Bonus consultation: Preference for three-syllable Old-World catacomb-y names

I’m excited to post this bonus consultation for a couple with such a wonderful story — the mama, Kara, is American and her husband is British, and they live in England, and she shared that, “My husband and I are converts. He was a Church of England Clergyman, and now he’s a Catholic priest.”

How wonderful is that?!! What a great and inspiring story!!

I don’t think many of us know any families with this kind of background, and I love hearing from our international readers, and when I asked Kara if she would mind if I posted her consultation today, she told me that today is her husband’s fourth anniversary of ordination! Congratulations to him! It’s also the feast of Sts. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, so yeah, just a great day all around. 🙂

Kara writes,

My 4th is due at the end of October and if it’s a boy, we are stuck for a name! If it’s a girl, then the name will be Helena Mary.”

This little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown) will join big sibs:

Rosamond Mary (“She’s known as Rosey, and named after my Godmother and Our Lady“)

Matthias Michael (“We always had Matthias picked for our first boy. Shortly before he was born a priest friend died and his name was Fr. Michael. It seemed right to remember him by using his name“)

Simeon Thomas (“Simeon was not a name I loved, but when I was pregnant with him the Feast of the Presentation came along, and I felt like the Lord was saying you are going to have a boy, and his name should be Simeon. And I was all like, really Lord? And He was like, yes. So we went with it. And it suits him very well. The name Thomas is from my husband’s grandfather. The only grandparent he knew was this grandfather who died when he was a child.”)

I just loooove these names!! Rosamond is a fairly uncommon Ros- name, and Rosey is so sweet! Matthias is a favorite of mine, and I love seeing Simeon used! I definitely think it needs to be used more!

Kara continues,

Ok, here’s all the stuff that makes us super picky…

We don’t want a popular name. For us, that probably means it needs to be below the top 100 baby boy names. And it gets worse — I am American, my husband is British, we live in England. So it can’t be in the top 100 in the UK or the USA. [The 2015 list can be found here.]

Also, the name can’t be pronounced different in the UK and USA. That kind of thing drives me crazy! So Anthony is pronounced Antony here and something like Cordelia ends up being Cor-dee-lee-ah.

We’re not a fan of using last names as first names. So my husband’s patron is St. Edmund Campion, but we wouldn’t consider Campion as a name.

My husband thinks we have a thing going with naming our kids 3 syllable first names and 2 syllable middle names. I am not convinced that this pattern is essential.

I think we are probably wanting a saint’s name, but are open to thinking about other kinds of names.”

Names and patrons they’re considering (but none has felt totally right just yet) include:

Edmund (“My husband loves St. Edmund Campion, I love St. Edmund Arrowsmith. We definitely wouldn’t want Eddie to be a nickname though. There’s a bonus in that St. Edmund Arrowsmith was born near where we live in Liverpool and you can go get a blessing from his actual hand in a church nearby“)

Dominic (“I love Blessed Dominic Barberi. He is buried near to us. I love his story and I love that his mother used to say to her kids, “Children, you can be saints!”. Unfortunately, Dominic is a pretty chav name in Liverpool. (Chavs are urban youth in track suits and Burberry caps who wander in packs getting up to no good.) My husband does like the original St. Dominic too“)

Damien (“I love Fr. Damien of Molokai. But it’s also rather a chav name. And someone pointed out to me that Damien and Simeon sound rather similar. So I am not convinced“)

Gaetano/Cajetan (“My husband loves St. Gaetano Catanoso. The English version of his name is Cajetan evidently. Both seem a little too wild for me“)

John Henry Newman (“My husband really likes him, but the name is too popular. Also, our last name is Brown, so I would always think of that song “John Brown had a little Indian…””)

Peter Julian Eymard (“He’s another one my husband likes“)

Paschal Baylon (“We both like him. We live in St. Paschal Baylon Presbytery though, so it seems odd to name a child after where you live!“)

St. Nicholas (“My husband likes his story. We also like St. Nicholas Owen. But it’s too popular and I have a brother named Nicholas“)

Ambrose Barlow (“He has links to the area we live in, so that’s nice“)

I had a lot of fun finding names that would fit their criteria—I found quite a few three-syllable names that were below the top 100 in both America and the UK! I had a few other ideas as well, which seem like they might work well for Kara and her hubs, but first a few thoughts about the names they’re considering/that they’d like to consider:

