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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Baby Girl Persson or Spears, Sister to Sonya, Alexander, and Kennedy

Jessica writes:
I need your help desperately!

My boyfriend (Weston) and I (Jessica) are expecting our first child, a daughter, in May. It will be my second girl and his third child (1 girl, 1 boy). We have completely opposite naming styles. My daughter’s name is Kennedy Anja (3), his kids are Sonya Ray (6) and Alexander Weston (4). To come up with a name that fits well with her step/half siblings and that we both agree on has been nearly impossible. At this point we are left with a very (!) short list of names that I think we’re both not really in love with, but meh, they’ll do. How unfair to this poor girl! I really hope you can help!

Our list of agreed upon names:


Names I like:

Jacqueline (although not with Kennedy, lol)

Names he likes:


(He’s nearly impossible. I think this is his entire list. Everything is a potential nickname to him. I mean, Claudia was nixed due to Claude. Wth?)

We both want something less common, that won’t make people question how to pronounce it.

To confuse matters even further, we aren’t yet sure what her last name will be. Either Persson or Spears. More likely Persson. But we can put that aside and just pick a name and hope it flows well with whatever we choose.

Please help us (if it’s even possible)!


I am very fond of coordinated sibling names, but a blended family group presents its own interesting challenge. One way to approach it is to think of it as a math equation: we cancel out the input of the parents who helped named the earlier children but will not be helping to name this one, and we combine the remaining elements. Ideally the styles will mesh similarly to the way the genes mesh: the new child will share some genes and some name-style with all three of her half-siblings.

Another option is to choose a name from yet another style, for a charming assortment. The name Stevie would do this. But I find that when I run that through my mind, it doesn't sit well: that particular name makes such a bold statement, and it seems like that's harder to pull off in an assortment set. Something like Lucy might work better: it has its own style, but at an intensity similar to the other two girls' names. Sonya, Kennedy, and Lucy seems to me like it hits the "charming assortment" mark---and all three names have a Y.

Megan seems like it would work well to meet the "blending" option: it's Celtic-sounding like Kennedy, but completely feminine like Sonya.

Or Maura, which is Celtic like Kennedy but has more the sound of Sonya.

Or Molly.

I suggest Silvie. It's similar in sound to Stevie, but more similar in style to Sonya. Sonya, Alexander, Kennedy, and Silvie.

Evie would also give a similar sound to Stevie, but in a version that fits better with the group.

If he would prefer to avoid nicknames, Isabel is tricky: it has both Izzy and Bella. Ella might work, though: Stevie made me think of Stella, but Stella seems to have too many sounds in common with Sonya; Ella takes one sound-match away, and also resists nicknaming. Sonya, Alexander, Kennedy, and Ella.

Your idea of Jacqueline makes me think of Jocelyn. I like the way it goes with Alexander and has a vowel sound in common with Sonya, while having a similar rhythm to Kennedy. Sonya, Alexander, Kennedy, and Jocelyn. But maybe that's too close to Jacqueline, coming right after the name Kennedy like that.

Are the other children old enough to participate in the naming process? They might enjoy giving input---and may stumble on a great name for her. And if it still wasn't one you LOVE-loved, it would still have a good loving story attached to it.

Name update! Jessica writes:
Thank you so much for posting my naming issues! It was amazing to read the your response and all the comments. It was funny to see how readers picked up on the Russian/Scandanavian connection in our girl names, even funnier to see they suggested Weston's ex-wife's name! In the end we went into labor with a short list that hardly included any of the original list. Our number one choice seemed to be Collette... and then we met her and she was no Collette. And so Marlee Danielle Persson was born! Thanks again for choosing my email, it really did help! Sonya, Kennedy, and Marlee sounds like a good charming assortment to me :)



Leah said...

I think Evie would work really well, because the both of you like Stevie, and Evie has the same sounds but sounds better woth the group.

Also, I think Elle would work well.

Or maybe a name word like Faith, Grace, or Hope.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I think Megan would work for you. How about using a middle from the list of the parent whose last name does not get used? I like Megan Isabel, Megan Felicity, Megan Claudia and Megan Madeline. Megan makes me think of Morgan, which could also work in your family.

I also liked the suggestions of Lucy, Maura and Jocelyn.

SM said...

Your name styles don't seem that far apart to me. Kennedy's middle name, Anja is Scandinavian/Russian sounding, like Sonya and Alexander. Also, Persson looks Scandinavian to me. What about a Scandinavian name like Hanna, Anna, Annika, Erika, Sara, Katrina...If you use Katrina it connects to S&A by sound and then K&K by initials.

