Baby name consultant: Suggestions for Baby Fisher

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:

Lena

Dora

Clara

Moses

Elijah

Sophia

Lucy

Irene

Benedicta (“Benny”)

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:

Girl

(1) Stella

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.

(3) Hannah

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.

Boy

(1) Isaac

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).

(2) Solomon

Old Testament/Jewish, the end. Also wise and kingly, elegant and old-fashioned. A solid, consistent choice for a brother to Moses and Elijah.

(3) Asa

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.)

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89 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Suggestions for Baby Fisher

  1. I think your presentation of possibilities for the 10th member of Babies Fisher is really wonderful. The Judaeo Christian conversation is particularly of interest to me. How nice to see and hear such time and attention given to the sacred origins we all share, not only post-Noah but pre-Noah! Thank you so much for adding so reverently to my day!

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  2. Baby names, baby name trends, watching names wax and wane in popularity, I love it all! I can talk about baby names all day long.

    Stella really seems to go with most of their other girl names. But then Benedicta and and Sophia seem like strong departures from the other girl names. Along the Benedicta/Sophia line, I’m going to throw out Francesca.

    Boy names are tougher for this family. We don’t have as many guidelines to work with. Solomon is really a strong possibility. Maybe Caleb, Gideon, or Cyrus? Noah?

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  3. I really like Shaina in the Jewish column. My oldest daughter’s name (we’re* not* Jewish).

    I also love Epiphany and it can be Pip or Pippa.

    Hazel. Nuff said.

    Boys…..Zion. Rafe. Zeke. Beniah. (One of David’s mighty men)

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  4. I have a Miriam; I think it’s a beautiful name. She is Miriam Rose to be extra Marian. And it’s a bit vintage — people always say it’s been awhile since they’ve heard it. Downside? Everyone mishears it as “Marian” or “Maryann.” But still, no regrets.

    Irene and Sophia are two of my favorites because of their Greek meanings — ever consider Aletheia? It means truth. Other Greek names I’ve heard are Sophronia (temperance, but a little out there) and Philomena (means beloved).

    Or try some New Testament favorites — Eunice, Lois, Priscilla?

    Do you do this by request? 😉 My husband and I are terrible at coming up with names the other one doesn’t hate.

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  5. Boy suggestions:

    Abraham (Abe is such an adorable nickname!)

    Jotham (my aunt & uncle used this name for their fifth; it’s a lesser known Biblical name – he was a king of Judah and one of the ancestors of Jesus)

    Levi – third son of Jacob and Leah, and will be the Fishers’ third son as well (assuming baby is a boy, of course). Nice symmetry!

    Girl suggestions:

    Agatha – after St. Agatha. She has a February feast day and is the patroness of bellmakers. God sent an earthquake to save her from her sufferings. I’ve heard “Gussie” is a nickname for Agatha – not sure where it comes from but it’s cute.

    Helena – empress, mother of Constantine, finder of the true Cross

    Margaret – it’s a classic with tons of nickname possibilities (Meg, Maggie, Peggy, Etta, Margie, Margo). One of the patronesses of childbirth (St. Margaret of Antioch).

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  6. I love your suggestion! Especially Ester. I’m also a fan of Ezra or Micah for a boy (the Jewish roots). Also, I think Gemma for a little girl would be really cute. It’s getting popular but also there is a Saint Gemma!

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  7. Fun website! I like all those names. I think I’ve got similar taste. Other suggestions: for a girl: Naomi, Magdalene (but maybe Lena is too close?), Rebekah, Leah. For a boy, I love David, common as that is. I also love Jesse for a boy, and hope to someday use the name Mathias (new testament- he was chosen as a “new disciple” after Judas’ betrayal). I use the website nameberry.com and I think it gives a lot of good information, and I believe it is run by a Catholic woman and by a Jewish woman, but I could be wrong. Congrats to the Fishers!

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    • I’ve checked out Nameberry a few times but for some reason I’ve never been able to get into it. I find it kind of overwhelming, with too much to choose from and rapid-fire discussion boards. Am I crazy? I know it’s super popular and definitely has a lot of info! I’ll have to give it another try …thanks Audrey!

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  8. I love Stella! And Esther. And Hannah. 🙂 I like Miriam too, but I think I would like Maryam better. Isaac’s good; maybe along the same lines: Abraham or Noah or Jacob or David… too popular? How about Raphael, call him Rafe—too Anglicized?

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  9. First of all, I am SO THRILLED to find a Catholic baby name blog! Catholic and obsessed with baby names here. 🙂 Your suggestions are spot on–it’s so much fun deconstructing a baby name style, isn’t it? I love your “bridge” suggestions, especially–short and sweet Asa recalling the short vintage girls’ names, and Hebrew Miriam linking the boys’ OT ones. I’d vote for the full Stella Maris, if Stella appeals.
    Other ideas: Susannah Fisher. SO many nickname possibilities! (Not that Shrimpy isn’t, you know, a perfectly lovely one. Ahem.) Zuzu, Sukie, Susie (which I’m ready to hear again), Sosie….
    Ephraim Fisher: another OT choice. Sure, he’d have to spell it, but it’s such a great sound. Ephraim Francis? (Great initials, too.) 😉

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  10. I just named my first daughter Ivy. Other names we had considered were Iris, Marceline (the feminine version of Saint-Marcel), and Marta.

