Baby name consultant: Finn’s little brother or sister

I’m popping back on to post today’s scheduled consultation, and thank you for your kind words and prayers for my mother-in-law and our family!

Kate and her husband are expecting their second baby! Their older son is:

William Finn, who goes by Finn

Love love love. I adore Finn, and it’s SO cool that it’s a middle for William.

Kate writes,

Finn’s first name was a no-brainer because it’s a meaningful family name on both sides … [however we] could not agree on a nickname for William (I like Bill or maybe Will, he liked Liam but I didn’t) so we decided to just call him by his middle name. I don’t even remember how we came across Finn, but [my hubs’] family identifies strongly with their Irish heritage and I thought it was cute, so it was a winner.

This baby is probably a girl (per an early ultrasound), but we’re looking for both a girl and boy name in case he/she changes her mind at the anatomy scan. 😉

My husband and I have very different naming styles — and personalities altogether — which made it a miracle we decided on Finn’s name and is making it very difficult this time around … my style is a little more “hipster”, his is a lot more plain-Jane (his words, not mine!) We are both leaning towards a French name for a girl this time around (my family is French and Polish.)

For girls,

our top contender for Finn was Geneva Eloise. Geneva is a family name on Jeff’s side, a great-grandmother he was very close to. I still like it, but I’m not sure I love it. We were/are considering the nickname Vivi or Gemma.

For middle names with Geneva, I like Stellamaris and Azelie, but am open to more ideas. I’m not sure they sound quite right. I/we are also open to new first name ideas though Jeff says he’s very attached to Geneva. Other family names are Margaret (my side), Aileen (my side), Helen (his side.)

And for boys,

we have literally zero ideas. I love Francis and Walter, my husband does not like either. We have no new ideas. Anything would help.”

Okay! Not to fear! I can always come up with ideas! 😀 I love Geneva Eloise with the nicknames Vivi or Gemma, so sweet! I also love Stellamaris and Azelie as middle names. I have nothing more to say, they’re just great ideas.

For those who don’t know, I almost always start my consultations by looking up all the names the parents have used and liked in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that match the entry in terms of style/feel/popularity. It’s uncannily accurate! Between that research and other, and my own namey head, these are my suggestions for boy and girl names (I tried to be heavier on the boy names but ended up with seven suggestions for each gender!):

Girl

(1) Genevieve or Vivienne
Geneva made me think of Genevieve right away, so Kate and her hubs probably won’t like it, since Geneva’s a family name and Genevieve loses that, but I had to suggest it. Or maybe it could be seen as a nod to Geneva while giving the baby her own name? St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, which is great! And Vivienne also has the strong V sound and the French spelling, and both Genevieve and Vivienne can take the nicknames Vivi or Evie. So cute!

(2) Juliette
Juliet’s one of my very favorites, and Juliette’s a beautiful French variant. Lovely!

(3) Sylvie
When I saw Sylvia pop up in my research, I immediately thought of Sylvie and thought it was a great suggestion for this family! It’s got the V of Geneva, and it’s kind of like Sophie but not nearly as popular. This reader named her baby Sylvie Regina, which I just about died over! It sounds so like the Marian hymn “Salve Regina,” so cool!

(4) Beatrice
This also showed up in my research, and it reminded me of the family I did a consultation for recently whose mom is from France, and all the girls have French names. Beatrice made me think of it because it’s the mom’s name, and Bea is one of my favorite nicknames for a little girl.

(5) Clementine
Clementine is actually a style match for Eloise, I love it! Not least because it’s a “mercy” name — perfect for a baby born during the Year of Mercy!

(6) Helene
I wondered what they’d think of Helene? Kate said that Helen and Aileen are family names, and Aileen is sometimes considered an Irish variant of Helen, and Helene is the French variant. That same French family I mentioned above has Helene as one of the girls’ middle names, it’s a beautiful name, and St. Helena is great. Nell is a great nickname for Helene, a la little Helen Borobia, who sometimes gets called Nellie Peg (for Helen Margaret! I die!)!!

(7) Magdalen(e) or Madeleine
Magdalen(e) just seemed like a name Kate and her hubs would like, and I have no real reason except my gut feeling! The French variant is Madeleine of course, but I don’t know, I was just feeling Magdalen(e) for this family. I love that you can get Maggie as a nickname, which is always so darling. But I’d be 100% happy with Madeleine too, and if they liked the combo Madeleine Sophie,after St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, I’d be even happier!

Boy

(1) Robert nicked Rory
I was really excited to get into the boy names! William Finn is just the greatest combo, so I feel like it has some big shoes to fill. The first one I thought of right off the bat was Robert as a first name with the nickname Rory. Robert is a style match for William and Rory is a style match for Finn and I just totally love this option.

(2) George nicked Geo or Geordie
Can you all see that I’m going for a solid, traditional first name with a more offbeat nickname? I love that! I love the nickname Geo for George, so cool! Another possibility, which is really fun, is Geordie (pronounced Jordy), which I believe is a Scottish diminutive of George. (Fun fact: I have ALWAYS been in love with the nickname Jordy and tried to get my husband on board. I was never successful.)

(3) Theodore or Leo
Theodore matched up with Geneva and Francis style-wise, so of course I had to suggest it, and I’d actually already scribbled Leo in my notes for this baby before I’d even started doing research, because my brother and SIL — whose taste seems to me to be pretty similar to Kate and her husband’s — named their son Leo. Theo and Leo share sounds, so I’d say it might be a matter of do they prefer short (Leo) or long with a shorter nickname (Theodore/Theo)?

(4) Jude (Julian?)
Jude and Finn are amazing brother names in my opinion! Jude also has that Catholic cachet that’s so great. I’ve seen Jude used as a nickname for Julian, and the Beatles’ song Hey Jude was written for Julian Lennon, so there is precedent for doing so, and I thought Kate and her hubs might like that option.

(5) Owen
This is another one informed both by the style of Finn, and by my brother and SIL, who named their Leo’s little brother Owen! St. Nicholas Owen is an awesome patron for a little Owen.

(6) Conrad or Connor
Conrad probably seems a little bit out of left field, but it’s a style match for both Geneva and Eloise, so I thought it deserved a mention. I love the name Conrad, and my hubs and I actually considered it for our youngest! I could also see Conner used as a nickname, which is pretty cool and pretty similar to Finn. Or maybe Connor as a first name? I love it!

(7) Arthur nicked Archie or Abe
Arthur is totally because they like Francis and Walter! And Archie and Abe are nicknames I’ve recently seen used by parents of Arthurs, who were total hipsters. I love Archie, I think that’s brilliant for Arthur; the Arthur who’s Abe has a B middle name, so it makes sense, so perfect.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of William Finn?