Janelle said...

What about Elyse? The Y gives it a common vowel with both girls, and a modern twist on a classic name to fit them both.

Some other ideas:
Lesley is an older name that's due for a comeback, and combines the fun of Kennedy with the vintage of Sonya.

Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I like SM's suggestion of a Scandinavian or Russian name. And for even more of a connection to Kennedy Anja, maybe you could use a surnamey name or a more Irish sounding name for the middle? Something like Elke Fiona? I know Sasha is a traditional nn for Alexander, but for a 1/2 sister I *think* it would be OK. The names really don't appear to have a connection to most English speakers. I''m thinking along the lines of Sasha Madigan. Now that I see my 2 off the top of my head suggestions, I also kind of like Sasha Fiona.

Tommie said...

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, my husband really wanted to give her a name that started with a D because he had three older children, Jeremy, Jessica and Dustin. I searched the D section of names and found Daisy. He hated it. It was the only one I would even consider.

We finally decided that his much older children were their own sib-set and we were starting over. Besides, I pounted out that Dustin shared his mother's first initial, which satisified my husband's sense of fairness.

It's tough in blended families to satisfy everyone and still find a name that you both love.

I love Swistle's suggestion of Silvie, though.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy sounds masculine to me so you may have to find another more masculine or surname name for her sister.

I guess the bigger question is; which of the siblings live with you? I would be more important to coordinate with those name(s) than the others.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I totally agree with the commenters who pointed out that you each have a girl with a Russian diminutive as a first or middle name. Anja and Sonya are very similar! I love the idea of something in that vein. Katya is lovely, and can also be spelled Katja or Katia (I might go for the latter, since one sister uses -ya and the other uses -ja). It could be a full name in its own right, or you could use it as a nickname for Katherine or any of its international variations.

Megan would definitely make a nice middle name. Or you could use whichever of your surnames doesn't get used as the last name. (Though I think you could also get away with hyphenating them, if you were up for that -- the names are both short enough. Katia Persson-Spears sounds really nice.)

Anonymous said...

Katya Persson-Spears is fabulous! Shares a K with Kennedy and the "ya" with Sonya! Katya Megan is also ok with either surname choice. Admittedly it could be shortened to 'Kat' or 'Katy' which you may not like but you could also choose "Kitty" which is gorgeous and still feminine with her full name Katya ("kart-ya") which is strong and feminine, stands alone well and mixes in both sibling sets. Gets my vote hands down!!!!!

liz said...

Ivy? No nicknames there, and it's similar to Stevie.

I like Katya a lot with the other siblings.

hillary said...

I think that possibly this is a case where matching the other sibling names is not that important, assuming you're not going in the Moon Unit direction (which of course you are not). Great suggestions by Swistle and other posters but to add my two cents:


gail said...

I'm in the try-to-find-a-Russian/Scandinavian connection camp. Something that sounds good with Kennedy. Katya is a great suggestion. Maybe Tasha or Nika? Or use Klara instead of Clara. With the sibset, I think I like Silvie more than Evie--it also has a bit more Scandianvian flavor.

Good luck!

jessica said...

Oh wow, so many wonderful suggestions! Thanks everyone! The funny part is that the scandanavian/Russian connection is to both of our exes and in fact katya is Weston's ex wife, so really you've hit the nail on the head, but... backwards or something.

gail said...


Then I'm going to suggest finding a name you can both agree upon that works well with Kennedy, and not worrying so much about it fitting with Sonya & Alexander for now. Maybe cross that bridge later when you have a list you're both comfortable with.



Out of this list, I think Fiona, Flannery or Calla straddles all the siblings the best. I didn't comment on Megan, but I do feel it's a much better choice than Stevie.

Anonymous said...

Sonya and Kennedy are indeed very different, but i like that any name with an 'n'/'y' looks like a perfect match! How about:

Peyton: Sonya, Kennedy & Peyton
Finley: Sonya, Kennedy & Finley
Ainsley: Sonya, Kennedy & Ainsley
Sidney: Sonya, Kennedy & Sidney

i like them all. i've left Alexander out, because it is a very nice and masculine name that will go with anything. Megan is also very nice... Good luck!

Caroline said...

I just want to suggest naming her Stephanie with the nickname Stevie. She will have a formal name to fall back on with a spunky and cute nickname!