September CatholicMom column up! And research for my next one

My September column at CatholicMom posted today: Honoring St. Rita!

In the novena to St. Rita I frequently say (almost exactly the same as this one), there’s a part that says, “We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever.” This article (informed by this post) is my little way of trying to do that.

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Additionally, last month I wrote about religious name changes for women, and I’d love to do a similar one for men. I’ve written about some here, here, here, and here, and I’d love to know what you all know about this practice. Do you know any brothers or priests who changed their names? Can you share any information about the process of choosing or receiving a new name? Thanks for your help!

Baby name consultation: “Unique, foreign, vintage” name needed for no. 5 green bean

Amina and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown). 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Casimir Wesley “Cas”
Miette Faye “Mimi”
Errol Shepherd
Petra Frances

Aren’t these great names?! Casimir is one my husband and I considered for one of our boys, and I still have a soft spot for it. Miette is such a sweet, affectionate name! And Errol and Petra are both amazing as well … in fact, with Miette and Errol they’ve chosen two names I’ve never once seen any parent use or even consider. Well done!

Amina writes,

I would categorize our names as… unique, foreign, vintage.😬🤷🏽‍♀️

We weren’t Catholic when we named our oldest son, Casimir, but it happens to be a unique saint name, so hey hey! We actually got the name from a song and we loved it. We were dabbling into our conversion around the time and when we discovered it was a saint (and a famous polish general), that was cool too. It set the tone for the rest of the siblings. His middle name, Wesley, is after my husband.

Our second child, Miette, was not named after a saint, despite us being confirmed into the church during her pregnancy. We always loved the name, which is French for “little crumb.” A bit too endearing for some, but it works well for her. Her middle name, Faye, is also a family name. We figured there would be a Saint Faye, but alas, there isn’t, unless you count the Saint of Santa Fe, Saint Faith. We feel she has a strong connection to Saint Therese of Lisieux, French, and known as “the little flower”. Little crumb/ little flower, almost the same right? Her personality is spot on with what we’ve read about young Saint Therese.

Our third child, second son, Errol, just kinda got a name we agreed on. We love the soft but strong sound to it. His birthday falls near Christmas, so we decided on Shepherd as a middle name. We figured he doesn’t need a saint name with this duo as his name pays homage to Jesus.

Our fourth child, second girl, is Petra Frances. She was due around the feast of the assumption, and we almost named her Petra Remedios (I just love this Marian name, for our lady of Good Remedy), but I actually chickened out. Yep. I was eager to use Frances to pay homage to Pope Francis as well, and noticed she was due around a few Saint Francis/ Frances feast days. So, she didn’t get a Marian name, and she was born the 16th instead of the 15th.

So, the reason I am writing is that I am coming back to Remedios for a girl. After full on chickening out, we’d like to use it in the first name place. I think it just needs a super wear-able nickname. I’m not fond of Remy, which is the most obvious nickname. I have thought of Edie, Edda, Romy. Do you see any others?? We think she will be Remedios Inez, if that helps.

On our ongoing girl list we have names like Opal and Fig, as well as Phillipa, Perpetua, Simone, and Belen. (We probably won’t ever use Perpetua, as it’s too close to Petra.)

If we have a boy, we plan on naming him Aesop Junipero. I am finally letting my husband take the reigns on this one, as he’s been pushing Aesop for awhile. Junipero, we both love, after Junipero Serra. We were very moved by his canonization. My other contender is Ambrose, but my husband really wants Aesop.

I have Peregrine and Bonaventure on my boy list too, though I don’t think they will ever win my husband over. I love Arthur as well, to tone any names combos down.”

How cool is Aesop Junipero? I love it. So bold and offbeat but faithy and literary and familiar. I also love the categorization of their name taste as “unique, foreign, vintage.”

