Baby name consultant: No. 3 green bean needs Southern Catholic/biblical name

It’s such a sad Monday morning after the shooting in Orlando this past weekend. So many people are grieving, what a tragedy — the loss of human life is always a devastation. I read through the list of the victims of the shooting and was struck by the amazing collection of patron saints represented by the names of the deceased — so many holy ones to implore for intercession. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace, and please bring peace to our country. 🙏❤

As I felt in the wake of Paris, it seems almost inappropriate to continue on with this fun, joyful work of naming babies in the wake of death, but at the same time, it’s important work, and this wee one on the way might be the very person that brings the begged-for peace to our hearts, our country, and our world. Babies=hope, thank you Jesus. ❤ ❤ ❤

Babies=hope, and such joy! With gratitude for the gift of new life, I’m happy to post today’s consultation: Katie and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean! 🌱 He or she will join big sibs:

Asher Henry
Margaret Elizabeth (Margo)

Such cool names, right? Asher and Margo is such an awesome sibset!

Katie writes,

I have always loved names, but I’m at a loss with this one. We are team green for this baby … Asher was chosen because I liked that it was biblical, unique (in 2008), yet a “real” name. It also means “happy” which I love. Henry is in honor of my grandfather, Patrick Henry.

Margo was named in honor of my great aunt Margaret (Margie for short) who was an all-around awesome lady. I went back and forth between Greta and Margo, for the nickname to choose but eventually settled on Margo. Elizabeth is my middle name, my mom’s middle name, and in honor of my grandmother Betty.

I definitely struggle more with boy names than girl names …”

Katie and her hubs have some guidelines they’d like to follow:

-“I would prefer a name that can make a nickname especially for a girl. I’m just Katie. Not Katherine or Kathleen. I always kind of wished I had a “real” name.
-Bonus points for Southern
-Bonus points for Catholic/Biblical
-I’m not sure if it’s just me but I worry about names that end in the –en sound with our last name [which ends in -ins]. It feels too sing songy. Am I being neurotic?
-It has to pass the senator rule. If it doesn’t sound good with Senator in front of it, it doesn’t pass muster.”

Names that they’re considering include:

Camilla (Millie)
Estella (Stella)

Edward (Teddy)
Blaise (“Not sure if I’m ‘brave’ enough for this one!“)

Great list of names! I love the names on their girl list—Greer and Stella are personal faves of mine, and the others are beautiful and feminine, and I can’t believe Blanche is on there! I’ve never seen it on anyone’s list ever! (Though this past winter I heard Fr. Gaitley talk about his book 33 Days to Morning Glory, and he told quite a bit of his personal story, which involved a former girlfriend from France named Blanche, except he pronounced it the French way, not rhyming with ranch (which is how I would say it) but like blah+sh with that almost unheard French between blah and sh. It was the first time I could picture Blanche on a young person!)

Anyway! They gave me a good sense of Katie and her hubs’ taste in girl’s names, and when I did a little research into Southern naming traditions, it all made sense, because I found Blanche and Greer on one particular list I found from Southern Living.

Their boy names are also very consistent with the Southern theme, and they’ve also got some good biblical names in there. By far my favorite name on the list is Blaise! I think it’s ah-MAZ-ing with Asher and Margo! I personally would consider Blanche to be the most daring name of them all, so if they’re good with Blanche they should totally be brave enough for Blaise!

Okay! On to my ideas. You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and 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. Using that research, as well as my own mental files, and the research I did on Southern-type names, these are my suggestions:

(1) Annabel(le)
I didn’t do the research on Southern names until after I’d looked through the BNW and picked through my mind, so I was delighted to see that one of my top ideas for Katie and her hubs was listed in that same link to southern baby names! Annabel is a recent favorite of mine, as it can be considered a Marian name! It’s actually a form of Amabel, which comes from the Latin amabilis, meaning amiable/lovable, and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis. How cool is that! It’s got the great nickname option of Annie, which I love; the Annabelle spelling is particularly southern; it’s got the Catholic angle covered; it doesn’t end in –en; and I think it passes the Senator Rule just fine. All their requirements!

(2) Eve, Eva, Ava, Evelyn
Eve is a totally biblical name, obviously, but it strikes me as also having a really sophisticated, distinguished feel, kind of sparse and chic, very Senator-like. I like that it fits with Asher’s biblical-ness and Margo’s coolness; Evie is one of the sweetest nicknames ever imo; it can also be considered Marian because of Mary being the New Eve (I’m a sucker for a Marian name!); and while I don’t know if Eve comes across as particularly Southern, every time I see Evelyn I hear Jessica Tandy saying it in a Southern accent in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, which was set in Georgia, so I feel like Evelyn could be a good option that retains a lot of Eve’s charm. Eva and Ava were also variants that showed up in my BNW as being similar to names this family likes.

