No nickname? Not happening.

My sister has just gone through a namey thing that I couldn’t wait to tell you all! I’ve talked quite a bit on here about how, these days, children are increasingly being given names that the parents don’t intend to nickname — a little Thomas is more likely to be Thomas always than Tom or Tommy, for example, and people in general are much less likely to assume a nickname when meeting someone or to bestow a nickname that the person hasn’t specifically said he or she goes by. To those parents who still worry that their little one might be called by a nickname, I’ve advised them to be firm and consistent in correcting people, every time.

Well. My sister’s name is Elizabeth and her whole life she’s gone by a nickname of it — my parents named her Elizabeth both for the full name and equally so because of the chosen nickname, which is used quite a bit in our family tree. But something that’s driven her crazy as an adult is that her nickname is constantly misheard by others at work, causing her to constantly correct her coworkers and other people she interacts with in a professional setting (with varying degrees of success), so she decided to go by the full Elizabeth in her professional life, and she just started a new job, so it was the perfect time to make the change.

Since starting her job, she’s been firm and consistent about introducing herself as Elizabeth, never once letting on that she goes by a nickname. However, more than one person has said that Elizabeth is “too long” and doesn’t she go by a nickname? She tells them no, every time — that her name is Elizabeth, no nickname.

Some of her new coworkers have refused to accept this! They told her that they’re not going to call her Elizabeth, but instead are going to call her by a nickname of her last name. They’re definitely doing it in a jovial buddy-buddy kind of way, like teammates would — and her husband has cheerfully told her that nicknames like this mean she’s being accepted and that she should just go with it (“If they call you Bob, you go with it!” he said 😂😂😂) — but she’s just shaking her head over the whole thing. After all the frustration about her actual nickname being butchered all the time, and making the deliberate decision to go by her full name, only to have her new coworkers pooh-pooh that and come up with their own nickname (which, incidentally, is the same nickname her husband always goes by) … what can you do but shake your head??


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: First boy after four girls needs a rare-ish, more unexpected type name

Rosa and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — and first boy!! He joins big sisters:

Arabella Katherine
Victoria Elizabeth
Jeanne Frances (in heaven)
Kateri Gianna

I love these names!! They’re so feminine and beautiful!!

Rosa writes,

We are having the hardest time finding an agreeable name for this little one. I’m desperate! I’m convinced he will never have a name 😂. I’ve taken to calling him Sine Nomine.”

(Sine Nomine! SO BRILLIANT!! I told Rosa that I wish I’d thought of that when I was expecting Luke — as it was, all I came up with was Sanctino, which isn’t even correct!)

Names my husband likes so far are Kieran, Xavier, and Beckett. Unfortunately we have a friends or family who have boys with these names. They are all at least 4 years older than our little man though. [Hubby] just doesn’t love the idea of copying names. I’m also afraid Kieran and Kateri might be too close.

[Hubby] is a HUGE fan of the nickname Ace, so he would concede to Ignatius as a middle name.

I don’t have any names that I am especially turned off by although James and Michael are on the no list for [my husband]. [He] has also said no to the following names that were on my maybe list: David, Kolbe, Fulton, Pius, Leo, Liam, Aquinas (Quin), Thomas, Fin, Augustine (Gus), Wyatt, Casey.

I would love to honor my favorite uncle, David. He just passed away this summer at age 65, may his soul rest in peace. I actually had been calling this little guy David Ignatius since just a few days after I found out I was pregnant, but [husband] has rejected David. Unfortunately David is also my Father’s name and [my husband] has drawn a clear line on namesakes for any of our parents, that means David, Dewitt, Robert, and Edward are also off the table. I have totally failed in finding any David derivatives. I would also love to honor our Blessed Mother. My Birthday is on the Feast of Our Lady of Victory/the Rosary and I have been especially drawn to Mary ever since I was little. My favorite of her titles are Mother of Mercy and Cause of our Joy. The key would be finding names that [my husband] likes, I’ve been drawing blanks on that front too.”

This papa is a tough customer! I enjoyed trying to find names that I thought Rosa would love, that her hubby would be okay with as well. Hopefully our thoughts — yours and mine — are helpful!

Okay, so since they haven’t had any boys yet, I was interested to see what names are on Rosa’s and her husband’s list, to see if they would follow the style of their girls (which I might describe as long and slightly exotic-feeling), or if they would have a totally different style for boy names (as often happens). I think, after seeing their lists, that they retain the “exotic-ness” — or perhaps better described as being on the more rare and unexpected side — with most of them, and then they do have some long ones as well (Aquinas, Augustine). So they’re not terribly different from their girls, which made research a bit easier — I always like to try to find names that fit in well with the older siblings.

I like the names on Mister’s list — Kieran, Xavier, and Beckett are all interesting and somewhat unexpected, and Xavier especially is a good match with their girls’ names. I agree with Rosa that Kieran and Kateri are overly similar — I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker necessarily, but since there are so many other names that could fit the bill, I would encourage them to cross Kieran off the list, or perhaps move it to the middle name spot. If Beckett is off the list, I wonder what Rosa and her hubs would think of Bennett? It’s so similar to Beckett, and it’s a medieval diminutive of Benedict, which gives it a great saintly connection. Actually … I quite like the full Benedict with their girls! I wonder what they would think of Benedict?

I love the nickname Ace too! Ignatius is a great way to get to it; some others that I’ve mentioned on the blog include Aloysius, Athanasius, and Atticus — I particularly like Atticus for this faily, and there are at least two Sts. Atticus. It was also listed as a style match for Arabella, Victoria, and Kateri when entered all together on the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com.

The names from Rosa’s list that feel like the closest style matches to Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri to me are Kolbe, Fulton, Pius, Leo, Aquinas, Thomas, and Augustine (though I like all the names on her list). But what I’d really love to do is find a way for Rosa to have her David Ignatius! I love that combo, I love the meaning, I love how significant it is to her. Some variants of David that might work include:

— Dawson: This is my favorite for them — it means “son of David,” but I wouldn’t let that worry them (the -son name are used out of context of being an actual son all the time: think of popular names Jameson, Emerson, Addison, Madison, etc.) — I would just think of it as a David variant. You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — I did so here, and Dawson was actually a specific style match for Colby (standing in for Kolbe, which doesn’t have its own entry), and since it’s a surname it’s also similar in style to Xavier, Beckett, Fulton, Aquinas, and Casey! Dawson Ignatius is very handsome!

