Baby name consultation: Perfect middle name for Roman?

Don’t you just love how Marian the month of September is?! We celebrated the Nativity of Our Lady on the 8th, the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, and Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th, and there are some lesser known ones like Our Lady of La Salette yesterday, Our Lady of Walsingham on the 24th, and Our Lady, Star of the Sea on the 25th. Such a great month!

Enjoy this week’s consultation from my co-baby name consultant Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kelle writes,

We have 6 biological children and have always dreamed of adopting. We have developed a super soft spot in our hearts for children with down Syndrome and have been pursuing special needs domestic adoption for more than a year. We have a girl name, but have always struggled with agreeing on boy names … We have semi agreed on the name Roman, but haven’t found any great middle names to go with it.”

What a wonderful thing this family is doing and the name Roman is just swoon-worthy!

Little Roman would join big siblings:

  • Hannah Claire
  • Genevieve “Genna” Marie
  • Isaac Thomas
  • Andrew “Drew” William
  • Benjamin Judah (He goes by both Benjamin and Judah)
  • Robert “Bob” or “Bobby” Cecil

What great names!

Kelle writes,

My husband likes plain, common, Catholic names.  He’d be all over John Paul, but everyone has a John Paul. Other names that have been on past lists but never been quite right are Paul, Jacob, Peter, Matthew. I never liked those enough because they are so common. My husband had a friend named Roman that died a few years ago and that made him a little more open to it. Although he is not sold 100 percent on it. I’m hoping that a good middle name might solidify it for him … Names I like that he’s rejected are Duncan, Wesley, Matthias, Winceslas, Thaddeus. I mentioned using Joseph as a middle name since it’s the year of St. Joseph and he is a foster father. Don’t know how that sounds though with Roman. Any name following Roman sounds like Roman is an adjective.”

First, some thoughts on their shortlist.

Paul– Pretty common in Catholic circles, I agree. It is a great, solid name, though, but I don’t think it has the pizzazz of some of their other kids’ names.

Jacob– Lots of nickname potential here, which might make it more palatable for Kelle, because it is pretty “run of the mill” otherwise. Besides Jake, you can do Jack, or Jay. You could even do Coby! Or, stretching it just a bit, Kolbe. A nickname is probably what would sell this name for Kelle and help it fit in with the other kids better.

Peter– Personally, I love Peter. It’s a strong name (literally means “rock”!) and you can’t go wrong with all the patronages. It also has lots of pop culture ties, making it a name that can cross all boundaries. However, it is popular in Catholic circles, although not as popular as Paul.

Matthew– Another fairly vanilla name that’s still popular over every demographic. I saw this and was going to suggest Matthias as a variant, but then saw that Kelle likes Matthias but Brian (husband) does not! Oh well. There’s a better name out there for them that combines their styles and desires for a name.

Kelle mentioned Joseph as a possibility but that she didn’t want the child to be called Joseph and worried that he would. What about a different name that has the Jo- beginning to honor St. Joseph but is a little less popular? Names I thought of were Josiah, Joshua, Jonah, and Jonathan. There are lots of others!

Or maybe even an international version of Joseph? Jozef, Giuseppe, Jose, etc. The nice thing about Joseph is that it’s so flexible and can literally go with anything and take so many different forms and nicknames. I know a Joseph who goes by Seph, for example! Lots to think about with this name

On to new suggestions!

(1) Charles/Karl

There are lots of saints to go with these names and either would be a nice nod to John Paul II, whose birth name was Karol, another variant! It means “man” or “army/warrior” and wouldn’t that just be a fantastic name for a little Down syndrome warrior? Roman Charles and Roman Karl both sound so strong, too.

(2) Silas

A name I think Kelle may like more than Brian, but I’m hoping maybe to sell Brian on this. St. Silas (also known by the variant name Silvanus) was a companion of St. Paul and helped write a couple of the epistles. It’s a great, underused name that is uncommon but not weird. It means “wood, forest”, if that appeals to them at all. Roman Silas has a strong but unexpected feel.

(3) Gabriel

There are so many saints to go along with this name and it is fairly popular in Catholic circles, but Roman Gabriel just sounded so nice to me that I couldn’t not include it. Its meaning really sold me for them, “God is my strong man”. What a fantastic meaning for anyone! And something I know they want their children to be. This might be the best combining of styles for them.

(4) Oliver

Okay, this one is super popular but for good reason! It’s such a lovely name with several meanings (“olive tree”- I like the tie to peace and the faith with this meaning; “elf army”- meh lol; “ancestor’s descendent”- nice to think about the long line of people this little man would join). There’s also phenomenal saint, Oliver Plunkett to go with! Roman Oliver just rolls off the tongue nicely, too.

(5) Dominic

Again, a name fairly popular in Catholic circles but not overly popular. There are, of course, lots of saints for patronage, too. Roman Dominic just sounds so strong and good. The name also means “of the Lord” which is so cool!

(6) Jerome

I initially was going to leave this name off of the list but then thought how nice Roman Jerome sounds and put it back on. Tons of saints but a very underused name. It also means “sacred name” which is what they’re hoping to give this little fellow!

(7) Jude

Finally, a last minute addition. This name is fairly popular across the board, but especially in Catholic circles. However, it’s still just off the beaten path enough to not feel “plain”.  I think this one may be a good mixing of their styles, too.

What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Continue the subtle bird theme? (I say yes!)

This week I’m posting a consultation I did for a reader a while ago, who has given me permission to share it here. Brigid and her husband are expecting their third baby on earth, a little green bean (=gender unknown). This little one joins big sisters:

+Maria Arsenia

Hilaria Jacqueline, called Lark

Katherine Julia, called Wren or Birdie

I absolutely love the bird theme — how clever to come up with Lark from the “LAR” of Hilaria and the K sound in Jacqueline!! I’ve seen Wren for Katherine before — I think it’s such a fun twist on a classic, and of course Birdie! So sweet! Maria Arsenia is so lovely as well.

Brigid writes,

I chose my patron saint, St Brigid, when I was 6, and eventually changed my legal name to my saint’s name. I’ve always felt my name was a story I carry with me, a story I can look to for encouragement and guidance. My husband also changed his name to his patron saint’s name, so we view our children’s names as gifts freely given, but belonging to them. I would not be surprised if some of them changed their names too.”

Isn’t that amazing??

We love that [the girls’] names are elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful. Each and every name is a special saint, an honor name, or both

We’d like to honor our mothers, Paula Mary and Sharon Lee, in this baby’s name. A boy would almost certainly be Paul. I’m trying to talk the husband into Paul Heron

For a girl, one option is to use Mary Lee as a double middle. My one-syllable maiden name is everyone’s second middle, followed by our one-syllable last name.

My favorite name for this baby, if it’s a girl, is Mary Rose. Mary Rose Lee Maiden Last. My husband said, “Hmm.” The only time he has ever brought up baby names when we weren’t pregnant, it was for the name Harriet. And I have to admit Harriet Mary Lee is pretty great. Other shared favorites are Theodora, Paulina, Elise, and Anne. I love pretty much any Mary double: Marianne, Mary Elise, Mary Dove, etc. I can’t talk him into Iris, Rosa, or Beatrice. We can’t use Vivian or Lydia. We’re Orthodox, so pre-1054 and Eastern saints are wonderful.

I’d love to keep having subtle bird nicknames. Theodora called Dove is the only idea I have right now. Harriet called Hawk or Heron?

