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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baby Girl Ketler, Sister to Sloane Elinor

J. writes:
Hi Swistle,

We are expecting our second baby girl in October and would love your help with her name. Her big sister is Sloane Elinor (her middle name is after my mother), and our last name is similar to Ketler.
We tend to like shorter names that are not overly feminine. "Brisk and breezy," one might say. =) We also like Celtic names, but that's not a must. One of my top priorities is to pick a name that's not too preppy or unusual. We chose Sloane's name because of its Celtic heritage and "female warrior" meaning (and because we love the sound of it!), but I know that to some people, it reads a bit preppy.

Our top names right now (with faves at the top) are:

Tess (love this name, but does it work with the repeating hard "e" sound in our last name?)
Nina (love this name, but does it work with Sloane?)

For middle names, we have a bit of a conundrum. Since we used my mother's name for Sloane's middle name, we'd love to use my husband's mother's name for our second daughter's middle name. She is deceased, and we agree this would be a nice tribute. But (and it's a big BUT) her name was Barbara, which neither of us love. Neither her middle name nor maiden name would work, and we can't think of any other tribute other than Barbara... other than using a "B" name, but my husband feels like this is a stretch so we shouldn't try to force it. In fact, he's fine with not using Barbara since we don't love the name; I am just trying to make it work since it'd be nice to honor both grandmothers in this way.

For some reason, the only names that seem to sound somewhat ok with Barbara to me are first names that end in "a," like Nina or Stella. Somehow they roll off the tongue a bit more. For that reason we'd maybe consider Tessa as a full name, even though we both prefer Tess.
Our other middle name options (also after family members) are:


To give you an even better idea of our naming style, if we had a boy, we would name him Grant, Reid, Davis, Roman, or Ronan, with the middle name Benjamin. That's probably moot, though, as we're pretty sure this is our last little one. (But you never know...)

I'd love to hear your feedback, and the thoughts of other readers. Thanks so much!

I agree it would be such a nice honor to use your husband's mother's name---but I also think if you don't like the name and it's messing with your first name options, that there are other nice ways to honor someone without using their name. I think in your shoes I would give up on the name Barbara, and maybe put up a photo of her in the nursery.

From your list, my favorites with Sloane are Brynn, Maeve, Paige, and Teagan. Paige emphasizes the prep factor, so that one might be out; Maeve most emphasizes the Celtic connection. I keep trying to choose a favorite from the non-Paige three, but I'm stuck. Sloane and Brynn. Sloane and Maeve. Sloane and Teagan. I like all three in different but equal ways.

Tess and Nina are the two you specifically draw attention to, so let's turn to those next. Neither of them are ones I would have pulled from the list: both are great names, but seem so different from the style of Sloane.

Sloane and Nina seems a little N-heavy, but not as I say it more often I wonder if the N sounds may in fact help them coordinate better. Sloane Elinor and Nina Veronica is growing on me.

I'm trying out saying Tess Ketler, and I can't decide about the short-E issue. I think for me it isn't the short-E, but more the short-E combined with the shortness of the name and the S-ending. I don't like the sound of it in my own mouth, and I don't like the way the names run together (Tess Sketler, Tessket)---but these things can be so subjective, with the very next person saying that's what makes the name so great. I think Tessa Ketler helps to resolve both problems, while still letting you call her Tess. And if using Tessa also makes Barbara more pleasing as the middle name, then it might be the perfect solution: Tessa Barbara Ketler. But I also love Tessa Diane and Tessa Veronica.

Just yesterday we discussed the name Louise (with the middle name Marion, even!), so it's fresh in my mind. Like Sloane, it has a war-related meaning, and I think the names are an interesting combination. Louise Ketler; Sloane and Louise.

When I was looking up Louise, my eye fell on the name Quinn. For me it has some of the sound of a name like Tess, but with a style more compatible with Sloane. Quinn Ketler; Sloane and Quinn. Quinn Victoria would give the name a meaning compatible with Sloane's (something like "leader in victory") but unfortunately sounds like Queen Victoria. Quinn Marion or Quinn Barbara are probably my favorites.

