Baby name consultant: Eleanor’s little sister

It’s Irish week! Woo!! No better way than to kick it off with a consultation for a mama named Maureen! 😀

Maureen and her husband Adam are expecting their second baby — their second girl! Big sister is:

Eleanor Maureen

Such a beautiful combo — elegant and sweet.

Maureen writes,

We are expecting baby girl #2 in May, little sister to Eleanor Maureen! Eleanor was a name I have loved since grade school and think Eleanor Roosevelt and St. Helen are great women for our first daughter to look up to. Both of our parents gave their first names to their children as middle names, so Maureen was the obvious choice for a middle for the first girl and if we are ever blessed with a boy his middle name will be Adam (my husband). However, for girl #2 I think I want to give her a different middle name although my husband would be fine with another _____ Maureen.

We both would prefer a more uncommon name, but not so uncommon that people will always look at her askance when she tells them her name and we want the most traditional/common spelling for any name to minimize people spelling her name incorrectly.

The name also must be classic to fit with Eleanor (sometime goes by Ellie, but rarely). So we can’t have an Eleanor and a Mindy, for example. I’d prefer her name to not start with E. We’d also like some Marian connection in her name, either first or middle. We have predominately German and Irish heritage in our families, but aren’t limited to choosing names from those cultures.

I love the name Margaret, but we have close friends with a Margaret (Maggie) and my husband is adamant that we can’t be “name thieves”, even if we choose a different nickname or just call her Margaret. I like Isabel, Susanna, and Genevieve for their elegance, strength, femininity, and style fit with Eleanor, but my husband doesn’t like those particular names. He likes Hannah, as do I, but it doesn’t seem to have the same classic elegance that Eleanor does.

I’m not big on nicknames and will likely call her whatever her first name happens to be, so the actual name has to work for me, but if there is a nice nickname to go with the perfect name it would make the grandparents happy. Not a requirement though, as they’ll be happy with a new grandbaby!

Do you have any suggestions for us? I know we are being difficult. 🙂 “

Of course, they’re not being difficult at all! I love hearing all the rules and requirements/restrictions — it’s real-life naming, baby! 😀

Alrighty, first, I love that they used Maureen’s name for Eleanor’s middle name, lovely! And I’m interested that Adam would be okay with their second daughter having the same middle name —  it’s quite a common/traditional thing for all the girls in a Catholic family to have a form of Mary in their names, and since Maureen *is* a form of Mary, doing it again — or using a different Marian name — is quite traditional. Very nice!

I loved that Maureen characterized Eleanor as having “classic elegance” — perfect description! I also liked all of the names Maureen’s interested in: Isabel, Susanna, Genevieve — all favorites of mine, all beautiful. I agree that they fit well with Eleanor. I can see what she means about Hannah too, though I do love it. Such a sweet name.

So as you all know, I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard, which has the amazing feature of listing, for each entry, boy and girl names that match the entry in terms of style/feel/popularity. I then look for names that have overlap — that are listed as similar to more than one of the names they like — and go from there, looking for saintly connections, etc. Based on all that, my ideas for this Wee Lady are:

(1) Lillian or Violet
I thought of Lillian right away when I read Maureen’s email, even before doing any research, though I was delighted to see in the BNW that it’s a pretty good match for their taste. Behindthename.com says Lillian is probably originally a diminutive of Elizabeth (Lily is a traditional nickname for Elizabeth), but it can also be considered a form of Lily. Lilies are associated with Mary, so I consider Lily and its variants to be Marian. The full Lillian I think is quite a good match for Eleanor, and the nickname Lily is available to the grandparents if desired. But maybe Ellie and Lily are too similar in sound?

Violet struck me as having a similar feel to Lillian (they both have that English feel, and both flower names), and it was listed as a style match for both Eleanor and Genevieve. And it can also be considered Marian! (See the link in the Lillian paragraph for more info.) I love that Maggie Smith’s character is Violet on Downton Abbey — that’s exactly the feel I get from it. Vi is a fun nickname too.

