Birth announcement: Matthias Daniel!

I did a private consultation for Maria and her husband earlier this year, and she’s let me know her baby boy has arrived! He’s been given the ah-mazing name … Matthias Daniel!

Maria writes,

Our sweet baby has arrived! Thank you for helping us with the name and your encouragement on Matthias! We love his name and love him! 😊 Matthias joins big brothers, Kolbe, Andrew, Isaac, and Benjamin, and big sister, Therese.”

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and their older children, and happy birthday Baby Matthias!!

Matthias Daniel ❤️


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for Baby no. 4’s name!

Ashley and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — their fourth girl! Baby Sister joins:

Emma Grace

Kennedy Faith

Lillian Hope

Which I would love anyway — I love the femininity of Emma and Lillian and the spunkiness of Kennedy, and I love that their middle names tie them together so nicely — but then Ashley pointed out that they all have a double letter in the middle, which I hadn’t seen before she said it — how cool! And not only would she ideally like to continue that, but she’s got some other preferences as well — I LOVE a good name challenge! The more rules the merrier!

Ashley writes,

We know the middle name will be Joy. For the first name, I’m a little weird where right now our names go in alphabetical order (E, K, L) so the name would need to be after L. We also want to continue the tradition of having two letters in the middle of the name preferably, but if need be, it could be at the end of the name. I’m also not opposed to starting at the beginning of the alphabet, but would love for it to be from M to Z

Names we cannot do:

  • Noelle
  • Zellie (even though I like it, I don’t want it to rhyme with Jelly)

Names we have thought of, but don’t really like:

  • Molly
  • Nellie 
  • Maree
  • Savannah 
  • Poppy

A name we like:

  • Rosalee (although in this case, I would rather it be Rosalie)

Especially in the year of St. Joseph, my husband would love a name that is in honor of him, but all I could think of was Josaphina or Lilly (which couldn’t do that).”

I’m glad Ashley included the names they can’t use or don’t care for — I likely would have suggested a bunch of them! Before I get to my new suggestions for her little girl, I wanted to comment on a couple things she mentioned, in case they’re helpful:

  • Rosalee: I tried to think of different ways this could work in a way Ashley and her hubs might like better, and the only names I could think of were the similar Rosaleen and Rosheen.
  • Names for St. Joseph: I also really wanted to think of a St. Joseph name for them!! None of the Josephine names have a double letter that I could find except for Josée, which is said like jo-SAY (or zho-ZAY, to be more authentically French) and isn’t in the second half of the alphabet. But then there’s the Italian variants Giuseppa and Giuseppina, which made me think maybe Seppa? As a short form of Giuseppa? I know Seppel is a German diminutive of Joseph, so even though I’ve never seen Seppa used in this way (Seppä is an unrelated Finnish surname that means “smith”), I think an argument could be made for it. If Ashley and her hubby like it, that would be awesome because it would check all their boxes! Seppa Joy could be pretty cool for a little girl born during the Year of St. Joseph!
  • Another way to honor St. Joseph: I looked up Saints who had a special devotion to St. Joseph, in case there was anything there, and found that St. Teresa of Avila took him for a particular patron — Tessa is a diminutive of Teresa that fits with their rules! AND her feast day is October 15, which is close to Ashley’s due date! Wow! Ven. Margaret of the Most Holy Sacrament is another who is known to have had a special devotion to St. Joseph — Mette (pronounced like Meta) is a Danish and Norwegian diminutive of Margaret … Maggie and Peggy are nicknames for Margaret too, but neither seems this family’s style to me … Maybe Reeta, which is a Finnish diminutive?
  • Alternative to Poppy: I know they have Poppy on their list of names they don’t really like — I wonder if that extends to the similar-but-different Pippa? I love Pippa! It can certainly be used on its own, but if they want something longer, it arose as a diminutive of Philippa (like Kate Middleton’s sister), which also fits their rules.

Okay, so Seppa, Tessa, and Pippa are my favorites for this family of the names I mentioned above, but of course I can always come up with more ideas! Haha! It was SO FUN to try to find more names with double letters in the middle — I used the NameFinder tool on babynamewizard.com and just went through the alphabet (bb, cc, etc.) and made a list of those names that I thought had promise. I looked them up on CatholicSaints.info to see if there were any saintly connections, and I also did my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard book (affiliate link), looking up Emma, Kennedy, Lillian, and Rosalie to see if any of their style matches sparked anything. I will say that I was heavily skewed toward Kennedy’s style, since Emma, Lillian, and Rosalie are all of the same basic universe and I thought it would be nice to loop Kennedy in more, so I paid attention to the names that are “surname-y names,” which in my mind includes place names. Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Ashley’s baby girl:

(1) Merryn, Perrin

There are actually two Saints known as Merryn! Both male, but I think Merryn totally works for a girl. Merryn Joy is pretty!

The rhyming Perrin is a diminutive of Peter, and one of my readers named her daughter Perrin! If I were to get nitpicky, I guess my ideal preference would be to have a name that sounds different from Ashley’s other girls — I like that Emma, Kennedy, and Lillian have their own initials, own endings, and own double letters — and Merryn and Perrin have the same ending sound as Lillian. But otherwise, I think they’re both great choices.

(2) Quinn

I’ve had a couple readers who have included Quinn in their daughters’ names in honor of Ven. Edel Quinn. It’s a great match for Kennedy because it’s an Irish surname that has unisex first name usage!

(3) Reilly

Reilly is another Irish surname with unisex first name usage, like Kennedy, and there’s an Irish Dominican martyr named James O’Reilly that could be patron. One of my readers has a daughter named Reilly (her sister was almost Quinn!).

(4) Salette

I think this is my favorite of my suggestions here. It’s in honor of Our Lady of La Salette, and I never would have thought of it but that one of my readers had it on her list of names she was considering. I like that it’s from a place name, so I’d include it in the “surname-y style,” like Kennedy, and of course I always love a good Marian name.

(5) Sienna

St. Catherine of Siena and St. Bernardine of Siena inspired this idea — I’ve seen many people spell it Sienna (even those who know it’s spelled Siena), which would fit perfectly with Ashley’s rules.

Those are my “official suggestions, but there were also a bunch of other names that I considered including but they didn’t make the cut for one reason or another — I wanted to list them here, just in case:

  • Carrigan
  • Corinne
  • Maddalena
  • Mallory
  • Merrigan
  • Prentiss
  • Reece/Reese
  • Rooney
  • Sutton
  • Vivienne
  • Wells/Welles
  • Wynne

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Emma, Kennedy, and Lillian?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Birth announcement: Isla Frances!

I posted a consultation for Melissa and her husband back in September, and I’m so happy to share that Melissa’s let me know her little girl has been born and been given the gorrrgeous name … Isla Frances!

Melissa writes,

Wanted to share the birth of our little girl, Isla Frances! Thank you for your help and I look forward to working with you again in the future!

I absolutely love the name Isla, and I love love it paired with Frances — what a stunning combo!!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and big sibs Graham, Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie, and happy birthday Baby Isla!!

Isla Frances

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Baby girl needs a super-Irish name like her big sibs

Diana and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — their third girl! Little Miss joins big siblings:

Lillian Nicole

Saoirse Irene

Aidan James

Which you know have me all 😍😍😍 — I love those Irish names!

Diana writes,

My husband and I are having a hard time naming this next child. I don’t like his suggestion and he doesn’t like mine or neither of us feel like it’s right. Our pattern so far has been an Irish name and a family name. We are trying to avoid names that start with the same letter as a sibling or sounding the same.”

The list of names that Diana likes includes:

  • Megan
  • Maighdlin
  • Brigit
  • Marjorie
  • Claire
  • Ellen*
  • Margaret*
  • Madelyn
  • Ester
  • Tamsyn
  • Rhea
  • Mary

And her husband’s list includes:

  • Bianca
  • Isabel
  • Isabella
  • Inis
  • Vera
  • Grace
  • Molly
  • Naomi
  • Amara
  • Talia
  • Natalia*

(Asterisks denote each of their favorites.)

Okay! So first off, Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan are fantastic names! I like Diana’s rules of avoiding using the same first initial for this baby girl, as well as names that sound similar to her older siblings’ names — that definitely helped to narrow down the field of names.

