Baby name consultation: Less popular first name + virtue middle for baby boy

Sam and her husband are expecting their third baby, their second boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Raleigh Justice (girl)
Dominic Valor (boy)

Aren’t the virtue middle names so cool? Sam and her hubs want to continue that for this baby too. She writes,

We’re stuck. I never thought it would happen. I think that it’s because we both just KNEW we were having a girl, so girls names were easy. We’re having a boy though, so we need a name for him. I’m stuck on Becket, but my husband isn’t into it … I have been wanting something with a Marian type devotion but [my hubs] doesn’t have the same devotion or leanings. I’d like saintly names, but again, he doesn’t care. I like older, less common names. Nothing difficult or anything … I think we often love Irish names, even though we have no Irish connections as far as I know … We are thinking of the virtue middle of Prosper, because it’s a family name on [hubby’s] side. We’re open to other virtue middles, but I think we’re kind of really liking it. *I* would love to make it more of a family name because this little one is due about the same time [my hubby’s dad] passed away last year. His dad’s name was Lambert Richard, though [my hubs] doesn’t want to use either of those. Just figured I’d mention it.”

Names they’ve discussed include:

Becket (“best name ever to me“)
Conor (“we actually both like this one“)

And her Mister doesn’t like “sing songy or rhyme-y” names, nor John/James-type names, and Sam doesn’t care for Logan.

As I was reading Sam’s email, my very first idea before I got to the end was Ransom — and there it was on their list! So I hoped that was a good indication that I might be able to come up with some ideas they might like.

Okay, so first, I wanted to point out some things about the names they’ve used and like that helped me with coming up with ideas for them:

— Elliott and Becket both have that T ending, and Tyler and Tristan are T heavy
— Dominic, Beckett, and Conor all have a hard C
— Raleigh, Elliott, Becket, Logan, Blythe, Conor, and Tyler all have usage as surnames
— Logan and Blythe have decent use for girls as well (in fact, I only know Blythe for girls as a first name, though Gilbert Blythe is also a strong association) (Logan is still predominantly a boy’s name, at no. 18, but still top 500 for girls at no. 384)

I really latched onto the first three points (names with prominent T’s and C’s, and surnames) when coming up with ideas. I also took into account how they like Irish names and names that aren’t too popular.

Regarding popularity, I thought it would be good to rank their ideas by popularity, just to see where they all fall (these are the most recent stats—2016):

Logan: 18
Dominic: 72
Tyler: 91 (pretty steep decline from no. 10 in 2000; also no. 877 for girls)
Tristan: 108
Elliott: 192 (Elliot is 180)
Conor: 323 (but Connor is 54)
Becket: Not in the top 1000 (but Beckett is 213)
Galen: Not in top 1000
Ransom: Not in top 1000
Blythe: Not in top 1000 for boys or girls
Raleigh: Not in top 1000

They clearly like the rare names! I’m going to guess the 100–300 range is a comfortable one for them though.

Regarding Sam’s FIL’s name — I know she said her husband didn’t want to use either Lambert or Richard, but since Sam included them in her email I thought she might like some ideas of how to honor him by name, so I looked them both up just in case some variant seemed like it could work, and I found two that I kind of like for them:

Rico: I know this could be too Rico, Suave or mob-like/criminal, but otherwise it’s such a cool variant of Richard.

Baer: This was listed on Behind the Name as a short variant of Lambert, stemming from the “bert” part, which derives from the Germanic “beraht” (meaning “bright”) and becomes “bert” in some names and “baer” in others. It’s pronounced like “Bear” (the animal), and I have a fondness for animal names like Bear and Wolf for boys — they seem so rugged and masculine. The Baer spelling is really cool and a subtle but explicit nod to Sam’s FIL. (Read more about Baer here.)

