Feminized masculine names?

In the past couple of weeks I’ve heard about two different husbands who don’t like “girl names that came from boy names.”* Have you heard this? Do you share this opinion?

I guess I could see it if a family made a point of letting everyone know they hoped for a boy, and then when a girl was born and she was a given a feminized masculine name — that might seem a little weird. Like they were so hoping for a boy that they didn’t even have a girl name picked out, like she was a disappointment.

Or, in a family like mine, where there are a whole bunch of boys and no girls, if Little Miss were to show up and be given a feminized masculine name — that might seem a little weird too. Like really? After all those boys named, you can’t come up with a girl name?

But otherwise, I’m just thinking of all the gooorgeous, really beautiful, really feminine names that are missed out on! Like:



Christiana (and all the Christ-/Kris- names)


Michaela and Michelle


Maybe Olivia (it may or may not be derived from Oliver)







Gabrielle and Gabriella

Even the Juli- names come ultimately from Julius (and what’s more stereotypically feminine than Juliet??)

And that’s just the briefest smattering of examples. I’m certainly not begrudging anyone their taste — I mean, your taste is your taste, you can’t make yourself like something you don’t like. But the names that are missed out on! And how overwhelmingly feminine these name are! Some of them downright frilly! Wives of such husbands, you are good women. 😉

*This is different than actual boy names used for girls.

BNW blog

There were a couple of fun topics posted on the Baby Name Wizard blog recently that I thought you’d all be interested in:

Cool Victorian Nicknames Beyond Mollie and Sadie — there are some really cute ones on this list. One of my favorite ideas mentioned is Effie as a nick for Josephine or Stephanie.

Acronames: The Sneaky-Clever Baby Name Alternative — “Acronames”! It refers to nicknames or given names made from, as in the former, the first letters of a person’s full name (eg., John Ellis Bush=Jeb) or, as in the latter, the first initials of several people (eg., a little boy named Jase after his grandparents Jerome, Anita, Stewart, and Eileen). I personally love this kind of thinking. One of the commenters said she knows a little one named Isabelle Verity and goes by the nickname Ivy (from her initials I.V.!) — I love that!! That is some brilliant naming right there.

Countdown to the New Royal Baby Name: Hitting the Bullseye — I have immense respect for Laura (The Baby Name Wizard)’s opinion about names, but I like my ideas better than hers.

Birth announcement: Christopher Jesse!

I’ve had the great blessing in the last few weeks to receive a few panicky last-minute emails, along the lines of, “Help! My baby’s due [in two days/next week, etc.] and we can’t decide on a name!” They’re as fun and stressful as you can imagine — I love love being able to offer some thoughts, and I’m always nervous and hopeful I can get back to the mom with some ideas before the baby’s born!

One such was lovely Allie, whose eighth baby, gender unknown, was to be born the following week via scheduled c-section. Her other kids are named:

Andrew James

Timothy Ryan

Dylan Richard

Kyle Scott

Gabrielle Marie

Caitlyn Rose

Elizabeth Claire

Great names, right?!! Allie and her husband had decided on Caroline Grace for a girl (beautiful!) but were having a hard time coming up with a boy name. They knew for sure they wanted to use the middle name Jesse, after Allie’s dad, who passed away several years ago.

My suggestions for her, based on the style and feel of her other kids’ names, as well as flow with Jesse as the middle name, were: Christopher, Alexander, and Samuel.

Just last night Allie emailed me with the following:

Just wanted to update you on our new arrival and name decision. We were blessed with a beautiful baby boy on Monday. After talking to my husband Scott we both felt drawn to the name Christopher Jesse! We love the strength of the name and you can’t go wrong with a name honoring Christ. (And St Christopher ain’t too bad either. :)) So I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to get back to me. May God bless you and all you do!

How wonderful!!! Congratulations to Mama Allie and her beautiful family, and happy birthday to Christopher Jesse!!


Christopher Jesse

Baby on the way: Prince or Princess, and Predictions

My Dad sent me this article yesterday — Naming Royal Baby No. 2: Could Princess Diana Factor in if Kate Middleton & Prince William Have a Girl? — so you know that Royal Baby Watch has reached a frenzy, if my Dad’s seeing Royal Name posts and sending them to me. I thought it would be a good time to re-post my name predictions (I originally posted this on September 9).

