Baby name consultant: Sole Searching Mama’s Baby No. 7

Happy Feast of the Ascension y’all!! 😀 I’m delighted to mark this holy day with a consultation for a mama who, like me, has six boys!

Susan, from the blog Sole Searching Mama (so clever!), and her husband Steve expect their seventh baby any day (she’s taking prayer requests to offer during her labor and delivery, so be sure to send her your special intentions!). They don’t know if the baby’s a boy or a girl, and I know she feels similarly to me in that another boy would be as happily welcomed as a baby girl, but of course it’s so fun to wonder if a Little Miss is about to make her debut after allllll those brothers!

Those brothers are the handsomely named:

Benedict Steven Robert
Andrew Simon Joseph
George Patrick Thomas
Henry James Augustine
Charles Gabriel Francis
Joseph William Karol

I love each combo — so saintly! So masculine!

Susan writes,

Our “method” for choosing names is usually the same. We begin tossing around names of saints we love, and family names are also considered. Then, we pray about it, discuss, discuss, discuss, and then eventually a name comes together that we both mutually KNOW is the one.”

I love how she articulated their process — it’s similar to my own, and I’m sure a lot of you do this too!

They’re pretty well set on boy name ideas (though they’re open to hearing more, so I included a few ideas below) — it’s the girl name that’s a stumper! Susan says,

I’m probably hyper-fixated on the girl name, and need not be, since given our present circumstances, the likelihood of us having a girl is slim. But, the Lord may surprise us yet!

Names they’ve considered include:


And names they like but can’t use include:


I had so much fun working on this! With big families, it can sometimes feel like all the new ground has been long broken, but coming up with names for a girl after having all and many boys (or vice versa) is so new and different.

I wanted to comment quickly on the names Susan and her hubs like/have considered:

Gianna, Magdalene, Zelie, Ave, and Therese all have, to me, that Catholicky Catholic feel of Benedict’s first name and the middles Maximilian, Kolbe, Vianney, Augustine, Gabriel, and Karol, while Emma, Maris, and Clare are a little less obvious, more like the other boys’ first names. I like seeing that — it gives me a good sense of where their taste is. Emma is especially telling, since it’s really not obviously saintly (though it is, indeed, saintly).


So you all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that research and my own mental files, these are my ideas for a little girl for Susan and Steve:

(1) Gemma
I probably would have ended up putting Gemma on the list of suggestions for them anyway, but when I read that they like both Gianna and Emma it was immediately clear to me that Gemma is an awesome choice for them! I love that it’s like Gianna and Emma put together, and St. Gemma Galgani is a great patron for a little girl. Another fun tidbit is that when I was looking up St. Emma, I came across a different St. Gemma—St. Gemma of Goriano—who’s also known as Emma! And her feast day is Mary 12, so close to Susan’s due date! The name is Italian in origin, meaning “gem,” which is also a great meaning for a little girl’s name to have, but it has a lot of use in England, which gives it a really English feel too, similar to Benedict, George, Henry, and Charles. (For example, see the British actress Gemma Jones, who’s been in films like Bridget Jones’ Diary, the Harry Potter movies, and Sense and Sensibility. Abby at Appellation Mountain also did an awesome spotlight.)

(2) Stella or Maristella
My next idea for them—and the first one I scribbled down when I was first reading Susan’s email—is Stella, totally inspired by Maris on their list. Though Maris has the lovely meaning “of the sea” and refers to Our Lady, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris), I think its meaning is almost completely diluted for those who aren’t familiar with it. Niles’ wife on Frasier was Maris, and when I hear it on its own, that’s what I think of. (Maybe most people are more refined than me? I hope! 😀 ) But if they were to put Maris together with Stella, as in Maristella (as this mom did, gorgeous!), then I think its meaning is more obvious. Maristella would be gorgeous for them, and is a bit like Magdalene from their list in terms of length and appearance, but I kind of like the trimmer Stella a bit more for them, especially if they did Stella Maris (first name + middle name). (Stellamaris is also a possibility.) (I don’t suppose Stella comes across as obviously Marian any more than Maris does, but for some reason it seems to me that it does.)

(3) Lucia or Lucy
Lucia was listed as a style match in the BNW for Gianna and Lucy was listed as a match for Henry, Charles/Charlie, and Emma, so I think either one (or Lucia nicknamed Lucy) would be a great idea for Susan and Steve.

(4) Margaret
Margaret is the third in the classic, regal girls’ names trio: Elizabeth, Katherine, and Margaret. There are lots of Sts. Margaret to choose from, and lots of sweet, traditional nickname options, like Maggie, Meg and Peg, Maisie and Daisy, Greta, and Rita.