(3) Caroline
Caroline is a great style match for Margaret, and it’s got some great nickname options like Carrie, Caro, Lina, Lola, Callie. It passes the Senator Rule, and a lot of people have been using it recently in honor of St. John Paul II. And it’s on that list of Southern names!

(4) Mary+
I don’t know a huge amount about Southern names, but I do know that double names are pretty common, and that double names for girls often involve a normal-ish first name with a family lastname as a middle, and that going by both names together, or just the middle name, is a tradition. That fits in exactly with the Catholic tradition of naming girls with the first name Mary, to be used in conjunction with the middle, like Mary Kate, Mary Grace, Mary Ann, etc., or to go just by the middle. Those kinds of names—Mary Grace etc.—have a really Catholic feel, but I think putting Mary in front of any name makes the middle name very do-able for a girl, no matter what, and casts a Catholic shadow as well. I might encourage Katie and her hubs to look through their family tree and find some last names that might work, for a really southern feel. Looking through the BNW, one of the girl names that was similar in style to some of their boys’ lastname ideas was Tate—Mary Tate is sweet!

(1) Brooks
I kind of love the name Brooks! Asher and Margo have kind of a preppy feel to me—in the best way! I love them together!—and Brooks so much fits in with that. It’s similar in style to Grant, Lawson, Reid, and Hayes, and reminds me of Blaise as well because of being one syllable and starting with a B. It doesn’t have a Catholic or biblical feel, unfortunately, but I feel like a great middle name could fix that. Like Brooks Nathaniel or Brooks Benedict.

(2) Beau
Beau is such a Southern gentleman to me. I think immediately of Melanie Wilkes’ little Beau from Gone With the Wind, which is a sweet and obviously very Southern reference—and it’s on that list of southern names I linked to above! I did a consultation for my sister-in-law last year, and one of her favorite combos was Francis Beau called Beau—that combo also seems to have a particularly Southern flair to me! And Francis is so Catholic.

(3) Elliott or Emmett or Everett
I had both Elliott and Emmett on my list for this family before I read that southern-names article, and was excited to see they’re both on there! Elliott was originally an English last name derived from a medieval diminutive of Elias, which is the Greek form of Elijah, so it’s technically biblical. And Emmett was originally an English last name derived from a medieval diminutive of Emma! I love that they were both originally last names, which I assume is one of the reasons they were on the list of southern names, and I love that Elliott is biblical, as it ties in so nicely with Asher (though not obviously). If they didn’t care for either of these for a son, I would totally suggest considering them for a daughter! Especially as Mary Elliott or Mary Emmett, even if they called her Elliott or Emmett on a daily basis (and Ellie and Emmy are great nicknames) — doing so seems more in keeping with the Southern tradition of putting last names or masculine names in the middle spot, rather than the boys-names-for-girls trend. (I’d be interested to hear what Katie’s husband thinks of this line of thinking—in my experience, most men don’t care to consider names for their sons that might also be do-able for their daughters.)

I’m including Everett in this group because it’s got a similar sound and rhythm to Elliott and Emmett, though it wasn’t on the list of southern names. It was, however, listed in the BNW as similar to Cora and Estella. I also wouldn’t be as inclined to suggest it for a daughter, which Katie’s husband might like better.

(4) Ethan
I thought getting at least one explicitly biblical name on the list was important, and Ethan seemed like a great fit. At first I was thinking it had a specifically southern feel as well, but when I looked it up to see why I felt that way, I realized I’d been thinking of Ethan Allen, who was from Connecticut. Oops. But then the BNW said that Ethan’s been particularly popular in the heartland in recent years, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, so I guess I was right in feeling that it’s popular in the south. This is the only name that ends in the –en sound that I included in my suggestions for Katie and her hubs, but I’ve said Ethan out loud a bunch of times with their last name (Ethan Jenkins is a good stand-in) and I think it sounds pretty fab. I actually tried a bunch of –en names out loud with their last name, to see which ones might not work, but honestly I thought they all sounded fine!

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little brother or sister for Asher and Margo?



