How do you like these girl names with my sibset and last name?


So you've convinced me in a prior thread that just because my last name starts with a short "A" sound, it doesn't mean I can't use first names that end with "a" (which are a lot of girl names!).

Here are some ones I'm now considering for my baby girl, who will be sister to Jonathan and Vivienne.

Two questions for you: Do these work with our last name, pronounced ACK-sum? And, are they different enough from the sibling names so not to cause confusion, yet reasonably harmonious? THANKS!

As far as middle names, we'll get to that after we pick a first.

1. Amelia Acksum. Jonathan, Vivienne, and Amelia

2. Elena Acksum (pronounced eh-LAY-nuh) Jonathan, Vivienne, and Elena

3. Elizabeth Acksum. Jonathan, Vivienne, and Elizabeth

4. Louisa Acksum. Jonathan, Vivienne, and Louisa

5. Eloise Acksum. Jonathan, Vivienne, and Eloise


September 2, 2013 11:51 AM

Oh, I love all these names! 

1. Amelia--I love this name. However, I'm not fond of the initials AA, and it seems slightly off for some reason with Jonathan and Vivienne.

2. Elena. Pretty, sweet, works with last name. While it's 3 syllables like the other two, it feels short to me in compariaion (again, really doesn't have to matchy or anything, it's just the vibe I get).

3. Elizabeth. This works well on all levels for me.

4. Louisa. This is my favorite of your choices. I think it rounds out the set well, yet gives her a non-super matchy name. While only one letter longer than Elena, in print it is much longer and "looks right" to me.

5. Eloise. Love this one too. Probably tied for second choice with Elizabeth (Elizabeth pulls in the classic feel more while Eloise pulls in the vintage feel for me).

All lovely name, and you can't go wrong with any of them!

September 2, 2013 1:15 PM

Thank you! And now I'm wondering if I should spell it "Elaina" or "Alaina" to get the pronunciation I'm after. Perhaps Elena would trip people up too much? I already know it would need spelled to people hearing it, but it would be nice to have something that when people see it, they have a decent idea how to say it.


I had the same reservation about the AA initials :/

September 2, 2013 1:25 PM

I got the correct pronunciation, but I lean toward the Spanish pronunciations in many names. Elaina would likely get less mispronunciations in the US though.

Alaina gets you the AA initials though.

September 2, 2013 1:26 PM

Wow--pardon all my typos!

September 2, 2013 3:27 PM

My favorite of your choices is, Amelia. My daughter's initials are A.A., so I don't see an issue with that (Her full initials spell out Ara, which a friend actually uses as a nn for her).  I think Elizabeth and Eloise also work well in the sibset.  

September 2, 2013 10:03 PM

I like Eloise first and then Amelia second with the sib names. They have the same "flavor".

September 2, 2013 11:21 PM

Well, you really can't go wrong.

I love Amelia for you. It has the same classic, old southern family feel for me. I don't think the AA initials are that bothersome.

I also like Eloise very much.

Elizabeth and Louisa are both great names. I would feel compelled to nn an Elizabeth. Are you considering one? Louisa had been talked about much on here, and it would be fun to learn of one irl! I guess my only objection (and it's a small quibble) is that they seem to work a bit better with Jonathan than Vivienne. Vivienne just has a bit more feminine glam than the sturdiness of Elizabeth and Louisa.

I'm not a huge fan of Elena, partly because it will be said incorrectly so often, but mainly because it just doesn't seem like a fit with the sibset to me.

Have you ruled out something like Helena?


September 3, 2013 12:32 AM

I think I am favoring Amelia over Elaina because of the familiarity and the pronunciation issue. My husband though seems to like Elaina more. 

He is not liking Eloise or Louisa :-(. 

For Elizabeth, we'd most likely use a nickname but I'm not sure which. Love the possibilities there. 

For Amelia, she might be Millie or Lia. 

Elaina might be Laney/Lainey or Ellie. 

Not a fan of Helena so much because of the multiple ways to pronounce it, and I don't like the initial H sound as much. 

I do think I like Elaina, and I think that spelling might get the desired pronunciation but I also see it being a problem for her. 

September 3, 2013 6:58 PM

I think I am favoring Amelia over Elaina because of the familiarity and the pronunciation issue. My husband though seems to like Elaina more. 

He is not liking Eloise or Louisa :-(. 

For Elizabeth, we'd most likely use a nickname but I'm not sure which. Love the possibilities there. 

For Amelia, she might be Millie or Lia. 

Elaina might be Laney/Lainey or Ellie. 

