I have been SO excited to showcase today’s mama and her beautiful family and wonderfully named children, and offer some ideas for her baby #7 – who’s also her sixth boy! Welcome Colleen of Martin Family Moments!
Colleen’s definitely a kindred spirit, her blog posts always make me feel like I’m chatting with my own best friends, especially the ones from college. In fact, she attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, which had been my #1 choice for a long time in high school until I decided I didn’t want to be that far from my family, especially my sisters, who were tiny when I started college. I was just musing today that if I’d gone to FUS, I would have known Colleen! She graduated a year behind me and I bet we would have been friends, not only for her personality that shines through in her writing, but also because she finds scapulars hanging out of boys’ shirts to be attractive (I thought I was the only one! My husband calls it “Catholic catnip” 😀 ). And she loves JP2. And she’s from the Northeast, so we totally would have bonded over being so far from home. And, the reason I scheduled her post for today, the fact that she loves Ireland and her Irishness (her name’s Colleen. I mean, come on) (I know she’ll love that all of my boys wore green to school today, with the cutest being my 4yo who’s wearing a shirt that says, “I drink me milk by the pint” and my almost-2yo who’s wearing a white t-shirt that has a green-tie-with-white-shamrocks printed on it 😀 ). Also, and I’m not even joking, one of my actual best friends from college—one of the ones that I think of every time I read Colleen’s posts because they’re just so familiar, just the way my friends and I are with each other—was honest-to-goodness hounding me to do a consultation for Colleen. So that settles it: Colleen would have been one of our best friends.
She’s got amazing taste in names too, which puts her right up there at the top of the list. 🙂 Check them out:
Margaret Rosemary (Maggie)
Alexander Blaise (Xander)
I mean, she totally had me at John-Paul. And one of the first boys I met when I was studying abroad in Ireland was John Paul. I also loved discovering, when reading the how&whys behind her naming, that Pauric was not actually the name of the uncle her Andrew Pauric was named after, but rather Padraig, and the Pauric spelling reveals one of the acceptable pronunciations of the name. So many Irishy things we’re learning today!
So when I was discussing with Colleen her and her hubs’ naming requirements and restrictions a few weeks ago, she said,
“I want really Irish names, but my husband likes saintly traditional names. I usually win out 🙂 we should know gender in two weeks, so you can just focus on one set of names. Current favorites are Elena Mae (husband approved) and Rowan Asher (husband unapproved)“
And then after they found out their new baby is a boy she gave me these additional difficulties,
“1) Not using our nephews or nieces names, which include – Maura, Gavin, Liam, Maeve, Rory, (Joseph) Finn, Joanna, Thomas, Lenora, Miriam, Josephine, Nadia, John, Caitlin, Brogan, PJ, Clare, Megan, Bridget, Katherine, Ryan, Grace, Lillian, Abigail, William.2) My husband can almost always associate a name with a student he’s taught and that totally influences his opinion. He’s been teaching for 13 years, so he has quite a list! But there’s no way you would know any of these, so go with the flow 🙂Our last name is Martin, so nothing like Martin or Martina. And the initials probably shouldn’t be DAM or HAM or anything that could be embarrassing! I love girl nicknames that are cute, ending in -ie or -y…we love the nicknames Annie, Lainey (which would be Elena’s), Ally.Oh! And we can’t reuse any of the names we were going to use for our past babies, which include – Brendan, Kayleigh, Emily, and Felicity.”
BrennanKieranKane (Colleen’s mom’s maiden name)NolanNiamhNon-saint names — “because how are we going to ever create new saint names unless we name our kids non-saint names?“
Re: the difficulties with others’ butchering of Eamon: “I think that might be the last time we use a mostly unrecognized Irish name again.”
