My husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of the year. We've been married just over four years now and kids were always in our plans. We have both had short lists for names in the backs of our heads for years. Mine includes Maeve, Anneliese, Eliza and Bennett, Casper, James. His Violet, Rachel, Grace and Matthew, Wyatt, Noah. Our last name is five letters and fairly simple- begins and ends in consonants, spelled like it sounds. The child's middle name will be a family name, most likely Louise or Nathan. I've always felt like our lists meshed very well so I hadn't given naming that much thought.

We have had custody of the young daughter of one of my husband's family members for about a year and a half. A month ago, we started the process of making that arrangement more permanent. Her name is Ansleigh. It is a beautiful name but it is a different style than what we had intended to choose. I could really use some help coming up with names that we love but that also sound like they could be Ansleigh's siblings. I have had this list of names in my head for so long that I can't wrap my head around anything very different. Help! Please!


What an awesome Monday morning letter. This is a great one, and I hope you know you’re a bunch of peoples’ unicorn, because there are a lot of men who have never thought about what to name a child and assume it will come to them like magic when the baby is crowning.  

Also, you also know I love that you’re thinking about this. How to make your blended family feel blended. I am not trying to make some sweeping statement or say that stepsiblings where one is names James and the other is Esmaralda are never going to be close, or anything of the kind. But the fact that you’re being thoughtful of this element of your lives speaks well to further thoughtfulness. 

Having said that, your name choices don’t really seem that far apart to me.   Honestly. OK maybe not Ansleigh and Rachel, or Ansleigh and Matthew, but Ansleigh and Eliza or Ansleigh and Casper or Ansleigh and Violet? I buy all of those, no problem. Ansleigh and Bennett – both toeing up really close to the gender lines. I love it.

If you need more help, though, how about Lydia? Harriet? Renata? (Renata suggestion count: 2nd in three weeks. I am clearly in love.) Henrik? Henrik & Ansleigh? Rufus? No, I’m not kidding – think of how much you loved the dad on Gossip Girl! A sibling generator suggested Landry, and while that seems a bit down-home for you, another suggestion is Tucker. Maybe? Along the lines of Bennett? 

Gavin? To embrace the British feel? Cosima, because I love it and because why not continue our Orphan Black love in all avenues?

I think the fact that you’re giving it thought at all is going to mean you’ll do a great job at meshing the names, and that someday both your children will appreciate it.

Let me know!