The Marshall Kids

Okay, so I made a huge name blunder by not digging around to find Taylor Marshall’s other kids’ names after I shared that he and his wife had welcomed their eighth baby … and then eclare said they were named in a video in the actual post that I’d linked to … and I didn’t even remember there being a video, but indeed I clicked over and there it was … but only six of the eight were named so I did my due diligence and dug a little deeper and yes, I now know the eight Marshall children’s names. Whew! It’s hard work staying on top of the Catholic baby naming world! 😉

They are, all of them, most wonderfully well named:

Mary and Rose (twins) (I believe)
Elizabeth called Lizzie
Margaret Grace Carol (Maggie? I don’t think he’s said so …)

*Sigh.* I love each one. A great great bunch of names (and a great bunch of kids, if they’re anything like they were on this video. So cute!)

Also, when Taylor announced Miss Margaret was on her way, he asked for name ideas. What. Where was I. I don’t know, I think I was still feeling scattered and overwhelmed with awe that people were actually reading my blog (who am I kidding, I’m STILL in awe!). So sorry to have dropped the ball! Maybe I’ll have it together better when Marshall Baby #9 is on the way! 😉 (No pressure Taylor and Joy! We all get it! God’s will be done! Enjoy this babyswoon with your darling newborn! ❤ )


Dealing with hard-to-handle saints’ names

Our reader Charlotte, who blogs at To Harriet Louise, commented thusly on the Caroline/Charlotte post: “This comment about Clare/Caroline made me smile because I’ve started reading Lives of the Saints, and just today I was thinking, “I think the only way I’d be able to use some of these names is if I used some of the same letters or just scrambled them around!””

And I said: “Oh do share! What were some of your ideas?

And she went ahead and wrote a whole post! Rethinking Saints’ Names. Charlotte’s got a lot of great ideas for names like Aelred and Porphyry — !! I think her approach is a great one for dealing with those kinds of names — I just can’t see a little Porphyry today, great as the saint may be. And when the intention is to honor the saint, and to call him or her to mind in the saying of one’s child’s name, I really think this idea is totally legitimate.

Have any of you given your child a name in honor of a particular saint, but the name you chose wasn’t the same as the saint’s name, and wasn’t a variant, but was something more like what we’re talking about here — using sounds or letters from the name, or a portion of the name? (I know one of you honored St. Polycarp with a little Polly, which is just like voila! So great!)

My 9yo named his paper bird Primary

Isn’t that a great title? Sounds like the title of a mothering memoir …

Anyway, it says just what happened: My 9yo came home from school yesterday with a paper bird he’d made in art class (he LOVES art class), and as he was swooping it around he said, “His name is Primary.”

“Primary??” my 7yo burst out. “That’s a girl’s name!”

Isn’t that funny? I might’ve thought the reaction would be, “Primary’s not a name!” So I was thinking about why he would think it was a girl’s name … I immediately thought it looked like a mashup of Primrose and Rosemary, which made me kind of love it. But my 9yo insisted the bird’s a boy, and Primary’s a boy’s name, and I can see that too — it was kinda reminding me of Peter and Pope because of its similarity to primacy. All of which is hilarious, this wondering whether Primary is a boy’s name or a girl’s name, because there’s some truth to the idea that Primary is not a name in that I’ve never seen it used as one … but also that it is a name, now that it’s been bestowed as one. Who here will be adding Primary to their baby name list? 😉

P.S. This same boy also named his stuffed lion Bandaids when he was tiny. So Bandaids is now also a name. 😛

More regarding patron saints

As a follow-up to my patron saint post of last week, I wanted to be sure you knew about CatholicSaints.Info, which I use a lot for saint info and which I’d linked to in my article — on its homepage are a bunch of different patronages listed by general topic (e.g., Patron Saints of Cities and Patron Saints of Family Matters) as well as saints who had specific life states, occupations, etc. (e.g., saints who were converts, widowers, visionaries …), which can make for quick research when you’re looking for a patron saint. It also has patronage topics listed alphabetically, as well as a search function if that’s easier. As with my Caroline/Charlotte post, it was as easy as searching for those names and seeing the listing of saints or blesseds that came up for each one. Thanks to Terry for creating and maintaining such a great resource!

