Baby name consultation: Adventurous German or Irish name needed

I had such fun working on a consultation for Laura and her husband’s second baby a few years ago — they ended up giving the baby the middle name Caoilfhinn, just to give you an idea of the kinds of names they like! I’m so excited that they asked me for ideas/thoughts/suggestions for baby no. 3 — a third girl! This little lady joins big sisters:

Clara Louise
Rosalie Caoilfhinn

Such lovely, feminine names!

Laura writes,

You did a consultation for our second, and now we’re facing a similar problem with our third: a long list of boys’ names, and a tiny list of girls’. If you could help us finalize a third option, we’d really appreciate it!

We love our heritage as German/Irish and love European names, but especially ones in that vein. A saint name is preferred, but not necessary for both first and middle. So far, we have liked the name Liesel the best.”

Liesel!! I love it!!

Now we’re having a hard time picking *the* middle name. There are several that we like, and we were trying to avoid anything that sounded ‘sing-song.’ (Áine/Anya came up in our last consultation and was beloved by many readers, but Liesel Áine sounds like lasagna! Haha.)

Here are some of the ones we have on our list:

Amabel (though the two names ending in -el might be a bit much), Paulina, Mariana, Josephine, Bronwyn, Joan, Hildi, Kateri

Bronwyn may be my favorite because its sounds are so different from Liesel. But I also like one or three-syllable middles as I think they help the entire name flow. (Hubby will NOT consider a four-name moniker.)

Another name we’ve considered (as a middle) is Eilidh (AY-lee). My grandmother was Eleanor, but Aaron really dislikes that name. He likes Eilidh, which I’ve heard is the Gaelic version, but it doesn’t sound right with Liesel. My husband also likes Maisie, particularly as a nn for a Marian name (though we’re not sure which). I think it’s perfectly darling.

To help you out (and hopefully not confuse you), boy names that we (BOTH — lol) like are: William, Wolf, Arthur, Thomas, Becket, Edmund/Éamon, Frederick/Freidrich (nn Fritz), Bernhard/Bernard, Roger, Felix, Rórdán.

I love Laura and her hubby’s taste in names! I think Liesel is a great sister name to Clara and Rosalie, which also checks off Laura’s boxes of German and saintly. Her comment about Liesel Áine sounding like “lasagna” made me laugh out loud! I think they’re right to avoid it! As for their other middle name ideas:

— I love Amabel, but I agree with Laura that it doesn’t have the best flow with Liesel

— Paulina, Mariana, Josephine, Bronwyn, Joan, Hildi, and Kateri are all great options! I agree that the juxtaposition of the German Liesel and the Welsh Bronwyn is interesting and unexpected, I like it! But I think I agree with Laura that one- and three-syllable middles have the best flow with Liesel

— I too love Eilidh! But I agree that Liesel Eilidh isn’t ideal. I wonder if Laura and her hubs might consider the fuller Eilionoir? Liesel Eilionoir has the rhythm they like and is so similar to the sound of Laura’s grandmother’s name (though I think it’s Scottish instead of Irish) (although, I’m just seeing that Nameberry lists Eilidh as Scottish as well, so maybe Scottish is ok?). Or what about a Nora name? I like both Liesel Nora(h) and Liesel Noreen, even though Nora and Noreen are both two syllables

As for Maisie — I love it too!! SUCH a sweet name!! I love the idea of using it as a nickname for a Mary name. Mariazell is a name in my book that I love, that could definitely take Maisie as a nickname. Marie-Azelie, or any M- name with Zelie as a middle, could work to get to the nickname Maisie as well. And actually … Liesel has that same Z sound … so Mary Liesel, Marie-Liesel, Maura Liesel, Moira Liesel, etc. could lead to Maisie as a nickname as well. Or M + any name with a Z-ish sound!

One of the names that showed up a couple of times in my research for this family as being similar to their style — specifically similar to Arthur, Edmund, and Bernard — is Marian/Marion. I like Marian as a sister to Clara and Rosalie too! Or as a middle? Liesel Marian?

Another idea for Maisie is a Margaret name — Maisie is a diminutive of Mairead, which is the Irish Margaret, so Margaret, Marguerite, and Margot could all work as full names that use Maisie as a nickname. Or Mairead! I actually know a couple little Maireads, including the daughter of one of my best friends. She always says, “Rhymes with parade!” which makes it really easy to help others know how to say it. Margaret/Mairead isn’t Marian, but they could easily remedy that with a Marian middle.

Another name I adore, which is also an entry in my book, is Maylis (also spelled Maëlys) — it can be said may-LEES, may-LIS, or MAY-lis, and is generally considered to mean “Mary of the lily” in French. I could see Maisie working for it as a nickname! Though I admit Maylis is so short that maybe a nickname is silly.

I’m sure none of you are surprised that the “minute” I meant to spend on Maisie turned into quite a few minutes! Haha!

Back to the task at hand! You all know that I usually start consultation by looking up the names the parents like and have used in the Baby Name Wizard book, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — I did so here, and I also looked through my Marian names book and my own mental files for ideas for Liesel’s middle name, which yielded some good ideas, I think!

