Baby name consultant: Baby Floyd #4

Emily and Ben Floyd are expecting their fourth baby, and though they don’t know the gender, they’re “feeling ‘girl.'” Their other kiddos are:

Gwenevere Marie (Gwen)
Avalene Ruth (Avie)
Gideon Elias

I love their style!! Some of the names one or both of them like that they can’t use include:

Midas (unusable because of the company)
Ulysses (related to the Greek for “to hate”)
Georgiana nicked Georgie/Ana
Alexandria nicked Alex
Walter nicked Walt

Emily writes,

My husband, Ben, especially likes unique and unpopular names. He will often ask me how popular a name is when I suggest one! I know Gideon is getting more popular, but we both really liked it and can have a hard time agreeing! 😉 … I love to read and it heavily influences my favorite names. Like Georgiana! We also love names with legends and stories, like with Gwenevere and Gideon and Midas. Avalene was named after seeing a picture of my great-great aunt who was a nun, her name was Sister Avallina. After beginning RCIA we found out that our Avalene was born on the feast day of Teresa of Avila! I have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to St Joan of Arc. I also love Pope Francis, as he became Pope right before we joined the Church. Gwen would have been Charles/Charlie if a boy. But we don’t re-use the other gender name if that makes sense! Almost like it’s still the child’s name in a way … We also keep the syllables of the names in mind & all three kids have three syllable first names. Because our last name is so short & common, we like the long, unique first name to balance it out.”

(Isn’t Avalene’s name story awesome??) Current frontrunners for a girl are:

Winifred nicked Winnie or Freddie
Eleanor nicked Nora or Nori

And for a boy:

Augustine nicked Auggie

I had a lot of fun with this dilemma — working with Ben’s love of “unique” and “unpopular” names was challenging but so interesting!

First off, some thoughts about their current ideas: As you all know, I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard book for inspiration — for each entry it provides lists of boy and girl names that are similar to the entry in style/feel/popularity — and Winifred is spot on, having connections to both Ulysses and Gwenevere — nice job Mom and Dad! Unfortunately, Ben is right to be concerned about the popularity of Eleanor and Edith — I see Eleanor used a lot, and Edith is starting to be as well. They’re both great names! But not so unique or unpopular anymore. Every once in a while I see the spelling Elanor instead of Eleanor, and wondered if they’d like that? It’s literary — both a flower and a character in Lord of the Rings. And I wondered if Esther might interest them instead of Edith? It’s similar to both Walter and Edith in style/feel/popularity, and I really like that it’s biblical, so it can loop Gideon in as well. Gabriella is a lovely lovely name, but I do think it’s pretty popular? And Augustine — I see it allll the time among the Catholic families I know. We almost used it! I do love it, it’s a great name — but I don’t think it passes their unique/unpopular test. Ambrose, on the other hand, might, so I wonder if they’d like that? I do hear it from time to time in Catholic circles, but not a whole lot, and I feel like the rest of the world doesn’t even know it exists! I’ve often thought Sam and Bram could be good nicknames for it.

I did come up with some other suggestions that I think Emily and Ben might like. I relied heavily on their love of literature/stories and Ben’s preference for unique and/or unpopular, with a saintly or biblical spin when possible. I always shoot for three for each gender, but I ended up with five for girls and three for boys:

(1) Darcy
I’m not entirely convinced that they’ll like this, because it seems so different to me from their other names, but the reasons behind why I’m including here have me just swoony! Okay, Emily said she loves Georgiana because of Pride and Prejudice, and she has a special devotion to St. Joan of Arc … the two thoughts were swirling around in my head while I was working on this for them, and all of a sudden I sat straight up with an exhilarating thought! I scrambled to look it up and — yes! — Darcy (as in Mr. Darcy) comes from the French d’Arcy, meaning “from Arcy,” and Joan of Arc’s name in French is Jeanne d’Arc, and while I haven’t been able to verify that d’Arc and d’Arcy mean the same thing, I’m going to guess that they do, and even if they don’t, it’s totally close enough that the connection is there. Whew! When all that occurred to me I felt like dusting my hands off and saying my work here is done. Haha! It’s definitely unique and unpopular, and Emily said she loves Pope Francis right after she was talking about Joan of Arc so in my mind they’re now together: Darcy Frances. That is a great name for the daughter of Catholic, literature-loving, somewhat-contrarian-naming parents. 🙂