Patron saints for Caroline and Charlotte

One of the question I’ve gotten the most frequently by readers over the past few months is whether there’s any saintly connection for the names Caroline and Charlotte. If I’d had my druthers about me I would have tried to post about this last week on the actual feast day, but since I feel like I rarely have my druthers about me (!), I don’t usually have it together for feast days and holy days in the sense of posting name-appropriate posts for those days.

So the feast day I’m referring to is for my very favorite patron saint for the Charles names, of which Caroline and Charlotte (and Karoline, Karolina, Carolina, Carla, Karla, Carol(e), Karol(e), Carlotta, and Carly) are a part, being feminine variants of Charles: our great St. John Paul II, whose pre-papal name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles. I know loads of little ones named in his honor in this way.

I do think C/Karoline/a and Charlotte are the most popular ways for girls to be named after JP2 right now, but our reader skimac left this in a comment last week:

I was looking at usage/popularity stats on for Karol and Karole. The Karol variation existed alongside the significantly more popular Carol/Carole during it’s midcentury heyday. Carol was almost 200% more popular at peak, then both fell out of favor overall, but look at the blips in the stats in 2005 (the year JPII died). Karol reached its all time high of 315 (previous high for year was 257 in 1958). Following 2 years still elevated in comparison to previous 3 decades and Karole variation back on chart (5 baby girls) for first time in a dozen years. Then another jump in 2012 which was the year following his beatification. Wonder if this year, when stats are released, we will see a bump again since it is it would be a year following his canonization in [April] 2014? Definitely reflects the John Paul II effect in Catholic naming.”


I was surprised to see this, since I think the general perception of Carol(e) and Karol(e) are that they’re still a little dated … but then skimac also shared that blogger/author/apologist/BigCatholicGuy Taylor Marshall and his wife had their eighth baby last week, on JP2’s feast day!, and gave her Carol as one of her middle names. So! Carol(e) and Karol(e) are certainly viable options.

There are other patron saints available for Caroline and Charlotte though, which is perhaps particularly helpful for those who already have a little John Paul running around. There are a bunch of Saints and Blesseds Charles — my personal faves are St. Charles Borromeo and St. Charles Garnier, and even Charlemagne — yes, THE Charlemagne (which translates as Charles the Great) — is a Blessed. If you preferred a female patron, there are also Bl. Karolina Kózka, Bl. Theresa Gerhardinger, born Caroline (and also known as Bl. Caroline Gerhardinger or Bl. Karolina Gerhardinger), Bl. Charlotte Davy, and Bl. Charlotte Lucas (Pride and Prejudice fans, take note!).

What are your favorite patrons for Caroline and Charlotte?

Baby name consultant: Irishy unisex surnamey name needed for Baby Girl #6

I wrote about today’s mama in this post of a few months ago, where I wrote about her #5 daughter, who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in utero, and their journey from no will we absolutely not abort this baby to today, where that baby girl is four years old and a total pip. (Molly blogs about their experiences at Priceless Little Pearl. I LOVE reading the updates.)

That little girl, Meagan, is about to become a big sister! Her parents, Molly and Brian, are expecting their sixth baby, another girl! (Yes, I will have to get my six boys together with their six girls someday! 🙂 ) Their other daughters are:

Reilly Elizabeth
Kaitlin Marie
Anna Clare
Maura Grace
Meagan Theresa Gianna

love their style. I would call it Irishy and feminine for the first names, and super saintly/faith-y for the middles. Names that are on their current list are:

Cara Josephine
Emerson Rose

Molly writes,

We aren’t “set” on any of those names … I do like Erin and Emma but not sure because of popularity, which is why Emerson was born. We had also liked Kaylee, but WAY too similar to Kaitlin….. we had Morgan on the list but that went away because way too close to Maura and Meagan combined … We are open to any names really but we have such a strong trend of Irish/Celtic it’s going to be really odd to stray from that… we love girl names, unisex names or last names as first…. I’m not a fan of flowery names… etc.. the only reason Josephine came up as a middle was because Brian’s Godfather whom he was very close to, Joseph, died years ago and it sounded flowery enough to tone down Cara or Quinn.”

