Baby name consultation: Middle name for Molly

Kate and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and third girl! This little lady joins big sibs:

McKenna Veronica (“Her name is the one most rife with meaning. McKenna is my MIL’s maiden name and my husband always wanted to name his daughter McKenna. Veronica is my confirmation name, my nana’s confirmation name and my nana’s mother’s middle name. Plus, I love St. Veronica. We call her Kenna/Kens/Kenny, her grandpa calls her McV.”)

Emily Grace (“We both liked Emily. And Grace is a nod to my husband’s uncle who passed away the year she was born. His first name started with “G”, plus she was born at time when our family needed (and received) some graces. She is most often called Emmy or Emmy Grace.”)

Benjamin Patrick (“We both liked Benjamin, and McKenna, who has speech delays, could say “Ben” perfectly. Patrick is my husband’s first name, and it’s also my Godfather’s middle name. Ben and my Godfather share a birthday, and, as it turns out, were born at the exact same time of day. My husband and I had a deal that if Ben was born on my Godfather’s birthday he’d be Benjamin Patrick (Pat wasn’t too keen on using his own name in any of the naming process), if he was born any other day he would’ve been Benjamin Daniel. He is most often called Ben or Benny, sometimes I call him Benji.”)

I love these names! I also would absolutely use McKenna as a first name if it was my MIL’s maiden name! McKenna Veronica is a stunning combination, and the nicknames they have for her (McV!) are super cute. Emily Grace and Benjamin Patrick are just wonderful.

Kate writes,

[We] have decided on the name, Molly, but we are stumped for a middle name. … [regarding] Molly, we have both always liked it, Pat was flipping through a name book this time around and saw it on the list we had jotted down for when we were expecting Emily. We both have Irish roots (my nana was mostly Irish and would have LOVED to know that one of her grandkids traded in the Polish family surname for a nice Irish name), and I like the “M” letter/sound connection she will share with her sisters.

As for middle names, I’ve been throwing around Anne and Amelia as middle name ideas.

I like Anne because I have an Aunt Ann(e) on either side of my family (one of whom is a favorite aunt), and I like the connection between the Blessed Mother and her mother – St. Anne being her mother and Molly being an Irish form of Mary (if I’m not mistaken). I’m not entirely sold because it’s also the middle name of one of our nieces, and while I think there’s less stigma about “stealing” a middle name, I’m not sure I want to stick with it. I also feel like the name as a whole is missing a little something.

Amelia is my great grandmother’s name, and also the middle name of a very dear cousin from that same side of the family, who is also my Aunt Ann’s daughter. Pat did not like Amelia when I suggested it, but sometimes he needs time to let a name soak in. The other problem is that I have taken to sometimes calling Emily “Emilia” as sort of a weird nickname, so it might make it not work. Still, I think Amelia is a front runner for me as it’s a nice way to honor that side of my family and my cousin – unfortunately my cousin’s first name would not go with Molly at all.

I’ve been stumped for other ideas though, it seems that every time I try and research it, the same list of middle names comes up and they all feel a little flat to me. I find that I feel like with a simpler name like “Molly” the middle name should be a little “bigger” or “heavier” – especially because sometimes I think there’s a stigma about Molly being a little girl’s name.

We don’t really have any real naming trends, I think we tend to go for the more classic, middle of the road (popularity-wise) names. We are kind of bummed that “McKenna” has turned out to be so popular and trendy, as for us it was a meaningful rather than trendy name. Although, honestly, I think McKenna is as “weird” as I would get!

What else? Molly’s due date is my Godmother’s birthday (she is married to my Godfather and has joked about me having Molly at the same time of day that she was born). Her name is Mary Ellen (and she is VERY Irish, so she is thrilled with the name Molly – plus, again with the Molly/Mary connection). Molly’s also due near Pat’s grandmother’s birthday. Her name is Barbara Sandra … Maybe there’s a “B” or “S” name I haven’t thought of as a way to honor her.

We both really like the name Lucy, but know too many Lucy’s in our friend’s circles. Pat also really likes the name Riley, but that’s the name of a friend’s (male) dog, so I couldn’t do it. :-)”

This was fun to work on! I chuckled when I saw Anne on their list—my sister is Molly Anne, and I’ve always thought that combo sounds so natural and lovely together. Kate is absolutely right that Molly is a Mary variant—it started as a nickname for Mary—and Molly Anne is a beautiful Marian+St. Anne combo with a nice Irish feel. I’m interested that she’s worried about using her niece’s middle name—I’ve never heard this perspective! Certainly I’ve heard horror stories about “stealing” a first name (though I vehemently disagree that anyone can own a name!), but I’ve never known anyone to be upset about sharing middle names, especially as middle names are most often used to honor family members, and multiple family members might want to honor a beloved grandparent, for example. My grandfather had an unusual first name (it was his mother’s maiden name), and there are loads of boys in the family that have it as part of their names (first or middle), including one of my sons, my uncle, two of my cousins, and my brother. All of them have different first names, so it works, and it’s so fun and family-ish to see so many with the same middle name, honoring the same beloved man.