— I love Edmund for them, I think it’s so great, and as for the nickname issue—Ned is as traditional as Ed/Eddie, and it’s a style match for Rosey (according to the Baby Name Wizard, which may not be terribly accurate for them since it’s based on US naming trends, but in this instance I think it’s spot on). I will say though that Rosamond and Edmund sound almost *too* good together, with the similar endings. Campion totally seems like it would be more their speed, especially since it has the vowel doublet that they seem to like (Matthias, Simeon, Damien), and I love love the nickname Cam, but if they really won’t consider last names and they don’t want to use Edmund, I wonder what they would think of Eamon? It’s an Edmund variant that I love, which could nod to both the Sts. Edmund that Kara and her husband favor.

— I’m so interested in the feel of the name Dominic where they live! I’d actually asked Kara if I could post that one bit about the chav names sometime, just as a way of showing how certain names have different connotations in different places, but I didn’t get to it. So interesting though, right? I’ve heard the term “chav” before but hadn’t ever had a really good handle on what it means.

— I agree with her about Damien and Simeon sounding too similar, boo!

— I love Gaetano/Cajetan too, but Kara’s right—they’re pretty wild!

— John Henry Newman is great—I wonder if they would consider the full John Henry? Or maybe changing it up to something like Ian Henry? It’s not as obvious, but it definitely works, since Ian is a form of John.

— I wonder if Peter Julian Eymard’s middle name might be just their speed—Julian has that vowel couplet, and it’s a style match for Dominic, Damian, and Nicholas!

— I love Paschal too! I can’t tell if I think it would be too weird? Our church is named for St. Clement, and I’ve often thought that Clement would be an awesome name for us, not just because of the saint/meaning, but also because of our parish (we were married here too, and all our kids baptized here, so it’s meaningful to us). I tend to think our community would love a little one named after our church, but maybe with Kara’s husband being the priest it gives it a weird edge?

— Oh gosh, I love St. Nicholas Owen too. Would Owen work?

Alrighty, on to my ideas for Kara and her husband! Their style is pretty consistent, at least according to the BNW—very old world and kind of catacomb-y, which I love love love!

(1) Barnaby or Barnabas
Barnaby has always had a Brit feel to me—and I apologize in advance if I’m totally off about what has a British vibe! I think there’s a street in London by that name? Is that a bad thing? I admit I fell in love with it listening to the lyrics from the song from Hello Dolly (sung by characters named Ambrose, Cornelius, and Barnaby—a pretty great set!). Barnabas is another variant, which isn’t as cheerful sounding as Barnaby (which could be good). I like both of them a lot, and there are a few saints/blesseds to choose from. Barnaby is a style match for Rosamond, has never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(2) Thaddeus
Thaddeus is similar to Barnaby in terms of being weighty and biblical, and it’s a style match for Rosamond and Matthias. It feels like maybe a little much for everyday use—more so than Matthias and Simeon, despite that they’re all the same number of syllables—but I know two little Thaddeuses who go by Taddy, which I love, and which would particularly fit in with sister Rosey. Thaddeus was #703 in 2015 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(3) Leopold
Leopold is similar to Rosamond and Matthias, and trims down to Leo so easily. It’s so handsome and sophisticated, and three syllables! I enjoyed the stories of all three of these holy men. It hasn’t ever been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(4) Raphael
This one might be problematic pronunciation-wise—I know there are pronunciation issues here, where I hear both rah-fay-EL (mostly) and RAY-fee-uhl (occasionally). Raphael was #537 in 2015 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(5) Tobias
Rosamond and Matthias shared a bit more overlap in terms of names that were similar to them, so I really wanted to loop Simeon in. Tobias is a style match for it, as well as for Raphael, which is a match for Matthias and Dominic as well. Such a great name! It’s the most popular of the names I’m suggesting, coming in at #316 in 2015 in the U.S. and on an upward trajectory; it’s not in the top 100 in the UK.