(2) Catherine or Caroline
I was originally going to just suggest Catherine, which is a gorgeous name (and not just because it’s mine! Ha!) (though I spell mine with a K) and I would describe it has having a classic elegance — like Kate Middleton, whose given name is Catherine. I have friends who have a little Catherine, and they call her Catherine exclusively (she’s not even two yet and it totally works), but certainly Cate, Catie, etc. are possibilities for nicknames. St. Catherine of Siena is a great patron. I was thinking of Marian names that would go nicely in the middle, and I thought Catherine Mary has a really nice regal sound to it, and Mary’s kind of unexpected in the middle (as opposed to the more familiar middle Marie) which made me think of …

… Caroline, because I’d posted a birth announcement for one of the blog readers not too long ago who had named her daughter Caroline Mary, and I was so struck by the simple elegance of the combo — it made me think that Caroline would be quite nice as a sister to Eleanor as well. I’ve seen a lot of people using Caroline in honor of St. John Paul II (his birth name was Karol, the Polish version of Charles, of which Caroline is a feminine variant). Carrie’s a sweet nickname, or Caro, or Callie, or Carly.

(3) Beatrice or Beatrix
I’m guessing that if Maureen and Adam like these names, that Beatrice would be more their style, but Beatrix with that spunky X can’t be ignored, so I’m including them both. It’s not a name I usually think of, but Beatrice, like Violet, was listed as a style match for both Eleanor and Genevieve, and I as soon as I saw it I thought it would be a great idea for Eleanor’s sister. It’s got a pretty great meaning too—behindthename says, “Probably from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Late Latin name Viator which meant “voyager, traveller”. It was a common name amongst early Christians, and the spelling was altered by association with Latin beatus “blessed.”” Isn’t that cool? Bea is one of the sweetest, spunkiest nicknames too, in my opinion.

(4) Josephine
Josephine was yet another name that was a style match for both Eleanor and Genevieve! So of course I had to include it. Despite it being French, it has a really English feel to me, and it’s literary (Jo March!), and St. Joseph is such a wonderful patron. It’s got great nickname potential too: Jo, Josie, Fina, and I’ve even seen Sophie, which I thought was pretty inspired.

(5) Abigail
Abigail is a style match for both Isabel and Hannah, and I liked that one was a name Maureen likes and one was a name Adam likes, so it seems like a nice compromise. The full Abigail is quite sophisticated I think, and reminds me of Abigail Van Buren, like the Eleanor Roosevelt connection for Eleanor, and Abby is a sweet nickname.

(6) Clara
Finally, Clara. Clara is sweet and simple, but elegant because of it. It’s a style match for Eleanor, which is so fun, and St. Clare of Assisi is such a great patron, as is Bl. Chiara Luce Badano (Chiara is the Italian for Clare/Clara). The one downfall is that it doesn’t have any nickname options, but it’s a pretty small package, so I wouldn’t consider that a deal breaker (but maybe Maureen and Adam do?).

As for other Marian ideas, some of my favorites, which I think work quite well for firsts or middles, are: Maria, Rose, Rosemary or even Rosary, Grace, Mercy (nice for this Year of Mercy!), and Immaculata or Immaculee.

And those are my ideas for Eleanor’s little sister! What do you all think? What would you suggest as a good match with Big Sis and/or a good Marian name?

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43 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Eleanor’s little sister

  1. I was going to suggest Clara right away 🙂 Eleanor and Clara would make wonderful sisters! So would Eleanor and Josephine!! I think you really hit the nail on the head with all of your suggestions.

    I feel like the simple Rose could be a good fit. Eleanor and Rose//Ellie and Rosie would be absolutely adorable. or maybe the longer Rosemary! Eleanor and Rosemary definitely seem like sisters to me.

    Madeleine also came to mind for them. Very Saintly, long, elegant and classic. It’s also French like Genevieve

    I feel like I suggest the same names all the time, but I want to suggest Bridget again! Eleanor and Bridget is to die for in my opinion. It’s Saintly, it’s Irish like Maureen, it I feel like it goes with just about any middle name! Like Bridget Mary, Bridget Rose, Bridget Maureen, Bridget Miriam, there would be so many options!!

