Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for baby no. 7 (fifth girl)!

Anastatia and her husband are expecting their seventh baby — fifth girl! This little one joins big sibs:

Arthur James (“for Mike’s paternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather“)

Conall Henry (“for my maternal grandfather, surname O’Connell, and my paternal grandfather’s middle name“)

Aine Rose Brigid (“for me/my great-grandmother/Mike’s maternal grandmother, Mike loved Rose, and St. Brigid of Kildare, my Confirmation saint“)

Gianna Cara Maria (“called Gigi, twin to Jojo … for St. Gianna, Cara means friend in Irish and dear in Italian, so it flowed, my maternal grandmother’s middle name was Maria“)

Johanna Mary Clare (“called Jojo, twin to Gigi … for my paternal grandmother Joanne, baptized Johanna, our Holy Mother, County Clare/St. Clare — we found out that she didn’t have Edward’s Syndrome on St. Clare’s feast day“)

Abigail Faith Theresa (“with Jesus … Abigail means father’s joy, and Mike really liked the name. When we found out that we were probably losing her, I chose Faith [an Irish trait, at least] and Theresa for St. Therese, for whom I have a devotion, and St. Teresa of Calcutta who was canonized two months before our due date“)

I love these names!! I love all the family connections, and each combination is so attractive, even twins Gianna and Johanna — an amazing pair, with such significance for Anastatia and her hubs!

Anastatia writes,

I have developed a lot of rules about naming, just because I’m a rule person.

1. Not too common- I prefer not in the top 1000s, but certainly not very high
2. A real name, nothing made up.
3. A deceased family member must be honored
4. A saint must be honored
5. At least one name must be Irish/Celtic
6. Girls have two middle names (because we couldn’t agree with the first girl’s middle name)
7. No repeat names — in our family or cousins, etc.

For a boy, we had decided on Bran Michael. Branwen is too out there for Mike. The other feminine of Bran is Branna. It would still honor St. Bran (there is one), and suggest the story of Bran the Blessed, who may have been the Fisher King in Arthurian legend. Branna also continues the -anna name theme for our girls on Earth. I was named for my great-grandmother Anastatia, Aine is often though of as the Irish Anne (it’s not, but the name suggests it, and we have Gianna and Johanna for St. Gianna and my grandmother Joanne, who was baptized Johanna). I’m not sure if Branna is trying to hard. At 38, I am not worried about saving the name for another child.”

Some names that Anastatia has suggested that her husband doesn’t care for include:

Madbh (“last week, Mike said that he might think about this. The Maeve spelling is too common. I prefer Irish spellings, but there may be more than one“)

Names her husband has said that he doesn’t hate include:

Tara (“at 1,002 on the SSA list — this is uncommon enough for me“)
Clara (“at 97, I think it’s common. Our oldest daughter is pushing for this because she likes Clara Oswald from Doctor Who. I am fine with that connection“)
Maisie (“I don’t think this is ‘serious’ enough for a first name“)
Teagan (“a bit common, hard to find a nickname — we both like Tara more“)

The family member they’d like to honor is Anastatia’s maternal grandmother, Eugenia:

We are thinking of Jean as a middle name. She didn’t like Eugenia, and named her kids John, Anne, Mary and Dan so they wouldn’t get picked on.”

And names they can’t use due to family members with the names:


Saint’s name to be used:

Margaret for St. Margaret of Antioch, patroness of childbirth and St. Margaret of Scotland, patroness against the death of children. Mike does not want to use Margaret as a first name, but may be convinced of a Margaret variant as a first name, otherwise we will use a Margaret name as a middle.”

And a last few considerations:

My family has all Irish heritage (with maybe a bit of Welsh). Mike’s family is originally Basque and Norwegian. He has never shown any interest in using those types of names. Basque names seem hard for non-Spanish speakers like us.

Tara Jean Margaret? I like it, but it’s not love.

Mike is on board with Tara, but is pushing for Clara. I just think Clara is too common, then I would have to use an Irish version of Margaret. Clara Jean Mairead? I don’t know. Any suggestions? Good Margaret variants? Marita is a Norwegian one.

Mike finally will consider Molly, now I think it may be too common. Molly Jean Margaret is Irish, Marian and honors my grandmother and Sts. Margaret, but I’m not sure if Molly can be a ‘serious’ name. Is Molly a doctor, senator, President, etc.?

Gianna is 92 on the social security list and was 95 the year she was born, so I guess Clara being 97 isn’t that bad, but I just don’t love it right now, but I don’t love Tara either. Maeve isn’t too common either, in the 400s at that spelling.

