Baby name consultant: Third little green bean needs an old-fashioned out-of-use name

An email mishap caused one of my scheduled consultations to not post the day it was supposed to, so I’m making it up to the mama today with this out-of-the-ordinary not-a-Monday bonus post!

Amy and her husband are expecting their third baby, gender unknown. Their other children are:

Clara Grace
Hugh Joseph

I just love their names together! A beautiful sib set! Amy writes,

I really like names that are old fashioned but sort of out of use, (such as Hugh) nicknames aren’t a huge concern for me, although I would embrace it to have the long name of a saint ie Helena but go by Ellie … I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I love my two children’s names SO much I feel like I have set myself up for an impossible task finding more names I love as much and we may likely have many more (this will be three in three and a half years).”

She’d also prefer to have a girl’s name that doesn’t end in -a. Names Amy and her husband have considered include:

Pauline or Paula nicked Polly

And other names Amy likes include:

Grover (“nixed for obvious reasons, but I still can’t get it out of my head! It worked for president Cleveland!“)
Jillian (“my grandmothers name“)
John Henry (“after St. Newman“)
Lewis (“but don’t want Huey and Louie“)

Additionally, Amy wondered about finding creative ways to work in the grandparents’ names: Barbara Lorraine, Anthony Paul, Mark Michael, and Melissa Mary.

First off I thought I’d address Amy and her husband’s desire to name a child in honor of his/her grandparents: Barbara Lorraine, Anthony Paul, Mark Michael, and Melissa Mary. I’ll address ways to connect explicitly to their names in my official suggestions below, but otherwise my very first thought was, maybe using their initials? If they named a child (boy or girl) with MM initials, they’d have the paternal grandparents taken care of right there! BL for Barbara Lorraine could be reimagined as something like Benedict Leo for a boy. Anthony Paul’s an easy one, since they already have Pauline/Paula on their list of maybes. Or maybe Amy’s maiden name as a first/middle could be the honor for her parents? Otherwise, I think I have some decent ideas below …

I think Amy and her husband have a great list of possibilities, so I thought I’d use them, as well as Clara and Hugh’s names, as inspiration for new ideas. I always shoot for three suggestions for each gender, but I actually came up with four each here:


(1) Marian
As you all know from reading the blog, I almost always start with the Baby Name Wizard book for inspiration, as it provides for each entry boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. Marian was a big winner for this family! It’s similar to Hugh, Pauline, and Lewis. I love that it’s a Mary name, both for Our Lady, but also for Grandma Melissa Mary’s middle name! If Marian was paired with an M middle, both paternal grandparents would be taken care of honor-wise through MM initials, and if that middle name was Michaela?? Marian Michaela honors Mark Michael and Melissa Mary doubly! I am loving this idea!

(2) Sylvie
I was really focusing on trying to find doesn’t-end-in-a girl names for Amy and her hubs, and Sylvie was one of my favorites. Both Lewis and Marian have Sylvia listed as similar, but since Sylvia ends in a, I thought Sylvie was an easy fix. It’s a full and proper name on its own – the French form of Sylvia – and it’s sort of similar to Sophia/Sophie without all the hype. I really like Sylvie.

(3) Adele (Edel?)
Adele was another name that surprised me by revealing itself as similar to more than one of the names Amy and her hubs have used or have considered (or that I’ve thought might work for them). I like that it doesn’t end in –a, and it’s got such a pretty sound. I thought perhaps, if they didn’t care for the popularity of the singer, the spelling Edel might appeal? Ven. Edel Quinn’s first name is said just like Adele, but the spelling moves it in a different direction. (I talked about her a little a while ago.) But wait — what if they did the Adele spelling with Pauline as the middle? Would Grandpa Anthony Paul feel honored by Adele Pauline? So pretty!

(4) Juliet or Verity
Felicity was one of the names on Amy’s list that surprised me, just because I see it a LOT in Catholic families, which is great because it’s such a beautiful name and a great saint, but her taste otherwise seemed to go towards less popular. So I took a look at the names that were listed as similar, looking for more offbeat/older suggestions, and Juliet and Verity both caught my eye. Juliet is one of my personal faves, so this might be me inserting myself (sorry! I try not to!) but it’s such a gorgeous name, and it doesn’t end in –a, AND I’ve seen Jilly used as a nickname for the Juli- names, and I immediately thought of Amy’s Grandma Jillian and wondered if this might be a nice nod to her? Juliet nicked Jilly? Or even Juliet Ann, which could easily mush into Jillian on occasion/as a nickname? And Verity just struck me as having the same kind of “old,” distinguished, Brit feel as Hugh. It’s kind of cool and interesting, and definitely not heard very much at all, and the meaning of “truth” is always amazing.


(1) Miles/Milo
As with the girls, I looked for names that repeated in the lists of names similar to the ones Amy and her hubs like. Miles has been on my radar a lot lately, so when I saw it as being similar to their taste (especially Clara), I got excited. THEN when I remembered about Grandpa Mark Michael, I got even more excited, because as far as I can tell, name experts aren’t totally sure what Miles’ origins are, but one theory is that it started as a nickname for Michael. How cool is that?? So I loved it for this family, either on its own, or as Michael nicked Miles, or as Milo.