So my favorites are Maeve, Teagan, and Brynn (plus Louise). What does everyone else like from the list?

Name update! J. writes:
Thanks to you and your readers for the help in our baby naming process. We went into the hospital with a few front-runner names and ended up deciding Eve Marion fit our new daughter best. We like how it sounds with our last name, we like it next to big sis Sloane Elinor, and we like the meaning (life). Marion was my great grandmother, who was a warm, spirited woman, and my husband and I are happy to give Eve, like Sloane, a middle name from their mom's side of the family.

After a lot of name brainstorming, deliberation, and second-guessing, it took us a long time to arrive at Eve Marion... but we're really happy we did.


Anonymous said...

I agree my favorites with Sloane are Maeve, Brynn and Teagan (in that order). Your other names,particularly Tess, Nina and Eve, seem too soft next to Sloane.
Maeve Barbara is Ok, but not ideal and I don't care for Barbara with Brynn or Teagan. I looked for names with a meaning close to that of Barbara and didn't find much, but there is the French Valery. Maybe Valerie could work as a middle? That might be too much of a stretch for you though. Other ideas would be to use something associated with Barbara for the middle-her birthstone, birth month or favorite flower maybe?

liz said...

I was thinking how nice Barbara Brynn sounds, and then you can call her by her middle name, if you like.

Caitie O. said...

My favourite is Maeve!
Have you thought about using Barbie (I know it brings to mind the doll but in the middle I like it) or you could use the Irish form of Barbara which according to "behind the name" is Bairbre (BAHR-bre). Maeve Barbie Ketler or Maeve Bairbre Ketler.

Anonymous said...

Tess Ketler sounds good and Sloane and Nina sounds good.

jerilyn said...

before finishing the first paragraph Brynn or Brynna popped into my head. Think it goes well with Sloane!

Meg said...

How about Rowan or Wynne. Both would be good sibling names for Sloane and work with the middle name Barbara. Good luck!!

Meg said...

Also maybe Fallon? It means leader. Fallon Barbara sounds nice!

Anonymous said...

I really like Maeve with Sloane, and I actually like Maeve Barbara.

You hardly know people's middle names, and it's nice to have that connection to a grandmother. My brother has my grandfather's name as a middle name, who passed away before either of us was born. Although the name wasn't my parents' favorite (it's Ferdinand), no one outside the family ever really knew it and using the name made for a nice connection to my grandfather.

Also, I think "B" is one of the best middle initials. It sounds so happy.

Anonymous said...

What about using the name of someone who was important to your husband's mother (her mother, or a sibling, or a feminine version of her husband or father's name...or of her son's, for that matter, I'm sure she was fond of him) as a way to honor her?

Sandy said...

What about using Bea as a middle name?

I love all of your first name choices. A lot of them are similar to my own for a girl.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I like Bryn, Eve, Maeve, Paige and Teagan for you. I think Barbara sounds fine with all of them and it would be a nice tribute. How about Piper or Riley?

Anonymous said...

I thought of Piper as well. It is a great suggestion from an earlier comment. It sounds great with Sloan. It is feminine yet mysterious. Love it.

The Mrs. said...

Maeve would be my choice from your list... but Maeve Marion reminds me of Maid Marian from Robin Hood. That may be a deal-breaker for that combo for you.

Barbara is a tough name to work with. Now I'm really curious what her middle name was! I agree with a poster above that using her birth flower or birth stone or month of birth for a middle name might work out nicely. Or you could give your daughter the same initals as her grandmother... so if her middle name had been Vera, your daughter could be Brynn Veronica (or whatever, you get the idea).

Do you like the name Rowena? Deirdre? Lorelei? Rhiannon?

You'll settle on just the right name for your new little bundle. Best wishes to you and your growing family!

gail said...