    I love Stella and Asa, and I think Elias might be a good one to add into the mix!

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  11. I love naming babies! My hubby and I even have a bit a system ourselves. Our girls are Nadja Marie, Olivia Josephine, Angela Rose, and Katerina Elizabeth. Our boys are John Paul Augustine, Benedict Ambrose, and Leo Athanasius. Can you spot the systems?

    Anyhow, for the Fishers and using the above idea for criteria, how about Francesca, Madeleine, Juliana or Lilian for a girl? I also really liked the Miriam suggestion. Josiah or David or Seth for a boy?

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  12. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, especially with Stella, Esther, Isaac, and Asa! I especially love Esther for the Fishers, although you’re right about the -ER ending being potentially problematic.

    Where were you when I was trying to name my last baby?! We went through fits trying to find a girl’s name! Luckily we had a boy! Lol

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  13. PS: I have been a name nerd since I was like 11 years old so it was mystifying that I had trouble naming my own baby! I used to make lists of sibling sets that I thought would go well together, actually an entire family tree of extended relations with different naming tastes, but without any “stories” to go with them.

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  14. I think our 2nd daughter’s name, Matilda, would be a good fit. One of St Matilda’s patronages happens to be for parents of large families.

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  15. Hi!
    I love Stella! I can already picture your other children yelling “STELLA!” for the fun of it just like James Cagney did!
    As far as a boy, I think Levi would be perfect as the 3rd son. And, it’s cool.

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  16. I liked Stella and would have suggested Hannah had you not already.
    Dominic, Sebastian, Gene, Finn, Malachi for a boy.
    From the comments, for a girl, Hazel and Ava. Lola, Louise, Deborah, Cecilia, Maureen, Edna, Lily, Magdalen, Ruth, Genevieve

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  17. Since my third granddaughter is named Miriam Esther, I’m kind of partial to both of those. We call her Miri. Second granddaughter is an Abigail, shortened to Abi. Ruth is another name I love and it’s not very common these days, though it was more common in my mom’s era.

    Grandson is Gideon, which I love. What about Levi or Reuben for boys? Nice tie back to OT.

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  18. I say go for a nice Irish name like Dymphna, Aine (Enya), Deirdre, Maeve, Niamh or Brigid. If it must be one of those lovely Hebrew names there’s Aoife (Eva, Eve) pronounced Epha. Some nice Irish-Catholic possibilites: Bernadette, Mary, Theresa, Ursula, Ann, Margaret-Mary, Katie, Clare…

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  19. ohhh…bob cratchit…love, love, love those Irish names! To add just a few of many terrific possibilities to your wonderful list…Grainne (Gran-ya = Grace), Roisin (rosh-een = little rose), Eilis (Eye-lish = Elizabeth)and Molly. Of course, Patrick, Brendan, Colum or Tadhg (Tyg) Oh, my, the list could go on and on, but in all fairness, this might be a “new” direction for the Fishers that might be too different from the lovely names they have already chosen.

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  20. Girl – Emmanuelle (I might be biased, as that is my little girl’s name – but it is so beautiful, elegant, and Biblical!)

    Boy – I definitely agree that Caleb would be a great choice – not to mention Joshua!

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  21. I will share my favorite yet unrequited girl’s name, that includes a frequent nominee from this thread and adds in a “sea” reference, to keep the “Shrimpy” nickname alive for the Fishers:

    Maristella.

    We have a distinctly Irish surname & hubby insists that pairing the two is the equivalent of “Xiongzu Rabinowitz” or “Paco O’Malley”. 🙂

    I, however, would be thrilled to see it take off as a trend in Catholic circles especially!

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  22. I haven’t read through everyone else’s suggestions, but I think Greta would be a great choice. It goes along with the old fashion movie starlet/hardworking immigrant names. It’s a diminutive of Margret so a great Catholic saint.

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  23. It’s not easy to find a name that can follow Benedicta, right? After searching for sibling names on the BabyName Wizard website, I suggest the following names: Camilla, Emilia and Mary Magdalene. Good luck and kind greetings from Slovenia!

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  24. As someone who was a young teen in the 80s Asa makes me think of Asa Buchanan from One Life to Live. He is the only person, actual or character that I have known with the name so unfortunately the name is tainted for me. But I do love all of the other suggestions. 🙂

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  25. Sadly, the best name ever was taken about a year ago by a woman who works with my husband. She named her son Hadrien Tiberius. There is no better name, especially if one is hoping to raise a world leader. I have never met her and don’t know if this is her plan or not. That being said, there is always Bob.

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  26. I really like the Stella or Esther suggestions. My grandmother’s middle name was Esther and I have always tried to get my husband to like it but he just can’ for some odd reason. I think a little Essie would be so adorable! I have to pop in my own suggestion which is just ‘out there’ but seems to tie into the immigrant name category of the Fishers: Antonia. I have LOVED this name since I read My Antonia by Willa Cather-it also might be too different for the Fishers’ daughter since it has more of a long, flowing sound than most of their other girls’ names. Great job, Sancta Nomina, you have found your niche!

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