I was really interested to see what names were on their lists, since Lillian seems to me a different style than Saoirse and Aidan — I wondered if their lists be mostly Irishy Irish names, or less so? I was impressed by the range of names on Diana’s list and that of her husband! Here are my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • Megan, Marjorie, Margaret: I grouped these together because they’re from the same name family — Megan is a diminutive of Margaret (and can be used as a nickname for it), and Marjorie is a medieval variant of Margaret. Margaret, Megan, and Maggie all have an Irish feel to them, so I think something here would be great. I wonder if the Gaelic version Mairead (rhymes with “parade”) might do the trick? Maisie is its traditional nickname, which is darling.
  • Brigit: I like that names like Margaret and Brigit are a nice middle ground between Lillian’s style and Saoirse’s. If they spelled it Bridget, they could consider using Bridie as a nickname, which I love.
  • Claire: Claire’s a great name! I wonder, though, if Clare might be the better spelling for this family? Like Co. Clare in Ireland?
  • Ellen: On the one hand, I was surprised by Ellen as it seems to have a different feel than the other names on Diana’s list. But then, my grandfather was born and raised in Ireland and his sister Eileen went by Ellen sometimes (or was it vice versa?), so I can see how Ellen can fit in with an Irish sensibility. I wondered if Eileen or Eleanor (nickname Nora, which has a nice Irish feel) are Ellen-ish names that might appeal to Diana’s husband?
  • Madelyn, Maighdlin: I’d never seen the Irish form of Madelyn (Maighdlin) before, I love it! I think finding the Irish variant of names they like is a good strategy.
  • Ester: Like Ellen, I was surprised by Ester on Diana’s list, but delighted to see that it’s similar in style to Naomi and Talia on her husband’s list — since they’re both having a hard time coming to a name they both like, it’s great to look for any commonality! However, I do think it would be a bit jarring to have a name that comes across as so Old Testament with Saoirse and Aidan as siblings, for example.
  • Tamsyn: I had Tamsin on my own list for my oldest if he’d been a girl, in honor of a Thomas — I liked that Tamsin is a feminine variant of Thomas via Thomasina. The fact that Diana has it on her list says to me that she’s okay expanding their names from strictly Irish to more broadly Celtic/British Isles, as I’m not familiar with its usage in Ireland, though I do think it has traditional usage in the U.K. (I could be wrong though!)
  • Rhea: Wow, another surprise! I think it fits with the “old lady” type names, like Ellen and Ester. One of my readers has a little Rhea.
  • Mary: I was excited to see Mary on Diana’s list, as there are so many pretty Irish Mary variants! Molly is one example, which I noted on her husband’s list — Mary as a given name with Molly as a nickname is how Molly arose as a name to begin with, and might be a nice option for this family. I also love Moira and Maura/Maureen.
  • Bianca, Isabella, Natalia: I’m grouping these together because they have a distinct Latinate feel that’s really beautiful but is at odds with the Irish style I think. But since Diana’s husband loves Natalia, I tried to think of some similar-ish names that would seem more natural with Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan, which I included in my “official” suggestions below.
  • Isabel: Isabel is lovely, and could fit better with their kids than Isabella I think, but even still, it doesn’t have that Irish sparkle.
  • Inis: Is this like “Inish,” like Inis Mor? I’ve never seen it considered as a name before!
  • Vera: Vera strikes me as similar to Ellen, Ester, and Rhea in the sense of it being kind of an “old lady” name, which are definitely back in style right now. But again, it feels like a mismatch with the other kids.
  • Grace: I love Grace, and I think it might normally go nicely with their other kids, but that I don’t love that it shares several sounds with their last name. The Irish variant Grainne takes it one step away, and normally I wouldn’t recommend it because its pronunciation is impossible to figure out for those who don’t know how to pronounce it, but I suspect Diana and her hubby deal with that all the time with Saoirse.
  • Molly: I think Molly’s a great option — see my comments re: Mary above.
  • Naomi, Talia: Naomi is a very Old Testament name, like Ester; I don’t think Talia is an Old Testament name, but it is a Hebrew name and I believe it’s most common among Jewish families? (Except when it’s used as a nickname for Natalia, for example.)
  • Amara: I’m having a hard time figuring Amara out — I thought it might be a Hebrew name like Talia, but what I’m finding is that it’s an Igbo name (from Nigeria) or also the name borne by multiple characters from a couple fantasy shows. So I’d recommend crossing this one off the list, as it’s pretty far away from the style they’ve already established. Maura is an Irish name that is similar in sound which might appeal to Diana’s husband.

So those are my thoughts on the names Diana and her husband have on their lists, which I hope they only find helpful — I don’t want to disparage any names they both really like or make the task of choosing a name for their little girl harder.

Now on to my new ideas! You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this baby; Saoirse doesn’t have her own entry, but there is a list of Celtic names in the back of the book that includes Saoirse and also a nice mix of names that I think would fit well with their older kids, which I also looked through. Based on that, these are my new ideas for Diana’s baby girl:

(1) Catriona (Cait/Cate, Katie)

Catherine is a style match for Margaret; Catalina is a match for Natalia; and Caroline/Carolyn is a match for Margaret, Claire, and Ellen, so I thought Catriona, which is an Irish form of Catherine/Katherine and has similar sounds to Catalina and Caroline, might be perfect. Catriona can take the nickname Cait/Cate as well — Kate is a match for Claire and Katie for Molly, so I like this idea for them a lot.

(2) Isla

Isabel(la) and Inis from Diana’s husband’s list made me think of Isla, which I thought they might like. It’s got both Scottish and Spanish usage — pronounced EYE-la for the former and EES-la for the latter — and I included it as an entry in the book of Marian baby names I wrote, as “its Marian character comes from the title ‘Our Lady of the Isles’ (Moire ro Naomh nan Eilean in Scottish Gaelic, referring to a statue of Our Lady on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland), or any of the devotions in the U.S. and Canada to Our Lady of the Island or Our Lady of the Isle.” Isla is such a pretty name!

(3) Eilís/Eilish

I love these Irish variants of Elizabeth — they are definitely very Saoirse-ish but perhaps a little more accessible, which swings them a little more to the Aidan/Lillian side.

(4) Fiadh

Sophia is a style match for Lillian; Sophie is a match for Isabel and Grace; and Safiya is a match for Amara, but I didn’t think any of those were names Diana and her husband would really like, especially since they begin with S like Saoirse and they don’t want to repeat initials. But Fiadh is said just like the last syllable of Sophia, and like Saoirse it has a meaning of freedom: “wild, untamed.”

(5) Rosemary/Rosemarie, Róisín/Roisin

Rosemary is a style match for Marjorie, and as soon as I saw it I thought of my friend Rosemarie, who is native Irish and grew up in the Gaeltacht, speaking Irish as her co-first language, I believe, so I thought maybe they’d like to consider Rosemary or Rosemarie, especially since Diana has Mary on her list. Rosemary/Rosemarie made me think, too, of Róisín, which is Irish for “little Rose” and is the name of a girl I knew when I was younger. I’ve always loved it, such a pretty name!

(6) Ríona/Ríonach/Ríoghnach

Speaking of pretty Irish names that begin with R, these names are all variants derived from the Irish for “queen,” making them cognates of Regina and therefore they’re Marian names as well, via her title as Queen. One of my readers used Ríonach for her baby’s middle name, it’s amazing!

(7) Nollaig

This might be a strange idea, since I haven’t seen it used as a name, but it’s Irish for “Christmas,” making it like Noelle and Natalia. The final G is said, but otherwise I think it sounds a lot like Molly, especially when said with their G last name, so maybe this would be a good compromise for Diana and her hubby?

(8) Niamh, Naomh

What about one of these names? Naomi on Diana’s husband’s list made me think of both Niamh and Naomh because of the similarities in spelling (though Naomi is said much differently than Niamh and Naomh of course), which I spotlighted here and discussed faith connections.

(9) Maeve/Medb/Méabh/Meadhbh

Finally, I had to suggest Maeve — it’s one of the easiest for those who aren’t familiar with Irish names to figure out, as long as the Maeve spelling is used. If they wanted to get more Irish, though, they can choose from Medb, Méabh, Meadhbh and there might be other spellings too — so many letters for such a little name, haha!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Parents need fresh name ideas for boy no. 6

Mary and her husband are expecting their seventh baby — their sixth boy! This little guy joins big siblings:

  • John Paul
  • Simon Joseph
  • Magdalen Therese nn Maggie
  • Mark Francis
  • Damian Bernard
  • Leo Abraham

Such great naaaames!! I love them all!!

Mary writes,

So here we are, needing a name for our 6th boy and I’m feeling tapped out. Part of the problem is that the more kids you have the more rules you have: I don’t really want another M name, or another that ends in the -an sound and it needs to feel like it matches with our other kids’ names. Our last name is also a bit of a problem — any final T or D especially gets swallowed up by beginning D of our surname. This takes some otherwise great names like Clement or Benedict out of consideration. Finally there’s my feeling that names we considered for previous kids are now reject names and I don’t want my baby to have a reject name. I recognize that this is pretty silly and that’s why I’m not going to share these names with you — I want a fresh perspective with no baggage!

Other names we don’t want to use for various reasons:

  • Thomas
  • Sebastian
  • Lawrence
  • Jerome
  • Augustine
  • Gregory

The current, extremely short list is:

  • Cosmas. Simon especially is really gunning for this and I do like it a lot but I wonder if it’s too weird outside of Catholic circles. 
  • Matthias. But it’s an M name and we already have 3 of those. Also [Hubby] seems pretty ambivalent.”

I think Mary’s definitely come to the right place, because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about boy names! Haha! I really love the names Mary and her hubby have given their older boys — John Paul, Simon, Mark, Damian, and Leo are all really fantastic and really convey the faith well. (Magdalen too — one of my favorites! Such a beautiful name for a girl with so many brothers!) I’m excited to try to find some ideas for their sixth boy!