If we don’t use Paul as a first, it’ll be the middle. Nicholas, Benjamin, Matthias and Raphael are the runners-up.

We’re most stuck on girl’s names we both like, and on how to honor Sharon for a boy’s name. Paul Lee doesn’t work for my ear.”

I love how Brigid described her girls’ names as “elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful” — I totally agree, and I’m excited to try to help her and her hubby come up with some equally wonderful ideas for this baby!

I also love that Brigid wants to honor her mother and mother-in-law with this baby’s name. Mary Lee as a double middle is a great option and an extra fun layer is that Mary and Lee are the grandmothers’ middle names, so using them in the middle name spot is almost like a double honor for them.

I think Heron for Sharon is pretty brilliant! Paul Heron to honor a Paula and a Sharon is fantastic, and the fact that it incorporates their bird theme is Master Class, really brilliant. If Brigid’s hubby can’t get on board, some other ideas I had for honoring Sharon in a boy’s name were:

  • Using a name that has a strong “sha” element: I did a search in the Name Finder on babynamewizard.com for boy names containing “sha” and thought the results that were most promising were Elisha, Marshall, and Shalom. I particularly like that Shalom is very similar in appearance to Sharon. But my very favorite idea in this vein is Pasha — it’s a Russian diminutive of Paul (Pavel), and mashes up Paul and Sharon perfectly! I could see them preferring this as a middle name, which I think would be perfect.
  • Using a name with a similar meaning: According to behindthename.com, Sharon means “plain” — other names with the same or similar meanings include Blair, Crofton, Forbes, Whitaker, Winfield, Agellus, Rhun, and Field. Some cool options!
  • Using a name related to the flower: The rose of Sharon flower provides another possible connection. I included Sharon in my book of Marian names because Our Lady’s title Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) stems from the “rose of Sharon” mentioned in the Song of Songs (2:1), which is traditionally understood to refer to Mary. Because of this, I thought Solomon might do to honor Sharon, since he’s the author of the Song of Songs. I discovered that the flower’s official name is Hibiscus syriacus, and I thought Syriacus could be a cool middle name — it has that same “biblical place name” feel that Sharon has (if you focus on the fact that Sharon is, in origin, a biblical place name). The Wikipedia page for the flower said the “plant can bloom continuously from July through September,” so I thought maybe August could work! And finally, one of the types of roses of Sharon is called “William R. Smith” — I could see both August and William working nicely with their girls’ names. (St. Augustine would be a perfect patron for August, and there are a few pre-1054 holy Williams: https://catholicsaints.info/blessed-william-of-sann/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-guillermo-de-penacorada/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-foggia/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-gellone/.)

Mary Rose is lovely! Brigid’s hubby’s response of “Hmm” made me laugh — husbands! I agree with her that his idea of Harriet is awesome — Harriet Mary Lee is wonderful. I’d thought Hen (and Henny, so cute!) would be a perfect nickname for it — being an H name is enough to justify Hen in my opinion — but also the fact that Harriet is the English form of Henrietta makes Hen seem particularly perfect. It was only after I’d been soaking in the happiness of Harriet nn Hen for a couple of days that I realized Wren and Hen are probably too rhymey as sisters! Ah well. Brigid’s ideas of Hawk and Heron are equally doable I think, because of Harriet starting with H, though Hawk feels very masculine to me.

Back to Rose for a minute though — I was so excited to discover that Rosella is a type of bird!! I wonder what Brigid’s hubby would think of Rosella Mary Lee or Mary Rosella Lee? In this case, I could see them using Rose as the everyday call name, which would flip their bird theme from nickname to given name, but I like that — it opens up more options for potential future children. And I think Lark, Wren/Birdie, and Rose make a lovely, cohesive set, since they’re all nature names.

I love Brigid’s ideas of Theodora called Dove and Paulina called Linnet. She has Elise on her list as well — I wonder if she’s considered the full Elizabeth/Elisabeth? I think the full name could take the nickname Linnet as well.

Okay, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I took two routes: The first is my usual, where I look up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) to find other names that Brigid and her husband would probably like; the second was to do research on bird names and see if I could back into a formal name + nickname option that way. Then I looked through both CatholicSaints.info and the list of Eastern Orthodox saints on Wikipedia to see if I could find a patron Saint (though I admit I’m not sure if the pre-1054 parameter refers to their date of death or date of canonization? I used date of death, so beware that I might have inadvertently included some that aren’t appropriate, so sorry!). Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Brigid’s baby-on-the-way:

Girl

(1) Margaret or Magdalene nn Magpie

I wasn’t surprised to see Margaret as a style match for this family, and Magpie immediately came to mind as the perfect nickname! While Margaret is certainly well matched with Katherine, I thought it seemed a bit plain next to Hilaria, so I thought Brigid and her hubby might like to consider variants like Margarita, Margaretha, Marguerite, Margo(t), Margery, etc. — there are so many of them! St. Margaret of Antioch works as patron, and she’s listed as “also known as” Margherita, Marina, Margaritha, Marine, and Margaretha on CatholicSaints.info.

I also thought Magdalene (or Magdalyn, Magdalena, etc.) might also be a great idea as it’s a little more offbeat — a nice middle ground between Hilaria and Katherine I think — and can still take Magpie as a nickname.

(2) Rebecca nn Robin

How about Rebecca with the nickname Robin? A long time ago I saw a birth announcement for a Rebecca nn Ruby and I just loved it right away, I thought it was so clever. So when I saw Rebecca as a style match for this family, I thought of that birth announcement again and Robin slid into place as such a great nickname option!

(3) Stella nn Starling

I’ve always thought Starling is such a pretty and unexpected name for a girl — I used to spend quite a lot of time reading the discussion forums on babynamewizard.com and I remember at least one baby girl being named Starling. I thought of it for Brigid, and thought Stella (or Estella, Estelle) could be the perfect given name for it, because of the “star” connection. I wanted to be sure Our Lady’s title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) was in usage before 1054 though, and according to Wikipedia (I know! But sometimes it’s the best option if I don’t want a consultation to take weeks of research!), it’s been “in use since at least the early medieval period,” so that should be good, right?

(4) Phoebe

I wonder if they’ve ever considered Phoebe? It’s both the name of a bird and the sound that bird makes (which is why it’s called a phoebe), so it’s perfect for a family who wants a bird name. In this case, it would be the given name rather than a nickname, which, like with Rosella above, might be a nice addition to their theme without doing it exactly as they’ve done in the past. Phoebe is biblical of course, but there’s also a pre-Congregation St. Phoebe of Rome.

(5) Piper (Paulina?)

I was totally taken with the pictures of sandpipers I found when I was doing bird research — they are the cutest! I love the name Piper, I think it’s sweet and musical for a girl, and in this case, I can see it working easily as a nickname for Paulina. I also enjoyed discovering that there’s an Eastern Saint named St. Stephen of Piperi — could be a cool second patron for a little Paulina nn Piper!

(6) Columba, Paloma nn Dove

Finally, I’m grouping these together because I’m not sure they’re exactly Brigid’s style, but I wanted to mention them anyway. Though St. Columba was a man, I think Columba feels more natural these days for a girl, and Columba means “dove,” so Columba nn Dove would be perfect!

Similarly, Paloma is a Spanish name meaning “dove,” and it’s Marian too — her title La Virgen de la Paloma dates to the eighteenth century, which doesn’t work for this family, but the doves referred to in the Song of Songs are understood to refer to Mary, so that would be perfect! I think Paloma and Hilaria are very well matched as sisters; if they did Mary Paloma, I think Katherine would be looped in nicely.

