Baby name consultant: Little Miss after 5 boys, and rethinking the planned name

Genie, who blogs at Barefoot Abbey, and her husband are expecting their first girl after five boys! She writes,

Our moniker muddle is that after 5 boys we are expecting a girl (in the middle of February) and are now rethinking the previously intended girl name philosophy from our courtship.

Being Anglo/celtophiles and my husband’s pride in his Scotch-Irish heritage have been factors in our sons’ names. We also try to use repetitive or similar sounds in each child’s name as a whole. For girls, our original philosophy was for our first daughter to have a Mary inspired name and then saint names (many my patronesses) for any subsequent daughters.

We have had “Moira Immaculee Clare” as our first girl name for 10 years. [Clare is a family name] … I like Therese in that spot as well.

We know about 5 Moiras over the age of 5 … Also concern was voiced that Moira did not match the other future girl names on our list.”

It’s an interesting dilemma, having had the same name chosen for ten years and five other babies, only to be unsure when it actually comes time to use it!

Genie shared the other girl names on their list, so we could see if it’s true that Moira doesn’t match the other names:

Moira Immaculee Clare
• Moira – Irish/ Scottish variant of Mary, we like the possible nickname of Molly – we just aren’t “Mo” people.
• Immaculee – obviously Marian name, we love the sound but don’t think it will work for us as a first name, coincidentally Ladybird’s (our baby) due date is near the feast of OL of Lourdes.
• Clare – family name, saint

Josephine Felicity Marie – “Josie/Jojo”
• Josephine – for Bl. Josephine Leroux martyr of the French Revolution.
• Felicity – love the meaning of the name and Ss. Felicity & Perpetua
• Marie – Marian

Genevieve Imelda Faith “Gigi”
• Genevieve – patroness, my baptismal but not legal name
• Imelda – patroness, confirmation saint at my reception into the Church from Anglicanism in ’11
• Faith – meaning

Margaret Gemma Therese – “Meg” (Little Women)
•Margaret – patroness, Ss. Margaret Clitherow & Margaret of Scotland, my 3rd baptismal name.
•Gemma – love the modern saint’s story
• Therese – love the simplicity of her little way.

Lucy Elinor Hope
• Lucy – St. Lucy day is one of our family’s favorites in Advent, Lucia of Fatima, C. S. Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery
• Elinor – my husband was born in the Feast of St. Helena, Austen spelling (Sense & Sensibility)
• Hope – meaning

Emmelia Magdalene Rose – “Emmie/Mila”
• Emmelia – patroness, mother of saints
• Magdalene – love that she was the first follower to see Jesus after the Resurrection, first son was due on Good Friday and was almost “Moira Magdalene Clare”
• Rose – Marian

Elizabeth Azelie Jane – “Eliza Jane” (Little House)
• Elizabeth – patroness, St. Elizabeth of Hungry, my legal middle name
• Azelie – patroness
• Jane – my husband’s grandmother & aunt, Jane Eyre

Beatrix Evangeline Hope/Anne – “Beasy”
• Beatrix – St. Beatrix of Nazareth
• Evangeline – love the sound of this, I want to say there is an obscure connection to Mary here?
• Hope – meaning
• Anne – St. Anne (Mary’s mom) & St. Anna Maria Taigi, Green Gables spelling

Aren’t they each gorgeous? I love all the meaning behind each one! The faith significance, the literary references, the nicknames (Beasy!) — wonderful job all around!

Some further info about girl names:

Our sons are pushing for Charlotte but that’s most likely due to their love of Charlotte’s Web, and not the martyr of Compiegne. Lol!

The other philosophy we are currently considering is forgoing Moira or a Marian first name. For that theme, we would go straight into girl saint names but have a Mary connection in each daughter’s name. Unfortunately, we’re having a hard time being that creative with Marian derivatives.”

Genie’s little Miss will be joining the following well-named brothers:

Malachi Benedict Aquinas
• Malachi – first canonized saint of Ireland, “Carrots” is one of his nicknames
• Benedict – St. Benedict was a big part of our pre-marriage prep, Pope Benedict XVI
• Aquinas – Our courtship began on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Noah Oliver Francis
• Noah – my husband liked the sound & justified it as being close to the Gaelic word for saint
• Oliver – last canonized saint of Ireland, he usually goes by “Noah Oliver” or the Gaelic pronounced “Ollibear”
• Francis – the patron of the parish we’d attended all our marriage. He took me there after the pub on our first date.