May she rest in peace

I did a spotlight of the name Ludmila on Feb. 26 — saintly grandmother of Good King Wenceslaus — and asked at the time for prayers for my mother-in-law, my boys’ own faith-filled grandmother. This morning she passed away, and any prayers you could spare for the respose of her soul and our family during our mourning would be much appreciated. ❤

I’ll be off the blog probably for a week or so, though I’ll be checking email regularly (those who are waiting for consultations needn’t worry — I find them therapeutic to do so there shouldn’t be any problem getting them to you around when I said I would.)

April CatholicMom column up today

My April column posted today on CatholicMom.com: Names “foreign to Christian sensibility.” You’ll recognize it as a slight retooling of this post, and I’m like 99.99% sure that when I wrote that original post Canon Law said “Christian sentiment” but when I went back to double check before submitting to CatholicMom, it was all “Christian sensibility.” Weird!

catholicmom_screen_shot-04.20.16

Birth announcement: Luke Gordon!

I did a consultation for a mama who was scheduled to have it post here but then she went and had her baby earlier than expected! Fortunately Mom and Baby are both healthy, and the new little one, who was a gender surprise, turned out to be a boy! They gave him the handsome name of … Luke Gordon!

His mama writes,

I unexpectedly went into labor on Friday the 15th and with no complications our son was born that day! 🙂 We are both doing well, and we have named him Luke Gordon … Thank you again for the helpful and well thought suggestions, they certainly aided in our decision!

Isn’t that name so handsome??! I love Luke, and I happen to know that his parents wanted to work a Marian connection into his name — I always think Luke is one of the best ways to do so, as his gospel is the most Marian and contains Our Lady’s beautiful Magnificat. I know Gordon is a family name, and I love it paired with Luke. Nice job, Mom and Dad!

Luke joins older brothers:

James Pershing
Paul Raymond

So little Luke Gordon fits in just perfectly. Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Luke!!

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Luke Gordon

Baby name consultant: Less common, meaningful name for third baby boy

Shannon, from the blog We, A Great Parade, and her husband are expecting their third baby and third son! This new baby boy will join big brothers:

Alyosha Daniel
Moses Emmanuel

Amazing, right? Handsome, unusual, and full of faith significance, love them. 👌

Shannon writes,

Our first son was adopted at 11 months old from Uganda … We chose Alyosha because of the main character in The Brothers Karamazov and also loved that it means “defender of mankind”. We chose Daniel because we wanted a solid, simple Biblical name to balance out the unusual first name. At the time we were Protestant, but now that we’re Catholic I like that his name is somewhat related to St. Aloysius.

Our second son (first biological baby) is named Moses Emmanuel … We chose Moses obviously because of the Biblical character but also because we just really liked the name. And I’ve kind of loosely made St. Moses the Black his patron 🙂 We chose Emmanuel because he was born during Advent.

So… we love names that are less commonly used but that also bear significance because of a person (even fictitious) that they represent. While we do love saints names, we couldn’t just pick a random one simply because we liked it. We would want the person to reflect a trait that is particularly dear to us, OR for the name meaning itself to do so.

We are devoted to the teachings of the Catholic Worker, so people like Dorothy Day or Peter Maurin are ones we have kept in mind in addition to saints. We’re trying to steer away from Biblical figures at this point since we already have a Daniel and a Moses. Additionally, since our oldest son is adopted and a different race than the rest of us, we ideally would like to avoid using the letter M in the first name … since that would subtly group together the biological boys and leave him out. That may be something we change our minds on, but is where we’re at right now.”

I really enjoyed thinking of Shannon’s three boys and her and her husband’s lovely desire that Alyosha not feel left out name-wise. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to learn more about Servant of God Dorothy Day, one of the four Americans Pope Francis mentioned in his Address to Congress in September, and Peter Maurin, neither of whom I’d known much about before Shannon’s email. All in all, this was a really great dilemma to work on!

Names that are currently on their list include:

Oliver (“I think it’s super cute, we love that it symbolizes peace, and my family is Irish so naming after St. Oliver would be a kind of homage to that… BUT we don’t know anything about him really.”)

Theodore (“Again a really cute name, great meaning (gracious gift), but again don’t know much about the saint“)

Brien (“only as a middle name… my maiden name is O’Brien and I’d like to pass it on“)

Maurin (“after Peter Maurin… we both love this one but we run into the problem with the M. Peter is just too common for our tastes. Any creative ideas for a nickname maybe?? We’ve also thought about Day for Dorothy Day, maybe too short and awkward though. Or Aristide which is Maurin’s first name, but my hubs says Aris is too weird“)

Basil (“my husband likes saint Basil, and favors this name, but I’m afraid it would come across as hipster to the majority of the world, along the lines of Sage, Juniper, Willow, etc“)

Tevye (“the Yiddish version of Tobias, another person we don’t actually know much about. My husband likes this one too but I’m not sold because it doesn’t mean anything special to me“)

Okay, a quick comment on some of the ideas on their current list before jumping into my ideas:

I love Oliver, and I totally agree that it’s super cute. St. Oliver Plunket is a great saint for a boy, especially an Irish boy, and one of the things I’ve learned about him recently is that he wrote about Divine Mercy — what a meaningful tidbit for a baby born during this Jubilee Year of Mercy!

Theodore’s a great name too, but it feels a little tame for this family’s taste. I could see them liking the variant Fyodor more, but is that too much Karamazov Bros.? At the same time it could be really great — Moses and the new baby have the biological connection; Alyosha and the new baby would have a Russian/Karamazov name connection.

I was interested by Maurin. If it weren’t for the M, it seems like it would be a perfect name for Shannon and her hubs — offbeat because of it being a last name, and the name of a man they admire. Shannon asked about a nickname — Maury and Manny were the first two that came to mind. But that pesky M — I agree that maybe an M name wouldn’t ideal for this baby (unless they change their minds on that, and then of course I’d support their decision 100%!) … then I thought of Aury, which is a little bit of a stretch but not THAT much of a stretch. I looked it up to be sure it wasn’t considered a girl’s name (since I know how fussed any of my boys would be if they had what they consider a “girl’s name,” especially if the other brothers had explicitly masculine names), and though I couldn’t find much about Aury, what I did find (babynamewizard.com had an entry for “Aury Estela,” a girl’s name, and behindthename had a user-submitted entry saying Aury is a boy’s name … babycenter.com had Aury listed as a boy’s name as well, but no other info) leads me to think there’s enough evidence that it’s not overwhelmingly considered to be feminine and therefore could easily be used for a boy. I kind of liked the idea of a given name Maurin — starting with an M like brother Moses — being called Aury on an everyday basis, which starts with an A like brother Alyosha. I thought that could be a really nice subtle connection between all the brothers, and not so obvious that they’d feel locked into anything if they were to have more children.