Boy

(1) Martin

Boy names were tough! But I was thrilled to discover that martins are a kind of bird, and that Pope St. Martin I works as patron! Like with Rosella and Phoebe, Martin would be the given name rather than the nickname, but that could be the way they decide to do it for their boys (if they were to have more).

(2) Philip nn Pip

Because of Phoebe, one of the things I researched were bird noises to see if there were any possibilities there. According to this cool graphic, the Song Thrush’s song sounds like “filip filip filip codidio codidio quietquiquit tittit tittit tereret tereret tereret” — that first part, the “filip” part, made me think Philip might be perfect! Not only that, but the traditional (and amazing) Philip nickname Pip also has bird connections — apparently a pip is when a baby bird breaks through its shell using its beak. How cool is that?? St. Philip of Agira is the perfect patron for a little Philip.

(3) Robert nn Robin

I feel like there’s a good chance Brigid and her husband considered this and decided against it, but I thought it was good to include it here just in case. Robin is an old, traditional nickname for Robert, and while male Robins are rare these days (Robin Williams notwithstanding), I actually have a neighbor whose teen son is named Robin. And Robert is certainly handsome and classic. Rupert and Rigobert are fun variants to consider as well. St. Rigobert of Rheims is a good patron date-wise, as are St. Robert of Syracuse, St. Rupert of Bingen, and St. Rupert of Salzburg. (I think Robin could probably also work for Raphael, right?)

(4) Henry nn Hawk, Heron

This isn’t really a new idea, since Hawk and Heron were ideas Brigid already had, but I thought Henry works perfectly as a way to get to them for a boy. St. Henry II is a pre-1054 Saint, and I love that he’s known as Good King Henry.

(5) Stephen nn Piper

When I was writing about St. Stephen of Piperi as a possible patron for a little girl named Piper, I wondered about considering Piper for a boy? If they like that idea, I could totally see Stephen as the given name and Piper as the nickname after St. Stephen of Piperi.

(6) Finch

Finch was the first idea I had for this family for a boy. I think it’s so cool! Finch totally works as a nickname for Philip (if they didn’t like the Pip idea above), or as a middle name with a more staid first name (William Finch? August Finch? Paul Finch Lee?)

(7) Jay

Finally, Jay! Jay can work on its own (I know a “just Jay”), or it can be a nickname for anything you want, really — any J name, and even non-J names, as was the case with my uncle, whose given name was Lawrence but he always went by Jay!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Hilaria/Lark and Katherine/Wren?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Establishing style with first baby’s name!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I read the U.S Bishops’ “Labor Day Statement 2021” this morning and really loved the way Pope Francis has called for “all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, [to become] islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” — how beautiful! I’m also happy to post today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — please leave your ideas in the comments!

Also, I know I’m behind on replying to emails — I’m hoping to sit down and get through them all very soon! Thank you for your patience!

Today’s couple, Chris and Nina, gave me a wealth of information on themselves and what they’d like in a baby name. This is their first child, a little boy due in September, so they’re establishing their style for the first time! Among things they wanted to consider in a baby name was the following:

  • Somewhat important that a name isn’t too popular
  • Neutral for me about having a name connected with a particular ethnic/racial/religious background, somewhat important for Nina that it’s an American name or a Jewish name
  • Prefer a name that is male-specific
  • Somewhat important that the name is easy to spell and pronounce
  • Neutral about it having a particular linguistic meaning
  • Somewhat important that it’s unique in our social circle
  • Bonus if the name feels like a grounded masculine name

First, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the names on their shortlist.

Emmet– It means “whole” or “universal”, though I know meanings don’t necessarily factor in for them. It has an up-and-coming yet grounded vibe.

Everett– This gives off the same kind of vibe as Emmet.

Emerson– This has a real cool vibe and it’s starting to climb in popularity. It seems they like names that begin Es and that have a warm, grounded feeling. I love this name for them, actually, and would have suggested it if it wasn’t already on their list.

James– A very grounded, everyman type name. I know this is probably on their list due to it being passed down on Chris’s side (many men in his family, including him, bear this name!) but, other than that, it didn’t strike me as “them”. It would be great in the middle spot, though!

Lincoln– This has the surname vibe that they seem to like and also reminds me of Emerson.

Leo– It means “lion” which, while not one of Chris’s favorite animals, is an animal name like some of his interests! (I told you they gave me a ton of information!) I like that it’s short and snappy but with a really friendly vibe. This name feels very much in their wheelhouse.

Eli– This name has some great Hebrew roots, which is important to Nina, and is short and snappy like Leo but less common. I love this for them!

Malakai (Kai)– Another name with great Hebrew roots and is not very common but isn’t weird. An unofficial suggestion, perhaps they’d also like Macaiah/Micaiah. This is the full name of the prophet Micah and the name of several other Old Testament players. They can still get to the super cool nickname Kai with this and it’s more unusual (while still not being weird!).

Samson– Another cool name with a surname vibe. This name actually means “sun” which brings in their love of nature.

Wilder– Another surname name! It means exactly what it says, too, and that’s a great name for a little boy. I love this. I’m seeing it ever so slightly more often these days (my new nephew was just named Wylder). I think this is a great name for them except that it might be too many -er’s with their last name (which ends in -er).

Theodore– I love that they love this longer form and not just Theo. It’s a great name climbing in popularity but still relatively uncommon. Great name.

Jay– You can’t get anymore short, sweet, and to the point than Jay!

Rafael– I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see this on their list! It’s such a great underused name and I’d love to see it get more love.

Wesley– This name reminds me of the 80s and 90s even though it’s seeing an uptick in popularity again. The feel of this name is very cool, calm, and grounded but it doesn’t feel quite like them.

Okay, on to new suggestions!

(1) Pax/Paxton

This has the cool, grounded vibe they seem to like a lot. It’s outside the top 100 names in the US, meaning it’s uncommon but not unfamiliar. Paxton has the surname vibe they tend towards and nickname Pax keeps it short and powerful. I really love this name for them, it feels like them.

(2) Fletcher

That surname vibe rises again! This one is even outside the top 500 names in the US meaning they probably won’t run into another one but it’s still familiar. The only drawback I see here is that it ends in -er like their last name.

(3) Bastian

I thought they’d prefer this short form over the full Sebastian and it has fun nickname Bash to go with it. Sebastian is in the top 20 names but Bastian moves away from that popularity. It’s very masculine and strong without being over the top, too common, or in your face.

(4) Ezekiel

I thought this was a great marriage of Hebrew roots, their affinity for names that begin with “E”, and the cool but grounded vibes they tend to like. It is in the top 100 but a nickname like cool Zeke might help with that, too. It also means, “God will strengthen”, and a sort of strength is what they want for their child. This might be a really great way to bring most of their personalities and affinities together in a name. This might be a home run.

(5) Silas

This name feels so much like them to me. It’s at 100 in the US and is rising in popularity. It’s short, snappy, and grounded, and actually has the nature meaning of “wood, forest”. For a family that prefers the outdoors and would like to show it but subtly, this name might just be a hit.

(6) Jonah

This has the cool, grounded vibes I get from them, has Hebrew roots, and means “dove” which technically makes it a nature name. It also begins with “J” which I saw plays a large part in their family life.

(7) Shepherd

Finally, another surname name. David was a shepherd and so were several other Old Testament characters, which made me think they might like this name. It has a soft feel but is definitely masculine and grounded. It sits at number 602 in the US and is slowly rising in popularity. This name says to me a person who will be the master of his own peace and strength, someone who is independent, and someone who is a gentle leader.

