Ashley and John are expecting their fifth baby on earth (sixth overall) — a boy! This little guy joins big sibs:
Joseph (in heaven)
Augustine David “Gus”
Such a classic, handsome set of names! Ashley writes,
“Our girls are each named after their grandmothers and our boys are named after strong saints we liked, Charles is a nod to my husband’s mother (Carolyn) who died while I was expecting him. We love the idea of family names, but can’t quite find any relevant ones we like at this point. My husband has a decent extended family, some of which we don’t want to overlap, but I have a huge family (1 of 11) and have quite a few names we love but can’t use, I will list those below.”
(One of eleven!!)
“We have realized that we love having a strong formal name for our Gus, with a planned nickname. I find it hard that we don’t have short nicknames that we like for Caroline and Madeline (not a fan of of the obvious Carrie, Lynn, Maddy), so I’d like to plan that in with this baby. For example, we recently met someone with a daughter named Bernadette Claire that they call Birdie Claire. We LOVE this, as the traditional name and cute newish nickname are a perfect combination. We would like to make sure it “fits” with all our others.”
Bernadette Claire nicknamed Birdie Claire is adorable!! I love that they want to try to find something with a similar feel for their little boy.
“Lastly, I am an avid reader and re-reader of the Baby Name Wizard Book and would say (you probably already know this) but our favorite categories tend to be Antique Charm and Ladies and Gentlemen. We love French names like Jacque (we live in Cajun South Louisiana and they are very common here, but haven’t bitten the bullet on any and at #5 are uncertain they fit with the others).”
Names that they like but aren’t sure of:
Phillip (“don’t like Phil“)
Frederick (“my husband’s middle name and a family name but he likes Fritz, and I don’t really like Fred or Freddy… maybe I could come around on Fritz“)
Peter (“but don’t like Pete or Petey“)
Bernard (“don’t love but LOVE the idea of Bear for a nickname“)
John double names
Other double names
Raymond (“neither of us love Raymond, but it is John’s Dad’s middle name and we love St. Raymond Nonnatus… thought you may be able to come up with a creative way to use this“)
Blaise (“love this name, but aren’t sure it fits well with our others“)
Dominic (“maybe, again need a cute nickname“)
Benedict (“maybe, but don’t like Benny!“)
Jacque (“in Cajun French South Louisiana, these French names come up a lot and this is one we really like, but aren’t sure it fits with our others“)
Nicholas (“my middle name is Nicole, but again can’t find a good nickname we like… not a fan of Nick“)
Family names they could “maybe incorporate in a cute way”:
And names to avoid:
“Anything ending in ‘ine’ as it was an accident that our middle 3 have that in common.”
Close family member names (“none of these are off limits for middle names!“):
Alrighty, before listing the ideas I have for Ashley and John, I wanted to offer some thoughts on the names that are currently on their list, especially with the “Birdie Claire” style of nickname that they like:
Phillip: I love Phil(l)ip, and tried to get my husband on board with it, to no avail! The nickname idea I loved for it was Finn. I especially liked the idea of Philip paired with an N middle name to make sense of Finn as a nickname (like Philip Neri … Philip Nicholas would also be quite nice), and there’s precedent for a Ph- name going by an F- nickname in that actress Julia Roberts named her son Phinnaeus and he goes by Finn. Otherwise, Pip is a traditional nickname for Philip that’s adorable, and they could even do Pippin. They don’t grow so well into manhood I suppose, but Flip’s another fairly traditional nickname for Philip — I worked with a Philip/Flip for a while who’s older than me and I always thought it was a pretty cool nickname.
Frederick: I love Frederick because of it being John’s middle name! I think Fritz is cute, and the fact that Ashley doesn’t like Fred/Freddy reminds me of my parents’ neighbor who named their baby Frederick and insisted on the full Frederick because they didn’t care for the Fred nicknames, but when one too many people called him Fred(dy) anyway, they decided to nickname him Erick. So that’s an option too, as is Rick/Ricky, which are cute and retro.