So their list of names is basically the exact kind of list I’d expect — in fact, before Molly told me what they were considering, I’d already jotted down Bridget and Quinn! Bridget totally seems right because of the Irishy names they love, and Quinn does too, both because it’s Irish and it’s a last name like Reilly. Ven. Edel Quinn has been mentioned a few times here on the blog too (e.g., here, here), so it’s definitely been on my radar as a great name and great patron for a little girl. I also love some of the Bridget variants, especially Briege.

I love Emma and Kelsey for them too, they all seem to exactly fit my impression of their taste. I don’t really love Emma as a sister to Anna (my own personal baggage — over the years my hubs and I have discussed the idea of sisters Anna and Emma and decided they were too similar. But of course my opinion means nothing if Molly and Brian love it!) but Emerson nicely gets around all that — it’s a last name like Reilly, it’s got the Em- sound like Emma, it’s a great option.

Cara Josephine and Emerson Rose are actually new additions to the list since Molly and I first talked about names, and they’re clearly the most “complete” and are current finalists, and I like them both for this baby girl. Quinn is also still quite high on their list but they’re having a hard time coming up with middle name ideas. I quite like Quinn with Josephine, and just sounding out other ideas in my head I also like the rhythm of:

  • Quinn Emilia (it gets that Em- sound in there, and it was John Paul’s mom’s name!)
  • Quinn Sophia (which reminds me of some of the other girls’ middle names, especially Grace, Clare, and Marie)
  • Quinn Caroline (like Cara, but also a nod to JP’s pre-papal name of Karol … or Quinn Karoline?)

When I read that they like Kaylee, I immediately wanted to suggest Ceili, which I’ve seen some parents use — it’s pronounced the same, but it’s an Irish word referring to a social gathering involving dancing and folk music (like an Irish dance party!) — but I guess that doesn’t get away from the issue of it sounding too much like Kaitlin.

I love Cara — it means “friend” in Irish, and it also reminds me that I know a family who named their daughter Caragh (pronounced the same), if that’s at all helpful. And I also found this lovely treat at Baby Names of Ireland: Caireann or Cairenn, pronounced like Karen, meaning “little friend” or “little beloved.” Maybe nice in the middle, if not as a first?

And of course I did come up with some more ideas! I always shoot for three, but I have a couple more than that for this family:

(1) Lucy
Anna, Maura, and Meagan especially made me think of Lucy, as did Clare and Grace. Lucy is sweet and saintly, I love it.

(2) Cassidy or Casey or Carrigan
Cassidy is one of my favorite suggestions for this baby girl. It’s originally a last name, like Reilly, and it’s Irish, and it has the awesome nicknames of Cass and Cassie. I kind of really like that Reilly wouldn’t be the only one with a lastname name if she were to have a little sister Cassidy. Casey is similar — a last name, a unisex name, an Irishy name, a great name — but is it too like Kaitlin? I guess I wouldn’t cross it off the list, since Kaitlin is #2 and this new baby is #6 so they’re not next to each other.

I really like Carrigan for them too — it’s like a combo of Cara and Erin (or the Cairenn I mentioned above) with a little Irish jig in the middle. Some may not like the hard g of Carrigan closely followed by the hard G of their last name, but I don’t mind it. Carrigan Rose would be gorgeous, or maybe Carrigan Jo for Brian’s godfather, and it could easily take the nickname Cara.

(3) Brynn or Brenna
Brynn begins with Br- like Bridget and rhymes with Quinn! I like Brynn a lot—I knew a family when I was growing up with three girls named Gr33r, Brynn, and T!erney (alt characters used for privacy), and being a name nut even back then I thought they had the most amazing names. Brenna was listed as similar to Maura in style/feel/popularity in the Baby Name Wizard book, and Brynn was listed as similar to Fiona, which I’d looked up thinking it might be kind of Molly and Brian’s style, so I thought they definitely deserved a mention. While I don’t think Brynn has any saintly connections, Brenna could be a form of Brendan, who’s definitely a saint, or Brennan, which could be considered a variant of Brendan (if that was their intention), but actually has it’s own origin, and there aren’t any St. Brennans that I know of.

