Hellooooo 2016!! 😀
This new year is starting off with a really fun consultation from one of my very first and wonderfully loyal readers:
Alyssa and her husband Klaus are expecting their second baby, a little girl! She joins big brother:
Which is such an amazingly fabulous name! It’s bold, traditional, saintly, and I love how unapologetically German it is, and how they just own it!
“I’m very excited to have just found out we are expecting a baby GIRL in March! … Here’s some info about our family:
My husband’s name is Klaus Wolfgang and for obvious reasons he really likes German names. It’s the only thing he really claims as his “style.” Our son is Konrad Wolfgang, which began as a compromise name as Klaus wanted a Klaus, Jr. but I really wasn’t going for it. So we compromised and he agreed that if the baby could have his initials, he would settle for “not a junior” and of course it had to be German. So we happened upon Konrad and fell in love. It suits him perfectly and we get lots of compliments on it. We love that it is a saint’s name, along with Wolfgang, and we found out after he was born that it was actually his great-grandmother’s maiden name, too. So, bonus points for the family connection!“
I love every single detail! I also really love that the compromise Alyssa and her hubs worked out was that they wouldn’t do the Junior he wanted, but they would use his initials — and with both Klaus and Konrad being super German, and Wolfgang being their shared middle name, it really really works as a pseudo Junior. Nice job!
“For this baby our “rules” are — must be German or have German usage, and can not start with a K. So far we only have two real contenders: Louisa and Mabel. I don’t believe either of them are saint names, which is a little disappointing to us. But I really like them both!
The middle name will definitely be Marie, as is customary with almost all of the girls in my family and of course I’m happy that it honors our Blessed Mother. I REALLY tried to talk Klaus into Edelweiss (nicknamed Ada) because throughout this pregnancy I’ve had a strong devotion to Ven. Edel Quinn. I actually hadn’t heard of her until your blog post a while ago! So I looked her up and really took to her story and her mission. Unfortunately, Edelweiss is just too out there for him. I understand, but am still a little disappointed. I was thinking about trying to sneak it in as a second middle name but since two middles aren’t really customary in either of our families, I fear it may come off as a little pretentious. What are your thoughts on two middle names? Any other suggestions on girls names?“
There are so many fun things to talk about here! German names; are-they-or-aren’t-they-saints-names; to use a second middle name or not? Let’s dig in!
I really like working on consultations for families wanting really ethnic names. I’ve learned so much about names and cultures from doing them! So I was excited to focus on German names or names with German usage for this family.
I love both Louisa and Mabel! Regarding the saintliness of Louisa — I’ve found a St. Louise who’s also known as St. Luisa and a Bl. Louise who’s also known as Bl. Louisa, both of which can work for patrons for a little Louisa, as can any of the Sts. Louis (de Montfort is a personal fave), and Louisa and Louise are the the same name, really, just linguistic variants (Louisa is the “Latinate feminine form of Louis” and Louise is the “French feminine form of Louis,”) but I do get that it’s kind of a bummer that “St. Louisa” doesn’t yield any results.
As for Mabel, it’s kind of an exciting option because Mabel is a medieval feminine form of Amabilis, which is the name of a male saint, BUT it’s also part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable, where amiable=lovable). So Mabel’s a Marian name! I would be so over-the-moon excited if I discovered that a name I loved but didn’t think had any saintly connection turned out to be a Marian name! I would think using a Marian first name would knock out Marie as a middle name, but maybe I’m wrong? There’s not really anything weird about Mabel Marie, and in fact it reinforces the Marian connection (like: “Mother Most Amiable, Mary”), but Alyssa and Klaus could also see it as an opportunity to use a different middle name. Like Edelweiss! I just died over the idea of Edelweiss nicked Ada, love love love!!! And that Alyssa has a devotion to Ven. Edel Quinn is amazing! Since her hubs isn’t into using it for a first name, I wonder if they would consider using just Ada as a first name? It’s sweet and spunky on its own, I think, and a fun connection is that the day after I sent this info to Alyssa, I discovered it was the feast of St. Ada! (And yes, you better believe I emailed her right away to let her know — how crazy is that?!) Otherwise, I love the idea of Mabel Edelweiss. Gorgeous!
