Baby name consultation: New boy name needed asap!

I haven’t reopened consultations yet! This mama purchased a consultation during my Black Friday 2017 special and emailed me a few weeks ago to see if she could redeem it. I thought it would be a good way to see if I’m ready to accept consultation requests again — unfortunately, it took me several weeks to get this one done! So I’m still not there yet. Keep watching the blog for updates!

I posted a consultation for Genie from Barefoot Abbey over three years ago, and a birth announcement for that baby (a girl after five boys!) not long after. Since then, she’s had another baby (a boy), and has another baby (green bean=gender unknown) due very soon!

Genie writes,

We are expecting our 7th living baby in March and have run into a bit of a naming quandary … For the first time ever our family has not found out the gender of our baby before birth so we need both a boy an girl name at the ready for this Sweet Pea. We’ve had a running list of names from our courtship and picked the boy name that was the back up for our son born in 2017: Charles Edmund Jude.

Now herein lies our dilemma… last week my sister in law named our new nephew Charles Edward … It may not end up being an issue if this baby is a girl, but with our track record of 6 boys and 1 girl I think we should be prepared. What is the etiquette on repeat names in this situation and when they would only be together at holidays? I’d love to say that we still have a several boy name choices we like, but after 6 sons, our list is dwindling. Another thought early after their name announcement was to switch the order of the names and put Edmund as the first name and Charles as the second. Our issue with this swap is losing the nickname Charlie and not having a favored replacement for Edmund.”

Oof! I can understand the floundering feeling Genie and her husband must have, trying to figure out if their chosen name is still okay to use, and if not, what other name do they like as much. Fortunately, they have great taste! Check out their older kiddos’ names:

Our naming style has a lot of Saint, Anglo/Celtic, and literary influence. These are our children’s names:

Malachi Benedict Aquinas
• Malachi – first canonized saint of Ireland, “Carrots” is one of his nicknames
• Benedict – St. Benedict was a big part of our pre-marriage prep, Pope Benedict XVI
• Aquinas – Our courtship began on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Noah Oliver Francis
• Noah – my husband liked the sound & justified it as being close to the Gaelic word for saint
• Oliver – last canonized saint of Ireland, he usually goes by “Noah Oliver” or after the Gaelic pronounced “Ollibear”
• Francis – the patron of the parish we’d attended all our marriage. He took me there after the pub on our first date.

Liam Michael Damien
• Liam – Bl. Liam Tirry one of the 17 Irish martyrs, his nickname is the Scottish term of endearment “Ducky”
• Michael – St. Michael is one of my husband’s patrons along with St. Thomas Becket & St. John the Baptist.
• Damien – St. Damien of Molokai, my dad used to go build for the remainder of his colony.

Aelred Dominic John (this is the son we lost in 2013)
• Aelred – St. Aelred the English St. Bernard, Spiritual Friendship author
• Dominic – St. Dominic, OL of the Rosary, meaning (belonging to God)
• John – my husband’s brother (has all daughters), patron, meaning (God is gracious)

Henry Andrew James
• Henry – St. Henry Walpole, Bl. John Henry Newman
• Andrew – St. Andrew of Scotland, my husband’s middle name, our Christmas gift after praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena
• James – St. James the Great, my grandfather’s name, his nickname is “Camino” (he’s the path God chose for our family)

Moira Elizabeth Charlotte – “Mosy , Ladybird, or Birdie”
• Moira – Irish/ Scottish variant of Mary, for Our Lady of Lourdes, from Peter Pan
• Elizabeth – one of my patronesses and middle name
• Charlotte – JP II, Bl. Charlotte of the Resurrection a martyr of Compiegne, this was her brother’s choice from Charlotte’s Web

George Maximilian Joseph – “Joe-Joe,”
• George – St. George for one of our sons’ favorite feast days, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
• Maximilian – St. Maximilian Kolbe servant of Our Lady
• Joseph – St. Joseph and his Most Chaste Heart

Amazing, right? I love how thoughtful each combination is! These are the names on their list for this baby:

Boy Saint names left on our list but aren’t yet striking to us:
• Edmund – St. Edmund Campion reformation martyr
• Owen – St. Nicholas Owen reformation priest hole builder
• Becket – St. Thomas Becket on of DH’s patrons
• Sebastian – early church martyr
• Finnian – St. Finnian of Ireland
• Jude – saint of the impossible
• Blaise – my special patron in college as a voice major

• Samuel – like the name but won’t use without a related post Bible saint

For reference the top 3 names in the running for our last son were:
• George – what we used
• Charles
• Edmund

Ok now for girl names… We don’t have a top choice yet and are still looking at options.
We’ve had set combos on the list for many years and want something with a marian connection. I’ll separate them out by first and middle names we like to give you an idea of style.

