Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4 needs first name for middle Shirley or Warren

Caitlin, who blogs at The Burch Book, and for whom I posted a consultation for her third little one nearly two years ago, is having another baby! She and her husband are expecting a little green bean (=gender unknown) 🌱, a little brother or sister for big sisters:

Claire Camille
Margaret Joyce (Maggie)
Beatrice Jacqueline (Betsy)

Not only do I love this set of sisters, but aren’t you dying over Betsy as a nickname for Beatrice?? I love it!

Caitlin writes,

Our process has been to use a saint name for the first name and one of our grandparents’ names for the middle name. We have one grandmother’s name left to use – Shirley. So that will definitely be the middle name if we have a fourth girl. The two girls’ names we’ve talked the most seriously about are Alice and Helen. If we were to have a boy, we would use Warren as a middle name. That is my husband’s middle name as well as his grandfather’s name. The boys’ names at the top of our list are George, Patrick, Henry and James. We also kind of like Edmund and Benedict but those seem a little more daring somehow. I guess the only other thing I would mention is that we will probably stick to names from our own Irish/Scottish/British cultural heritage. I don’t see us naming someone Therese or Lucia (although we would use Theresa or Lucy) … [also] we call our younger daughters Maggie and Betsy and we are trying to avoid that same name ending this time (as much as we love Lucy, Rosie, Annie, etc.).”

I love all the names they’re considering! Alice and Helen seem really well matched as sisters to the older girls, and George, Patrick, Henry, and James are all solidly in the Irish/British/Scottish saintly name category. It’s such a great list of names that I wondered what I’d be able to come up with! Especially since I wanted to suggest names that are new, not just the ones I’d suggested in their last consultation (though I do still love them: Alice, Lydia, Louisa, Eleanor, Violet, Henry, Samuel, Benjamin, Edward/Edmund, Joseph). (Speaking of their last consultation, Caitlin had said back then that they wanted to avoid repeating initials — she didn’t specify that as a rule this time around, and they do have Benedict is on their list, which repeats Beatrice’s B, but I tried to stick to that just in case.)

As usual, I looked up all the names Caitlin and her hubs have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard, and I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker. Based on all that research, these are my ideas for this little baby:

(1) Jane
I think Jane is my favorite idea for them for a girl — Claire, Margaret/Maggie, Beatrice/Betsy, and Jane strike me as such a perfect bunch of sister names! I think Jane Shirley sounds smashing.

(2) Katherine nicked Kate
This is my second favorite idea for them, and not because it’s my own name! Haha! Katherine was a big style match for them per the BNW, usually spelled Catherine, but the Katherine spelling avoids repeating initials. Additionally, Kate is a great match for Claire, Maggie, and Betsy in my opinion, and doesn’t end in the “ee” sound.

(3) Anna
Anne would have been a natural fit for this family I think, if they didn’t want to avoid Annie. But Anna’s a beautiful alternative, and I think people are far less likely to nickname Anna as Annie than they would with Anne. I kind of like how Anna Shirley echoes Anne Shirley (of Green Gables fame, of course) without being exact. I considered whether Anna was too Latinate for their taste, but it has good use in England and Ireland, so I figured it would be okay.

(4) Frances
Frances did well for them in my research, and I really like it as a name, but I’m a little hesitant about it for this baby because I’m not sure Caitlin and her hubs would be able to avoid an “ee” nickname (Francie, Franny, Frankie). If they wanted to be firm and consistent about using the full name though, Frances is elegant and lovely.

(5) Julia or Juliet
I probably would have thought that between Julia and Juliet, Julia was more their speed, but Juliet was a style match for Claire, so I thought I’d list them together. Juliette is very French, but Juliet is actually the anglicized spelling, and I love it with the older girls! I suspect that Caitlin and her hubs might not love that it’s not obviously saintly, but since it’s a variant of Julia, it can take any of the Sts. Julia as patron. I spotlighted the name here, including faith connections. I love Julia too, though I think it might be more likely to nickname to Julie than Juliet would? Or they could do Julia as the given name and Juliet as the nickname (since Juliet is actually a diminutive of Julia), which would allow them to avoid another “ee” nickname.

(6) Eleanor (Nora, Nell), or just Nora
My last idea for a girl is a repeat from last time, but it just kept popping up in my research so I had to include it! They’re already considering Helen, and some people use Eleanor as a variant of Helen (read more about that here), and both Eleanor and Helen can use the sweet nickname Nell, so they might think it’s kind of redundant, except for the fact that Eleanor can also allow for the nickname Nora — I love Nora! Claire, Margaret/Maggie, Beatrice/Betsy, and Eleanor/Nora are wonderful together! If they prefer just Nora on its own, I love that too, it’s such a great name.