Re: nicknames for Remedios (awesome Marian name), I think the nicknames Amina has come up with (Edie, Edda, Romy) are pretty great. I did a quick search online for other ideas, and found this blog post, which explains that in Chamorro, the language of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands (including Guam), nicknames are usually taken from the end of the name, and it specifically gave the example of Remedios nicknaming to Medo. I like that! And I think Medi works too. But maybe they’re too similar to Miette? Other ideas I had were:

  • Rio or Rios
  • Ria
  • Rida
  • Dee or Didi
  • Emmy

And if Amina and her hubs were open to looking at nicknames using a mashup of first and middle names, Remedios Inez can result in:

  • Rina
  • Riz

As for additional girl names, it was fun to try to come up with some new ideas! Since their style encompasses names from various languages, as well as word names and literary nods, I felt almost like the sky’s the limit! I also didn’t limit myself to saints’ names, as I agree with Amina that as long as the middle name is a saint, or either of the names has a tie to the faith, they’re covered.

These were my favorites for them:

(1) Hero
Hero is the kind of name only a certain kind of family can pull off, but I love it, and I think this family would be up to it! It was mostly influenced by Aesop on their list, and those who aren’t aware that the literary Heros were female might be confused, but otherwise it’s such a great name. There was a family on the BabyCenter name boards back when I was pregnant with my first (thirteen years ago!) who had a daughter named Hero, and I always thought that was so cool.

(2) Iona or Ione
These names are so similar in appearance, but totally different in background/meaning! Iona is Scottish, the name of the island where St. Columba founded a monastery, which provides a good saint connection. Ione is Greek and has the amazing meaning “violet flower,” which they could possibly consider to be Marian since violets are a symbol of Our Lady. They were particularly exciting because, as you all know, I usually use the Baby Name Wizard as my primary resource when doing consultations, but Petra, Simone, Ambrose, and Arthur were the only names from their list that it contained, so I didn’t think it was going to be too helpful BUT Iona was listed as a style match for Petra, and then when I took their names over to the NameMatchmaker, Ione was a match for Casimir!

Not only can Ione be possibly connected to Our Lady through its meaning, but there were also some sites that argued that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan! You can read that here —  bottom of p. 156 and top of p. 157, the link takes you right to it. So St. Joan of Arc or Bl. Jane of Aza or any of the Sts. John could be patron for a little Ione!

(3) Annick
Annick was another result from my research on the NameMatchmaker—a match for Miette. I love that it’s a form of Anna, so St. Anne is an easy patron, and it’s certainly unique and I think it goes really well as a sister to Miette and Petra. I also love that it would give each girl her own name-ending (not that that matters at all! It’s just kind of cool).

Those were my top three suggestions—I tried to make them a mix of languages and inspiration—but there were a bunch of other names that I scribbled down for this family as I was doing my research as possibilities, like Zara, Stasia, Lorna, Aranza/Aranxa, Sonrisa, Annunziata, Immaculata, Jacinta, Iolanthe, Flora/Fleur, Cressida, Clio, and Greer, and Ines/Inez totally would have been on this list if they weren’t already planning to use it for a middle name.

Amina also said she was open to hearing ideas for boys, even though they’re pretty set on Aesop Juniper, so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on it, but the ones that caught my eye when doing my research as similar to names they’ve used and like were: Bertram, Cajetan, Nunzio, Pascal, Tycho, Bram, Homer, and Archimedes.

And those are my ideas for this little one! What do you all think? Do you have any other nickname ideas for Remedios, or other ideas for girl names in general? If any boy names come to mind, feel free to list those as well!

Name story: Meriam Joyce

Every once in a while I get an email from a reader simply because she wants to share the story of her child’s name. I LOVE those emails! So fun! Zoe emailed me recently to tell me about how her daughter got her name, Meriam Joyce, and I thought her strategy might be helpful for some of you:

Meriam is almost a year old now. She is my only child (so far) and originally finding a name we both liked was tough. We decided that I would get to choose the girl name and my husband could choose the boy name. At fourteen weeks, we agreed on Mia for a girl and Jack for a boy. Shortly after, we found out we were expecting a girl. But something about Mia just didn’t feel complete.