First Names:
• Beatrix – “Beasy” Marian from the latin for blessed, l like Immaculee or Evangeline with it but that’s two Marian names back to back.
• Genevieve – patroness, my baptismal but not legal name, “Gigi or Evie”
• Josephine – for Bl. Josephine Leroux martyr of the French Revolution, like it with Felicity Marie as the middle names, “Josie”, not sure about the overlap with George
• Margaret – “Meg/Megsy” (Little Women), one of my patronesses, Ss. Margaret Clitherow & Margaret of Scotland, my 3rd name (baptismal).
• Emmelia – “Emmie/Mila” on of my patronesses, mother of saints, I like it with Magdalen Rose as the middle names.
• Lucy – St. Lucy day is one of our family’s favorite saints in Advent, Lucia of Fatima, C. S. Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery
• Penelope – for St. Penelope (baptismal name Irene) of Thessaloniki, missionary & virgin martyr of the 4th century

Middle Names:
• Evangeline – love the sound of this, Mary the new Eve
• Felicity – love the meaning of the name and Ss. Felicity & Perpetua
• Imelda – patroness, confirmation saint at my reception into the Church from Anglicanism in ’11
• Elinor – my husband was born in the Feast of St. Helena, Austen spelling (Sense & Sensibility)
• Gemma – love this modern saint’s story
• Magdalene – love that she was the first follower to see Jesus after the Resurrection, first son was due on Good Friday and was almost “Moira Magdalene Clare”

2nd Middle Names:
• Hope – meaning
• Anne – St. Anne (Mary’s mom) & St. Anna Maria Taigi, Green Gables spelling
• Marie – Marian derivative
• Therese – love the simplicity of her little way
• Faith – meaning
• Rose – Marian
• Clare – family name, great saint
• Jane – my husband’s grandmother & aunt, Jane Eyre

It was such a pleasure to read all these beautiful names!

Alrighty, so I’ll address Genie’s question about etiquette first. She asked, “What is the etiquette on repeat names in this situation and when they would only be together at holidays?” It’s important to note that there isn’t any official etiquette — each person and family is so unique in regards to the way they think about things, that Genie and her hubs really be more the experts here. Given what they know of them, how would the family, including Genie’s sister-in-law, respond to Genie’s son being given the same first name and a very similar middle as his 6-weeks-older cousin? If it’s something that’s likely to cause a family rift, I’d say that’s a good reason for them to come up with another name. If the family won’t mind too much, then they can do what they’d like. I think the fact that the children will only see each other at holidays is a good thing to remember. (I’ve posted a bit about this topic, which might be helpful both to Genie and to any of you dealing with a similar dilemma: Dibs on names? Sharing ok?, Miscarried baby’s name stolen?, and Name thieves.)

Other ways of working with this situation include Genie and her hubs coming up with a new nickname for Charles, so that their nephew is Charles Edward “Charlie,” and their son is Charles Edmund Jude “Cal,” for example. Charlie and Cal are different enough that they won’t get confused at family get togethers, and Genie would get to have her favorite given name combo. Abby from Appellation Mountain did a great post on new ideas for nicknames for Charles (Huck is particularly fun for parents who love literary names). Or they could do a nickname from his middle name — Charles Edmund Jude nicknamed Ed, Ned, Ted, or even Jude. St. John Paul’s brother’s name was Edmund, and he went by Mundek, which might appeal to Genie as a nickname. (I suspect she won’t like the idea of coming up with a new nickname, however, since she said Charlie was one of the things she loves about Charles.)

If it might help to be given a reason why Charles isn’t a great idea, I’ll offer that Genie and her hubs already used Charlotte in Moira’s name. Repeating names among siblings isn’t a problem, of course, but it might help lessen the sting of not using Charles.

I love Genie’s list of possibilities — Edmund, Owen, Becket, Sebastian, Finnian, Jude, Blaise, and Samuel are all fantastic. Some thoughts: Would Campion as a first name interest them? They’d have the reference to the saint, with some cute nickname options (Cam, Camp), and Campion’s a Marian name as well — it’s an entry in my book! I love Marian names for boys! I also love Samuel, and I think it’s my favorite of those on Genie’s list. Not only is it biblical, like Malachi and Noah (and Moira, via Mary), but its nickname Sam is spot-on for the style and feel of Charlie (per the Baby Name Wizard, which you all know I use in my consultations in looking for names that are similar in style/feel/popularity to the parents’ favorites), and pairing it with Becket would give a literary connection to the Irish writer Samuel Beckett. I don’t know much about him, so maybe that connection is an unsavory one to Genie or people of faith in general? But I do know that as soon as I thought of Samuel and Becket together, I thought, “Isn’t that a literary name?” Samuel Becket Jude is a great combo, in my opinion, as is Samuel Becket Blaise — I love that alliteration! If they prefer not to have that connection to Samuel Beckett, though, I also like Samuel Edmund Blaise, Samuel Edmund Owen, Samuel Sebastian Blaise, Samuel Finnian Blaise. (I love Jude as a second middle for all these combos as well.)