Not a fan of Helena so much because of the multiple ways to pronounce it, and I don't like the initial H sound as much. 

I do think I like Elaina, and I think that spelling might get the desired pronunciation but I also see it being a problem for her. 

By hyz
September 3, 2013 10:08 AM

My favorites are definitely Louisa and Eloise--I love both names, and think they both work with your surname and your other kids. 

Amelia and Elizabeth are tied in the second tier for me.  Amelia feels more interesting of the two, and is a nice name, but I personally don't love that -elia sound (as I mentioned in the Cordelia thread).  Elizabeth is a solid classic you really can't go wrong with, and it has a lot of great nns if you are interested in those (although I don't think they're necessary).  I would avoid Liz or Lizzie, and instead choose from Eliza, Beth, Betty, Betsy, or something like that.

Elena is a fine name, but not to my taste personally.  I'm not sure what the possible pronunciation variations are--I think the pronunciation you suggest is the most commonly accepted and typical pronunciation, and is certainly the way I'd assume it should be said.  If you go with this name, I definitely would not change the spelling--I don't find any of the alternatives as classic or attractive as Elena.  I do quite like Helena (pronounced the same way, but with an H).  It changes the feel of the name a lot for me, and I think it is very pretty.

September 3, 2013 12:00 PM

See, I have to remind myself that Elena can be said uh-LAY-nuh because I always want to say ELLEN-uh.

And it's funny how certain endings appeal to different people. I love the -elia ending but don't care for -anna and -lyn, for example. 

By hyz
September 3, 2013 3:24 PM

I assume both of these things have at least something to do with location/accent type issues (well, at least Elena and -elia--I can't speak for -anna and -lyn, except to say that I often like -anna as an ending and rarely like -lyn). I can appreciate -elia in other people's accents, but not my own. And I would never think to pronounce Elena as Ellen-uh--it's pretty, but I'm not sure that I've ever heard it before--is that a British influenced thing (analogous to Helena Bonham Carter, as opposed to huh-LAY-na B.C.)? Or, well, I just did a bit of quick digging around online, and it appears that maybe the pronunciation preferences for Elena might not be as regional as I, for instance, has people from North America and the UK using uh-LAY-na (and ee-LAY-na, which I consider to be a fairly negligble difference in this instance), EL-en-ah, and uh-LEN-uh. And hmm, now that I think about it, I've heard of someone whose name is pronounced uh-LEN-uh (friend of a friend), but I don't know how it's spelled or where she's from....

September 3, 2013 4:42 PM

There's almost certainly a connection between Helena and Elena and how they both have the two parallel pronunciations, and Helena Bonham Carter is a good example. I also recall my grade 8 English teacher saying the character in A Midsummer Night's Dream that way, too. It is definitely my default, though. 

As for name endings, I think that it has more to do with personal taste than anything...

September 3, 2013 7:38 PM

When i see Elena i want to say uh-LEE-nuh. But I also like that spelling best.

I have a friend named Elaina and it is pronounced  ee-LAY-nuh. I assume you are wanting it pronounced  uh-LAY-nuh? So there is a possibility that could be mispronounced a bit too. I don't know how common my friend's pronunciation is, though.


September 3, 2013 11:02 AM

I like all of your choices! It sounds like your husband is leaning towards Elena, though, so that may be the winner if you both like it. I think it is a lovely name. I did want to share that a friend of mine has a little Elena and she doesn't seem to have any problems with pronunciation. I think you're pretty safe there. If someone does have a problem with it, it will probably only take one time to make the correction. The sounds are familiar enough for people to catch on quickly.

September 3, 2013 5:03 PM

So Eloise and Louisa are officially out (husband veto) :(.

Husband didn't realize that Amelia is a fairly popular name these days, which appeals to him. He was worried that people would automatically think of Amelia Earheart or Amelia Bedelia (which, either one, whatever! Not a terrible association). 

I don't know if that's a front-runner for him or not yet. He needs more time to mull it over and also consider the nicknames. 

Elena/Elaina is giving me real pause now due to the serious potential for mispronunciation/misspelling. I think it is beautiful, but I just don't want to give her a name that gives her trouble. So I dunno.

Let me know if there are others we should consider!

By mk
September 3, 2013 5:33 PM

The pronounciation of Elena may not be a big issue. It never occurred to me to pronounce it any way but eh-LAY-nuh. I grew up in an area with a large Spanish and Italian population, perhaps you do too? Maybe ask some friends and family how they would pronounce it?