I like the idea of Day, and I saw it used recently as a middle name for a girl (for Dorothy Day) — so cool! As a first name it’s certainly short, but so is Todd, for example, so I don’t think that’s problematic. I guess I’m having a hard time thinking of it on a boy, since the two people I associate with the name are Dorothy Day and that little girl I know with the middle name Day … but of course last names are a great source of first names for boys … I’d love to know what the rest of you think of Day as a first name for a boy! I would love it as a middle name.

I have similar issues with Basil as Shannon does — I love it, and I think it’s a great, underused saint’s name, but I hate that most Americans would only think of the herb. I looked up its alternate versions in other languages, and wondered what Shannon and her Mr. would think of one of the Eastern European variants like Vasil or Vasyl? I assume they’re pronounced to rhyme with Basil, and the V and B are so similar that it’s almost exactly the same name sound-wise, but it loses the herb/hippie feel.

I was surprised by Tevye because it’s a biblical name and Shannon had said they wanted to stay away from them. So then I assumed she meant they wanted to stay away from biblical names that *sound* biblical to Catholic Americans, which I think is easier to work with than “no biblical names,” and I employed this in one of my ideas below.

Okay! So onto those ideas! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names that the parents have used and the ones that they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Taste like this family’s, which is more creative and offbeat, tends not to be served as well by the BNW, but I did get some ideas from it, as well as from my own mental archives:

(1) Julius or Julian/Julien
The BNW actually came through in a big way with this first suggestion—Julius was listed as similar to both Moses and Theodore! And Julian is a style match for Oliver! So of course I had to suggest these names. But then—I was researching Peter Maurin a little bit and discovered that he was born in the village of Oultet within the community of Saint-Julien-du-Tournel! What! I got goosebumps when I read that!

(2) Ciar(an)
I was thinking of various ways of naming Shannon’s third boy that would make sure Alyosha didn’t feel left out in any way, and one of the ideas I had was to make sure this baby boy had a name completely different from either of his brothers’ names in terms of first letter and linguistic origin/variant, just like Moses and Alyosha are totally different. It’s one of the reasons I like Oliver—it’s Irish/Celtic/British, which is totally different from Alyosha and Moses. But then I was also thinking that—and I hope this doesn’t seem insensitive at all—both of her other boys share the color black—Alyosha in his skin and Moses in his patron saint of Moses the Black. So I kind of loved that Ciar means black in Irish—it ties into the really subtle shared black characteristic of her boys while still being its own name totally different from the other two. Ciar is a name on its own (said like KEER), and the more familiar Ciaran (KEER-in, more commonly spelled Kieran) is technically a diminutive of Ciar.

(Along with this same line of thinking, it’s pretty cool to know that Maurin is related to Mauritz/Maurus/Maurinus, all of which mean “dark skinned,” so if Shannon and her hubs do decide to go that route, that have that connection between all the brothers.)

(3) Jasper
Jasper was listed as a style match for Oliver, and it’s also a gemstone that can be black, tying into the idea I presented with Ciar(an) above. Black jasper is not very common, but it was cool to read that the “name blackstones refer to any number of stones, including jasper, that are dyed black and polished for jewellery.” Jasper is the name traditionally given to one of the Three Wise Men (you might also see its variants Casper and Gaspar given for that same Wise Man—they’re all the same name).

(4) Form of Peter
This is the idea I mentioned that Tevye, being biblical but not obviously so to most English speakers I think, inspired, as well as Peter Maurin of course. Shannon said they’d considered Maurin’s first name Aristide and its variant and possible nickname Aris, but I wonder if they’d considered any of the Peter variants? They aren’t obviously biblical to English speakers, but would still honor Maurin pretty explicitly. Pierre would be a great one, since Maurin was French; Piers is an English variant; Peadar is Irish and is said more like PAD-der (patter).

(5) Clement
Clement was inspired both by the Jubilee Year of Mercy, as it means “merciful,” and I’m a big fan of the idea of naming babies born this year with some element of mercy in their names!, and also by the fact that Shannon’s due in May, which is the month devoted to Our Lady, and Clement can be considered Marian (as she’s described as clement [=merciful] in the hymn/prayer Salve Regina, for example).

But after I’d already decided to suggest Clement to them for those reasons, I came upon this quote of Dorothy Day’s in regard to the Catholic Worker: “Our rule is the works of mercy,” and one of its tenets is “daily practice of the Works of Mercy.” What a meaningful name Clement would be for this family on so many levels!

(6) Cyprian
Along the same lines as the “black” idea above, I thought maybe the name of an African saint would be cool, and I immediately thought of Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. Cyprian’s a cool name and unusual, I really like it for this family.

(7) Roman or Tiber
I liked Roman as an idea for this baby initially because it has a long O like Aloysha and Moses, another subtle connection between the brothers, and the reason I liked that particular name-with-a-long-o is because I always think of Roman as a Catholicky Catholic name, as it calls to mind (for me) the Vatican, the Pope, Roman Catholic, etc.

Thinking along those lines also made me think of Tiber, which is the name of a river in Rome, and the phrase “crossing the Tiber” refers to someone converting to Catholicism. It’s a really cool name with a really cool meaning for convert parents. (Check out an adorable Tiber here. 🙂 ).

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for Alyosha and Moses’ little brother?

Spotlight on: Elizabeth

Grace asked for an Elizabeth spotlight a while ago, which is so great, because when I think of doing spotlights, I tend to think of names that are a little unusual or offbeat or have issues (like, what nickname? how does this name come across? does this name have any saintly connection?), and since I don’t consider Elizabeth to fall in any of those categories, I probably wouldn’t have thought to spotlight it.

But Elizabeth — I mean, come on. Is there any more impeccable name than Elizabeth? I love so many things about it, like:

It’s the name of Our Lady’s beloved cousin and mother of John the Baptist, known as St. Elizabeth of the Visitation (I love that!). Her Mystery of the Rosary is a tremendous pro-life witness and the first announcement to those other than Jesus’ parents that the Messiah had come.

It’s the name of a sainted queen (St. Elizabeth of Hungary) and an Irish martyr (Bl. Elizabeth Kearney) and two wives of men who lived Godless lives and converted and became priests after their wives’ deaths (SOG Elisabeth Leseur and Bl. Elisabetta Canori Mora) and a whole bunch of other holy women. One of them, Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, is set to be canonized this year, having had her second miracle recently approved.