Before I get to my official suggestions below, I thought I’d offer my thoughts on the names that they’re considering and their name rules, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cosmas: I really love that Mary and her husband are willing to consider such a cool name! Its faith connections are impeccable, but her question about whether or not it’s “too weird outside of Catholic circles” is a valid one. It’s hard for me to tell, since I’m so deep in Catholicky Catholic names all the time, so I sometimes have a hard time looking in as from the outside. On the one hand, I immediately think of Sts. Cosmas and Damian (which in itself presents something for them to think about as well — do they like Damian having a brother named Cosmas, or is that a negative?) — Cosmas feels familiar to me because Cosmas and Damian is a familiar reference point for me. On the other hand, Cosmas wasn’t in the top 1000 names bestowed in 2019 (the last year that the Social Security Administration shared name stats), so I dug deeper to see how many baby boys were given the name in the U.S., and it doesn’t show up in the data at all in 2019 (the SSA reports all names given to five or more babies each year, so its absence on the list lets you know how very few babies were given the name — maybe even zero). I looked back each year until 2010, and it was given to five babies in 2012, 2014, and 2016, and less than five in the other years. So it’s a very very rare name, which is probably the best marker of whether or not it’s too weird outside of Catholic circles. It’s variant Cosmo gets a bit more usage, maybe (probably?) because of the character of Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld — it was given to 49 boys in 2019. But even though Cosmo is a variant of Cosmas, and so can take the same saint as patron, I do think it has the added element of “the cosmos,” which could feel a little astrological maybe? In addition to the Seinfeld reference, which may or may not be a positive.
  • Matthias: Matthias was high on our list through several of our boys, I love it! But the fact that Mary really doesn’t want another M name, combined with the fact that her hubby doesn’t seem all that jazzed about it, tells me it would be best to keep looking.
  • “Reject” names: Mary’s perspective of not wanting to use names that they decided against for their other kids is one that’s new to me since starting the blog, but I’ve found that it’s not unusual at all! It might help to try to reframe their thinking as, “We didn’t reject that name because it was bad, we decided against it for *that* baby because it didn’t seem like the right name for him/her. But it might be the right name for *this* baby.” But if that doesn’t help, then hopefully some of my ideas here are new ones that will be helpful!
  • Their other rules: I like all their other rules! No M names seems right; no ends-in-the-an-sound sounds right; “needs to go with the other kids” sounds right. I did break Mary’s rule of no-ending-in-T-or-D, though, as there was one name that I thought they might like that I didn’t think was overly problematic that its ending sound runs into their last name. And for that matter, I don’t think Clement sounds bad with their last name, nor does Benedict. But then, my maiden name is Towne, so I was Kate Towne my whole growing up, and some people would mishear my name as Kay Towne, which I hated, but it really wasn’t a huge deal — I learned to enunciate the T in Kate, and I loved my name then and still do. So it’s definitely a preference, but if they don’t like it, they don’t like it!

So those are my thoughts on the names Mary and her husband are considering — now on to my new ideas! You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — I did so for this family, with a particular eye toward finding names that are early-Church-ish and of course that go with their other kiddos’ names. Based on that, these are my new ideas for them:

(1) Thaddeus

One of the first names that jumped out at me as a name they might like was Jude — a style match for Simon — but with its D ending and the fact that his name would sound like Jew D___, I thought it probably wasn’t a great idea after all. But the other part of St. Jude’s name — Thaddeus — is a match for Magdalen, Matthias, and Benedict (which I used in my research since Mary called it an “otherwise great name”), and it has some great nicknames — Thad, Tad, and Taddy (which I guess don’t fit with Mary’s rule, oops!).

(2) Gabriel

Gabriel is such a fantastic name — it’s biblical and Marian and a great style match for Mary’s other kids’ names. Gabe is one of my very favorite nicknames — friendly and masculine — and I’ve also seen Gil, Gib, and Eli used as nickname for Gabriel.

(3) Tobias

I really wanted to find an alternative for Matthias for them — Matthias seems to me like the exact kind of name they’re looking for, but with it starting with an M, I agree that it’s probably not ideal (though if they decided to go for it, I wouldn’t be disappointed!). I wondered what they’d think of Tobias? It rhymes with Matthias but doesn’t have the problematic M, and just like I consider Matthias to be a particularly Catholic New Testament name (since he was basically chosen at the first Church Council! Haha!), so too do I consider Tobias to be a particularly Catholic Old Testament name, since it comes from the Book of Tobit, which isn’t in Protestant bibles. And Toby is such a darling nickname!

(4) Joachim

One of my very favorite names, which I tried to convince my husband of through all of my boys I think, is Joachim — the name we traditionally assign to Our Lady’s father and, due to that fact, another name that I consider to be particularly Catholicky Catholic. It’s not really well known in America (though it’s got more usage than Cosmas! It was given to 28 baby boys in 2019), but it’s got pretty good usage outside of America — I wrote more about that here. Joe is an easy nickname, and they could even think of it as a nod to St. Joseph in this Year of St. Joseph, which is a nice way to work him in without repeating Simon’s middle name. Or if Joe isn’t working for Mary, we would have used Jake as the nickname, which I still love.

(5) Luke/Lucas

Lucas is a style match for Matthias, and while I think that a Matthias-type name is the kind Mary and her hubs are looking for, I didn’t want to forget about Mark, who has a bit different style than his siblings’ names, which is funny since his name is a New Testament name and four of their other six have New Testament names! I wanted to include at least one name in this list that loops Mark in more, and Luke really struck me as being a great option. I would understand if they didn’t want to follow Leo with another L name, so maybe they want to hold on to Luke/Lucas for the future if they were to have another boy, but otherwise I think Leo and Luke are darling together — if this baby and Leo are particularly close in age, it might even be a perfect idea.

(6) Dominic

Dominic is such a natural idea for this family, to me, that I feel like they must have considered it and decided they don’t like it, so this might be a wasted suggestion, but I couldn’t not include it here! I considered whether or not I thought having two sons with D names, especially with their D last name, was too much, and decided that I kind of love it. I’m a big fan of alliteration anyway, so Damian D___ and Dominic D___ are awesome in my opinion! Dom, Dommy, and even Nic/Nicky/Nico are nickname possibilities for Dominic.

(7) Isaac

They could think of Isaac in the bible as patron for a little Isaac, or they could think of one of my favorite Saints, St. Isaac Jogues (I live quite close to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, where St. Isaac’s remains are said to be on the grounds somewhere, never found). I read a book years ago by Susie Lloyd I think — she has two: Please Don’t Drink the Holy Water and Bless Me, Father, For I Have Kids — and she gave an example of the kids’ names in Catholic families by describing a boy who introduced himself as “Isaac Jogues Callahan” (or a similar last name) and it made me laugh then and it still does! Isaac Jogues as a first+middle combo would be so cool, and so clearly saintly to anyone who knows about St. Isaac! (But also Isaac just on its own, no pressure!) Ike and Zac are traditional nicknames for Isaac.

(8) Edmund, Campion

Finally, Edmund is a match for both Clement and Benedict (both of which I used as inspiration, since Mary indicated that she would like them but for their last letter), and like them, ends in one of her problematic letters. However, when I say “Edmund,” I rarely hear the D, or barely, so I don’t think Edmund D___ sounds bad! But then I saw that Abby from Appellation Mountain recently spotlighted Campion, and I immediately thought it sounded like a name Mary and her hubs would like, and could still take St. Edmund Campion as patron. I love the nickname Cam! I know St. Edmund is later than the Saints of their older kids’ names, but I wanted to include it here just in case.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of John Paul, Simon, Magdalen/Maggie, Mark, Damian, and Leo?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Birth announcement: Astrid Beatrice!

I posted a birth announcement for Natalie’s first baby a few years ago, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had another beautiful baby girl! This little lady has been given the gorgeous name … Astrid Beatrice!

Natalie writes,

Astrid Beatrice was born last Friday. The nurses kept saying how perfect and ‘happy’ her heart rate was during labor and that got me back onto Beatrix/Beatrice which I’d previously moved on from. That, in combination with that she was born exactly a year after a pretty decelerating miscarriage, seemed like a good name. Plus Beatrice is a saint!

My husband preferred the “ice” ending over “ix” and I was fine with that. So she is our “beautiful bringer of blessings/happiness” to join older sister Margaret Sophia (our “pearl of wisdom”)

Thanks again for your thoughts and advice!

Aren’t Margaret Sophia (who goes by Margot 😍) and Astrid Beatrice the most amazing pair of sister names?? What a wonderful job Natalie and her husband have done! It’s particularly fun that, as Natalie told me, Beatrice as the middle name was “an eleventh hour compromise surfaced that pleased both” she and her husband. That’s happened for me as well, and I’ve loved the feeling of relief that comes with *finally* finding the name that works for both parents.

Congratulations to Natalie and her husband and big sister Margot, and happy birthday Baby Astrid!!