When I was 6 months pregnant, my mom was visited by Mother Mary in a dream. My mom already had a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially when she was immigrating to the United States by herself as a young adult in the 1970s. This has been passed on to me as well; there are many times in my life that Our Lady has intervened on my behalf. In the dream, Mother Mary told my mom that the baby should be given a Marian name, specifically the name Miriam. I have since read that “Maryam” is probably one of the most accurate forms of her name during the time of Jesus.

My mom brought this to me and I liked the significance of the name. We decided to stick with Miriam instead of Mia and changed the spelling to Meriam. My grandmother is Melinda and my sister is Ria Melinda. So ME from Melinda combined with RIA M from Ria Melinda spells Meriam. Joyce is after my mom, who originally had the dream.

We were going to eventually incorporate Mia as a nickname, but it never stuck. We usually call her Mer (pronounced “mare”), Meri (like Mary), or Blueberry (because during our first ultrasound, she was the size of blueberry). Meriam is named after many special women and we are delighted to be her parents.”

Isn’t this such a great story?! I love Marian names anyway, but with this little Meriam having the extra significance of ME from Great-Grandma Melinda and RIA+M from her aunt is ah-MAZ-ing! And Joyce for her Grandma! All the important women in one beautiful little girl’s name!

Thanks to Zoe for sharing her daughter’s name story, and for sharing this adorable picture!

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Meriam Joyce

Birth announcement: Vianney Violett!

I posted a consultation for Kym and her husband back in June, and Kym’s let me know their little girl has arrived and been given the GORgeous name … Vianney Violett!

She writes,

Hi Kate! Finally! Here’s our girlie with a name I just didn’t expect!

We went back and forth with this one and struggled with every name not feeling like the right one. Gemma Lucia — loved it — but it just seemed wrong.

Then we thought of Solana Emilia to honor Father Solanus Casey, but we couldn’t commit to it. I even had her nickname all planned: Sunshine! (Solana means sunshine. Perfect for an eclipse and Fatima year! Lol) But it wasn’t the one either…

At one point, hubby even brought up a whole new name we’d never considered: Violet — and thought it was perfect, and even asked his mother if it was a name on his side of the family. It wasn’t — but it *was* his mom’s favorite flower! Still… I hesitated over having another flower girl and wasn’t completely sold on it. Hubby didn’t really want to let it go, though….

Then one day, it hit us. Go back to the one name we always liked from the very beginning — one that I mentioned in our consult — the name that thirteen years ago was on our “girl” list and has been on the list for EVERY SINGLE GIRL since, but just haven’t used because I never thought it was quite feminine enough.

But suddenly, it was perfect! It seemed familiar, sweet, lovely, and cozy. Can a name feel cozy?

So here she is…our sweet three day old Vianney Violett.”

Ahhh! I love it so much!! “Familiar, sweet, lovely, and cozy” is such a perfect description — it’s so obviously the name that was meant for this little girl! And I love the name story too — from Gemma Lucia (gorgeous!), to Solana Emilia (amazingly beautiful and I love Sunshine as a nickname! And the Fatima/eclipse significance!), to Violet, which they’d never considered but has a great connection to Mister’s mom, and back again to the original list of names from all those years ago. WOW. I also love how adding the extra T on the end of Violet was all that was needed to make it match Vianney in length — a pattern shared by all of the older kids.

Congratulations to Kym and her husband and big sibs Alexandra, Cassian, Killian, Bennett, Anneliese, Marigold, Miles, and Sylvie, and happy birthday Baby Vianney!!

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Vianney Violett

Birth announcement: Brendan Gruene!

I did a private consultation for Anna and her husband two years ago, and received such a great email from her just recently letting me know the handsome name they gave their little guy … Brendan Gruene!

Anna writes,

Hello! I just came across this email while searching for another email and realized I never updated you on our name decision. So I thought, since we are coming upon his second birthday, maybe I should.

We were considering Conor Ignatius, and you had some great suggestions, and then we did a 180 and named him Brendan Gruene (pronounced Green).