Mike is leaning towards Clara. He also likes Arya, but the character on GOT is not so nice any more.

Arthur has moved from the 300s to the 200s.
Conall is not in the top 1,000.
Aine is not in the top 1,000.
Gianna is 92.
Johanna is in the 500s.
Abigail is 8, but Mike real loved the name Abby.

I guess we are all over the place with name popularity. I never meant to pick popular names, but I am glad that St. Gianna is getting recognized.

The twins each have a Marian middle name, and St. Brigid is called the Mary of the Gael, but I don’t think that we necessarily need another Marian name. He shot down Rosemary and Stella Maris.

Our last name is Ellis. So nothing that ends in ‘L.’ We have multiple ‘A’ names, so probably not another.

Mike was one of several Michaels in every class, so we don’t want that. I have an uncommon spelling, and it made me stick up for myself. Aine does it beautifully.”

Whew! Okay, so first First off, I want to talk about ways to honor Grandma Eugenia. I’m so sorry she didn’t like her name! I had a few thoughts and thought of a few ways they could honor her:

  • Jean would work for Eugenia, but I wonder if they really want another “John” name for one of their daughters?
  • If they don’t mind another John name, another that they might be interested in considering is Siobhan, which would get the Irish in there nicely.
  • Eugene is used as the anglicization of the Irish name Eoghan/Owen, so even though some make the connection between them and John, I think the connection is un-obvious enough that the Owen route might be an interesting way to go. I discovered in my research that Owena is a Welsh feminine form of Owen, which immediately interested me since Anastatia had mentioned Arya from Game of Thrones and Owena reminded me of Olenna. I assumed they rhymed, but when I listened to the pronunciation on Forvo it sounded more like Owen with an A on the end — stress on the first syllable. Anyway, that’s a possibility.
  • The -wen part of Owen reminded me of Wynne, which was actually a style match for my stand-in-for-Bran in my research (Brannock), and the “guin” part of Guinevere, which was a style match for Rhiannon, and which is the same as the “gwen” in the Gwen names — it means “fair, white, blessed” in Welsh. I’ve recently been loving the Welsh name Gwenfair, which means “fair/blessed Mary,” and the Welsh name Mairwen, which is exactly the same as Gwenfair with the elements reversed. How pretty! The fair/Mair part rhymes with “tire” in Welsh, but I think they could rhyme them with “care” if they’d like.
  • Funny enough, Teagan on their list made me think of Taryn, so I looked it up, and it’s the most amazing thing — Behind the Name says it was likely invented as a feminine form of Tyrone, and Tyrone is of course the county in Northern Ireland and also — Tyrone means “land of Eoghan”!!! WOW!!! So Taryn can be for Grandma Eugenia, and it’s similarly in sound to Tara is a bonus! Since it was an invented name, it might not pass Anastatia’s “no invented names” rule, but if it helps there are actually quite a lot of established names that were originally invented (Vanessa, Miranda, Evangeline, Pamela, Wendy … and actually, if you want to be nitpicky, all names were originally invented at one point or another. Not trying to talk Anastatia out of her rules! Just trying to give her options she and her hubs might like). Taryn’s at no. 855 and dropping.

Okay, on to my thoughts on the names on their list:

