Baby name consultation: Traditional/theological/biblical/long-ish girl name needed

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

Elizabeth Esther
Rebekah Rachel
Monica Magdalene
Andrew Athanasius

I love each name anyway, but so cool that each first+middle combo has the same first letter!

Joanne writes,

I love patterns hence the double first and middle initials for each kid because i knew I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of names that start with the same letter like the Duggars. My husband was on board plus his dad was an RRK — he died in a plane crash when my husband was 13. My husband is open to lots of names but very opinionated about some. He prefers longer names with more than one syllable. He does pool construction by day and a deacon by weekend. He took the name Joseph when he was ordained which was also his confirmation name. He likes more traditional/theological/biblical names.

There are 1001 excellent boy names that we can mix and match:


We are pretty good with boy names but girl names are another story. I really like Gianna — (pronounced Gee-ana (like from Frozen) — not John-a) but my husband HATES it. We both like Hannah but Hannah Montana and other news stories involving Hannah are the first thing to come to mind — not out, just not a front runner. Lucy is excellent but too short — just like I think Luke would likely be out on the boy side. Sophia is a great one but it is super popular but it is Greek we are Ukrainian Catholic so that checks a Eastern Catholic box. That being said, we are open to alternative spellings Rebekah — if we had a Nikolas it’d be spelled with a K. I like Ivan for John. I don’t know I think I’m rambling because I love talking names.”

(Sing it, sister! 😀 )

[Their last name begins with a K so] all K names are out and I don’t think we want to repeat any EEK, RRK and MMK for girls — so we’d be open to a Matthew but not a Rose.

Okay I think that pretty much does it.

I cannot wait to read what you come up with!

I love working with “rules”! But before I get into it, I just have a few thoughts about the names on Joanne’s current list:

Their boy names are awesome. Lots of my personal faves in there, like Dominic, Damien, Jeremiah, Philip, Matthias, and Nathaniel. The others are great too! Solid, handsome, traditional. Great list!

I’m sorry her husband doesn’t like Gianna, as it’s a gorgeous name and an awesome saint, but it does seem a different style than their older girls. I wonder if he would be open to considering it in the middle name spot? Grace Gianna for example? If they were open to repeating sounds rather than initials, maybe something like Josephine Gianna?

Hannah’s beautiful, and I’m so sorry secular Hannahs are bothering them! For what it’s worth, Hannah Montana wouldn’t be my first association at all, and I have several friends who have used Hannah in recent years. Hannah Helene has a really pretty sound together. Or Hannah Hildegard! Wowww I LOVE that idea!!

And Lucy! I love Lucy! Now. If Lucy and Luke are too short, then they must cross off all four-letter names from their list, like Paul, Mark, and Noah. Also the other one-syllable names, like James. And the other two-syllable names, like Justin, Joseph, Jacob, Jonah, Philip, Peter, Patrick, Michael, and Matthew. And the Andrew they’ve already used! All this to say, of course, that I don’t think Lucy’s too short at all!! I think Noah’s actually a good parallel for it — a four-letter two-syllable name — and if they’re okay with Noah, then there’s nothing wrong with Lucy! It’s so sweet and wonderful — in fact, Joanne said it herself: it’s “excellent.” Lucy Lillian? Lucy Lourdes? Maybe a longer middle name would help them feel like it’s balanced better? Lucy Lillianna or Lucy Larissa/Larysa (I love this one because of the Ukrainian connection) or Lucy Lavender (joking! Sort of … it’s cute!) or Lucy Ludmila (not really joking! I spotlighted Ludmila here, she’d make a great patron!) or Lucy Liviana … there aren’t a huge amount of long L- names, but those there are would be fun to pair with a shorter more “normal” name like Lucy.

I wonder if they might be open to considering Lucia or Lucille as the given name and use Lucy as the nickname? I’ve also often thought that Lucy makes a natural nickname for Louisa, so that’s another possibility.

(Also, I do agree that Luke’s not a great fit for them, not because of length but because of the ending -k sound in Luke running into the beginning K- of their last name.)