Am I the only one who thinks Brynn Barbara Ketler sounds rather amazing? Maybe it's because I have a friend named Barbarina who I find so interesting and magical that Brynn Barbara seems like an extension.....funny how these things can work. I also really like Maeve, and Maeve Barbara. In the last post, we talked about Marion as a mn, and it seemed like a breath of fresh air....An actual name with history and lineage in the middle, not trendy in the least. Well, I feel the same way about Barbara. Nothing to be embarrassed about, it's distinctive at this point, as are your other middle options.

Good luck to you!

christine said...

I love Teagan with Sloane and it popped in my head before I even saw it on your list. And I like Teagan Barbara.

OR if you go with Brynn maybe you could give her a middle name beginning with the same initial as your MIL? So that she and your MIL would share initials?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I like so much of your list, and there are so many great combinations!

I agree with the posters who think both Barbara Brynn and Brynn Barbara are fantastic names. I think they both strike a great balance between fresh and happy as well as unique and distinctive (we all know the name Barbara but how often is it used on baby girls these days? It's more *fresh* other recently fresh names, like the aforementioned Alice and Louise.)

My only concern with the name Brynn is, with Sloane, it does sound both Celtic and, well, preppy! Do you mind? Other names from your list that I love and are less preppy to me are Eve, Eden and Nina (which I think is great with Sloane!); and those I love that are *just as preppy* to me are Maren and Paige - but, preppy-ness is in the mind of the beholder!

If you're still not sure about Barbara as a middle name, would you consider variations? There seem to be some really good ones out there - Bar, Babette, Basia, Baibin (Celtic), Barya.. It seems like there are so many great combos for you!

My list would include:
Brynn Barbara
Eden Bar
Eve Barya
Nina Baibin
Nina Barbara (oh, this might be my favourite!)

Keep us updated!

Plum said...

With Sloane, I would avoid anything too feminine or classic for the first name. Brynn, Sydney, and Paige all work nicely here.

If you really can't live with Barbara, why not use a B name, maybe one with conections to the original name?

Sloane & Bable
Sloane & Barbot
Sloane & Barbary
Sloane & Babitt
Sloane & Barbetta
(all medieval forms of Barbara)
Sloane & Bailey
Sloane & Blaire
Sloane & Blythe
Sloane & Brady
Sloane & Brette
Sloane & Byrne

Anonymous said...

How about Leona. I think Leona Barbara is good. I think Leona and sloane look like a good sibling pair. They seem to match in letters without sounding too matchey. While it doesnt mean warrior. Lions are pretty tough.

Leona Barbara ketler.
Sloane elinor ketler

Patricia said...

I find the middle name Barbara too special for your family to set it aside for some other name that happens to be more 'in' today. Barbara would work with many of the names you're considering. My favorite would be Maeve Barbara: Sloane and Maeve

Sloane Elinor after the maternal grandmother and
Maeve Barbara after the paternal grandmother

with Sloane and Maeve both having Irish connections; both one syllable but contrasting in sound (unlike SloaNe and BrynN).

Maeve Barbara Ketler sounds perfect to me!

ryancamden said...

How about Greer? I am in my 30's but new a Barbara growing up. She was very beautiful, so I have a nice association with that name. It is a classic name that I think would be a perfect middle name. Greer Barbara...sounds nice to me.

Sunk Costs said...

my daughter's name came from the name of my grandmama Winona: Wynne. I've never seen Swistle suggest it, and I don't know anybody else who has the name, but it seems like it might be just what you're looking for! It's much like Brynn and Quinn, and sounds lovely with your last name and paired with Sloan. You could even drop the 'e' so both girls have -n endings. Wynn(e) Barbara is nice! It also sounds great with your other 3 middle name choices!

House of Hudson said...

I immediately thought of Isla as a good fit with Sloane Elinor. Sloane and Isla.

Isla Barbara Ketler (love it!)

Anandi Raman Creath said...