According to behindthename.com, Daveth is a Cornish variant of David — I like Daveth! It’s interesting! Daveth Ignatius is pretty amazing.

— Taavi is another David variant — a Finnish one — and I’ve actually had two readers that I did consultations for end up naming their sons Taavi! Check them out here and here.

— Dewey is a Welsh variant of David, and it kind of reminds me of Wyatt, so maybe Rosa would like it? Dewey Ignatius feels kind of retro cool.

Another really cool thing about the David names is that I included David in my book of Marian names because of the Marian title “Tower of David” (as listed in the Litany of Loreto) — Rosa said she’d love to honor our Blessed Mother, so a David name would definitely do it!

Regarding her dear uncle, since her hubby doesn’t want to use his first name, I wonder if Rosa’s uncle’s middle name is an option? Is his last name one that could work as a first name? Did he have a hobby that might lead to a name? Favorite saint? Even favorite ball player or similar? I was also thinking how Jonathan and David were friends in the bible — maybe Jonathan could nod to him in a way Rosa’s husband is okay with? I hope she can figure out a name that ties to her uncle!

As for names that might tie into Our Lady of Victory/Our Lady of the Rosary, Mother of Mercy, and Cause of Our Joy, some that I included in my book are:

— Dominic: St. Dominic is traditionally considered the saint to whom Our Lady gave her rosary, which makes it a great Marian/Rosary name! Another fun tidbit is that Dominic means “of the Lord” and was traditionally given to boys born on Sunday. Very cool! AND Dominic’s actually a style match for Rosa’s girls’ names! I love how long and sophisticated it is. I did a spotlight of Dominic here.

— Rosario: Not only could Rosario honor Our Lady in Rosa’s son’s name, but also herself! Though Rosario is feminine in Spanish, it’s masculine in Italian.

— Royce: Royce is a name I don’t see used too much, but I included it in my book because it’s from a medieval variant of Rose, which makes it Marian and Rosarian (and also a nod to Rosa)! It’s kind of debonair, no?

— Clement: Clement means “merciful” and many of my readers considered it for their babies during the Jubilee Year of Mercy (and other times too! Like this little guy).

— Leeson: If you can believe it, Leeson is an English surname that derives ultimately from the Latin laetitia, meaning “joy,” by way of the common medieval variant of it, Lettice, and its short form, Lece. Causa Nostrae Laetitiae is the Latin for “Cause of Our Joy,” so Leeson is a legit name that can be used for a boy that directly connects to Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy! Lee is an easy nickname, or they could totally use Leo, like from Rosa’s list!

Finally, there are a few names that seem like they’d be good matches for this family, based on my research in the Baby Name Wizard and in the Sibling Project on my blog (Kateri’s entry in the BNW focuses on Native American names as style matches, so I started the Sibling Project to list Catholic style matches for names like Kateri) and the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com.

Based on all that, these are my additional suggestions for Rosa’s little guy:

(1) Sebastian
According to my research, Sebastian is a style match for all of their girls’ names, and it’s long like theirs, so it had to go on the list! Nickname options include Seb and Sebby, Bastian (like in Neverending Story — except Bastian was his given name), Bash (like Grace Patton’s son, brother of the Clement linked to above), and Baz. So many options! I think Ace could be tricked out of it, too, if Rosa’s hubby wanted to do so. St. Sebastian is the patron of athletes, so the Ace nickname could come from that, too.

(2) Tobias
Tobias was listed as a specific match for Arabella as well as Sebastian, which, since Sebastian is a match for all of the big sisters, makes Tobias a pretty good fit I think! I don’t know if you all are familiar with Emily Stimpson Chapman, but her little guy is Tobias who goes by Toby and he’s just the cutest. Even if they don’t care for Toby as a nickname, I love the full Tobias, so handsome!

(3) Felix
I loved that Felix is listed as a style match for Xavier from Rosa’s hubby’s list and Leo from hers! I’ve done birth announcements for two little Felixes — both named Felix Thomas, funny enough! Here and here, in case you want to get a feel for the kind of names Felix would be a brother for.

(4) Cooper or Cupertino
Like Felix, Cooper was a style match for a name from Rosa’s hubby’s list (Beckett) and a name from her list (Colby, standing in for Kolbe), which I love to see! I’ve had a couple of readers consider Cooper in honor of St. Joseph Cupertino (like this one), and I’ve heard of a little boy given the name Cupertino as his first name and called Cooper as a nickname — I love all of these options! For this family, I feel like Cupertino goes best with Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri, whether or not they use the nickname Cooper, but Cooper Ignatius is pretty amazing too!

(5) Cassian (Cash)
It’s funny how my mind works sometimes in regards to names — thinking about Ignatius as a potential middle name for Rosa’s little guy and her hubby’s love of the nickname Ace just reminded me of other nicknames for Ignatius I’ve heard, like Nash … so when I saw Cash listed as a style match for Ace in the BNW I took notice due to its similarity to Nash … And Cash made me think of the name Cassian, for St. John Cassian, which I think is SO handsome! It kind of sounds like Kieran, and it’s a surname like Xavier and Beckett, so hopefully Rosa’s husband won’t hate it! Here’s a birth announcement I did for a little Cassian, I love it.

(6) Maximilian, Milo
Maximilian is a match for Arabella, Victoria, and Xavier, and Max is a match for both Leo and Gus, and Rosa had Kolbe on her list, so I thought Maximilian was a great name to suggest! Max is such a darling nickname as well. However, Milo is also a style match for both Leo and Gus, and I’ve actually suggested Milo or Miles on the blog before as a nickname for Maximilian, and I thought doing something like that would be a little more distinctive — which is definitely how I’d characterize this family’s name taste! A bonus feature is that Miles and Milo have a history in Ireland of being used as the anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — how cool is that?? And actually, for that matter, Maximilian is an entry in my book of Marian names because of St. Maximilian Kolbe and his love for her! Maximilian Daveth is kind of cool … or Milo Dawson … maybe?

(7) Gabriel
Gabriel is a match for the big sisters’ names and also for Xavier. It’s also an entry in my book of Marian names, for the First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announces to Our Lady that she’s been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Great name, great patron saint, great Marian connection!