(6) Phineas/Phinnaeus
Are you seeing a theme here? All these great, heavy-hitting names with vowel couplets! Phineas is another great one—the first time I heard it on a child in real life was Julia Roberts’ son Phinnaeus, who goes by Finn, which is one of my favorite names ever. Phineas is a match for Simeon, Barnaby, Raphael, and Tobias, hasn’t ever been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(7) Joachim
This is the only name that didn’t come from my research, and it may be too like Gaetano/Cajetan to Kara in terms of being too wild, but it’s super saintly and I always think of it as exclusively Catholic, though I know it has more use in Europe than America, and likely some of those Joachims aren’t Catholic I suppose. I think it has the feel of Matthias and Simeon without being obviously biblical. It’s never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.

(8) Benedict
Another great, heavy-hitting, saintly, three-syllable name! I’m actually surprised Benedict’s not on their list already, so maybe that means they already considered it and decided they didn’t like it? But it’s a match for Rosamond, Edmund, Ambrose, Barnaby, and Thaddeus! The last time Benedict was in the U.S. top 1000 was in 1968 (#971), and (despite Benedict Cumberbatch, who I assume is a good association) it’s not in the top 100 in the UK.

(8) Piers/Pierce
This last one gets away from the three-syllable, heavy, mostly biblical feel of the previous suggestions. Piers is a style match for Rosamond, and I really like that it’s not obviously biblical, so I feel like it fits in with Rosey’s name a bit more than some of the others, but at the same time it *is* biblical, being a variant of Peter, which ties it in nicely with Kara’s other boys. I know there’s Piers Morgan, and I don’t know if that’s a good/bad/neutral association. If negative, Pierce might be a nice alternative. Piers has never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., though Pierce was #466 in 2015; neither are in the top 100 in the UK.

And those are my ideas for Kara and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother for Rosamond, Matthias, and Simeon?


Nicknames: Fulton

I’ve had several requests over the last couple of years from readers for nickname ideas for Fulton — most recently in yesterday’s consultation — and I feel like I’m really short on ideas!

I think Finn could work, or Flynn, and eclare offered Fult as well (“kind of like Walt” she said), which is so great and natural. I was thinking that Philip is sort of similar (two syllables, starting with the F sound, an L in the middle) that maybe Fil/Phil could work (though Phil tends to the be the nickname that parents of today’s little Philips want to avoid), or Flip (like for something like Fulton Patrick?). Skimac suggested a Fulton could go by a nickname of his middle name, if he really wanted a nickname, and I like that suggestion too (though it was very specifically for yesterday’s family, who has a daughter who sometimes goes by a nickname of her middle name).

I’m really really hoping the rest of you can add to this list! I’d love to hear all your ideas, and especially if you know any Fultons in real life who go by a nickname — please share!

Baby name consultant: Biblical boy name with one-syllable nickname preferred

Stephanie and her husband are expecting their fifth born baby, a little green bean 🌱(=gender unknown)! He or she will join big sibs:

Bethany Grace
Luke Michael
Jackson Paul
Caeli Rose

I looooove these names!! They’re all amazing, and I really love seeing Caeli used in real life!

About naming her older kiddos Stephanie writes,

We have many girl’s names that we love but we are stuck on boy’s names! Bethany Grace was a name my husband and I just loved — we consider her patron Our Lady of Grace. Bethany is obviously a biblical region. She goes by Beth.

Luke Michael is named after St. Luke and St. Michael the archangel. Michael is also my husband’s and both of our dad’s middle names.

Jackson Paul is named after two of our grandfathers — Jack and Paul. Paul is also a strong biblical name. He goes by Jack.

We lost two babies through early miscarriage between Jack and Caeli — Samuel and Veronica. I just knew that first baby was a boy and that his name was Samuel, and my husband chose Veronica because we lost her during lent and Veronica was on his mind a lot as we prayed the stations of the cross frequently.

Caeli Rose was a name given to me by God — I can’t explain it. We didn’t find out her gender before birth but I think somewhere deep in my soul I knew she would be Caeli Rose. Everyone calls her Caeli (Chay-lee) and I frequently call her Rosie as a nickname.”

Such gorgeous names, and such significance behind each one! I love them all!

About the naming of this baby Stephanie writes,

The girl names we’re considering are Stella or Stella Maris, Kateri, or Philomena. I love them all and would be happy with any of them, by my husband is leaning towards Stella!

The boy names give us grief! I feel like there should be a biblical connection, and should probably have a decent one-syllable nickname. Sam was a perfect fit but he is our saint in heaven and I can’t use that again. We also love Matthew but it’s my brother and nephew’s name (so we don’t want to use any derivatives either). John and Jacob are out (too close to Jack). And I’m just not feeling Mark or any of the other obvious new testament names. I considered Judah but I don’t think my husband loves it!