(4) Allison/Allyson
This one surprised me—I looked up all their names in the BNW as well as names I thought might be the right style, and while there weren’t a whole lot of suggestions that were common to more than one of their names, Allyson was listed as similar to Kaitlin and Allison as similar to both Meagan and Erin (which I had thought might provide some good ideas for you). A friend of a friend recently named her daughter Al!s0n S0ph!a, which was really surprising to me, and also really lovely I thought.

(5) Shea
Shea is also an Irishy unisex last name, and I think it’s one of the prettiest sounds. I could see Shea Louise being a really pretty combo for example, or Shea C/Karoline.

So those are my “official” suggestions! There were a few other names that I debated putting on the list, and for one reason or another they didn’t make the final cut, but I thought I’d put them here anyway, just in case: Fiona, Aisling (or Aislinn—which it just occurs to me is actually really similar to Allison/Allyson, at least in appearance), and Sarah. And some others that were listed as similar to more than one of the other girls’ names: Avery, Deirdre, and Delaney. And I really wanted to suggest Nora, and kept having to remind myself that they already have a Maura! But ooh — that just made me think — maybe Nola? (Abbreviated form of the Irishy Irish Fionnuala.)

What do you all think? What other suggestions do you have for Molly and Brian’s sixth little girl?

Rivers Family Baby Naming

You guys. Do you remember the post I did about Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ baby #8, due soon? I ended by saying if anyone knows Philip or his wife Tiffany and wanted to pass on the post, I would be delighted? Well our lovely reader skimac was actually able to pass it on to them, and Tiffany wrote back.

Tiffany wrote back!!!!!!

((Trying not to squeal with excitement.))

(Maybe I squealed just a little. 🙂 )

I’m still blown away that (1) she read the post and (2) took the time (very near her due date!) to respond and (3) her response was just so beautiful! I know you’ll all love it! It was left here as a comment by a friend of her mother-in-law’s, but I wanted to post it so you’d all have a chance to read it:

Halle Elizabeth- Philip and I just loved the name Halle and when I was in mass while pregnant with her I noticed the song we were singing had Hallelujah in it and I took it as a sign 🙂

Elizabeth is Philips mom’s middle name and two of my favorite saints. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and St Elizabeth Anne Seton. Although at the time I think we were just naming her after her grandmother 🙂

Caroline Leigh- we loved the name and her god mother’s name is Leigh Anne

Grace Marilyn- because I was in awe of Gods grace and his love for me. Marilyn- after Mary and my mom’s middle name

Philip Gunner- Philip obviously after his dad 🙂 and Gunner is Philips mom’s maiden name. Her parents had 9 children and passed down the Catholic faith in a very Protestant part of the world.

Sarah Katherine- Philip picked Sarah, he loved the name and I love Old Testament names 🙂 Katherine after my grandmother and st Katherine Drexel

Peter Michael- Peter is my brothers name, but we most of all love it because we both have a heart for the Protestants coming home to our faith and Peter symbolizes that for us… The rock

Michael- Philips middle name and the name of the one who has done much battle for us and all God’s children (St Michael the archangel )

Rebecca Marie- another Old Testament name we both loved. Marie after our mother Mary.

We are awaiting our next blessing, and plan on naming her Clare Magdalene (or Magdalen) not sure about the spelling, maybe you could help me decide 🙂

With all the opinions we have here in our house now, we finally came up with one everyone likes. And will name her after St Clare of Assisi. Magdalene because it reminds me again of God’s grace and no matter how far we fall from God he is always our Father and wants us home! Plus love that fact that she (Mary Magdalene) was at the cross.

Thanks for writing such a nice blog post about Philip 🙂 and you never know we may have to talk about some of your name suggestions- we have been known to change names last minute!!

In Christ,

How exquisitely beautiful are the reasons behind all these choices?! I love each and every one of them. I had my husband read it, and he — a convert himself — was so impressed by how Tiffany said they “both have a heart for the Protestants coming home to our faith.” Along that same line, I also loved the use of Philip’s mom’s maiden name, Gunner, because her “parents had 9 children and passed down the Catholic faith in a very Protestant part of the world.” Beautiful.

