Baby name consultant: Mostly biblical+very saintly names needed for Green Bean #4 (on earth)

Megan and her husband Stephen are expecting their fourth born baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown). 🙂 Their other kiddos on earth are:

Monica Noelle (Christmas Day baby!)
Rebecca Therese (often called Becca; she was “nearly ‘Rachel,’ but we decided last minute that we liked the ‘-cah’ at the end to match her big sister“)
Jacob Michael

And two little ones in heaven:


(I just love every single one of those names! Awesome style.)

Megan writes,

I am glad pregnancies are so long because it takes us quite a while to agree on a name (often process of elimination), and then we tend to change our minds in the last week — lol. I blame the Holy Spirit, and He’s never failed us. We won’t know the gender of the baby (and my intuition is never right), so we need boys and girls options … Personally, girls names are so much harder for me than boys names. I like most of the common Old Testament boy names, and lots of familiar saint names, too. For girls, I tend to gravitate to the three-syllable names ending in “ah” [though Megan pointed out she’s not “committed to those syllables or to the ‘ah’ sound”] … Jacob would have been Maria Bernadette if he were a girl [though they’ve moved on from Maria] … We tend to like the names that are easy to say, easy to spell, but not super popular (well, Jacob might be…). So far all the names have a hard sound in them, which I can’t say I’m crazy about. I want the kids’ names to sound complimentary together, but I’m afraid that if we keep the “CK” sound in them for #4, it will be harder to break away for future names.”

Other names they’ve considered for girls include:

Vivienne (“as a pretty name, but no particular other reason, and I’d have to look it up to gauge the Catholicity of it“)
Susanna (“but not excited about Susie and there is a cousin Anna … would we really call her Susanna? I am open to it … or maybe Susie would grow on me“)
Avila (“But I don’t know if I have the courage to use such a different name“)

And for boys:

Gideon (“love the Biblical character, but it’s a little outside my comfort zone“)


3 of the 4 grandparents have a name connection, so if it’s easy to connect to Brenda or Ellen, that’d be nice. Maybe Brendan for a boy? But it’s not vital … Baby is due mid/late October and there are lots of St. Johns on the calendar around that time. Would it be ridiculous to have another J baby just 18 months after Jacob? Would I be forever getting them mixed up?


“[Their last name ends with the “lee” sound, so] this eliminates first names ending with the LEE sound because I think it’s awkward. Even some names ending with just the “EE” sound make me pause

Other names that are off the table because of relatives so named:


Okay everyone, buckle up: I had a LOT of thoughts! First off, I just have to say it — I love Maria Bernadette! I wonder if they’d considered Bernadette as a first name? A friend of mine was going to name her baby Bernadette and nickname her Betsy, which I thought was so clever and fabulous. (She ended up with a boy.)

Vivienne is beautiful, and of course I looked it up — Vivienne is actually a feminine spelling of the French male (!) name Vivian, and there is a St. Vivian, who had been a bishop. (Read more here, but pay no worry to the idea of Vivian as a feminine name being “either an Anglicized form of BÉBINN or a variant of VIVIEN (2)” – any of us who love any version of Vivian would be using it for St. Vivian of course.)

And Susanna! One of my very very favorites! Megan said Anna’s not do-able, and she’s not sure about Susie … there’s also Sukey/Suki, which is a traditional nick for the Susan names, and Zuzu, like Zuzu’s petals on It’s a Wonderful Life. They could do Annie — or is that too close to Anna? Or I’ve even thought Sunny or Sassy could be really cute for Susanna. 🙂

And Avila! I think they should definitely consider it! I see it often enough in families like all of you readers, so I don’t think it’s as out of the mainstream as Megan might suspect. But if it still makes her too uncomfortable, perhaps she can consider putting Mary in front of it? Mary makes any name do-able in my opinion! Mary Avila is just lovely, either as a double first name, or as a first-middle combo. Then they’d have loads of options, like calling her Mary (while always knowing that Avila’s winking from the middle), or Mary Avila, or Avila – all my dad’s first cousins who are women are named Mary+something, and they all go by their middles. Or they could even call her Molly, which is a traditionaI nickname for Mary, and also totally makes sense with the “L” from Avila. And Mary could kind of be an honor name for Megan, as her middle name is Marie. I also have another suggestion tied into this, which I’ll put in my formal suggestions below. 🙂

