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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Middle Name Challenge: Evangeline ______

M. writes:
I'm due any day with a baby girl. For years my husband and I have been set on the name Evangeline Mae for a girl. Recently a family member lost a baby girl and used the middle name Mae. We feel that we can no longer use that name, as it would only open wounds/cause family conflict. We also LOVE Evangeline Lily, but feel we can not use that name either because of the connection to the actress Evangeline Lilley which all of our family and friends know and love. We're looking for a short middle name that's not too unusual. Some middle names we have considered: Marie, Arianna, Rose, Juliana (my husband likes it, but I hate it). Please, please give suggestions! Right now I'm feeling so stressed and distraught that at the last minute we can't use a name that we have loved and planned on for so long. Thank you!

I think I would start by looking for names like Mae (in sound or in style), and then by looking for names like Lily (in sound or in style). The mindset, though, is not "Which is better, Mae/Lily or this new choice?" but rather, "Since we can't have Mae/Lily, will this be nearly as good?" Without a surname it's hard to tell if these will work with the rhythm or with the initials, but it'll be a list to consider.

Names somewhat like Mae:


Some of these may be way too close to Mae, but I included them all so we could mull them over. (I left Kate and Kay/Kaye out, since Evangeline Lilly plays Kate on Lost. I left out Jane and Lane because they seemed to similar to the -geline/-line of Evangeline.)

Names somewhat like Lily:


I left out Lilah and Layla and Lucy and Libby and Lydia and Ellie and others, because I thought they might be too evocative of Lilly. Some of the ones I left in might ALSO be too evocative of Lilly: it got very hard to draw the line.

Name update! M. writes:
Thank you Swistle and all of your readers for helping us choose a middle name! We went with your advice and used a middle name similar to Mae, Evangeline Marie. As one of your readers pointed out, we liked that Marie was also french like Evangeline and a classic name. We were between Marie and Grace (as suggested by many commenters) and went with Marie because we have a 1 syllable last name and thought having a 2 syllable middle name would flow better. Again thank you so much! She was born 9/22/11.


Katy said...

Since Evangeline is a French name (the French pronunciation is gorgeous BTW), I'll throw out a suggestion of Marie--a lovely and classic name that goes with almost anything.

Christine said...

I thought of June and Pearl immediately. I don't know how close you are with the family member, but if you're close enough and feel comfortable doing so you could ask if you could use the middle name Mae as a way to honor their little girl. But this totally depends on the couple. A friend of mine lost her 2 year old daughter and I thunk would be honored by the suggestion. And my friend's sister in law who had a similar situation with her son would be appalled. So it really depends on the personality of the person.

Good luck !

Christine said...

Stupid phone. Think. Not thunk.

Brenna said...

My first thought on reading the post title was "Claire. Evangeline Claire." So, my 2 cents.

Bethany said...

I wonder if your friends would feel honor if you still used Mae? I lost a baby girl and I didn't feel anger at my friends who had a baby girl. It gave me comfort to hold their baby. Perhaps you can find courage to ask if they would feel uncomfortable with Mae as your baby's middle name, too. I think they will feel honor.

I like Swistle's suggestions of Day, Mabel, and Shae.

Joanne said...

My first thought was Rose, but that's my middle name, so it's possible I'm biased. My second thought is Beatrice, Evangeline Beatrice, or Bea sounds super cute to me. I like Claire as well. It's a really beautiful name and lots of great names go with it!

StephLove said...

I liked the suggestions of Grace, Maeve, Marie, Rae and Rose.

Or how about Anne or Anna? I like the repeating "an" sound from the first name.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of Evangeline Rose. I like the sound of it, plus it seems like a good substitution for lily because they are both flowers. I couldn't tell from your post if the names you "have considered" are still on the table or not, so Rose is my top choice but I like the suggestion of Claire and Marie a lot too.

bluedaisy said...