Sophia’s also lovely and yes, super duper popular. Maybe a name like Sophronia or Seraphina/Serafina would appeal to them instead? Sophie could even be a nickname for them (more of a stretch for Seraphina, but doable I think if they really wanted it). And Josephine! I definitely think Sophie can be a nickname for Josephine! I’m dreaming of Josephine Juliet nicknamed Sophie. Ohhh my! 😀

Okay, now this isn’t a serious suggestion (unless Joanne and her hubs love it! Then it totally is!) but I was remembering a consultation I did for an Eastern Orthodox family, which meant no names of saints canonized after 1054 (unless they were also the names of saints canonized before then), unless the name could be connected to an Orthodox name via meaning — the example the mom gave was Claire (meaning “clear, bright”) for Photini (meaning “light”) — and I was thinking of biblical women because Joanne and her hubs seem to like those names, and had the idea of … Phoebe Photini!! I love it in the sense that it’s meaningful and biblical and SO clever that not only do they start with the same letter and sound, but they both start with the same consonant cluster! But I assume Joanne and/or her hubs would think it was a little much. But maybe not! Maybe they’ll love it! If so then I’ll continue to pat myself on the back! 😀

(If they like either Phoebe or Photini but not together, Philippa’s another Ph- name I love, and Philippine for St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. And actually, when I was looking it up, I saw that Filippa’s the Greek variant — that’s pretty! I’m imagining Frances Filippa, Filippa Fleur, Filippa Faith, Filippa Flannery if they’re into Flannery O’Connor … I could do this all day! Haha! I love same-initial combos, so fun! And Filippa’s making me think of Felicity, which is also gorgeous and could pair nicely with all these middle name ideas, and I see the Polish version is Felicyta, which is a pretty awesome Eastern variant.)

Alright, so I’ve suggested a bunch of new first name options already — Grace, Josephine, Lucia/Lucille, Sophronia, Seraphina/Serafina, Phoebe, Philippa/Filippa, Felicity/Felicyta — which had more to do with my train of thought than any actual research into Joanne and her hubs’ taste in names, but I did that too — as you all know 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 as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Grace and Josephine actually *were* style matches for this family according to the BNW, with Grace being a style match for Hannah and Gracie for Lucy, and Josephine a match for Elizabeth. I have a few other ideas for them based on that research as well:

(1) Susanna(h)
Joanne likes Gianna and Hannah, which says to me that she likes the -anna sound (whether said AH-na, like Frozen, or AN-na). I considered suggesting Anna, since it’s the same name as Hannah and retains almost all the same sounds and loses the Hannah Montana association, but then I thought it might be too much with Andrew starting with the same AN- sound. But then Susanna(h) seemed perfect — sort of like a combo of Gianna and Hannah, in the sense that, like Gianna, it’s got Anna in it but it’s not actually an Anna name (i.e., it’s not linguistically related to Hannah/Anna), and like Hannah, it’s a biblical name. If they spelled it Susannah, they’d really bring out the biblical, and it has a closer tie to Hannah as well; if they spelled it Susanna, it has more of a saintly feel, as in St. Susanna of Rome and a whole bunch of others. Maybe Susanna(h) Sophia?

(I was going to suggest Anastasia and Anya as well, but I thought they both were too similar to Andrew’s sound … but maybe not?)

(2) Gemma
Gemma’s a style match for Gianna, and has such a similar sound that I think Joanne would like, and it’s less obviously ethnic, so maybe her husband will like it as well? Gemma Grace is gorgous, or Gemma Josephine if they prefer the same sound.

(3) Lydia
Lydia might be a nice alternative to Lucy — it’s biblical and a bit longer with a lovely appearance and sound. Lydia in the bible sold purple cloth, so the name also comes with its very own color! I love the idea of something like Lydia Lucille.

(4) Abigail
Abigail was a style match for several of the names they like: Rebekah, Rachel, Andrew, and Hannah! Though it starts with the same letter as Andrew, it’s got a much different sound (not like Anna), so I think it would be a great pick for them. Maybe something like Abigail Anastasia, to get an Eastern saint in there?