Astrid Beatrice with her big sister ❤

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Old Testament, German/Dutch, and/or Irish-y for baby boy no. 2

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!! You know this is one of my favorite days, and you know Irish names are some of my favorites — check out my Irish names and Rose of Tralee tags for more!! I also read this piece that’s appropriate for today: “It’s not Happy St. Patty’s Day, but St. Paddy’s Day. Here’s why” by Amy Croffey — interesting to get an Irish person’s take!

Today’s consultation was meant to post on Monday, but as has been happening more and more to me as my kids get bigger (whoever said, “Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems” wasn’t joking! Not that we’re having problems, just life is so much bigger and busier when they’re big and busy!), the day got away from me, and then yesterday Hubby and I took a day trip, so Monday’s post is posting today, which ends up being great because what’s better on St. Paddy’s Day than a baby name consultation?!

Andrea and her husband are having their second baby — their second boy! Their little guy joins big brother:

Jonah John (“My dad, brother, brother in law, and grandfather in law are all named John“)

Which I love for its biblicalness, family ties, and alliteration (I love alliteration). Great job, Mom and Dad!

Andrea writes,

We thought this baby was going to be a girl and already had the name, Margot Ruth picked out. Obviously there is a chance that we could never have a daughter but would like to take this name into consideration. 

Our baby will be half Mexican, so ideally we would like a name that is pronounceable in Spanish but not too Mexican to be able to go with our German/Dutch last name. 

Overall, we like unique/biblical names but not too weird. We like names with meaningful meanings that are somewhat biblical like “peace”, “God’s gift”, etc.

Both of my grandfathers have passed… one this past August and I’m due around his birthday. His name was Isidro. We kind of like “I” names because of this, but not a must.”

 Some names they’re considering include: 

  • Benjamin 
  • Eli  (“we considered naming our first son this“)
  • Liam (“like it but too popular“)
  • Owen (“like it but too popular“)
  • Oliver (“like it but too popular“)
  • Ira (“husband thinks it’s too similar to Jonah. I feel like maybe an “I” name could honor my grandfather, but not a must“)
  • Peter (“uncle that passed away“)
  • Finn 
  • Otto
  • Sebastian
  • Otis
  • Timothy, Daniel, Paul as possible middle name
  • Edsko (“family name [first/middle] of several of my husband’s Dutch/German family tree“)
  • German/Dutch names

Names they can’t/won’t use include:

  • James
  • Isaac
  • Michael
  • Elijah
  • Matthew
  • Levi
  • Luke
  • Mark
  • Ruben
  • Milo
  • Jude (“has always been a favorite“)
  • Max
  • Joshua
  • Christian
  • Henry
  • Hans
  • Ezra
  • Theodore

Alrighty! So one of the things I noticed first was Isaac and Luke on the list of names they can’t use — I likely would have suggested them otherwise, so it was great Andrea included her “no” list. As for her “yes” list, I love the names she and her hubby are considering! It was so interesting to me to see three solid styles emerge: biblical (Benjamin, Eli, Ira, Peter, Timothy, Daniel, Paul, and I would include Sebastian here, even though it’s not biblical, since I think it has a similar feel as the biblical names), Irish (Liam, Owen, Oliver, Finn), and German/Dutch (Edsko [wow!], Otto, and I would include Otis here, even though it’s English, since it’s related to Otto). I kept all three of those in mind as I looked for names that I thought this couple might like. First, though, I’d like to offer my thoughts on the names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Benjamin: A great name! I’ve always loved the full Benjamin and the fantastic nickname Ben. I also like that it’s Old Testament like Jonah, but is popular enough among the general population that I think they could easily use non-biblical names going forward without it seeming too jarring, which is also like Jonah I think. However, since Andrea said that the like Owen and Oliver but they’re too popular, I should warn them that Benjamin is as well: according to the Social Security Administration it’s been a top ten name since 2015 and is currently no. 7. (Since popularity is important to Andrea, I included the ranking for all the names I discuss going forward.) (Jonah’s no. 141, which is a really nice sweet spot of familiar but not common.)
  • Eli: Like Jonah and Benjamin, I think Eli is used enough among the general public that it doesn’t come across as heavily biblical as it used to, which is good if they don’t necessarily intend all their sons (if they have more than these two) to have biblical names. Eli’s no. 62.
  • Liam, Owen, Oliver: I’m glad Andrea included these as names they like, even though they’re too popular for what they’re looking for. Liam has been the no. 1 name in America for the last three years, and no. 2 for three years before that! Owen is no. 21 and Oliver is no. 3. A funny thing about Oliver — my husband and I very nearly named our third son Oliver — he was born in 2008, when Oliver was just starting to not be a “weird” name at no. 118. Now it’s no. 3! Amazing ascent!
  • Ira: I was really surprised to see Ira on Andrea’s list, since I have always thought it to be a name exclusively borne by Jewish men! I’d never looked it up, but did so because of it being on her list, and was surprised that the Jewish element wasn’t mentioned in any of the places I looked — do you all think of it as a predominantly Jewish name, or is that just my experience? It was fun to discover it’s an Old Testament name — I didn’t know it was biblical before looking it up — and I like that it begins with an I, as Andrea said she might like to honor her grandfather Isidro with an I name. However, I agree with her hubby, too, that it’s very similar to Jonah in that it’s a two-syllable name ending in A. Maybe it would be good in the middle spot? But my favorite I idea for them is Isidro itself! I could understand Andrea not wanting to use Isidro in the first name spot, as she mentioned not wanting a name that was jarring with their German/Dutch last name, but it would be great as a middle name! A funny thing here is that one of my boys’ best friends is named Isidor, and his mom is from Germany, so I thought that might be perfect here — when I looked it up to check on spelling (Isidore is English and Isidor is a German spelling) its entry said Isidore “has historically been a common name for Jews, who have used it as an Americanized form of names such as Isaac, Israel and Isaiah.” That’s hilarious, given what my impression of Ira had been, and yet Ira’s entry doesn’t mention Jewish usage at all! My son’s friend goes by Isi (said like Izzy), which is just too cute. Ira is no. 875 (interestingly, after having been a top 500 name for most of the twentieth century and a top 200 name until 1934, it dropped out of the top 1000 in 1993 and only came back on in 2016; it’s been hovering in the mid-900s since, until 2019 when it jumped a little to 875); neither Isidro, Isidor, nor Isidore are in the top 1000.
  • Peter: Peter’s a good, solid name, and I like that it’s in honor of Andrea’s late uncle. It seems a bit different in style than the other names they’re considering, though — I think they might be happiest with it as a middle name rather than a first name? Peter is no. 212, which is very appealing.
  • Finn: I love the name Finn — it’s such a sweet name for a little guy, and so handsome for a man. It’s been used quite a bit in recent years, too, both as a given name on its own and as a nickname for names like Finnian and Finley, so it doesn’t feel as Irishy Irish as it used to. That said, this is a good place to mention that Old Testament, Irish, and German/Dutch are three pretty strong styles, and while one can certainly find overlap between them (I tried to do so in some of my ideas below), if Andrea and her hubs choose names for their children that are on the strong end of each of those style’s spectrums, they run the risk of losing the feeling of cohesiveness that most parents I work with would like for their kids’ names. That is, they tend to like their children’s names to sound like they go together. That’s certainly not a requirement! Every once in a while I work with a couple who prefer to have an eclectic mix among their children’s names, and that’s fun too! I just want Andrea and her husband to be aware of it. Finn is no. 172, a great place to be.
  • Otto: It’s so funny, I was so surprised when I first started hearing Oliver being given to babies fifteen years ago, then Owen followed right behind, then Oscar, which I thought was really the outer limits of the O names for American parents. But more recently I’ve been seeing Otto here and there, which is just tremendous! It was out of the top 1000 altogether from 1975 to 2010, and is currently at no. 427.
  • Sebastian: I love the name Sebastian — I love how sophisticated and saintly it is — and it still feels offbeat and unusual to me, even though it’s no. 18. No. 18! I’m always shocked by that!
  • Otis: I didn’t know until I looked it up that Otis is related to Otto! And like Otto, I would have thought that Otis would be beyond the limits of what American parents would consider for their children, and then I saw that actors Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde named their son Otis in April 2014 and in 2015 it came back into the top 1000 after not having been in the top 1000 since 1994. It’s amazing the power celebrities have! Otis has continued to rise since then, though slowly — it’s currently at no. 707.
  • Timothy, Daniel, Paul: These are all wonderful names and perfect in the middle spot! Timothy is no. 188, Daniel is no. 15, and Paul is no. 245.
  • Edsko: This is a fascinating name! I looked it up to learn more about it, but I can’t find it — it’s so fun to have a truly unique name in their family tree! How meaningful for them!
  • Margot Ruth: I just have to say, I LOVE their girl name!! I definitely took Margot into consideration when I was doing my research!