(2) Melisande
In general, it was hard to find much overlap in the styles of the names they’ve already chosen and the names they’re now considering. So Melisande was only in the list of names similar to Gwenevere, but it jumped right out at me as a possibility. I’ve always liked it, and I think Gwenevere, Avalene, and Melisande make a smashing group of sisters. It’s got literary roots too, as in the (admittedly pretty sad) play-turned-opera Pelleas et Melisande. It’s definitely unique/unpopular.

(3) Sidony/Sidonie
I came across this name a a few months ago while doing a consultation for another family, and its meaning just blew me away: “[Sidony] was formerly used by Roman Catholics for girls born about the date of the Feast of the Winding Sheet (i.e., of Christ), more formally alluded to as ‘the Sacred Sendon’. Sendon or Sindon (from Latin sindon … ‘fine cloth’, ‘linen’) was used in Middle English for a fine cloth, especially one used as a shroud. The Sacred Sendon is supposed to be preserved at Turin … Sidonie is not uncommon in France, and the Irish Sidney is probably really Sidony.” (pp. 268-269, Withycombe). When I saw it listed as similar in style to Avalene, I knew I had to include it!

(4) Miranda or Imogen
I was playing off their love of literature here, and trying to think of literary names that were also unique and/or unpopular — Miranda and Imogen immediately came to mind — I thought they both went well with the other kids.

(5) Mercy or Mercedes
I felt like it was easier for me to think of names that fit Gwenevere and Avalene and Winifred and Walter than it was to think of names that fit with Gideon. I love the name Gideon, and if it didn’t clash with our last name, I’d want to use it in a heartbeat. But his style seems a bit more … offbeat? than their other ideas. So when I saw Mercy listed as a girl’s name similar in style to Gideon, I thought it was definitely worth a mention. My idea here was Our Lady of Mercy, because Emily said she has a special devotion to Our Lady. I know a little girl whose middle name is Mercy for OL of Mercy, and any baby born this year and given a name with a connection to Mercy is doubly blessed because Pope Francis declared it the Year of Mercy! So great! I also thought Mercedes (“mercies,” from the Marian title Our Lady of Mercies, aka Our Lady of Ransom) might be of interest.

(1) Leopold
Leopold’s such a great name! It’s similar in style to Ulysses and Winifred, and it has the amazing nickname Leo. When I looked it up, I was impressed by its pedigree — saintly and royal, both — but what really clinched it for me was that it was “used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel ‘Ulysses’ (1920).” I know that a character’s name in a novel called the same name as another name one likes does not necessarily mean that one will like the first name, but it seemed too coincidental to pass up, especially with its connection to Winifred.

(2) Fitzwilliam
And again, I’m drawing inspiration from P&P. I was trying to think of names that will always be somewhat unique/unpopular, no matter the changing tide of societal taste, and I thought surnames are one of those that may tend to fit that category. Certainly some have become popular, like Taylor, but when Mr. Darcy’s first name came to mind I thought aha! I can’t imagine Fitzwilliam charging up the charts any time soon. Fitz and Will are both natural and awesome nicknames for it, and I kind of really really love Fitzwilliam Floyd. That has such a ring to it!!!

(3) Gennaro
This was listed as similar to Avalene, and I probably wouldn’t have given it any thought except that Pope Francis recently had that amazing thing happen where the blood of St. Gennaro (also known as St. Januarius) liquified in our Holy Father’s presence. I knew a Gennaro growing up, and I had the name on my list for years, even though I don’t have a drop of Italian blood. I love it, it’s a very cool name. I do realize that using it would leave Avalene out first-initial-wise, but I had to suggest it anyway.

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for this family?