(1) Alannah
I love that behindthename says Alannah as a given name “has been influenced by the affectionate Anglo-Irish word alannah, from the Irish Gaelic phrase a leanbh meaning ‘O child’ …” Isn’t that sweet? I love Liesel Alannah!

(2) Annika
Laura mentioned Anya/Áine, and when I saw Anna show up as a style match for a bunch of the names on her list, I thought maybe a different Anna variant would do. I love Annika for its German feel — I know Laura likes mixing ethnicities, but Liesel Annika was too gorgeous to not suggest! That said, if they were open to changing the first name, Annika Eilidh was striking me as a stunning option as well.

(3) Maeve
Maeve is Irish, one syllable, and Marian per my book! Baby Names of Ireland gives one of its meanings as “cause of great joy,” which is so similar to Our Lady’s title Causae Nostrae Laetitiae (Cause of Our Joy). Liesel Maeve has that two-syllable + one-syllable rhythm that Laura favors.

(4) Riona, Rionach
Amazingly, this actually showed up in the Baby Name Wizard — it tends to not be the greatest source for unusual or ethnic names, but Riona was listed as a match for Eamon! It, or the name it derives from, Rionach, means “queen” — I included Riona in my Marian names book as a variant of Regina! The even more Irish Rionach might appeal to Laura and her hubs even more. Liesel Riona(ch) is pretty cool! (Though Baby Names of Ireland doesn’t include the fadas, Behind the Name lists them as Ríona and Ríonach, so that could be fun for someone like Laura.)

(5) Loretta
My last idea is Loretta, which is a style match for Bernard and was my own grandmother’s name — she was super Irish, and her given name was Mary Loretta, though she went by Loretta (or Rett). It’s a Marian name, after Our Lady of Loreto, or the Marian Litany of Loreto, and I looove how Liesel Loretta sounds. I love alliteration like that! (But I totally understand if Laura and her husband don’t!)

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Liesel’s middle name?


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!

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16 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Adventurous German or Irish name needed

  1. I think Liesel Hildegard would be really cool. Other thoughts: Liesel Augusta or Liesel Eleanora (pronounced El-ee-ah-nora – maybe that what help?).

    My husband’s German grandmother (from Germany) was Lieselotte, which I adore! My grandmother (born in US, but from German immigrant parents) was Marion. I would love a Lieselotte Marion (or vice versa)!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ahhh Liesel, I love Liesel! I’m slightly more fond of longer names like Liselotte or Anneliese but Liesel is just so gorgeous, and I love the sibset of Clara, Rosalie and Liesel!
    Amabel is sweet, though indeed doesn’t work too well with Liesel.
    I think from their middle name ideas Liesel Paulina and Liesel Josephine feel the most convincing and lovely to me. They really do seem to love a good, adventurous name, which makes me feel tempted to suggest Amabilia – a favourite of mine – as an alternative to Amabel. That still doesn’t have the ideal flow, but I guess feels less “too much” than Liesel Amabel.
    I adore Bronwyn too, though as a Welsh learner Bronwen feels slightly more natural and feminine to me, with -wen being more traditional for Welsh girl names, but I understand if that’s just my own quirk.
    I LOOOOVE your suggestion of Eilionoir! 😂 That would be amazing!
    Mariazell/Marie-Azelie nn Maisie is so cute. I also like the idea of a Mairead going by Maisie, and there is the Irish and Marian Maire, which could also get them to Maisie, especially with some zzzesty and zzzippy middle as you suggested.
    Annika used to be high on my own list for a potential baby, now it’s sort of slipped but I still like it and Liesel Annika or something creative like that sounds good to me.
    Liesel Maeve sounds sweet, and again, Maeve Liesel could be a fun way to get to Maisie.
    I too like the flow and alliteration of Liesel Loretta, and all the Marian associations that Loretta has, as well as the fact that it honours Laura in a way.
    Some names that perhaps could inspire them: Fiadh, Wilhelmina, Saskia, Amalia/Amalie, Eithne, Astrid, Catriona, Orla/Órlaith, Laoise (LEE-sha), Ulla.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What about Marlies? Mar like car ….lies like liesel…..

    I don’t have your book but maybe it is in there as a lovely and beloved Austrian name!

    The mar parts stands for Maria obviously
    And the Lies stands for Liesel, Lisa, Liesi which are all shortened forms of Elisabeth
    So marlies is really a form is Maria-Elisabeth

    Have never met an American with this name and it is really Beautiful. Pronunciation might be confusing at first but just remember MAR like CAR and LIES like NIECE

    Love Liesel! In German it is spelled Liesl (an L added to a name makes it mean “little” but I think the -EL (Liesel) makes it more acceptable and easier in English !

    All the names suggested here are beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Liesel Bianka
    Liesel Fiona

    I think Liesel might stand out next to Clara and Rosalie, so Annaliese could be an option: I like Annaliese Keira (German + Irish).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Just wanted to to note that Margaret/Mairead could be considered a Marian name – you wrote a post a few years ago about Pearl being Marian, and Margaret comes from a word for pearl. As an added bonus, Margaret of Antioch is sometimes conflated with St Marina (whose name is reminiscent of Mary’s appellation of Stella Maris).

    Liked by 1 person

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