Peter: I thought this was a great opportunity to research some of the non-English nicknames and variants of Peter, to see if there’s any good nickname inspiration there. Pier, Piers, and Pierce are all variants … Pero is a Serbian/Croatian/Macedonian nickname for it … Pierrick is a Breton diminutive, which is cute on its own or could lead to Rick(y) as a nickname, which would be a really unusual way to nod to the Richard in their family! People would be so confused! Haha!
Bernard nicked Bear: I actually can’t believe Ashley said she loves the nickname Bear because I recently decided I love it myself! But for me — and this might solve their Bernard/Benedict conundrum — I like it as a nickname for Benedict! Something like Benedict Richard or Benedict Raymond would provide a B+R sound that would make sense of Bear as a nickname AND honor family/saint!
John double: I LOVE John doubles!! I think it’s such a handsome way to name a boy! I love that Ashley’s husband is John too, that makes it extra meaningful. I did a massive consultation a while ago for a dad who was angsting over whether to name his son John + like he and his dad, or to go with the name he and his wife actually loved. There are loads of good ideas in there, if I do say so myself. 😉 They could also come up with nicknames based on John +, like … John Raymond could be Jay, which isn’t that creative I guess but I do like the nickname Jay … John Peter could be JP, which could also nod to John Paul II (or they could just do John Paul, of course!). A John Richard or John Raymond could nickname to Jordy, which is so cute (though one potentially weird thing for them is that Geordie — said the same as Jordy — is a traditional nickname for George, which is their oldest son’s name). They could do the full John Frederick, Jr. and call him something like Jed.
Raymond: I’ve actually struggled with Raymond myself! The best I’ve come up with is that Redmond/Redmund is an Irish variant of it, which is cool — I like the surname vibe, and the nickname Red is adorable! Actually, I think they could totally do Raymond nicknamed Red if they wanted. If their little guy has red hair no one will bat an eyelash; if not, they’ll just have to explain, but that’s kind of cool — a nice little opportunity for evangelization!
Blaise: I love it too! I definitely think it fits in with their other kiddos’ names — it’s got that super saintly feel that Augustine especially has, but also their others. I just did a birth announcement for a Blaise whose mom was worried it didn’t fit with the other kids, but they used it anyway and they’re thrilled with it.
Dominic: I looooove Dominic!! My dad grew up with a Dominic that they called Dommy, which I think is really cute — like Tommy with a twist. Nico is another that’s not unusual for Dominic, I love Nico.
Benedict: Not only can Bear work as a nickname for Benedict as I mentioned above, but I’ve also thought Buddy and Bede (two-for-one! St. Benedict and St. Bede in one name!) could work (how cute is Buddy!), and I’ve also seen Ned. Also I think Beck could work, which could be fun.
Jacque: I’m not sure how to say this name — in my head I keep saying Jake, but when I looked it up on forvo.com it sounded more like Jack. Either way, my hearty recommendation for Jacque is to use it as a nickname. It’s a variant of James/Jacob (they’re the same name, just different languages), and Ashley and John have their James family member, so if I were in this situation I’d probably totally name the baby James ___ and call him Jacque. James Frederick is quite handsome, and is a really explicit nod to Ashley’s husband (same initials and everything!) without being a Junior.
Nicholas: We considered Nicholas nicknamed Cole, and just Cole as a given name, for our youngest, so I can definitely recommend Cole as a nickname. Nico can also work, and also Colin, which sometimes derives from Nicholas.
Family names: As for their family names, one of my favorite favorite Richard names is Dickon — he’s a character in The Secret Garden and I think it’s such a great sounding name. Alas, anything that has those first four letters in it is not going to fly these days. If Ashley and John are into Irish names, I quite like Donal and Donnell as nods to Donald. I already mentioned James; interestingly Reginald, Reynold, and Ronald are all variants of each other! Not sure if that’s helpful though … William could possibly work as an honor name for Wilbur except that it’s on their No list. Daniel’s great, and I love John Henry too as a combo, and I love that there’s already a precedent in their family with both John Henry and John Charles to do the John double. Love it!
