Baby name consultant: Baby #4 (boy names the hardest!)

Theresa emailed me about a month ago hoping for help with names for her Baby #4.

We are expecting our fourth this fall (almost out of our first trimester!) and would love love love your expertise with some suggestions. Obviously, we have a lot of time but we really like to name the baby shortly after we find out what it is, probably around the end of May/beginning of June because it really helps my husband and kids bond … We go for double Saint names for sure and mostly old/long names for girls, but not necessarily on purpose … Boy names are so much harder! … I don’t really know what boy names [my husband] likes. I don’t know if he knows … He doesn’t like names that are super specific to any ethnicity (Seamus, Carlos, Giovanni) or most Old Testament names (Noah, Elijah, Isaac) or names that are gender neutral or feminine sounding. If you can find a boy name we both like, I will be amazed!

Oh husbands!! It was fun for me to come up against a really tough nut. I’m encouraged though because they’ve chosen some wonderful names together — their other kids’ are:

Elizabeth Anne Jude (“Anne is my middle name, Elizabeth just came to both of us at the same time and then the Mass reading a few days later was the Visitation, so we took it as a sign. Jude was because we had suffered a miscarriage before her (whom we named Felicity Jane) and thought a few times that we were losing her as well and prayed to St. Jude and she was fine“)

Adelaide Therese (“I have loved Adelaide for a long time and was stoked when I found out she was a Saint. My husband was hesitant at first but it grew on him. He picked Therese for the middle — sort of for me since I am Theresa“)

Roy Patrick (“He is the third, I did not choose his name, although I like Patrick … He mostly goes by Patch“)

For girls, they both like Genevieve, Charlotte (“but I don’t love how popular it is” … and now that the Princess is here …?), and a family name Mariemma (pronounced like Mary Emma). Theresa also likes Lucy, Evelyn, Eleanor, Louisa, Eloise, Bridget, and Cecily, while her husband likes Margaret (Maggie) and Rosemary (maybe nicked Rory or Romy).

For boys, they’ve discussed Augustine nicked Gus, which Theresa loves but her husband’s not sure. Theresa also loves Finnian (but already used by family), Seamus, Blaise, Ambrose, and double names like John Paul. Her husband likes James nicked Jimmy, Dexter, Peter, Thomas, and John.

Whew!

I wanted to address their current ideas first: After reading their already-born kids’ names, before I even got to what names they’re thinking of, my first thought was Genevieve — and there it was on their list! So that’s definitely one of my top choices for them, especially since it’s one Theresa and her husband both like. Their other ideas for girls are spot-on as well — if I were to nitpick, in the interest of narrowing down their list, I might delete Eleanor and Eloise, because they already have an El- (Elizabeth), but Louisa is a great alternative (especially being so similar to Eloise). Additionally, I’ve always thought Lucy could totally work as a nickname for Louisa, so I would combine those two into one idea. I like Evelyn, Bridget, Cecily, Charlotte (but the Princess!), Margaret/Maggie (or one of the other traditional but offbeat nicks, like Daisy or Maisie?), and Rosemary, I’m also really loving Mariemma for them! What a cool combo, and so great that it’s a family name! They don’t have a Marian name in their crew already, so that would be a great nod to Our Lady.

And the boy ideas: Too bad about Finnian! Such a cool name! Augustine/Gus seems like it fits right in with the other kids (maybe The Mister would warm to August if he can’t to Augustine?). I’d probably delete Seamus because Theresa said her hubs doesn’t care for ethnic names (or maybe put it in the middle?) … Blaise is so cool, and the men I know tend to like it/not hate it because it sounds like Blaze=fast and fiery and just all around cool. Ambrose is great, and I wondered if a nickname like Sam would help The Mister come around? Sam totally works as a nick for Ambrose!! Double names for boys are pretty rare, except John Paul, but I think that there are loads of great combinations one could come up with. (But I do not like Billy Bob, which is probably what many of the men in my life would use as a reason not to double name a boy. Men!)

The Mister’s boy names are hilarious — they were basically what I’d expect, but then … Dexter?? Wow! I’ve taken it as a particular challenge to find a boy name he and Theresa both like!