By EVie
September 3, 2013 6:02 PM

I can tell you based on personal experience that Elena does get mispronounced and mis-spelled all the time. This is partially due to the fact that the name is pronounced differently in different cultures. The dominant American pronunciation is uh-LAY-nah, and the Spanish pronunciation is closest to that. Italian is closest to ELLEN-ah. That pronunciation also seems to be more common in the U.K. uh-LEN-uh is Portuguese (I have a Brazilian acquaintance who says her name this way). Sometimes people will say it like Alanna, and I have no idea where they get that, since the letter E is never pronounced "ah." Spelling mistakes: Elaina, Alaina, Elayna, Alayna, Elana, Alana. 

That said, it's a minor annoyance. The vast majority of people will only need one correction, and it sticks. You'll get fewer mistakes if you live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers. It also seems to be becoming much more familiar to people as it gains popularity. It's a classic name with a long history, and it passes the Supreme Court test with flying colors. (Justice Elena Kagan also pronounces it uh-LAY-nah—possibly one reason why people are getting it right more often now).

I hope if you do choose it that you go with the original spelling. I really dislike Elaina, mostly for personal reasons, but also because it's so close to Elaine, which is totally a mom name to me (and will be an old lady name to your daughter's generation). And while changing the spelling will solve the pronunciation problem, you'll still get the whole raft of spelling variations, so you might as well stick with the traditional spelling.

September 3, 2013 10:32 PM

Bugger because Louisa and Eloise were definitely my front runners for you.  

I actually LOVE Elizabeth with the sibset and it gives great nickname options so it was between those 3 for first spot.

Amelia is very very popular around me and I just don't like it as much with your other kids. 

Elena is not a name I overly care for. I don't hate it, just don't love it. I think the pronunciaiton confusion isn't a huge issue unless you think it will drive you mad.

So my vote goes to Elizabeth.

Other thoughts: Cordelia, Harriet, Genevive, Josephine, Penelope, Marguerite/Margot, Juliet

September 3, 2013 8:29 PM

Amelia is definitely my favorite and the AA initials don't bother me.  It flows beautifully with in that sibset, in my opinion.  I also like Elena and I didn't have any difficulty pronouncing it but I can see how that may cause confusion for some people.  This is my favorite spelling though.  Also, if you are planning on using nicknames, I personally like your choices for Amelia and I'm not a fan of any of the conventional nicknames for Elizabeth - so Amelia wins again!  As many others have said though, you can't go wrong. Congratulations!

September 4, 2013 7:14 AM

This might just be me since I am obsessed with names but I noticed your other children Jonathan and Vivienne both have a first name with eight letters. This may not bother you (likely it won't) but have you thought that your second daughter may feel left out or different because her name is either shorter or longer than her siblings names?

Despite that I think the name Eloise is the best out of all your options. It has a timelss feel quality to the name but at the same time has spunk to it. It matches perfectly with Jonathan and Vivienne.

I love the name Amelia but it is very popular at the moment but another great choice. It goes well with Jonathan and Vivienne.

Elena is a pretty name but I think that the name is to short to pair with her siblings names.

Elizabeth and Louisa I think are to outdated compared with Vivienne. They both go fine with Jonathan but I think the names are less spunky than Vivienne and it that case she may feel her sister got the better name. Elizabeth on the otherhand does match the need for a lengthy name.

I don't know if you are considering any new names but I will give a few suggestions anyway...

Eight letter names with 3 syallables like your other two children's names...

Adelaide (Means noble or strength.)

Arabelle (A form of Arabella.)


Coraline (I love this name. I can just imagine Jonathan, Vivienne and little Coraline as a sibset.)

Emmeline (Same with Coraline.)

Isabelle (Has the same meaning as Elizabeth but with more spunk to the name.)




September 4, 2013 4:16 PM

Funny, because I also noticed the 8 letters, and also how my two oldest children have two Ns in their first name. It would be fun if I could keep that going, but I'm not going to make it a must. I want to find a name we *love* for her, and if it doesn't have the same letter/syllable pattern then that's ok. I'll just tell her we gave her the name we did because we loved it.


Also, thank you for the extra name ideas! I am still definitely taking names to consider, and many of the ones you mentioned have been sort of on my you are on the right wavelength! :)

September 4, 2013 4:19 PM

Can I just say thank you? I think you ladies have supplied some really helpful feedback, and you have great insight. 

I know if I tried having this conversation with certain relatives, I'd get wrinkled noses and nothing really to go on :).

September 4, 2013 5:40 PM

I think Amelia, Louisa, and Eloise go with Vivienne and Jonathan the best. Amelia is one of my favorite names. Louisa and Eloise are really beautiful names. Louisa and Amelia go best with your last name.