It has about a thousand variations — not only Elizabeth, Elisabeth, and Elisabetta as mentioned above, but also:

elizabeth_screen_shot
http://behindthename.com/name/elizabeth

So many cool options! Two really unusual ones (to me) that jumped out from this image are Zabel, which I’d actually suggested for this mom, and Elixabete, which Mary (skimac) had recently mentioned (I’ll leave it to her to tell us how to pronounce it!). In that same comment she also shared the diminutive Sabeth, which someone she knows gave to his daughter as a nod to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, as her childhood nickname was Sabeth. I’ve also seen Zbeth in real life! Then there’s Elsa, Isabella, Lisbet, Bethan … all legit variants of Elizabeth.

And the nicknames!! Abby recently did an awesome post on unexpected nicknames for Elizabeth, which included one of my favorites, Tess (as I say, if Betty and Tetty are both traditional nicknames for Elizabeth (they are), and Bess is also, then Tess should certainly be!). I’d also add Eily (said EYE-lee, like the Irish variant Eilis [EYE-lish or AY-lish]) and we’ve discussed the possibility of Zelie as an Elizabeth nickname as well (it totally works! Two saints in one!). I also did a tiny post about Elizabeth nicknames here. But if you want your girl to go by her full name, Elizabeth is feminine and sophisticated, smart and distinguished. An Elizabeth can be a Supreme Court Judge, or an artist, or an engineer, or an opera singer, or an Olympic athlete.

Which is your favorite Elizabeth variant? How about nicknames? Do you know anyone named Elizabeth who goes by one of the nicknames not mentioned or linked to here?

Nicknames: Judith, Elodie, Alister/Alistair (unusual)

A mama emailed recently with a slightly different dilemma, on which I’d really like to get your collective input:

Our firstborn’s name is Lafayette and he also goes by the nickname Fayte (rhymes with Nate). I like his combination of a longer classic name (though not common) and a spunky nickname … We lucked out with our son’s name since both the longer form and the nickname were old family names, so we didn’t come up with them ourselves. I’m trying to figure out if we can get a similar combo for this baby without it being too forced.

There are three names (one boy, two girl) that I’m a little stumped about:

Judith is the first girl name. It’s a family name, we like the religious meaning, and the sound of the full name. We aren’t thrilled with Judy since that seems to date the name more and has the confusion issue with the family member we’d be honoring. I’ve seen Jude as the only other recommendation, and while I like it a little better, I’m not thrilled with the unisex-leaning-male aspect of the name.

Elodie is the other girl name. I think Ella/Ellie is a cute nickname, but a little more common than I’d like since it seems there are many other in vogue names that lend to those nicknames. I probably like Ellie better of the two. Seems like there should be other options though!

Alister (or Alistair) is the boy name. We haven’t landed for sure on the spelling we’d choose, so could potentially be flexible if it lended itself to a good nickname. Al or Aly are the only suggestions I’ve seen, and aren’t wild about either.”

I looooooove thinking up unusual nicknames!! And I love Lafayette nicked Fayte, and how awesome that they’re both family names?!

First up: Judith. I did a spotlight post a while back on Judith and in it I said:

Behind the Name gives several variants of Judith (Jutta, Judyta, et al.), but you know it’s the nicknames I get most excited by! Judy is super cute, but maybe still feels a little dated? It has its own history as a given name, peaking a few years later than Judith but dropping out of sight quicker, so it might have a little more of a date-stamped feel, but it’s not the only option: Jody/Jodie are possibilities, according to behindthename, which makes me also think of Jo and Josie (especially, maybe, with an S middle name? Judith Siena, for example, could easily be Josie) … or maybe pair it with an N middle name for Junie or Juno? Maybe Judith Noelle? Even Julie for something like Judith Louisa? Am I scaring you yet? Haha!

Looking back on this again, I do love the idea of something like Judith Siena nicked Josie, or Judith Noelle/Naomi/Noemi nicked Junie or Juno. Or Jennie? Judith Marie could be Jamie? I often find that, with first names that are hard to nickname, looking at a firstname+middlename mashup-type nickname works really well.

Elodie is a gorgeous name, I just love it, and I agree that Ella and Ellie are cute nicknames, but yes, fairly common. Possible alternatives:

  • Lola—originally a nickname for Dolores! But the Lo- of Elodie totally makes it do-able.
  • Nell—if I understand correctly, Nell (and Nancy and Ned) came from the old English way of saying, “Mine El” for Eleanor/Ellen/Elizabeth (or “Mine Anne” for Anne, or “Mine Ed” for Edward), so I think Nell could then work for any El- name. And how sweet that its origin is “Mine El”—so endearing!
  • Edie—just drop the “lo” in the middle of Elodie!
  • Dicey—apparently an old nickname for Edith (Edie made me think of Edith)
  • Liddy—the way I say Elodie sounds pretty close to “EL-liddy”
  • Didi—from the last syllable
  • Dolly—if it can work for Dorothy, it can work for Elodie, which actually has “dol” within it (though backwards)
  • Dodie—another old nickname for Dolores; I could totally see something like Dodie arising organically from Elodie
  • Edda—like Etta
  • In smushing-with-the-middle-name fashion, what about something like:
    — Evie for Elodie Victoria
    — Elsie for Elodie Siena, Elodie Seraphine, Elodie
    — Dot(ty) for Elodie Therese
    — Dixie for Elodie Beatrix or Elodie Xavier (Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini could be patron instead of St. Francis Xavier, if parents like Xavier but didn’t want to be too gender bending. Of course Mother Cabrini chose the name after St. FX, but still)

Alister/Alistair I had the hardest time with! I did a bunch of research looking for ideas and came up with a few:

  • Ace—my first idea and the only suggestion I came up with on my own! I think it could work just for Alister/Alistair, as they have the A and the S sound, but something like Alistair Clement would make a lot of sense, with the A+C
  • Alec—I saw several places that Alec is often used as a nickname for Alistair, since it’s a form of Alexander. As with Ace, a C- middle name could make more sense of it to others
  • Aston/Astin—I wanted to suggest Astor, but the comments I saw online made me think it would skew more feminine for most people (like the girl name Aster, which also sounds similar to the girl name Astrid), but then I thought maybe Aston/Astin? Like the Aston Martin or actor Sean Astin
  • Ari, Arlo, Alfie—I really liked Ari when I saw it online—a mom considering Alistair for her son was considering Ari as a nickname, as well as Arlo and Alfie
  • Abe—someone else online was considering Alistair with a B middle name and planning on Abe as the nickname. I love that! Alistair Benedict/Benjamin, Alistair Beau, Alistair Brendan?
  • Art—Alistair has all the right letters for Art!
  • Ladd(y)—with a switch to the Alasdair spelling, Ladd or Laddy could work. The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond, chef on Food Network)’s husband’s name is Ladd, and Laddy feels really Scottish!
  • Ty—because Alistair has the prominent T in it, I think something like Ty could work
  • Tad, Taz—these might make more sense with the right middle name … Alistair Daniel? Alistair Xavier? Alistair Zachary?
  • Iss—crazy, right? But I saw Iss online as a nickname someone had heard used for Alistair! (I also saw Eck used for Alexander, and Ish for Aloysius!)

