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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baby Girl Dougherty, Sister to Ella Catherine

Sarah writes:
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.


Anonymous said...

I love Ella and Ava together....I have twin nieces with those names :) I also really like Mira from Swistle's list.


Megan said...

I love Ella and Claire or Ella and Clara

Kylie said...

The beginning of your list immediately made me think of my daughter's names Mara and Audra, very similar to yours but with out the eee-eee issue. I also thought Anna when I saw your husband liked Annie. Which also makes me think of a little girl I know Lilliana who goes by Annie. And I think Miriam is awesome.

Carolyn said...

I second Audra, very pretty choice. I was also thinking of Jillian as a nice complement to Ella.

The Mrs. said...

Most of your names seem understated, classic, and feminine. Some ideas (keeping minimal length in mind) are:


Best wishes to you and your growing family!

Abby said...

I love Audra for you as well! It was the first name I thought of before Swistle mentioned avoiding the D & R sounds...and it still works for me. Ella & Audra make a cute pair (esp. with the possibility of Owen)

Kas said...

My little girl is Ava so i vote Ava! Its so pretty with Ella! But it is very common! Do you like Ada which is alot like Ava but not so common?

I also love Aubry but agree its not so great with your last name.

I love Claire and think Ella and Claire are perfect together i actually think i prefer Claire over Ava as a sibling set with Ella!

Some other names you may like

Eden, Eve, Olive, Mia, Mya, Rya, Milla, Ayla, Lara.

Congrats and goodluck x

Claire said...

If you like Annie and Maggie and the only thing that puts you off is the 'EE' sound, why not give them more proper names that you can then derive those nicknames from, like Annabelle or Margaret?

That aside, I love Swistle's suggestion of Hannah for you.

Best of luck with your decision.

Anonymous said...

You love Nora and your hubby loves Annie. Have you considered the name Annora (alternative spelling Anora)? You both could use the nn you like. It is also a way to "honor" (meaning of the name) your mother.
This name is ranked outside of the top 1000 though. Given your preferences for Ella (19) and Owen (58), you might want to avoid this uncommon name. I think the nn's make this name totally usable, though.

Perhaps you'd like Ida, Alice, or Lena?

vanessa steck said...

I like Ava a lot for you, and Ella is really popular anyway. But Anna is even better. Other suggestions:

Swistle said...

(Possibly unnecessarily picky correction: the Social Security Administration lists Ella as #13 for 2010, and Owen as #47. I mention it because there are a lot of misleading lists on other sites.)

Slim said...


StephLove said...

I thought of Grace even before I saw Swistle suggest it. I also like Charlotte for you or Violet or Margaret with a nn other than Maggie (Meg perhaps?) or maybe Margaret without a nn. If you'd like to go in more unusual direction, Ursula has been growing on me (since my daughter named her new doll that, but still... I am liking the sound of it).

Anonymous said...

I like Claire from the names suggested. I think it goes nicely w/ Ella and w/ Dougherty. Maybe Claire Elizabeth?

I also like Maura Dougherty. Very Irish Lass.

Anonymous said...

I like Audra, Miriam, and Iris! Any of those would be lovely, especially when paired with Ella.

Patricia said...

I love your daughter's name and yours too -- Sarah Catherine, Ella Catherine. Another end-in-a name with a family name included seems perfect for your second little girl. Some suggestions:

Rebecca Ann (nn, if any, "Becca")
Miranda Ann "Mira' or Mira Ann
Tessa Ann
Malia Ann
Anna __________
Joanna __________
Hannah or Hanna _________

Another name I like with Ella is Esme (EZ-may). Although not ending in 'a', Esme is sweet and simple and darling with Ella: Ella and Esme. Esme is a top name in England/Wales (#74 in 2010) and is being heard more in the US too (entered the Top 1000 in 2010 for the first time). I might use Annabel with Esme:
Ella Catherine
Esme Annabel

Best wishes!

Christine said...

I would stay away from anything that ends in "ee" sounds, but still use nicknames with the sound, if you love it.

If you like month names, I think May (or Mae) and June are super cute with your last name. I love the suggestion of Anna. If you go with a one syllable name, I would probably use a longer middle name than Ann, though. Mia could work too.

Good luck!

Angela said...

From the suggestions I love Anora! Iris and Claire I think sound really good with Ella and your last name too.

rae said...

I also like Audra! Ella and Audra - cute!

What about...

Cambria. Cambria Dorty. Ella and Cambria/Cam.

Tia. Tia Dorty. Ella and Tia.

Meredith. Meredith Dorty. Ella and Meredith/Edie.

Eva. Eva Dorty. Ella and Eva.


Anonymous said...

I love the suggestion of Anna,

some other ideas-


Anonymous said...

My sister-in law has the same surname as you and they had a tough time finding names as well. I really like the suggestions of Mae/May, Clara and Charlotte. I would also suggest Maeve and Amelia.