Wife is French; Children are Biracial; We Cannot Agree on Sibling Names!

We are expecting another child this year but we're struggling to agree on a third child's name that matches the first two.

My children are biracial and so I did not want any typical "white girl" names like Britney or Ashley, but also not an *obviously* "black" name either. 

I am also not religious and, moreover, I think Bible names--like Michael or Sarah--are overused and generic. As one who grew up with a common name (Jason), I prefer names that are somewhat unique but not extremely rare either.

My first daughter (of another marriage) is Sabra Gwenette L. (FN is Hebrew origin, for tough on outside/sweet on the inside; MN from her grandmother)

My second daughter (first with my 2nd wife, who is French-speaking) is Sophie Grace L. (FN is Greek for wisdom; both names are passable French names).

It just so happens that, with my wife and mother of my kids, Samantha (and their nanny Sylvie), there's a lot of S's. If we have another girl, it's almost a given that it would have to be a name that starts with an S (or sounds like S). Even though the initials are SGL for the first two kids, we were not trying for matching initials.

The only names we could agree on so far are: Solange L, Celeste L, and Zoé L. Any other ideas? There are other names that we agreed on but don't start with S, like Brook, Lilly L. (there's alliteration), and even Chantelle L.--which rhymes!

If we have a boy, there are no rules about what it has to start with, but it won't hurt if he also starts with an S (it could be a J--so I'm not the only one!). Would still want it to be possibly an Anglicized French name (or acceptable in French culture). But we cannot agree on what sounds good other than Leon L (again, alliteration) or Sebastian L (starts with S). I'm not a big fan of either name but I can live with them. 

Thanks for any help!


May 1, 2017 3:29 AM

I share initials with my eldest child (first, middle and last) -- it happened to be the case for the names we liked best. When we had our next child, we again picked from the universe of names we liked best, without feeling constrained to match the other parent or the older sibling. Now we have four kids, and while it's a funny thing that my eldest enjoys that we can initial for each other, it doesn't make anyone feel left out, either. 

Two SGL children and one S parent is starting to be more of a pattern, but still I would approach this as a preference for a name that starts with an S or a J, rather than a requirement. I think if you picked the names because they were names you loved, that too can be the uniting theme. 

In this case, I actually think it's especially sweet as a unique connection between your two older girls, given that they are half-sisters... and given that the name of your eldest is NOT French, I think it's actually nice if Sabra Gwenette and Sophie Grace share initials, when the names are otherwise different in style. Even if you name your next child with completely different initials entirely, if it's a French first-middle combo, then it has that to "match" with Sophie Grace.

Bottom line, I wouldn't let the name requirements paint you into too much of a corner. I think I'd focus on browsing French name lists -- happily, I feel like many French names have been well embraced by the African American community, and thus would be beautifully hitting the "not obviously black, but not overly white" point that you describe. 

Simone is an obvious suggestion, to me. Lots of strong black role models at this moment in time, and I think it will be an up-and-coming sort of name. Sabine and Sibyl(le) are others that I like. Soraya would be good, but for me would be too close in sound to your eldest daughter, especially if she lives with you. 

J names: Jerome, perhaps? My son is recently reading books about a Geronimo and he is absolutely amused by the fact that I really like this name (I also like the Hieronymous version)... but Jerome streamlines it in the right ways to be more fashionable.

Jacinthe is apparently French for Hyacinth, and it has some of the striking appeal of your eldest daughter's name. I'm also finding Judicael/Judikael on French name lists, too, and it's striking like Sabra. Less obscurely, Joceline/Jocelyne/Jocelyn is a J choice that would pair well with your daughters' names, and Justine is a familiar but still surprising French name that I've always liked. 

Good luck! 

May 1, 2017 5:42 PM

Yes, to all of this.

I also lean more towards a J name, regardless if this baby is a boy or girl.  But, I'm kind of a sucker for cross-gender namesakes.  Maybe a J name + a G middle initial to connect the full name to the older sisters?

Jessamine comes to mind, or the more-French Jasmine.  Jemma (or maybe Gemma as a middle), Josephine/Josefine/Josette, Jillian, Julia/Juliet,Julianne.


May 3, 2017 11:20 AM

Jacinthe and Jasmine lead me to Jacqueline, Jade, Janine, Jocelyn, Justine, all of which read fairly race-neutral to me. According to Behind The Name, all of them have some use in French (although "Joceline" appears to be the preferred French feminine spelling). 

May 1, 2017 9:29 AM

For a girl S name Selene a current favorite of mine

Other ideas give your maybe daughter a J name to match you and a G middle to match sisters, this J.G.L. might work for a boy too.

May 3, 2017 11:27 AM

I'm going to vote for Solange, just because I love the name (and also I love Solange Knowles).

Other feminine S/S-sounding names that came to mind: 

Salome, Sandrine, Simone, Celine.

Boy's names, hm...

Joachim, Jerome, Jules? 

June 10, 2017 6:19 PM

for some reason I try and post and get a spam filter message - help

June 11, 2017 12:51 AM

 Check your post for the string of letters e-t-c, like stretch,  et cetera or the word sex, even in unisex. 

If that doesn't work, email the text of your comment to bnwmod at gmail dot com and one of the mods will put the correct text into your comment. 

June 11, 2017 6:34 AM

I suggest a J name for a boy, SGL for a girl


2 syllables like her sisters


Suzette,  Sadie, Shayla, Simone, Stella, Sybil, Solange goes well or Soleil, Shanae, Selene, Shanelle Shantal

middle name Gabrielle, Greta, Gre*hen, Genevieve, Giselle, Georgia, Gemma, Genette, Gretel


Jacob, Jonah, Jude, Jacobi, Jared, Jonas, Josiah, Julian, Joseph, Julius, Jamison, James, Jonathan, Jordan, Jesse, Jake, Jeremy, Jasper

June 11, 2017 6:34 AM

wow Gret chen was spam - lol

June 14, 2017 11:29 AM

Yeah: the utterly brain-dead forum filter (I won't call it a spam filter, because it has never stopped a single piece of spam) balks at the letter combination E+T+C. Nobody knows why.

July 9, 2017 6:30 PM

First S french name that came to mind is Sabine/Sabina quite pretty and unique but easy to say and pronounce

Also like Sidonie, Siena, Selena

For a boy Jacques

December 25, 2017 12:29 AM

The good news is there's a lot of crossover between French and African-American names!


For girls, I love the suggestions of:



Sandrine (so pretty and underused)







I'll also add:










For boys I like:





And I'll add:








Patrice would also work well for either gender.

August 19, 2018 3:05 AM

For a boy J name: 


I have a dear friend with the name and I think it's nice! Though I believe it is Basque, not French.