Speaking of Samuel’s biblical-ness vs. saintliness, there’s a fourth-century St. Samuel, but I quite liked the story of thirteenth-century Franciscan Friar and martyr, Bl. Samuele of Ceuta.

As for girl ideas, I love their list! They have some fabulous names on there! I love that each name has really great reasons for being on there. It seems like it’s just a matter of putting together the right combination! I love that they want a Marian connection — they have so many great ones on there already. I thought I might offer Daisy as a nickname for Margaret — you probably know it’s a traditional nickname for Margaret, and it’s also a Marian symbol (I discuss it more in my book of Marian names). Also Hope and Faith can be Marian, for Our Lady of Hope and Our Lady of Faith.

As for new ideas for Genie’s little one, I did my usual research — I looked up the names she and her hubs have already used (both boy and girl) as well as the names they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard in order to look for additional names that fit with their taste in terms of style/feel/popularity. I came up with ideas for both boys and girls, and usually I’d list the girl ideas first, but since boy names are where they’re particularly stuck, I’ll start with those.

First off, the boy names they were considering for Moira, had she been a boy, were George Ignatius Eliot and Charles/Maximilian Joseph Louis — pulling out names they haven’t already used (excluding Charles), I love the idea of Eliot Ignatius Jude, for example (see my suggestion of Eliot below!), or Louis Ignatius Blaise (but Louis following George [and even Moira’s second middle Charlotte] might be too “royal family” … or maybe that would make it perfect for this family?), or Samuel Ignatius Edmund, or Owen Ignatius Eliot … I could go on all day making up combos from these beautiful names! 😀

These are my new ideas:

(1) Nathaniel (or Hawthorn(e)?)
Despite the fact that Malachi is named for the Irish saint, it comes across as ultra-biblical to me, especially with Noah as a brother. So I’d love to find an idea that could loop them in more with the other boys, while still appealing to Genie’s style. I thought Nathaniel was one such — it’s biblical, but it has an English feel to me … or maybe more *New* England, like author Nathaniel Hawthorne, which provides a literary connection as well (also, fun fact: his daughter is Servant of God Rose Hawthorne [aka Mother Alphonsa]). They could also trick a Marian connection out of Nathaniel if they wanted, in that Hawthorn is actually an entry in my book of Marian names because of her title Our Lady of the Hawthorn (best known in Spanish, French, and Basque) — using Nathaniel in part because of the literary connection with Nathaniel Hawthorne might call Our Lady to mind? (Yes, I do realize this is one of my crazier suggestions! 😀 ) Or maybe they’d would like to consider Hawthorn(e) as a first or middle?

(2) Jasper
Jasper did really well for this family in my research, being listed as similar to Jude, Beatrix, Josephine, and Amelia (standing in for Emmelia). It’s the name traditionally given to one of the Three Wise Men, and it’s also a precious stone in the bible, and it has literary connections (it’s the name of a Thomas Hardy character).

(3) Thaddeus or Theodore
I love the idea of Thaddeus for this family — I think it has that gravitas that their other boys’ names have. It’s distinguished and sophisticated, biblical, and has Irish connections too — I have a special devotion to Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, an Irish Dominican priest and martyr. Plus, the nicknames Tad, Taddy, Ted, and Teddy are all so sweet. Actually, Thad’s been growing on me recently too. Theodore is similar to Thaddeus — I always think of them as two sides of the same coin in that they both have similar nicknames and a similar sound, but people who like Thaddeus tend to not like Theodore so much, and vice versa. And Theodore has Theo as a possible nickname as well, which I really like.

(4) Eliot/Eli
Elliott and Eli both did fantastically well for this family in my research, which doesn’t surprise me, since they’re related — Elliott is derived from Elijah. I love Elliott with Genie’s other boys, and I think it fits in really well with their parameters. Eli is a great nickname for it, and also a good fit with their family I think. Funny enough, I’d scribbled down this idea for them before remembering that Eliot was a contender for the second middle of one of the name combos they liked for Moira if she’d been a boy! So I definitely want to heartily suggest it here (Eliot being the literary spelling).

