Baby name consultant: My newest nephew!

I have the special privilege today of posting a consultation for my brother and sister-in-law! They’re expecting their second boy, a little brother for Leo Patrick.

Between various conversations over the years, especially at our family vacation this past summer, and in more recent text convos, these names emerged as very indicative of my SIL’s taste:

Beau (most likely as a middle name for Francis, and he’d go by Beau)

(I will also note that my brother has his own name thoughts, but my “client” here was my SIL, so I’m focusing on her ideas in this post.) (Sorry bro.)

I thought this was a pretty fab list — sort of distinguished and down-home all at once. Her idea of Francis Beau was really great, and probably my favorite of the ones on the boy list. I love the sophisticated Francis, which is also a family name; I love the unexpected middle Beau; and I love that he’d go by Beau — perhaps difficult to pull off as a given first name, but totally doable as a middle and a call name. SIL and I talked about the unfortunate Twilight Reimagined issue with Beau, but I wouldn’t cross it off the list yet … I would wait and see what happens — that book might never be mentioned again, and I have evidence that she liked the name before that book was even known about! An alternate suggestion is Francis Xavier, which I kind of love for them — both Francis and Xavier are, separately (!), family names for us, and Francis Xavier is the origin of the name Xavier anyway, since St. Francis Xavier is where it comes from. My own hubs quite likes Frankie for a little boy, and I can see both my brother and SIL liking that — it is pretty cute. And Frank is solid for a man.

George — Unfortunately, we all agree that George doesn’t work with their last name.

Walter — It cracks me up that SIL likes Walter, but it’s totally true that names like this are coming back! It made me think of another name I see mentioned sometimes on name boards, and it always surprises me, and I won’t be surprised if they don’t like it … but I kinda won’t be surprised if they do: Wallace. The Wal- of Walter is what really made me think of Wallace, but my brother’s love of sports also made me think of it, because whenever I see anyone considering the name Wallace, they almost always say they might use Ace as the nickname. I love that! It feels very like my brother to me.

Sebastian — Love love love. My SIL said that they love that St. Sebastian’s the patron saint of athletes and that if my IronMan brother “could name a child Nike he would.” Ha! They’re not crazy about Seb/Sebbie or Bash, but I wondered what they’d think of:

  • Baz
  • Bax (especially if the full name was Sebastian Xavier — that’s a NAME! And also exactly Grace Batton’s Bash’s name)
  • Banks (feels cool and kind of preppy; Sebastian Francis would make sense of it — B+Frank)
  • Maybe even Bo, if it was paired with an O middle name?

So let’s talk about Bo. SIL loves Beau, but that spelling is difficult right now because of the aforementioned book, and also because my brother doesn’t care for it. He doesn’t mind Bo, though, so SIL asked me for ideas to get to Bo (she said they’re fine with B.O. initials as a way of getting to Bo). This is a listing of names that *I* would consider, if I had a boy named Leo and wanted to use the nickname Bo, so I knew some of them would make my brother and SIL (especially my brother! Haha!) say what? But you never know!

  • Bonaventure, Boniface, Bartholomew, Balthazar, Barnabas — these are super-duper heavy-hitting saints’ names that are totally my style, and I think all of them could take the nickname Bo, with or without an O middle name.
  • Boaz — Not only do I think Boaz is a really cool name, but I love the biblical Boaz, who was Ruth’s husband. It’s short and zippy like Leo, it’s got the snappy z at the end, and it very naturally takes the nickname Bo.
  • [John] Bosco — this is one that I could actually see them going for. Grace Patton named her newest baby Bosco, but I’m thinking that they might like the full John Bosco (first name-middle name) even better, with the nickname Bo. St. John Bosco is a great saint, a great patron for a little boy, just like St. Leo the Great.
  • Ambrose — we’ve actually had Ambrose on our list for a while, mostly because he’s one of the Church Fathers and a great saint, and because my father-in-law had a connection to St. Ambrose, but also because we both really like it. I’ve always thought Sam and Bram would be perfect nicknames for it, but it occurred to me recently that Bo works as well. (Along with all of the suggestions in my first two bullet points, I can picture my brother saying, “Ambrose?” with a baffled/not-loving-it look on his face, so I thought I’d link to this cutie here named Ambrose, and this one‘s now a teenager! Ambrose has a little of that old-man feel to it that my SIL seem to like. Also, fun fact: the term “sideburns” comes from Civil War general Ambrose Burnside, who had some epic sideburns! Also the Baby Name Wizard says about Ambrose, “Ambrose is like a handlebar mustache, so cheerfully outdated and overblown that it’s actually a lot of fun.” Love it!
  • Benedict or Bennett — I suspect my brother and SIL would like Bennett more than Benedict, but Bennett’s a medieval form of Benedict, so it gets the saintly reference in there anyway. Bennett would be a prime candidate to pair with an O middle name for the nickname Bo.
  • Brendan — this is another of my top choices for them — it’s Irish (they like Irish), it’s traditional, it’s a solid boy’s name. Brendan O– would be a great way of getting to Bo.
  • William — this too is a top choice for them — I was thinking of names that don’t start with B but have a traditional B nickname (like Robert, which is not usable for them) and I thought of William/Billy. William is a family name on both my parents’ sides, which is great, and I def think Bo could work, initials for Billy O. I really like it for them.

So my top choices for this baby if he were to have the nickname Bo are John Bosco, Brendan O., and William O., but I do like all the ideas on this list.