Liam Michael Damien
• Liam – Bl. Liam Tirry one of the 17 Irish martyrs, his nickname is the Scottish term of endearment “Ducky”
• Michael – St. Michael is one of my husband’s patrons along with St. Thomas Becket & St. John the Baptist.
• Damien – St. Damien of Molokai, my dad used to go build for the remainder of his colony.

Aelred Dominic John (this is the son we lost)
• Aelred – St. Aelred the English St. Bernard, Spiritual Friendship author, one of our sons’ favorite lullabies is Robert Burns’ “A Red Red Rose” – he was due in June.
• Dominic – St. Dominic, OL of the Rosary, meaning (belonging to God)
• John – my husband’s brother (has all daughters), patron, meaning (God is gracious)

Henry Andrew James
• Henry – St. Henry Walpole & Bl. John Henry Newman
• Andrew – St. Andrew of Scotland, my husband’s middle name, he was conceived the day after praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena
• James – St. James the Great, my grandfather’s name, his nickname is “Camino” (he’s the path God chose for our family)

And the names they’d considered if this baby had been a boy:

George Ignatius Eliot
Charles/Maximilian Joseph Louis

Just sighs of happiness all around! Great great names.

So, to start, I love Moira Immaculee Clare, a really lovely name. I’m so surprised that Genie knows multiple Moiras! I don’t think I’ve ever met any in real life, being more familiar with Maura, which is my first suggestion — perhaps they’d consider changing to Maura Immaculee Clare? I know a little Maura who goes by Molly. Maybe that would be different enough to distinguish from the other little Moiras they know, but close enough to still feel like that got to use their beloved name? Secondly, when it comes to Irish and Scottish names, I tend to not worry about, for example, sisters Moira and Josephine not matching in style — especially in Ireland, which is what I’m more familiar with, families often have a mix of super-Irish names and others, usually saints. I know a family with a Kevin, Michael, and Dermot, for example, and another with Mary and Padraic, and another with Robert and Maeve. So I think it’s totally fine.

I know Mary isn’t as exciting as Moira, but I wondered what they’d think of that? Mary Immaculee Clare is wonderful, and Molly can still be used as a nickname. Or maybe Molly Immaculee Clare? My sister is just Molly and my sister-in-law is Molly and I grew up with multiple girls named Molly/Mollie — just that, not as a nickname for Mary or another variant. Maria is also quite well used in the British Isles/Ireland (you could even pronounce it like Mariah if you wanted to be really British and confuse everyone! 😀 I have a friend who gave her daughter the middle name Maria, with Maria pronounced Mariah). Or Mariah itself? I’ve always loved it.

I posted the other day about the idea of reserving names for future babies and something one of the commenters said that has really stuck with me — and I think might be helpful here — is “which name would I be sadder not to use?” In that example, a family had chosen Felicity for a girl, only to discover they were expecting a boy, and someone had suggested Felix, which would mean they couldn’t/wouldn’t use Felicity if they ever had a girl. Would they be sadder to never get to use Felicity? For Genie, would she and her hubs be sadder/would it bother them more to cross Moira off their list, or to use a name that might bother another family and potentially be seen as not fitting with future sisters?

Regarding Evangeline as having an obscure connection to Mary, I don’t know of any official (though obscure) connections, but I think one could make a case for it, since Evangeline means “good news” and Mary was the first hearer and the bearer of Good News — perhaps she could even be thought of as the First Evangelist? I’ve often said that intention matters the most, more than a name’s actual meaning etc., so if one’s intention is to honor Mary with Evangeline and you feel you have a good way of making it all connect, I say go for it!

I didn’t know about the martyr of Compiegne, Sr. Charlotte of the Resurrection! I did a post a while ago on patrons for Caroline/Charlotte, and my heaviest focus was on the male saints (JP2, Borromeo, etc.) — I’ll have to add this new Charlotte! It’s actually a really strong style match for a lot of the names Genie and her hubs like, and with the new baby princess being Charlotte, they’ve got a great Anglophile connection there!

As for Marian derivatives, there are so many! They’ve done a great job already with Moira, Immaculee, Marie, Hope (OL of Hope), and Rose. Others that might interest them include Grace; Marian (always makes me think of Maid Marian, not a bad association!); Maureen/Mairenn; Miriam; Perpetua; Assumpta and Carmel, both of which are used in Ireland; Regina and Caeli, as well as some others I include below in my “official” suggestions.