And those are all my ideas! How about the rest of you? What unusual nicknames ideas could you offer for Judith, Elodie, and Alister/Alistair?

Namespotting: Elizabeth Bauttista

I saw in the credits of a show I was watching the other night the first+middle combo Elizabeth Bauttista and of course I was immediately like Joyful Mystery name!!!!!!!! Isn’t that awesome?? And so meaningful!! I mean, seriously — her parents must have had St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist in mind, right?

The spelling Bauttista isn’t one I’ve come across — I’ve only seen the similar Bautista, and every one of the Baptist names are listed as masculine on behindthename, but they all seem so perfect for girls that I was surprised their usage is given as exclusively masculine. Which made me all the happier to see Elizabeth Bauttista — I knew they must have feminine usage!

I’m totally dying over the idea of Elizabeth + a Baptist name — whenever I think of the Baptist names I think of pairing some form of John with it, but pairing a form of Elizabeth with it is so great! I started toying with other combos and loved how pretty and unexpected combos like Elsa Baptiste, Isabella Bautista, and Elisabetta Battista would be.

Do you know anyone with a form of Baptist in his or her name?

Names for the Luminous Mysteries

Today marks the last post in our Mysteries of the Rosary series as we conclude with the Luminous Mysteries!

I know I went out of order, but it all made so much sense: I posted the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week; the Glorious during the octave of Easter; the Joyful the day after the Feast of the Annunciation; and today’s Luminous Mysteries (also known as the Mysteries of Light), which were added to the Rosary during the Year of the Rosary by our beloved St. John Paul the Great in his beautiful Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002), come a day after the feast of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, to whom JP2 had a great and subversive devotion. If I can digress for a moment, this is one of my favorite JP2 stories:

A controversy arose [in Poland] over the proposed dates of John Paul II’s visit. The pope wanted to arrive to celebrate the nine hundredth anniversary of Poland’s patron saint, St. Stanislaus, whose feast day is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after 8 May [only in Poland — we celebrate it on April 11]. In 1079, Stanislaus, the bishop of Cracow, was beheaded by King Boleslaw II for denouncing royal oppression and fomenting a baronial rebellion against him. The legend of St. Stanislaus represented the moral justification for resistance to an oppressive state under the courageous leadership of the church. It linked Catholic morality and Polish history. While Stanislaus’s martyrdom resonated with the pope’s message supporting human rights, this was just the type of symbolic linkage the regime wanted to avoid.

The party opposed the May dates requested by the pope. While First Secretary Gierek wanted to welcome John Paul II in order to show that the PZPR was patriotic and one with the nation, he did not wish to strengthen the opposition or provide occasions for antiregime demonstrations. As Central Comittee secretary Stanislaw Kania put it: ‘Above all … the state leadership wants to demonstrate its happiness with the selection of a Polish pope.’ Gierek and Cardinal Wyszynski met to discuss the broad outlines for John Paul II’s visit. Then a special church-state commission spent many weeks working out the details. They finally reached a compromise: the church conceded that the pope would not come for the May anniversary of St. Stanislaus; instead John Paul II would visit in June but stay longer. The government agreed that the pope would be invited for nine days and would be allowed to visit six cities (rather than the two originally requested). Once the matter was settled, the ‘Polish church immediately announced a delay in the official [St. Stanislaus] anniversary celebrations until the Pope arrived.’ To add insult to injury, Pope John Paul II made it a point to mention St. Stanislaus in every sermon and at every stop along his journey. As masters of symbols and ceremony, the Polish church leaders were far more accomplished in public relations than their state functionary counterparts. IT was not going to be easy for the Communists to thwart the pope’s intentions for his pilgrimage.” (From Solidarity and contention: networks of Polish oppositions by Maryjane Osa, pp. 139-140)

That visit had huge repercussions (this and this are also quite good) and indeed it is said that ” John Paul II’s 1979 trip was the fulcrum of revolution which led to the collapse of Communism.” I can barely write it, so moving I find it all to be. That man. His courage. Thank God for him. ❤ ❤ ❤

Anyway! ((wipes eyes before continuing)) These are the Luminous Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
The Miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Jesus’ Transfiguration
The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper

Names associated with the Luminous Mysteries might include:

Girls

Alazne — Basque for “miracles” (right skimac? and how is that pronounced?)

Cana — the place of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle (we have a reader who gave her daughter this amazing name!)

Charis — from the Greek for “grace, favor, gratitude” and is contained within the word Eucharist (“thanksgiving”)

Christi — Latin for “of/belonging to Christ,” inspired for this list by the Eucharistic phrase Corpus Christi (“the body of Christ”)

Clare, Claire, Chiara — from the Latin for “clear, bright” as a nod to the Mysteries of Light and the brightness of the Transfiguration

Evangeline — for the Good News — the proclamation of the kingdom

Jemima — means “dove,” for the “Spirit of God descending like a dove” on Jesus during His baptism

Jordan — the name of the river in which Jesus was baptized

Lucy, Lucia, Lucille — from the Latin for “light”

Mary, et al. — for Our Lady, who brought Jesus’ attention to the wine crisis at the wedding (“He did it because His mother asked Him to!” I frequently tell my boys. 🙂 )

Maya, Mayim — from the Hebrew for “water,” as a nod to Jesus’ baptism

Milagros — Spanish for “miracles,” as a nod to Jesus’ first miracle at Cana; see Alazne

Paloma — means “dove”; see Jemima

Ruby — “red,” for Jesus’ Blood given to us at the Last Supper

Scarlett — same as Ruby

 

Boys

Baptista, Baptiste, Battista, Bautista — referring to Jesus’ baptism and to the one who baptized him (John the Baptist) (these are all listed as masculine by behindthename, but they could easily be used for girls as well, as I don’t think they come across as masculine [or at least not exclusively so] in America)

Colum, Columba — means “dove”; see Jemima

Conway — possibly means “holy water” in Welsh

Elijah — he appeared to Jesus during the Transfiguration, and Jesus spoke with him. See also Moses. “Moses and Elijah represent, respectively, law and prophecy in the Old Testament and are linked to Mount Sinai … They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus as he appears in glory.”