However, feeling like “the name as a whole is missing a little something” is a totally different issue! From that perspective, I wonder if using a longer Ann name might help? Molly Annabelle, Molly Annabeth, Molly Anastasia, and Molly Anneliese are all ideas that might fit the bill. Or, putting Ann(e) on the end, maybe Molly Julianne or Molly Susanne (or Susanna(h))?

Amelia is a lovely name, and with such nice family connections! I can see how Kate might not like having one daughter sometimes called Emilia and one with the middle name Amelia, but families do that kind of thing all the time. I posted a birth announcement recently for a little Claire Marie-Therese whose big sister is Julianne Clare. The mom did have a hard time with it for a while, but came to think it was pretty cool (especially after finding out her husband’s family had a bit of a tradition doing that kind of thing). If Kate and her hubs can’t get past it though, I wonder what they might think of Adelia? My cousin has a little Adelia — she says it to rhyme with Amelia, and calls her Delia for short (which would also be a cute middle for Molly).

I love that Molly’s due date is Mary Ellen’s birthday, with the Mary-Molly connection, so wonderful! As for Barbara Sandra, Sandra is, in origin, a nickname for Alexandra and the Italian variant Alessandra, both of which would be gorgeous as middles for Molly. I would just advise finding out ahead of time if Barbara Sandra be honored by that, or if she would feel like it’s too different from her name — different people have different feelings about things like that.

I wonder if, given how they like the name Lucy, they might be interested in something like Molly Lucille? Or, combining with Anne, Molly Lucianne? Or are they too L heavy? And they would probably knock Lucy out for the future, which would be a bummer—it’s a great name, and Kate and her hubs might find that they don’t care so much about all the Lucys in their circle.

Riley’s a sweet name, and I actually know a Molly Reilly (first+middle), but given that Kate’s already sensitive to some people’s opinions about Molly being a little girl name, it might be too singsongy for them.

In which case, I think going for something longer, with gravitas, is a good idea. I think all the ideas I’ve suggested already can fit into this, and these are some others:

(1) Katherine
Maybe it’s because Katherine’s my name, but I’ve always loved Katherine (or Catherine) as a middle name for a shorter first name. A Molly Katherine could also go by Molly Kate sometimes, which is adorable, and such a nice nod to Kate herself.

(2) Elizabeth
Molly Elizabeth has a really classic feel to it, I love it! There’s also the nice Mary+St. Elizabeth connection, which calls to mind The Visitation.

(3) Caroline or Karoline
Molly C/Karoline has a lovely rhythm to it as well. Caroline has long been one of my favorite names, and I’ve seen Karoline used with some frequently recently for St. John Paul II, as his pre-papal name was Karol. (Caroline can also honor him, as Karol is the Polish for Charles, and Caroline is a female variant of Charles.)

(4) Rebecca
I have no idea where the idea for Rebecca came from—it just flew into my head while I was writing this, and I’m digging it! Molly Rebecca is really pretty!

(5) Victoria
I also really like the idea of Molly Victoria. Victoria is so elegant and regal sounding, and flows so nicely with Molly. I love its connection to Our Lady of Victory, and Molly Victoria makes it doubly meaningful.

(6) Seraphina
This one is a little more out there, but Seraphina’s a gorgeous, feminine name, and it also can point to Our Lady in her title Queen of Angels, so Molly Seraphina has that double Marian oomph. This could also serve as a nod to Barbara Sandra, because of being an S name.

(7) Bernadette
Speaking of using initials to honor Barbara Sandra, Molly Bernadette is gorgeous and saintly and Marian AND a B name! For Barbara!

(8) Roisin, Rosheen, Rosaleen
If they wanted to make Molly’s name super Irish, they could do like this family and name her Molly Róisín (Roisin is Irish for “little rose”). Róisín can be spelled without the accents, and is pronounced like Rosheen, which is a spelling they could use instead, if they liked the idea. It also made me think of Rosaleen, which has such a pretty Irish feel without the spelling issues of Róisín/Roisin.

Finally, just for all of you readers in case it’s helpful, I normally would have suggested perhaps finding another family surname that could work in the middle, especially since they already used one for McKenna, but Kate said the other family names are too hard to work with pronunciation/spelling-wise.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What middle name would you pair with Molly?