So now, onto those suggestions! Not that I think they really need any, their list is amazing! But I thought these might strike the right notes:

(1) Annabel
Given Genie’s husband’s love of all things Scottish and her hope for a Marian name, Annabel was one of my very first thoughts for them! Behind the Name says Annabel is a “Variant of AMABEL influenced by the name ANNA. This name appears to have arisen in Scotland in the Middle Ages” … Amabel is a “Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS,” who was a fifth century (male) saint, but Amabilis is a “Late Latin name meaning “lovable”” — the very name used in the Marian title Mater Amabilis — Mother Most Amiable (where amiable=lovable). How great is that?? A pretty specifically Scottish Marian name! I love Annabel (could also spell it Annabelle), mostly for its Marian meaning, but also because visually it connects to St. Anne, one of my personal patrons and of course the patroness of this blog.

(2) Eva or Eve
I was thinking of Aoife for them, and I do love it, but I suspect they’d want something a little easier to work with, and Genie’s idea of Evangeline made me think of it. Eva can be pronounced EE-va or AY-va and goes back to Mary as the New Eve. They could also consider just Eve — I had a convo on the blog recently with a mom who was considering Eve, for Mary, but worried it wasn’t Marian enough and asked for any ideas for a middle that would help remedy that … I suggested Eve Immaculata, which just has a beautiful, meaningful ring to me, and the mom responded that she also really liked Immaculee, and given that Immaculee already features prominently in Genie’s girl list, it seems a great idea. They might also want to consider Evangeline for a first name?

(3) Rosemary/Rosemarie, Rosary
I had a friend in Ireland years ago named Rosemarie and I loved it. I also love Rosemary. Nicknames for both can include Romy or Rory/Rorie, which are the kinds of nicknames I love — a little offbeat, but with a great, solid, traditional given name. And Rosie/Rosey are of course really great nicknames.

A reader on the blog actually named her daughter Rosary! I love love love it! That family had some Irish names for their other kids, so I thought Genie might be interested in checking them out. Little Rosary herself has the full name of Rosary Brigid Elise, and her mom recently said that she often calls her Rose.

(4) Lourdes
One of the great things about the Irish (and I know I’m focusing a lot on the Irish, but I’m just not as familiar with Scotland — I hope my thoughts are transferable!) is that they use holy names of all kinds, ethnicities, languages, etc. I know of Irish girls named Jacinta and Philomena and Gemma — especially in the old days I think, they just used a lot of names of our faith, no matter where they came from. So Lourdes (as with Carmel above) strikes me as just the kind of name they might use, if they wanted to use a Marian name. I’ve written a bit about the family at the blog My Child I Love You, because the parents have scrumptious taste in names, and their youngest is Lourdes Marie Talbot. I could see Lulu and Lola working as nicknames for Lourdes, and I even think Lucy could work! Especially with a middle name like Cecilia — Lourdes Cecilia has all the sounds of Lucy. And Genie’s baby is actually due right around the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! (The Lourdes I mentioned above was born on that same feast day!)

(5) Stella
Finally, Stella. It’s one of my favorites — I feel like I suggest it to everyone! It’s from the Marian title Stella Maris — Star of the Sea. Stella on its own is a lovely nod to Our Lady, or perhaps they’d prefer to use Stella (first name) with Maris (middle name). Or, Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas has a daughter Gwen with the middle name Stellamaris (all one word). And a reader of my blog named her daughter Maristella, which is a totally legitimate variant of the Marian title (birth announcement here, and I posted a pictureposted a picture of Our Lady, Star of the Sea on my Instagram that had “Ave Maris Stella” underneath). I kind of love the connection of the sea to Ireland and Scotland! My grandfather was born and raised in Ireland, in a coastal town, and he worked his way to the U.S. on a ship; the UK’s Apostleship of the Sea has “Stella Maris Masses” said for the seafolk in places including Aberdeen and Glasgow. So cool, right?

And those are all my thoughts and ideas for Genie’s little baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest?


50 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Little Miss after 5 boys, and rethinking the planned name

  1. We know one little Moira, but her mom told me something interesting about it. Her own parents are immigrants from Ireland and apparently they said that Moira is not a real Irish name or something! I don’t know all the details, just that her parents gave her a hard time for using a “made up name”. So that’s all very second hand, but as a person who has some mild naming regret for using a “made up” name on one of my children (Fiona), it may be something to research further, if they care about that sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so weird! It’s certainly not made up — I believe there’s a town in Northern Ireland named Moira, and I’ve seen it given as an anglicization of the Irish MÁIRE. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some regional differences that might account for different opinions like that — one Irish husband I know wanted “Mary” in his daughter’s name, even though he’d agreed to Molly — he was having a really hard time accepting that Molly=Mary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps they don’t accept that spelling? Also I was under the impression that Máire, which was (surprisingly to me now, we’ve gone such a different direction) to be our second child’s name had she been a girl—according to—was pronounced “myra”, so maybe the pronunciation “moy-rah” is what seemed made up to them?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Could be! I’ve seen various pronunciations for Máire — babynamesofireland’s my go-to for Irish names for sure, but even there I haven’t always been able to find what I’m looking for … I find Irish names to be fabulous and frustrating haha!