James — one of the Apostles who witnessed Jesus’ Transfiguration; see also John, Peter

John — the one who baptized Jesus; also the only gospel that contains the story of Jesus’ miracle at the wedding feast at Cana; also one of the Apostles who witnessed Jesus’ Transfiguration (see James, Peter)

Jonah — means “dove”; see Jemima

Jordan — the name of the river in which Jesus was baptized

Lucian, Lucius — see Lucy

Moses — see Elijah

Peter — see James

River — for the River Jordan

Tabor — Mt. Tabor was where Jesus’ Transfiguration occurred

I can’t wait to see what others you can add to this list!

+ “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” … “Do whatever He tells you.” +

 

Baby name consultant: First baby, a boy–John+[something] or Jude?

Okay everyone, buckle up — this is a daddy of a consultation! In more ways than one! Yes, it’s really long (twenty-three ideas for this couple! What!) (You’ll see why!), and also, it’s a papa that commissioned me to do this consultation!

Cameron is one of my most loyal and encouraging readers, and I’m delighted today to post this consultation for he and his wife Chelsey, who are expecting their first baby — a boy!

C&C have fully agreed on Jude Alden as an amazing combo that they both love, that has great meaning for them as well — a great, saintly first name and a nod to Chelsey’s dad in the middle.

But what would a consultation be without a dilemma? For this couple, it’s that Cameron’s full name is John Cameron, and his dad’s first name is John as well. Cameron loves the idea of giving his firstborn son the first name John, like he and his dad, and have him go by his middle name. BUT he and Chelsey love Jude Alden. And they can’t figure out a John ___ name they like as much or better.

Cameron writes,

Since my dad and I are both first borns and both have “John” as our first name, I always thought it’d be really cool to turn that into a tradition should God bless me with a boy first … Jude Alden just hit us in the face one day when we were out and about and we just stopped and knew right away that we loved that name. It is a power hitter name regards to our faith; being one of the apostles, and honors Chelsey’s father for his middle name! 🙂

[I feel like] Jude Alden is the perfect name… for a younger brother. Chelsey would gladly name it for the first born … However, after having that discussion with you a while back regarding Jude in the spotlight, I have heavily considered giving up my “made up tradition of John + something” to replace it with Jude Alden as a first born, thinking that maybe we’ll never get the chance to use the only name we’ve both come up with and loved.

Obviously Jude Alden is the forerunner. It could very possibly happen that when we see our boy, we just know it’s a Jude and that’s that. We are coming to you to help us with our “John Dilemma”.

John is the beloved apostle and I (Cameron) have a dear devotion to him and his connection with Our Lady. I love John for being a very strong solid name, and the thought of tying in another name to that is so exciting. But Jude Alden is stellar… who knows.”

(Cameron calls it a “made up tradition” because he wasn’t actually named John [something] *because* his dad was, it just worked out that way.)

Except for Jude Alden, Cameron and Chelsey have pretty different taste in names. For Cameron,

I personally am not a big fan of super “secular” sounding names like “Hunter, Derek, Brad, Jordan, etc…” or names along those lines for the MAIN NAME that we would call our child. We have tossed around ideas including a secular name as a middle name (or first, doesn’t matter what order, really) for example, but not the name we could call him. That includes several, obviously, so I wouldn’t write all those out. … I love good solid Catholic names. You know that. Raphael, Gabriel, Paul, John, Jude, Titus, Daniel. Chelsey and I have been thinking about not being TOO obsessive (mainly me) about having a super well known Catholic name, because we love the thoughts of our children being new saints, thus creating a new name for other families using in reverence and honor….if that makes sense.”

(I totally cracked up at this: “Chelsey and I have been thinking about not being TOO obsessive (mainly me) about having a super well known Catholic name”!! 😀 )

Chelsey, on the other hand,

likes uniqueness… Chelsey likes names that are a little bit more “rare” but still have a good sound to it, if that makes sense … [she doesn’t] like names that are very common, and [she’s] also not a fan of names that can appear boring, e.g. Paul, Bob, Tom, Sam, etc.. Some names [she does] like are killed by the shortened versions e.g. Elijah- Eli.”

Names Cameron likes but Chelsey doesn’t:

Paul (“I’d totally go for John Paul for obvious reasons, JPII!!!“)
Ezekiel
Isaac
Raphael
Samuel
August (“booooo” [John August is Cameron’s favorite combo])
Elijah
Dominic

Name Chelsey likes but Cameron doesn’t:

Ezra

Name they both kind of like:

Ignatius (but Cameron worries that it’s “SUCH a heavy hitter, that it almost seems to be too much“)

Names that are no-go’s:

Garett
Graham

And finally, for reference, some girls’ names they’ve discussed and like:

Lillian
Grace/Gracie
Willow
Haven
Noelle

Alrighty, first off, the idea of John+[something] is just one of those things that can’t be ignored. You know? On the one hand, I want to say that Jude Alden, being the name Cameron and Chelsey both agree on and love, is the perfect option for their little boy. On the other hand, naming traditions can be so meaningful, and given that John+something is Cameron’s name and his dad’s name, as firstborns, I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that they can shelve for now and maybe consider if they ever have a second boy. I think this baby boy here is their one shot at John+something. So that’s kind of a lot of pressure! It might seem like they’re down to “family tradition” (which happens to nicely coincide with Cameron’s particular devotion to St. John the Evangelist and Our Lady, beautiful) vs. “favorite name, and the one we can happily agree on.”

I posted a while ago on whether parents should reserve names for later use at the expense of using them now or vice versa (in that example it was “Felix now at the expense of Felicity later?” but it works perfectly for John+[something] vs. Jude Alden) and two things that came up in the comments seemed really helpful: (1) name this baby as if he/she were your last baby, and (2) in light of that, which name would you be sadder not to ever get to use? If this little boy is the only little boy that C&C are ever blessed with, would they be sadder to not use John as a first name in the tradition of Cameron and his dad, or the handsome and agreed-upon combo Jude Alden? (Cameron actually commented on that post — this is a really hard dilemma for them, which has been hanging over them for a while!) (Also, if you want to get a glimpse of these sweetest expectant parents, click on his username!)

So my main goals (and my hopes for you all in the comments!) is either to come up with a John+ name that will make them both really happy and not feel like they’re settling, or help them realize Jude Alden is *the* answer, and either way not set them up for name regret later. Cameron started emailing me about this dilemma several months ago, and we’ve had quite a long conversation about it — I’ve suggested several (where “several”=”23”) ideas to them, and since none of them have hit quite the right note, I hope you all can come up with something that’s just right (or maybe Jude Alden is meant to be this little boy’s name?). My ideas are:

(1) John Alden, called Jude
This is probably my top option. It has all three of the elements they both want: John, Alden, and Jude. I know it’s an offbeat idea — you all know I totally specialize in offbeat nickname ideas! So I get it if it’s just too crazy for C&C. It’s the kind of choice that they’d really have to be 100% with and just own it — telling people firmly and consistently that yes, his given name is John Alden, and yes, he’s called Jude exclusively.