Those are my suggestions! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 6 needs a classic name (maybe with a twist?)

I hope you all had a wonderful Feast of the Assumption! My story (not) about the name Assumpta continues to be one of my favorites. 😂 Enjoy this consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams, and offer your ideas for this family!

Mary writes in asking for help naming green bean baby #6! Baby will join older siblings:

Anthony Raphael

Kathryn Rose, who goes by Katie Rose

Daniel Louis

Martha Claire Therese

Christopher Karl Benedict

Agnes (in heaven)

Joseph Martin (in heaven)

She writes that they have some names on their shortlist, too, but just don’t feel like “the one”:

  • Sarah
  • Felicity
  • Alice
  • Nathan
  • Benjamin
  • Peter
  • Isaac

Names one of them likes but the other doesn’t or they can’t use for various reasons include:

  • Samwise
  • Mary Magdalen
  • Arthur
  • Amy
  • Mercy
  • Gwenfair/Mairwen
  • Gregory
  • Patrick

First, a few thoughts on their shortlist.

Sarah– Great name! So classic, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a style match for literally every one of their other children’s names, including their babies in heaven. Being honest, I think they’ve found The One.

Felicity– I love the femininity of this name and that it means “happy”.

Alice– That they love this was a little unexpected to me! It’s such a great name–– short, snappy, down to earth.

I love the combo Sarah Felicity Alice! It has such a great flow on its own and with their last name.

Nathan– I don’t agree that he’d get called Nathaniel (something Mary was worried about with her other kids’ names) but I guess anything is possible. This is a great name with their other kids.

Benjamin– If they’re only worried about him being nicknamed, have no fear. I know several Benjamins who are not Ben or Benny or Benji or anything else. Plus, they’ve kept all their other boys from having nicknames, especially Christopher! So I don’t think they’d have anything to fear here. Also, Benjamin Joseph is such a strong name and then could be nicknamed, if this tickles their fancy or funny bone, Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. Always good to have a laugh!

Peter– Great name that I actually don’t hear get nicknamed to Pete very often. My Peter is just Peter, if that’s helpful. With their other kids, I don’t think they could go wrong with this name.

Isaac– Another one that surprised me in the best of ways! Isaac is such a happy name, to me, and I think he’s so sweet with their other children’s names.

A note on double middles. Mary wrote wondering if three kids in a row with double middle names would be too much. To that I say, love them! I and all of my children have them. If they gave this child two middle names, half of their children would have double middles and half would have single middles.

On to new suggestions! I’ll start with the girls first.

(1) Veronica

This reminded me of one of the other names on their list, Victoria. It’s got the punchy V and more feminine feel. It’s frilly but still down to earth, which I thought might bridge Mary’s and her husband’s styles. It’s also a style match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel. It means “true image” which is such a great reminder to be an image of Christ in the world! There is, of course, the St. Veronica who wiped Jesus’s face, but there’s also Sts. Veronica Giuliani, Veronica of Binasco, and so many more.

(2) Anna

Anna, rather than Ann(e) is a little frillier but still, short, spunky, and down to earth. I love that for these guys. There’s also tons of saints to take a patronage from and means “grace”. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and also Sarah, so it’s right in their wheelhouse.

(3) Helena

I thought of this name almost immediately for them. Mary’s love of the name Mercy made me think of this as it’s St. Faustina’s birth name and that ties it into the Divine Mercy. It also means “torch” or “moon” giving it lots of different faith tie-ins. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes, too.

(4) Flora

This is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and means “flower” giving it the tie-in to St. Therese. I like that this is a little more unexpected, like Martha, and is short but still feminine. I had no idea until I looked it up but there are several saints with this name! Sts. Flora of Cordoba and Flora of Rome, Bl. Flora of Beaulieu, and Ven. Flora Bracaval.

(5) Marina

This is maybe my most unusual girl name suggestion. I was thinking of Maria for them but then this name came up as a match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel and it struck me as a good name for them. It has the down to earth, classic feeling of Sarah with the longer femininity of Felicity. It means “of the sea” so it can be a reference to Mary as star of the sea. In the Eastern Church, St. Margaret of Antioch is known as Marina and there are several other saints Marina, too.

On to boys!

(1) Henry

A good strong name with very few natural nicknaming possibilities. This name is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and thought it brought Mary’s more classic tastes and her husband’s strong tastes together really well. There are a couple saints to go with the name, too, if they need that.

(2) Rufus

Initially, I didn’t think this name was a great fit for them, but as I continued researching, it grew on me. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and there are several saints, including a companion of St. Paul to go along with it. That surprised me, too! There’s not too much info on any of them, but St. Polycarp called one of them a “very happy man”, which I thought would be sweet for a son.

(3) Paul

Speaking of Paul, what about his name? It’s a match for most of their children’s names and is a good, strong name with no nickname potential. I was thinking that if they love Peter but are worried about nicknames, maybe they’d like Paul instead.

(4) John

It doesn’t get anymore classic and strong with little nickname potential than John! It’s a style match for all of their other children’s names, too. Their love of the name Sarah actually made me think of John and then he matched all of their kids. They cannot go wrong with this name. The only drawback might be that it’s still pretty common.

(5) Samuel

I know they’d worry about him getting called Sam or Sammy, but they’ve done such a great job with making sure their other boys don’t get called by nicknames that I think they could handle this one, too. Samuel is a style match for all of their other children’s names and Sarah and it means “God has heard”. I couldn’t not include this name as I really think it’s a home run for them!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Birth announcement: Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Happy happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! Longtime readers know that St. Anne is Sancta Nomina’s patroness — it’s a special day for us all! I’m starting a novena to St. Anne today offered for all of you and your intentions. ❤️ I’ve also made a St. Anne pilgrimage every year since 2015, specifically in thanks for her intercession on our behalf, and though I haven’t yet been able to make one this summer in the year of my SEVENTH blogiversary (!) (this summer is even busier than I expected, the hiatus was a very necessary decision!), my husband and I are planning to do so before the summer’s out. I will post about it then! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful feast day, and remember to pray and thank God for your grandparents!!

I posted a consultation for Carlin and her husband back in April, and I’m THRILLED to share that their twin boys have arrived and been given the ah-MAZ-ing names … Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Carlin writes,

They have been nothing short of a dream and their names fit just perfectly. Born on June 9th at 9:11/9:12am, Leo was 6lbs 4oz and Grey was 6lbs 7oz. Yep! We are totally going with Grey as a nickname, although Gregory is so suitable for this little man too.”

Leo and Gregory!! Leo and Grey!! Bessette and Augustin!! Ahhhh!! I love everything about their names!!

Congratulations to Carlin and her hubby and big sibs Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas, and happy birthday Babies Leo and Gregory/Grey!!

Gregory Augustin/Grey (left) and Leo Bessette (right)


During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultations are still being offered! Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set one up! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Pop culture + unique for him, super Saintly for her

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Allison writes in asking for help with names for the little green bean (gender unknown) they are expecting. Baby joins big siblings:

William Michael (in heaven)

Emilia Grace (in heaven)

Autumn Kateri

First, what great names!

Allison writes:

Christopher [husband] prefers very unique names (think – things found in Star Wars or your favorite video game), and I tend towards different saints – Felicity, Philomena, etc.

I have a strong devotion to St. John the Apostle, but Christopher doesn’t love the name John.”