We’ve also tossed around Augustine (Gus or Auggie), Benedict, William, Ambrose or Fulton. What are nicknames for Ambrose and Fulton? I get so hung up on nickname options! We also like Joseph and would probably consider it as a middle name. My husband has a devotion to St. Gerard but I’m not sure I’d name my baby Gerard, and Majella sounds more feminine to me.”

First off, how lucky is Stephanie to have a list of girls’ names that she’s totally fine with, and her husband likes one of them—that’s sort of rare in the emails I get! Most of the time I hear how Mom likes certain names and Dad doesn’t like any of them or vice versa. They’re all beautiful.

And the boy names! I love their criteria of biblical connection + “decent one-syllable nickname”—I have lots of ideas! But first—regarding Judah—I wonder if they’ve considered just Jude?

I love Augustine, Benedict, William, Ambrose, and Fulton—heavy hitters, all! And I totally understand getting hung up on nickname options—I’m the same way, nicknames are so important and half the fun of choosing a name in my opinion! I’ve often thought about nicknames for Ambrose because it’s on our list as well—I’ve seen Brose as a fairly traditional nickname for it, but maybe too close to Caeli’s sometimes nickname Rosie? I’ve also seen Amby, but my faves are the ones I’ve come up with on my own: Sam (which wouldn’t work for this family), Bram (a traditional nick for/variant of Abraham but I think totally works as a nick for Ambrose!), Abe (so cute!), Bo, Brady or Brody (perhaps especially with a D middle name), and I think even something like Ace could work, especially if paired with a C middle name, like Ambrose Christopher or Ambrose Charles/Carl. And I recently discovered thanks to one of you wonderful readers that NBC’s Olympic swimming analyst and former swimming champion Rowdy Gaines’ first name is actually Ambrose. I’m dying over Ambrose nicked Rowdy! (I’ve included all these on my Nickname ideas page.)

Fulton’s hard! I’m not really coming up with anything but Ful! Or maybe Finn? (I have more thoughts on Finn — see Philip/Phineas below.)

A thought about Gus—I’ve come up with some other ways to get to Gus that might be helpful here — one of my favorites is something like Gregory Stephen with the nickname Gus (from the G of Gregory and the S of Stephen). St. Gregory’s awesome! Or a super biblical name is Gideon—something like Gideon Stephen or Gideon Solanus (for Ven. Solanus Casey) could lead to Gus as well.

Okay! So on to my ideas for Stephanie and her hubs—I basically just tried to think of all the biblical names that I thought would fit their style and have “decent one-syllable nicknames,” and I also looked up all the names they’ve used and those 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—I found some new ideas in there and confirmed the others that I’d already had on my list for them. Here they are:

(1) Benjamin or Benedict/Bennett
As far as Ben- names go, Benedict is more saintly/Catholic-sounding than Benjamin, but Benjamin’s a bit easier for the non-Catholicky Catholic part of the world to handle, if that makes any sense, and it seems like a better fit for Stephanie and her hubs because they’d really like a biblical name.

Benedict’s great though, and having the nickname Ben kind of makes it feel a little biblical, even though it’s not — does that make sense? Bennett is also a possibility — it’s a medieval form of Benedict.

(2) Caleb
Caleb’s one of my top suggestions for them—it totally seems their  style to me, and it can take the great nickname Cal! I love that!

(3) Dominic
I know, Dominic’s not biblical, but it fits with the feel of Benedict, Augustine, and Ambrose, and comes with the great nickname options Dom and Nic(k), so I thought I’d suggest it anyway!

(4) Gabriel
When Stephanie said she’s “not feeling Mark or any of the other obvious new testament names,” my sense was that she meant the “normal” names like Andrew, Peter, etc., and that some of the less popular NT names might be okay. I would put Gabriel in the “less popular” category because traditionally it hasn’t been used as much as the others (though it’s fairly popular today), and I like it for this family a lot. The nickname Gabe is a great one too—it has a similar feel to me as Jack, Sam, and Ben. I’ve also seen Gil as a nickname for Gabriel, so that’s another option too.

(5) Joshua
I wonder if they’ve considered Joshua? I love that it can be considered a name for Jesus, since Jesus comes from a Greek translation of Joshua, and Josh is a great nickname.