(5) Philip
I wonder if they’ve ever considered Philip? I don’t see many parents considering it, but I love it, and tried to get my husband on board with it for one of our boys. I thought Genie would especially like the nickname Pip, which gives it an immediate Anglo literary connection. St. Philip Neri is a great non-biblical patron as well.

(6) Simon
Simon is serious and bookish and has a definite literary and Brit feel. I love that it connects to Malachi and Noah biblically.

(7) Xavier
When I saw this name pop up in my research as a match for Genie’s style, it immediately felt like a good option. I always think of it as having Irish connections because it was my grandfather’s middle name (his first name was not Francis!), and he was Irish (born and raised). Even if they weren’t sure about it as a first name, it would make a fantastic middle.

(8) Isaac
I’ve known several parents with an Oliver or Owen who also have an Isaac. It seems like a great fit for this family!

(9) Pierce
Pierce fits right in with the Elliott, Simon, Nathaniel, Xavier, and Isaac-type names for me — not only does it have a similar feel, but it can also be Marian! It’s an entry in my book, after Simeon’s prophecy that Our Lady’s heart would be pierced by a sword — one of my readers knows a little Pierce so-named in honor of that particular Marian occurrence. How cool!

(10) Colman, Cormac
These were mostly inspired by this family’s Irishy Irish names: Malachi, Oliver, Liam, and Moira, and Finnian from the list of considerations. Colman and Cormac are both Irish saints with great nickname potential (Cole for the former, Mac for the latter). I love them both.

I thought each of the names on this list would fit in well with the big brothers in either the first name spot or either of the middles. I hope Genie and her hubs find some good inspiration there!

As for the girls, these are really just names that jumped out in my research as particularly good matches for them — I really think they have such a great list that they don’t need too much help in that regard. But it was fun to compile this list anyway!:

(1) Susanna (or Sosanna?)
Susanna means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew, which gives it a nice Marian connection. I love that it has a whole bunch of nickname options, from Susie to Suki to Anna to Zuzu, and others. It’s also biblical; it has that same New England/Pilgrim feel as Nathaniel; and it’s got a literary connection as well — Shakespeare’s daughter’s name was Susanna! To put an Irish spin on it, I’ve seen Sosanna listed as an Irish form of Susanna — that could be a pretty option! (Fun fact: the daughter of actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick is named Sosie Ruth!)

(2) Jemima
I would love to see a couple give their daughter the name Jemima! I know it might not be comfortable in the first name spot, but especially since this family does two middles, it might be a perfect fit. Jemima is biblical, it has the lovely meaning “dove,” and its usage is far more British than American.

(3) Lydia
I actually can’t believe Lydia isn’t already on their list! It’s such a great name with a great biblical connection, and her own color too! The biblical Lydia sold purple cloth, so the little Lydias I know claim purple as their own, which is so cool.

(4) Sophie
Sophie was a HUGE match for this family in my research!! It can be Marian, as in Our Lady’s title Seat of Wisdom, and it’s got a similar sweetness to Moira.

(5) Catherine
Catherine’s another one that I’m surprised isn’t on their list somewhere! It was a pretty good style match for their taste in my research and would make a great first or middle. (But it might have the same “royal family” issue as Louis? Could the Katherine spelling help?)

(6) Alice
Similar to Catherine, Alice did really well in my research, and it has that same sweetness as Moira and Sophie to me.

(7) Violet
My final suggestion rivals Sophie as the girl name that is the biggest style match for this family. I particularly like that it has the V that Genie seem to like (Evangeline and Genevieve) (though Genevieve’s hard to beat with its connection to Genie herself!), and it’s an entry in my book, as it’s a symbol of Our Lady’s modesty and humility. How lovely!

And those are all my ideas for Genie and her husband! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Malachi, Noah, Liam, Henry, Moira, and George?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Check out Radiant magazine!

Do any of you subscribe to the lovely Radiant Magazine? If so, you’ll find me in the current issue! There are other wonderful articles in there as well, but one of my favorites is about Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, a Sister of Life who’s also a twin — you’ll have to read to see what her sister’s name is! 😍😍😍 A beautiful magazine altogether, and I’m honored to be included in it!

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My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn!

I asked for prayers last spring for a newly pregnant mama who was going through a hard time. You all were so wonderful that she wanted to be sure to share her baby’s birth announcement — she and her husband welcomed a baby boy given the strong, amazing name … Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn! (Alt characters used for privacy, at the mom’s request.)