Pop culture references are my jam! I love unique names that tie together both secular interests and the faith.

Names they won’t use:

  • Tristan
  • Renee
  • Nicole
  • Erin

Names on their shortlist:

  • Zoe
  • Isla
  • Aubrey
  • Jade
  • Estelle
  • Judah
  • Daire
  • Griffin
  • Ze’ev
  • Beo

First, I wanted to give some thoughts on their shortlist. They have some awesome names on there!

Zoe: I love this name and yes, I’m a little biased. You can’t beat its short and snappiness and its meaning, “life.” But this isn’t just the biological life but the spiritual life! It’s like asking to be filled with God’s life. There are also two fantastic saints, Zoe of Rome and Zoe of Pamphylia (my patroness). I just love this name and don’t think you could go wrong with it.

Isla: This struck me as so you guys. I love this as a sister for Autumn, too. I like that, with this name, all your girls would have names that begin with vowels. I think that’s cool!

Aubrey: Again, such a lovely name that struck me as so you two. The only drawback with this one is that she and her sister would have names that start with the same sound and letters Au-. It might feel like starting a pattern and I’m not sure you’d want to set that precedent with child number 2. Maybe for a child down the line.

Jade: I love that they like this name! You don’t see it very often and I think that’s a shame. I love that Jade and Autumn both have rich, warm feelings.

Estelle: I was truly surprised by this one! To me it still says “grandma” but that usually means that it’s time for a renewal! I love the thought of a little Estelle. It’s meaning, “star”, can also point to Our Lady to give her a bit of a faith tie-in.

Judah: Such a great name and a great way to honor Jesus.

Daire: I’d never heard this name before, so I had to look it up. What a cool name! I love its meaning of “oak tree.” You want your son to be good, strong, and faithful and this name would convey that.

Griffin: I love that they love slightly more unusual boys’ names. There’s such a wealth out there that many people don’t dig into. Again, this is a great, strong name. You couldn’t go wrong with this one at all.

Ze’ev: Another name I had to look up. This one strikes me as super cool, especially with its meaning of “wolf,” but it would definitely set a precedent for future children. Maybe in the middle spot? It’s short and snappy and has the zippy Z that’s totally in right now. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’d be sad if they didn’t find some way to tie this name in. I love cool, unusual names! I wish more people were as adventurous as this couple!

Beo: Another one I had to look up! I’m loving all that I’m learning from this couple! So this Irish name bears a similar meaning to Zoe, which is cool. I’d never come across a male name that did this before. It’s short and snappy, which seems to be a theme for them. This does make me think of Beowulf, which maybe isn’t something anyone else would think of or even anything that would bother them.

Okay, so on to new suggestions! We’ll start with girls

Girls

(1) Lydia

Lydia is a match for Autumn and reminds me of it, too. Both Autumn and Lydia are names that remind me of the 1990s and popular culture of that time. There’s the saint Lydia Purpuraria, patron saint of the color purple, to go with this name, and she’s super cool! She helped St. Paul a lot. There are also characters named Lydia in the video games Skyrim, Dishonored, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and in lots of television shows and movies. If you want a good faith and pop culture crossover, Lydia is their girl!

(2) Anastasia nn Stella

Anastasia means “Resurrection” which is a fantastic meaning for a child you want to be able to grow with the changes life will throw at her. Anastasia is also a saint named in the canon at mass, which would be super cool for a child to hear! I like that she would share a first initial with her big sister. If that bothers them, though, there are nicknames besides Ana or Anya to go with this name. There’s the classic Stasia or Stacey and then there’s Stella. Stella is an Old Slavic nickname for Anastasia. I can’t find any reason why, but it is! This would also nicely tie in their love of Estelle.

(3) Luna

This name meaning “moon” really struck me as their style. It’s short, snappy, a little unusual, but totally cool. There’s no saint to go with it but it can be a nod to Mary as she is described as the moon. Also, fun fact, the lunette or luna is the part of the monstrance that actually holds the Eucharist. What a cool connection for a girl! There are so many Lunas in pop culture: Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Marvel comics, and plenty of video games, including Final Fantasy XV and Super Mario Bros.

(4) Ivy

This is another name that really struck me as their style. I love that with this one, the sisters would both have vowel names. This can also be a nod to Mary under the title Our Lady of Sorrows as the ivy plant is sometimes called Mary’s tears. There is an Ivy in the Batman comics and in video games Pokemon and Soul Caliber.

(5) Felicity

They had mentioned this name in their email as the type of name she tend towards but that her husband doesn’t. It fits them so well that I couldn’t leave it off. It is also a match for Autumn, Emilia, and William! It means “good luck” or “happiness” and I just love that for a younger child. There are tons of saints Felicity and also a character in the Green Arrow comics named Felicity. The actress who starred as Jyn in Rogue One is named Felicity, too. I really feel like this is a can’t miss name for them.

Okay, on to boys!

Boys

(1) Hugo

This was one of the first names that came to mind for them. It’s short, a little off-beat, but still familiar. It means “heart, mind, spirit” which, wow! Could you get anymore all-encompassing? There are all kinds of saints named Hugo or Hugh (its English form) including St. Hugh of Novara, Bl. Hugh of Canefro, Bl. Hugh of Sassoferato, and Bl. Hugo of Haarlem. There are also characters named Hugo in Batman, Harry Potter, Lost, and the Skylander video game.

(2) Dimitri

This one struck me as just off-beat enough for them. Its meaning is meh but there are several saints Demetrius (maybe they’d like that form of the name, too?) that tie it into the faith and there are characters named Dimitri in the Castlevania video games and the movie Anastasia.

(3) Jude

This was inspired by their love of Judah, so maybe they’ve considered this name before. It is fairly popular in Catholic circles, so maybe that’s a turn off for them. This is actually a form of the name Judah, which made me think that they’d like it. There are obviously tons of pop culture references to Jude and the saint of impossible causes. Come to think of it, a saint like that might be great for a little boy 😉

(4) Cassian

There are several saints named Cassian and Cassian is one of the main characters in Rogue One. Honestly, I think this name might be a hit for them because it’s unusual but not weird, can carry the nickname Cash to make it more digestible, and has ties to all the things they love.

(5) Lando/Landon

Believe it or not, there are several popes names Lando! I thought that was so cool to learn while I was researching. Of course, Lando is also the name of beloved Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. That name is actually a form of Lance, meaning “spear.” If Lando is a little too much on its own, I thought Landon was a great longer form. They’re not technically related, but who cares. Landon means “long hill”. I really love the sound of Autumn and Landon together and Landon is a style match for Autumn and William.

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Uncommon but not unheard of name to go with John for baby no. 6

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Adrienne writes in asking for help naming baby #6, a boy, due in October. Baby boy will be joining older siblings:

Constance Jane

Veronica Joy

Mark Ross “Ross”

Ambrose James

Silas Augustine

Adrienne says:

I don’t really want to repeat first letters, mainly just because it’s an easy shorthand, but I would do so for a really special name. I also don’t love alliteration with our last name (so that probably rules out “M” first names)…I also do not want the first name to rhyme with the last name. For example, I wouldn’t use Asher because the ending sounds too similar to [our last name that sounds like Heather]”.

Names they can’t use:

  • Jackson
  • Joseph
  • McCord
  • Cohen
  • Garner
  • James
  • Thomas
  • Jeremy
  • Jacob
  • Jordan
  • Alasdair
  • Names they like:
  • Benedict
  • Titus
  • Elias
  • Theodore
  • Atticus

Adrienne also adds:

If Baby had been a girl, we were considering Hazel, Felicity, and Aurelia.