Some that I like...
Evangeline Claire
Evangeline Marie
Evangeline Skye
Evangeline Paige
Evangeline Mary
Evangeline Rose
Evangeline Grace

Agree with Swistle, it depends on the surname and how it flows together. Hope you find something you love!

M said...

Thank you Swistle for posting my problem and thank you you everyone for your suggestions!

We are seriously considering Marie, Rose, Grace and Liliana. Should I not use Liliana?

Our last name is very common along the lines of Smith, White, Johnson. Swistle would you mind removing my name from the post and just putting M? I don't want our family to know the names we are considering. We are leaving it a surprise. Thank you again!

Chaya said...

I love "Evangeline June." June and Mae have a very similar feel and history to them, and I think paired with Evangeline, June is even lovelier.

Anonymous said...

I like Evangeline Rae, Evangeline Marie, and Evangeline Claire -- so many lovely choices!

Sarah said...

I like Evangeline Grey. I like Grey because it is a soft, one syllable name to accent the longer, feminine Evangeline. I prefer Grey over the others because it is gently modern.

Emmy Jo said...

It seems like you want something sweet, simple, and a bit old-fashioned. My favorites:

Evangeline Mary
Evangeline Daisy
Evangeline Iris
Evangeline Claire
Evangeline Faye
Evangeline Ruby
Evangeline Lucy
Evangeline Kate (I don't think the character name is a problem)
Evangeline Grace (common but lovely)
Evangeline Ruth
Evangeline Blythe
Evangeline Bliss
Evangeline Bea (nicknamey but cute)
Evangeline Pearl
Evangeline True/Truth (sounds rather religious, but maybe that's okay for you)
Evangeline Charlotte
Evangeline Fleur
Evangeline Poesy (means "poetry")
Evangeline Poppy

Tracy said...

Evangeline Claire is still on our list at this point. It's still one of my favorites.

Claire said...

I really like the flow of your choice "Evangeline Mae" so I think the options that keep that sound the best are either Rae, Grace, Faith or Maeve. Personally, I think a single-syllable middle name sounds the nicest with Evangeline.

A. said...

Evangeline has a fair number of syllables, so I think a short (1-syllable) middle name would be nice/less of a mouthful. Evangeline Joy, Evangeline Rose, and Evangeline Claire all sound lovely.

Emily S. said...

I like the one-syllable names to go with a 4 syllable first name. Good luck!

Patricia said...

I think it probably would be best to choose another middle name than Mae and not put the parents through deciding whether or not it would be painful for them for your baby to have the same middle name as the baby they lost or perhaps having to worry about disappointing you by saying they do mind if you use it if that's the case. Too, since you had Mae in mind for the mn before this happened, it really wouldn't be accurate to say you'd be using the name in memory of their baby. There are lots of other lovely names that would sound well with Evangeline.

I think Evangeline sounds best with a one syllable middle name or a mn with the accent on the first syllable, so that you don't have a first and mn name with 3-4 unaccented syllables in a row -- for example, the rhythm of Evangeline Liliana is u/uu uu/u.

On the other hand, the rhythm of Evangeline Rose - u/uu / - or Evangeline Mary - u/uu /u - is more melodious.

My favorite is Evangeline Claire. I also like Evangeline Rose and Evangeline Grace.

Best wishes!

Meg said...

I think my favorite that came to mind was Evangeline Norah. Others I like...

Evangeline Lenore
Evangeline Estelle
Evangeline Grace
Evangeline Claire

And looking over everyones lists I'm loving Evangeline Poesy. Don't know why it just sounds like a wonderful combo to me.

Meg said...

I think my favorite that came to mind was Evangeline Norah. Others I like...

Evangeline Lenore
Evangeline Estelle
Evangeline Grace
Evangeline Claire

And looking over everyones lists I'm loving Evangeline Poesy. Don't know why it just sounds like a wonderful combo to me.

Anonymous said...

First name I thought of was Renee...Evangeline Renee. Similar sound to Mae. But I like Claire too.

Diane said...

Oh oh Evangeline Ivy! That's too cute for words. My daughter has a classmate named Ivy, and it's such a wonderful name, I want everyone to use it!