50 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Middle name for Molly

  1. I think that Molly Anne would be great! Also Molly Katherine! They are both nice sounding combinations and would have meaning for the family. I think that is probably important, since all the other names have such meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am wondering if they have a particular Marian devotion? Molly Lourdes, Molly Socorra, Molly Immaculata, or anything else like that would be beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Molly Barbara
    Molly Kathleen
    Molly Rose
    Molly Roseanne
    Molly Patricia
    Another idea to play with would be to add Anne or Anna to another combination Kate & Pat like, such as Molly Barbara Anne or Molly Anna Rose.
    Congratulations on the coming new addition!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Is it legal to add to my list? 😉
        I always think of more after I post a comment!
        Molly Beatrice
        Molly Eileen (for Ellen)
        Molly Elaine (for Ellen)
        Molly Eireann (pronounced like its Anglicized version, Erin, meaning Ireland)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ooh ooh! Molly Eileen for Mary Ellen! I love that!! I’m also still thinking about Molly Barbara and was thinking that Molly B. or Molly Bee would be an adorable nickname, and Beatrice could lend to that too.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know several girls who are Molly Rose – which I think is so pretty. But Rose may be too flat if they want something “bigger”. I liked Kate’s suggestion of of the Irish variants. Does make it a super Irish name though.

      I really like the Molly Alexandra option for tying in family.

      And particularly love those names that make awesome Marian connections you mentioned, Kate – Molly Seraphina and Molly Victoria.

      What about Molly Estelle – for Mary, star of the sea. I think Estelle goes better with Molly than Stella would.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I looked Molly up on the Baby Name Wizard and it’s actually a style match for Anna, Benjamin, Emily, Grace, Lucy and Patrick. This family is very consistent!
    I like Molly Sophia, Molly Josephine, Molly Therese and Molly Annika.
    From your ideas, I like Molly Rebecca. Any middle with an “L” sound seems too much in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m partial to Molli/Molly Rose, which is the name of a dear friend of mine. I love Molly with almost anything though, because it’s such a beautiful yet fun name!

    *My* Molli is actually named after her great-grandfather, whose nickname was Molly. I just think that’s a such a fun story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Regarding the Katherine suggestion – I would add the more Irish Kathleen. Molly Kathleen.

    or Cahleen. I know a woman who uses that spelling (for Colleen) and I love it. Molly Cahleen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I saw your instagram post, I immediately went to Molly Anastasia. It ties Anne in nicely, but it’s also long. Great minds think alike!
    Molly Brigid is pretty, but I think either 1 syllable or 3+ syllables middle would work best with Molly. I am liking Molly Beatrice for the B.S. sound making a nod to Barbara Sandra.
    I liked your recommendation of Molly Caroline, but I would prefer K/Carolina as I like the sound flow better. And, JPII 😍
    Finally, with nods toward Kate’s godmother. Since Molly is Mary, I was thinking Molly Helena would tie the two names together nicely while still being unique and having a flowy middle name 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t have anything to offer naming-wise (I love just about every suggestion with Molly!), but I found it too funny that she has an Emily Grace, sometimes called Emilia, and a Benjamin. My children are named Emilia Grace and Benjamin. So obviously I love her naming taste! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Molly is so sweet! Perhaps for a middle name: Chiara has Irish sound and can be for Bl. Chiara Badano. I also like Molly Gabrielle. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is so fun to see a consultation for my own name, but I can’t seem to imagine another middle other than my own (Kristin). My parents wanted to balance out my first name with a more formal middle, in case I wanted to be a judge. 😂

    Molly K/Caroline, Molly Rose and Molly Immacolata do sound nice though!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I haven’t read the comments as I’m in a bit of a rush, but first, Molly Anne is one of my favorite combos! The daughter of one of my dearest friends is a Molly Anne.

    That said, Molly Elizabeth sounds really good to my ear and it looks really good on paper, too!

    I also loved your suggestions of Molly Katherine, Molly Caroline, Molly Rebecca, and Molly Roisin. They all look and sound great! (Really, all the names you suggested are good ones!)

    I also wanted to throw the simple but sweet Molly Rose out as a possibility.

    Best wishes to this family! I love how meaningful each name they’ve chosen is!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. While I love Molly Victoria, I don’t like that both McKenna and Molly would have the same initials, even though there are siblings in-between.

    I have a sister named Molly but her middle name would be no help because it’s my mom’s maiden name, lol.

    I like the idea of a K middle name because I weirdly really like the nickname MK. So I love the suggestions of Molly Katherine or Molly Kathleen.

    Molly Frances also came to mind for me for some reason.

    I definitely don’t think they can go wrong with any choice! Molly flows with sooooo many names!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love the idea of Molly Katherine or Molly Kathleen. I also wanted to suggest Molly Danielle since she said Ben’s middle name was almost Daniel.

    Liked by 1 person

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