For other ideas, you all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — it often gives me good direction. I also had some ideas of my own. Based on all that, I wondered what they would think of:

(1) Santino
I’m starting with one of my most out-there ideas! It was the first idea that came to me, and it was based on the softness of Raleigh and the masculinity of Dominic … I was trying to think of any names that I might consider both soft and muscular, and Santino came right to mind. It’s Italian for “little saint,” which is a sweet and faith-y meaning, but most guys (maybe most people in general?) will remember it as Sonny’s given name in The Godfather, which is where it gets its manly oomph from. Because of the movie association, I don’t think I would ever think of this name as possible for a little guy, except that one of my boys went to school with a Sonny, which I fell in love with as a name for a boy after seeing how adorable he was, and all year I was under the impression his given name was Sonny itself, and then when I saw his name on the school roster at the end of the year and saw it was actually Santino I just about died with happiness. Haha! (I totally get it if this is too much though 😉)

(2) Campion
In addition to the characteristics of the names Sam and her hubs like that I listed above, I also noticed that she said she’d love a Marian component — you all know I LOVE when parents want to use Marian names for boys! That definitely needs to happen more often! So based on their liking of names with a hard C, and surnames, I thought of Campion — it’s probably best known as the last name of St. Edmund Campion (and as a surname it actually means “champion”), which is an amazing connection in and of itself, but it also has a Marian connection: The rose campion flower was known in medieval times as Our Lady’s Rose! I love the nickname Cam for a boy.

(3) Roman
One of the things I love to do when I look up names in the BNW is see if there are any names listed as similar to more than one of the names on the parents’ list — I feel like it gives a really good sense of names that are likely to be on point, if they’re listed in more than one name’s list of similar boy/girl names. Roman is one such — it’s a style match for both Dominic and Elliott! I love that it’s connected to a place, which makes it go well with Raleigh in my opinion, and it’s got a heavy faith-y feel, like Dominic.

(4) Garrett
Noticing the end of Elliott and Becket (which can also be spelled Beckett), and also Galen and their affinity for Irish names and surnames, I wonder what they’d think of Garrett? It’s ranked at no. 308, which is such a sweet spot for names. It’s from a surname that derived from either Gerard or Gerald, and St. Gerard Majella is patron of pregnant mamas and childbirth, such a great patron. And I’ve heard of it used in honor of St. Margaret, which is so cool (and can also be for St. Rita, since Rita is a diminutive of Margaret, and in fact St. Rita’s given name was Margherita).

(5) Dermot or Declan
Again with the Irish names, and the T and C sounds that they seem to like, I wonder if they’ve considered either Dermot or Declan? Declan’s at no. 109, and Dermot’s not the in top 1000, so both seem to fall in their comfort zone popularity-wise.

(6) Kolbe
Kolbe feels similar to Raleigh to me — a softer surname — but it’s also for the amazing St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is one of the best patrons for a boy AND he had such a devotion to Our Lady that I think it could be considered Marian as well! Kole is a great nickname in my opinion, and Kolbe’s not in the top 1000 (the same-sounding Colby is at no. 530).

(7) Case or Casey or Cashel
Bl. Solanus Casey is an amazing guy — his beatification was just recently announced, and I believe he’s the first Irish-American blessed — and I know of a little boy named Case in his honor, which is really cool. The full Casey is an even closer option, and has that unisex usage that some of the names on their list have, and of course it’s also a surname. And both Case and Casey make me think of the place name Cashel — the Rock of Cashel in Ireland is where it’s said St. Patrick converted the King of Munster, and it allows for the awesome nickname Cash.

(8) Kyler or Cuyler
Kyler/Cuyler (pronounced the same) were inspired by Tyler on their boy list and the fact that Sam told me they considered Skye and Skylar for a girl. Cuyler is a Dutch surname that says is likely a variant of Nicholas, which is pretty cool, and Kyler gives it a more Celtic feel a la Kyle, which is from a Scottish surname.

(9) Tycho
My last idea is, like Santino, kind of a crazy out-there idea, but it has both the T and C sounds Sam and her hubs seem to like (pronounced TY-ko), and it’s a saint’s name too! I think it’s most known as the name of scientist Tycho Brahe, and it has the same sound as the Tyco Toy company, which always makes me think of toy trucks, which is a fun association for a little boy.