(5) Anna or Annabel(le)
One of the things I love about looking names up in the BNW is writing down the matches for each name on the parents’ list and then looking for names that show up in more than one of those list of matches. Anna was a big hit for this family, being listed as similar in style/feel/popularity to Katherine, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Emma. I love the name Anna, and you all know St. Anne is Sancta Nomina’s patroness, so I love giving her lots of name love. There are so many pretty variants, like Ann(e), Hannah, Anya, and Annika, and mashups like Annelise/Anneliese and Annabeth that would allow for Anne and Elizabeth together in one name.

I know I’ve talked a lot recently about Annabel, which is a new love of mine — I love that it looks like an Anna name and could be considered so if desired, but actually has different roots: it seems it is, in origin, a variant of Amabel, which arose in Scotland in the Middle Ages … Amabel is a variant of Amabilis, which means “lovable” and was the name of a male saint, but it’s also part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable; amiable=lovable). How cool is that?? The spelling Annabelle makes it a bit frillier and looks more like Anna + belle (belle=beautiful), which is another nice layer of meaning.

Huh. But actually, now that I think about it … is Anna too similar to Andrew? I personally think that with so many children, and Andrew being #2 and this new baby being #7, it’s not that big a deal. But it is something Susan and Steve would have to think about and make their own decision about.

(6) Rosa or Rosemary or Rosanna
I love the sweet and spunky Rosa—it’s such a lovely name for a girl, and the nickname Rosie/Rosey is to die for. But I also love Rosemary for this family—to me, it’s one of those obviously Catholic names, and I kind of love that a little Rosemary would have her own herb. It can still take Rosie/Rosey as a nickname, or Romy, which is traditional as well. (Ooh, I just thought of Rosanna too—I love that! It gets in the Anna from above without any potential Andrew/Anna issue, and the Rose bit, which is Marian and lovely.)

There were a couple other names for girls I thought of that in the end I just didn’t think made the cut for my suggestions, for one reason or another, but I thought I’d list them just in case: Christiana, Leonie, Edith, Adelaide, Felicity, and Elodie.

Even though Susan and Steve are set with a boy’s name, they said they were open to hearing more ideas, so I came up with a few that really seemed to fit the style of their other boys’ names:

(1) Edmund or Edward
Edmund is a style match for Benedict and Therese and a nod to awesome St. Edmund Campion (also, Narnia!). Edward was actually a better match for this family, according to the BNW, being listed as similar to George, Henry, Charles, Joseph, and Elizabeth (wow!). St. Edward the Confessor is a particular fave of mine.

(2) Louis
This was totally inspired by Zelie, being her dear hubby’s name, and totally fits with the other boys.

(3) Dominic
I feel like there aren’t too many heavy-hitting Catholic names for boys that they haven’t already used, but Dominic is one. It’s similar to Benedict with that monastery/incense feel (which I love), and I think it fits in really well with the other boys.

(4) Luke
Luke is such a solid boy’s name, and I consider it to be a Marian name as well, as his gospel is the most Marian and contains her beautiful Magnificat.

(5) Leo
Leo has a really similar feel as Benedict and Dominic to me, and he’s a Pope St. the Great like JP2. So cool!

And those are all my ideas for Susan and Steve! What do you all think? What would you suggest for Boy No. 7 or Girl No. 1?


33 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Sole Searching Mama’s Baby No. 7

  1. I know a little Maris Clare. I think Maris is lovely, and prefer it to all the smoosh versions I’ve seen. And I also find Maris to be more Marian to my ear than Stella, but I only share that to reassure Susan – not to be contrary! 😉 Gemma is a great suggestion. I can also imagine them going full frill – Genevieve or Evangeline or Victoria, all of which sound great with the brother’s names. Edward was my first thought for a boy’s name, but I’m loving your suggestion of Edmund too. They have chosen such handsome, regal names for all their boys – I love them all!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great consolation!! I love all of their boys names and all of your suggestions seem spot on!!

    I want to throw out the name Juliet again for this family! It just seems to fit with their other names.

    Also, Madeleine seems like it could be a good fit for them seeing as the like Madgalene!

    I know it’s very common, but I’m wondering if they’ve thought about Emily as an alternative to Emma. Emily is one of my favorite names (unfortunately unusable for me), and it seems like it would fit in with their super regal vibe that they’ve got going on. I also probably think it goes because both on my mom’s side and my dad’s side I have cousins who are brother and sister named Emily and Andrew 🙂

    This next suggestion I’m hesitant about, and it’s Caroline. I know they just used Karol for Joseph’s middle name which made me hesitant, but then I noticed they repeated Joseph, so maybe they wouldn’t be completely against having Karol and Caroline?