And of course I have a bunch of new ideas as well! I always shoot for at least three, but I came up with seven for my new little nephew:

(1) Henry
Henry was one of the first ideas I had for them — I love it with Leo, but honestly it was the nickname Hank that clinched it for me. I could totally see my brother and SIL liking Hank! Hank reminds me of George and Walter, they’d all be smoking their pipes on the porch together. I also liked that it has a connection to my SIL — in a very roundabout way — via the fact that she studied abroad Scotland, because Wills was at St. Andrew when she was (so cool, right?!), and of course his brother is Prince Harry, whose given name is Henry (Harry’s a traditional nickname for Henry). (Very roundabout.)

(2) James Blaine
I was on a little bit of a first name-middle name kick when I was doing this for my SIL, with Francis Beau, Francis Xavier, and John Bosco on the brain. James Blaine was my great-grandfather and he went by Blaine. I suspect that if they used James Blaine they’d prefer to call the baby James, but there’s Jamie and Jem too (I LOVE Jem — it’s one of Anne Shirley’s sons, a nickname for James, and I’d totally forgotten until I looked up that link that another of Anne’s sons was Walter!), or I think Bo could work for Blaine, no? I also have a friend who married a man from Scotland, and one of their boys is James, just James, so it feels “Scottish” to me, which, again, I associate with my SIL.

(3) Gregory
I started out thinking about Rory for this baby, which reminded me that I’d suggested Rory as a nickname for Gregory to Grace Patton, and then I thought Gregory actually seems like a great fit. Again, this might be one of those names that I would be more likely to use as a brother to Leo than my brother and SIL, but there aren’t that many St. the Greats and St. Leo the Great and St. Gregory the Great are two of them, both popes, so I’ve always thought they make good brother names. I actually love the nickname Rory for them too — it gets away from Greg (no offense intended for anyone who loves Greg!) and has the Irishness going on.

(4) Oliver
My hubs and I talked about Oliver through my first two pregnancies and had decided on it for our No. 3 but then cooled on it when I was six months pregnant. I’m not sure why either, we both love it, it just hasn’t felt like one of our boys. But my brother and SIL seem to love O (Leo and Bo), and Oliver’s serious, bookish, sort of Irish-y or Brit feel I find really attractive.

(5) Simon
I consider Simon to have a similar feel to Oliver — serious and bookish — but with a good dose of biblical, which I personally love. I think Leo and Simon are a great brother set!

(6) Russell
When Leo was on the way, I asked everyone what their name ideas were — what did we all think they would choose, based on what we knew of their taste (my brother and SIL didn’t share their name ideas until the birth) — and my husband’s only idea was Russell. I was so surprised by it, but he said he could see my brother liking Russell, and the nickname Russ, and this time around I feel like it’s a good suggestion. It reminds me of the old-man names SIL likes, and was listed as a style match for Rosemary, which is a name I know she likes, so I thought it was a good suggestion. My hubs did want to go on record, though, as saying that this time around he actually doesn’t think my brother will like it because of the Seahawks quarterback. (I would never have thought of that.)

(7) Tristan
This suggestion is a little out there — I personally love the name Tristan, and I thought it made sense to throw out an offbeat suggestion, just in case. It’s a style match for Sebastian and Xavier, and it’s got the Irish-y connection. I’m not sure I would use the nickname Tris, as that’s the name of the main character (female) in the Divergent series, but I could see Trip (if with a P middle) or Trio (haha!) if with an O middle. I don’t know, maybe it’s a crazy idea … For some reason I can see my brother liking it more than my SIL. When I asked my hubs what he thinks of it, he said he doesn’t hate it and that Tristan Thompson is pretty well known right now as a basketball player, so it’s not unheard of anymore.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? If you had a Leo, and your taste was Francis-Beau-Walter-George-Sebastian, what would you name his little brother? Thank you from an excited Auntie! 🙂


Bonus (pseudo) consultation, and happy Thanksgiving!

Isn’t this just one of the very best times of the whole year? I love Thanksgiving — it’s the beginning of the holiday season; I get to see family that I don’t usually get to see; we get to eat a lot of really good food; and everyone says really wonderful things about how grateful they are for the blessings in their lives. What a good and holy way to spend our time and orient our thoughts!

I am full to bursting with gratitude for my life and the people in it and the wonderful ways I’ve been allowed to see God working in this beautiful world, and this blog and all of you dear readers are one of the very best things that’s happened for me this year. So many times I’ve sent up thank-you prayers because of our little community here! It’s such a blessing to have a wholesome little virtual cozy spot to curl up in with others who like to talk about our faith and the beauty of babies through the lens of names. St. Anne chose us this year too, and I’ve been loving my new relationship with her. We are a blessed bunch. ❤

I won’t be posting any more this week — I’ll be back on Monday with a new consultation — but I wanted to leave you all with this amazing little gift we’ve been given: I received an email a couple weeks ago from a reader who is very much like I was at her age — she loves names, especially the names of our faith, and wanted to share with me the names of her and her eight siblings. She also issued a name challenge for me, if God were to ever see fit to send them a #10.

Is there anything I love to do more than see a beautifully named family? And come up with new ideas for them? Not much comes to mind! 😀

My name is Pauline and I am a recent graduate of Benedictine College. And while I’m nowhere near expecting a baby, I read your blog every day for future name ideas (what girl doesn’t? Isn’t it like having a pinterest wedding board?). Oh, and so does my mom.