If they don’t like that idea, though, of course I totally understand. It’s really cool that Alyssa’s family has a tradition of the girls having Marie as a middle! Another way to perhaps keep with the tradition but use another name (like Mabel) might be to re-form it as “all the girls in our family have a Marian name for either their first or their middle name.”
Which brings me to the question about two middle names. I don’t think two middle names are a bad thing! I’ve never really thought of them as pretentious either, though I could see that … something like Sebastian Roderick Maximilian does sound kind of … uppity. But something like Julia Janine Marie doesn’t to me — I would be more likely to assume the parents tried to get in two honor names. Full disclosure: three of my five siblings have two middle names! It can be kind of a hassle with official forms and such, as forms aren’t set up (in America) to take more than one middle name, so the second middle often gets dropped. I don’t think that’s necessarily a deal breaker though — I actually think it can be freeing, because you can do whatever the heck you want with the second middle name (and the third, fourth, etc., if you so choose) if you think of it more like your child’s “real” name as opposed to their “legal” name. It’s an interesting distinction — for most people, they’d probably say their real name *is* their legal name — that’s the definition of “real name.” But Alyssa and her hubs could absolutely have their baby’s legal name be Louisa Marie, and her “real” name be Louisa Marie Edelweiss, and they can bring her up knowing that, and it’ll just be part of her identity, separate from what the government knows. I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t make any sense, but it seems maybe sort of thrillingly subversive! (And now you know just how big of a name nerd I am! Haha!)
I was excited to see what other ideas I could come up with for this little girl, based on Konrad, Mabel, and Louisa, using my trusty Baby Name Wizard book (both the names listed as similar to those Alyssa and Klaus like, and its list of German names), and the list of German names at behindthename.com as well. I have five names that I think they might be intrigued by:
(1) Some form of Adele
I was absolutely amazed to see that Adela was listed as similar to Louisa, and Della (a diminutive of Adela) was similar to Mabel, both of which remind me of Ven. Edel Quinn because apparently her parents intended to name her Adele but the priest misheard and thought they meant Edel, like a diminutive of Edelweiss. So Adele and related names could be a really nice nod to Ven. Edel! Some other variants with German usage include Aleida, which I thought was really pretty (though I did read there’s a character by this name on Orange is the New Black, which I’ve never seen, so I don’t know if it’s a bad association, or neutral?), and Adelheid (though I personally prefer the variant Adelaide, which loses the German flavor though), and Adelais, which I thought was quite pretty.
This would have been my first suggestion if it wasn’t for the connection of Adele to Edel, because Eleanor was listed as similar in style to Louisa; Elinor to Konrad; and Nell (a traditional nickname for Eleanor/Elinor) as similar to Mabel! Wow! The German variants were listed on behindthename as Eleonora, Eleonore, Leonore, Lore, and Nora. I like them all for this family. The El- also kinda reminds me of Edelweiss/Edel.
This is one of my very favorite German names, and when I saw it listed as similar to Konrad, I knew I had to suggest it. It could work as a nickname for Margaret/Margareta, or it could be a given name on its own. The Margaret names mean “pearl,” which is always so great too — I’d feel so lucky to have pearls be “my” gem, you know? And the name Pearl was listed as similar to Mabel!
I couldn’t let a German consultation go by without suggesting Hildi! I’ve been pushing it on everyone recently, haha! It’s in honor of St. Hildegard of Bingen, who was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict. Such a big deal to have a female Doctor as a patron saint! I’m pretty sure Hildegard’s a bit much, though, and I know a little one named Hildi for St. Hildegard and I always think it’s just the sweetest. If Hildi feels too nicknamey, Hilde and Hilda are both full names, but I think Hildi works on its own just fine.
I know you’re going to laugh, but Edelweiss make me think of Liesl because of the Sound of Music! Haha! I love the name Liesl, and if we had any German I’d totally try to use it! Being that it’s a short form of Elisabeth, it’s got a saintly connection, and it kind of reminds me of Louisa sound-wise. Alyssa and her hubs could also do Elisabeth with Liesl as a nickname.
And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little sister to Konrad in a very German family?