(8) Blaise
Blaise is much shorter than Arabella, Victoria, and Kateri, but it’s the same length as Jeanne and, like Jeanne, is also French — I like that connection to their little one in heaven! And I think Blaise has the same sophisticated feel as the other girls’ names. I also thought Rosa’s hubby might like it since it sounds like “blaze” which makes me think of “fast and speedy” … a similar kind of sportsy feel as Ace.

(9) Evander, Leander
My last suggestions actually didn’t come from my research, but rather from one of the Taavi’s birth announcements — he has a big brother named Evander and I thought ooh! Could be a good fit for this family! The Ace nickname thing also keeps making me think of sports, and I thought Evander Holyfield might appeal to Rosa’s husband. Then I thought, maybe that’s a bad association? It can be connected to a saint via the name Ivor (behindthename.com says Evander is an anglicized form of Iomhar, which is a Scottish form of Ivor, which is one of the names St. Ibar of Meath is also known as), but Evander also made me think of the (less boxing, more saintly) name Leander, and I quite like that with Rosa’s girls! They could also use Leo from Rosa’s list as a nickname if they wanted to.

And those are all my ideas for Rosa’s little guy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri?


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: “Slightly different” name needed for baby brother or sister

Cassandra and her husband are expecting their fourth living baby (fifth overall), a little green bean! He or she joins big siblings:

Thomas Patrick (“this was the one name my husband was dead set on from before we were married. His late maternal grandfather was Thomas Patrick. Additionally, my husband’s father is Thomas and his brother is Patrick. So we’ve pretty much covered his side of the family with this name. Another note … our son mostly goes by Thomas. We have no issues with the name “Tommy” (or nicknames in general) but we know lots of other families with Tommy, Tom, etc so our son refers to himself as “Thomas”)”

Theresa Angeline (“when our daughter was born, we had a list of girl names, but it still took us a few hours to decide. We both loved Therese, but didn’t want her name to be constantly mispronounced. Once we chose Theresa (the hubs insisted on the “h” in there), we debated middle names. He liked Marie, but I told him that Theresa Marie was too common. I suggested Angeline which is my middle name (and my paternal grandmother’s middle name as well). I always liked my middle name because it was different. As for nicknames for her … we had every intention of calling her Tess. We told everyone that was the plan, but for some reason, it didn’t seem right to us as we got to know her. Now she goes by Theresa or the pet name TT (her best friend who is 9 days older than her called her this when they were toddlers and it stuck)“)

David Anthony (“for our next boy, we went with something from my side of the family. My paternal grandfather was David. We also have a very close friend in seminary whose name is David and we wanted to honor him as well. Anthony is my father and was my maternal grandfather. He mostly goes by the pet name “Day Day.” Not entirely sure how that happened, but it’s what most people call him“)

Nadia Rose (with Jesus) (“we had an early loss. I felt pretty strongly that she was a girl so we chose a girl’s name. My husband wanted something that meant “hope” but I am not a huge fan of the actual name “Hope.” I threw out “Nadia” as an alternative and he liked it. Rose was chosen because it’s the name I kept hearing in my head when I found out we had lost the baby“)

I love each of these, and the reasons behind each one! ❤

Cassandra writes,

We are Team Green and I feel like we need some new ideas for this baby. We have a lot of names on our list, but I’m not totally sold on any of them. Usually, I like to have two boy and two girl name combos chosen for the birth. I just feel like we need to make sure the name “fits” the baby …

If we have a boy, I’d like to honor my brother somehow. His name is Matthew so Matthias has been thrown around. He is also a huge fan of the name Victor so we could use that somehow.

If we have a girl, I’m toying with the idea of giving a nod to one of my college and grad school roommates. This is where is gets a bit tricky. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth, but I have a SIL named Sarah … I’ve mulled over using Seraphina as a possible nod. Or her initials are S.F. so I could use that as well. I have always called her “Franzie” (a play off her last name), but I’m not keen on using Frances. This one is not a necessity, but something I’d like to work in if possible.

My husband’s biggest thing is that our children need Saints’ names …

Names currently on our list …

Boys
Jonas Matthew seems to be my husband’s favorite so far. We both like the name Jonas slightly more than Jonah, but people seem to think of the Jonas brothers so I don’t know if that would be an issue.
Benedict
Brendan
Brennan
Nathan/Nathaniel
Vianney (I have wanted this as a middle name since high school. Hubs will only consider it as a middle name.)
Xavier (more likely as a middle name)
Raphael (again more likely as a middle name)

Hubs has nixed Beckett and Bennett because they are last names and not first names.

Girls
Clara
Anastasia
Seraphina
Felicity
Lily or Lila
Catherine (husband is not a fan of using just Katia)
Elizabeth
Evelyn
Cecilia

Other notes….
We do love Marian names, but our last name begins with “Mar…” So it can get to alliterative sometimes. We’ve debated doing BVM initials (ie Brennan Vianney M.) For a Marian name.

Too many “s” or “sh” sounds can be hard in a name with our last name.

Names we can’t use for one reason or another:
Michael
Jacob
Timothy
Hannah
Sarah

Husband doesn’t like place names (I.e. Avila, Siena, etc.) Or last names as first names.

I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

I’m really interested to see where Cassandra and her husband will land with a name for this baby! Thomas, Theresa, and David have a definite “feel” to me as all three peaked in popularity in the 1950s-ish, which gives them a mid-century feel, especially as a sibling set, and Brendan, Clara, Lily, Catherine, Elizabeth, Evelyn, and Cecilia from their list all feel like natural fits for that. And then, Nadia, Matthias, Victor, Jonas, Benedict, Nathaniel, Vianney, Xavier, Raphael, Anastasia, Seraphina, Felicity, and Lila have a much more exotic and perhaps more current feel, which is really fun to see a divergence in taste and the kinds of names they’re willing to consider for this baby!