And Gideon! Also an awesome awesome name, I just love it. If it didn’t sound weird with our last name, I’d totally want to use it!! I personally have found that its lack of natural nicknames is difficult (as you all know, I’m a big nicknamer) BUT (and I know this is crazy) when the actor that played Gilbert Blythe on Anne of Green Gables died, I started thinking about how much I love the nickname Gil, but don’t love the name Gilbert, and how one could get to Gil — and I thought of Gideon with an L middle name, and I’m so in love with this idea that I’m extra annoyed we can’t use it! Gideon Leo, for example, or Gideon Louis – a good biblical name paired with a good saintly name! Even if Megan didn’t want to nickname it though, I love Gideon. I definitely think they should seriously consider this one too. 🙂 If, however, Megan and her husband still can’t get comfortable with it, what about something like John Gideon? John is one of those names that does for boys what Mary does for girls I think — putting John in front of any boy name makes it do-able! John Gideon could go by John or Gideon, or John Gideon.

Finally, before getting to my suggestions, I don’t think John is terrible after Jacob. Yes, they’ll probably mix them up, but I do that with my own kids, even the ones who don’t have matching initials! Hmm … Monica and Rebecca have a nice connection in that they both end in –ca; maybe Megan and her hubs could think of it as Jacob and the new baby if it’s a boy having their own special name connection by sharing the same first initial.

Alrighty! I always shoot for three suggestions for each gender, and I did so here, taking into account no hard K sound and no “lee” sound so as to sound okay with their last name:

(1) Evelyn or Evelina
I’m pretty psyched about this idea. It was inspired by Megan’s love of Avila and her uncertainty regarding her comfort level with it – both Evelyn and Evelina are from the name Aveline, which behindthename says is “From the Norman French form of the Germanic name Avelina, a diminutive of AVILA.” So Evelyn/Evelina=Avila, but in a more familiar way. So cool! AND it was also listed as similar to Vivienne in style/feel/popularity in my trusty Baby Name Wizard book. Winner! Evie/Eva/Eve are awesome nicknames that also really remind me of their style. And Evelina is long and ends in -a like the other girls.

(2) Eleanor and/or Nell (and its relations) (Or Elena!)
Megan mentioned that she might like to work Grandmother Ellen’s name in somehow –Eleanor was listed as similar to Vivienne in the BNW, and Ella as similar to Luke, so names with that sound seem to fit her taste. I quite like Eleanor with Monica, Rebecca, and Jacob, though I will just warn that Eleanor and Ellen have a tricky relationship etymologically (if you follow that link, be sure to read Sara’s comment as well). I actually started this train of thought with Ellen, and how Nell is a traditional nickname for it, and then I followed the Nell trail — it’s also used as a nickname for Penelope (love!), Helen(a) (so saintly!), and Eleanor — so there’s another connection too. Anyway, it all loops back to Grandmother Ellen, and a lovely way to do so! (I don’t hate “just Ellen” either, I’ve seen it used recently! The nickname Ellie is sweet too.) If Megan and her hubs wanted to match the -a ending of Monica and Rebecca, Eleanora is lovely as well. Or — ooh! — Elena! Like Ellen with an -a on the end!

(3) Lydia or Miriam
I just love Lydia, one of my very favorites. Unsurprisingly (as it’s a biblical name) it’s similar to both Susanna and Gideon in style. Miriam just *seems* like it fits to me — and I have nothing to back that up but my gut! My only hesitation in using either Lydia or Miriam is that they leave Monica out as the only non-biblical name. It’s not a huge deal — Monica’s been used for so long that it has an almost biblical feel — but it’s just something to be aware of. (Like with Mary Avila, Miriam could also be an honor name for Megan — a Mary name like her middle.)