Hehe, when I was a kid I wanted to change my own name to Barbara because I thought it was so beautiful :) My parents still tease me about it!

I like Maeve Barbara as well. Have you thought about the name Lane? It's another short name I love too. I actually like the non-a-ending names with Barbara as the middle.

Alice said...

Although I know it is Irish, Sloane seems a lot less Irish sounding to me than say, Maeve. So for me, those two don't go together as well as Nina, which to me has a similar understated glamor sound to it. That said, "Nina and Sloane" makes me think of Nina Simone". Not a big deal, but thought I'd point it out.

I think Tess works well, as does Brynn. How about Bess instead? Then you get away from the tongue-twister of repeating t's. Or another choice is Nessa, which is Irish and has similar sounds to Tess and Nina.

I second the vote for Brynn Barbara as well. I'm not a very big fan of Barbara, but that combo actually makes me like it. Also, I really liked the suggestion of Greer. Good luck. You have a great list!

Anonymous said...

A longshot for honoring Barbara. Use Barbie's (doll) middle name - Millicent. My MIL is Barbara too.

Mary said...

I think Brynn Barbara is great, as is Maeve Barbara. Basia is a really cute version of Barbara, that might suit you better, although I think Barbara is great too. Eve Basia & Sloane Elinor.

Wylie Barbara could also be really great.

Teresa could also work, and her nn could be Tess. Teresa Babs Ketler

Anonymous said...

I think Tess/Tessa, Eve, Maeve And Nina are too girlie sounding next to Sloane. Sydney is good if you don't mind them gaving the same initial, and I think Sydney Barbara is nice. You could place any of those girlie names in middle spot. But Teagan and Sloane or Paige and Sloane or even (not on your list) Darcy and Sloane work, I think. Darcy Brynn, or Darcy Paige. Darcy Paige Kettler. Wow! I just said that over again and it is really striking. Darcy and Sloane. What do you think?

Trudee said...

I really like the suggestions of Rowan, Riley, Teagan and Wynne. I especially love Rowan. With all the other names mentioned, I would assume Sloane is a boy. If it were me, I would go with something equally neutral sounding to avoid this. But that's just me. I think you have lots of lovely choices. All the best!

Katie said...

I love Brynn Barbara and Quinn Barbara. I agree with the above posters; don't throw away the important name just because it's not as 'in' as her sister's honor name. In 30 years, your daughter will likely want to name her own daughter Barbara, from what I can guess about name cycles!

nieke said...

I know it sounds weird, but I think that either Tess or Nina neutralise Sloane's preppiness. The repeated sound in Tess Ketler sounds great. Sloane and Nina are unexpected and fresh, while Brynn, Paige and Teagan seem too similar. I'm also going to suggest Agnes, Malin, Alba, Willa and Blythe.

As for Barbara, it's another stretch, but Elodie or Alodia have the same meaning (foreign). It's a loose connection, that no-one else would get but worth considering as they are pretty good names!

Tess Elodie
Nina Elodie
Maren Elodie
Agnes Elodie
Malin Elodie
Alba Elodie
Blythe Elodie

Anonymous said...

I think Tess Ketler sounds bad and Sloane and Nina sounds weird. I like Sloane and Quinn or Sloane and Teagan.

Anonymous said...

Maybe using Eve with Paige . Either or is great both beautiful strong names.

Eve Paige
Paige Eve

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Barbara. I know of SO many baby Sloanes, Eves, Quinns, and Teagans. When I read Barbara, I was excited to see something so unpredictable. It comes across as fresh and interesting and avoids the cliches of the moment.

J. said...

Thanks for posting my query, Swistle, and for the input on our names. And thanks to all the readers for helpful ideas, too! Since The Mrs. was curious about my MIL's middle name, it was Vladiavna, which literally means "daughter of Vladimir" in Russian. Since our daughter won't be the daughter of Vladimir, we couldn't use that name... and while we could follow the Russian tradition and give this baby a middle name incorporating my husband's name, we didn't do that for our first-born and so feel strange about it.