My husband only has eyes for John (to honor St. John the Evangelist). He won’t consider Jonathan, which I have offered as a compromise, but might be willing to consider John as a middle name

We have also discussed forms of John (like Ewan or Ian) and double names like John Paul, but so far, he is resistant to those suggestions. To add a little bit of a wrinkle to the consultation, we are actually an Orthodox family. But, we are also Western Rite, so we love saints that are recognized by both East and West, like Ambrose and Augustine. We like our names to have at least one patron saint in the name. It can be a saint name from the Bible or more recent times.  Since St. John would be the patron saint though, I’m open to a not-yet-a-saint first name ideas as well (like our son Ross). My husband prefers names for boys that are strong/traditional. He’s not worried about whether a name is popular. I really prefer names that are more uncommon, but not unheard of! We do not care for gender-neutral names. We don’t want to use surnames or place names. We don’t care for unusual spellings. The cadence of the name is important to me. I like it to have a nice flow with our last name. My hesitation with giving in on “John” as a first name is mainly that it sounds plain next to our other kids’ names, like Ambrose and Veronica.”

Wow!! What great information for naming their child. I definitely kept everything in mind when doing their consultation. I agree that John sounds a little plain next to the other kids’ names but it’s also one of those names that goes with literally every other name out there. You honestly can’t go wrong with John! But I’ve got plenty of suggestions anyway.

First, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the names they said they like already but just aren’t clicking as “the one”.

Benedict: Great name, great saint! Fits well with your other kids and has the cute nicknames Ben and Benny. If you wanted to get a little unusual with this one (and maybe bridge the gap between Ross and the others), you could call him Ned.

Titus: Again, another great name and saint that fits in well with your others. I really like this one for you guys, actually.

Elias: This is a form of Elijah and I think this form does really well with your others. It’s unusual but not weird.

Theodore: Such a cute and handsome name! One that really would grow well on a child. So many nickname options, too! Theo, Teddy, Ted, T+middle initial. It’s so versatile!

Atticus: I adore this name and truly wish it was used more often. The name itself doesn’t have a standout meaning (It means “from Attica” which is the region in Greece where Athens is located) but it conjures images of a strong man, a father. I’d push you to go for this name but it repeats the A like your son Ambrose!

Adrienne’s husband loves John but she doesn’t so much (it is still very common) and, so far, he hasn’t gone for any variation of it. I hate to see a name and saint you love go unused because you can’t agree on a form of it! Here are some other variations of the name John:

Ivan– Russian

Johannes/Johan/Hans– German and Germanic languages (I knew a Hans growing up and he was so cool! I associate Hans with being really friendly, creative, and cool)

Jean– French

Giovanni/Gianni/Gian– Italian

Jonas– I love this more unusual, surname form of John. I also think this sounds so good as a brother for Ross, Ambrose, and Silas!

Zane– this is an American form of John. It’s unusual and got that punchy Z and is a great brother name to all your others, sort of bridging all the gaps and bringing them all together.

Evan– This is a Welsh form of John but I also thought this would be a cool way to honor St. John the Evangelist because it matches the first four letters of Evangelist!

Now for new suggestions! I kept all your rules and your faith in mind and here’s what I thought:

(1) Peter

It’s a match for all of your other kids’ names and has many many saints to go along with it, but of course, chief among them is St. Peter the Apostle. It’s a great name on a little kid and a great name on an adult. Short form, Pete gives is grounding and likability, too. And there are other nicknames I’ve heard, too, like Petey, Peep, PT, and Pepe (even though that’s actually a nickname for Jose!). Peter John is an incredible combo that I don’t think could be topped, also!

(2) Philip

Another Apostle and another match for all of your kids’ names! There are actually two Philips in the New Testament, too–– the Apostle and also, St. Philip the Deacon whom St. Paul talks about in his letters. Philip is an up-and-coming name ranking at 451 and it’s been dropping in recent years, meaning the only place you’d ever hear it is probably in Orthodox and Catholic circles. It’s got all kinds of nicknames to go with it like Phil, Philly, Pip, and Pippin, which makes it versatile.

(3) Bartholomew

This name is a match for your sons’ names and he was an Apostle (also sometimes known as Nathanael). I thought bringing in another heavy-hitting name would balance out Constance and Ambrose from their siblings Ross, Veronica, and Silas. Bartholomew does that! There are the traditional nicknames Bart, Barty, and Barth but you could get creative here and do Barto, Bam, Bolo, Art, Artie, Arth, or even Tolo. Personally, I love the nickname Bam but that could be because I associate that sound so strongly with little boys!

(4) Ignatius

St. Ignatius of Antioch is regarded as a Father of the Church in Catholicism and I think he holds a similar place in Orthodoxy? He’s a match for Ambrose and I thought how cool it would be for brothers to share that.

(5) Clement

Another early, heavy-hitting saint, Clement, with nicknames Clem, Clemmy, Lem, and Lemmy, balances out Constance and Ambrose against Veronica, Ross, and Silas. A great name meaning “clemency” or “mercy”, it reminds us of God’s greatest attribute.

(6) Basil

This is a name I’ve been begging my husband to let me use but he won’t go for it! It sounds too British to him and maybe to you, too? But St. Basil the Great is, well, great, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this name for you guys. He’s an early saint like Veronica and Ambrose, but he’s short and spunky like Silas and Ross. The name means “little king” and isn’t that just so fitting for child #6? This is also a name in Arabic and means “brave, valiant” which super cool!! This is, I think, a can’t miss name for you guys and Basil John is just so strong and swoony.

(7) Gregory

Finally, Gregory. I like this name for you guys as is connects and bridges all of the other kids’ names together; is familiar but not too popular (it currently ranks at 432); and has three amazing saints: the Great, Nazianzen, and of Nyssa! Greg is the obvious nickname but if that’s too old man for you there’s also Gregor and the incredibly cute and unexpected Rory!

Those are my thoughts! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: A name that works in both Spanish and English for baby boy

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July! I’m happy to share with you the first consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Lucy and husband are expecting their 6th child, 2nd boy, on Oct. 22, the feast day of one of their favorites saints, St. John Paull II. She writes:

My name is Lucia (after Saint Lucy and Sister Lucia), I go by Lucy, and my husband is Arturo, he goes by Art.”

Super fun already! I love Lucy for Lucia and that they both go by nicknames.

This baby will join big siblings:

Eva Elyssa

Samuel Benjamin

Bianca Pilar

Sienna Claire

Annie Elizabeth

Sienna and Annie are twins.

They need a name that works in both Spanish and English and would like a saint name to be prominent. They cannot use the names Lukas, Oliver, Mathias, or Fernando. And some of their favorite saints are St. Philip Neri, St. John Paul II (their favorite), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Bl. Carlo Acutis. Such great saints!

I kept these things in mind when looking up names and kept at the forefront that they love St. John Paul II and are due on his feast day. Here are my suggestions!

(1) Charles/Carlos/Carlo

St. John Paul II’s given name was Karol which is the Polish form of Charles. I thought Charles fit in with your other kids nicely! But I kept having the thought that it’s not very easy to pronounce in Spanish. That led me to Carlos, the Spanish variant. Maybe you would like that better? It also looks closer to JPII’s native Karol than Charles does. But I couldn’t shake Carlo and how cool it is that Bl. Carlo Acutis is newly in everyone’s minds. Then you told me you love Bl. Carlo Acutis! I feel like Carlo for St. John Paul II and Bl. Carlo Acutis is a home run name for you guys.