  • Tara surprised me! I think a lot of people think of it as somewhat dated at this point, but looking at it from its original Irish perspective definitely gives it a fresher feel. Tara Jean Margaret hits all the honors they want, but it feels a bit utilitarian, which I wonder might be the reason Anastatia likes it but don’t love it. Maybe switching up the variants? Tara Margaret Siobhan, for example. Tara Jean Mairead. I wonder if they’d consider a double name? Jane feels a bit fresher, and like Jean is a John variant — what about something like Tara-Jane as a first name? Tara-Jane Mairead is pretty. Tara-Jane Margaret doesn’t flow quite as well to my ear, but still doable of course. Using the Taryn idea above, they wouldn’t have to use Jean, as Taryn would be the honor name for Anastatia’s grandmother, so they could add in another name they like. Taryn Margaret Chiara, Taryn Margaret Madbh (love that), Taryn Margaret Niamh.
  • Clara’s beautiful — clearly they like the -ara names, as they have Tara, Clara, Zara, and Chiara, and even Arya sort of fits into that! I personally would stay away from Clara because they already have Clare in Johanna’s middle name (same with Chiara), but of course it’s not the end of the world if they go with it. Perhaps changing the spelling to Klara could help with popularity? I know it sounds like the same name, but that spelling has never been in the top 1000.
  • Maisie I love, such a sweet name! I too think it works better as a nickname — Margaret nicknamed Maisie seems perfect — I wonder if Anastatia can talk her husband around? Or perhaps Mairead as a first name with the nickname Maisie? Funny enough, since Anastatia said her husband is Norwegian, my mother-in-law was 100% Norwegian, and her mother and her aunt (sisters) were Margaret and Jean (daughters of Norwegian immigrants).
  • Teagan is a cute name, and I could see Tee being a natural nickname, I like it! I wonder, if Teagan isn’t quite right, maybe something like Tierney would feel like a better fit? I know sisters named Tierney and Bryn, and Bryn could work too, being so similar to their Bran/Branna idea.
  • Zara and Beatrice are great
  • I love love love the name Molly! I have a sister and a sister-in-law named Molly, both successful adult women, so in my experience it can definitely work for a doctor/senator/President, but at the same time I do know what Anastatia means when she wonders if it’s serious enough. So my favorite way to deal with this is to use it as it was originally used — as a nickname for Mary, which also has the added benefit of making it much more unusual. My sister and SIL are both given-name Molly, but I know a little Molly whose given name is Maura, and Molly’s her nickname, so that’s a possibility too. A few other possibilities re: Molly are that “Unsinkable Molly Brown”’s given name was actually Margaret. In fact, she wasn’t called Molly during her life, but after her death she became immortalized as Molly after a Broadway musical and movie were made of her life and called her that. So I’ve seen people use Molly as a nickname for Margaret. I’ve also thought it could easily be a nickname for Magdalene and Madeline/Madeleine.

Okay, moving on to Margaret variants: I love Mairead and Greta and even Gretel — it strikes me as really sweet and affectionate, though I know the fairy tale has probably irrevocably tainted it. Margaret means Pearl, so that’s an option; it’s also the word used for the daisy plant in French and Italian (marguerite and margharita, respectively, which are variants I also love for names), which leads to the traditional nickname Daisy for Margaret (like Maisie), and even Daisy’s use as a given name on its own. I saw recently a little one named Martha Daisy and I thought that combo was stunning — the serious of Martha combined with the lightness of Daisy — I love it! Meg and Megan are Margaret variants as well; I also love Margo and Rita; Marit, Mette, and Meta are other Norwegian ones, which are cool. Lots of possibilities!

Alrighty, now for new ideas. I found myself getting hung up on coming up with Irish possibilities, and kept having to remind myself that the first name doesn’t have to be Irish! This is all based mostly on my research in the Baby Name Wizard, which, as you all know, lists names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity for each entry:

(1) Moira, Maura, Mara
I know Anastatia said they don’t necessarily have to have another Marian name for this little girl, but I love them, and these three struck me as good possibilities. I mentioned Maura already; Moira’s also lovely; Mara isn’t Irish but is similar to the Tara/Clara/Zara/Chiara/Arya family of names they have going on. I think each of these could take Molly as a nickname if they wanted it to. Moira hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1968; Maura hasn’t been since 2006; Mara’s at no. 686 (I’m sure Anastatia would love this birth announcement for a little Niamh, sister of Mara!).

(2) Mila
Mila’s a style match for both Arya and Zara, which I thought was pretty interesting, and it reminded me of a name spotlight I did a while ago on the name Ludmila, because St. Ludmila’s story was so inspiring. I thought that Mila was probably the easiest way to name a baby after St. Ludmila these days, and I even suggested Mila could be an interesting way to honor a grandmother, because of its connection to Ludmila, since St. Ludmila was an amazing and holy grandmother. Mila’s at no. 48, not great, not terrible.

(3) Sosanna or Mariana
These were 100% inspired by the fact that all Anastatia’s daughters on earth either have a connection to Anne/Anna in their names or have “anna” actually in their names. I was trying to think of other names that have a similar connection without being too close to what they’ve already done, and Sosanna was the one that came to mind first — it’s an Irish version that I’ve never seen used and always been intrigued by. Actor Kevin Bacon’s daughter is Sosie Ruth, which is the closest I’ve seen, though she was named after a woman with a non-Irish last name and I can’t find any info on her heritage. But there is an Irish name Sósaidh, which I think would probably be said like Sosie. They could also just do Susanna as well — like Gianna and Johanna, the -anna part isn’t actually related to the name Anne, but of course gives it the appearance of being so. Sosanna’s never been in the top 1000; Susanna’s at 980; Sosie’s never been in the top 1000.