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.


43 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Baby Floyd #4

  1. Oooh! Love the unusual name challenge, especially since we go for three syllable names too. I love Kate’s suggestions of Melisande and Miranda.
    Here’s a few unusual literary choices I would add
    Girl: Mariel/Marielle, Eowyn, Rosalind, Beatrice, Penelope
    Boy: Campion, Caspian, Crispin, Peregrine, Ignatius, Gawain

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooh this is a fun one!! I do agree that Augustine and Gabriella do not fit the “rare” bill they are looking for, especially in Catholic circles. The Catholic subculture adds a new twist on naming, for sure, and Augustine/Gus/Auggie is everywhere these days (for good reason – it’s a great name that belongs to a great Saint!). Gabriella was on our list too, and our little J was *this close* to being Gabriella because we had such a hard time agreeing on girl names, but we also crossed it off due to popularity and the potential for nicks we didn’t want.

    Miranda sticks out as a great one to me, but my very favorite one suggested so far is Mercy/Mercedes… gotta love the virtue/Saint connection there! And I don’t think the car connection is actually a bad one. It’s such a great name!

    Other thoughts… gosh, the connection to “Avila” that they already have opens up a host of place name/Saint name ideas, many of which have been mentioned here before, like Vianney or Clairvaux… hard to get more unusual than that! Another literary girl name that can combine a sense of being rare with modern tastes and a usable nickname would be Cordelia (nicked “Cora” or “Delia”). Boys are always tougher for me in the “rare” department just because generally, the trend for boy names is for them to feel more familiar, if that makes sense… but I love the Fitzwilliam suggestion as well as the suggestion above for Crispin or Ignatius (nned “Nate”?). Simon is another less common biblical name with great roots that might match Gideon in style?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love their style, and of course Winifred, Edith, and Eleanor are all favorites of mine.

    I second the recommendation (above) of Rosalind, as well.

    I like all of your suggestions, Kate, except Leopold. It’s a fine name and the nickname Leo is smashing, but no one should ever name their child after Leopold Bloom. If anyone here has read Ulysses, they’ll know why. He’s kind of…gross? Lol!

    I do think Imogen, Melisabde, and Fitzwilliam would all be SO cool for this family!


  4. I also thought of Samson for them—I always think of biblical Samson & Gideon together. Samson might be slightly more common than some of their other names, but it’s not likely to become top 10 at any time soon.


  5. What a fascinating group of name suggestions. They certainly don’t fall within my “style,” but I think they really seem to fit in with this family. I think it is so fun how many connections they can fit into one name. Very cool!


  6. Ooh, I love their names! I will definitely come back with some ideas, but just wanted to underline that I think Eleanor is really climbing the charts. I know at least a half-dozen baby Eleanors, and they are all going by Nora now, as opposed to the slightly-older ones who go by Ella. So sad, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is Emily!

    Thank you everyone for the great suggestions!

    We did find out last week it’s a BOY!!!

    Which makes it even harder! My husband is almost dead set on Ulysses in some form, like middle name, but I’m trying to find something else he will love.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Haha, before I’d finished the first few paragraphs I was thinking, “Eleanor/Elanor/Elinor might be a good choice.”

    I would avoid Melisande personally, just because the popular book series/TV series “Game of Thrones” has a character named Melisandre (she’s a priestess, and a pretty creepy character, IMO). Probably wouldn’t be recognized much within Catholic circles, but secular people might assume she was named after the character, given the popularity of the show.

    My girl suggestions:

    Augusta or Augustina (in lieu of Augustine for a boy). Gussie is an adorable girl nickname. Incidentally, I’ve also heard Gussie as a nickname for Agatha but I’m not sure how legit that is.

    Eloise – quaint and unusual! Also a saint’s name, according to this:

    I love your suggestion of Imogen as well!

    Boy suggestions:

    Ezra, Thaddeus, Matthias

    I was thinking Jotham as well, but I looked it up and turns out Jotham was the son of Gideon. So might be kind of weird for a brother of Gideon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh I didn’t even think of Melisandre, good call. I like your other ideas! Emily (the mama) just commented they found out they’re having a boy so any more boy suggestions would be great! I love Ezra, Thaddeus, and Matthias, and Jotham! Haha!


