What is "too close" for siblings?

Hey everyone! I have been following nameberry for several years, but this is my first post. It has been so neat to see many diverse styles and opinions represented on the forums and it has helped me to shape my own list. I am eager to hear your opinions on my query.

On the forums I have noticed people often say that giving siblings names that begin with the same letters, that have similar sounds, and so on is tacky, trashy, awful, horrible, etc.

I don’t have any kids yet, but have been quietly compiling lists of baby names and putting together sibsets for years and I have found that I like sibsets best when the names share at least something (such as sounds, syllables, or initials). My brother and I share the first 3 letters of our names (granted they begin with different sounds) and my older brother and sister share the ending sound of their names. I have always loved sharing part of my name with my brother, and I had always imagined giving my future children a connection among their names.

For those willing to indulge me- What does “too close” for sibling names mean to you and why? Does it have to do with giving your children have separate identities through their distinct names? Is it to prevent others, or yourself, from getting your kids confused? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have any stories where names that were “too similar” affected a child?

Thank you so much for your perspective! :slight_smile:

Well I think it depends on the parent’s personal taste. For me, I want my children’s names different enough where I could [for example] yell for one child to come downstairs and not have all/multiple the kids come running. For example, say I have two kids: [name_f]Elodie[/name_f] and [name_f]Eloise[/name_f]. I could yell for [name_f]Elodie[/name_f], but [name_f]Eloise[/name_f] think I said her name.
I also want my kids to be individuals, so I wouldn’t want them to have the same/forms of the same name, (eg [name_f]Olivia[/name_f], [name_m]Oliver[/name_m], and [name_f]Olive[/name_f] OR [name_u]Riley[/name_u] [name_u]James[/name_u] and [name_f]Katherine[/name_f] [name_u]Riley[/name_u])

But of somebody else wants that, who am I to judge? :slight_smile: just personal preferance

I wanted a common tie between my kids’ names too. I went with a subtle connection - each first name is 5 letters and middles are family names. If you want to have a more obvious connection (same initial), go for it! Name choices are very personal and I try to never judge. We all have different styles.

Personally, I try to avoid the same first initial because that gets confusing when writing fn+ln initials on things (I would know, my brother and I share all three initials :/). I also want my kid to feel like I picked their name specially for them, rather than just changed a few letters of another kids name. Also, I’m a preschool [name_f]Sunday[/name_f] school teacher and I have had the problem of like a [name_m]Marco[/name_m] and [name_f]Margo[/name_f], for example, which gets confusing for the kids and me.
Other than those, I’m one with everything else. And of course it’s always parents preference, and I won’t think your an awful person or judge you if you did these things. [name_m]Just[/name_m] my preference!

Too close to me is rhyming ([name_f]Kristen[/name_f] & [name_u]Tristan[/name_u]) or having very similar sounds and length ([name_m]Daniel[/name_m] & [name_m]David[/name_m]). Having the same first initial isn’t too close for me because you can have sibsets like [name_f]Celeste[/name_f], [name_m]Charles[/name_m], and [name_f]Camille[/name_f]; [name_f]Stephanie[/name_f], [name_f]Sarah[/name_f], and [name_u]Shane[/name_u]; [name_f]Grace[/name_f], [name_m]George[/name_m], and [name_f]Genevieve[/name_f]; [name_u]Brady[/name_u], [name_m]Bennett[/name_m], and [name_f]Blanche[/name_f]. sounds later in the name contribute a lot more to the “too close”-ness than the first initial does, for me.

Thanks everyone for your input! I love seeing how everyone approaches sibsets to balance a connection to the other siblings with uniqueness and individuality for the child.

@analucille: that makes sense! Those very cutsey matchy pairs can definitely lead to confusion! Btw, your kids’ names are utterly charming together! I think part of the reason I look to letters, syllables, etc. as a connection among siblings is because I frankly find it difficult to get names that “go together” (whatever that means) without being similar in these more obvious ways- I admire Nameberries like you who are clearly gifted in that way!

@tangocamper: I have never thought about making the names the same number of letters! What a great way to connect your children’s names! They must look really nice on paper that way, too :slight_smile: And definitely the family middles are a great way to give children a connection to family which is really special.