    \Last name that I want to suggest is Alice! I don’t really have a reason except that I feel like Eleanor and Alice are sister names.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I would ditto Grace! When considering sister names to our Elinor, my list was Beatrix (Trixie), Alice, Cora, and Brigid would have been on my list had my own name not been so close. [Cora was our choice]. And I would play on the May as the month of Mary for a strong push for Mae middle name. We get so many compliments on our C0ra Mae.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love the Elizabeth-lily connection…hmmm…love Katherine with a K…Stephanie, Genevieve…right with Grace & “h2o” on Bridget or Brigid…Molly, or Morna, and, of course, Mary or Maria (-e), are lovely & sweet Marian names, especially when coupled, either 1st or middle, with names like Anne or your Caroline or Josephine… Or maybe Bernadette…lovely names all! Fun to think about!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My two girls are Elanor Mary and Violet Elizabeth, so I think your suggestions are spot-on! If we ever have another girl, we have both Rose and Laura as contenders.

    I ditto Grace re: Alice – such a lovely name, especially when paired with Eleanor in a sibset.

    One name that was on my list for a while was Annemarie – that would be a nice Marian nod, as it honors both Mary and her mother.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lillian is an excellent suggestion! I’ve always thought it sounded quite elegant.

    Also, how about Cecilia (which could lead to nicknames galore for grandparents)? I’ve always thought Cecilia sounds regal and feminine, much like Eleanor. Cecilia Mae or Cecilia Rose have a lovely flow. Or even Cecilia Maureen, and then the sisters would share the same # of name syllables as well as middles.

    (P.S. Just thought I’d add… I don’t have any sisters, but my female cousins all share the same middle as their mother, Marie. They all love having that name connection and I’ve always wistfully thought that if I had had a sister then sharing a middle would’ve been fun.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I couldn’t help but think of Marianne, but then I love Sense and Sensibility! 😉 They had a sister called Margaret too, lol. Kathleen also comes to mind.

    All the suggestions are great, I particularly like Lillian and Catherine/Katherine with Eleanor.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We have an Eleanor and we’ve considered Lydia and Sylvia/Sylvie as potential names for a future child. As well as a few of the others listed above. I enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

      • If they like Margaret, why not use a variant? Marjorie is actually coming back a bit. There were more born in 2015 than in other years. It’s the name of a character on Game of Thrones, but the name is spelled differently and she’s a fairly minor character. It wouldn’t be an obvious association. Marjorie gives Margie as a nickname, but also Maggie, Jorie, maybe even Marja.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I worked with someone years ago who named her daughter Jorie. I always thought it would be a better nickname for something. There’s a teenager named Marjorie in the area where I live. I also know a real police officer named Margie, who always reminded me of the pregnant police officer Margie from the movie Fargo. I like both Marjorie and Margery.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Ooooohhhhh I second the suggestion of Anna instead of Hannah. I think Anna is one of the most simply elegant names. And the grandparents could also be happy because “Annie” is basically one of the top 3 girl nicknames ever!

    I think Josephine is my favorite of your suggestions (although I agree that all of them go lovely with Eleanor). Josephine Marie or Josephine Maria are both beautiful – Marian and a nod to Joseph and Mary.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Maureen’s name taste reminds me of the Jane Austen novels, so I tried to figure out which one of her characters has a name that would be a good match to Eleanor, and I think that it’s Charlotte. It’s very similar to Margaret and it has that distinct feel that Eleanor has, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My ideas are Rosemary, Charlotte, and Alice. Of your suggestions, I like Beatrice, Josephine, and Catherine best—but especially Beatrice and Josephine. And I think Mary as a middle name would be so cool! Like you said, it comes as more of a surprise than the more common Marie and its elegant simplicity is really unrivaled!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beatrice and Josephine are also my favorites for them from Kate’s suggestions. : ) Currently reading Much Ado About Nothing with my son and so Beatrice is on my mind. I think it is a lovely combo with Eleanor.

      Liked by 2 people

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