(1) Jeremiah
Megan basically listed all the boy biblical names as ones she likes! Haha! But she didn’t have Jeremiah listed, which wasn’t at all on my radar anyway until the BNW informed me that Jeremy is similar to both Monica and Rebecca in style. Jeremy didn’t strike me as quite right, but maybe Jeremiah?

(2) Samuel
I know Megan likes Samuel, because she included it in the list of boy names she likes, so I just want to throw my vote behind it as well. Not only do Sam and Jake seem like the most adorable pair of brothers, but Samuel was also listed as similar to Luke in style. What an amazing connection between all three brothers that would be.

(3) Stephen or Simon or Benjamin
I wonder if Megan’s husband would be interested in a namesake? Stephen seems spot on to me, and the BNW concurs — it’s similar to both Maria and Susanna. It’s a bit unusual on little boys these days, but I profiled blogger/author/editor Danielle Bean’s kids a while back, and she has a Stephen Matthias, which I’m still swooning about. Maybe?

I’m not sure I’m getting the vibe from Megan that Simon is exactly her style, but the BNW says differently. 😛 Simon matches up with Vivienne, Susanna, and Gideon (in the form of Simeon), so I thought it definitely deserved a mention. And Benjamin wasn’t on their list of faves, but they have Jonathan on there, and I know a pair of brothers named Benjamin and Jonathan, so I had to suggest it too. Ben and Jake? Come on! So great!

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


23 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Mostly biblical+very saintly names needed for Green Bean #4 (on earth)

  1. I can understand wanting to move away from the \kah\ sound for their girls in order to keep options open for the future, but still, I have to put in my two cents for Dominica or Domenica (or Dominic if it’s a boy!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susanna is terrific (I just love her story in the Bible)!

    My first thought was Veronica, but that might be too matchy with Monica.

    Abigail is one of my favorite OT names for girls, you could use Abby/Abbi or Gail as nicknames.

    As for boys, what about Daniel? Or Adam?

    Ezekiel might be a possibility too; Zeke is an adorable nickname. (Now I kind of want to have boy/girl twins and name them Ezekiel and Susanna, so I can call them Zeke and Zuzu for short.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The name Hannah popped into my mind for them. It’s obviously very similar to Susanna, but doesn’t have the same issue about not loving nicknames. I also feel like it has the same kind of feel to it as their other names.

    I also thought about the name Caroline for them. It has a Ca in it like the other girls, but in a different location, so it starts to break away from the trend of ca endings, and opens them up other girls names without CAs in them in the future. It makes a good “bridge” in my opinion. It’s also papal (kinda), and they don’t have any papal names yet. Caroline Elena for Grandma Ellen would be adorable 🙂

    I thought for Brenda, maybe using Brenna as a middle name? Brenna is *possibly* a variant of Brenda, and I feel like it sounds similar enough to Brenda to count as honoring. I think Caroline Brenna would be very cute too.

    For boys, I struggled more for some reason. Jacob is one of my favorite names ever. It’s a “good guy” name to me (I can only picture a nice dude name Jacob, and I love that in a name). Some other names that fall into that category for me are Andrew, Ethan and Thomas, which I think all go with their other names. Andrew Stephen would be really cute if they maybe wanted to honor dad this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I LOVE Vivienne. I love its root, Viva, which I associate with the Latin “vivare,” meaning “to live.” For this reason, it strikes me as EXTREMELY Catholic, bringing to mind both Jesus’s Resurrection and the resurrection of the body on the last day. Maybe this is something of a stretch, but it’s why I love it so! If I had 100% say in naming our next daughter, I would name her Vivian nn Viva for this reason.


  5. Evelyn is my number one girl name right now but haven’t totally sold the husband on it yet. And love Luke and felicity! I have a Luke and felicity was another favorite but the husband completely vetoed that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Francesca and Seth popped into my head. I’m ignoring the request to end the hard C/K sound.

    From your list, Gideon and Joel are my favorites for the boys. Since you seem drawn to names with a V this pregnancy, what about Evangeline? I’m not sure I consider that catholic, but with a clear reference to the Gospels, why not? This name lends itself to multiple nicknames like Eva, Lina, Angie, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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