(6) Nathaniel/Nathan
Like Gabriel, I would put Nathaniel especially in the “less obvious” NT category, and the nickname Nate is a great one. But perhaps Nathan is more their speed?

(7) Nicholas
Nicholas is actually a New Testament name, and the nickname options Nick and Cole are both fab.

(8) Philip or Phineas
I’m guessing Philip is one of those obvious NT names Stephanie doesn’t care for, but I wonder if the right nickname could jazz it up enough for her? We considered Philip as a first name with Neri as a middle (St. Philip Neri!) and the nickname Finn, but I think Finn could work as a nickname for Philip even without an N middle name. Or maybe a different middle name? Philip Nicholas? Phineas is another possibility—it’s an OT name, and Julia Roberts named one of her sons Phinnaeus (I like that spelling too) and calls him Finn. Finn is really on-trend right now, in a good way imo, I love it! There’s also the new Star Wars character Finn, who’s awesome.

(9) Raphael
I love the name Raphael and the nickname Rafe—so cool and fairly uncommon! And it’s an OT name, which is a nice biblical connection.

(10) Seth
I think Seth could really work for this family! It’s a great one-syllable name like Luke, and of course fits in with their one-syllable nicknames.

(11) Thaddeus or Theodore
I’m not sure they’ll like the full Thaddeus (though it’s a style match for Veronica and Benedict), but it’s a NT name that has the super cute nickname option of Tad—I know two little Tads (nicks for Thaddeus), and I just love hearing it/saying it. I suspect Theodore might be more their speed, though it loses the biblical connection, but its nickname Ted is one syllable and really similar to Tad. (Theo’s also a great nickname option.)

(12) Timothy
I’m guessing they’ve already ruled out Timothy, but hear me out! I’m really feeling it recently—I never hear Timothy on new little boys, but it’s a great biblical name, and Timmy and Tim are solid, handsome nicknames. I’ve also recently been thinking that Ty’s a great nickname option for Timothy, cute!

(13) Zechariah or Isaac
I feel like Phineas, Thaddeus, and Zechariah kind of go in the same category—names that might just be a little more than what Stephanie and her hubs like. But Zachary seemed like a great fit for them until I remembered that they can’t have brothers Jack and Zach, so I wondered about Zechariah, which can be Zeke instead. Zeke’s so fun! And I love the connection of Zechariah to St. Elizabeth/St. John the Baptist/Our Lady/the Mystery of the Visitation.

Isaac is awesome too, one of my faves, and even though the undoable Zac is a common enough nickname for it, I also think Zeke could work, and Ike is very traditional and adorable. And I saw somewhere online that today used to be the feast of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions (and still is in Canada?) (one of his companions was St. Gabriel Lalemant — see Gabriel above)!

And those are all my ideas for Stephanie and her husband! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little brother for Bethany, Luke, Jackson, and Caeli?

Birth announcement: Elizabeth Margaret!

Amanda’s consultation was the one that posted this past Monday, and in light of my little niece’s birth announcement from this morning (Margaret Elizabeth), it seems very appropriate to post the birth announcement for Amanda’s little green bean 🌱 — a little girl who’s been given the gorgeous name … Elizabeth Margaret!

Amanda writes,

Elizabeth Margaret was born at 10pm MST, Sept. 19th.  I couldn’t convince my husband to change Margaret to a first name, and he wanted to use it now.  He also wouldn’t agree with using a variation of it.

Thank you for your help in naming her!  While I was in labour, we were still talking about boy names.  My husband mentioned Nicholas, and though I have a sister name Nicole, it was growing on me throughout labour.  We’ll definitely have to keep it on our list for the next baby!

It’s such a wonderful combo!! Margaret was Amanda’s husband’s paternal grandmother’s name, and it’s so lovely with Elizabeth — royal, really!  This wee lady joins big sibs:

Olivia Rita
Zachary Claude

I love Elizabeth as a sister to Olivia and Zachary! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Elizabeth!!


Elizabeth Margaret

Birth announcement: Margaret Elizabeth!

You all know about my sister-in-law, mom of Owen who was grandchild No. 10 for my parents — and grandSON No. 10! We have been a boy-only family since my oldest was born twelve years ago (today)!