(2) John Jude Alden, called Jude
The two-middle name option isn’t for everyone, but it’s a tactic often employed when there are a bunch of names that parents can’t choose between.

(3) John Thaddeus, called Jude
This is probably the one that’s closest to my own personal taste. Thaddeus is after St. Jude Thaddeus, and I think his full name is familiar enough to people that if you say his name is John Thaddeus but you’re calling him Jude, people will probably raise eyebrows because it’s an unorthodox way of getting to Jude, but I don’t think they’d be like, “Where the heck do you get Jude from John Thaddeus??” Another nice thing is that with the “J” of John and the “ude” that’s contained within Thaddeus, Jude is almost like a mashup nickname of the first+middle names. Finally, Thaddeus is a style match for Ignatius and Raphael — it’s got loads of Catholic cachet; it’s also super biblical like Chelsey’s Ezra and several of the names Cameron likes. If they were to go with John Thaddeus nicked Jude, they’d have two of their three important elements — John and Jude. It’ll be important to consider whether or not Chelsey’s dad will be upset with not being included in their first son’s name.

(4) John Ignatius
I think it’s really telling that C&C are both considering Ignatius — besides Jude Alden, it’s the only name they listed that they’re both okay with! John Ignatius is an amazing combo. I know that Cameron said he doesn’t like the “main name” their son will be called (sometimes called a “call name” in the naming world) to sound secular, which I totally get. But I suspect that Chelsey might not mind that so much, and perhaps a good compromise between their tastes would be a heavy hitting super duper Catholicky Catholic given name, like John Ignatius, with a friendlier, more accessible nickname/call name, which I think usually sound secular. I don’t think Gus translates as Catholic, for example, even though St. Augustine is such a big deal, and Gus is a natural nickname for it. Does that make sense? Anyway, with that in mind, John Ignatius with a great nickname might be just the thing for this baby. I’ve seen Iggy, Nate, and Nash as nicknames for Ignatius — I don’t think Iggy’s their taste; Nate’s a pretty safe choice — familiar, masculine; and I’m going to guess that Cameron hates Nash and that Chelsey thinks “Huh. Nash is kinda cute.” But I’d let it sit for a while! I wrote a while ago about when Mom and Dad have different tastes and how to deal with that – heavy hitting given names with cooler/friendlier nicknames were one way to go (I blogged about it here: https://sanctanomina.net/2015/01/14/baby-name-consultant-he-likesshe-likes/, and reworked it into a column for CatholicMom here: http://catholicmom.com/2015/04/15/patrick-vs-polycarp/). An easy nickname also helps to deal with Cameron’s concern that Ignatius is “SUCH a heavy hitter, that it almost seems to be too much.”

(5) John Ezra, called Ezra
Most of the time, if I knew Dad really felt strongly about a certain first name, I would unequivocally think the fairest thing would be for Mom to get full rights to the middle name. This situation is a little trickier because their son would actually go by his middle name and C&C will both have to deal with calling him by that name every day for his whole life, so it’s not as easy as picking a mostly hidden middle name. But their tastes are actually not that far off from each other! Cameron’s picks of Ezekiel, Isaac, and Elijah are all style matches for Chelsey’s Ezra, so I feel like it shouldn’t be that much of a thing to scooch closer together, you know? Of course, I also know that’s not really how naming works — you both like what you like and that’s just the way it is. But I’d consider John Ezra. Something Cameron wants, something Chelsey wants. Ezra’s a really cool name I think, and while it doesn’t have the Catholic cachet the names on Cameron’s list have, I think the full “John Ezra” steers it more in that direction. For what it’s worth, I also think John Ezra and Jude Alden are amazing brother names! Similar lengths, and Ezra and Jude sound really cute together.

(6) John Caleb
Caleb is a great name in my opinion, and a great style match for the Old Testament names they both like. It can also take the awesome (imo) nickname Cal, if they wanted to do a nickname. So cute!! But then Chelsey said some names that she might otherwise like are “killed by the shortened versions e.g. Elijah-Eli” – I don’t feel like I have a good handle on what nicknames she would consider dealbreakers (I loved the examples of Paul, Bob, Tom, Sam, etc. – perfect! But I’m less sure about the more uncommon nicknames, like Cal, for example. I was also surprised to see she doesn’t like Eli, as I would probably have thought she would have liked it). I don’t think Caleb needs a nickname, and I don’t think most people would think to shorten it to a nickname. I also like that John Caleb would share initials with Dad – another nice connection.

(7) John Roman
Roman is another one that seems like it might be just perfect. It can be heavy duty Catholicky Catholic, with its ties to (in my mind) the Pope, the Vatican, Roman Catholicism, etc. But I think it can also appeal to those who prefer names that are a little less heavy – there are some celebs that have used the name Roman, for example, like Cate Blanchett, Molly Ringwald, Debra Messing, and Rodney Peete. It’s a style match for Raphael, Dominic, and Noelle, and the similar sounding Ronan is a style match for Haven, all of which I thought was pretty awesome. John Roman is really handsome. (Or John Ronan?)

(8) John Gabriel
Gabriel is a style match for Isaac, Raphael, Samuel, and Elijah, as well as being a great Catholic name – St. Gabriel the Archangel brings to mind Our Lady and the Annunciation, which are beautiful Marian tie-ins for a boy. Gabe is one of the best nicknames imo, and I’ve often thought Gil could totally work too. John Gabriel rocks.

(9) John Kolbe or John Xavier
I wonder what they’d both think of Kolbe? I’m feeling like it might overlap really nicely with both their styles. It can sound trendy, like Colby and Coby and Cody, but it’s St. Maximilian Kolbe all the way. Loads of Catholic families I know have been choosing it for their sons; it’s a great option, and very recognizably Catholic. Kole could also work as a pretty cool nickname. I love John Kolbe.

I’m including Xavier in the same category because it’s a saint’s last name that’s being used as a first name. It’s gotten popular recently, but I still think it comes across as exclusively Catholic. I really like John Xavier.

(10) John Francis
Okay, hear me out – Francis is St. Francis of Assisi, it’s Pope Francis, it’s awesome. But most people I’ve talked about it with don’t care for Francis as a call name, and I’m guessing Frank/Frankie isn’t really C&C’s style. So I wonder what they’d think of the nickname I keep pushing on people for Francis: Finn? One of the things about Catholicky Catholic names is that you might be saddling a child with a name that’s too heavy for them when they’re little, so having nicknames that are easy and friendly, or that fit in with their peers, can sometimes be as much a gift as the Amazing Saint Name you gave them. Does that make sense? So there are going to be a lot of little Finns this year, because of the new Star Wars movie, but he’s a great character, and a little John Francis would happily and easily fit in with his peers if he went by Finn.