That said, I do feel like going from Thomas, Theresa, and David to Seraphina, for example, is a bit jarring — not that that should be a deal breaker! Just that, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I was trying to find names that straddled the line between Thomas and Seraphina, that acted as “bridge” names almost between the two styles. (I’m not forgetting their Nadia in this conversation, only that her name isn’t one that most people will hear when they encounter this family.) And maybe there’s no need for bridge names! They’ve already jumped in with both feet to the more “exotic” style with Nadia’s name (which I absolutely love), so maybe Anastasia, Seraphina, and Xavier are indeed where they want to go with this baby’s name! Actually, I think Cassandra put it best: “I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

From their list, I think Clara, Lila, Cecilia, Nathan, and Nathaniel are closest to that middle ground I’m thinking of — I can see them each being varying degrees of unexpected with Thomas, Theresa, and David, but none of them feel like a different style from what they’ve already done. But I really love all the names on their list!

There are some strategies that I like to employ when trying to bridging styles that Cassandra and her hubs might find helpful, including choosing a “normal” given name but using an offbeat nickname on an everyday basis, or conversely choosing an offbeat given name that can take a “normal” nickname; you’ll see that I used this strategy a bit in my ideas below. I’ve also always loved an unexpected middle name paired with a more normal first name — their idea of Brendan Vianney M___/BVM is a fantastic example of this! Xavier and Raphael would also be awesome middle names in this line of thinking.

I wanted to offer some other thoughts on the names they have on their list, in case they’re helpful:

— I love Matthias as an honor name for Cassandra’s brother Matthew. Another possibility would be Levi, as Matthew in the bible was also known as Levi.

— I love Victor too, and think it might actually be a great bridge-type name! But I wonder if, as Cassandra says her brother loves the name, would he be upset if they used it? Might he be saving it for his future son?

— Naming a daughter for Cassandra’s roommate is so sweet! I like Seraphina as a nod to Sarah, and I like C’s idea of using her roommate’s initials S.F. (or perhaps S.E., for her first and middle?). Franzie’s a fun nickname — I wonder what Cassandra would think about the French Francine? The Italian Francesca? The German Franziska? Or maybe, drawing from her list, something like Felicity Miranda, with Felicity providing the F and Miranda providing the RAN … ? Maybe? Or is that too crazy?

— Jonas Matthew is a really cool combo! I like that, like Matthias, Jonas is biblical like Thomas and David, which can provide a nice link between the brothers’ names. I mean, yes, there are the Jonas Brothers, but there’s also Jonas Salk … I guess currently the former is more recognized than the latter, but I only offer it to show that there are other Jonases people might think of, and honestly, the people who make up their circle will quickly associate Jonas primarily with their son, if Cassandra and her hubby end up naming a son so.

— I love Benedict, and I’m thinking it might be really good for this family — Thomas and David are obviously biblical, and I think most people would assume a Ben is Benjamin, and it would make total sense with Thomas and David. And I would be so excited to find out that someone I assumed was Benjamin was actually Benedict! (I love Benjamin too, I just really love being surprised by a name! Haha!) That said, I think Benedict goes really well with Thomas, Theresa, and David. I love it!

— Brendan and Brennan are so similar but just the tiniest bit different … Brendan has more of a classic feel to me while Brennan is more contemporary maybe?

— Nathan and Nathaniel are both awesome too, and like with Brendan/Brennan, they have a slightly different feel — Nathan feels sort of “normal” while Nathaniel’s a bit sparklier — which I think is what Cassandra’s looking for? I like Nathaniel a lot for them, and they can always use Nathan as a nickname, which makes Nathaniel a two-for-one name!

— Vianney, Xavier, Raphael are awesome names and fantastic middle name options. I really feel like using one of them in the middle might scratch that itch of having something a little different than what they’ve already done.

— Might Cassandra’s husband be swayed by the fact that the surname Bennett arose from the first name Bennett, and not the other way around? Bennett was actually the medieval diminutive of Benedict (as was Austin for Augustine).

— Clara’s such a sweet name, I like it with Thomas, Theresa, and David.

— I’m so interested that C and her hubs named a daughter Nadia and have Anastasia on the list — they both scream Russian to me (though they both of other uses), and especially since C also mentioned liking Katia. That’s a fun style, and influenced one of my ideas below. I also wondered if they’d be interested in considering Stasia (or Stacia) as the given name — it’s a short form of Anastasia, so would have St. Anastasia as patron, and it begins with S, so could be a nod to her friend Sarah.

— Seraphina is gorgeous. Although, since they don’t want to use the name Sarah, would it bother them if others called her Sera? I know a little Seraphina who goes by Sera.

— I love Felicity, it’s such a lovely name, and it has a touch of Pilgrim feel to it, which goes especially well with Thomas and David I think.

— Lily and Lila are both beautiful, and along the lines of using an unexpected nickname for a normal given name, I wonder if they’d be intrigued by the fact that Lily (and Lila could work here too) is a traditional nickname for Elizabeth? What would they think of Elizabeth as a first name in honor of C’s roommate, with the nickname Lily/Lila? Or, Lilia (or they can spell it Lilya) is the Russian form of Lily — maybe they’d like that?

— Catherine absolutely fits really well. I think Cassandra could still use Katia as a nickname if she wanted to?

— Elizabeth: ditto, and it’s an entry in my book of Marian names, because of the Mystery of the Visitation. Eliza was a big style match for this family in my research, I wonder if they might like to consider it instead of the longer Elizabeth?

— Evelyn is lovely, and I think it goes well with the others, though I think it comes across as less saintly than the others. Though it’s not technically related to Eve, they could use it in that way for the Marian connection.

— Cecilia is a fantastic fit as well.

So I think Cassandra and her husband have some really great names on their list already! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the name they end up using is on their current list. But I can always come up with more ideas! 😂

You all know that I start my consultations by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this family, and in addition to Thomas, Theresa, David, Nadia, and the names on their list of considerations, I added Tess and Sarah (even though Cassandra said they wouldn’t use Sarah, it was a huge style match for them, so I thought I’d see what other names are style matches for it that I may not yet have come across). This is what I came up with:

Girl
(1) Natalia
Natalia was influenced both by the fact that it’s listed as a style match for Anastasia, and also that Natalie is a match for Nathan (and of course that it’s similar to Nathan/Nathaniel on their list). I like that it’s a Russian name that begins with an N, like Nadia — it might make for a nice connection between them. Natalia is a saint’s name, but it also ultimately comes from the Latin for Christmas (natale domini=birth of the Lord), which could be perfect for an almost-Advent baby.