I guess not a total 180 since Brendan is another Irish saint, but it was nothing like anything we had been talking about.

Gruene is for the town in Texas where my husband proposed.

My husband suggested Brendan while I was lying on the couch 41 weeks pregnant … the history of Saint Brendan and how he’s the patron saint of explorers and adventurers [got me on board] … I call him B a lot, and Beeg, and my sisters have nicked named him Bean (smashing Brendan and Gruene together and also Green (Gruene) Bean.”

How great is that! I love when an important location for a couple works as a name for their child — Gruene in the middle spot here is just perfect! And Brendan is such a great, strong saintly name.

Congratulations to Anna and her husband and big sister Eleanor Therese, and happy (second) birthday to not-so-Baby Brendan!!

Brendan Gruene with big sister Eleanor Therese when he was born, and more recently 💕

Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for baby no. 7 (fifth girl)!

Anastatia and her husband are expecting their seventh baby — fifth girl! This little one joins big sibs:

Arthur James (“for Mike’s paternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather“)

Conall Henry (“for my maternal grandfather, surname O’Connell, and my paternal grandfather’s middle name“)

Aine Rose Brigid (“for me/my great-grandmother/Mike’s maternal grandmother, Mike loved Rose, and St. Brigid of Kildare, my Confirmation saint“)

Gianna Cara Maria (“called Gigi, twin to Jojo … for St. Gianna, Cara means friend in Irish and dear in Italian, so it flowed, my maternal grandmother’s middle name was Maria“)

Johanna Mary Clare (“called Jojo, twin to Gigi … for my paternal grandmother Joanne, baptized Johanna, our Holy Mother, County Clare/St. Clare — we found out that she didn’t have Edward’s Syndrome on St. Clare’s feast day“)

Abigail Faith Theresa (“with Jesus … Abigail means father’s joy, and Mike really liked the name. When we found out that we were probably losing her, I chose Faith [an Irish trait, at least] and Theresa for St. Therese, for whom I have a devotion, and St. Teresa of Calcutta who was canonized two months before our due date“)

I love these names!! I love all the family connections, and each combination is so attractive, even twins Gianna and Johanna — an amazing pair, with such significance for Anastatia and her hubs!

Anastatia writes,

I have developed a lot of rules about naming, just because I’m a rule person.

1. Not too common- I prefer not in the top 1000s, but certainly not very high
2. A real name, nothing made up.
3. A deceased family member must be honored
4. A saint must be honored
5. At least one name must be Irish/Celtic
6. Girls have two middle names (because we couldn’t agree with the first girl’s middle name)
7. No repeat names — in our family or cousins, etc.

For a boy, we had decided on Bran Michael. Branwen is too out there for Mike. The other feminine of Bran is Branna. It would still honor St. Bran (there is one), and suggest the story of Bran the Blessed, who may have been the Fisher King in Arthurian legend. Branna also continues the -anna name theme for our girls on Earth. I was named for my great-grandmother Anastatia, Aine is often though of as the Irish Anne (it’s not, but the name suggests it, and we have Gianna and Johanna for St. Gianna and my grandmother Joanne, who was baptized Johanna). I’m not sure if Branna is trying to hard. At 38, I am not worried about saving the name for another child.”

Some names that Anastatia has suggested that her husband doesn’t care for include:

Niamh
Rhiannon
Madbh (“last week, Mike said that he might think about this. The Maeve spelling is too common. I prefer Irish spellings, but there may be more than one“)
Zara
Chiara
Beatrice

Names her husband has said that he doesn’t hate include:

Tara (“at 1,002 on the SSA list — this is uncommon enough for me“)
Clara (“at 97, I think it’s common. Our oldest daughter is pushing for this because she likes Clara Oswald from Doctor Who. I am fine with that connection“)
Maisie (“I don’t think this is ‘serious’ enough for a first name“)
Teagan (“a bit common, hard to find a nickname — we both like Tara more“)

The family member they’d like to honor is Anastatia’s maternal grandmother, Eugenia:

We are thinking of Jean as a middle name. She didn’t like Eugenia, and named her kids John, Anne, Mary and Dan so they wouldn’t get picked on.”

