Sibling Project: Therese

I’ve still got St. Therese on my mind, three days after her feast day! 🌹

In July I asked for feedback regarding T(h)eresa for my Sibling Project, and at the time I wasn’t 100% sure whether I would do an entry for Therese or not. Ultimately I decided that I think Therese is different enough in style/feel that it needs its own entry, so here’s its post — we’ll see if I’m right!

As with Theresa, I actually don’t think Therese’s entry in the Baby Name Wizard is that far off:

Girls: Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Nadine, Helene, Patrice

Boys: Gerard, Roland, Laurence, Claude, Armand, Jerome

I fully agree with the French feel and/or saintliness of Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Gerard, and Jerome. But I do think the entry could use some tweaking, as I think I’m correct in saying that most of the families I see that have a Theresa variant use Therese, and not a lot of families use names like Nadine, Patrice, Claude, and Roland. The SSA data shows that overall Therese is “a bit downbeat” as Laura put it in the BNW — it’s fallen hard from its most recent peak at No. 252 in 1959 (it had a higher peak at No. 220 in 1927 before falling and rising again. I’m going out on a not-very-shaky limb and say that its 1927 peak was entirely due to our sweet St. Therese, who was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925).


But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1984!

So tell me about all the little Thereses you know! (“Little”=15 years old or younger.) How do they pronounce their name? Do they go by a nickname? What are their siblings’ names?

And beyond real-life examples, what names (for girls and boys) do you think are style matches for Therese?


48 thoughts on “Sibling Project: Therese

  1. I know a Therese pronounced with the Z. I think her mom has a little name regret and wishes she pronounced it with the s because a lot of people ask her if her name is turrets. She is 5 and will introduce herself as Theresa or Therese, with the S. Her siblings are Philomena, Michael, and Margaret.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have a suggestion but I do have a funny story about Therese’s French pronunciation. My college roommate’s godmother came to visit her on campus one day. My roommate had class, so she told her godmother to meet her back at St. Therese dorm, where we lived. Well, my roommate got done with class, went back to the dorm…and waited and waited and waited. Finally her godmother got there. ‘Why,’ the poor woman demanded, ‘would you pronounce it tur-EHZ?’ She had seen the sign in front of the dorm, but had never heard the name pronounced the French way–and thought she had the wrong dorm!

    Sorry, I know that’s off topic–I just thought it was interesting how people interpret pronunciation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Therese is top of my list for hypothetical future girl and I think I’d go with the Z pronunciation but mostly call her Tess or Tessa. I’m still trying to convince my husband, though, and it does have a different feel than our Thomas (Pippin) and Eleanor (Scout)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohmygosh are you saying you have a Thomas and an Eleanor who go by Pippin and Scout???? 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 Wow!! And by the Z pronunciation, you mean teh-REHZ vs. teh-REESE, right?


      • Yes and yes. Well, Scout is a baby, so she hasn’t expressed a preference so far and may yet be an Eleanor or an Ellie or who knows! But Pippin is pretty firmly Pippin and Pip, and only Thomas to his grandparents. And Teh-REHZ — I hadn’t even thought about there being other potential pronunciations until this post, so it’s good to know!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Pippin’s middle name is Peregrine, spelled like the saint (or bird) but not like the hobbit (Peregrin). We were reading Lord of Rings when we realized I was pregnant, and called him Pip for short to humanize him, because I felt like garbage. Eventually it just felt like his name. But we were always going to use Thomas for our firstborn son, and I was apprehensive about having a strangely named kid because my mom has hated having a weird name. Scout was mostly to continue with the theme, and because we’d love to have a daughter like Scout Finch. (Sorry for the novel length comment!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re lovely to bear with my questions! 🙂 Thank you for sharing, I love hearing stories of “what’s possible” in naming beyond the norm, and using a nickname unrelated to the given name is one of those things that’s so so possible but a lot of people would have a hard time wrapping their minds around it. I love what you did! (And Eleanor Ruth! Ohhhhh my! 😍)


      • Beautifully named children! And Eleanor Ruth is such an intuitive and beautiful combo—yours is the third I’ve heard of! I went to college with an Eleanor Ruth and have a friend with a little 6-year-old Eleanor Ruth!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We have four girls, all with Therese as their middle name. Needless to say, we are big St. Therese fans! 😊 So we have Keira Therese, Malia Therese, Gemma Therese and Zaelie Therese. We pronounce it teh-rehz.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My three-year-old is Mary-Claire Thérèse (teh-REHZ). We spell it with the accents though our state didn’t allow it on her birth certificate. Her little sister is Elizabeth Cora, to be followed by baby (gender unknown) in March.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know a little Therese, I wish I did, but judging from the comments here, they have one thing in common, the parents are amazing namers! Wow is all I can say!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was having a hard time coming up with any Therese girls under 15 (except middle names – which I know a lot). I do know quite a few in the 15-25 age range (one Terese) and of those all use the teh-REESE pronunciation.

    I agree the late 20’s spike in name had to be due to the beatification and canonization. There was an even bigger spike in the late 50’s and am wondering about the reason behind that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have a Lucy Therese (2 1/2), who has decided she would rather be called Therese (Teh-rez). Her siblings are:
    Blaise Anthony
    Elizabeth Clare (Ellie)
    Anna Katherine
    Maria Jeanne (Jeanne pronounced in the French)

    We are expecting #6 and having a really hard time with the name. Hope you are back at taking new consultations soon! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I so rarely see Therese used in the first name slot in Catholic naming circles! I have tried to get Dh to go for it, but he so far has been uninterested. I see a lot more in the middle name slot. I know one Therese who is actually not under age 15 anymore… the family is from a culture that doesn’t typically bestow Christian names, but she being their last child and after a reversion to the faith, received the uber-Catholic name. Her brothers’ middle names were also chosen for their Catholic faith (Anthony and Gabriel) but I’ll refrain from the first names because of privacy and also because I doubt they will reflect common sibling pairings! I love the French pronunciation…. maybe we will be able to work Therese into this baby’s name (we recently found out this baby will be girl #2 for us!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Based on the families I know who have used Thérèse in the middle name spot, I’m thinking some ideas are things like:
    Mary+ names
    John Paul
    Charles (lots of Charlies out there!)
    George/Giorgio (we know a ton of families who have used this, Pier Giorgio Frassatti is REALLY popular out here, possibly in part due to the mountaineering thing!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, ALSO, I have mentioned before that my 14-year-old’s favorite name is Benedict. The name Arthur came up earlier today as we recently met a family with an Arthur, and she was saying how Arthur is such a cool name, that goes so well with Benedict. I was like, “Yeah, kind of modern-old fashioned.” And she said, I QUOTE, “Yes, kind of steampunk.” OMG, steampunk! I die! Teenagers are so funny and cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My Therese is 2 years old and goes by Tess or Tessie mostly.

    Her full name is Therese Anna Rose Carmela… long name but it makes my heart happy every time I think about it and the reasons behind it.

    Her siblings are Maria Louise Frances (5) and Leo Aston Delanie (4).

    We live in Australia and say “Teh-raze”
    Most people reading her name read it as Teh-reese which annoys me a little but I’ve given up correcting most people unless we’re going to see them often.

    Liked by 1 person

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