(2) Susanna
This is actually my favorite suggestion for Cassandra and her hubs! I feel like Susanna fits the exact profile I’m thinking of when I talk about “bridge” names — it’s much rarer than Thomas, Theresa, and David, but I definitely think it fits in well with them. Anna was actually a good match for their style, being similar to Thomas, Clara, and Catherine, and the Russian Anna — Anya — is similar to Nadia, so Susanna gives them Anna but with a twist. I love it both as a sibling to Thomas, Theresa, and David, and specifically as a sister to Theresa, and I think it hangs equally well with Nadia. And it begins with an S, for C’s friend Sarah! It’s also an entry in my book, as Susanna means both “lily” and “rose”!

(3) Julia
Julia is a match for Elizabeth and Sarah and Juliet is a match for Felicity, so I liked the Julia family of names for this family, and thought Julia was more their speed than Juliet (though I love Juliet, so if they love it, I hope they go for it!). Julia is such a great name — perfect for a little girl and perfect for a grown woman, similar to how I think of Theresa.

(4) Lydia
Lydia is a match for Jonas, and as soon as I saw it I thought it felt like a good fit here. One of the things I’ve always loved about Lydia is that the biblical character was a seller of purple cloth, so a little Lydia would have her own color!

(5) Veronica
Veronica was only a match for Theresa, but I thought that was great, for sisters to share a style like that! And certainly Veronica goes with Nadia as well — in fact, Theresa, Nadia, and Veronica make a very pleasing set of sisters!

(6) Molly
Molly was influenced both by the fact that they’d intended to call Theresa Tess — and Molly is a style match for Tess — but also that it’s a variant of Mary, so it’s a way to have a Marian name without using a Mar- name.

Boy
(1) Samuel
I know Cassandra said that she might like to name a daughter after her friend Sarah, but I found myself on the lookout for S names in general, and then thought maybe she’d like to do SF (or SE?) initials no matter whether they have a boy or a girl? Samuel is a great name that’s biblical like Thomas and David, and the story of Samuel in the bible is a great one for anyone longing for a baby — after the loss of their little Nadia, Samuel could be the perfect name.

(2) Simon
Another S name, but I’m really loving Simon as a brother to Thomas, Theresa, and David — it makes the whole group seem extra sophisticated!

(3) Stephen
Last S name, I promise! It’s just that, I know two brother sets who are two generations apart named David and Stephen! That’s some classic staying power! And then I have uncles who are brothers named Thomas and David, so in my mind Thomas, David, and Stephen are fantastic brother names.

(4) John Paul
John Paul was a name that came to me outside of research (the BNW doesn’t even have an entry for John Paul) — I was really thinking of that “bridge” name idea, and John Paul feels like such a perfect one. John and Paul are both really similar in style to Thomas and David, but putting them together gives the whole thing a little bit of an edge (a saintly edge) and is definitely more unexpected. His name is an entry in my book of Marian names because of what a huge devotion St. John Paul had to her!

(5) Lukas
Lucas, Lukas, and Luke did really well for this family in my research, and of those I thought Lukas went more along the lines of what they’re looking for — the K spelling gives it a really international feel (which it is), but it’s still biblical like Thomas and David. It’s also an entry in my book of Marian names because his gospel is the most Marian and contains her Magnificat.

(6) Thaddeus, Theodore/Theo, Maximilian
Each of these names seemed SO perfect for this family until I realized something about them at the last minute! I thought maybe they don’t want another Th- name after Thomas and Theresa? But Thaddeus and Theodore are both matches for them, and there’s a particular Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty who has a brother named Thomas! And Theo is a match for Tess as well! And then I couldn’t not suggest Maximilian! It’s a match for Benedict and Seraphina, and friendly Max goes with almost every name. And St. Maximilian Kolbe! And I actually love Maximilian M___, but then I thought maybe Max M___ was too much? But maybe not! Maybe they’ll love Thaddeus, Theodore, and/or Maximilian! I couldn’t not mention them!

I also had a bunch of names that *almost* made the cut for this list and ultimately I decided not to include them, for whatever reason, but I thought I’d list them here just in case: Alexandra, Evangeline, Philomena, Naomi, Chloe, Phoebe, Tobias, and Caleb.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Thomas, Theresa, David, and Nadia?


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Little brother needs traditional + uncommon name

Jess and her husband are hoping to welcome a baby into their family via adoption this month! This baby will join big sister:

Josephine Jean (“a name that honors one grandpa and both grandmothers. We call her Josephine, Josie, and Posy.  I loved the Little Woman reference, the abundance of nicknames, and the strength/style of the name. I love that Jesus’ father is not quoted in the Bible and yet his actions speak his story. There are options for patron saints – Joseph, Josephine, and Joan of Arc“)

I love every bit of her name!!

Jess writes,

We are adopting a baby (prayers, please) in early October.  If this baby is a girl, we will name her Beatrice Louise or Magdalena Edith.  If the baby is a boy, we’re stuck.  We’d like to honor the remaining grandparent by including the name Edward or Anthony. We have a very Italian last name that starts with V and ends in LO. We gravitate towards strong, traditional, uncommon, and definitively masculine names. We used an app that synced the names that we both like and then narrowed it down. Our current list includes Alden, Cyrus, Everett, Roland, and Reuben.  We’ve considered Milo (sing song w/last name), Saul (too few syllables), Peregrine (patron saint of cancer), Gilbert, Vincent (Vinnie V-O sounds gangster), and Lucas (too popular).  

Alden. We like that it means old friend and that it was Neil Armstrong’s middle name. If we use Edward as a middle name, then the traditional initials aVe could be a slight Marian name harkening to Ave Maria! I read this in your book, but it seems like we are stretching it a bit. We are concerned that Alden may be confused with the more common Aiden.

Roland. Mike’s mom was French and Josephine and Roland seem have an unintended but pleasant French theme. Our extended family has been surprisingly positive about this name; we assumed they would think it was a bit out there. A possible nickname of Roly Poly, if the kid is a bit hefty, gives us pause.

Cyrus. Mike thinks this name is a bit serious and I don’t love the meaning of “throne.” It keeps popping back on the list though.

Reuben.  Mike worries this name is trendy and fears it will be the next Noah or Oliver. Even though I’m the one that advocated for this name for years, I am a bit concerned with the number of spelling variations and the sandwich connection.