And names they can’t use due to family members with the names:

Kateri
Briella
Ryan
Arielle
Devon
Sydney
Sarah
Alicia
Killeen
Brianna
Kim
Jennifer
Emily
Isabella
Sophia
Tenley
Tiffany
Karin
Teresa
Victoria
Christina
Shannon

Saint’s name to be used:

Margaret for St. Margaret of Antioch, patroness of childbirth and St. Margaret of Scotland, patroness against the death of children. Mike does not want to use Margaret as a first name, but may be convinced of a Margaret variant as a first name, otherwise we will use a Margaret name as a middle.”

And a last few considerations:

My family has all Irish heritage (with maybe a bit of Welsh). Mike’s family is originally Basque and Norwegian. He has never shown any interest in using those types of names. Basque names seem hard for non-Spanish speakers like us.

Tara Jean Margaret? I like it, but it’s not love.

Mike is on board with Tara, but is pushing for Clara. I just think Clara is too common, then I would have to use an Irish version of Margaret. Clara Jean Mairead? I don’t know. Any suggestions? Good Margaret variants? Marita is a Norwegian one.

Mike finally will consider Molly, now I think it may be too common. Molly Jean Margaret is Irish, Marian and honors my grandmother and Sts. Margaret, but I’m not sure if Molly can be a ‘serious’ name. Is Molly a doctor, senator, President, etc.?

Gianna is 92 on the social security list and was 95 the year she was born, so I guess Clara being 97 isn’t that bad, but I just don’t love it right now, but I don’t love Tara either. Maeve isn’t too common either, in the 400s at that spelling.

Mike is leaning towards Clara. He also likes Arya, but the character on GOT is not so nice any more.

Arthur has moved from the 300s to the 200s.
Conall is not in the top 1,000.
Aine is not in the top 1,000.
Gianna is 92.
Johanna is in the 500s.
Abigail is 8, but Mike real loved the name Abby.

I guess we are all over the place with name popularity. I never meant to pick popular names, but I am glad that St. Gianna is getting recognized.

The twins each have a Marian middle name, and St. Brigid is called the Mary of the Gael, but I don’t think that we necessarily need another Marian name. He shot down Rosemary and Stella Maris.

Our last name is Ellis. So nothing that ends in ‘L.’ We have multiple ‘A’ names, so probably not another.

Mike was one of several Michaels in every class, so we don’t want that. I have an uncommon spelling, and it made me stick up for myself. Aine does it beautifully.”

Whew! Okay, so first First off, I want to talk about ways to honor Grandma Eugenia. I’m so sorry she didn’t like her name! I had a few thoughts and thought of a few ways they could honor her:

  • Jean would work for Eugenia, but I wonder if they really want another “John” name for one of their daughters?
  • If they don’t mind another John name, another that they might be interested in considering is Siobhan, which would get the Irish in there nicely.
  • Eugene is used as the anglicization of the Irish name Eoghan/Owen, so even though some make the connection between them and John, I think the connection is un-obvious enough that the Owen route might be an interesting way to go. I discovered in my research that Owena is a Welsh feminine form of Owen, which immediately interested me since Anastatia had mentioned Arya from Game of Thrones and Owena reminded me of Olenna. I assumed they rhymed, but when I listened to the pronunciation on Forvo it sounded more like Owen with an A on the end — stress on the first syllable. Anyway, that’s a possibility.
  • The -wen part of Owen reminded me of Wynne, which was actually a style match for my stand-in-for-Bran in my research (Brannock), and the “guin” part of Guinevere, which was a style match for Rhiannon, and which is the same as the “gwen” in the Gwen names — it means “fair, white, blessed” in Welsh. I’ve recently been loving the Welsh name Gwenfair, which means “fair/blessed Mary,” and the Welsh name Mairwen, which is exactly the same as Gwenfair with the elements reversed. How pretty! The fair/Mair part rhymes with “tire” in Welsh, but I think they could rhyme them with “care” if they’d like.
  • Funny enough, Teagan on their list made me think of Taryn, so I looked it up, and it’s the most amazing thing — Behind the Name says it was likely invented as a feminine form of Tyrone, and Tyrone is of course the county in Northern Ireland and also — Tyrone means “land of Eoghan”!!! WOW!!! So Taryn can be for Grandma Eugenia, and it’s similarly in sound to Tara is a bonus! Since it was an invented name, it might not pass Anastatia’s “no invented names” rule, but if it helps there are actually quite a lot of established names that were originally invented (Vanessa, Miranda, Evangeline, Pamela, Wendy … and actually, if you want to be nitpicky, all names were originally invented at one point or another. Not trying to talk Anastatia out of her rules! Just trying to give her options she and her hubs might like). Taryn’s at no. 855 and dropping.

