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Rachel and Nicholas have a son called Mason. They absolutely love his name, and get compliments all the time on how strong and masculine it is. They like that his name is in keeping with the trends of his generation, but isn’t too popular, because Mason is the only one with his name in his class.

As baby namers, they’ve done a great job, but their skills are about to be put to the test, because they’ve just found out that they are going to be welcoming twins later this year!

It took Rae and Nick a long time to choose Mason’s name, so they are hard at work thinking of names for twins. They already have two girls’ names picked out that they love: Aurelia and Edeline. If they have a pair of twin sisters for Mason, everything’s golden.

However, they might be having two boys, or a boy and girl; in which case they still have some decisions to make.

Rae is is very firm that the twins’ names be individual and not matchy at all: they shouldn’t “go together” any more than siblings’ names usually do. She doesn’t want them to start with the same letter, or end with the same sound, or be linked by any sort of theme.

Rae and Nick really want the names to have a nickname for everyday use: for example, Mason is always called Mace. They don’t like names that are already nicknames, such as Harry.

Rae and Nick have a handsome surname that sounds slightly like Carfox. They don’t want a name starting with C, and they also don’t want any of the children sharing initials. That means no names starting with M, because that’s Mason’s initial.

Boys names they have considered so far:

Caleb – loves it, but clashes with surname
Camden – loves it, but clashes with surname
Hudson – loves it, but worry it’s too matchy with Mason as they end with the same sound
Saxon – Nick loves it; is it too matchy with Mason?

The front-runners are probably Archer, Bennett, Fletcher and Harvey, but so far nothing is standing out.

They don’t have any middle names picked out. If they have a girl, they would like to honour a beloved relative named Lorraine Maree. For boys, everything is open.

Another issue is that Nick works in the legal system, and has been put off many names because he associates them with criminals. He wants the names to sound normal and law-abiding!

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I did smile to myself over the names that have been given the heave-ho because of criminal associations. You’ve chosen well by generally preferring names that have only begun to be popular or familiar recently, because most people with these names haven’t had a chance to do anything terribly wrong yet, still being very young.

It’s great to have your own “name rules” – everyone does it, and it’s a useful way to whittle down your name list. However, it bothers me when someone’s rules end up throwing out the names they love the most. In this case, names you love such as Caleb, Hudson and Saxon are on the chopping block, while you are left to choose between names you like, but with no real stand-outs.

I won’t try to talk you into Caleb and Camden (I admit Caleb Carfox is a terrible tongue-twister), and to me Saxon sounds unusual with your surname – perhaps too striking for a twin – but are you sure Hudson isn’t possible? I do think Aston has to be removed from the list, as according to your rules, it can’t be matched with either of your girls’ names, and really does sound quite a lot like Mason.

I probably wouldn’t use long-popular names like Thomas, James or Hamish to match with either Aurelia or Edeline, as they seem like a style mismatch. Although how reassuring that these common names weren’t associated with criminal activity – what a bunch of solid citizens they must be!

With the middle names, it seems as if the easiest thing to do if you have twin girls is to name them Aurelia Lorraine and Edeline Maree. Even if you only have one girl, you could still stick to these combinations, and feel that you had honoured your loved one.

With boys, as you have a fairly long list of names, and no middle name ideas, it seems sensible to pick unusued names from your name list for the middles. This could be a good way to include a name that is perhaps too problematic to have as a first name.

You already have your girl/girl combination sorted, so now it’s just two twin combinations to choose. And because you have such clear guidelines, it shouldn’t be too difficult to match up the possible names.


Aurelia and Bennett
Aurelia and Harvey
Aurelia and Hudson
Aurelia and Leland
Aurelia and Lincoln
Aurelia and Linden
Aurelia and Llewellyn

Edeline and Augustus
Edeline and Bennett
Edeline and Fletcher
Edeline and Harvey

Aurelia seemed to match up most easily with more possibilities, suggesting that if you only have one girl, this would be a good first choice. I think Aurelia and Bennett sound rather handsome together, and both have lovely meanings: “golden” and “blessed”. I also really like Aurelia and Hudson, and Aurelia and Linden, which sounds very soft and gentle.


There are a LOT of possible combinations for the boys’ names, so I stuck with combinations in which at least one of the names was a front-runner. That left about 25 possible combinations, and these were my favourite matches:

Archer and Bennett
Archer and Hudson
Archer and Lincoln
Bennett and Augustus
Bennett and Fletcher
Bennett and Harvey
Bennett and Hudson
Bennett and Lincoln
Bennett and Thomas
Fletcher and Hamish
Fletcher and Harvey
Fletcher and Hudson
Fletcher and Lincoln
Fletcher and Thomas
Harvey and Lincoln
Harvey and Thomas

I really liked Archer and Bennett, Archer and Hudson, Bennett and Fletcher, Bennett and Harvey, Bennett and Hudson, Fletcher and Harvey, Fletcher and Hudson, Fletcher and Lincoln, and Harvey and Lincoln.

Because your front-runners are all surnames, they match together very easily without sounding overly matchy, and they also sound like natural brothers to Mason, which is another surname. That suggests you won’t have any trouble putting possible names together.

With the middle names, it’s just a matter of trying possible combinations until you find something that pleases you. If the leftover names on your list aren’t working for you, then a go-to method is to look at classic names like James, John, Henry, William, Leo, George, Charles, Joseph, Louis, Robert, David, Peter, Oliver, and Samuel. These make a good balance for surname names – a reassuringly solid counterweight to contemporary style.

A few combinations which occurred to me:

Aurelia Lorraine and Edeline Maree
Aurelia Lorraine and Bennett Oliver
Edeline Maree and Augustus George
Archer Caleb and Hudson Samuel
Bennett Aston and Fletcher Camden
Fletcher Saxon and Harvey Lewellyn
Harvey James and Lincoln Thomas

I’m sure various other combinations will also occur to you, and please you better.

Rae and Nick, you are organised people who like structure and order. That tells me that you will work calmly and logically through all your options until you find the right combination of names. As with choosing Mason’s name, it might take you a long time, but you will get there in the end.

As far as not loving any of the names on your list just yet, I’ve found that 90% of the time, when a couple has several names they like, they discover that by the time of the birth one of those names is perfect for their baby. I think that when the right set of names click into place, you will love them just as much as Mason’s name, and they will receive plenty of compliments too.

UPDATE: The twins were a boy and a girl, and their names are Charlotte and Bennett!

(Painting is In Good Hands by K.M. Berggren)