Everett. I don’t love the fact that girls are flocking towards this name.

How would you order our list? What are your favorite combos? Why don’t we feel the WOW factor with any boy name? We could also use help with nickname options and recommendations on patron saints.”

These parents have such fun taste in names! I love both Beatrice Louise and Magdalena Edith, they’re lovely! And their boy list was a delight! Alden, Roland, Cyrus, Reuben, and Everett are mostly unexpected and little used, at least among my readers (especially the first four; I see Everett from time to time and have suggested it many times).

First I’ll go through and offer my reactions to and thoughts about each name, and then I’ll take a stab at ranking them afterward:

Alden: I love the aVe thing! Alden Edward is very handsome. I can see what Jess means about it being confused for Aiden, but I think that will only happen in writing — the nurse at the doctor’s office calling his name, for example, after reading it on his chart, or a teacher mis-saying his name on the first day of school. But to me, that’s a minor issue — out loud, it doesn’t sound much like Aiden at all, I don’t think, and even with those who flub it based on seeing it written, all they need is to be firmly corrected, just like most people have to do with their names for one reason or another. One thing to note is that, when I looked it up on behindthename.com to see what it means, what nickname options there are, and what people think about it via the comments, it seems that it’s occasionally used for girls, and since that’s one of Jess’ hesitations about Everett, perhaps that will help her and her hubby cross it off their list. Nickname-wise, I immediately think Al, but the babynamewizard site lists Aldie, Ollie, and Denny as possible nicknames too, all of which I can see. I couldn’t find a patron saint for Alden, so it would come from the middle name — there are some great Sts. Edward and Anthony.

Roland: I like their reasoning here! The French connection is really cool, and the fact that their family likes it. I wouldn’t worry about the “roly poly” nickname  — kids will always come up with mean nicknames if they’re determined to do so, no matter the name. I could see Role, Rollo, Roldo as nicknames; they could also do Rolly (rhymes with Molly), which could remove it from the “roly poly” sound. It looks like there’s a Bl. Nicolas Roland and a Bl. Roland Chézery who could be patrons.

Cyrus: Behindthename.com says Cyrus means “lord,” though I don’t know if Jess and her hubs will like that better than “throne” or not? A name with a similar meaning is Dominic, meaning “of the Lord,” which reminds me of Vincent with its Italian feel (but like with Vincent, not exclusively Italian) and goes quite well with their girl names — maybe they’d like to consider Dominic? If so, I love Dominic Edward — using Anthony would reinforce the Italian connection, which Edward tempers it a bit, I think, which I sense Jess and her husband might like, since they like the French-ness of Josephine. Another that I thought might be perfect is Silas — it sounds like Cyrus and has a great meaning, including maybe being the Greek form of Saul, which would be like giving them Saul, but with more syllables! Additionally, I looked up all the names they like/are considering (both boy and girl names), as well as Josephine, in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Silas was listed as a match for Lucas; Peregrine and Magdalena weren’t in the BNW so I looked them up in the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site and matches for them also included Silas for Magdalena and Silvanus (which behindthename says Silas is probably a short form of) for Peregrine. Wow! If they like the Silas idea, I love both Silas Anthony and Silas Edward. Si is a really sweet nickname, I’ve always liked it. St. Silas is a pretty great patron I think!

Reuben: Interesting that Jess’ hubby thinks this name will be the next Noah or Oliver! I checked the stats on the SSA site and Reuben — that spelling — was at no. 927 and was on a downward trend after a small (very small) increase in popularity over the last couple of years (it increased from 961 in 2012 to a peak of 845 in 2014 before heading down again). The spelling Ruben, which is the French and Spanish spelling, among others, is much popular: it was no. 415 in 2018, but is also on a downward slope as it has been since its peak at 165 in 1980. Based on this info, it doesn’t look like it’ll become trendy any time soon. One of the families on the blog named their son Reuben, and he’s the cutest! Ben is such a great nickname and a natural one for Reuben; Rube is the most natural way to shorten it, I think, but a “rube” isn’t something most people want to be. They could do Roo though, especially at home and when he’s tiny, so cute! The only holy Reuben I could find is Bl. Rubén de Jesús López Aguilar, and of course it’s biblical too.

Everett: A great name. If they don’t like it being used by girls, though, I would recommend crossing it off the list — at this point, they have so many great names that I think whittling down the list would be helpful. Jess and her hubs might find that doing so allows *the* name to rise to the surface naturally. Otherwise, I like Ev as a nickname, and Rett. Everett is a variant of Everard, according to the behindthename, and there are some Sts. Everard that they could choose as patron. Another idea I had, based on Vincent and V sound in Everett is Victor — it’s a style match for Vincent, but doesn’t have the Vinnie problem. Victor/Vic has been on my own list for a long time. Victor Anthony and Victor Edward both sound quite nice. But maybe it’s too many V’s?

Alright, so after thinking a bit about these names, I think I would probably order them this way, with my favorite at the top:

Roland Anthony
Cyrus Anthony or Cyrus Edward (prefer Silas Anthony or Silas Edward)
Reuben Anthony or Reuben Edward
Alden Anthony or Alden Edward
Everett Anthony
(I didn’t think Edward went as well with Roland and Everett)

I also had a few other ideas based on the names they like — I mentioned that I looked up their names in the BNW, and I looked for names that were listed as similar to more than one of their names, and a few jumped out:

Emmett (Cyrus, Everett)
Jasper (Cyrus, Milo, Josephine)
August (Everett, Josephine)
Felix (Everett, Milo, Beatrice)
Oscar (Milo, Magdalena)
Ezra (Milo, Saul)

The names in parentheses are those that listed the name as style matches. Pretty great, right? I do think Alden, Roland, Cyrus, and Reuben are more distinctive, unexpected, and rare than the names here, but I love them all and if Jess and her husband did too I think they could be great for their little boy.

I also wondered if they considered Miles instead of Milo?

And those are my thoughts! What do you all think? How would you rank the names Jess and her husband are considering? What other name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Josephine/Josie/Posy?


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Theodore Luke!

I posted a consultation for MaryEllen and her husband back in June, and she’s let me know their little boy has arrived and been giving the so-handsome name … Theodore Luke!