Okay, now for my suggestions (besides what I mentioned above) … I always shoot for three for each gender, but came up with four for girls, and I went a little heavier on the boy suggestions, since Theresa said they were so hard:

Girls

(1) Josephine
As I’m sure you all know from reading other consultations on my blog, I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard book when coming up with ideas. It has this awesome feature where, for each entry, it lists boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. Josephine was all over Theresa and hubs’ list!! Of course it’s an amazing saintly name, both for wonderful St. Joseph and St. Josephine Bakhita (I was reading about her recently — amazing woman!). It’s got the greatest nicknames too — Josie of course, and Jo (like Little Women!), and I totally think Sophie could work as a nickname too.

(2) C/Katherine or C/Karoline
My research showed Catherine, Katherine, and Katie as quite similar to their style. They’re great names (so says a Katherine/Kate who has always loved my name and been grateful to my parents for it!), and Katie/Kate/Kat and even Cass or Casey (as I’ve seen both) are great nicknames.

If Charlotte is too popular for them (and it is very popular) (and the Princess!), I wonder if they’d like Caroline or Karoline? Either could be a great honor name for our great St. John Paul II (birth name Karol). Especially spelled with a K, it’s much less popular than Charlotte, while still being in the same name family (Charles).

(3) Sara(h) (+___?)
This was so unexpected to me! But Sara(h) was even more a match for the names Theresa mentioned and ones that I thought fit their style than Josephine! It showed up as similar to Elizabeth, Adelaide, Thomas, John, and Katherine, so I had to include it here. But with Elizabeth and Adelaide being long-ish names, and Theresa’s ideas of Genevieve, Rosemary, Margaret, Charlotte also being long, I thought maybe a Sara(h) double first name would suit better? Like Sara-Kate (could even be a nickname for the first-middle Sara Katherine) or Sara-Clare/Claire or Sarah-Mae or similar? (With or without hyphens; with or without the H on the end of Sara.)

(4) Penelope or Beatrice/Beatrix
These were my offbeat research results that I just couldn’t not mention. Penelope, which is such a fab name, is a style match for Felicity, Eleanor, Rosemary, and DEXTER! What?!!! Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there’s no St. Penelope (recognized by our Church anyway; I believe there’s one recognized by the Orthodox Church), but I did find that it’s said to St. Irene’s original name, so that could work, right? Like Saul/Paul, Abram/Abraham, Simon/Peter? And Beatrice and Beatrix were so similar to a bunch of Theresa’s name ideas that I had to throw it out here. I also read about its origins recently, and loved it, very faith-y.

Boys

(1) Francis nicknamed Finn
You all probably saw this as one of my suggestions for the Pattons — I just love it. I think it hits such a great spot right now, with the heavier, more serious Francis (that’s a little out of touch with current naming tastes, but so important to so many of us) and the fun, current, ah-MAZing nickname Finn! This seems particularly great for Theresa and her hubs, where Francis seems more along his taste lines, and Finn for her Finnian.

(2) Benedict or Bennett
This was really inspired by Dexter — I was so blown away by its inclusion in The Mister’s list of names that I paid extra attention to it, trying to find any connections. Barrett was listed as a similar boy’s name, which immediately made me think of Bennett, which is a medieval form of Benedict. Bennett on its own would be great, and Ben is an awesome nickname, but maybe they’d prefer the full Benedict? Bennett could still be a nickname, or Ben (or even Bede, which I’m sure The Mister would hate but I love the idea of two heavy-hitting saints in one name!). Benedict is similar in style to Genevieve and Penelope and John Paul, so it is connected to other names that seem to fit their style.

(3) Theodore
What would The Mister think of Theodore? It’s a style match for Adelaide, Augustine, Josephine, and Penelope, and it’s got the awesome nicknames Theo or Ted/Teddy (so cute for a little guy!). Maybe?

(4) Charles
Charles too was quite similar to many of the names on their list and my-list-for-them, and would give the name family of Charlotte without the Charlotte popularity. It could also be an honor name for JP2 (Karol=Charles), and while some families haven’t care for Charlie’s rising popularity among girls recently (as a nick for Charlotte), I think it’s totally fine for a boy, but there are other nicknames for Charles as well — Cal being one of my favorites, and some really offbeat ones like Huck, Hutch, Arlo, or we seriously considered Charles Augustine nicked Gus — maybe something like that would work for them?

So! That’s what I came up with! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Theresa and her husband?


I love to do name consultations! If you’d like me to give your name dilemma a go, check out my Baby name consultant tab.

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16 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Baby #4 (boy names the hardest!)