Sancta Nomina

Will and Kate are having another baby. The internet is already atwitter with predictions for names, like last time:

Royal Baby’s Name and Sex: Bookmakers Taking Bets

Royal Baby No. 2: The Internet Reacts with Jokes, Excitement and Plenty of Baby Names

The Royal Name Game: 10 Potential Names on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s List

What Should Prince William and Kate Middleton Name The Second Royal Baby? POLL

Kate Middleton’s Baby Name Predictions From the Expert Who Picked ‘George’

But, like last time, I just can’t get too into it. Royal baby naming is so different than regular baby naming, don’t you think? I mean, it seems that they only choose from a certain pool of names, which I’m not interested enough in to even figure out what that pool is. (So says the mom who won’t stray outside of Catholic saints when naming her children. But our…

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Please help this family

Maybe you’ve read about the Rogan Family already? Their story has been shooting around Facebook and their Go Fund Me has passed the halfway mark toward the goal of $500,000 in just three days. This is the kind of story that resonates with all of us; the kind of thing that makes you say Oh Lord or Dear God or Hail Mary and nothing more because, Dear God, the immensity of this tragedy, the similarity to so many of our own families and circumstances. It leaves you breathless to even consider what they’re going through.

From the Go Fund Me description:

… Mike and Niki Rogan, were driving to the hospital early this morning [4/17/2015] with their seven children, in anticipation of welcoming an eighth child into their beautiful family.

On the way, an oncoming car hit a deer which was thrown into the Rogans’ vehicle.  Mike did not survive the accident. Niki and the children survived with only minor injuries. Niki gave birth to their son, Blaise, hours after the accident … Niki is a stay-at-home mom and homeschools her children who range in age from newborn to 15 years, and is left with providing for her family aided by only a minimal life insurance policy.”

God works in ways we cannot fathom, we know this. And still … Dear God.

If you can contribute to this family, I’m sure they would be so grateful.

Baby name consultant: Baby M-rhymes-with-Mary

Meaghan’s expecting her fifth baby, whose gender she’ll find out in early May. Her other kiddos are named:

Caleb James

Magdalyn Elizabeth

Evangeline Grace

Silas George

Gorgeous, right?! This is her dilemma:

We like our girls to have a longer formal name that has a cutesy nickname. (Maggie and Evie.) For a boy I really like Levi. Middle name would be Thomas or Joseph … The problem is we can’t name a baby girl. We thought about Seraphina, but I don’t like any of the nicknames.  We also thought about Eden but it seems short compared to the other girl names. And hubby thinks it sounds like “eating.” My husband also doesn’t like any girl names that were boy names first, such as, Josephina (which I love.)

(Oh husbands!)

We were also thinking about Angelica because we love Mother Angelica from EWTN. But I’m on the fence about it. We love the rose association with Mary and I love the nickname Rosie. I’ve thought Katharine but my husband doesn’t want a Katie. Just today I thought of Seraphina Rose and we could call her Rosie but then I realized it’s a celebrity baby name after I googled it.”

The ideas I came up with I thought might be helpful either in and of themselves, or perhaps sparking other ideas for Meaghan and her husband. I really really like their preference for long girl’s names that can be shortened to cute nicknames, so I kept that in mind. As always, I shoot for three suggestions, and in this case they were more categories rather than only one name each:

(1) Long and Biblical-ish

The first thing that jumped out to me is how all Meaghan’s already-born children’s names are Biblical — Caleb and Silas are obvious; Magdalyn is Mary Magdalene’s “last name” of course, and Evangeline=evangelist, like the writers of the four gospels. I really like that theme, especially with their twist on it for the girls (alternate spelling of a last name; Biblical word transformed into a name), so my first suggestion is to try to stay with that idea. Susanna(h) was my first thought — the “h” in Susannah makes it seem extra long and certainly very Biblical; no-h Susanna has more of a saintly feel while still being Biblical. It’s got great nicknames too — Anna/Annie, Susie, Suki, Zuzu (like Zuzu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life!).

My second thought was Julia, but given that they like longer names, I thought Juliana or Julianna might be more their style. Certainly Julie is a natural nickname, but Ana/Anna/Annie could work, or maybe Jude (especially with a D middle name?). I’ve also seen Jilly as a nickname for the Julia names, which is really cute.

Lastly, Rebecca or Rebekah. Magdalyn, Evangeline, and Silas are all New Testament names, so it might be nice to get an OT name in there for Caleb? I recently saw Ruby as a nickname for Rebecca and immediately fell in love with it, even though Rebecca was never one of my favorite names. Ruby is adorable!