So those are all my thoughts on the names Andrea and her hubby are currently considering, now on to new ideas! You all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here, and I also took a look through the list of German/Dutch names in the back of the book. I also used the Name Matchmaker tool at babynamewizard.com for Ira, since it doesn’t have its own entry in the book. I certainly noted any names that were listed as similar to more than one of the names on Andrea’s list, but I was also looking for names that I thought could be both biblical and German, for example, or biblical and Irish, or German-ish and Irish-y, that kind of thing. Based on that, these are my new ideas for this little guy:

(1) Gabriel

I mentioned that I kept a special eye out for names that are listed as similar to more than one of the names on Andrea’s list, but of the names on her list, Jonah’s name is the most important since they’ve already chosen it and bestowed it on one of their children — whatever name they choose for this baby needs to be in consideration of Jonah. Not that they can’t choose a name that’s different in style! Just that, Jonah’s name needs to be consciously considered, since he’s already named. So seeing Gabriel listed as a style match for both Jonah and Sebastian — two names on their list, one of which is their older son’s name — definitely means that Gabriel needs a spot on this list! It’s one of my favorite names, and I really like that it’s Old Testament like Jonah, but it’s also in the New Testament, which provides a nice bridge between names like Jonah and Peter, and it’s a pan-European name, meaning it’s used by almost all of the European cultures, so it can fit with most any heritage, including German and Dutch. Gabriel’s Behind the Name entry doesn’t include Irish in its list of usage, but I always think of Irish actor Gabriel Byrne as being a great example of how it’s got decent traditional usage in Ireland as well. Gabe is a great, friendly nickname, too, and if they don’t like Gabe, I’ve actually seen Eli used as a nickname for it! Gabriel is no. 37.

(2) Abel

I’m always surprised I don’t see Abel get more usage! I see Abraham from time to time, and Abel can take Abraham’s awesome nickname Abe, but Abel itself is so much lighter than Abraham. This family has an Abel, if you’d like to see what Abel’s siblings’ names are at least in one family. Abel is no. 157, which is a great match for Jonah’s 141.

(3) Bram

Speaking of Abraham’s nicknames, as much as I love honest Abe, Bram is the nickname that really has my heart, and I think it might be perfect for this family! Bram is in the German/Dutch list, and it’s also the name of Dracula author Bram Stoker, who was Irish. Biblical, German/Dutch, and Irish-y in one name! Wow! Not only that, but it’s a style match for Margot! So many amazing things about this name! It seems that the Dutch pronunciation is BRAHM, rhymes with “bomb,” which I think is probably close to what the Spanish pronunciation would be as well, right? The English pronunciation is BRAM, rhymes with “gram,” and I suspect the rhymes-with-gram pronunciation is what they’ll mostly hear, so that’s something to consider before choosing this name. Either way, as long as they’re firm and consistent about their chosen pronunciation, it should be fine! Bram is not in the top 1000.

(4) Ethan

Ethan is listed as a match for both Jonah (!) and Eli, and even though it’s a biblical name, I don’t think that fact is well known by American parents in general. Do you agree? Due to that, I think Ethan might be a great choice for Andrea’s second boy, since it shares Jonah’s biblical-ness, but in such a subtle way that they could easily branch out from biblical names going forward without too much of a fuss. Something that was really tickling me when I was working on this was the idea of Ethan Edsko — what an amazing complement to Jonah John! Both with great family meaning, and the alliterative thing is just so fun. I could see how that would really restrict them going forward, though … so this is probably a bad idea, but I do love it! Haha! Ethan is no. 10 after having spent 2002-2015 between nos. 2 and 7.

(5) Elliott (Eliot, Elliot)

Elliott is a match for Oliver, and it’s also a medieval diminutive of Elias, which is a variant of Elijah, which makes Elliott kind of a sneaky Old Testament name! Elliott could be a perfect way to connect to Jonah’s Old Testament-ness while opening up their style for non-biblical names going forward. They could also use Eli as a nickname for it, if they wanted. (I also love Elliott Edsko!) Spelling can be an issue — since there are three spellings, I think it might be hard for people to remember which spelling is the right one for this baby — Eliot has a literary feel, for poet T.S. Eliot; Elliott is the standard, I think — the one from which the others came; and Elliot kind of splits the difference. Elliott’s no. 160, Elliot’s no. 173, and Eliot’s not in the top 1000.

(6) Tobias

Tobias is a match for Margot and Sebastian, which is just perfect, because it’s also an Old Testament name like Jonah, AND it’s in the list of German/Dutch names, so Tobias would be a great connection between all those names! I don’t see a Spanish variant, but I think it’s pronounceable in Spanish, right? Tobias is no. 272.

(7) Mathias

Rhyming with Tobias and also on the German/Dutch list is Mathias, which I love for this family for those reasons, but also because it’s a New Testament name rather than an Old Testament name, which is a nice way to expand their style, and because it’s a style match for Margot! Mathias is the German/Dutch spelling, which is no. 420; the spelling Matthias is the English spelling, and is no. 407.

(8) Oscar

Finally, I mentioned Oscar earlier, and I’d love for Andrea and her hubby to consider it! It’s got German/Dutch usage (the spelling Oskar would really reinforce that), it’s easily pronounceable in Spanish, and writer Oscar Wilde was Irish, so they have a lot of their boxes checked right there! One of my readers who has really embraced her husband’s German heritage recently named her son Oskar, so cute. Oscar is no. 205 and Oskar is not in the top 1000.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Jonah’s little brother?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Birth announcement: Thea Noelle!

Christa and I emailed a bit about names a couple of years ago, and I was so excited to receive an email from her just recently letting me know what name she and her husband had ended up choosing for her baby! They welcomed a little girl and gave her the gorgeous name … Thea Noelle!

Christa writes,

We had a little girl on Dec 19, 2018. We decided to name her Thea Noelle. I really loved the name Therese … but was afraid that people would mispronounce her name for her whole life so when I heard a nickname for Therese being “Thea” I loved it! My husband wasn’t fond of this name … but I kept it on my list. We had come to the conclusion before delivery that our baby’s name (if she was a girl) would be Amelie Noelle. I loved the first name Amelie for all the reasons I discussed above in my email. But when the baby was born, she just was not an “Amelie” — it may have been her dark hair, or just something about her … but my husband looked at me and said “She is a Thea”. The final decider was that one of the Saints listed for December 19 was St. Thea of Alexandria. There couldn’t be a more clear sign in my head because I had went into labor on December 18 … but my baby girl had waited to be born just after midnight around 12:30am on December 19th. We loved “Noelle” because it was French and she was born so close to Christmas.

And there you have it… sorry this is such a delayed explanation of the name we chose. But…better late than never!

Thank you for the gift of this naming ministry! I’m so grateful for your assistance in our road to naming our sweet girl. And two years later we feel the name fits her perfectly!

Isn’t that such a great story?? And HOW COOL that she was born on the feast of St. Thea of Alexandria!! Wow!!

Congratulations to Christa and her husband and big siblings Elodie and Donald (on earth) and Olive, Alouette, Bennett, and Michel in heaven, and happy belated birthday Baby (Big Girl) Thea!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Cool, Catholic, and maybe Celtic for baby no. 4

Mollie and her husband are expecting their fourth baby! This little one joins big siblings:

  • Avila Mary
  • Jack Michael
  • Luke Gabriel

I looooove these names!! I love that Avila is so recognizable (among Catholics anyway), and feels familiar in that it’s similar appearance- and sound-wise to names like Ava and Evelyn, but it’s also surprising in the best way possible. I love, too, that they paired it with the sweet and simple Mary. Avila Mary is such a lovely combo! And Jack Michael and Luke Gabriel are fantastic combos as well! I love how masculine and saintly they are — great names for both boys and men. Mollie and her husband have done a fantastic job!

Mollie writes,

We’re struggling for both boy and girl names. For a girl name, Avila sets the bar that we need something somewhat (but not too) unique, feminine and vowel-y. We don’t want any repeated letters, so we can’t use another A name

Names we liked before we named Avila were Grace, Rosalie, and Natalie

Now that we are trying to coordinate with Avila, we like Vera and Fiona … We’re struggling with Fiona because it’s not a saint and there’s a cartoon character named Fiona that’s an ogre. We’ve always liked the name Magdalene for a middle name or Rosemary (but not sure if that fits since Avila has the middle name Mary). 

As for boy names, Jack and Luke were our top two boy names since we met. So, it was very easy to name them, but now we don’t have any names that we like. We’ve tossed around Mark, Ross, Fitzgerald (my husband’s [middle name is] Gerald, but we don’t like Gerald alone). But really aren’t pulled any particular way yet. Just that we want it to go well with Jack and Luke. We named them after the archangels, which puts us in a tough spot if this fourth baby is a boy because Raphael is harder to match with and who knows how to pronounce it?!

That made me laugh about the pronunciation of Raphael! How do you all pronounce it?