Until … last month! I have the very great pleasure of announcing the birth of the very first granddaughter in my family, born to my other brother and his lovely wife. They have given her the beautiful, meaningful name … Margaret Elizabeth!

Margaret is my SIL’s mom’s and grandmother’s name, full of meaning for her. Elizabeth, though, is a funny story — originally they’d talked about using my SIL’s mom’s maiden name, which was also my SIL’s middle name before she got married, but then their oldest son Matthew (who’s 5) was *sure* the baby was a girl (they didn’t find out gender) and that her name was Elizabeth! His best friend Elizabeth had moved away last year, which may be where his inspiration came from, and when Margaret — Maggie ☺– was born, they decided to use Elizabeth as a nod to her big brother who came up with the idea, and her other big brother Benjamin (who just turned 3) who no doubt went along with his brother’s grand plan. 🙂

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday to my beautiful niece (I still get swoony over being able to say “niece”!), Baby Maggie!!

❤ Margaret Elizabeth (Maggie) and her big brothers ❤


Bonus consultation: Two naming styles, and having-to-spell

You know that in general I only post consultations on Mondays (a way of keeping myself from getting overwhelmed!), but sometimes I receive a request for a consultation and it’s one that I’d really like for you all to see for various reasons — today’s is one such. Rebekah from the blog Treasuring the Little Things (she lives in the Cayman Islands!) and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — their third girl! Their older kiddos are:

Maria Margaret
Felicity Rose
William Patrick Peter
Augustine John (Gus)

Such great names, each one!

Rebekah writes,

We don’t like super common names but we also don’t want anything too unusual so that the kid will have to repeat it and spell it out constantly (our Felicity complains about this). We like nicknames.”

The names they’re considering for this little lady are:

Kateri (“I’m leaning towards but just not fully convinced“)
Azaelia nicked Zellie (“husband is convinced on this one but I think it is too different for us?“)

And names that are on their no-go list:


As I told Rebekah, I was interested to see in their taste what I think of as kind of two different threads—more “normal” (Maria, William), and a bit unusual (Augustine, Kateri, Azaelia). This family certainly isn’t the most extreme example — I actually think this set hangs together quite well — and I often see a different style for boys than for girls in the families I do consultations for, but this family just really struck me as a nice example of Catholic naming in that our saints have so many different kinds of names, and if you approach naming with your Catholic-colored glasses on, it’s not unusual to end up with varied styles.

I feel like Felicity is a great bridge name here for them — I think it can have a similar feel to Maria and William (kind of colonial maybe, which I just love) and certainly it’s Catholicky Catholic like Augustine, Kateri, and Zellie.

I wanted to focus on Azaelia for a minute, the most far-out of their ideas in that it’s a nontraditional spelling of a really unusual name. St. Zelie’s birth name, as you all know, was Marie-Azelie, and it’s often said that Azelie is a French form of the flower name azalea. Azaelia is a spelling I hadn’t seen before, so I googled it and all of my results were for rapper Azealia Banks. I know her first name isn’t spelled the same as the name Rebekah and her hubs are considering, but I also saw her name incorrectly listed as Azaelia multiple places, and most had to do with controversy—“Azaelia Banks Accuses Both Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga of Plagiarism,” “Azaelia Banks apologizes to Sarah Palin after NSFW Twitter fight,” and “Iggy Azalea Says She ‘Still Hates’ Azaelia Banks” to give a few headlines. The last one brings up another good point—even the traditional spelling Azalea is really connected to controversial rapper Iggy Azalea recently. So I’m kind of feeling like maybe Azaelia isn’t the best choice at this time? I always hate to dissuade parents from a name they really like, vastly preferring to offer ideas to make it work instead. In this case, I think using the spelling Azalea is a better idea than Azaelia, and Azelie an even better idea, and I also wondered what they’d think of just Zelie? Based on the families I’ve seen come through the blog, Zelie is the form of St. Zelie’s name that’s used the most, and it’s a great style match for Felicity and Augustine. (I wrote more about Azalea/Azelie/Zelie here).

Another kind of offbeat idea that I don’t think will be quite to their taste—but you never know!—is the idea of Hazel with the nickname Zelie. I did a private consultation for a mom a few months ago who was considering this idea—the first I’d ever heard of it—and then just recently a reader left a comment with the same idea! Hazel was actually listed in the Baby Name Wizard as a style match for Gus, and would have a far better chance of being spelled correctly than Azaelia (or even Azalea, Azelie, and Zellie).