Speaking of my mom, I also happen to be the oldest of nine children. My mom’s name is Beatrice and she was born and raised in France until she met my American dad when he was studying abroad (so romantic, I know) and they got married and moved back to the states where they had nine children (it’s casual). My dad (Patrick) is very Irish and my mom is clearly as French as you can get, so they decided on a system for naming. My dad got to name all of the boys Irish names and my mom got to name all of the girls French names.

So these are the names we all ended up with. Our ages range from 21 to 5 years old.”

Pauline Helene Marie (“I am Pauline Helene Marie after my French Grandmother, Helene. Pauline is after St. Paul and St. Therese had a sister named Pauline“)

Florie-Ann Marie (“Florie Ann Marie is named after my American grandmother, Ann. Florie is a French girls’ name- I have seen other French variations of this name all having to do with the French word “fleur” which translates to “flower”“)

Faustine Marie (“Faustine is the French version of Faustina, after St. Faustina. (My mom was confirmed when she was expecting Faustine and also chose St. Faustina as her confirmation saint! 🙂 )”)

Liam Patrick (“My American Grandpa is named William Patrick, my dad’s name is Patrick William, so my parents loved the Irish variation of Liam Patrick to continue the tradition.”)

Domitille Marie (“Domitille was named after St. Domitilla. From what I’ve heard, St. Domitilla was a Roman martyr who used to have masses in her home for the first Christians! … I know a couple Domitilles in France … Domitille is always a hard one to pronounce! Most people think she is saying Dominique. It is pronounced Do-mee-teel, if that makes sense? Her friends and family sometimes call her Domi (Do-mee). I think it’s so cute!“)

Emeline Marie (“Emeline is another French name and we actually used to read a poem about a little girl named Emeline for school. St. Emeline was also a French saint. My parents were also considering the name Constance for Emeline. I have a little goddaughter in France with that name now 🙂 I love it!“)

Fintan Joseph (“Fintan Joseph is named after a St. Fintan who was a monk in Ireland. He probably has the most nicknames in our family- Finn, Finny, Fintan Joe. “)

Thomas More (“We gave British a chance 🙂 … Thomas More was named for amazing St. Thomas More. I remember my parents just admiring the Saint and liking the idea of his last name as a middle name. Thomas loves the story of his patron saint!“)

Callaghan John (“And Callaghan John is named after my great grandmother, whose maiden name was Callaghan. It was a last name that was in the family. John is after his godfather, a priest named Father John who has always been close with our family. We do call him Cal! And Calli and Cal-Pal and Shnookums, depending on which sibling is cuddling him ;)”)

All of the girls have the middle name Marie for Our Lady but it is also a French tradition- even my mom’s Grandfather had the middle name Marie! St. Therese’s family had five girls and they all had Marie in their names as well.

Another French tradition is to have your grandmother’s name in your middle name. It is not uncommon for people to have two or more middle names!

Being named after a saint is beautiful and important, but my mom is also firm believer that even if you aren’t directly named after a saint, you have the opportunity to be the first saint with that name! I love it and totally agree.

I don’t see my parents having more but they always joke that they would have absolutely no more name ideas if God were to send us a #10. If you want a project, even though there truly is no baby coming (that I know of!) I thought it might be fun to see some name suggestions that you might come up with! Otherwise, enjoy this list of incredibly strange but kind of intriguing names.”

I just can’t even tell you all (though I know you probably feel similarly), I walked around for days after getting Pauline’s email with a big goofy smile on my face, just thinking and thinking about their names. They are, each one, so beautiful!

And to be given the opportunity to come up with ideas for another little one? Especially when Pauline’s parents said they “would have absolutely no more name ideas”? So amazing! It kind of feels like we’re all sitting around the kitchen table with our coffee and tea and having a good chat about babies and names, two of my very favorite things. How wonderful! ❤

It was really fun thinking of names for this family because French and Irish are two of my favorite favorite name styles. And especially with all the girls having French names, and all the boys having Irish names, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed at first. This is what I came up with for the girls:

(1) Marie-[something]
I claim a small bit of French ancestry but I don’t really know much about their naming traditions or practices — most of what I know I learned from Pauline! But I’ve always loved that the French seem much more comfortable with hyphenated double names than we do (see Florie-Ann), and I’ve always loved the ones starting with Marie. Marie-Bernarde was one of my first thoughts — it’s St. Bernadette’s birth name, and I love that Bernadette can be a nickname for it. But then I was thinking about Marie-Azelie too (the birth name of our new St. Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s mom). Which made me think about St. Therese, who was born Marie Francoise-Therese, which I love, or maybe just Marie-Francoise or Marie-Therese. Or maybe Marie-Beatrice, for Mom? Really, I would be happy preceding any of my other ideas for girls with Marie-. It would also be a different way of continuing the tradition of having Marie in all the girls’ names.

(2) Any of my other favorite French girl names
I know, I know, this is a cop-out category. But there are so many GORGEOUS French names, I was having such a hard time narrowing down the list! So I just thought I’d put them all together:
— Aurore
— Aurelie
— Christiane
— Clementine
— Colette
— Elisabeth
— Elodie
— Emmanuelle
— Genevieve
— Juliette
— Leonie
— Madeleine
— Mathilde
— Seraphine

(3) Currently popular in France
I also took a look at some names that are currently popular in France, since I don’t really have any idea — there’s a good chance that all of my ideas above are considered outdated or unattractive by the current French population. Even though it was written in December 2013 (so not totally current), I really liked this article: French Baby Names: Trends and Predictions 2014. Of the author’s top twenty list, I really liked Lilou, Maëlys, Juliette (yay! One of the ones I listed above!), Romane, and Louise, and then the author mentioned “retro first names like Louise and Suzanne,” which made me want to add Suzanne to the list as well. I also love Lola from the list, though it doesn’t feel right for this family, and I love Manon too, but it’s a diminutive for Marie right? So if they were to use it, I would imagine they’d prefer it as a nickname for a Marie-[something] name instead of a given name on its own.