(2) Thomas/Tomás

I included the Spanish version here just for the sake of keeping that at the forefront, however, I think any Spanish speaker would pronounce it the Spanish way no matter which way it’s spelled. I like this name for you because it is a strong saint name, it’s a name match for all the children, and has similar nicknames to Samuel, Tom and Tommy, like Samuel has Sam and Sammy. It would be a neat way to connect the brothers, especially since the girls all have more Spanish/Latin sounding names.

(3) Oscar

St. Oscar Romero is a great patron and the name is a match for all the children’s names. It’s easily pronounced in English and Spanish and is a little unusual while still being accessible.

(4) Gabriel

This was actually the second name to come to mind for you. It fits the English-Spanish rule, has super cute and accessible nickname Gabe, and goes well with your other children. It also bridges the gap a bit between Samuel and Annie to Eva, Bianca, and Sienna. There’s a number of Saints Gabriel, including the Archangel and Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(5) Francis/Francisco

Because St. Francis is one of your favorite saints, I’m sure you’ve already considered this name but I couldn’t leave it out. Francis sounds much more English, but that would be good beside Samuel and Annie while not ostracizing the others. Francisco bridges the gaps between all the other names and really brings them into coherence. Both can take the adorable nickname Frankie which helps ground it.

(6) Augustine/Agustin/August

A friend of mine once told me her Mexican grandfather’s name was Augustine nicknamed Auggie and since then, I have thought of it as being easily pronounced in both English and Spanish. There’s the Spanish spelling Agustin or the short form August. It’s a strong saint name, which adds to its appeal. It also carries the nickname Gus which is super cute, especially with brother Sam/Samuel! Bonus: Bl. Miguel Pro’s middle name was Agustin!

(7) James/Jaime/Santiago

My last thought was James with the nickname Jaime to make it easy to pronounce in Spanish and English. It’s such a good, strong name and was carried by two apostles! I didn’t think you’d like Diego here, even though that’s the standard Spanish version, but I did include Santiago just in case you wanted to get a little wild with this baby! Plus, the nickname Santi, which means “holy”, is adorable!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: How to name a Fifth (V)?

Christi and her husband are expecting their second baby and first son! Little Mister joins big sister:

Anastasia Therese (“We loved that her name means resurrection, and Therese is after both my grandmother that I was close with and St. Therese that we’ve entrusted our marriage to.”)

Such a gorgeous name!!

Christi writes,

My husband is a fourth (IV), as in — him, his dad, his grandpa, and great-grandpa all share the same name. We found out we are having a boy (due on Thanksgiving!), and now the pressure is on — will this baby be the fifth (V)?! 

My husband’s name is Domenick, spelled that way after some confusion at Ellis Island when his Italian great grandfather was immigrating here. His birth name was Amadeo, but couldn’t quite translate that to English, so he ended up with a uniquely spelled Domenick instead.

I would love to honor the family history in a special way. I don’t like the nicknames for Domenick that I’ve seen (Dom, Nick, Nico, etc), so a compromise that we are more or less settled on is naming the child Domenick but also giving him a middle name that he’d go by (none of the other Domenicks have middle names, so it wouldn’t be a true “fifth,” but I think the sentiment would be enough for his family to be pleased). So that kind of narrows down the options a lot; we *think* we are essentially looking for a middle name that fits with Domenick, that also is either a great standalone name or has a great nickname for our son to go by. We’re open to any other suggestions you have in this area!

In general, we find ourselves gravitating to more classic names that aren’t super popular (at least not in the top 100). We [obviously] love Italian names, but don’t want it to be too in-your-face. I think that’s why I love nicknames — they can take a super Italian name and make it more simple/ manageable. In terms of middle names that we’ve started considering for the baby boy, here’s the list (there’s not many!):

  • Gianni (“this is the front runner! We both love it, but it doesn’t have any special meaning to us which is a bit of a drawback. I also don’t know if we want a SUPER Italian first name paired with our SUPER Italian last name. Domenick and Anastasia both have a better balance I feel- they are easily translated/ pronounced in Italian, but they aren’t quite as in-your-face“)
  • Vincent, nicknamed — and would go by — Vio (“I got the nickname idea from reading your blog and thought it was genius! My dad’s middle name is Vincent, and I also liked that the V would be reminiscent of the fact that he’s the fifth male. I’m worried that Vio is so obscure that people wouldn’t know what I’m saying when I introduce him, as in, “Did you say B.O.? Veal?” haha“)
  • Malachi nn Chi or X pronounced “Ky” (“we like this but I don’t love it; there’s not really any significance behind the name for us“)
  • Amadeo (“love the family significance; the biggest drawback is that to us, there isn’t an obvious nickname to go by, and is slightly too Italian sounding by itself“)

Saints/ family members we’d like to honor:

  • St. Anthony
  • St. Ignatius
  • Henri Nouwen (“not a saint yet!“)
  • Joseph (“we found out we were pregnant on his feast day, and we both have Josephs in our families we’d love to honor; just not thrilled with a child going by Joseph, Joe, Joey, etc.“)

Names we have discussed but decided to cross off our list:

  • Sebastian (“close but not it“)
  • Pierre (“husband loves this, I think it sounds weird to have a super French first name with a super Italian last name. I love Peter but husband thinks it’s too often used as a euphemism“)
  • Attilio nn Lio (“this was the frontrunner if Anastasia was a boy, but family has since used the name so it’s off the table“)
  • Valentino (“no good nicknames, as we both dislike Tino“)
  • Romeo/ Roman (“I don’t think we’d actually choose one of these names, but they’re definitely in the right “name family”. My husband and I met in Rome, Italy, so it would be fun to honor that place. I think Romeo is too associated with Romeo & Juliet, and something about Roman just doesn’t fit. They’re both close though!“)”

I love how Christi described both Domenick and Anastasia as being not “too-in-your-face” and being more balanced Italian-wise — I totally agree. I also love that they’re planning on Domenick for a first name — no matter what they call their son on an everyday basis, I think it’s lovely that they’re going with Domenick as the first name on the birth certificate. The first thing I want to address is that Christi said she doesn’t like the nicknames for Domenick that she’s seen (Dom, Nick, Nico), so I wondered if I could come up with some others. Based on some of the other nicknames she and her hubby like, maybe one of these might appeal to them:

  • Deo: Since Christi mentioned Vio for Vincent and Lio for Attilio, I thought maybe Deo for Domenick would be perfect! They can say it to rhyme with Vio/Lio (and they can spell it Dio if they’d like), or they can say it more like Deo in Amadeo (and that spelling, no matter how they pronounce it, connects it double to great-grandpa Amadeo/Domenick). And Deo means “God” — Amadeo means “to love God” (amare plus Deus), making it basically the same as Theo.
  • Dino: Dino is another that I thought could be a nickname for Domenick, and it’s definitely an Italian-sounding nickname. I can see that it might possibly be *too* Italian, based on how Christi said she doesn’t want something too in-your-face? It could also be really cool! But then again, she said they don’t like Tino for Valentino …
  • V, Vio: I think V (“vee”) or Vio can work for Domenick the fifth! It’s like a third being called Trip.
  • Quin, Quinto: “Quinto” is “fifth” in Italian, so that could work as a nickname, or maybe they prefer Quin?