MaryEllen writes,

Theodore Luke was born on September 1. Our consultation with you sparked great conversation between [husband] & I.”

I just have to interrupt to say — this is what I hope for! It makes me so so happy that my thoughts/ideas/suggestions helped these parents come up with the name they love!

It was important to me that our son either have Tyler as a middle name or Tyler’s initials. We were drawn to Theodore because it means ‘gift of God’ & we came to discover that there was a St. Theodore who was martyred in the 4th century! Additionally, we were drawn to Luke because he wrote the Gospel where the prayers said during Liturgy of the Hours are drawn from.”

I love all these reasons, and Theodore Luke is SUCH a great combination!

Congratulations to MaryEllen and Tyler, and happy birthday Baby Theodore!!


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Reading round-up: Naming twins, celebrity babies, and correct pronunciation(s) of Elisha

A few things to share with you all:

My CatholicMom column posted today, which was the result of two readers telling me that they had a hard time finding good resources for naming their twins. So I compiled all the resources and advice I’ve come across when doing consultations for parents expecting twins (except for one thing, which I only remembered after I’d already submitted the article, and which I’ve found helpful: Name the babies as if they were singletons. That is, name Baby B what you would have named him/her if born two years after Baby A): Naming Catholic Twins and Multiples.

catholicmom_screen_shot-10.16.19

There’s also the following celebrity baby news:

— Mario Lopez and his wife had their third baby a few months ago and named him … Santino Rafael, nicknamed Sonny! I loooove Santino nn Sonny!!

— I’ve written about Rachel Campos-Duffy’s family before (here and here), and she recently had their ninth baby! A beautiful baby girl named … Valentina StellaMaris! She has Down Syndrome and a heart condition, which will require surgery in the near future, so extra prayers are needed for her family in this time of adjusting to life with a newborn and one with special needs. I’ve been so moved by their love for her, even before she was born — dad Sean resigned from his job representing Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District when they found out the baby would need open heart surgery after birth, and mom Rachel reports that, now that Valentina’s here, “When we visit with her at the hospital, the kids [who range in age from 3 to 20!] fight over who can hold her.” ❤ ❤ ❤

— I posted this about the Alec and Hilaria Baldwin family on Instagram a couple of years ago, when they had three children together:

baldwin

They’ve since had another baby (in 2018), and sadly suffered a miscarriage this past spring, and just announced they’re expecting another baby — a little girl! (I think people are going to continue to think that they’re Catholic! 😂)

Finally, I kind of loved this article by Jimmy Akin on the proper pronunciation of Elisha — lots of good info here about Standard English pronunciations and Hebrew pronunciations, all done in the kind of ranty way only someone who loves language would rant. I learned a lot! One pronunciation he didn’t mention, though, is the one I usually hear at church: eh-LEE-sha (like Alicia) — I didn’t even know of the ee-LIE-shah pronunciation until I was an adult! How about the rest of you?

That’s all for now! It’s almost the weekend! Hang in there!


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name needed for a little sister in an established Mary+ theme

Dana and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little green bean! He or she joins big sister:

Mary Elise

Which I love — Mary Elise is so lovely and feminine and sweet, and I love that it ties together Mary and Elizabeth, which makes it a very “Visitation” name to me!

Dana writes,

We are expecting baby #2 at the end of January. We don’t know what the gender will be, but we know that if it’s a boy, we will name him after my husband, Michael Gabriel, so we don’t need boy names. But we are stuck on girl names! Our daughter is named Mary Elise, which we looved and agreed on right away, so other girl names don’t quite seem to measure up!

We also plan on naming all of our daughters “Mary (something)” as their first name, which is a Filipino tradition (my husband’s background) and I love it! Though we also plan on just calling each daughter by the second part of her name. All that to say, I guess the name should flow with Mary, but maybe not? Because she probably wouldn’t go by “Mary ” very often, if ever.

In general, I think we prefer traditional names, with an obvious Catholic/religious feel. We seem to like a lot of saint names or biblical names. Neither of us is very keen on modern names. We’re also hoping for something that isn’t too common but not unheard of (which is one of the reasons why I like Elise so much). And we’d love to have a name with nickname options! Anyway, I hope that’s helpful. Here are two names that we are leaning toward:

Madeleine- probably at the top of our list right now, has a French feel like Elise does, probably go by Maddie.
Theresa/Therese- I’m thinking Mary Therese sounds better than Mary Theresa? Probably call her Tess or Reese.
Catherine- has to be with a “C,” per husband’s request, would call her Catie/Cate. For some reason I much prefer it with a K, though!

Names that I like but my husband doesn’t:
– Christine/Christina
– Evangeline – love the meaning and the French sounding name
– Regina
– Grace- again, my husband knew a Mary Grace…
– Frances

Names that my husband likes but I’m not a huge fan of:
– Jane
– Bernadette

We’ve also considered Margaret but aren’t sure about it. Also Laura but not sure how it could be tied to the faith, or if it flows with Mary.

I was reading old blog posts of yours and came across the name Immaculee. We both really like the name, but it seems a little too Catholicky to me, if you know what I mean haha. Just thought I’d throw that in the mix. Maybe you have some nickname suggestions that would make it a little less obviously Catholic? Not a big fan of “Layla” and Leia is a little too reminiscent of Star Wars 😛

Names that are off the table for one reason or another:
– Claire
– Caroline
– Cecilia (this rhymes with our last name, haha!)
– Josephine
– Rose
– Zelie
– Elisabeth/Elizabeth (Elise is a derivative of this)
– Michaela (too close to Michael if we ever have a boy)

That’s about all I can think of! Also, I know I mentioned that we’ll name a boy after my husband, but even if this isn’t a boy, if we ever have a boy, the first one will be named Michael Gabriel (just as an fyi if that helps for sibling/style matching).”

I love so much that Dana and her husband want to continue the Mary + [something] theme with their daughters! It’s a traditional Catholic custom, so I’m not surprised that Filipino families have taken it as their own! I also love Michael Gabriel, such strong patrons!

Dana’s question about whether the given name should flow with Mary is a great one. Since she said her daughter will likely never go by Mary MiddleName, but always by MiddleName, it certainly isn’t as important. The question reminded me of a post I did a while ago called “Repeating Mary,” in which I included stories others had told me of families they knew (or sometimes their own families) where all/most/many of the daughters had a form of Mary in their names, and one of them said, “The obstetrician that delivered me had a very large, very Catholic family, and had six or seven daughters all named Mary. Of course, they weren’t JUST named Mary, they were Mary X, but one of them was Mary Mary!” I laughed and laughed over that one!