The boys I found a bit easier to narrow down my ideas, so I have a neat five-name list:

(1) Dermot
I love Dermot. It’s got a cool sound and rhythm, and some blesseds and saints too. I also had the opportunity to hear author and donkeyman Kevin O’Hara speak recently, dear friend of my mom’s (that’s him on Mom’s blog with Finney the Leprechaun — the eleventh photo, to the right of Fr. Bede‘s pic!) and he said he has three brothers — Jimmy (I think), Mickey, and Dermot — which is one of the things I love about Irish naming, that names like Dermot can reside happily in a family with names like  James, Kevin, and Michael. Or Liam, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan, as it were.

(2) Declan
Lots of people are loving Declan these days, me included. Like Dermot, I just love its sound and rhythm, and it has the possibility of the cool nickname Deck. St. Declan was a pretty great guy too.

(3) Colman
I can’t tell if I think this is too close to Callaghan or not, especially since it would immediately follow Callaghan and not have the benefit of a few kids in between, but it’s a name I love, so I’ll throw it out there anyway. My grandfather was born in Cobh, Co. Cork, and the church there is St. Colman’s Cathedral — he was baptized there, and was an altar boy there, and I imagine I have family members who were married and buried there as well. And Cole is a fabulous nickname!

(4) Tadhg (or Thaddeus)
I was inspired to include Tadhg because of boy #3 Thomas: I have a devotion to Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, OP, a Dominican priest who is one of the Irish Martyrs (for being a priest), who was beatified by JP2, who was also known as Tadhg, because Tadhg is sometimes anglicized as Thaddeus. The Thomas connection is that Bl. Tadhg had a brother who was also a Dominican priest, named Thomas. How cool! (Read more about him here, here, and here.) I could also see Thaddeus with a “nickname” of Tadhg working as well. Or just Thaddeus with no Tadhg at all (I know a little Thaddeus nicked Taddy, so cute!).

(5) Myles
One of my name books, Oxford Dictionary of First Names, says that Maolra is a “[m]odern spelling, common particularly in the west of Ireland, of earlier Maoil-Mhuire ‘devotee of Mary.’ It has been anglicized as Myles.” It’s an Irish Marian boy’s name! Love it!

Those are my ideas for a hypothetical ninth sibling for Pauline — what do you all think? Do any names come to mind as being perfect for this French-girls/Irish-boys family?

Pauline added, “I’ve also attached our awkward family photo just so you know we’re real people.” Haha! Thanks so much to Pauline and her mom and their beautiful family for all this great info, and happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Patrick and Beatrice and their children Pauline, Florie-Ann,
Faustine, Liam, Domitille, Emeline, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan

When you’re doing your Advent and Christmas shopping …

The whole time I’ve had my own household to manage — thirteen years this past September — I’ve never had an Advent wreath, and I’ve always wanted one. Last year I decided I was definitely getting one for this Christmas, and today (yes, I’m almost always Mrs. Last Minute) I ordered this one from The Catholic Company.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — The Catholic Company is always my go-to for religious items for gifts for others or for me or for the kids or our family. They have beautiful things for Advent and Christmas, and I’ve posted previously about other select items that I like. All of this is why I signed up to be an affiliate with them to begin with — they have so much that I’d recommend to all of you!

I’m also an Amazon affiliate, because that’s where I’ve gotten almost all my name books — all the books I’d recommend to you or to anyone who wants ideas for naming a baby, or for Confirmation, or for characters in your stories, or just because you love names and can’t think of anything you’d rather do than curl up with a name book. I know I’m not the only one! 😉

So when you’re doing your online Advent and Christmas shopping, consider starting here! I have lots of good stuff listed on my Resources and recommendations page. Even if you don’t end up buying anything I’ve recommended, if you use any of my links to get to Amazon or The Catholic Company, I’ll get a percentage of the money you end up spending in that transaction. (Also, because I’m a terrible businesswoman and I’m not in dire circumstances, I do want to let you know that many many bloggers are affiliates of different businesses, so if you know of any that you think need particular financial help at this time of year, use their links instead!)

Oh! Don’t forget that I have my NamePrint printables available as well!

This post contains affiliate links brought to you by The Catholic Company – The World’s #1 Catholic Store and

Baby name consultant: First baby!

Jackie and Mike are expecting their first baby, a boy! Jackie writes,

We are at a stand still when it comes to boy names. Early on I was convinced that the little one was a girl, and picked the name Felicity Marie — I loved its meaning, it had family connections and I just fell in love with it. but then we found out its a boy after all. And though I am really excited to have a boy, We haven’t found a name that seems to hold up to the girl name … [It’s] important to note that faith, prayer and the holy spirit definitely played a huge part in our journey, and we are so excited to share our faith with our new family, starting with an awesome name.