On to Kateri—I think it’s a great fit for this family. I did a Sibling Project entry for Kateri and Maria, Felicity, and William are all real-life sibling names (and Augustine totally fits in, with its Catholicky Catholic vibe). It’s a great name with a great patron! I suspect a little Kateri will still have to spell her name, but honestly — if it happens with Felicity, which I think is fairly straightforward, it’ll happen with anyone. I know it happens with me all the time when I give my name as Katherine (as at the doctor’s, etc.), and even really simple names like Ann/Anne and Sara/Sarah may need to be spelled for others. A Kateri could go by Kate though, which is a nice option.

Okay! I came up with some other ideas that I thought Rebekah and her hubs might like, based on my research in the Baby Name Wizard (as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity) and my own ideas (keeping in mind that, unfortunately,  are on their no-go list):

(1) Avila
I kept trying to think of names that had a similarity to the sounds and/or appearance of Azaelia, and I thought Avila might be one that they’d like. It’s got pretty nickname options too, from the popular and easy-to-spell Ava to the more offbeat Avvie, and the full Avila is lovely.

(2) Zoe
This was another that was inspired by Azaelia, because of the strong Z sound. St. Catherine of Laboure’s birth name was Zoe, and Zoe’s a style match for Tessa (I used the names on their no list as inspiration for the kinds of names they like). It’s a sweet, spunky name!

(3) Juliet
The Juli- names did quite well for Rebekah and her hubs in my research—Julia’s a match for Maria, William, and Elizabeth, and Juliet for Felicity! I loooove the name Juliet, which is why that’s the name I chose to suggest to them, as well as the fact that I think they’re looking for something just a bit off center, if that makes any sense. Juliet is perfect for that I think—familiar but far less popular than Julia (at least in the U.S.). I did a spotlight on Juliet recently, focusing on the faith connections.

(4) Gemma
Gemma’s a style match for Gianna and as soon as I saw it I thought aha! It seemed so perfect for more than just gut-feeling reasons so I looked up Gemma itself and, indeed, my suspicions were confirmed—Felicity’s listed as a style match for it as well! Gemma is such a beautiful name and St. Gemma Galgani such a beautiful saint.

(5) Annabel or Annora
Anna did really really well for them in my research, being similar in style to Maria, William, Catherine, Emma, and Elizabeth! But I thought it was a bit too “safe” for their taste, and I had two ideas for adding some sparkle: Annabel (or Annabelle, but I’m guessing Annabel is more their speed) is the first, and while it can be considered an embellishment of Anna (and take St. Anne as patron), its history points to Our Lady as patron! According to, which I consider (along with the DMNES) to be the most trustworthy site for name meanings, Annabel is in origin a variant of Amabel, which comes from Amabilis, which is the name of an early saint BUT also a part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis!

My other idea was Annora, which is a variant of Honora, and I thought of it because Honor was listed as a style match for August (which I used in place of Augustine in my research … not an exact match but not that far off). So pretty!

(6) Josephine
My last idea is Josephine, which is a match for Catherine, Cecilia, and Elizabeth. As with Anna I thought it might normally feel too safe for Rebekah and her hubs, but I thought the nickname possibilities might sway them (I’ve written before how an unexpected nickname can be just the thing to jazz up a more familiar given name, especially in the case of different styles within the same family). Josie is most common I think, and like Zoe I think it’s sweet and spunky, but there are loads of other options as well, like Posy/Posey, Sophie, Sephie, Sosie, Fina, Joy, and Jolie (if used with an L middle name … Josephine Leonie, to keep with the Martin saints? Or even Josephine Azaelia, if they still love it), and others! Check out my Nickname ideas page where I’ve listed some and link to Abby’s awesome post on others.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Maria, Felicity, William, and Gus’ little sister in light of Rebekah and her hubs’ taste and preferences?

Birth announcement: Annunziata Graziella!

Can you believe it? THREE birth announcements in one day?! (I have a bunch more to post Friday as well! Woo!)

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know that her little girl has arrived and been given the ah-MAZ-ing name … Annunziata Graziella!

She writes,

The day finally arrived! Our sweet little baby girl finally arrived Saturday Sept 17 at 3:14!