(2) Oscar
Ooh Oscar! I’m just not hearing Oscar much at all, and I think it needs more attention! It totally strikes me as the kind of name this family might like. I spotlighted it a while ago in light of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s upcoming canonization. Kind of cool for a baby boy born in the same year!

(3) Leo
Leo was another winner in the BNW book for Amy and her hubs, similar to Clara, Lucy, Jude, and Milo. It reminded me a lot of Louie, but different enough that it’s totally fine as a brother to Hugh. I also thought it could work as an honor for Barbara Lorraine – it’s similar to Lorraine (in fact, Lorraine contains all the letters of Leo), so could work as a first name in honor of her, but if they put it in the middle — something like Benedict Leo — it would be her exact initials. (Bennett is a medieval form of Benedict — maybe Bennett would be more their style?)

(4) Duncan
Duncan was kind of a wild card idea. It was another one that was similar in style to Felicity, but pretty unusual. I know one in real life, and he has a brother Garrett – I feel like Hugh might really work as a brother to Duncan and Garrett. So I thought it was worth a mention!

*These were my ideas when I first wrote back to Amy, but revisiting them today, I thought I might add Briony to the girl list — I’m loving the idea of Briony Lorraine (initials B.L., like Grandma!) or Briony Pauline (after Grandpa’s middle name) …  

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names might you suggest for a brother or a sister to Clara and Hugh?

26 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Third little green bean needs an old-fashioned out-of-use name

  1. Boy – Julian, Francis, or Benjamin. Also, I thought Anthony would work well before I read the list of grandparents’ names!

    Girl – I think Ivy Pauline would be lovely. I love your suggestion of Adele/Edel too – such a pretty name. I’d also suggest Alice or Esther, both of which go well with the sibset, in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lorraine or Jillian would be my vote. Lucy is def not an out of use name. In fact I would consider it a top 10 name among Catholics. I know so many little Lucys!! 🙂 Also an under used male name since she likes Jude would be Judah. Adelaide is pretty too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think Felicity, Adelaide, or Margot would be beautiful with Clara and Hugh! Perhaps Margot Adelaide? Or Felicity Adelaide/Adele?

    What about Paul for a boy since Paula/Pauline is on their girl list?

    Love all the choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely suggestions!

    I would love to see them use Paul as a first name! Paul Michael doesn’t have the best flow but I sometimes find flow kinda unimportant when it comes to honoring, and Paul Michael just seems like a really strong name to me and honors both grandpas.

    I also like the suggestion of Benjamin from above. It seems very British with their other names, though is slightly more popular than they probably want.

    Another boys name that came to mind for me is Tobias.

    For the girls, I love the suggestion of Marian! It needs to be used more! I also think the name Marie would go very nicely with Clara and Hugh. Maybe Marie Barbara? Marie Lorraina?

    Also what I think would be a good fit for girls would be Madeleine. Madeleine Mary? Madeleine Marie? Madeleine Pauline?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think Marian, Verity, Briony, Miles/Milo, and Dubcan hit all the right notes, so I’m rooting for those! I second the commenter above who suggested Ivy, and I’ll just throw in Felix and Jasper as boys’ names to go with what I feel is a sort of posh English feel she has going.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loove your Oscar suggeston! And someone else’s Felix suggestion. (Just don’t do them together or you end up with the Odd Couple, LOL.) A new suggestion from me is Levi, although this one is starting to climb in popularity (but so is Clara).
    For a girl, I was thinking Trinity after reading your suggestion of Verity. (I wanted to use it for my own kid, but my husband doesn’t like English noun names. Sigh.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, gosh, so many great names being thrown around! I personally love: Margot (swoon), Briony (so rare in the US), Adele, and Lilian (one of my personal faves). Oh, and Juliet (sorry, not helping narrow it down, am I??). For boys, Miles or Milo are my favorite, however the suggestion of Tobias also reminded me of another name I love: Mathias. I recently have been reading the sweet story of a character named Mathias to my son for his bedtime story. (I am pronouncing it mah-THY-us, rhyming with Tobias, not the German muh-TEE-us, if that helps).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such fun, tasteful names… both on their already-named children and on their lists. It seems like they’ve really embraced their own naming style, even between the rising-in-popularity Clara and the so-unique little Hugh. For this reason I really dislike Jason or Jude for them… too common and modern. I hope they go with one of the less-common names on their list. (Oscar is a great suggestion!)

    As a big fan of folk tales/songs I just have to make sure that they know of the John Henry legend… not a deal breaker at all, but I alwaysalways sing the tune in my head when I think of the little John Henry that I know. Do they like just Henry? Or John Henry, nicknamed Hank? Hank and Hugh would be so cute!

    I may be way off, but Hugh and Grover make me think of:

    Liked by 1 person

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