Tamara said...

I immediately thought Grace.... it seems to me that they belong together, I also like Claire and Rose. I wouldn't use Lillian if you've vetoed Lily.
Like Patricia, I hope that you've moved away from Mae and it's just some of the other contributors who seem not to have. I think it would be difficult for your loved ones to have to make the decision about whether or not they are ok with you using their babies name. It seems like passing off the decision, when to me it seems like a no-brainer. We had a baby die in our extended family late last year while I was pregnant and both my husband and I instantly moved to ensue neither of his names or possible nn's were on our list.
Looking forward to seeing what you decide on. Evangeline is a beautiful name and I'm sure you'll find an equally beautiful mn.

M said...

Wow, all of these suggestions are so great! We've definitely decided NOT to use Mae which is why I asked Swistle for help. It puts the parents in a difficult position asking them to use the name. We're also afraid of conflict/painful memories overshadowing our baby's birth.

After reading everyone's suggestions we are going to try to stick to a 1-2 syllable middle name. I'm feeling so much better about everything already. I'll be sure to update with a picture as soon as I have the baby (which hopefully will be soon)!

Nicole said...

I like Evangeline Rose.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, Evangeline Claire is just LOVELY! Far and away my favorite combination, even more than Evangeline Mae.

Carolyn said...

I love the suggestion of Evangeline Ivy. The repeating v's sound great!

Anonymous said...

Just a note: an Evangeline Ivy would most certainly be called 'Evie Ivy' by many.

M said...

Yeah, we're planning on calling her Evie as a nickname so as cute as Ivy is I think it's out.

Anonymous said...

I still think of Lost with Evangeline Claire (Claire was another character on the show).
I like Evangeline Rose the best.

Erin said...

What about Evangeline Adele?

Anonymous said...


Can't wait to hear what you pick!


Megan said...


Erin said...

Oh i like above suggestion of Renee.... Evangeline

Anonymous said...

Evangeline Faye ?

I think a short word name would also be really nice:

Evangeline Merit
Evangeline Bliss
Evangeline Frances
Evangeline Sage
Evangeline True
Evangeline Love
Evangeline Sunday
Evangeline Clover

Trudee said...

I think it also depends on your last name. If your last name is one syllable then I would encourage a two-syllable mn. Evangeline Marie Smith. But if your last name is two syllables then I think a single syllable mn is better. Evangeline Grace Johnson. Something to consider anyway. (Personally, of the two one-syllable mn you said you favoured in your comment, I prefer Grace over Rose.) Looking forward to hearing what you decide.

Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M said...

We have a 1 syllable last name that begins with J. Right now Marie is our 1st runner up because we agree that having a 2 syllable mn with a 1 syllable last name sounds better. Our 2nd favorite is Grace as everyone has suggested. We love Rose, but it sounds a little awkward with our last name.

Megan said...

I love the name Evangeline. So beautiful, and a little spunky, too. I know the more common nickname is Evie, but I went to school with an Evangeline who went by Vangie which I think is super cute & unusual. Personally, I like the sound of a one syllable middle name with such a long first name, but of course you know best how things sound w/ your last name. The suggestion above of Bea is cute, but you can't go wrong with Marie or Grace. Best of luck to you!

Slim said...

Another vote for Renee -- I like the Frenchiness, I like its resemblance to Rae, and I like (connected to the second point)the meaning of "reborn," especially in light of your family members' loss.

Rachel said...

I LOVE Evangeline! Here are some names that I love with it:

Evangeline Rose
Evangeline Kate
Evangeline Louise
Evangeline Claire
Evangeline Tessa
Evangeline Kay
Evangeline Faith
Evangeline Violet
Evangeline Willa

M said...

We went with Evangeline Marie! Thank you everyone!

Patricia said...

Evangeline Marie is such a pretty name, and I like the pairing of the two French names. Your daughter is darling, just like her name! Congratulations!

Jan said...

Adorable! Congratulations!