As for naming style — we agree strongly that we want a saint’s name, and that a family name would be great as well. My husband likes simple names (his term), whereas I like names that are traditional and familiar, but I get worried about being too ordinary or too popular. I’m also struggling because I soooo felt like Felicity was perfect (it means happy) and Marie has been in my family 500 years….

(Haha! “500 years”! I laughed out loud the first time I read it, and I laughed again now as I typed it in here. 😀 )

Additional considerations: we have a very German surname … which has been difficult to match with. Also we both come from large families which leads too lots of name would rather not repeat as first names, but would consider for the middle.”

The names that Jackie and Mike are considering include:


And family names they love but wouldn’t use as first names:


Alrighty, the first thing that jumped out at me was that Jackie noted that “faith, prayer and the holy spirit definitely played a huge part” in their relationship, which reminded me that I’d done a post a while back on names to use as a nod to the Holy Spirit. I took a look at the ideas listed there and thought some of them might interest her and her hubs:

  • Hugo—According to Behind the Name it comes from “the Germanic element hug, meaning ‘heart, mind, spirit.’” Hugo’s actually one of my top choices for them, as I looked up all the names on their list, including Felicity, in the Baby Name Wizard book, which has, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity, and Hugh was a pretty big match. It could also be a “Holy Spirit” name, as Hugh and Hugo are variants of the same name, but for some reason I felt like Hugo was more Jackie and Mike’s style. It seemed more similar to Felicity’s style to me.
  • Jonah—Jonah means “dove,” which is the tie-in to the Holy Spirit. It’s similar to Gabriel, Zachary, Simeon, and Jacob from their list, so I thought they might like it.
  • Colum—this is another of my top suggestions for them. As a Holy Spirit name, it also means “dove,” from the Latin columba, which is also an Irish saint’s name (St. Columba), and Colum is a variant. Malcolm also popped up in my Baby Name Wizard research as similar to their taste, which literally means “follower of St. Columba” in Irish—“mal” + “colm” (Colm is another spelling of Colum), so I saw that as another sign to include it in my suggestions for this baby.
  • Abel—The word “spirit” comes from the Latin “to breathe,” and Abel means “breath,” so I thought that might work. It’s also heavy duty Old Testament like some of the other names on Jackie and Mike’s list, I really like it.
  • Ignatius—Maybe, for Mike’s sake, this should be considered only as a middle name? 🙂 Ignatius can be related to the Latin ignis, meaning “fiery,” like “tongues of fire.” It’s a bold choice for sure, but it has some great nickname potential—Iggy, Nate, and Nash. And actress Cate Blanchett has an Ignatiusactress Cate Blanchett has an Ignatius!
  • Kenneth—this is also a fire-related name, from the Irish Cinaed, which means “born of the fire.”

So those were the Holy Spirit names that I thought might appeal to Jackie and Mike, but I have other non-Holy Spirit names to suggest as well. I gave heavy consideration toward names that I thought fit the feel of Felicity, and also the feel of Gavin, which was so different from their other names that I thought it revealed something about their taste. I also think all these would count as “simple” names (well, maybe not Sebastian as much) in keeping with Mike’s taste?

(1) Colin (Nicholas)
I was kind of blown away by how well Nicholas and Colin matched up with their taste in names! Especially since Colin is a medieval diminutive of Nicholas! Nicholas was listed as similar to Gabriel, Zachary, Julian, Anthony, and Andrew, and Colin is similar to Gavin, Simon, and Felicity. Given that Colin is similar to both Felicity and Gavin, both of which I really used as markers of their taste, you can see why Colin is my predominant suggestion here! It pairs up nicely with several of their family names too—I think Colin Anthony might be my favorite, and I also love Colin Michael.

(2) Jude
Jules and Julian on Jackie and Mike’s list both made me think of Jude (the Beatles song “Hey Jude” was written for Julian Lennon and was originally “Hey Jules”), and I love Jude as an idea for them. It’s so saintly and biblical, a great option, and really similar to so many of the names on their list. Jude Anthony (wow, what a one-two saint punch that name is!), Jude Edward, Jude William, and Jude Michael are all jumping out at me as really nice combos.

(3) Conrad
Conrad showed up a couple times, mostly as matches for the names on their middle-name list (specifically Cornelius and Edmund), and I decided to include it because it goes really well with a German last name, and I’ve recently been loving St. Conrad of Parzham, who was a German Franciscan. Cord is a traditional nickname for Conrad, and I could see it turning into Cordy, which I love—it reminds me of Gordy and Jordy, which have always been favorites of mine, nickname-wise. I would LOVE something like Conrad Cornelius, wow!! 😀 They could maybe even consider Conrad an honor name for the Cornelius in their lives, as the first four letters of Conrad are the same as that of Cornelius, just in a different order (I wrote about that kind of thing this morning here). Conrad Eugene also has a nice rhythm, and Conrad Michael would be so nice for Mike.

(4) Oliver
Simon, Julian, and Felicity all had Oliver as a style match, and I love it for this family. St. Oliver Plunket is a great Irish saint, and Our Lady of Olives could also be the patron. Oliver William, Oliver Anthony, Oliver Michael, Oliver Steven, Oliver Edward, Oliver Edmund, Oliver Andrew, Oliver Eugene all flow really nicely, it’s easy to work with!

(5) Sebastian
I was surprised to not see Sebastian on their list! It’s a style match for Felicity and Julian, and one of those heavy-duty saints’ names that often show up in lists like Jackie and Mike’s. Seb/Sebby and Bash are great nicknames for it, though I love the full Sebastian. Short middle names go really well with long first names imo, and I think Sebastian Neal Schubert is very handsome; I also love Sebastian Michael.