Tricky, huh?

Sunk Costs, I love your daughter's name and what a nice suggestion to use it... Nieke, I thought your comments were great too and gave me more confidence about my favorite names. And I like the name Blythe... I'm going to mull that one over some more.

I appreciated everyone's thoughts on whether we need to pick another androgynous name to go with Sloane... Since we're not in love with names like Rowan, or even Teagan (from my own list), we might end up choosing a more feminine name this time around. But I'm not too worried that people will automatically assume Sloane is the boy of the family.

Quinn is a nice suggestion, but we have a baby Quinn in the family already. And thanks for all the love for the name Maeve... I, too, think it's a great name, but for some reason, think it's just not the name of our baby.

Anyway, this exercise definitely helped us hone in on our favorite names more, and also add a couple newcomers. So our new shorter list is:

Tess (middle name Marion, Diane, or maybe Diana for better flow... I just don't love Tess Barbara)
Brynn (middle name Marion or Diane... Brynn Barbara is hard for me to say)
Faye (middle name Barbara - I think, like Maeve, the long "a" sound of this name works with Barbara)
Claire (middle name Barbara - same reason as above). I had been trying to avoid "alliteration" names so had been pretty much skipping the "c" and "k" sections of baby name books... but for some reason, Claire Ketler works for me.

Tess and Claire are probably my faves. Any thoughts... again?

Anonymous said...

Sloane is such an interesting name because the feeling or energy of it is different with different sibling pairings. Sloane, Quinn, Regan, etc. are in a different family of names than Sloane, Claire, Maeve, etc.

I'd always assume Sloane was a girl's name, as I've only heard it as such, and because I still remember "Sloane" from Ferris Bueller's Day off!

Of your recent list, my favourites, in order, are:
Claire Barbara
Brynn Marion (though I still say, go with Brynn Barbara!)
Tess Marion

I love the name Tess, but it sounds like a bit of a mouthful with your last name. I think she'd have to repeat her name often if she was Tess Ketler.

think that Claire Barbara Ketler is a stunning name - such great sounds! Claire Ketler sounds like someone of note - an author, an actress, a scientist, vote is solidly behind this name!

Mary Birkland said...

I named my daughter Sloane Katherine 18 years ago. She is definitely a Sloane -- headstrong, beautiful, classy and needless to say, Gaelic. I had Tess picked out as an option as well! (ironic) Another name, and it may go well with Barbara, is Tate -- I had that one on my short list. Keep in mind, I do not like flowery girl names. Never had a boy's name in mind at all. I also think Blythe is a beautiful name, Blythe Barbara Ketler sounds very sophisticated. Happy choosing!

Anonymous said...

We, too, went Celtic for our youngest daughter's name. Ciara. It is lovely even if it does mean black haired one and she is blonde. LoL. I am in the minority in that I do not like 2 names together that both end in "a" at all. They do not flow to me. But that is definately subjective. Gweneviere is very pretty and Ciara (I'm partial). But my absolute favorite names for a girl right now with Celtic ribbons are Isolde or Yseault (however you would want to spell it), Deirdre, Rhiannon (only I would make it Rhinna). I love the suggestion of using a varient of Barbara as a middle name. I agree with Ms. Birkland in that Blythe is a gorgeous name but I do not usuaally like alliteration so I would not use it with a middle name beginning with "B".
So folr Middle name I would choose from Bairbre, Babette and Barbette or Barbetta most likely. I love that youv ask for opinions and I know whatever you choose will be perfect.

Gwenivere Isolde, Gwenivere Bairbre,
Isolde Bairbre
Deirdre Barbetta or Deirdre Blythe, Deirdre Babette, Deidre Isolde
Rhinna Babette or Rhiannon Babette
Maeve Isolde
Blythe Isolde
Ciara Isolde, Ciara Bairbre, Ciara Barbette, Ciara Blythe name is properly Pronounced: Keeruh