Since none of the other Domenicks have middle names, I thought the ideas above could allow them to choose “just Domenick” with no middle name and still have a nickname they like. But I also think the middle name idea is a great one, and I wanted to offer my thoughts on the ideas Christi and her hubby are discussing, in case they’re helpful:

  • Gianni: If they love it, I say they should go for it! In general, I think it’s nice to have at least one name (first or middle) that has significance, and then they can feel free to choose a name they just like for the other. Since they’re already choosing Domenick for the first name, I think it makes total sense to choose a name they love for the middle! I know popularity is an issue for Christi, but one way of working with not necessarily wanting a super Italian everyday name with their last name is to use John as the middle name. Domenick John called Johnny? Sounds like just Gianni but a bit easier maybe? Also, again with the Vio/Lio nicknames, maybe Gio as a nickname for Gianni?
  • Vincent called Vio: I love this! I love that Domenick is from Hubby’s side and Vincent would be from Christi’s side, and specifically her dad — that’s so special. I love that the V goes perfectly with her son being the fifth, and I think Vio is fantastic! People might not get his name at first, but that’s the case with a lot of names, especially ethnic ones. She’d probably get that a lot with Gianni too (mostly in how to spell it when heard, or say it when seen). Gianni tops my list for Christi because both she and her hubby love it, but Vincent tops my list because of the family significance (that I said a minute ago I wouldn’t worry about, haha!) — Gianni and Vincent are definitely tied for me. I also like that Vincent is one of those names that feels Italian without being in-your-face!
  • Malachi nn Chi or X: This is a very cool idea and if they were a different family I’d be all over it! But it seems out of place with the Italian theme they have going (overt, like Gianni, or more subtle, like Vincent), that I imagine they’ll probably want to go with going forward.
  • Amadeo: Annnd again, another tie for first place! Gianni, Vincent, and Amadeo are each amazing ideas!! I love how Amadeo just reinforces the whole connection to great grandpa, and I think Deo is the best nickname for it. Such a tough decision!!

I also really wanted to come up with ideas connected to their list of Saints … Anthony and Joseph both jump out right away as being not-too-in-your-face Italian, and I love this baby’s connection to St. Joseph … Ty is a cool, different nickname for Anthony … or Tio, to go along with the Vio/Lio/Deo/Gio ideas? I looked up Joseph too and the Italian variants could be good — Giuseppe could go by Gio, for example. I know a Giuseppe who goes by Peppe … If they like initial nicknames, maybe DJ for Domenick Joseph? And Italian forms of Henri (Henry) include Enrico/Rico, Arrigo, and Enzo — maybe there’s something there that they like?

I’m also glad Christi included the list of names they like but aren’t quite right! My thoughts:

  • Sebastian, Romeo, Roman: I love how she said these are so close but not quite right. They definitely gave me good info for my research!
  • Pierre: Oh man, this is another great option!! Not Pierre itself — I agree, very weird to have such a French name with a super Italian last name — but Pier! Pier is an Italian form, and there’s even a great patron: Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati! If Pier isn’t quite right, I have a friend who has all Italian-named kids and named her youngest Piero. I love both Pier and Piero for this family! And also, in the post I did a while ago on names for St. Joseph, I’d suggested Stone, since CatholicSaints.info noted that St. Joseph was a “builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker” — and with Pier/Piero meaning “rock,” Christi could possibly think of it as a nod to St. Joseph! (Crazy Catholic baby namer strikes again!! Haha!)
  • Attilio nn Lio: I’m amazed that such an unusual name was already scooped up by family! I wonder if Leo on its own might appeal to Christi and her hubby?
  • Valentino: Vio could work here, too. And Tio (but too close to Tino?). And probably Lio, if they wanted!

Okay, now on to new ideas! So you all know that my usual method is to look 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 here, but I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be, since we’re basically sticking to Italian names. So I looked through the list of Italian boy names on Behind the Name to see if any really called to me. Based on that, these are my new ideas for baby Domenick’s middle name:

(1) Lucas, Luca, Luke

I loved seeing that Lucas is a match for Anastasia and Roman, and Luca is a match for Gianna! Luca could be awesome if they really want to lean into the Italian-ness, or if it’s too much, Lucas and Luke are great. Or Luca nicknamed Luc?

(2) Dante

I loooove the name Dante and rarely have a chance to suggest it, but it’s a style match for both Gianni and Romeo! I don’t know that much about the poet Dante except that he was Catholic and his Inferno was about heaven, hell, and purgatory, but I found this article about him with quotes from the Pope pretty cool. Domenick Dante is a lot of D’s, but I personally love alliteration.

(3) Orlando

I was looking for names that could fit in with an Italian theme but that aren’t your “usual” Italian names, so I thought it was cool that Orlando (the Italian form of Roland) is a match for both Valentino and Romeo. Those who are familiar with Shakespeare will recognize it right away as one of his character’s name, which helps take away from its Italian-ness a bit; I also had a friend growing up whose brother was Orlando and he went by Andy, which is pretty cool. Domenick Orlando is also D.O. initials, which again could make sense of Dio/Deo as a nickname.

(4) Pio

Christi’s probably sick of me suggesting -io names by now!! Haha! But come on — we’ve talked about Romeo/Vio/Lio/Deo/Gio/Tio/Leo, so I definitely need to suggest Pio, for St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina!

(5) Melchiorre

This is very much inspired by Malachi on the list of names Christi and her hubby like — Melchiorre is the Italian form of Melchior, which is the name traditionally given to one of the Wise Men. It’s also St. John Bosco’s middle name! (Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco.) Melchiorre would allow them to consider Chi as a nickname while still sticking with their Italian theme.

(6) Massimo, Massimiliano, Maximilian

Maximilian is a match for Anastasia, Domenick, and Sebastian; Maxim for Roman; and Massimo — the Italian for Maximus — was in the list of Italian boy names on Behind the Name. I thought maybe Massimo or Massimiliano (the Italian for Maximilian) might be appealing as a middle name with Max as the nickname, or maybe they’d prefer the non-Italian Maximilian (or Maxim or Maximus).

(7) Christian/Cristiano

Finally, Christian is a match for Roman and Cristiano is a match for Valentino. I think they’re both so handsome, and I really like that they could bestowed in Christi’s honor! I’d love to see more boys named after their mothers or other female family members (one of my boys’ first name is for my mother-in-law, and his middle name is a surname on my mom’s side — I’m still so pleased that he’s named for my mom and mother-in-law!). I could see Tio being an unexpected nickname for it.

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


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!

Birth announcement: Lawrence Stephen!

I approved a bunch of pending comments this morning on recent posts, so if you’re one of the families with recent consultations posted, be sure to check the comments to read the new ones — lots of great ideas!

Emily left an awesome comment on the consultation post I did last year focusing on nicknames for Lawrence that I wanted to share with you all (with her permission):

Hi!! Just wanted to pop on to say this post gave me the courage to use Lawrence! We have JohnMark, Clara, Thomas and now Lawrence. JohnMark is named after his Great Grandpa John and his Grandpa Mark. Thomas named after his dad. And now Lawrence named after his Great Grandpa Larry and his Grandpa Stephen. We thought Lawrence Stephen was such a strong combo. I love that it’s unique but still classic. We aren’t sure if we will use a nickname yet but are going to see if one comes naturally!

It made me so happy to read that one of the consultation posts helped another family!! Lawrence Stephen is such a handsome combo!!

Congratulations to Emily and her husband and big sibs JohnMark (I’m such a huge fan of double names!!), Clara, and Thomas, and happy birthday Baby Lawrence!!


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!