So those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for Jackie and Mike’s baby boy?

Crazy Catholic Names Lady

It’s so funny how deep into one’s own perspective a person can get, right? (By “person” I mean “me.”) The other night I was talking to another mom at basketball practice, and she brought up her girls’ names (honest! She brought them up, not me!), and was telling me how she and her husband chose them. Their names are Em!l!a and S!3nna (alt characters used for privacy) and of course you know me, I was all heart eyes because Em!l!a is Jp2’s mom’s name and S!3nna (one n but I’ve seen people do two even for the Siena saints) is St. Catherine and St. Bernardine and I was just sighing happily, only to discover that their theme was actually not Catholicky Catholic, but rather “Italian.”

Ah. Right. Not everyone scours all available resources having to do with saints and various ways to honor them (their mother’s name! their place of birth/death/ministry!) when naming a baby. Note to self. 😉

Birth announcement: Tiber Augustine Édouard!

Our dear reader hollyce has had her seventh baby — a boy! She and her husband have given him the ah-MAZ-ing name of Tiber Augustine Édouard! She writes,

Tiber Augustine Édouard Krueger born at 2121 on 10.31.2015, 6lbs14oz 19.5″ long

Named Tiber because of my conversion and Kris’s reversion in 2004-05, middle names chosen by godmother and oldest sister Lily for St. Augustine, St. Édouard and Édouard Manet

Ohhhh my. I can’t tell you exciting it is for me to see a little guy with the awesome and so-meaningful name Tiber! I LOVE it! ❤

He joins his amazingly well named big sibs:

Elizabeth Chandler nn Lily (“after my mom’s middle and maiden names“)

Cole Jacob (“shares my husband Kris’s middle name Jacob after Kris’s maternal grandfather and he has Kris’s mom’s initials“)

Anne Eleanor nn Annie (“named after the Anns and Annas on all sides of the families and St. Anne, Our Lady’s mother. She has Kris’s late dad’s initials“)

Blaise Robert (“after St. Blaise and my late dad, Robert“)

Urban Paul (“after Kris’s uncles’ middle names, St. Paul and Pope St. Urban – Uncle Steve was given Urban as his middle name after his Uncle Barney. Apparently Barney was a nickname for Urban?!“)

Mary Margaret Rose (“after the Blessed Mother, St. Margaret Clitherow, and we just liked Rose“)

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Tiber!!


Tiber’s baptism day!

Creative naming over at


My November column is up over at today: Creative Catholic Names. I shared some of the info we talked about here on the blog, and I’d love it if you hopped on over there to add your favorite creative faith-y names and/or any names you’ve spotted in your own family or others. Happy Wednesday! ❤

Birth announcement: David Newton, Jr.!

Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage has had her baby! The consultation I posted for her back in September focused on a middle name for a girl, but it was all moot because she has welcomed a son — David Newton, Jr.!

She writes,

Our son was born Wednesday, November 11 at 6:25pm. He was several days late but when he finally came, he was born less than an hour after labor started.  He was delivered by his daddy in the car!

We had narrowed down middle names for Cecilia to two front runners, Clare and Rose, with Paloma and Zelie as wild cards still in consideration, but decided to wait until the baby was born to make a final decision. Since baby was a boy, it turns out we never needed to. 

We named our son David Newton Richards, Jr. He shares his name with not only his father but his great grandfather and great great grandfather. My husband was given that name after his grandfather who died when my father-in-law was a teenager. He has a first cousin named David after their grandfather as well (and his son has the middle name David), so we have lots of Davids in the family and we are honored to pass on the tradition. My brother is a Jr. and I always loved that naming tradition so I planned to have my son be a Jr.  long before I met my husband. It was serendipitous that the man I did meet happened to have an awesome name with a rich family history. I used to not care for Newton much but I’ve grown to love that it’s old fashioned and uncommon. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 boys names in the U.S. since 1957! 

We haven’t come up with a nickname for little David yet (which I feel is kind of necessary to distinguish him in conversation from his dad) but are using a bunch and seeing which feels right. Being the nickname queen, maybe you have some suggestions for us that we haven’t considered? I myself am a bit partial to Newt but I don’t think I’ll be able to get that one to fly 🙂 “

What a wonderful family naming tradition little David was born into!! (Also, did you catch that — he was born in the car!)

Mandi asked for nickname ideas for David (she called me the “nickname queen”!! 😀 ), so these are mine:

  • (I love Newt!)
  • Certainly there’s Dave and Davey — Davey especially has kind of a throwback little guy feel, so sweet!
  • My grandfather was from Ireland and his name was David but his nickname growing up was Daithín (I think that’s how it’s spelled) — Irish for “little Daithi,” where Daithi is the Irish for David. Daithi is pronounced DAH-hee and Daithín like dah-HEEN, so maybe dah-HEEN? (Not sure how you’d want to spell it though! Daheen looks too feminine? And Daithín too Irish?)
  • My cousin is David Jr. and he goes by DJ, so maybe that?
  • You know I’m a big fan of combining first and middle names to come up with nicknames — in this case, maybe David Newton could become Danny? Not that unusual, but distinct from Dad. Or Dane?
  • Or Junior! (I hear Sean Connery saying, “Junior!” in his fabulous accent from the Indiana Jones movies! Haha!) Or just Jay? From Junior, which is kind of like Dave but different?
  • You could also do Richie, which is such a common thing for guys to go by (their last names, or nicknames of their last names), but maybe that’s weird to start at home? Is that more of a nickname that buddies bestow in high school?
  • This is a little crazy, but could be cute — what about D2? Like David II? It’s different, it’s Star Wars-y? Or just D, for that matter?
  • Or what about Dewi? It’s the Welsh version of David, and St. David of Wales is known as Dewi Sant, and Dewi’s kind of like David and Newton smushed together!