And now I think I’ve used up my quota of how many times I can say “beautiful” in one post!

I just have to point out one more thing — “Halle” is contained within “Hallelujah”!! I put that right up there in Master Class naming, I am very impressed with that! And like my sister-in-law said when she read it, now I have a new name to suggest!

(Also, I was totally way off about the Scandinavian influence I thought was revealed by Halle and Gunner. I love the real reasons so much more!)

Please say a prayer for Tiffany and her baby girl as the birth nears, asking especially for St. Anne’s intercession! I’ll be sure to post when I find out that the baby’s been born, and in the meantime — what would you suggest regarding the spelling of Magdalene or Magdalen? (My response, which I’d posted as a comment, was: “this is one instance where I don’t have much of a preference; I quite like both Magdalene and Magdalen. Mayyybe I’d tip toward Magdalene, just because that’s what I see most often when St. Mary Magdalene is written out, but really, I think either spelling quite obviously points out which saint they’re referring to.”)

Updated to add: I forgot to say! The choice of name for their new baby isn’t one I suggested (though I did reference Magdalene in my suggestion of Lena), but I love love love their plan of Clare Magdalen(e) for their new little one — saintly, elegant, just wonderful!

T(h)erese/a in honor of Patricia?

This is really kind of weird, but sort of recently I came across at least two different places online where I saw Theresa or Teresa or Therese (I can’t remember which) listed as an honor name for Patricia (I know that it’s at least two, because if I saw it just once I would have assumed it was just some weird thing … but two means more than one person consider it to be so, which I find baffling). One of them might even have been someone saying they couldn’t use Theresa for a daughter because there’s already a Patricia in the family. But in the last couple of weeks I have googled and googled various terms trying to find the posts (I think one was at the Baby Name Wizard, and I don’t remember where the other one was — maybe Swistle?) because I wanted to post about it here, and I canNOT find any mention of it anywhere! So you’ll all just have to humor me for a moment and assume my memory is correct — have any of you heard of this? T(h)erese/a for Patricia?

I’ve thought a lot about it because my first reaction was wha??? so I really tried to see how it could be, and then I realized it’s not that far off, for these reasons:

— Tricia/Trish and Theresa have really similar sounds

— I have a friend with a sister named Patricia and he’s always said it pah-TREE-shah (big emphasis on the TREE) whereas I have only known it to be pah-TRIH-sha, short i. But, if pah-TREE-shah is more common than I realize, then TREE-shah and teh-REE-sah are really very similar

— My mom always calls her Theresa friend TREESE — rhymes with Reese — like a contraction of Theresa and drop the a. Or like how some people say Therese (teh-REZ and teh-REESE are both acceptable). TREESE and Trish (especially in a pah-TREE-shah scenario) are also very similar.

So I guess I can see how this happens, but I’m wondering how prevalent this idea is (if it even exists and I didn’t totally imagine it). Have any of you heard of Theresa or Therese or Teresa as an honor name for Patricia, or even considered a variant?

Updated to add: I did find this obituary for a Patricia who apparently went by Teresa …

Birth announcement: Seraphina Faithe!

Meaghan’s consultation posted back in April, and she just emailed me to let me know the baby has arrived! She writes,

We still didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl yet but we needed help with girl names. We ended up having a girl. Although at our gender reveal ultrasound at 18 weeks we found that I had a large subchorionic hematoma that could threaten our pregnancy. Naming the baby was not easy after that. It took a lot of faith to get us through to 40 weeks and by God’s grace we did. She was born on her due date Oct 6. Which is Saint Faith’s feast day. So after much deliberation in the delivery room we decided to name her Seraphina Faithe. I wasn’t so sure about it at first but now that I look at her I’m sold. It fits her perfectly. We call her Phina, Phiny, and Faithey for nicknames. Thank you so much for your input and help in picking a name for our gorgeous girl!

What a wonderful end to the story! And how meaningful, the connection of faith and St. Faith to this baby girl’s birth.

I’m so so so happy Meaghan and her husband decided to go with Seraphina, which had been on their original list — what a gorgeous name!!! I particularly love it with her big sibs’ names, what a beautiful sib set. Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Seraphina!!