She was definitely harder to name than the boys just because we had so many beautiful choices! We decided to name her Annunziata Graziella.

I fell in love with Annunziata the first time I saw it. The idea of her name meaning the Annunciation really struck me and I just kept going back to it. Plus Nunzia! I found it so fitting. It just really seem to fit her 🙂

Graziella just seemed like the perfect companion for her first name. My husband told me that in Italian families Annunziata is especially popular when the families have had 6 or 7 girls they name the last girl Annunziata so the next “Annunciation”baby will be a boy. I thought that was really cool.

Also! My grandmother’s name was Anna and my great grandmother on my father’s side was Grace so it was great to incorporate them in a way as well!

I’m just dying over Annunziata and Nunzia!! And you know that I don’t mind one little bit if my ideas are used or not — my only hope is to support parents in naming their babies, whether that means offering ideas or encouraging them in their own ideas — but it’s a special kind of thrilling when an idea of mine ends up being *the one* — so it was with Annunziata/Nunzia! I’m so excited! 😍😍😍

This lovely little lady joins big brothers:

Francesco Totti (called Frankie)
Marco Romolo

Such a wonderful bunch of Italian names! I love them all!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Annunziata!!


Annunziata Graziella

Birth announcement: Joseph Benedict!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her little green bean 🌱 has arrived — a boy! And he’s been given the so-handsome name … Joseph Benedict!

She writes,

Just thought I’d let you know we had our baby and love his name!! We had narrowed it down to Edmond (Eddie) but the morning before he was born it didn’t feel right. I told my husband I really felt like if this was a boy we should go with Joseph (even though it’s a nephew of ours, but he is 22 so now we have big joe & little joe) my hubby said “let’s flip through my phone calendar and I’ll stop it on a random date and we will go with that feast day.” I was 17 hours into labor so I agreed…… What do you know he landed on March 19! I laughed cause he didn’t know that was Feast of St Joseph!!! So after 26 hours of crazy back labor Joseph Benedict joined our family!! Thank you for your help and input!!

Can you beLIEVE that story about flipping through the calendar and randomly stopping on the feast of St. Joseph?? So so amazing!! I totally had goosebumps when I read that! And I love love the combo Joseph Benedict, so great.

This little man joins big sibs:

Zelie Anna
George Patrick (Georgie)
Timothy Michael (Timmy)
Martin Gerard (Marty)

I just love this family’s names! And the boys — I can totally see Georgie, Timmy, Marty, and Joey getting into all kinds of boyish trouble! 😀 (In a good way I mean, it’s just such an awesome bunch of names for a bunch of brothers!)

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Joseph!!


Joseph Benedict

Birth announcement: Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her twin girls have arrived! They have been given the gorgeous, meaningful names … Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

The mama writes,

I just wanted to let you know that our baby girls were born Monday 9/5/16 via emergency csection. They are 30 weekers so they are still in the NICU, please keep both girls in your prayers.

We chose the names
Lilianna Mary Grace and we call her Lily
Lucia Virginia Rose and we call her Lucy
Lily was 3lb2oz and Lucy was 3lb10oz. If you remember they are our rainbow babies, and I began the pregnancy at the Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, everyday, praying a Novena for her intercession. After that each of my doctors appointments ended up on a Marian feast day, which I did not do intentionally. I decided very early that we would give the girls Marian names. During our consultation we discussed that Lucia wasn’t completely Marian but related to Mary. I have since found out that there is an Our Lady of Light and Lucia means light, so it is more Marian than we thought.
The most amazing sign from Our Lady though happened 3 days after they were born when our priest came to give me the anointing of the sick after my csection, he also offered to baptize our girls! On The Feast of the Nativity of Mary our girls were welcomed into the church. It was beautiful.”

Can you believe all the Marian connections!! These girls were covered by her mantle the whole pregnancy, and their amazing names reflect that so beautifully!

After the initial email, I received another update on how they’re doing:

Right now we are just working on getting Lily off oxygen and possibly off her IV tomorrow if she does well. Lucy is still adjusting to eating so we are hoping she starts tolerating her milk soon.”

Please keep these beautiful babies and their family in your prayers!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and the girls’ handsomely named big brother Erick Bruce III, and happy birthday Lily and Lucy!!


Lilianna Mary Grace in purple hat, Lucia Virginia Rose in gray hat

Lucy is smiling, Lily is cuddling ❤