      • Babynamesofireland doesn’t have everything, of course, so this might mean nothing, but interestingly, they don’t list Moira. They have Moirin, which has a different meaning. As I recalled, Máire was a name developed later from Muire, the name used for the Blessed Mother and considered too holy for ordinary use. This was what I remembered from back when we planned to use that name.

        Not that this has really any bearing on Genie’s decision! Just trying to see if I remembered what I thought I did, and wondering why the grandparents of the little Moira I know consider her name to be made up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I noticed that too! It doesn’t have Malcolm either, which is strange to me. I’m definitely suspecting it’s a regional thing or similar, it’s so funny to me how different parts of the country pronounce things differently — you might learn something from one Irish person only to be told by another that you’re pronouncing it wrong or whatever. So funny!

        I love that bit about Muire being too holy, I’ve come across that too and have been meaning to look into it more. I love that you were going to use Máire!


      • Regarding Maire and Muire I ran across this tonight while looking at something about St. Brigid.

        “The distinction among Gaelic speakers between , the name of our Lady, and , for Mary, in common use, has a distant origin. In ancient Ireland, the Latin Maria, with a short a was taken into Gaelic, yielding . This remained in use in literature down to the present day for the biblical Marys, and became reserved in speech to our Lady. When the Normans entered Ireland, they introduced the custom, hitherto not practiced among the Irish, of using our Lady’s name in baptism. Their Norman-French Marie, with the long a, was adopted, becoming in G. Murphy in , Vol. I, Part III.”

        Liked by 2 people

      • Kate, I am repasting, as I am noticing that my original cut and paste dropped some words – anything that as between “carrots” so it doesn’t make total sense. Sorry. So I changed the carrots to parentheses to preserve.
        “The distinction among Gaelic speakers between (Muire), the name of our Lady, and (Maire), for Mary, in common use, has a distant origin. In ancient Ireland, the Latin Maria, with a short a was taken into Gaelic, yielding (Muire). This remained in use in literature down to the present day for the biblical Marys, and became reserved in speech to our Lady. When the Normans entered Ireland, they introduced the custom, hitherto not practiced among the Irish, of using our Lady’s name in baptism. Their Norman-French Marie, with the long a, was adopted, becoming in (Gaelic Maire-Vide) G. Murphy in (Eigse), Vol. I, Part III.”

        I found this on the ETWN site.
        It was taken from “The Saints of Ireland: The Life-Stories of SS. Brigid and Columcille” by Hugh de Blacam, published by The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1942. What I cut and pasted was the footnote number 3. I had been looking for general St. Brigid life info, but you will love the first section of the article, I think. It is all about the popularity of Brigid as a name in Ireland at that time. Comparing it to other names particularly Mary. Very interesting.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I know someone who has the same issue with Moira!! They said it was made up. It made me maybe think that even if it is a place name like Kate mentioned, maybe place names aren’t traditionally used as names in Irish culture unless it was a name first?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There boys names seem like a beautifully, eclectic mix of names. With that it mind, I think Moira would fit in perfectly well with her brothers and any future sisters she might have.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, so many beautiful names! I think that was a good point about Irish-naming families using a mix of Irish + saint names- that’s what I’ve noticed too. Also, just a thought, I know someone named “Mary” who spells it in the Irish form Maire (with accent over the a).
    And we have an Evangeline and use St. John the Evangelist as her patron saint- so that’s one *sort* of a distant Marian connection for that name. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many great names here! My favorites are Josephine Felicity Marie and Beatrix Evangeline Hope.

    If you aren’t sure about Moira Immaculee Clare, I’d suggest that you choose one of the other combos you have already picked and save this one for whenever you feel prepared to use it.

    Also, using a Marian name as a middle instead of a first name allows you to give all your daughters Marian names as middles, which I think is lovely because they can all share Mary as a patron saint!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! What a lovely post! First of all, I love their boys names. Wonderfully named and I love how each and every name has a ton of thought behind it.

    So, I might be a little biased in my comment, because I actually kind of really dislike the name Moira 😦 It just sounds really unappealing to my ears, I think it’s the OY sound. That being said, obviously my opinion doesn’t matter but I love the name Maura! So pretty and so much more delicate to me compared to Moira.