  9. Didn’t see the boy comment until after I posted, haha!

    Here are some more obscure boy names: Anselm, Cassian, Isidore, Roderick, Rufus, Sylvester, Titus

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Oooooh, I reeeeeeally wouldn’t suggest Melisandre. Not because it isn’t a lovely name–it is! But it is the name of a VERY creepy major character on Game of Thrones. Now of course not everybody watches/reads Game of Thrones. But it’s SO popular right now that people would definitely look askance. That may not be an issue in a few years once the show has run its course, but it’s something I would definitely advise the family to keep in mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I first read it, for boys I thought of Ignatius! It would be an awesome connection to Pope Francis because he’s a Jesuit and St. Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuit order 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. What about Cillian (pronounced with a hard “c” like Killian…yes, like the beer if you are OK with that), meaning church? There are also 2 St. Cillian’s according to my hubby. Plus it follows their 3-syllable rule.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nathaniel also seems like a possibility with the 3 syllables and its biblical roots. Good nickname options too. I feel like it’s not nearly as popular as in its heyday years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love their style!!! Especially with their surname–“Floyd” itself has sort of a retro, contrarian vibe to me, just like their first name choices. Here are (ok, more than) a few ideas:
    Urban (unusual word name AND a papal name–Urban Ulysses? 😀)
    Clement ( I think Clem is aaaaadorable)
    Morris (English version of Maurice–
    patron saint of swordsmiths!)
    And I heartily second Ambrose, which I would use in two blinks if it didn’t sound a little awk with my surname.
    Balthazar (Baz for short)
    Lazarus (Biblical like Gideon and just indisputably awesome IMO)
    I also ❤ the idea of Ebenezer, Ezekiel, or Eleazar for you, if you like the idea of sticking with Biblical boys' names.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yay, so glad to help! Good question about the pronunciation of Ambrose. It’s a family name for me and we’ve always said it with a “z” sound, like Amb+rose the flower. But then when I think back to reading Ambrose Bierce in high school English (hey, a literary connection!) my teacher said the “s” as in Sam. Maybe sanctanomina could weigh in on the correct pronunciation?
        And I LOVE Perseus nn Percy! Percy Floyd is just so great.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve always known Ambrose as AM-broz (long o), and there’s a St. Ambrose church near me that says it the same; concurs as well. I love Ambrose, and have often thought Sam and Bram could totally work as nicknames for it (it’s been on our list, with those possible nicknames, for years!).

        I love Perseus nicked Percy as well!


  15. Well, I was all excited about my girl suggestions, but here are a couple boy ones.

    Would your DH be swayed by some saint names that are also mythological in style? I’m thinking of Saint Apollo or Saint Orion. Also, I couldn’t find a saint by the name, but I have been hearing Atlas a bit more.

    A couple other cool saints:
    St Baldwin
    St Amadour
    St Tarcisius
    St Urban
    St Linus
    St Oscar
    St Osmund
    St Walthen (too close to Walter?)
    St Bertin

    And my favorite for this family: St Atticus! Gideon and Atticus! Two G- sibs and two A-sibs.

    My favorite Biblical names for this sibset are (a couple were mentioned by others as well):

    Liked by 2 people

  16. We have a Xavier and an Ambrose (+one girl, Evelyn) and are currently expecting another boy! I have always loved the name Ambrose, and for a nickname we call him ‘Brose’ – my husband likes it because it has a masculine cool factor, and it’s turned out to be a fun cute nickname.

    For those of you who love Pier Georgio, I have an older brother ‘Pier’ pronounced ‘peer’, which is short for Pierpont, so I love the name, and it’s also pretty uncommon which is a plus. If we hadn’t named Ambrose ‘William (pier’s first name) Ambrose’ to honor him already I would use it!

    Now for another boy name!

    Liked by 1 person

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