Finally, I wanted to offer some virtue name ideas in case Sam and her hubs decide not to use Prosper. This list at Nameberry and this one at Appellation Mountain inspired me to suggest:

— Brave/Bravery (a la actor Benjamin Bratt’s son Mateo Bravery)
— Clement (which is also Marian!)
— Loyal
— Merritt
— Noble
— Revere
— Sterling

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Raleigh and Dominic’s little brother? Any first name + middle (virtue) name combos jump out at you?


33 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Less popular first name + virtue middle for baby boy

  1. Just want to say I LOVE Ransom and was going to try to convince my husband to go for it as our literary nickname/second middle name for this baby if it were a boy, like Ransom in the CS Lewis Space Trilogy books (Yay/alas, it’s a girl this time!)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. They might want to toy with the idea of honoring their dad, not by using his name, but maybe just his initials, LR. Logan Revere, perhaps? I could also see this family considering Miles because of its Marian, but not so obviously Marian, meaning. Congrats to the family and prayers for a safe delivery being sent!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Galen and Beckett are great options for this baby! From your suggestions, I like Roman.

    Other options that have a “T” sound are Vincent, Tolton, and Grant.

    Vincent could be after any of the saints named Vincent. It also means “victorious”, which could be after either Jesus or Mary. Victor would work too, I guess.

    Tolton would be after Servant of God, Fr. Augustus Tolton. It sounds a little western-y (like Colton). Western names have a similar feel as Irish names, to me. It would go really well the Raleigh.

    Grant doesn’t have a direct patron saint that I know of. The Dictionary of Patron Saints sites Bl. Hugh of Grantham as a patron. Otherwise, it could potentially be considered a male version of the name Grace. The patron could then be Our Lady of Grace. Or it could be considered a synonym for the word “gift” and it could be in honor of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of God. Or it could be a prayer, like “Grant us peace.” Or just a nice name that they like.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love Ransom or Roman.

    I agree with the comment above that Vincent could work well for this fam.

    My only other suggestion is Marcus or Marco just because they seem like a brother to a Dominic!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If they’re pretty set on Prosper, I think most of the other -r ending names don’t work very well. Ransom also sounds kinda close to Raleigh. I like Campion with Prosper (and also the nn Camp). I also like Garrett/Gareth/Galen/Gavin for them. Some other names that come to mind are Court/Cordt and Cannon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Campion fits well with the older siblings’ names. It’s cool and unusual but also has a classic feel to it. Prosper is a fabulous middle. I also like Bowen for them (they could refer to St Owen?) and I like August (for Augustine). Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so impressed with your thoughts, Kate! While I love their names, because they’re out of my wheelhouse, I was totally stumped…and then you came up with some great ones! My favorite is Tycho. What a lovely old name that seems so current and edgy to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree – I drew a complete blank for names! Good thing everyone else is on the ball. 🙂

      My favourite from Kate’s list is Garrett.
      I know at Galen, and it wears well, so it is my favourite from the original list.
      I also like the suggestion of Vincent, above. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In addition to St Edmund Campion and Our Lady’s flower, I thought of another reason to love the name Campion yesterday. The first reading at Mass from Jeremiah said “the Lord is with me, like a mighty Champion”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tieg or Teague, etc. means poet.

    I worked with a Baird years ago and I knew a set of twins called Bard and Blythe when I was in college. Blythe was a girl. I’ve never heard it used for a boy. Bard was her brother and I always thought it was a romantic sounding name.

    Then there’s Reign, which could probably have a religious meaning.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. To honor Grandpa LR Lucian Revere sounds really good! Also, Honor itself could be a virtue name (too similar to Valor?). If you both agree on Conor, Conor Prosper is a perfectly nice name (I just noticed how similar Honor and Conor are). I also really like Theodore with Dominic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What amazing names you have come up with Kate! Rare but classic, and kinda edgy. I really like Ransom, Roman and Baer.

    One other name which popped into my mind when reading the names Elliott and Becket was ….. Bennett (pronounced with the hard T, which is an English/Irish variant of Benedict) or perhaps this is a bit too normal?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. For a Catholic but non-saint name, they could go with Trent – after the Council of Trent. I saw it as a name suggestion for the brother of Avila and now I smile every time I hear the name.

    Liked by 1 person

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