Names that they can’t use include:

  • Nicholas
  • Aidan
  • Noah
  • Michael
  • Casey
  • Griffin
  • David
  • Bennett
  • Samuel
  • Isaac 
  • Allison
  • Caroline
  • Ella
  • Clara
  • Julia
  • Bridget
  • Elaine
  • Maeveen
  • Bonnie
  • Sonja
  • Maya

I was really interested to see what names are on their list for this baby, and was surprised by a few of them — I love being surprised! I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • Grace, Rosalie, Natalie: I was interested that Mollie and her hubby have a sense of names they liked before naming Avila versus names they’re considering now. I agree that Grace and Natalie have a different feel than Avila, but I wouldn’t cross Rosalie off just yet. Mollie described Avila as “unique, feminine and vowel-y,” but I would describe it as “unique, feminine, and Catholicky Catholic with a current feel.” That is, I wouldn’t worry about matching its sound so much (the “vowel-y” quality she mentioned), though I wouldn’t avoid doing so either — rather, in trying to find girl names that feel like natural sister names for Avila, I would look for “Catholicky Catholic names with a current feel.” The “current feel” Avila has is that it’s a place name, which is something I think was rarer for Catholic parents to use in the past but is much more in line with modern thinking. Rosalie has a “current feel” in a different sense I think — it was out of fashion for a while, but is coming back again. This is Rosalie’s popularity chart from https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/ — I zoomed way out to get all the years from 1900 in, which unfortunately compromises the ability to read it clearly, but you get the idea:

Rosalie is currently at no. 208, which it hasn’t been at since the 1940s — in fact, it dropped off the chart altogether between 1989 and 2008! Its reemergence feels like a rediscovery — it’s vintage rather than dated. In contrast, Grace entered the top 100 in 1995 and Natalie in 1976, and both have been there ever since. Grace has the additional aspect of having very popular usage as a middle name, which adds to its feel of commonness — “common” is the opposite of Avila! All this to say, I’d suggest keeping Rosalie on the list! If they still do like it, but still don’t like it in the first name spot as a sister to Avila, maybe it can replace Rosemary as a middle name idea — that way they have the “rose” that can nod to Our Lady without the “Mary” that repeats Avila’s middle name.

If they want to find a way to make Grace and Natalie work, I might suggest making Grace part of an unexpected double first name, like Cora-Grace or Roma-Grace or Thea-Grace. Those names (Cora, Roma, and Thea) actually didn’t make the cut for my “official” suggestions below, so I’m happy to given them a mention here — they’re the kind of names I think of when I think of Avila. I’ve seen Cora used quite a bit in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (mostly, but also sometimes the Sacred Heart of Jesus … or both!), Roma is a nice nod to the Church and is place-y like Avila, and Thea means “God” and makes a pretty amazing “phrase” when paired with Grace (actually they all do) … these are all what I would call “Catholicky Catholic names with a current feel”: place names, noun names, “idea” names. And though they might seem overly long for everyday use, those three combos have the same number of syllables as Avila. And for a fresher take on Natalie, I’d suggest Natalia.

  • Vera: I’m not sure I’ve seen any of the families I’ve worked with consider Vera, and the only one I know in real life is in her 70s, so I had to look the name up — it was pretty cool to find that it has a very similar popularity arc to Rosalie, having disappeared from the charts in 1984 and didn’t reappear again until 2009; it’s currently 252, which is where it was in the mid-50s. I really love its entry at Behind the Name: “Means ‘faith’ in Russian, though it is sometimes associated with the Latin word verus ‘true.’” How cool! I could see Vera-Grace also being a great combo. A related name that could be cool to consider is Verity, which means “truth.” My one hesitation with both Vera and Verity is that, since they have a prominent V like Avila, will Mollie and her hubs feel like they have to find a name with a prominent V for future daughters?
  • Fiona: I, too, love the name Fiona! Though I like its symmetry with Avila, in the sense that it’s a five-letter name ending in A, I wouldn’t have included it in the list of names that are similar to Avila, though — it’s missing that “Catholicky Catholic” element. That said, if they just love it and want to make it work, Behind the Name says it’s a feminine variant of the masculine name Fionn, from which comes the name Finnian, and there are a few Sts. Finnian, so they can serve as patron of a little Fiona. BtN also connects it to Gwen, which is a Welsh variant, and there are some Sts. Gwen as well. As for the Shrek connection, it’s interesting to note that The Baby Name Wizard book (affiliate link), which you all know I always use in my consultations, said Shrek was actually the reason that Fiona entered the pool mainstream names — it entered the top 1000 in 1990 and is currently no. 265, which is a pretty sweet-spot position — not too popular, but neither unfamiliar nor rare. It also lets you know that lots of families are using the name, despite the Shrek connection — like this family that I did a consultation for. Fiona really is a great name!
  • Magdalene: I was excited to see Magdalene on their list, since it’s the exact kind of name that I think of when I think of Avila! Magdalene is fantastic, and I’d love to see them bump it onto the first-name list.
  • Rosemary: It’s actually a really traditional thing to give all the daughters in a family a form of Mary in their names somewhere (first or middle). Some have interpreted it in the past as using Mary/Marie/Maria itself for all the daughters (St. Therese and her sisters all had Marie); other families have used variants of Mary (my sisters and I all have a different form of Mary in our names); others have used other Marian names like Rose (some fun examples of different options here; also, my book of Marian baby names is a compilation of all these ideas). So from that perspective, I don’t think there’s any problem with using Rosemary as a middle name for a girl, even with Avila’s middle name being Mary. It could be a nice connection between sisters, and easy enough to do for all the daughters they end up having.
  • Mark: Mark seems so perfect with brothers Jack and Luke — a four-letter name ending in the K sound! I have no quibble with Mark, except possibly that if their first three boys have four-letter names that end in the K sound, would they feel like they have to continue that with future boys? (This is not a big quibble on my part though — you’ll see I included a similar idea in my official suggestions below.)
  • Ross: I love this, too — I love that it continues their boys’ four-letter theme but in a new way and with new sounds. Like Fiona, it doesn’t have a Saint as far as I can tell, but it’s actually a place name that several Saints share, which makes it a nice complement for Avila’s style.
  • Fitzgerald: I love this idea! The connection to Hubby’s middle name and St. Gerard is great, and Fitz is a fun nickname that’s four letters like Jack and Luke, but the fact that it’s a nickname rather than the given name opens up more options for future sons. Other ideas related to Gerard include Garrett, which is derived from Gerard, and Hardy, since Gerard is a combo of the Germanic elements ger (“spear”) and hard (“brave, hardy”).
  • Raphael: It’s almost painful to think of them NOT using Raphael for a middle name for their next boy! Haha! After Jack and Luke’s middle names, it would be so fun! But I definitely don’t think it’s necessary — I think Michael and Gabriel are used so frequently, even together, without Raphael, that I think they can get away with not using it. If they did decide to use Raphael (and with it being the middle name, they can choose whatever pronunciation they like! They’re listed here), some options for future boys’ middle names can include Angel/Angelo/Angelus (Angelus has the nice added layer of being the name of the Angelus prayer) and Seraphim (referring to the order of angels called the seraphim and it’s used as a boy’s name). In terms of matching a name with Raphael, I like both Mark Raphael and Ross Raphael (I’m a big fan of alliteration, though I know not everyone is). Fitzgerald Raphael might be too many unusual names together though?

So those are my thoughts on the names Mollie and her husband are considering — now on to new ideas! I mentioned The Baby Name Wizard earlier — I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they’re considering in that book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/pronunciation. I did so for this family, keeping a particular eye out for names with a strong faith connection; I also rifled through my mental files for names like Avila, since her name doesn’t have its own entry in the book, and I used my book of Marian names as a resources as well. Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Mollie’s baby:

Girl

(1) Carys or Charis

These names, which are pronounced the same (CARE-iss), are the kinds of names I think of when I think of names like Avila. The former is a Welsh name that means “love”; the latter is from the Greek for “grace, kindness.” They’re such pretty names! I like that Carys, being Welsh, has the Celtic feel that they like, as evidenced by Fiona, Ross, and Fitzgerald, and I like that Charis is contained within the word eucharist, which gives it a beautiful added layer of meaning.

(2) Clairvaux

Mollie said that Clara is off limits, but Claire showed up a few times in my research — it’s a style match for Jack, Luke, and Grace — and it made me think of Clairvaux, which has more of Avila’s feel, especially since it’s a saintly place name like Avila (St. Teresa of Avila and St. Bernard of Clairvaux) and it has that prominent V that I think they like (in case they decide they want to go that route). I think Clairvaux would be great because it would bridge Avila’s name with their boys’ names in the sense that Clairvaux is very Avila-ish and the nickname Clair(e) is very Jack-and-Luke. I have a couple of readers with daughters named Clairvaux — here’s one and here’s another.

(3) Cassia

Cassie is a style match for Ross, and it’s one of my favorite nicknames for girls, so I was excited when I was thumbing through the BNW and saw that Livia — notable because it has all the same letters as Avila and also ends in A, so I thought it was a decent stand-in from that perspective — is a style match for Cassia. Cassia has a few fun layers: it’s the name of a form of cinnamon (a spice name! How fun!) and is also the English form of the biblical name Keziah, who was one of Job’s daughters. Biblical + spice with a sweet nickname sounds amazing! There are two possible pronunciations: KAS-see-a or KAH-sha.