@thefaultinourstars: It seems sharing initials can be tricky. Also it’s probably hard picking the 3rd, 4th etc. kid’s name that way! I wonder how much when people match all their kids’ first initials they end up choosing a name they don’t like as much to follow the theme. And I think you are definitely right that it is important that kids feel their name was chosen especially for them (I have always wondered how this makes _____ [name_m]Junior[/name_m], the third, the fourth, etc. feel. While it gives a cherished family connection, it could impinge on the sense of identity and may create certain expections for the child)

@hermione_vader: Wow, those are some great sibsets that share initials without feeling at all like they are variations on the same name or that the parents were trying too hard. That is an excellent point! Rhyming is one I have the hardest time with because I adore names that end in –a/-ah (most of my favorite girls names do (e.g., [name_f]Aurelia[/name_f], [name_f]Eliza[/name_f], [name_f]Susannah[/name_f], [name_f]Tabitha[/name_f]) and some of my top boys, too! like [name_u]Asa[/name_u], [name_m]Ezra[/name_m], [name_m]Judah[/name_m], [name_u]Micah[/name_u]). I’m glad you brought that up because I can see how too much rhyming would be problematic and especially after a few kids, get into trouble with picking a name because it has the right ending rather than it being the favorite name all around.

When it comes to “too close”, I feel that a theme should be subtle and not blatantly obvious. I’m personally not a big fan of all girls with the varying flower names (no for [name_f]Rose[/name_f], [name_f]Lily[/name_f], [name_f]Daisy[/name_f]) or precious stone (no to [name_f]Opal[/name_f], [name_f]Pearl[/name_f], [name_u]Ruby[/name_u]). That seems to happen a lot. I would vary it if it were word or botanical names (yes with [name_f]Wren[/name_f], [name_f]Poppy[/name_f], and [name_f]Marina[/name_f]).

What I prefer is more layered. Television is a great example of often what not to do. There used to be a show where all the sisters had boyish nicknames that were just too cutesy (ick to [name_u]Alex[/name_u], [name_u]Georgie[/name_u], [name_u]Teddy[/name_u]). Another had a father named [name_m]Victor[/name_m] and mother named [name_u]Nikki[/name_u] who had a son named [name_m]Nicholas[/name_m] and [name_f]Victoria[/name_f] who had a grandson named [name_u]Noah[/name_u].

When I think of style I often think of sex. Is this a girly-girl name ([name_f]Allegra[/name_f], [name_f]Suzette[/name_f], [name_f]Mirabelle[/name_f])? Her brother’s name should have a more macho quality ([name_m]Magnus[/name_m], [name_m]Boone[/name_m], [name_u]Rex[/name_u]) instead of something more unisex ([name_u]Rory[/name_u], [name_m]Hayes[/name_m], [name_u]Asa[/name_u]). If you go for unisex sames for one child, I feel you shouldn’t steer too masculine or feminine with the later siblings. [name_m]How[/name_m] masculine a name is for a son should be related to how feminine you daughter’s name must be.

Names sounds are important. I feel that endings especially work. For example, [name_u]Juniper[/name_u] would have a brother named [name_m]Fletcher[/name_m] or [name_u]Bryn[/name_u] with [name_m]Darwin[/name_m]. It’s easy for sister [name_u]Sutton[/name_u] to have a brother named [name_m]Jefferson[/name_m]. Having the same initials is too simplistic (ew to [name_f]Celia[/name_f], Claria, and [name_f]Claudia[/name_f] or no to [name_f]Adele[/name_f], [name_u]Arlo[/name_u], and [name_f]Adrienne[/name_f]).

Popularity is hard to gage what the future may bring. If it’s a really common name like [name_m]Michael[/name_m], it’s best to go with [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] than [name_f]Edna[/name_f]. [name_f]Edna[/name_f] would do better with a brother like [name_m]Burton[/name_m]. What was once popular in the 80s like [name_f]Tiffany[/name_f] should have a brother named [name_u]Blake[/name_u] or sister [name_u]Alexis[/name_u] instead of more current [name_u]Jayden[/name_u] or [name_u]Sierra[/name_u].

When it comes to classics, I’d stick with the same vibe. Biblical seems to be popular but you may need to read the text since [name_m]Joseph[/name_m] and [name_f]Mary[/name_f] would make horrible sibset but [name_m]John[/name_m] and [name_f]Mary[/name_f] would be better. [name_f]Eve[/name_f] and [name_f]Lilith[/name_f] wouldn’t be so good together as sisters but either one could have [name_m]Samson[/name_m] for a brother if you’re up for it.

Here are a few other themes I can think of. If one of your first child has a last name for a first name, it’s best to go subtle (brothers [name_m]Edison[/name_m] and [name_m]Lennox[/name_m] with sisters [name_u]Sloane[/name_u] and [name_u]Jensen[/name_u] instead of [name_m]Archer[/name_m] and [name_m]Tanner[/name_m] with [name_u]Madison[/name_u] and [name_u]Addison[/name_u]). When it comes to image pass on brother [name_m]Lincoln[/name_m] and sister [name_u]Kennedy[/name_u] or sisters [name_f]Ava[/name_f] and [name_f]Marlena[/name_f]. What I like was someone who named their daughter after singers like [name_f]Ella[/name_f] and [name_f]Astrid[/name_f] or [name_u]Ray[/name_u] and [name_u]Lionel[/name_u].