And finally, the most recent update:
“Since we’ve found out it’s a boy, we’ve been leaning towards names with a strong “n” sound…after realizing that we have a JohN-Paul, ANdrew, EamoN, XaNder, and DeclaN.Top contenders are Bennet(t), Evan, Rowan/Ronan.I would still love a cute nickname for whatever name he has (like Benny for Bennett) and I have been so good at trying to keep an open mind until I read your post 🙂 “
Okay! Whew! I think I got everything in there and I’m pretty sure none of my ideas violates any of the rules but there’s certainly a chance I missed something so if Colleen reads any of my ideas and thinks, “She’s terrible at this, I *told* her such-and-such wouldn’t work!” I probably won’t be too surprise.
I do need to point out though that Colleen related a story of having decided on Casey for one of her older boys, only to have both her and her husband meet girls named Casey, which crossed the name off the boy list (she says, “I’d rather give a unisex name to a girl than a boy“), so I know she’ll want to know that Rowan is actually included in the Androgynous list in the Baby Name Wizard, and that the one I’m most familiar with (not knowing any in real life) is Brooke Shields’ daughter Rowan. So I’m definitely in the Ronan camp for Baby Martin.
Speaking of the Baby Name Wizard, I just want to remind you all, as I’m sure you already remember, that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents used and like because the BNW lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that match in terms of style/feel/popularity. It’s such a useful tool, even for only pointing me in the right direction, you know? So when I say “such-and-such is a style match for such-and-such,” you know I’m referring to my trusty BNW.
And now, without any further ado (I’m really good at “further ado” and I often have to cut myself off!), here are my ideas/suggestions:
(1) Biblical: Benjamin
John, Paul, Andrew, Philip, and Alexander are all biblical names, so methinks they might be open to considering some others. Benjamin is a style match for both Andrew and Alexander, and it’s kind of like the Benedict they don’t feel they can use (because “we already have one son named after a Pope”) and the Bennett they’re considering AND it has the “strong ‘n'” sound all their other boys have. Also the awesome nickname possibility of Ben(ny).
(2) Irish: Cormac, Cashel, Owen, Connor, Miles
Ooh I have so many ideas for this category! Cormac is the first — saintly and Irish, and with the fabulous nickname Mac.
Cashel is offbeat and unusual but I love it so much for its meaning — “The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century” — and for its possible nickname of Cash. Swoon!!!
Owen has the strong N and not only is it Irish but it can have the awesome patron saint of one of my very favorites, St. Nicholas Owen. (No good nickname options though.)
Connor is totally one of those “cute boy” names, in my opinion — handsome and Irish and so cool. And it’s got the N’s! Nicknames are harder for Connor — there’s the old-school Connie, like Connie Mack, but I don’t know too many parents these days who would be okay with that.
And Miles — I have to suggest Miles!!! The old Irish name Maolmhuire (“devotee of Mary”) is anglicized as Miles or Myles. A Marian boy’s name is so to die for!! Being only one syllable (or you could make it two, depending on your dialect) it doesn’t need a nickname, but Milo’s a cute option (even though it doesn’t make it any shorter).
(3) Biblical+Irish: Daniel, Gabriel
Finally, two names really stuck out at me as being particularly Irish while still being biblical. The first is Daniel. You canNOT get more Irish than Danny Boy. Oh Danny Boy! With N’s!
Can any Irish girl listen to that song and NOT decide then and there to name her boy Danny?!
The second is Gabriel, which is certainly not as Irish as Daniel, but is used enough — actor Gabriel Byrne is a great example, as is super duper famous longtime Irish TV personality Gay Byrne (whose given name is Gabriel Mary Byrne. I just die. ❤ I wrote about the Irish Gabriels here).
And Kane is my hearty suggestion for a middle name for almost all of these — it’s a family name and it sounds ah-MAZ-ing to me with all of my ideas, even the ones that start with a K sound. Love love love.
And those are my ideas for Colleen and Phil! What do you all think? What other names would you suggest for a wee lad whose big sibs are John-Paul, Andrew, Eamon, Maggie, Xander, and Declan?