(4) Elanor nicknamed Nora or Ella

Ella is a match for both Jack and Luke, but I worry that it’s too similar to the sounds of Avila? But then Nora is a match for Fiona, and since both Ella and Nora can be nicknames for Eleanor, I thought there was something there, but Eleanor itself seemed a little too tame next to Avila? I wondered if changing the spelling to Elanor — which is the spelling Tolkien used in Lord of the Rings — would help? The Tolkien names are often favored by Catholic parents because of Tolkien’s identity as a devout Catholic writer and the Catholic themes in his writing — they’re kind of sneaky Catholic names! I also thought Ella-Grace — like the double name idea with Grace that I mentioned earlier — could be an interesting option.

(5) Violet

Not to add more V names when I’ve suggested that maybe a name with a strong V wouldn’t be a great idea for their next girl, in order to not feel like they’re locked into a theme, but Violet could be lovely here! It’s an entry in my book of Marian names because the violet flower used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty, and represents her humility.

(6) Stella

Speaking of Marian names, and also of Ella above, I also love the idea of Stella for this baby! Stella Maris is one of Our Lady’s titles, meaning Star of the Sea, and I’ve seen Stella as a first name in honor of this title, as well as Stella Maris as a first+middle combo, and the long and lovely Stellamaris and Maristella. Of those, Stella seems like a great sister for Avila!

(7) Kate

Kate is a match for Jack, Luke, and Ross, which means I have to suggest it for this family! I don’t think that Kate is a great sister for Avila, though — they’re just so far apart style-wise. But some ideas to make this work can include Kateri with the nickname Kate, or maybe Kate as part of a double name like I suggested with Grace. Vera-Kate, Roma-Kate, Thea Kate, Ella-Kate, even Stella-Kate could all provide just the sparkle that Avila’s sister needs to match her sister’s stunning name.

(8) Isla

Isla is a match for Fiona, and it’s an entry in my book of Marian names, since “its Marian character comes from the title ‘Our Lady of the Isles’ (Moire ro Naomh nan Eilean in Scottish Gaelic, referring to a state of Our Lady on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland), or any of the devotions in the U.S. and Canada to Our Lady of the Island or Our Lady of the Isle, including churches and institutions in New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Quebec, Canada. There’s also the church of Our Lady of the Isle in Croatia.” It’s such a pretty name! I could also see Isla-Grace and Isla-Kate as being really pretty combos. (One of the Clairvauxs that I mentioned above has a sister named Isla!)

Boy

(1) Becket(t)

Given that Jack and Luke both have that prominent ending K sound, as does Mark from the names Mollie and her hubs are considering, I thought Becket/Beckett might be right up their alley. I love that a Becket(t) could go by Beck, which is a great fit with Jack and Luke, but it’s also very Avila-esque, like St. Thomas a Becket. It’s a cool option!

(2) Kolbe

Cole is a match for Luke and Colin for Natalie, both of which are great and maybe Mollie would like to consider them? They’re variants of Nicholas, which is where the patron Saint would come from. But they both made me think of Kolbe, which has that Avila feel as well and could be a really great bridge name between their boys’ style and Avila’s style.

(3) Grant

Grant is a match for Ross, and as soon as I saw it I wanted to suggest it. I’ve actually seen it in a few families who also have a Luke, and one reader of the blog said she considered it because of the dona nobis pacem part of the Mass: “grant us peace.” I love that!

(4) Drew

I really like the idea of Drew with Jack and Luke — I feel like it has a similar feel — but I don’t so much feel that way about the full Andrew. Since they already used Jack — which of course has a long history of usage as a given name in its own right, but started as a nickname for John — I thought maybe they’d be okay just going with Drew as a given name?

(5) Ryan

I felt the same way about Ryan as I do about Drew with their boys — it just feels like it goes! I did a spotlight on Ryan a few years ago and came up with what I think are some great faith connections. I also like its Celtic background for this family.

(6) Owen

Owen is a match for Jack, Luke, and Grace, and I love that its Celtic feel goes along with the feel of Fiona, Ross, and Fitzgerald. Though it has both Irish and English/Welsh connections, I’m a huge fan of St. Nicholas Owen, who was one of the English Martyrs — he’s a great patron!

(7) Charles (Charlie)

How can I ignore the fact that Charlie is a match for Jack and Vera! Normally I would suggest the formal Charles with the nickname Charlie, but as I was thinking with Drew, maybe Charlie as a given name would be more their speed? I’ve also seen Charley bestowed as a given name by people who don’t want to use Charles — maybe the spelling Charley has more of a full-name feel?

(8) Finn(ian)

Finally, since they’re considering Fiona, which is a form of Fionn (Finn), and since Finn is a four-letter name like Jack and Luke, maybe Mollie and her hubby would like to consider this family of names for a boy! Finn as a given name is great, but I’m guessing they might like Finnian better, since it’s an actual Saint’s name. I love it for them!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Avila, Jack, and Luke?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Combine family and style in fourth boy’s name

Katy and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — and fourth boy! This little guy joins big siblings:

John Ryan “Jack”
Amelia Margaret
Timothy Robert “Tim”
Andrew Thomas

Fantastic names. They’re all solid and attractive, and I also keep chuckling at “Tim” for her 3-year-old (as opposed to Timmy) — it’s such a serious nickname for a little guy! I find serious names on little ones to be so charming. Katy and her hubby have done a great job!

Katy writes,

I’d describe our naming style as Classic/Apostolic with a hint of early-20th-century-British feel. For boys, we like names that are timeless, masculine and friendly; names that we feel will suit them well in all ages and stages of life. My husband feels that we need to stick to a biblical name in line with the Apostles/early church missionaries for all the boys’ names to flow. While I’m certainly willing to consider apostolic names, I would also really like for us to explore names that are still classic but have a bit of a British literary feel. (I majored in English Lit!) We have a very common last name, but as it is Welsh in origin, it automatically lends well to classic, 20th century British names. Ideally, we’d also like to choose a name that has a saintly connection but is not too popular right now.

One challenge [we have is] … a large extended family full of males; Hubby has 9 uncles and numerous male cousins. So, as you can imagine, it’s tough not to repeat names. Although they were not named after extended family members, our third and fourth children … have first AND middle names that also belong to [family members]. After our fourth was born, we could sense all of our parents had some hurt feelings … that we didn’t choose either of our dad’s names.”

I’m sure many of us have experienced similar situations! Though Katy and her husband wouldn’t normally have thought to choose family names on purpose, they certainly don’t want their dads (James and Patrick) to feel hurt:

To that end, we’ve discussed ‘James Patrick,’ as a double, like a ‘Mary Double.’ I’d rather not use ‘Patrick James,’ as this is Hubby’s dad’s name exactly … I know ‘James’ is a super popular name in the U.S. right now, so I like the idea of doubling it up with Patrick so it’s more of a standout. But ‘James Patrick’ would be a lot for a kiddo to say when introducing himself, and I don’t particularly love initial nicknames like ‘JP.’ (Although I do love Saint JPII!) Plus, I feel like we can’t use James without Patrick and visa versa without hurt feelings.

I’d really like our new son to have his own identity! Anyway — I’d love to know … if ‘James Patrick’ as a double first name is Catholic Baby Name overkill.”

(“Catholic Baby Name overkill”! Is there such a thing?? 😂😂😂)

Other names we’ve discussed:

– We both love the name Albert. However, we don’t want to use it as a first name since we already have two kiddos with ‘A’ names. So we’re strongly considering Albert as a middle name.

– Charles/Charlie seems like a logical fit for our crew, which is a classic and manly name with some boyish charm. But, for whatever reason, we don’t feel excited about it.

– Hugh, which I really love! But I can’t sell Hubby on it.

Lawrence nn Laurie, like Theodore Lawrence in Little Women! But, again, can’t sell the husband on it — I think he’d settle for Lawrence as is if I really pushed for it, but the “Laurie” nickname is too much of a style departure for him. I loved the post you did last year that outlined modern nicknames for Lawrence! But nicknames like ‘Law’ or ‘Rence’ definitely aren’t our style. (But maybe you have a different perspective.)

– Louis, but again, we don’t feel excited about it.

Names we can’t or won’t use:

Anthony
Benjamin
Christopher
David
Dominic (Hubby is discerning a calling to become a lay Dominican, but we don’t feel like the name fits our style)
Ernest (love this name, but it’s the name of our cat!)
Francis
Gabriel
George
Henry
Jacob
Joseph
Jude
Luke
Mark
Matthew
Michael
Nathaniel/Nathan
Owen
Samuel
William

Alrighty, so I have some thoughts on how Katy’s hubby “feels that [they] need to stick to a biblical name in line with the Apostles/early church missionaries for all the boys’ names to flow,” as well as Katy’s hope to “explore names that are still classic but have a bit of a British literary feel,” but first I’ll address the idea of James Patrick.