Okay, on to my thoughts on the names on their list:

  • Tara surprised me! I think a lot of people think of it as somewhat dated at this point, but looking at it from its original Irish perspective definitely gives it a fresher feel. Tara Jean Margaret hits all the honors they want, but it feels a bit utilitarian, which I wonder might be the reason Anastatia likes it but don’t love it. Maybe switching up the variants? Tara Margaret Siobhan, for example. Tara Jean Mairead. I wonder if they’d consider a double name? Jane feels a bit fresher, and like Jean is a John variant — what about something like Tara-Jane as a first name? Tara-Jane Mairead is pretty. Tara-Jane Margaret doesn’t flow quite as well to my ear, but still doable of course. Using the Taryn idea above, they wouldn’t have to use Jean, as Taryn would be the honor name for Anastatia’s grandmother, so they could add in another name they like. Taryn Margaret Chiara, Taryn Margaret Madbh (love that), Taryn Margaret Niamh.
  • Clara’s beautiful — clearly they like the -ara names, as they have Tara, Clara, Zara, and Chiara, and even Arya sort of fits into that! I personally would stay away from Clara because they already have Clare in Johanna’s middle name (same with Chiara), but of course it’s not the end of the world if they go with it. Perhaps changing the spelling to Klara could help with popularity? I know it sounds like the same name, but that spelling has never been in the top 1000.
  • Maisie I love, such a sweet name! I too think it works better as a nickname — Margaret nicknamed Maisie seems perfect — I wonder if Anastatia can talk her husband around? Or perhaps Mairead as a first name with the nickname Maisie? Funny enough, since Anastatia said her husband is Norwegian, my mother-in-law was 100% Norwegian, and her mother and her aunt (sisters) were Margaret and Jean (daughters of Norwegian immigrants).
  • Teagan is a cute name, and I could see Tee being a natural nickname, I like it! I wonder, if Teagan isn’t quite right, maybe something like Tierney would feel like a better fit? I know sisters named Tierney and Bryn, and Bryn could work too, being so similar to their Bran/Branna idea.
  • Zara and Beatrice are great
  • I love love love the name Molly! I have a sister and a sister-in-law named Molly, both successful adult women, so in my experience it can definitely work for a doctor/senator/President, but at the same time I do know what Anastatia means when she wonders if it’s serious enough. So my favorite way to deal with this is to use it as it was originally used — as a nickname for Mary, which also has the added benefit of making it much more unusual. My sister and SIL are both given-name Molly, but I know a little Molly whose given name is Maura, and Molly’s her nickname, so that’s a possibility too. A few other possibilities re: Molly are that “Unsinkable Molly Brown”’s given name was actually Margaret. In fact, she wasn’t called Molly during her life, but after her death she became immortalized as Molly after a Broadway musical and movie were made of her life and called her that. So I’ve seen people use Molly as a nickname for Margaret. I’ve also thought it could easily be a nickname for Magdalene and Madeline/Madeleine.