What nicknames would you suggest for little David Jr.?

You can read more about this little guy’s car birth in Mandi’s announcement on her blog. Congratulations to Mandi and David Sr. and big sister Lucia, and happy birthday Baby David!!


David Newton, Jr.


Hi Mister!


Proud big sister Lucia


Tiny guy!

Baby name consultant: “Normal” Catholicky name needed for Baby #4

Karra and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🙂 Their other kiddos’ names are:

Clare Hope
Samuel Joseph
Lucy Faith

*Happy sigh.* Lovely. And I love the Hope and Faith middles shared by the girls, even though Karra writes,

For the girls middle I do not like love or charity so I’m letting my theme of the virtues end with this baby (if it’s a girl). Although I do like mercy or verity (found on your blog-thanks) as a middle name. I’m not a huge fan of nicknames unless I like the nickname (my son is Sam). I like really catholicy sounding names, my husband thinks we need to stick to normal names because our other children have normal names.”

Fortunately, there are lots of good Catholicky Catholic “normal” names! Woo! 😀

The names they’re considering for girls are:

Susanna (“I do like the nickname Susie“)
Cora (“this and Mary are my husbands top choice“)
Mary (“I really wanted a Mary combination name but cannot find one I like. I for obvious reasons cannot use Mary Clare which I LOVE. Also out are Mary Anne, Mary Jane, and Mary Lou (too close to Lucy-who sometimes gets called Lu). Mary Ellen is the new American girl doll so I wouldn’t use that. We’ve thrown around Mary Therese but I feel like people would drop the Therese even though she would have a middle name as well“)
Zelie (“we debate the pronunciation, I say zay lee, my husband wants zellie which is why I don’t think we will ultimately pick this name“)

Note: “Cora and Mary are my grandmothers who have died recently. Francis is also a family name on my side and Frank is on my husbands. It goes without saying that if the first name isn’t a saint, we would use a saint name as a middle to be their patron

Their list for boys includes:

Christian (“pretty much out because my husband insists he will be called Chris and I do NOT like Chris, his name would be Christian“)
Francis (“nicked Frankie — my husbands top name but not my favorite and I’m really leaning towards the others“)
Caleb (“goes with Old Testament first name for boy“)
Micah (“again with Old Testament“)
Emmaus (“my husband does not like this name but I love it and I will always keep it on my list“)

Okay, so first off, as I said, I do love that they used Faith and Hope already for middle names for their girls, but I totally get not wanting to do Love or Charity. I wonder though if they might like the idea of something like Amor? I’m so glad that they like Verity and Mercy — those are some of my favorites too. I thought Grace and Joy might also work, and Charis means grace and is contained within the word eucharist and is related to Charity, so I thought I’d offer that suggestion as well. Or Caritas? I’ve also seen Cora used recently as a nod to the Sacred Heart (cor in Latin) — maybe Cora could be their “love” name? Kind of two birds with one stone — Grandma Cora and “love”?

I LOVE their girl list! Susanna and Felicity are favorites of mine too, as are Zelie (but yes, the pronunciation!) and Helena. Beautiful!

Mary doubles are so great, I always love them. Mary Kate and Mary Grace both have a similar feel to me as Mary Clare, I wonder if they’d like either of them? Mary Grace is kind of cool because then they could get a virtue name in there like the other girls. Or Mary Cora? I know a couple Mary Elizabeths also, and one of them goes by M.E. (sounds like Emmy), which is sweet. Re: Mary Therese, I think if they always call her Mary Therese, and immediately and firmly correct anyone who drops the Therese, it should be okay. If it’s still feeling troublesome to them though, I wonder if they might like Mary Tess or Mary Tessa? There was a mama recently who named her daughter Tessa for St. Therese. I think either of those combos is great because they’re unexpected (I’ve never heard of a Mary Tess or Mary Tessa) but familiar at the same time. Or Mary Charis? Too close to Clare?

As for their boy names, they’re also some of my favorites! Blaise and Xavier are super saintly, which I love. Caleb and Micah are awesome, and Micah is definitely a name we need to reclaim from the girls. I’ve always loved Christian too, but if Karra doesn’t care for Chris (which is probably one of those mostly inevitable nicknames, especially if Dad likes it) maybe she’d like to find a different nickname for Christian? I’ve seen Kit used recently for it. Francis nicked Frankie is one of my husband’s faves too, funny – maybe it’s a guy thing? It would be really cute on a little boy.

And Emmaus! Ooh I love it! I’ve never seen it used as a name, though I’ve long thought it has potential as one. (I wrote about it here  and here.) This might seem totally out of left field, but Emmaus and Christian both made me think of nouns-as-names in general (as I wrote about in those two posts), and Fisher came to mind — like Jesus telling the Apostles they would be fishers of men — and also St. John Fisher, who’s such a great saint. It shares some sounds with Francis so … maybe? And Fisher makes me think of Fulton, for Fulton Sheen — maybe that would interest Karra and her husband? (Also, I kept thinking Fulton and Samuel go really well together and then I remembered that this mama used that very combo!)

