Our second baby girl is due on October 10. She will join big sister Ella Catherine who will be almost 3. My name is Sarah Catherine and husbands name is Ian Tyler. Our last name is Dougherty (we say it quickly "like Dorty"). Our dilemma has been many of the names that we like end with e or ie or y and and can sound too eee-eee combined with Dougherty. We prefer short first names because we have a long last name. If it had been a boy, the top contender would have been Owen. We may possibly have a third child. We want something simple and short but not too popular that you hear it everywhere.
Names that have been on my list:
Aubrey (Aubrey Dougherty sounds redundant to me)
Nora - husband doesn't love it
Hallie - newly found and like
my sister in law recommended Ava which I love the idea of combined with Ella but we just know entirely too many Ava's.
My husband's list:
Annie - not my favorite
Maggie (again both with the eee-eee)
Ann is a possibility for a middle name as it is my mothers middle name but not set in stone.
That IS a tricky surname to work with. Trying out each first name on the list with the Dorty pronunciation, Nora Dorty immediately catches my ear as a tongue-twisting problem. And you're right about the repeating -ee endings: Aubrey Dorty, Hadley Dorty, and Hallie Dorty all have it, and it bothers my ear too.
So. Er. I seem to have blown right through your list. Ava is great, though: no repeating sounds with the surname. I think that's the sort of direction to go, even if Ava itself is too common in your circle: -a endings instead of -ee, keeping an eye out for R and D and -or- sounds that may or may not be problems depending on the name.
If you don't mind repeating the first initial, Eva is very similar to Ava. Eva Dougherty; Ella and Eva.
If your husband likes Annie, would you like Anna? He could call her Annie. Anna Dougherty; Ella and Anna.
Or Hannah? It has some of the sound of Hadley/Hallie, but without the -ee ending, and with a popularity more in line with the name Ella. Hannah Dougherty; Ella and Hannah.
Grace Dougherty would be pretty, if you don't mind the G.D. initials. Ella and Grace.
Or Claire. Boy, there are a lot of names that have meaningful initials with a D. surname! C.D. is at least nothing negative. Claire Dougherty; Ella and Claire.
Or Clara (C.D. again). Clara Dougherty; Ella and Clara.
Abigail has some of the sound of Aubrey; it has the -ee sound in the nickname but not in the full name. Abigail Dougherty; Ella and Abby.
Or I think Miriam is so underused, and is very pretty with your surname. Meaningful initials, but not a negative one. Miriam Dougherty; Ella and Miriam.
If Miriam is too long, Mira might be perfect (M.D. again). Mira Dougherty; Ella and Mira.
That makes me think of Iris, which would also be gorgeous if you don't mind the I.D. initials. Iris Dougherty; Ella and Iris.
Tessa Dougherty; Ella and Tessa.
Rose Dougherty; Ella and Rose.
Kyra Dougherty; Ella and Kyra.
Cleo Dougherty (C.D. again); Ella and Cleo.
Cecile Dougherty (C.D. again); Ella and Cecile.
Kate Dougherty; Ella and Kate.
Name update! Sarah writes:
Thank you Swistle and your readers for all the advice on naming our baby girl. Hallie Ann arrived on September 26. We finally decided to go against our original rule of not using a name that ended in an EE sound because of our last name. Swistle's advice on staying away from names with a strong R or D sound in the name was great advice and we realized that Hallie along with our last name sounded just fine to us and we love how the name goes along with big Sister Ella's name. Thanks again for answering my letter, Hallie's photo is attached.