Mariana was another I liked for this family, mostly because it combined Mary with Anne and using the “ana” spelling makes it different from the ending of the twins’ names. I also liked that Marion was listed as a style match for Arthur! I think they could also legitimately use Molly as a nickname for it. Mariana’s at no. 291, very respectable!

(4) Zoe
Zoe was a style match for Zara, and it just struck me as a name they might like, and one that’s easy to work with their rules and their middle name ideas. I think it’s sweet and spunky like Molly and Maisie, and its saintly connection comes from the fact that it was St. Catherine Laboure’s birth name, and there’s also a St. Zoe who was an early martyr. It also means “life” and as a result has been used as a variant of Eve. It’s in the mid-30s, which I know is more popular than Anastatia likes, but after seeing how her other kids’ names rank, I thought it wasn’t terrible (and honestly I was shocked to see it that high — I’ve never known anyone named Zoe in real life!).

(5) Ciara (or Keira)
Finally, Ciara, which is so similar to Clara and Chiara and the Tara/Zara names and it’s Irish — I think it could be great for this family! If they’re worried about pronunciation, Keira’s a fine alternative. Ciara’s at no. 882 and Keira at no. 313.

And those are all my ideas for Anastatia and her hubs! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Arthur, Conall, Aine, Gianna, Johanna, and Abigail?

44 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for baby no. 7 (fifth girl)!

  1. Wow, Kate, you outdid yourself with this one!!! This was a really hard one and I honestly couldn’t come up with much when I read thru all her info. Taryn is awesome and such a great suggestion. I like Tara fine but didn’t know it was Irish. I agree that Jean/Gianna/Johannah are all so very close and kind of tongue twisterish but not the end of the world either. I feel like Zoe was a great suggestion too. I know that Gianna and Johannah are lower on the SS popularity list but I feel like both seem more popular than they are whereas I have never heard another Aine. So maybe a less common Irish name to match her? I do like her idea of Maeve too. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what she picks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate, thank you so much! I love your suggestions!

    Mike thinks anthing Welsh (including Carys) or with a ‘wen’ is weird. Darn. Unfortunately, my cousin has an Owen, so I couldn’t even use the GOT connection with Owenna.

    He shoots down Siobhan EVERY time. I had picked out Aine Siobhan years before we met.

    I love Susanna, and had never heard of Sosanna, but he doesn’t want to name a baby for his mother, Suzanne. But I love Susie!

    I had never really considered Zoe, but we talked a lot about it after reading this. My name means resurrection, so I like that it means life.

    We have a close friend with a Kyra, so I think that nixes Ciara.

    He is currently calling the baby Molly, but last week he called her Clara, so we’re still working on it! I love the Moira/Maura/Mara names. Molly could be a nickname for those, if we don’t want to use given name Molly.

    I can’t wait to see what people think. We’ve never been stumped before!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love Keira, and I think it works very well with the other names.
    For the honor name, what about Virginia, Georgina, Geneva or even Regina? Or are they too far from Eugenia?
    And I love all variants of Margaret, but maybe Margot or just Mae?
    I’m thinking Vivian Keira Mae or Keira Margaret Regina.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have to add my daughter’s name here-Úna! Meaning one or lamb or I’ve heard linked to lamb of God/Agnes. I think Úna Jean Margaret is outstanding ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1) Vianney as an Ann name. (Pronounced Vee-Annie). I met a woman with this name several years ago.

    2) Keira was the first name that came to mind for me. I think it’s really sweet and Irish, but less popular than Clara.

    3) I know a little Fidelma, named after St. Fidelma, the Irish princess who was baptized by St. Patrick. it means faithful.

    4) St. Fidelma’s sister was St. Eithne, which is pronounced Ena or Enya, which sort of fits with the Ann theme. It could maybe be used as a contraction if Eugenia as well?

    5) My grandma hates her name, but my sister and niece have it as a middle name anyway. They are especially proud of it because they love her. I think that Eugenia would be a great middle name. It’s very distinctive and Irish and it’s after a much-loved family member.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mairead called Molly seems really great, as does Taryn. It’s too bad Mike doesn’t like Welsh, because Mairwen and Gwenfair are both so lovely.