    Even though they’re not really looking for boys names I thought I would still suggest Philip 🙂 Again, it just seemed to fit for them!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great ideas as always Grace!! You’re right, I don’t think they mind repeating names they’ve used previously in the middle. Do you think Charles and Caroline are too close for brother and sister? I tend to think so but maybe others don’t? I love Caroline.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True! I didn’t even notice that re: Charles and Caroline. I think it would depend on the people doing the naming. I know a couple sibsets that have either Caroline and Charlotte or Charlotte and Charles or Caroline and Charles but then I also know of people who chose Charlotte/Caroline/Charles and will avoid the other. I still their they’re usable together if you’re totally in love with both. There are also enough siblings that it would make it not weird. I think if it was just Caroline and Charles it might be odd. The thing about Charles and Caroline to me is that they sound pretty different.

        Do many people know that Caroline is a feminization of Charles? I have trouble knowing what the general population things because I’ve been in the “naming” community for so long!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, we have pretty much the exact same naming “method”. I love her blog, and I’m so happy to see a fun post from you with great baby name ideas for her and her hubby! What fun! I think all your girl name choices are really beautiful (as are the ones they have been currently considering). My favorite “fancy” Rose version is Rosalie, and I also like Rosaline. The boy choices are all solid as well. I love Dominic and Edmund the best of the ones you suggested. Can’t wait to hear ALL their baby news SOON!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some boy middle name suggestions:
    -Damian ( Father Damian of the lepers)
    -Isidore (patron saint of farmers)
    -Linus (pope after St .Peter)

    For a girl – Felicity – saint and it means happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It took me waaaay too long into reading this before I realized that these parents have the same names as my parents (Steve and Sue). Then I was greatly amused. Except my parents had 6 girls! And I love any recommendation that includes Luke since that’s my little boy!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Donata or Donatus, meaning gift. It might be a meaningful middle name for a girl after six boys.

    Also Theodora, Dorothea, Dorothy, etc.

    Young saints or young people who could become saints: Antonietta, Chiara, Lucia, Jacinta, Karolina.

    I like Barbara and the name and its variants is quite popular right now in Russia and across Eastern Europe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nice ideas!! I’m still amazed by Barbara though — some of you were suggesting it a while ago for a mid-century name theme and I was so surprised by all the love it was getting! I didn’t know it’s currently popular in Eastern Europe, interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a good friend who is Czeck and her name is Barbara nicknamed “Barbi” – apparently that’s VERY common there and no one associates Barbie with the doll.

        Liked by 1 person

      • In Russia, it’s Varvara, with the nickname Varya. In the Czech Republic, it’s Barbora. In Georgia, it’s Barbare. It’s a top 10 name in all three of those countries and gaining ground in other Slavic countries. I think it has a somewhat old fashioned image in Russia, but one that is in vogue. It’s probably their version of Emma. I think it’s quite a nice name in English as well. It’s still used a fair amount. The new 2015 list shows there were 320 Barbaras born last year in the U.S., compared with 315 in 2014.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We have a Luke and Gianna (good to know we share some tastes in names), but boy do I love Gemma. St. Gemma is awesome. And, I do love me some Lucy. You gave them so many great names. Well done!! I’m so excited for Susan. So, so excited.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am amazed by this family’s name taste! At this rhythm they will run out of saintly boys’ names very soon!
    I tried to figure out a girl name that is as saintly as their sons’ names. My ideas are Therese, Felicity, Rose, Edith and Rita. But my favorites are Therese and Rose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful! I was surprised that Susan indicated boys’ names were easy for them, it was the girls’ names that were difficult — I agree that they’ve used so many great boys’ names!!


  9. I’m late to this party (I’ve been dealing with pancreatitis after surgery, so… not fun), but I really love all of this. The names of their boys, your suggestions.. especially the girl suggestions! I was surprised (not in a bad way!) by a few of the names they’ve considered for girls. They seem just as saintly but a little more offbeat from the boys’ names (at least in the first name spot), but I do like them. I think all of your suggestions are on point, and I especially like Stella or Gemma (the sort of smoosh between Gianna and Emma was so smart!!). I prefer the shorter versions for this family to the longer ones – Stella instead of Maristella, Anna instead of Annabelle, Lucy instead of Lucia. I don’t know why, because I really like the longer ones, too, but there it is lol. The exception would be Rosemary.

    I think Felicity would be wonderful for them. I’ve only started reading Susan’s blog recently, but it seems like they’ve had some struggles and difficult things to overcome lately, so the “happy” meaning behind Felicity might be nice. A new baby is a happy thing!

    I’m sure whatever they choose will be great.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] was asking me today if anyone’s using Karol for a boy, whether first or middle name. I know this mama has a boy with Karol as one of his middle names, and I know a little boy in real life who does so as well — what about all of you? Have you […]


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