I think I’ve posted a time or two about blogger/writer/mama-of-many Simcha Fisher, one of my favorites. (Find her at Patheos and National Catholic Register; she also wrote The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning.) She’s expecting her tenth born baby and has graciously agreed to let me offer some suggestions for the wee one’s name. And I’m trying not to freak out that (1) I get to offer actual suggestions for an actual baby and (2) that the baby’s a Fisher baby. (I’m also trying not to use too many exclamation points.) (!!!)
Simcha and her husband Damien have name tastes that I would characterize as kind of eclectic but consistent, and somewhat contrary, as well as Old World and elegant. Their older children are:
If I wanted to pin down their style more exactly, I might group them thusly:
A little old-fashioned, like black-and-white-movie starlets or a gorgeous antique or a hardworking immigrant: Lena, Dora, Clara, Lucy, Irene, Moses, Elijah
Old Testament/Jewish: Moses, Elijah
Currently popular or on its way there: Clara, Sophia, Lucy, Elijah
Clearly Catholic: Clara, Sophia, Lucy, Irene, Benedicta
Simcha also posted once about other names they’d considered and rejected at one time or another, which gives a further peek into their style—Alma, Ada, Delia, Beryl, Oceania, Moselle, Edith. Though rejected, they seem pretty consistent with the names they did choose.
So with all that information at hand, I have the following three suggestions for first names for each gender, in descending order:
Stella has that same starlet feel to me as Lena and Dora; the same old-fashioned feel as Clara and Lucy; and as it’s part of the Marian epithet Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) it totally fits in with Lucy and Benedicta.
(2) Esther or Miriam
I really really like Esther for the Fishers. It’s Old Testament/Jewish, like Moses and Elijah (and I love when a name bridges two styles, as seem to loosely exist between the Fisher girls’ names and the boys’ names); it’s old-fashioned; it’s elegant. But I could see not everyone loving the –er ending of Esther with the –er ending of Fisher. If that were the case, Miriam would be my alternate for choice #2—it has similar attributes to Esther, it flows better with the baby’s surname, and it gets bonus points for being a Marian name.
Hannah is soft and sweet, like Clara and Lucy. It’s an Old Testament name, like the brothers’ names, and currently the height of popularity, like Sophia.
Simcha and Damien’s taste for boys so far has seemed pretty straightforward: Old Testament/Jewish. Simcha’s parents converted from Judaism to Catholicism when she was a child, so I’ve always assumed Moses and Elijah are nods to her heritage. Isaac certainly fits that mold. It’s also currently fairly popular, which fits in with Sophia and Clara, but old-fashioned at the same time, with its previous peak being in the 1880’s, like Lena and Dora and Moses. It’s also pretty Catholic, what with St. Isaac Jogues being one of the North American Martyrs (and the recent canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha helping to raise his profile even more).
Old Testament/Jewish, the end. Also wise and kingly, elegant and old-fashioned. A solid, consistent choice for a brother to Moses and Elijah.
Asa is old-fashioned and Old Testament/Jewish, and it’s short and punchy like Lena and Dora and Lucy. It’s also a bold choice because of its rarity (it peaked in popularity in the 1880s), potential for mispronunciation by those who are unfamiliar with it, and potential for crossover to the girl’s side because of the –a ending. But I get the sense that Fishers would not be swayed by such considerations, and Ace is a pretty cool nickname (if a nickname were to be used).
What do you think? Have I hit the nail on the head or missed altogether? Do you have any suggestions for naming the new Fisher Baby?
In formulating my thoughts on the Fishers’ name style and determining other names that I think they might like, I consulted The Baby Name Wizard book and web site, especially the Name Voyager and Namipedia, as well as the Behind the Name web site, and my own mind, which contains a lifetime of conversations about names, reading about names, and thinking about names. (Seriously. I never tire of it.)