I love both the “Antique Charm” names and “Ladies and Gentleman” names in the Baby Name Wizard as well! So I’m hopeful that my ideas might hit the mark. I’m not as strong on French names, but I was inspired by the list in the BNW.
Okay, on to my new ideas! As you all know, these were mostly inspired by my research in the Baby Name Wizard, but also a bit by my own namey head:
This “Ladies and Gentleman” name was a style match for both George and Frederick, but I’m not sure I would have taken notice if it wasn’t for the fact that Ashley loves the nickname Bear. Arthur’s generally considered to be related to the word “bear,” and I’ve seen other families use Bear as a nickname for Arthur. And I actually started thinking about the nickname Bear recently after re-reading one of the Regina Doman’s The Shadow of the Bear — a retelling of Snow White — in which the main male character’s name is Arthur but he goes by Bear. One hesitation is that Ashley and John’s last name is quite a bit like Andersen, so Arthur might not be the best first name. But if they liked it, they could do John Arthur, and call him Bear as a nickname of his middle name.
(2) An Ed- name
Edward was a match for George and Joseph, Edmond for Frederick, and Edmund for Benedict. Add in the fact that Ned can be nicknames for all the Ed- names, as well as Benedict, and I thought they definitely deserved a spot on this list. (Ted’s also a traditional nickname for the Ed names.) I can’t tell which I like better — St. Edward the Confessor’s pretty amazing, and Edward fits so well with the royal feel of their older kids; Edmund is Narnia and St. Edmund Campion, which are both great; Edmond is Edmond Dantes in Count of Monte Cristo and I just die over Jim Caviezel in that role. 😊 Also, it’s French!
Sebastian is a natural on any list that includes names like Augustine, Dominic, and Benedict, and it’s also on the French list (as Sebastien). Grace Patton introduced me to the nickname Bash for Sebastian and I love it so much! I’ve also seen Baz, and Seb and Sebby are probably the first nicknames people would think of. Lots of great options there!
(4) Theodore, Thaddeus
I find that people like Theodore, or they like Thaddeus, with a clear preference for one or the other. Theodore is a style match for August (which I used as a stand-in for Augustine, since there’s no entry for Augustine in the BNW) and Frederick, and Thaddeus is a match for Benedict. Both of them can take the nickname Ted; Theodore can also be Theo, which is kind of hot right now, and Thaddeus can be Tad and Taddy, which I think is adorable.
(5) Nickname Abe, or Ambrose as a given name
I looked up Gus to see what other nicknames were listed as similar to it, and Abe was the first one listed — I’ve been dying over Abe for a while, what a fabulous nickname!! There was a little towhead named Abram at our pediatrician’s recently, which I found pleasantly surprising, and Grace just named her youngest Abraham James with the nickname Abe. SO CUTE! I also really like Abel, and I think Abe can work as a nickname for Ambrose, which also makes me think maybe they’d like to consider Ambrose? It might be too much for Augustine’s little brother, but it’s been on our list for a while and I think that in addition to Abe, other nicknames that could totally work include Sam, Bram, and Brody (especially with a D middle … Ambrose Daniel? Or even a middle with a strong D, like Ambrose Frederick?). And I think Ace can work too!
(6) Maximilian nicked Miles or Milo
I used to suggest this one all the time on here! I haven’t in a while, but I wonder if Ashley and John might be interested in it. Like Augustine, Dominic, Benedict, and Sebastian, Maximilian is heavy-duty Catholicky Catholic. Max is a great nickname, but if they want something a little different, I definitely think Miles and Milo can work as nicknames for it. An added bonus is that Miles and Milo have traditional usage in Ireland as anglicizations of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — an actual Marian name for a boy! So they’d get St. Maximilian Kolbe and Our Lady in one name! And Milo was actually a style match for Gus!
My last idea for this family is Damien, and it’s solely because it was in the French list in the BNW and I love St. Damien of Molokai and I’d love to see more baby Damiens. But also, since I’ve had it on my own list I’ve thought of nickname possibilities and I think Denny is my favorite for Damien. It totally works, right? And Danny for Damian.
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of George, Caroline, Joseph, Augustine (Gus), and Madeline?