So yes, I think Dana and her hubs can be free of the worry that the chosen name might not “go” with Mary as well as they might like. Of the names she mentioned that they’re considering, I think Laura might be the only one that inches toward that issue (which Dana herself had mentioned), but even still, I actually think Mary Laura sounds fine.

As for the other names they’re considering, a few thoughts:

— Madeleine: Gorgeous, French, great patron saint, great nickname. I love it!

— Theresa/Therese: I actually like both Mary Therese and Mary Theresa! Tess is one of my favorite nicknames, and Reese is so sweet as well!

— Catherine: The “C” spelling is the French one, so I like Catherine as Elise’s sister (despite being a Katherine myself)! That said, Catherine called Kate is traditional: for two examples, Princess Kate is Catherine, and I grew up with a Catherine who went by Kate, so they could totally do Mary Catherine called Kate or Katie if they want! That might be a nice way of finding a compromise between Dana’s preferences and her hubby’s preferences?

— Christina/Christine: I love these as well.

— Evangeline: Ditto.

— Regina: I wonder if the Regina variants Reina (RAY-na) or Reine (REN) might appeal to Dana and her husband? They both mean “queen,” like Regina.

— Grace: If Grace is problematic from an association standpoint (is the Grace Dana’s husband knew an ex-girlfriend? A horrible boss?), it’s probably best to cross this one off the list?

— Frances: This one has been growing on me so much recently, it strikes me as both dignified and sweet (especially the nicknames).

— Jane: Mary Jane is certainly a classic!

— Bernadette: I love the French-ness with Elise.

— Margaret: Mary Margaret is another classic! I love Margaret’s many nicknames: Meg, Maggie, Maisie, Daisy, Greta, Rita.

— Laura: There are actually a few holy Lauras they can turn to as patron! Two saints and two blesseds. Alternately, I was wondering if they’ve considered Loretta? Behind the Name says Loretta may be a variant of Lauretta, which is an Italian diminutive of Laura, so Loretta could take the Laura patrons if they wanted. Or, I’ve always known Loretta to be a Marian name, after Loreto, where the Holy House of Nazareth is, as well as the name of the Marian prayer Litany of Loreto. My grandmother was Mary Loretta, and she went by Rett or Retta; I also recently did a consultation for a family who was considering Loretta with Lola as a nickname.

— Immaculee: I love this one too! Dana’s right, it *is* very Catholicky! Choosing a nickname that makes it less obvious is a perfect solution, and what I would have suggested if she didn’t already mention it. Imma is one I’ve seen — so similar to Emma, and maybe Imogens go by Imma as well? Or Immy? I actually think Dana’s idea of Layla is brilliant, I’m going to remember that one to suggest to other parents who might be interested in Immaculee! I could see Mae working, or Leah/Lea/Lia (rather than Leia; I think it can work even though the LEE-a pronunciation is different than im-mac-yoo-LAY … although — are Elise and Leah too much “lee” sound?), or Mac/Mackey (I have a girl cousin who goes by Mackey and it’s SO CUTE on her!). Figuring out a “mashup” nickname from Mary+Immaculee might be a great idea here too — maybe Mimi or Mim. Or ooh, maybe Molly? Molly’s a variant of Mary anyway — it started as a diminutive of Mary, and I do know someone named Mary who goes by Molly — and I especially like it with the M of Mary and the “lee” of Immaculee. And Molly is a style match for this family according to my research! (More on that below.) I’d love to know what other nickname ideas you all have, especially if you’ve heard them on Immaculees in real life.

So I think Dana and her hubs have a great list! If they were to choose a name from one of these, I think they’d be happy with it! But of course, I can always come up with more ideas! I did my usual research, where I look up the name the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that, these are my additional ideas for this baby, if a girl:

(1) Camille
Camille wasn’t as great a style match for this family as some of my other suggestions — in fact, it’s a match for only one of the names that they like — but that one name is Elise, so I thought that counted for a whole lot! Camille is such a pretty name, and it’s French, like Elise, which is so pleasing. Despite its feminine vibe, it’s actually both a masculine and feminine name in French, a form of Camilla, so patrons include both the male St. Camillus of Lellis and the female Bl. Camilla Gentili. Cammie is a sweet nickname.

(2) Annette (or Anne, Anna, Hannah)
I kept coming across Anne names in my research, and while Mary Anne is a classic, I felt like maybe they’re looking for something a little more … sparkly? I could be wrong! And Mary Anne is great! And Anne is the French spelling, and it’s a trim, sophisticated name with the awesome nickname Annie. But when I saw Annette listed as a match for Regina, it just felt pretty cool to me. Mary Elise and Mary Annette. They could still use Annie as a nickname, or just Anne. Anna and Hannah were other Anne names that were listed as similar to some of the names they like, and Mary Anna and Mary Hannah are both lovely as well.

(3) Abigail
Abigail is a match for Gabriel and Madeleine, and Abby is a match for Kate and Maddie, so it made sense to include Abigail in this list! I think Mary Abigail is an unexpected pairing, and Abby is such a sweet nickname. There is a St. Gobnata, who is also known as Abigail, and there’s Abigail the Matriarch from the Old Testament, who does have a memorial feast day according to the Church.

(4) Hope
A Mini consultation is normally for three names, but I wanted to be sure to include Hope in the list, so they got a bonus name! I was surprised at what a great match it is according to the BNW, being listed as similar to Elise (which is such a big deal I think), Kate, and Grace. My one tiny reservation is that Hope with their last name, which begins with a P, could run together if they’re not careful about enunciating. My name is Kate Towne, which has been heard as Kay Towne by more people than I can count through my life, so normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me when suggesting names to parents, except that Ho P___ could be problematic. Maybe not! Careful enunciation could solve the problem! (I introduce myself as KaTE [space] Towne, emphasizing that T in what feels like an unnatural way and offering just the slightest pause between first and last names, but it works!) I just want to be sure to warn the parents of that possibility.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Mary Elise, who will go by her middle name exclusively?


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 expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!