(1) Robert
There aren’t too many more boy names to add to a list of Irish/British/Scottish-feeling names besides the ones Caitlin has put together already! But Robert immediately came to mind — watching Downton Abbey definitely put it on my radar, and though I’ve previously rolled my eyes at my husband telling me that “Bob” is his name style, I’ve really been feeling the full Robert recently. It’s easy to say, and St. Robert Bellarmine’s a great patron saint. If they wanted to do a nickname, Robbie, Bobby, Rory, and Bert are all possibilities, or maybe something cute like Roo when he’s little.

(2) Oliver
Oliver’s a style match for both Beatrice and Henry, and I feel like both of those names are pretty good representatives of this family’s style as a whole, so I thought Oliver was a great one to suggest! St. Oliver Plunkett’s awesome, and while I love the nickname Ollie, I don’t think it’s necessarily inevitable — the full Oliver is so handsome.

(3) Theodore
Theodore’s a style match for Beatrice and Alice — perfect! It’s handsome and gentlemanly, and the nicknames Theo and Ted(dy) are both great (Teddy can also be a nickname for the Edmund on their list).

(4) Louis
I was so surprised by how well Louis did for them in my research! It’s a match for Beatrice, Alice, Helen, and George! St. Louis de Montfort is great, as is St. Louis Martin.

(5) Timothy
Timothy actually only showed up in the list of names similar in style to Patrick, but I thought it fit their Irish/Scottish/English sensibility so well that I thought I’d include it. It does end in the “ee” sound, as does Timmy, but maybe it’s okay when we’re talking about formal names? And them could do just Tim as a nickname, or even Ty.

(6) Thomas
Finally, Thomas. St. Thomas More and St. Thomas a Becket are notable English Sts. Thomas, and most little boys I know named Thomas go by the full Thomas, so there’s very little risk of Tommy. I think it’s great for this family!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister to Claire, Margaret/Maggie, and Beatrice/Betsy?


28 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4 needs first name for middle Shirley or Warren

  1. I love their name style! I vote for Helen from their choices and Jane from yours! Such great names! Despite being a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, I feel like Anna Shirley is too close. Like, did you mean to name her after Anne with an E, or is it just a really close coincidence? Might as well just name her Anne Shirley or something else entirely! (But, obviously Anna is my name, and I think more babies should wear it. It’s been good to me!)

    As a side note, I love that their Beatrice goes by Betsy! My little Beatrice doesn’t really have a nickname, besides the occasional Bee, but yesterday I asked her if her name was Bee and she said, “No.” So I asked her if her name was Beatrice, “No.” Then I asked her if her name was Betty, and she said “YES!!!” I guess she’s chosen her preferred nick? (She’s two, for what it’s worth…no is a favorite word.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All the names sound handsome/beautiful.

    My only thoughts are that Shirley is a hard name to work with. The “n” sound, like in Anne, really does flow well with it. Katherine/Kate or Eleanor/Nora are my picks from this consultation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is going to sound weird but I totally get a L.M.Montgomery vibe from their kids names. Joyce is what Anne names her first daughter and Beatrice is name in her Emily series. Shirley is Anne’s maiden name so I do agree with the comment above that Anne or Anna would probley be a little to much. I love how your first suggestion was Jane because Montgomery also wrote a Jane series and a different Jane is a chartacter in Anne of Green Gables. Kathrine is also a chartacter in the Anne series. Oh and Juliet is a chartacter in Montgomery’a Emily series. This is my favorite consultation ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love Alice for them but not with the middle Shirley… my favorites from your list are Kate and Jane!

    For a boy… Theodore Warren Burch! 😍 I do like Oliver and Thomas for them too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that you included a version of Katherine, but I would suggest changing it slightly and spell it with 2 a’s like St. Katharine Drexel. No repeating initials and after a really great and modern saint as well. And I agree the nickname Kate came to mind right away. Although, I have a Katharine and we don’t shorten and love the longer form of it. All great names though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eleanor/Nora is a great idea and Oliver and Timothy are too. I love the first consultation ideas you had for them too! Just to add a few more, I was thinking of Edith and Abigail.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These are all great suggestions! It makes sense to avoid another “ee” sound nickname. I know a Frances who has always gone by the nickname Fran, and a Julie whose nickname was Jules (would work for Julia or Juliet). Robert can always be Rob.

    This is really random, but Agatha popped into my head as a great name with Shirley. Agnes would also be good – and that was name of the real life sister of Saint Clare. – nancyo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agnes birth name was Katherine so that jumped to my mind when Kate suggested it probably because their youngest sister was Beatrice who also became a nun.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I want to suggest a little twist to Helen. Going with Helena Shirley opens up Lena (LEE-nah) as a nickname–one I love since our last little girl is named Lena. Nicknames would then be Claire, Maggie, Betsy, and Lena.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I like Eleanor (Nora) and Helena (Lena), as well as Edith to match Claire. I also like Oliver and Theodore, I think they work especially well with a one syllable last name. I also like Juliet (and Violet and Isabel) for them!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m love Oliver them! Though I may be partial with my children being named Oliver (Ollie) and Beatrix (Bea). Eleanor was on our naming list for Beatrix, so that would be my girl choice for them.

    Liked by 2 people

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