As you all know, I looked up all the names Karra and her hubs have already used for their other kids in the Baby Name Wizard book, which has the amazing feature of listing, for each entry, boys and girls names that are similar in style/feel/popularity. The results inspired some good ideas for this family, I think (that book is uncannily accurate!). I always shoot for three suggestions, but I came up with four for each gender here:

(1) Tessa
I mentioned Tessa above as the second half of a Mary+ name, but I think it would be smashing as a first name for this baby all on its own. I mentioned above the mama who recently named her baby Tessa for St. Therese, and her older daughter is Clara, so it seems an extra good fit.

(2) Juliet or Annabel(le)
I suggested Juliet for this little girl recently, and her parents ended up using it, and that particular family was in mind for me a lot while doing this consultation because their style feels similar to Karra’s, to me. They have a Tessa too! Juliet is a French diminutive of Julia, so St. Julia could be the patron, or St. Julian if they prefer.

Annabel(le) seemed to be in every list Juliet was in when I looked up this family’s names in the BNW — it reminds me of Susanna, but has its own spin as well. It’s not as obviously saintly, but says the spelling Annabel is a variant of Amabel, which comes from the male name Amabilis meaning “lovable.” So that’s kind of cool, right? A “love” name without it being love? St. Amabilis was a 5th century priest BUT even better is the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother most amiable=lovable). Or it could be Anna + Belle=St. Anne and St. Isabel(le) or Elizabeth, or St. Anne + “beautiful.”

(3) Camille or Camilla
I was surprised by this one, but Camille/a showed up over and over again in the BNW as similar to names this family likes: Clare, Hope, Helena, Xavier, and Blaise, as well as my idea of Juliet. There’s a St. Camilla and a St. Camillus (which is where Camille/a comes from).

(4) Elizabeth/Elisabeth, Eliza, Elisa, Elise
Variants of Elizabeth were all over their lists in the BNW! I love the full Elizabeth (Our Lady’s cousin, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), or Elisabeth (like Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, amazing woman), but I suspect the shorter Eliza, Elisa, or Elise might appeal to Karra and her hubs more, given the shortness of Clare and Lucy’s names.

(1) Gabriel
I would have suggested this for this family anyway — right away it seemed like a good fit for them, being biblical like Samuel and well used among Catholic families as well — so I loved seeing it listed as similar to so many of the names they like: Samuel, Faith, Susanna, Caleb, Micah, Xavier, Christian.

(2) Benjamin or Bennett
Benjamin has a similar feel to me as Gabriel, and it’s a great match for all of the biblical names they like, including Samuel — Samuel and Benjamin/Sam and Ben are brother pairs that I see quite often. They go together so well! I wavered on whether or not to suggest Bennett as well and decided to go ahead and do it — it’s got the same great Ben nickname as Benjamin, but it’s a medieval variant of Benedict, so it’s more saintly than biblical. The family I referenced above who has a Juliet and Tessa also have a Bennett, which is where I got the idea for this family from, and then it was listed as a style match for Hope and Clare and my ideas of Juliet, Elise, Camilla, and Annabelle. There is the slight issue of Benjamin and Bennett starting with the same letter as Karra and her husband’s last name, but I actually really like the sound of Benjamin B./Bennett B./Ben B.

(3) Isaac
Isaac is a personal fave of mine, top of my list if we ever have another boy. It’s super biblical and super saintly at the same time — not an easy combo to come by! St. Isaac Jogues is one of the North American martyrs and he was martyred at the same place St. Kateri was born (Auriesville, NY). St. Isaac was French, which fits in well with Blaise and Xavier as well.

(4) August or Austin
I didn’t think the full Augustine would suit this family, but I thought August might — it’s trimmer, but still as saintly and with the same nickname possibilities as Augustine (Augie, Gus). It’s a style match for Clare, Verity, and Mercy as well. And Austin, like Bennett, is also a medieval variant — of Augustine. I know a little Austin who has a brother named Christian, so they seem to go together to me. Actually, that family’s naming style might appeal to Karra — there’s some similarity style-wise (the first eight kids’ names here and the ninth here).

And those are all my ideas for this little Miss or Mister! What suggestions do you all have for Karra and her husband?


A brief break from my Sunday blogfast to join the prayers for all those suffering. Talking about names often feels a little silly, a little frivolous, a little privileged even, in the face of death and devastation, but I loved what Abby at Appellation Mountain said about it all today in her Sunday Summary:

“… some weeks I sit down to write about names when the news of the world around us feels overwhelming. How can I write about something as frivolous as unusual color names or bird names when the soundtrack is anger and despair?

… there’s no doubt in my mind that names matter, and that the act of bestowing a child’s name is sacred. And because if you want to experience unadulterated hope and joy, thinking about new life is one of the best ways to do so.

To write about names is to celebrate the potential of every new person on this planet. It’s a simple perspective, perhaps, but I do believe that the act of naming is always an optimistic one.”

St. Genevieve, patron saint of Paris, pray for us.

St. George, patron saint of Beirut, pray for us.

St. Romanus of Baghdad, pray for us.

St. Francis Xavier, patron of Japan, pray for us.

St. Joseph, patron of Mexico, pray for us.

Mother Mary, in all her titles (including Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Lebanon, Our Lady of Salvation [Baghdad], Our Lady of Japan, and Our Lady of Guadalupe), pray for us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.