    One thing I was wondering, does the honoree not liking their name really rule out the name or cancel out the honor? My grandfather’s middle name was Leonard. He hated it, but since my sisters have claimed his first name in various forms, I am planning on using Leonard for my next boy (God willing), nicknamed Leo. Do other readers think that the honor is negated by my grandfather’s dislike of his name? Or does it stand nonetheless? My connection to the post would be, I personally don’t think it would be a problem to use Eugenia for this little girl. It’s after a beloved family member, it’s uncommon but not unheard of, it sounds sweet with the sister names, and the sound is very much in vogue–I wouldn’t be surprised is Eugenia or Eugenie had a renaissance in the coming years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would have loved to have named a child in honor of own of my great-aunts, but her first name was ‘Doris’, which I couldn’t do, and her middle name was ‘Emma’, which she hated. It always seemed to me that saying “I’m going to honor you by naming my child a name you hate” was a really backwards way of honoring someone.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My grandmother went by an anglicized version of her name after she immigrated. She claimed not to like her “real” name but was very pleased when I was named after her.
        She even told my mom (her DIL) that having a grand child named after her made her like the name again.

        Liked by 2 people

    • My husband has a grandpa Leonard, and no one will use the name. I keep trying.

      I guess it depends on how much someone didn’t like there name. My grandmother has passed, so I can’t ask her. She went by Jean and named her kids John, Anne, Mary and Dan because she didn’t want them to get teased for having an unusual name like she was.

      In this situation, I don’t think that Eugenia (pretty as it is), would honor her as much as Jean.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. If she prefers the Irish spelling, then I’d avoid “Madbh”, which is a misspelling. The name was “Medb” in Old and Middle Irish (up through about 1200), and “Meadhbh” in Early Modern Irish (up through about 1700), and the standard modern Irish spelling is “Meabh” (strictly speaking with the fada on the ‘e’).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for correcting my typo. I usually look at Baby Names of Ireland for my spellings, and then go from there. I haven’t seen the Early Modern Irish Meadhbh before.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What about Sinéad as a nod to her relative? It’s the Irish form of Jeanette, which is a diminutive of Jean. It’s a bit of a stretch but I think it could work.

    Another idea I had was Catríona, the Irish form of Katherine. Katie/Katy is a cute nickname, and there are a lot of great saint associations too (St. Katharine Drexel, St. Catherine of Siena, etc.).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great consultation. Love the wide variety of less common beautiful names. I like Molly, Sosanna and Zoe. I also thought perhaps Majella or Davina might work. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Combine the spellings for Zoe and Zoey and it’s in the top 10 or top 15. I’ve met several girls with the name. Maybe too popular for them.

    I like Mairead. Somewhere I saw the variant Marguerida, with Marja (pronounced like Marya as the nickname.) I also like Grainne/Grania. Saoirse might also be pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with the above that Eugenia is really pretty; it also goes with the other names and Eugenie/Genie/Ginny are cute nicknames! I also really like Moira/Maura/Maeve as well as forms of Margaret with Maisie/Daisy as a nn. What about Margareta or Marja?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Dara/Darragh is Irish too, though it’s used for boys there. And Daria is a saint. Dorothy was regarded as the English translation of Daria in the 1800s. Anna Karenina had a character named Darya who was called Dolly, the diminutive of Dorothy. I’ve seen a few real life examples of Darya/Dolly on historical lists. So they could have their choice of St. Daria or St. Dorothy to honor if they picked Dara or Daria. The cartoon Daria is also very funny.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Tara made me think of Tana. Baby name websites list this as an Ethiopian name, but my first association is Tana French, an Irish author. It keeps the Ana theme going.

    For an honor to Eugenia, I agree Jean is the way to go. Then all of your girls on Earth will have for letters.

    There is a Marita in my kid’s class and I just love that version of Margaret. I also love Pearl.

    Tana Jean Pearl.
    Marita Jean Maeve.

    The other two names that I keep thinking about for you are Lorna and Bianca. Bianca keeps the Ann theme without Being too much of a tongue twister.
    Bianca Molly Jean
    Lorna Jean Margaret

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hadn’t even thought about the middle names being four letters! I really like Marita, and I have never heard Tana.

      Obviously, we’re still working on this!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I love Mairead for Margaret, as well as Marita. What about Gretchen? Meta and Rita are both Norwegian variants that might work too.

    I also wondered whether you’d consider Leonie or Leona as an honor name for Leonard.

    You might like the Welsh spelling of Mariana: Meiriona. It’s the name of my Great Aunt and I never quite realized how special, and rare!, it was until much later in life. We pronounce it “mair-ee-OHN-ah”. You could still call her Molly, or Meri, which seems delightful.

    Eugenie Marita Vianney
    Marita Jean Shannon
    Gretchen Owena Leonie
    Meiriona Rita Jean

    Liked by 1 person

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