Many people have deep seated feelings of love-shown-by-honoring-family-with-names, and it’s a very traditional practice in many cultures (examples: Irish, English, Italian, Scottish) and so has deep roots in many people’s psyche, so I think it’s really wonderful that Katy and her hubs are trying to be sensitive to that. I really like Katy’s proposed solution of James Patrick as a double name, and I definitely don’t think it’s “Catholic Baby Name” overkill, haha! If Mary Clare and John Paul can do it without raised eyebrows, James Patrick should be just fine. I think they might run into some trouble enforcing it, which they’ll have to decide if they’re up for dealing with or not, but if they’re up for it, great! I’d love to meet a little James Patrick.

That said, I wanted to try to think of additional ways that they could give their baby “his own identity,” in case some fresh ideas are helpful:

  • Nickname Jay: I’m assuming Katy’s dad goes by Jim, given that that’s the standard nickname for Jameses of a certain age, so coming up with a different nickname could be the way to let her little guy have his own name space. Jay is my favorite idea for this family in this vein — I think it fits what Katy said they like for boys: names that are “timeless, masculine and friendly.”
  • Nickname Jamie: I have a friend who is James always and everywhere except with his family, who calls him Jamie, and it comes across as the sweetest, most affectionate nickname.
  • Nickname Rick(y): I’m sure Katy’s father-in-law Patrick doesn’t go by Rick or Ricky, so maybe using it as an unexpected nickname for Patrick (even with Patrick being the middle name) could be their son’s alone?
  • Nickname Paddy: Again, I’m guessing it’s very unlikely Katy’s father-in-law goes by Paddy — it’s not everyone’s style, but I find it sweet.
  •  Using different variants: Like James Padraig or Seamus Patrick, if they were into Irish names (Iago is the Welsh variant of James, oh my!). Jacob and James are variants of the same name, so Jacob should work as an honor name for a James in theory. Maybe Jameson or Patton (son of James, and an English surname derived from Patrick, respectively).
  • Nickname Junior or Chip (or similar): Patrick and James are actually Katy’s husband’s two middle names (or maybe middle and Confirmation name?), so they could possibly think of using something like Junior as a nickname, or Chip (like “chip off the old block”). I think those kinds of nicknames (others: Red, Sonny) have such a friendly feel. (I also wrote about Junioring a non-firstborn here.)

So based on the emotions tied up in the naming of this baby, I was a little hesitant to discuss the other names Katy and her hubs like, or to offer new ideas, because I don’t want to make their decision more difficult! But I have always enjoyed name conversations, even if I was sure what we would name our baby, so I’d like to go back to Hubby’s thought that they need to stick with biblical names (specifically Apostles or early Church missionaries) in order for the baby’s name to fit with his brothers’ names. I definitely don’t think he needs to worry about that. You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity (informed by a computer program developed by the author — it’s uncannily accurate!). Names that are similar to John, Timothy, and Andrew include names like Charles, William, Robert, Henry, and Christopher — none of which are biblical (though an argument could be made for Christopher to be technically biblical, in terms of the idea of the name/who it refers to) — which tells me (and I felt this anyway, before looking up the names) that John, Timothy, and Andrew have been used in so many circumstances and cultures and given to so many boys/men, both famous and not, that the biblical association is not the primary association for most people. In a family with John/Jack, Amelia, Timothy, and Andrew, I would find names Charles, William, Robert, Henry, and Christopher to be a natural fit. Especially since their real overarching theme is “saintly,” and all of those names fit. I know William, Henry, and Christopher are on the list of names Katy said they can’t use, and they’re already considering Charles, and Robert is already Tim’s middle name, which actually leads me to another idea for them: maybe instead of thinking that each of their boys so far has a biblical *first* name, and specifically one that’s an Apostle’s or early Church missionary’s name, they could reframe their thinking as, “each of our boys has at least one biblical name,” and if they reframe their thinking that way, they can see how it would be natural to move to, “each of our boys has at least one biblical name in either the first or middle name spot.” So then something like Charles James could be argued to fit into what they’ve already done: a biblical name in the first or middle spot, and a first name that’s stylistically consistent with their other boys’ names.

As for Katy’s hope to “explore names that are still classic but have a bit of a literary British feel,” it was so fun to see Albert, Hugh, and Lawrence (Laurie!) on her list! So unexpected! I love that Katy said both she and her husband love Albert, and it seems like the perfect middle name — a way of placing their stamp on their baby’s name. Also, Katy mentioned that her husband is discerning a call to the Dominican Third Order — St. Albert the Great is one of the very best Dominican Saints! Something like James Patrick Albert could be really wonderful. As for the other names:

  • Charles/Charlie: I one hundred percent agree that this “seems like a logical fit for [their] crew.” I also like that it’s not a biblical name that still fits really well with their other kids’ names, which can open up more possibilities for them for the future. However, if they can’t get excited about it, then let’s keep looking!
  • Hugh: Aw, I love Hugh too. One of the names that showed up a few times in my research is Hubert, which is such a perfect combination of Albert and Hugh that I wondered if they’d like to consider it? There are a few holy Huberts.
  • Lawrence nn Laurie: What girl doesn’t love Laurie from Little Women?! But I think most men (or most men I know, anyway) would have a hard time with Laurie for a boy these days, so sad. Yeah, I agree that Law and Rence aren’t this family’s style. I wonder if they could combine some of their ideas here, like Lawrence with the nickname Lou, for example? Like Lawrence and Louis together? I also like the idea of Rory for them as a nickname for Lawrence — especially with Jack and Tim, Rory would feel natural to me, as all three have a vaguely (and with Rory not-so-vaguely) Irish feel.
  • Louis: I wonder if Katy would feel more excited about it if they changed the spelling to Lewis? Doing so totally amps up the British literary feel, and I thought this bit from this birth announcement post for a little Lewis might be helpful — the mom wrote that she “always disliked the name Louis, and I still do!! Isn’t that so weird? But Lewis is completely different to me. So balanced, with the consonants in the front, middle, and end, and no danger of being a ‘Louie.’ Even Lew is different from Lou — so literary and all.” And Lewis is the medieval English form of Louis, so it totally counts for any Sts. Louis that Katy and her hubs might have a particular devotion to.

So Katy and her husband have a lot of great ideas! But of course, I can always come up with more ideas! Using the research I did in the BNW that I mentioned above, as well as the Name Matchmaker tool on babynamewizard.com for the names that don’t have their own entries in the book, and then some other ideas that just seemed right for this family, these are additional ideas they might like to consider for this baby or for future babies:

(1) Philip nicknamed Pip

This is definitely my favorite idea for them outside of the names they’re already considering! It meets Hubby’s criteria for a New Testament name and it — but especially the nickname Pip — meets Katy’s criteria for a classic name with a British literary feel.

(2) Paul

Paul doesn’t have the British literary feel like Philip/Pip does, but it certainly fits the biblical theme and I like that it’s one syllable like John, after the longer Timothy and Andrew.

(3) Nicholas

Nicholas is another New Testament name that can fit with British/literary a la Nicholas Nickleby, for one. Nick is a great nickname that fits in well with Jack and Tim, and Cole and Colin can also work as nicknames if they wanted, and have more of a British-y feel I think.

(4) Alexander nn Alex, Sandy

Like Nicholas, Alexander is a New Testament name and it’s such a pan-European name that it can have whatever heritage one wants it to! I was also drawn to Alexander because of its nickname Sandy, which isn’t used so much anymore for boys, but was traditionally a boy’s nickname and might be more palatable than Laurie for Lawrence (I know a little Alexander nn Sandy and it’s super cute).

(5) Edward nn Ted, Ned, Ward

Edward totally has the British feel I think Katy likes, and Ward was also a style match for some of the names they like, which can be a nickname for Edward, so I thought that might be great! Ted and Ned are other Edward nicknames that they might like that I think can have a very British feel.

(6) Theodore

Speaking of Ted, Theodore seemed to me to maybe be a nice bridge between the biblical names and the British names … it’s not biblical in the sense that it doesn’t appear in the bible as a name, but Theophilus does, which I think adds a biblical sheen to Theodore if they want it to because of the shared “Theo,” and of course its meaning “gift of God” can be biblical, or “biblical adjacent,” maybe, like Christopher.

(7) Gilbert

I enjoyed seeing Gilbert show up as a style match for Katy and her hubs — they already have Albert on their list, and I suggested Hubert as well, so maybe they don’t need another -bert name to consider, but Gilbert’s entry at Behind the Name really made it seem like a name they would like: “The Normans introduced this name to England, where it was common during the Middle Ages. It was borne by a 12th-century English saint, the founder of the religious order known as the Gilbertines” (there are other saints with the name as well). What a very English name! And there are few nickname I love more than Gil!

(8) Jordan

Finally, I was working on this on the feast of Bl. Jordan of Saxony, the second Master General of the Dominican Order (after St. Dominic), and one of his sermons is said to have brought St. Albert the Great into the Dominicans, so I thought it was perfect to finish this list with a nod to him! I know Jordan has a very modern, secular feel to it, but I love that it’s actually an old and very religious (and very Dominican) name.

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother for John/Jack, Amelia, Timothy/Tim, and Andrew?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)