(11) John Matthias
Matthias might really work for this baby as well. He’s in the New Testament – he was chosen by the Apostles to replace Judas, so I think Matthias can be considered a really Catholic name, since his selection was the result of an official meeting of the Apostles – one of the first (if not THE first) Church Councils perhaps? In a manner of thinking? It’s got that heavy biblical feel that Ezekiel, Isaac, Samuel, Elijah, Jude, and Ezra have as well, and could shorten to Matt/Matty if you like (one of the objectively coolest people I’ve ever known has a son named Matty, so you know Matty’s a good nickname! Haha!).

(12) John Bryant
In emailing with Cameron I discovered that Bryant’s an important family surname for Chelsey, and I wondered if she’d like to balance Cameron’s family first name pick with her own family middle name pick? Bryant’s a great surname to have in the family mix to have if you’d ever want to consider using it for a child, because it’s so first-namey.

(13) John Michael, John Miles, John Milo
Miles and Milo were my first ideas here—I know you all have seen me suggest them ad nauseam to others on the blog but darn it, I’m going to keep suggesting it til someone uses it! 😀 I love them because they’re Marian! The Irish name Maolmuire, which means “devotee of Mary” has been anglicized as Miles/Myles/Milo! I’ve also seen Miles and Milo offered as offbeat nickname ideas for Michael, so I thought if C&C kind of liked Miles and/or Milo but were still hesitant, maybe John Michael would work for them with the nickname Miles or Milo?

(14) John Connor
The combo John Connor reminded me of John Cardinal O’Connor, the amazing archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York who founded the Sisters of Life—a great association! Connor’s a great name.

(15) John Owen
I’m dying over brothers Owen and Jude, love! And St. Nicholas Owen has been a favorite of mine for a while—he built hiding places for priests in England and was martyred for the faith. And it’s also my newest nephew’s name. 🙂

(16) John Elliott
Elliott has strong connections to the faith—in origin it’s a diminutive of Elias, which is the Greek form of Elijah. I’ve always considered Elijah/Elias/Elliott to be Marian, because the cloud the prophet Elijah saw on the water from Mt Carmel in the book of Kings is said to have represented Our Lady. Indeed the Carmelites trace their history back to Elijah and that incident—they were venerating Our Lady long before she was born. It gives me goosebumps to think about!

(17) John Charles nicked Cal
C&C did actually let me know that they both liked the nickname Cal from my Caleb suggestion, which made me think that maybe Charles was the answer. Cal is a traditional (though somewhat uncommon) nickname for Charles, and Charles is all kinds of awesome—JP2’s birth name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles; there’s also St. Charles Borromeo and one of my new favorites Bl. Karl of Austria and a bunch of others. This ties in well (I think) with their decision to not be “TOO obsessive about having a super well known Catholic name”—it’s got impeccable credentials but doesn’t hit you in the face with it.

(18) John Leo
Pope St. Leo the Great! It’s also on the rise popularity-wise, having cracked the top 100 or the first time since 1937 in 2014 after rising steadily since 1995, so it’s got appeal beyond the Catholic world.

(19) John Robert nicked Rory or Bo
I suspect that Chelsey’s first reaction to Robert will be “ugh”! But St. Robert Bellarmine is a great saint, so maybe Cameron will like it, and updating the nickname options from Bob(by) or Rob(by) to Rory or Bo might do the trick. Rory is a style match for some other names that are similar to Jude, like Finn. Brothers Rory and Jude would be so cute! And I’m including Bo because my brother and SIL, parents of the Owen I mentioned above, considered Bo as a nickname for their next baby, and Robert was one of the suggestions I gave them for a way to get to it.

(20) John William nicked Will or Liam, or John Liam
William is as solid as they come, and Will and Liam are great nicknames. Liam was actually a style match for Willow, which is what encouraged me to suggest it. There are a whole bunch of Sts. and Bls. William, and one is also known as Bl. Liam Tuiridh.

(21) John Damian/Damien (nicked Danny or Denny?)
Finally, Damian is a style match for Noelle, and of course I immediately thought of St. Damian (of Damian and Cosmas fame) and St. Damien de Veuster (sorry to Chelsey, I have the “uber Catholic name” bug like Cameron! It’s just how my namey mind works!) and wondered what they’d think of them? Damien’s one of those that I’ve tried to convince my hubs of, and he won’t have any of it because of the demon child in the 1970s horror movie The Omen, which I’ve never seen and neither has he, but people do seem to associate that movie with these names. Which just kills me. Although, the popularity of the name has actually increased since that movie came out! Both variants are impeccably saintly, and though neither has traditional nicknames, I’ve often thought Danny (for Damian) and Denny (for Damien) could work.

(22) John Thomas or John Timothy nicked Ty or Trey or Trip(per)
I know Chelsey said she didn’t like Tom, but I was thinking if they use John for this baby, he’ll be the third Murray boy in succession to have John as his first name. So Trey could totally work as a nickname for him, and really it doesn’t matter what his middle name is, they could still use Trey, but I thought a “T” middle name might be the most appealing. Thomas and Timothy were the two I thought might be the best, not having any particular hardcore Catholic feel even though they *are* hardcore Catholic. Then the idea of Timothy reminded me that I’ve seen Ty used as a nickname for it, and I quite liked that too: John Timothy nicked Ty.

Trip(per) is because I know another boy who’s the III and he’s always gone by Tripper, I love it. Totally sounds like an athlete’s nickname, no? (And not to get totally crazy here, but one could possibly think of Trey/Trip(per) as a nod to the Trinity. Oh man.)

(23) John [middle name meaning “beloved” or otherwise referring to St. John] nicknamed Trey, Trip(per) if desired
This is actually a brand-new suggestion for C&C, which I haven’t yet offered. Piggybacking on the previous suggestion and my assertion that C&C can call their baby Trey or Tripper no matter what his middle name is as long as his first name is John, I thought I’d suggest some names that could refer specifically to St. John the Beloved Disciple:

Amatus — means “beloved”
Erasmus, Erastus — mean “beloved”
David — likely meaning “beloved”

Cruz — means “cross,” referring to the Cross of Crucifixion and the fact that St. John the Beloved was there with Him, and that Jesus gave His mother to St. John from the Cross (though I would use the “croos” pronunciation and not the Spain-Spanish “crooth”)

John Amatus, John Erasmus, John Erastus, John David, and John Cruz are all all pretty amazing (I’m loving John Cruz! I actually love it without the Trey/Trip nicknames — Cruz is great!).

Whew! Okay! Those are all my ideas, but I’m dying to hear yours — what would you all suggest for this family torn between John+[something] and Jude Alden? Or any advice?