.  The real sticking point is the middle name. It needs to be an E name or else she'll be the ONLY Rhys cousin without an E-middle, which would be a big deal.  I agree that Eleanor is not perfect, but my husband has vetoed the other E names that were possibilities:  Eloise, Enid, Elodie, Eileen, Emma, etc. 

Rachel neither offends me nor excites me.

Annabel would probably end up being called Anna. I think we're reacting a little bit to the simplicity of Jane in wanting to add the -bel on there, to give her more options as far as nicknames in the future.  The sweetness is appealing but my reservation is that it might be a little TOO sweet.

June 27, 2012 5:36 PM

Bugger about it being your dog's name :(  Would have been pefect!  I still like Penny with Jane. Not quite as good as Jane and Nell but still nice.  I still like Penelope as the best option but I am coming around to Annabel. It does have a quaint vintage vibe, and lots of nickname options.

My issue with Rachel is that I went to school with heaps of them and it seems like a mum name to me.  Like you say, it just doesn't excite me.  

Oh, I'd forgotten about the E initial problem.  I see from your other posts most options are out. Have Eliza or Elizabeth been suggested?  Eva?

By hwar
June 27, 2012 10:37 PM

I keep thinking: well, the dog will die eventually.  So a Penelope WOULD have the Nell/Nellie nickname option as a teenager or adult, for example. If she could get over the dead dog connotation, anyway. :P

Rachel peaked in the 80's so it's totally a mum name. In fact one of my daughter's classmates' mothers is named Rachel, and I was best friends with a Rachel growing up.

Elizabeth is my older daughter's middle!  I love both Elizabeth and Eliza.  Would use it again if we hadn't used it already! :)  Really we are happy with Evelyn as a middle (meets the criteria of both an E name and a family name in the middle slot, phew). It's just if we used Evelyn as a first name that it becomes difficult to find an E name that works well in that middle slot.  Ah well.  You can understand why I am getting tired of thinking about it!


June 27, 2012 11:01 PM

Silly me forgot to go back and read the first post again, of course you have already used elizabeth!! 

I do think Evelyn works well as a middle. It's just hard finding that middle to go with Evelyn as a first name.  

I think that Nell is totally usable down the track. Especially since Penelope will be the full first name. Once the dog dies I don't see it as an issue (although I hope your dog has a long and happy life!).  I thnk if the dog is Nellie then Nell or Nella could be just different enough for a nickname.

June 27, 2012 9:28 AM

The only one of these that really doesn't go with Jane is Rachel -- it's just a totally different sort of name for me, somewhat dated and kinda drab.

I know a twenty-something named Penelope; she mostly uses Penny, but I like the suggestion of Nell as a nickname that goes well with Jane. (Penny has four brothers, no sisters, so no help with girl names there. Her brothers are P@tri, J@mes, Er1c, and C@rl.)

Of your list, I like Annabel the best. It has a good variety of nickname options (Annie, Anna, Bell, Bella, Nab [if she's being particularly mischievous]), but it's not too long to use without a nickname, even with a sister Jane.

Evelyn seems very of-the-moment, although the one I know is now in her late teens (yikes!). I remember that it seemed a very unusual choice fifteen years ago when I met Evelyn the flame-haired toddler.

So in summary, I think other than Rachel you can't really go wrong, and if there's family significance or some other reason why your husband likes Rachel, not even that would be a horrible choice. (Hey, at least it's not Elliott or Charleigh!)

By hwar
June 27, 2012 12:43 PM

Nellie is our dog's name, unfortunately. Otherwise I'd be all over that nickname and Penelope would be a no-brainer choice. It was our second choice for Jane back in 2006. It's way more popular now but we still like it. My mother hates it, which gives me pause, and I'm annoyed that the Nell/Nellie nickname is out. It's also hard to picture calling a baby Penny but I can imagine using it on a little girl or young woman. I think my husband is leaning toward this name now so I am trying to get excited about it. :)

By mk
June 27, 2012 11:21 PM

I know a young Penelope nicknamed Penny since birth and it works quite well for her. I think Penny is a better nickname option for a baby/young child, personally, with Nell working better for a teen/adult.

June 27, 2012 11:05 AM

I like Annabel a lot with Jane.  

Penelope is OK, though if you plan on using Nell, I would rank it above Annabel.

Evelyn Eleanor is just difficult for me to say. It also makes me think of the group, Evelyn Evelyn  http://www.evelynevelyn.com/.   I would like Evelyn better if it were paired with a different middle.  

I have always loved the name Rachel.  In fact, I was allowed to pick my little sister's first name when I was 12 and I chose Rachel.  However, it seems a little off with Jane.  Not bad, just doesn't seem to be quite the same style.  

By hwar
June 27, 2012 12:49 PM

Annabel feels the most natural to me, although the least like my personal naming style, which is kind of weird.  I also realized yesterday that one of my close friends goes by Annie (different spelling, which is why I didn't put it together until recently) which kills it slightly for me because she has a very strong personality. We'd probably use Anna as the nickname as a result.

We can't use Nell because it's our dog's name. :(

Any ideas for E middles that would go better with Evelyn? Eleanor was just the best we could come up with but it's far from perfect.

I know what you mean about Rachel feeling different than Jane, although I think they are similar in their long history of usage for girls, and their familiarity, simplicity, and ease of spelling/pronunciation in English. But it does change the feeling of the sibset. Jane and Annabel feels vintage-inspired-but-modern, Jane and Rachel feels more like Little House on the Prairie.  Not a bad thing, just different.

By mk
June 27, 2012 1:53 PM

Evelyn Elise

Evelyn Emilia

Evelyn Elaine

Evelyn Edith


By hwar
June 27, 2012 5:10 PM

Thank you for the suggestions. Unfortunately those are mostly ruled out already.  Elise rhymes with Rhys, Emilia/Emily is taken by another cousin, Elaine is basically Eleanor without the R so I think it's pretty much the same name (I like Eleanor better from an aesthetic standpoint), and Edith is taken by another cousin. 

June 27, 2012 1:56 PM

Just glancing through the Namipedia list of girl E names, I see that there are quite a few that sound perfectly fine with Evelyn. It seems that the fewer repeated sounds, the better. Names that work span a wide range of styles, too.

For example, (alphabetically, and I'm not suggesting that you necessarily use these exact names, just showing how different sound combinations work) Edana, Eden, Edith, Elsa (I think that the "S" neutralizes the "L"), Embry (not ideal with last name), Eponine, Erica, Erin, Esme (I really like this one), Euna 

By hwar
June 27, 2012 5:14 PM

Thanks, Karyn. Of the ones you list, I think Esme is the only usable name for us, and the Twilight connection makes it an unlikely choice. The others are either taken by cousins already or so far outside our style that it would be unrealistic to choose them over Eleanor, which is a name we both like a lot. We'd even use it as a first name if it didn't end in R. My husband likes the idea of double-E initials (and there's actually a long history of double-E names in my family, though they are all men) but I think the difficulty in finding two E names that flow well AND work with Rhys will eventually rule out Evelyn as a first name.

June 27, 2012 6:13 PM

Since I never got into the Twilight thing, I just see it as a cheesy love story and a sucker of good names :)