  1. As we seem to have very similar naming styles (I have a Finnian and a Genevieve, plus some of their favorite possibilities are on our lists for future children!) I will throw in a couple of our name favorites:
    For girls, I feel like they already have some great choices, my favorites are: Eleanor, Cecily/Cecilia, and Beatrice
    For Boys: Leo, Edmund, Brendan, and the already mentioned Theodore, Blaise, Benedict, and Maximillian
    Also, they could use a common name like John (nicknamed Jack would be cute) or Peter for the first and a really out there saint Theresa likes for the middle to compromise

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  2. But Dexter isn’t the only wild card: they have a Roy! Roy!! Quite eclectic, and different from the other Elizabeth/Charlotte/Penelope/Charles/Augustine feel of their other preferences. I don’t have a BNW, but I am dying to see what lists Roy is on.

    I think Kate’s suggestion of ChARLes, nn Arlo is the best brother for Roy. An Americana, 1930s feel. A little Roy I know has a brother Cash, a nn for Cassian, after St Cassian the Good Thief. Again, a Western-type theme.

    Other examples from that genre? Maybe Leonard, nn Leon. … Chester, Otis, Stanley, Freddy. Edwin/Elwin, Vern, Hank, Ernest. A few saints in there…

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    • ETA I forgot that Roy goes by Patch… which makes Cash too close, I think. It also fits with the Finn- names better than if he only went by Roy.

      Also, if the family likes Gus (which IS a good match for Roy), but not Augustine, how about Augustus? Or something off-beat, like a George nicked Gus.

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    • Roy is a wild card! But it played zero% role in my suggestions, because he’s the Third, and he goes by his middle, which Theresa said is more her style — all of which told me that Roy wasn’t a good indication of their name taste.

      Brothers for Roy from the BNW: Lee, Joe, Clyde, Ike, Leo, Ned. I quite like Leo …

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  3. The following is a serious and true story, and question, but admittedly different. When I was a boy of 10 years my family had a very nice landlord who had two sons. The youngest of the two adolescents had a typical boy’s name which I cannot recall. The older boy’s name was Irene. Even at 10 years of age, I found it difficult to understand why this young man was called Irene, but that’s what his dad assured us was his name without further explanation. I’ve looked up St Irene and have found that she is credited with miracles including giving children to barren couples in the Greek Orthodox religion, but our landlord was not of that religion. Any clues? Thank you.

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    • Wow, that’s fascinating!! I’m assuming they said it eye-REEN? I looked up a few names, and wondered if his name could have been Irenaeus, or Irenee (French form of Irenaeus) … or maybe a funny family pet name for Ira? There’s the Welsh name Eirian, which, from what I understand, is used for boys and girls and is pronounced EYE-ree-an — sounds like Irene when said quickly? Do you remember what ethnicity the family was? And thanks for the question — really interesting!!

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  4. I am reminded of Johnny Cash’s record of “A Boy Named Sue” as the closest item to this old question of mine. At the time we rented the house from Irene’s dad, my parents and my 2 sibs had only been in the US about 3 years. However, by then I already knew English fairly well for my age group. I recall the friendly, hard-working, and caring landlord (I am withholding his name) telling me that his parents had moved to CA from OK including stories of farms and dust storms. He loved his boys. Irene was the oldest and it was fairly evident even to my kid self that Irene’s behavior was more similar to that of a much younger boy. He was a kind boy and minded his father, but it often seemed difficult for him to understand or recall things, or explain himself about sometimes simple situations. It seems to me now that he may have had a learning or other developmental condition.By contrast, his younger brother was quite a sharp spitfire for his age.

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    • Huh. That reminds me, though, that I believe I have a great-great uncle named Pearl, and I just googled whether or not Pearl has ever been used as a boy’s name, and Wikipedia says, “The name was among the top 1,000 names given to boys in the United States between 1880 and 1939.” So I looked up Irene on the SSA site and indeed, it was in the 1000 for boys in eight of the years between 1900 and 1912! It was most popular in 1901 at rank 543 (a huge jump from rank 940 the year before!). After 1912 it doesn’t show up in the stats anymore, which doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t given to any boys, just that it wasn’t in the top 1000 given names. So interesting!

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      • My old nagging question has finally been answered! It makes me wonder why some names we typically assume or accept to be for girls are ever given to boys. It also make me curious whether this practice continues to the present day. Thanks do much for the information as well as for your example of productive research methods.

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