Janelle and her husband are expecting their fourth child this summer, a boy, and “are in the midst of our perennial argument about the name.” Their other kiddos’ names are:
“We clearly have a first – middle alliteration thing going on that we would like to keep but in addition to that we also like a solid spiritual meaning and a familiar but not trendy first name with an unusual middle for the boys (reversed for the girls obviously). Bonus for my husband–a theologians name for the boy. Bonus for me–a nature or scientific reference (Elanor: flower from LOTR, Peter: rock, Inessa: genus of skipper butterflies and the coolest version of Agnes ever). We got lucky with being able to have both of these with Peter but I’m realizing that I may have to let mine go this time.”
How great are the science connections with Elanor, Peter, and Inessa?? And I love the middle names paired with each one.
One option they’ve discussed is Andrew Augustine, but they’d still like to consider other ideas. And kind of an add-on thought is that they “initially talked about having #4’s name start with C so that our family would be EPIC (see the completely unplanned acronym from the kid’s names) but then wondered what we would do if we had #5 and neither of us loved the name Christopher which was the only boy name that came to mind starting with C. So we scrapped that idea.”
There’s nothing I love more than a challenging challenge! I did a little research into science/nature names for boys, keeping in mind also that Janelle’s husband likes theologians — I really wanted to find names that would work for both of their preferences, and that have a “solid spiritual meaning and a familiar but not trendy first name with an unusual middle.” I think I did a decent job — I always shoot for three suggestions, but I ended up with four here:
(1) Charles Caspian
I kind of really liked their idea of EPIC initials! So even if they decided it was too much/too stressful to do a C name this time because of the unknown options for a possible fifth baby, I wanted to suggest a combo for it anyway. Charles is for St. John Paul II (birth name Karol=Charles), theologian extraordinaire, and Caspian is both the Caspian Sea and Prince Caspian from Narnia. (If they did decide to have a fifth baby, I thought maybe an S name? So the kids could be “The EPICS”? For baby #6 though, I don’t know!)
(2) George Jasper
I know George and Jasper don’t start with the same letter, but since they have the same sound, they sound alliterative. Fr. George LeMaitre was the priest who came up with the Big Bang Theory (yay for priest scientists!), and Jasper is not only a gemstone but is also the name (either as Jasper or its variants Casper and Gaspar) traditionally associated with one of the Three Wise Men. Two extra bonuses: Pope Francis’ birth name was Jorge (=George), and a nickname for George can be Geo (like geology!).
(3) Nicholas Neri
At first I thought the scientist Tesla’s first name was Nicolas, but when I looked him up to be sure I saw it’s actually Nikola, which I suspect is a bit too exotic for this family’s taste? Especially with their boy style being a “familiar” and “not trendy” first name. Still, Nic(h)olas can work as a namesake for him, and of course there’s St. Nicholas, and Neri for St. Philip Neri — I’m not sure he can be classified as an actual theologian, but he did study theology and he’s a great saint.
(4) Thomas Tarcisius or Thomas Tesla
If Janelle and her husband like the idea of Thomas Tarcisius, I might suggest Thomas as the science name, for Thomas Edison, and Tarcisius as the religious name — St. Tarcisius is one of my favorite saints and a great patron for a little boy. He wasn’t a theologian, but he did give his life to protect the Eucharist. So yeah. I’d say you could make the argument that if theologian=one who specializes in knowledge of the divine, St. Tarcisius was an unofficial theologian. 😉 One fun thing about Tarcisius name-wise is that in Canada, the municipality of Saint-Tharcisius in Quebec is named after him, and that spelling — Tharcisius — paired with Thomas would be extra alliterative: Thomas Tharcisius. T(h)errific! 🙂
Thomas can also, of course, be for St. Thomas Aquinas, “THE Theologian,” as my husband calls him! Paired with Tesla, that’s a pretty heavy hitting religion/science combo.
Some other names that I thought could be helpful/inspirational included Dietrich (von Hildebrand, theologian) and Reginald (Garrigou-Lagrange, theologian), and if they had a fifth baby in the future and decided to go the S route next time, I recently discovered that the biblical Silas is also likely nature-y via Silvanus. According to Behind the Name, “[Silas is] Probably a short form of SILVANUS. This is the name of a companion of Saint Paul in the New Testament. Paul refers to him as Silvanus in his epistles,”* and Silvanus is a “Roman name derived from Latin silva “wood, forest.””
Those are my ideas! What do you all think? Can you think of other alliterative first name-middle name combos for a boy that pair a theologian with a science/nature name? Can you think of a good first initial to follow EPICS if they’re blessed with a #5 baby (and decided to use S names for him/her) and then have a sixth as well?
After I’d finished all this, I also found an awesome consultation by Appellation Mountain’s Abby over at Nameberry in which the parents were looking for a scientific name for their son. I didn’t include any of the ideas here, but maybe you’ll all be inspired by some of the ideas, both in the list Abby offered and in the comments.
*Do note that BTN goes on to say, “… though it is possible that Silas was in fact a Greek form of the Hebrew name SAUL (via Aramaic).”
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.