Okay, moving on to Margaret variants: I love Mairead and Greta and even Gretel — it strikes me as really sweet and affectionate, though I know the fairy tale has probably irrevocably tainted it. Margaret means Pearl, so that’s an option; it’s also the word used for the daisy plant in French and Italian (marguerite and margharita, respectively, which are variants I also love for names), which leads to the traditional nickname Daisy for Margaret (like Maisie), and even Daisy’s use as a given name on its own. I saw recently a little one named Martha Daisy and I thought that combo was stunning — the serious of Martha combined with the lightness of Daisy — I love it! Meg and Megan are Margaret variants as well; I also love Margo and Rita; Marit, Mette, and Meta are other Norwegian ones, which are cool. Lots of possibilities!

Alrighty, now for new ideas. I found myself getting hung up on coming up with Irish possibilities, and kept having to remind myself that the first name doesn’t have to be Irish! This is all based mostly on my research in the Baby Name Wizard, which, as you all know, lists names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity for each entry:

(1) Moira, Maura, Mara
I know Anastatia said they don’t necessarily have to have another Marian name for this little girl, but I love them, and these three struck me as good possibilities. I mentioned Maura already; Moira’s also lovely; Mara isn’t Irish but is similar to the Tara/Clara/Zara/Chiara/Arya family of names they have going on. I think each of these could take Molly as a nickname if they wanted it to. Moira hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1968; Maura hasn’t been since 2006; Mara’s at no. 686 (I’m sure Anastatia would love this birth announcement for a little Niamh, sister of Mara!).

(2) Mila
Mila’s a style match for both Arya and Zara, which I thought was pretty interesting, and it reminded me of a name spotlight I did a while ago on the name Ludmila, because St. Ludmila’s story was so inspiring. I thought that Mila was probably the easiest way to name a baby after St. Ludmila these days, and I even suggested Mila could be an interesting way to honor a grandmother, because of its connection to Ludmila, since St. Ludmila was an amazing and holy grandmother. Mila’s at no. 48, not great, not terrible.

(3) Sosanna or Mariana
These were 100% inspired by the fact that all Anastatia’s daughters on earth either have a connection to Anne/Anna in their names or have “anna” actually in their names. I was trying to think of other names that have a similar connection without being too close to what they’ve already done, and Sosanna was the one that came to mind first — it’s an Irish version that I’ve never seen used and always been intrigued by. Actor Kevin Bacon’s daughter is Sosie Ruth, which is the closest I’ve seen, though she was named after a woman with a non-Irish last name and I can’t find any info on her heritage. But there is an Irish name Sósaidh, which I think would probably be said like Sosie. They could also just do Susanna as well — like Gianna and Johanna, the -anna part isn’t actually related to the name Anne, but of course gives it the appearance of being so. Sosanna’s never been in the top 1000; Susanna’s at 980; Sosie’s never been in the top 1000.

Mariana was another I liked for this family, mostly because it combined Mary with Anne and using the “ana” spelling makes it different from the ending of the twins’ names. I also liked that Marion was listed as a style match for Arthur! I think they could also legitimately use Molly as a nickname for it. Mariana’s at no. 291, very respectable!

(4) Zoe
Zoe was a style match for Zara, and it just struck me as a name they might like, and one that’s easy to work with their rules and their middle name ideas. I think it’s sweet and spunky like Molly and Maisie, and its saintly connection comes from the fact that it was St. Catherine Laboure’s birth name, and there’s also a St. Zoe who was an early martyr. It also means “life” and as a result has been used as a variant of Eve. It’s in the mid-30s, which I know is more popular than Anastatia likes, but after seeing how her other kids’ names rank, I thought it wasn’t terrible (and honestly I was shocked to see it that high — I’ve never known anyone named Zoe in real life!).

(5) Ciara (or Keira)
Finally, Ciara, which is so similar to Clara and Chiara and the Tara/Zara names and it’s Irish — I think it could be great for this family! If they’re worried about pronunciation, Keira’s a fine alternative. Ciara’s at no. 882 and Keira at no. 313.

And those are all my ideas for Anastatia and her hubs! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Arthur, Conall, Aine, Gianna, Johanna, and Abigail?