    I’ve also been obsessing with the name Rosemarie lately. Normally, I’m more into Rosemary, but for some reason, Rosemarie is really sticking with me right now! So I love that connection. And I like how Mary-Agnes suggesting picking a Marian name even if it isn’t Moira, because then they can still use Moira later but have a Marian theme 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Moira Immaculee Clare is so beautiful and unique, but all their other possible names for the baby are lovely and have so much thought behind them. It seems like more of a case of narrowing down their options, rather than thinking of possible names. If Genie and her husband don’t want a ‘Mo’ nickname, what about Maisie, which is an Anglo/Celt nickname for Mary and Margaret? Since they don’t seem to shy away from names with tricky spellings, they could even write it as ‘Macee’, incorporating the middle name Immaculee. I do love the idea of the boys contributing to the name of their new baby sister. It’s so sweet, and Charlotte happens to be a great name. I bet many kids would have come up with far more out-there names. Twilight Sparkle, anyone? Perhaps Charlotte could replace Clare. Just throwing that thought out there.

    Fun fact: Moira (Μοίρα pronounced MEE-rah) means destiny in Greek.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Moira Immaculee Clare is really stunning. Love seeing Immaculee – will it be the French pronunciation “ee-mahk-oo-lay” ? All of the names, those given and those in reserve are so rich and beautiful. We definitely share a similar taste in names so I went to go take a look at our (ever-ready, ever-growing) list of baby names. We love the British Isles names for boys and have more French names for girls. We have Ismérie,
    Faustine, Myriam or Rose-Myriam that I think are similar to your taste.
    We know a little Moira and her younger sister is Rhona which made me think of Riona (queen). (We also know a Maura and a Maeve.) Like I said though, Moira Immaculee Clare is beautiful and I think going with Macee or Mim or even Mac as a nickname (if she turns out a tomboy among those brothers) would be great. If you moved Immaculee to front, Immy is a very cute nickname.
    (We, too had an Holy Week/Easter baby girl name in mind- Magdalene Aurora Beatrix or Magdalene Beatrix Aurora!)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think all of their name choices are wonderful! I just wanted to throw the name “Mairead” into the mix b/c it is a very Scottish (and Irish) name (with various spellings) and also means Margaret, which I see has significance to the family. I also love how all their children have three names; just curious though as if this was a family or cultural tradition? One of my children has three names and some folks seem to think ‘it’s a bit much’, lol. I just did it to squeeze in some family names!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mairead is a great suggestion! I love it, it’s one of my favorite Irish names! I was just telling this mom, Genie, that a lot of the families that email me have used two middles and so many of the combinations are so beautiful!


  9. @Kern — I’ve gotten that comment about our 6th baby/3rd daughter, Mary Margaret Rose (first name Mary Margaret, middle name Rose) before, especially from my not Catholic, not overly fond of Catholics mother. Without planning to ahead of time, our 7th baby/4th son is Tiber Augustine Edouard (first name Tiber, middle names Augustine Edouard) and no comment on that. People have probably given up on our sanity or whatever, ha ha! None of the older kids have 3 names.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is a really great idea and I know in some cultures, multiple names are very acceptable. I think some have found it a little…too much….I wanted to be able to fit in honoring both my husband’s and my own mother since you never know when your baby is your last (she is my third baby, second daughter.) I also think it is nice to be able to honor various family members when you can. I think you are totally sane! LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know you know, but one of my brothers and two of my sisters have two middle names … I believe my brother’s was to distinguish which family member was being honored (there are several with the same first name, so Mom and Dad chose my grandfather’s first+middle); with my sisters it was to fit in a form of Mary along with the family member being honored.


  10. Um, I give all their names an A+ and I don’t think there’s a style clash at all, nothing shocking at least (like the Harriet, Hugo, Consuelo family in today’s link). Go with your favorite! But it’s ok to switch up your girl list, too. We had a new #1 contender for this baby (our 5th son), and it did feel at first a bit like we were cheating on Marta (our girl name for boys #1-4). There’s nothing wrong with going back to the drawing board and re-discerning for THIS baby.

    Congrats to them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also I want to point out that Genie still regrets not using Oliver as a first name, despite the fact that they knew another Oliver the same age. So she wishes they had struck with their top choice and disregarded that’s name’s popularity in their micro-community.

      Applying this regret to the girl name situation, the other Moiras in their life are a half-decade older, so they will be almost in middle school by the time Genie’s Moira would be writing her name, and they will be grown and gone by the time Moira will be in high school.

      Long term, will they regret using Moira and having her be “Little Moira” for a few years? Or will they be more regretful about skipping over their favorite name?

      Liked by 3 people

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