She writes,

Thank you to you and your readers for your prayers last year when we were first expecting our son. The Lord has since provided in amazing ways, and we’re in love with these sweet children more each day …

While [older daughter] H3rmi0ne was a whirlwind born into a calm that followed the chaos of Hurricane Harvey, Ev@nd3r has been a calm within the chaos of our personal hurricane — the move into our first home and the growth of our freelance careers. As such, his name is likewise strong but accessible.

Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn is a name that my husband and I discussed long before our marriage but which felt almost too distinguished for a tiny human. But as we’ve delved into the names, we’ve learned to love the combination for our son more and more.

Ev@nd3r was a mythological figure credited with introducing the Greek alphabet, arts, law, and some of the pantheon. As a Hellenophile that’s studied much Greek literature, I feel a personal affinity for the contrast between the eloquence that can be achieved through the written word and the simplicity of the name’s actual meaning: “good man.” Similarly, our son will have the option to use his robust name in full or one of its approachable nicknames, like Van and Evan.

As for Hawthorn … I was taken with the knowledge that there are two Marian titles that roughly translate to “Our Lady of Hawthorns.” October is a solemn month for our family — one that saw the passing of my sister and grandfather and should have seen the birth of my sister-in-law — and as such, I’ve been contemplating life and loss and the love that is threaded through both. I began to think, “What a way to honor those we’ve loved … by honoring the mother of our Lord, who suffered the same.” However tangential the nominal relationship may be, I hope it reminds our son of the protection and love he can expect both from his earthly and heavenly parents.

Lastly, Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn can be summed up as a name combination that, like his sister’s, incorporates Greek, literary, natural, and spiritual elements. May those meanings and those we’ve yet to discover be a source of comfort and guidance to him through his life.”

What an amazing name story!! I love the reasoning behind both the first and middle name choices (that middle name is in my book!), as well as the “approachable nicknames” (love that!) Van and Evan. A perfectly handsome name!!

Mama also explained Big Sister’s name, H3rmi0ne El0w3n, which I know you’ll all love:

Born during the aftermath of our city’s worst storm yet, many family and friends joked that we should name our daughter Harvey or some feminine derivative of the name. Instead, H3rmi0ne is named for two other forces of nature: the saint, whose steadfast faith and strength evangelized better than words ever could, and the witch, whose courage and cleverness was integral to her friends’ survival and to the advancement of others’ welfare. (Our girl was also born shortly after both the epilogue of the Harry Potter books, 9/1/17, and St. Hermione’s feast day, 9/4.) Additionally, it makes my literary heart happy that Helen of Troy’s daughter and Shakespeare’s queen in The Winter’s Tale share the name.

Our preferred nicknames are Hero and Minnie — the former another literary name (again, via mythology and Shakespeare) with aspirational connotations, the latter reminiscent of the mouse and one of my childhood nicknames, Tiny. I also like that there are other options, like Maya, that our daughter can use should she find them more suitable. (We intend to use nicknames interchangeably with her given name.)

El0w3n is a Cornish word name for an elm tree. While elms don’t have particular significance to us, we love the sound, connection to nature, and similarity in sound to Tolkien’s Arwen and Eowyn. I also hope that, like a tree, she has deeply rooted beliefs but that she’s fearless in branching upward and outward.”

These parents have chosen such wonderful, meaningful names for their children! I loved reading all this info!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Ev@nd3r!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Greer Eileen!

I posted a consultation for Megan and her husband’s little green bean last year, and I’m delighted to share that they welcomed a little girl! They gave her the fantastic name … Greer Eileen!

Megan writes,

Since you so kindly did a consultation for us earlier this year, I wanted to make sure to send you an email and update you on what we ended up choosing for her name: Greer Eileen.

I loved your suggestion of Greer — it fit perfectly with our naming style. I was also glad that it had the saintly connection through Gregor/Gregory. When I was pregnant with my son, I remember seeing this name in a book and thinking that I liked it (for a girl), but then forgot about it until you brought it back to my attention. As soon as I saw it again I knew that I loved it. My husband took a little convincing, but once he warmed up to the name he was totally on board as well. It seems to be one of those names that you either love or don’t.

I realize that by using Eileen as the middle, we look like huge Greer Garson fans — in reality, we’ve never seen one of her films. Maybe I should. 🙂 Her initials spell “Gee” which I thought could maybe be a cute nickname when she’s little if it fits.

Thank you so much for your help, and spot on suggestion! We love our little Greer, and are feeling very blessed.”

How great is this?? I LOVE the name Greer, it’s one of my very favorites, and it’s gorgeous paired with Eileen. I’m so thrilled!

Congratulations to Megan and her husband and big brother Finnian Daniel, and happy birthday Baby Greer!!

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Greer Eileen


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!