31 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: No. 3 green bean needs Southern Catholic/biblical name

  1. ooh, I like Blaise and Elliott and Everett best of the boy names and I just met a family with a daughter Eloise and they call her Elsie. Sooooo cute! I like Evelyn (perhaps nicknamed Evie) as well. Lovely ideas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Trey for a boy. It means three and is super southern, IMHO. It could be a first or middle name and goes nicely with everything listed. My 4th son is Vincent Blaise. I love Blaise as a middle name. So strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Since they want something specifically Southern, Rhett!!! All of our kids our named after saints, so I don’t think I could ever use it, but I love that name! It is just reminds me of Gone With the Wind . . . sigh;)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love so many of these names.

    other suggestions: Mary Virginia is super Southern and super Catholic–maybe Ginny for short?

    And I would add Levi, Robert (“Bobby”), and Samuel (“Sam”) to the list of considerations for boys names.


  5. I have a feeling about A names for this family: Aaron, Adam, Abel, Austin, Annabelle (fits perfectly!), Abigail, Adeline, Alyssa, Aubrey, Aurora, Anastasia (Stacy)…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have no idea why, I don’t know much about regional names, but Emory seems like it could be a cool fit for this family. I have friends with a son by that name, and mutual friends who, once the boy was born, admitted that they had it on their girl name list – I had been told it had some connection to Matthew but a quick search didn’t seem to show that. Emmie/Rory could stem as girl/boy nicknames!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting! My son goes to school with a girl Emery — I think this could be a great idea! I just looked Emory up quickly and I see that it’s a variant of Emmerich, which is a nice connection to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, and there’s also a St. Emeric. I like this whole family of names, and I like the idea of nicknames Emmie and Rory — nice ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “The senator rule” – LOVE it. I always try to say names I am considering in different contexts. One I use is “I work for ___” and I always imagine lawyer or something highly professional in that.

    I know someone who named their son Seth Asher, so to me those names go together.

    I like Millie and Margo. I almost named my daughter Milana and would have use the nickname Millie at times (Millie was my very influential grandmother whose mother wanted to name her Milana, but the doctor I guess said, nope never heard of it and put Mildred on the birth cert).

    All of the names they like do have a similar taste and your can see their style, very elegant.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My first thought before I saw their list was Millie short for Camilla or Matilda. How about Tillie?

    Some other ideas: Susannah called Susie. Annabelle is a great choice. There’s also Annabeth. You could use Abby as a nickname too. Sarah called Sadie or Sally. Mary Cecelia called Macy. Clementine called Minnie. Johannah, Josephine or Jocelyn called Josie.

    For boys, I love Lawson. Plus it’s saintly. It comes from Lawrence. From the biblical, how about Jonah? Other ideas: Felix (shares a meaning with Asher), Charles, Carter or Carson, Jesse, Bennett or Davis.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. As soon as I saw “Southern” my first thought was Camille, so I was pleased to see it on their list!

    But then they mentioned Biblical, and it made me think of a very underused NT name — Lois. (And then that made me think of Lydia). There’s a lot of good choices!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mom here! I love all of these ideas. I forgot to add the hardest part of naming for us (me). I’m a teacher. You would not believe how many names that can ruin for you! Thanks for giving me more food for thought. I’m 37 weeks today and we are still toying with names.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have one word for you: Greer! Go with Greer! It’s unusual but not unheard of, and so classic and elegant…and has a great southern flair to it!

    My most southern friend has girls named Magnolia and Camellia, definite floral theme which I love.

    As for boys, I’m drawing a blank beyond what’s already been suggested.

    Good luck, mama! You have beautifully named children so I know you’ll choose well! (Greer, Greer, Greer…)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Not from America and know absolutely nothing about “southern” (I live in Southeast Asia, does it count?) but I’m enjoying myself reading all the suggestions! I like Rhett too!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. i love asher and margo together! very much my taste. I have a jewish cousin named asher levi and his brother is called daniel (another name I love). I also love elliott, ethan, felix, caleb, theodore (you can call him teddy when he’s a baby and theo is so handsome for a young man), and blaise is pretty cool too. how about beckett or bennett? they sound pretty southern to me.

    for a girl I love eloise and cecily (although I slightly prefer cecilia). Annabel is spot on, and I would also suggest eleonor, lucille, beatrice, evangeline, and susannah.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I would love to fill you in on Southern baby naming some time, Kate! I’m a lifetime resident of Alabama, so I think I’m qualified. 🙂 I would love to see Cecily, Joel, or Blaise get some love. I didn’t care for what I’ve dubbed the “Cece” names until I met a darling little Cecilia. Now I wonder why they aren’t used more! You’re spot on with the suggestions of Caroline and Mary paired with a family surname. I’m stuck on the idea of Caroline Blanche or Caroline Greer.

    Liked by 1 person

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