(5) Natalia (or Nataliya)
Natalia’s one of my favorites, such a pretty name! It’s a style match for Ivan and Dominic and can be spelled Nataliya to make its Eastern sensibility even more obvious. Maybe Natalia Naomi?

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What girl name(s) would you suggest?


52 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Traditional/theological/biblical/long-ish girl name needed

  1. Okay, loved all your suggestions for this fam. My fav is Lydia Lucille *all the heart eyes*

    I am thinking that they are too many kids in to fall off the same initial trend even if the names have the same beginning sound. But! I do love those ideas you put out there.

    I really like Tatiana (Tah tee ah na) Therése for this sib set.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bernadette Beatrice, Bernadette Blythe, Beatrice Briar, Damaris Danielle, Delphina/e Dove, Faustina Frances, Francesca Fleur, Gabriella Grace, Genevieve Giselle, Helena Hope, Isidora Ivy, Jacinta Jane, Josephine Joy, Justina Juliette, Lillian Louise, Natasha Neva, Natalie Noelle, Phillippa Pauline, Philomina Pilar, Salome Sarah, Selah Sophie, Tamar/a Tess, Therese Talitha, Victoria Violet, Virginia Vianney

    Liked by 5 people

  3. First of all, I already love this family! I love patterns and their style is very consistent 🙂

    I suggest Sarah Sophia, Julia Jane (or Julia Joanna if they want a namesake) and Helena Hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was really fun, looking through all the Eastern Catholic saints’ names 😃
    Barbara Basilissa -Basia (Basha) is a pretty nickname
    Claudia Constantina
    Ivana Isadora
    Piama Paraskeva -both saints ❤
    Viviana Valentina
    Theresa Tatiana -nn Tesia (Tesha)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love Lydia Lucille! Also Lydia Lucy. Lucy seems like a great middle name, like Marie…a two-syllable name with a stress on the second syllable.

    I love Josephine for you. She’d be named after daddy. Josephine Judith. Josephine Jean. Josephine Jelina. Josephine Joanne may be too much, but Jo-Jo is cute.

    Some combo of Vera, Viktoria, and Valentina.

    Instead of Giana, how about Bianc(k)a? I love Bianca Beatrice or Bianca Bernadette.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We know a family that used all J first names and they have a J!anna as an alternative to Gianna. So maybe Josephine Jianna?
    Juliana is another popular eastern saint.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gianna is actually short for giovanna, altho this way it kind of loses the saint connection? also people don’t know how to spell it (trust me, it’s my name).

    susannah sophia is great! it goes so well with rebekah! I also like suzanne sophia to match with elizabeth esther. they could use sarah to make it super biblical. suzanne sarah would fit right in. natalia naomi is also really good.

    I could see them using caroline cecilia (or cecilia caroline? clementine?).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. LOVE Lydia and Abigail for them from your suggestions. Gemma is more my personal style though and Germaine would be a same-letter-and-same-sound middle name possobility with that. I am also soo digging Cecilia and Caroline or Clementine in some combination, from the previous comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wasn’t going to comment on it, but I’m still giggling about Kate’s suggestion of Phoebe, so I just have to. With a Rachel and a Monica in this sob set, I would avoid Phoebe. I mean we all want our kids to be Friends, but this is too much. Ha. Bad pun.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. This is a fun one! From their other girls, looks like at least one name, if not both, should be biblical, and the other name needs to be a saint. Loved the suggestions of Susannah and Lydia. Maybe Susannah Scholastica? Lydia Louise?

    Also want to suggest Tabitha, another NT biblical name that seems to fit in my mind. (I have a friend with a Lydia/Tabitha sibset.)
    Tabitha Theresa or Tabitha Teresa

    Some other ideas:
    Juliana Judith
    Zelie Zipporah
    Felicity Frances
    Claudia Catherine
    Bernadette Benedicta (this is a mouthful, but so is Monica Magdalene)
    Phoebe Perpetua (but I’ll echo the “Friends” trifecta conundrum from above..Perpetua Phoebe doesn’t seem to have the same flow. Philomena Phoebe perhaps??)

    The names Deborah, Sarah, and Veronica seem to fit their style, but I can’t seem to find names to go with these.

    Liked by 3 people

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