(2) Double first name

Meaghan mentioned liking Rosie as a nickname, so my mind immediately went to long Rose- versions, which led to the doubles: Rosemary or Rosemarie or Rosamaria or Rosanna. I like all those! And the Marian connection is awesome.

Then I thought of the Mary- doubles, and since Mary rhymes with their last name, I thought about Maria: Maria Teresa, Maria-Therese, and Annamaria (I just finished a book with a great character named Annamaria and I was struck by how pretty it is. Besides the Anna/Annie nicknames, I could even see using Amy as a nick for this. So sweet!). Maria Teresa actually has a traditional mashup-type nickname that’s Spanish but I know it’s used by other cultures as well: Maite. It’s pronounced MY-tay, and is one of my favorite nicknames. There are really a million ways to pair Marie or Maria with another name and come up with an interesting nickname! I was going to suggest Maria Seraphina with the nickname Maisie, but Maisie’s a traditional Gaelic nickname for Margaret, so it seems too similar to Maggie to me. Marie Angelica is another option, based on their discussions about Angelica — maybe nicknamed Molly? Or Mia? Actually Mia’s a pretty standard nickname for Maria, so that could work for any of these options.

(3) Miscellaneous

I had a couple more ideas and I wasn’t sure how to categorize them — so “Miscellaneous” it is! First I wanted to make another argument for Seraphina/Serafina. I just love that name! And it’s so perfect with Meaghan’s other girls … she said she didn’t like the nicknames, so I just wanted to be sure she’s considered them all: Certainly Sera and Fina (especially with the Serafina spelling), and Fia (I know a little Sophia who goes by Fia, so cute!), or even Sophie/Sofie, or something cute like Sunny! I personally wouldn’t worry about it being Ben and Jen’s celebrity baby’s name, especially if Meaghan’s Seraphina always went by a cute nickname, but if it’s still not feeling right then maybe …

Annabel? I looked the other kids’ names up in my trusty Baby Name Wizard book, which lists boy and girl options for each entry that are similar in style and feel, and Annabel showed up in the lists for both Caleb and Silas. It’s a gorgeous name, spelled that way or Annabelle. I love all the Anna/Annie names anyway, and Belle is also a really sweet name (Bella could work too). Some others that came up as matches with the other kids, or just out of my head, were Emmeline, Karolina, and Caterina (which reminds me that Meaghan likes Katherine — Katie isn’t the only nickname! Kat is quite stylish right now, great for Katherine, or I know a Kateri who goes by Kat, or Cat for Caterina).

I had several other ideas that I ended up crossing off my list for one reason or another, so I thought I’d offer those too, just in case: Christiana (because of it starting as a boy’s name), Anastasia (if Seraphina as a celeb baby was too much for Meaghan, I assumed the main character in the horrible soft porn Fifty Shades of Grey would be too much. So unfortunate), Veronica (I love the nickname Via but thought it was too close to Evie. But maybe Ronnie, Nicky, or Nica?), Clementine (because of starting as a boy’s name), Genevieve (too similar to Evangeline), Penelope (neither Biblical nor saintly … but oh the nicknames! Penny or Nell or Pip/Pippa!). I also thought I should caution — again because Seraphina’s celeb connection bothers Meaghan — that Angelica is the name of the horrible older sister in the Rugrats show. I watched it only once or twice when I was younger, and vividly remember her, and I’ve seen her reference on other name discussion boards when the name Angelica comes up. It’s still a beautiful name, but it’s important to have all the facts!

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the M-rhymes-with-Mary Family, if their baby-on-the-way is a girl?

I love to do name consultations! If you’d like me to give your name dilemma a go, check out my Baby name consultant and About the “Donate” button tabs.

A little something new

(I feel like I need to whisper this: I added a “Donate” button to my sidebar.)


I’m feeling very self conscious about it, and I’m eager to hear what you all think!

As you’ll read in my new “About the “Donate” button” tab up top, I’ve been hearing from some different people who are close to me that maybe I should consider accepting money for my baby name consultations. On the one hand — is that even right? When we all love to talk about our favorite saints and virtues and how much we love Jesus and Mother Mary? And we want to impart that holiness and love to our children even in the names we give them? So this all feels as much like a ministry as it does a hobby or even a (non-paying) job? On the other hand — I am spending a lot of time on consultations. I love it! I do! But … well, read my tab, and let me know your thoughts! I think it’s a good compromise?

I am wondering if I should add some text above the button … a pithy thing explaining what it’s for … if you have thoughts on that too, that would be great.

Happy Saturday night everyone!