Baby name consultant: Boy #3 needs a name!

Anna emailed with a dilemma I’d not yet encountered here! First, her other boys are named:

Theodore Randell (called Teddy)
William Gerald (called William or Will)

Such handsome combos! Anna writes,

We are drawn toward strong classic names that (hopefully) aren’t overly common and that have cute (but not cutesy) nicknames that can grow or evolve with the boys. Randell and Gerald are the first names of our fathers and fit with the strong classic name theme. We LOVE the names Charles Russell (Charlie) buuuuuut, we have a cat named Charlie. Try as we might, I don’t know that we can get past the association with our darn cat. 😉 “


I especially appreciate your ability to come up with alternate nicknames, as I am so NOT creative in that sense! … Russell is DH’s late grandfather’s name. At one point we considered it as a first name but were at a loss for suitable nicknames (Russ and Rusty are out and… that’s as far as my creativity goes with nicknames).”

My first thought was: Charles Russell is an amazing combination!! So handsome, and such a perfect match with brothers Theodore Randell and William Gerald. I’m so impressed!

Second, a cat named Charlie! Oof! That’s a really hard thing to work around! One possible way is to use a nickname for Charles that’s not Charlie. There was an Appellation Mountain post a while back with unusual nicknames for Charles — Cal is one of my favorites for it, and some other really offbeat ideas (I tend to love offbeat nicknames) like Chase or Huck (if Chuck, why not Huck?), which made me think Hutch might work too. I like all those, and I’ll also offer that one of my boys goes exclusively by a nickname for his middle name, so that’s a possibility too.

Which brings me to her question about Russell nicknames. I’m a little crazy about nicknames — I can almost always come up with some!! 🙂 A lot of times they’re just too out there for people, but … what about:

(1) Sully
This is hands down my favorite nickname idea for Russell! Sully is just taking the Russell letters and mixing them up a bit. Also, when I say Russell, the “ssell” ending sounds a lot like “sull” to my ear, so Sully seems a natural extension nickname for Russell. I love it!

(2) Rob(bie) or Rod(dy) or Rory
Another way I like to come up with nicknames is by combining elements of the first name with elements of the second. A combination like Russell Bernard or Russell Benedict might lend itself to a nickname like Rob or Robbie — the R from Russell and the B from the middle name. Or maybe something like Russell David or Russell Daniel? Which could lead to Rod or Roddy, both of which I think are really cute (like Roddy McDowell!). Or maybe Roddy’s too close to Teddy? I’m not sure what I think. I could also see Rory working as a nickname for Russell Bernard or Russell Robert, where there’s the R from the first name and R’s in the middle as well.

(3) Rudy or Ray
The idea of Russell David made me think of Rudy as well. It’s a more obvious nickname for Russell David (and really, I could see Rudy being a nickname for Russell anyway, regardless of middle name). Funny enough, I looked up Rudy in my Baby Name Wizard book, which I rely on a lot for inspiration in these consultations, and it said Teddy is similar in style and feel! So cool! And the movie Rudy would be so fun to show a little Rudy when he grew up. I also thought Ray could work — just because it seems like a short form of an R name. Ray could also be a firstname+middlename combo nickname, like from Russell Avery or Russell Aidan or similar.

So those are my thoughts for nicknames. As for other ideas for first names, I always shoot for three, and this is what I came up with:

(1) Louis
Going back to the Baby Name Wizard book, it has this awesome feature where it provides, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. It’s often pretty spot-on for predicting other names parents might like, based on the names they’ve already used and/or are considering. Louis was shown to be similar to both Theodore and Charles, which I thought was amazing. Louis is distinguished and saintly, and the nickname Louie is adorable. I know a little Louis nicked Louie, and he’s a great kid, so I have only positive associations for this name. Louis Russell?

(2) Henry
Henry also did quite well for this family in the BNW book — similar to Theodore, William, and Charles! And Harry, which is a traditional nickname for Henry, was shown to be similar to Charlie. I also like the nickname Hank. Henry Russell sounds quite nice to me.

(3) Edward
I was reluctant to suggest this, since Anna calls her Theodore “Teddy,” but Edward was shown to be similar to William and Charles (and Edmund to Theodore). It’s totally workable I think — Edward could go by the nickname Ward (which I’ve seen), or — and this is crazy! — my dad once worked with a man named Edward who went by Zeb! I like Edward Russell a lot.

So those are my ideas for this new little boy! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Theodore/Teddy and William/Will’s little brother?

I love to do name consultations! If you’d like me to give your name dilemma a go, check out my Baby name consultant tab.


27 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Boy #3 needs a name!

  1. Ha! This reinforces my resolve to never use people names on my animals. Can you start by phasing the cat’s name to something like Char or Lee (-lie)? My kids usually follow my lead when we change an animal’s name.

    I do agree that Charles is the best choice first name for Russell! Maybe save it for a few years, and find a new love for this baby?

    All of Kate’s ideas are perfect! I’d like to add George and Simon (if you don’t mind the potential Chipmunks connection, which I wouldn’t).

    Theodore, William, George
    Teddy, Will, Simon

    Maybe George Russell?
    George Donald
    Simon Ronald
    George Howard
    Simon Charles
    George Leonard

    Liked by 1 person

    • (Also, you’re the first person I know you wouldn’t be bothered by the chipmunks connection! Theodore and Simon are so well matched as brothers, but The Chipmunks is the reference that will not die!)


      • See with Will in between the two, I think it’s 100% different than if it were two consecutive sibs. Also, Teddy’s nickname takes it one more step away from the character pairing as well. I’d be surprised if many people commented on it. I have a similar scenario with my Simon: his little brother is Arthur, but only one person has ever noticed the Simon and [Arthur] Garfunkel connection.

        And I DO actually think it is dying out… I feel like my mom’s generation was when they came out, my generation followed them because we got some new movies, but I don’t think any of my kids’ friends know who they are yet. I could be wrong though!

        Liked by 2 people

      • And for full disclosure, I’m totally basing this opinion on my own reaction to Grace Patton’s birth announcement for their Theo. She said, “Now all we need is an Alvin!” And I went, “Blink. Blink. Oh, The Chipmunks. Because her husband is Simon.” And I’m usually quick. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Funny story: DH fell in love with the name Simon for our 2nd son. It dawned on me in the middle of the night that we would then have a Theodore and Simon. And… my husbands name is Dave! Not happening!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh we have a frustrating pet name issue too. I feel ya on that. No brilliant recommendations to add here because there are already so many great ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, first off I must say this sibset is one of the best that I’ve EVER heard. It’s so sad about Charlie not being usable 😦 I personally wouldn’t recommend using it right now, but maybe put it on the back burner for a future baby (depending on the age of the cat).

    I love the suggestion of Edward 🙂 It’s beautiful, however, a nickname for Edward can be Ted (like Ted Kennedy, and they have a Teddy, and they can’t use Eddie (like you mentioned), so I might shy away from it .

    I have an uncle named Edward on my dad’s side, and his brothers are named Thomas, Philip, and Peter. Thomas would maybe be out because then there would be two names starting with TH and even though they don’t sound similar I’m not 100% sure I like how they look together. I feel like Philip Russell or Peter Russell could be cute 🙂 I like the nickname Pip for Philip. Maybe Perry for Peter Russell (the Pe__r from Peter and the second R from Russell).

    Other suggestions that I think go (besides the ones already suggested here. I feel like Henry or Louis would be perfect as well):

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had an uncle Charles (a great uncle) and he was known by “Chis (or Chiz)”. And seriously, it sounds very masculine and does grow on you. Just a thought.

    Liked by 2 people

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