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!

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I signed up for WordAds a while ago to generate a little income from the blog, but I’ve heard from a few of you recently about issues with the ads (inappropriate ads, cluttered posts that make them difficult to read, etc.) and I’ve decided to cancel the ads — they didn’t bring in enough to justify the distractions and I dearly want the content here to bless you readers and help you and your families. And I don’t want the consultation posts to suffer either — I know the parents look forward to your feedback! If any of you were put off from commenting on Amy’s consultation on Monday because of the ads, please take a fresh look!

Hopefully you all have a better experience here going forward! ❤ ❤ ❤


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: Third consultation with all new name ideas for little green bean

Happy feast of Our Lady of the Rosary!! It’s such a great feast day!! (I have a bunch of names for this title of hers in my book, including Rosary itself — like this little lady!)

Today’s consultation is for a repeat customer! My friend Amy has been one of my longest readers and has contributed so much to my knowledge of the beautiful names of our faith through her comments on posts and emails to me over the years — in fact, I included one of her name ideas, Marian Fiat, in my book! I had the great privilege of doing a consultation for her second baby (and birth announcement) and a consultation for her third baby (and birth announcement), and I posted her explanation of how name signs are bestowed for those who use American Sign Language, and now I’m delighted to post this consultation for her fourth baby on earth, a little green bean!

This little joins big sibs:

Kristy Marie (after Jesus and Mary, with honor to God first in the firstborn)
Martin Kane II (goes by Kane)
Molly Victoria (speaking of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary — it used be known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory, and Amy loves that Molly’s middle name can also be for Our Lady of Victory!)
Joey Angel (died almost exactly a year ago at 9 weeks, miscarried at 11 weeks)

I love each one of these names and the reasons behind them, which Amy explained in her previous posts — she and her hubby have done an amazing job!!

Amy writes,

So we have a lot of hard hitting bases covered. Named after God, Mary, a saint, family, people we want honor/emulate, etc. So I feel like we are starting into territory that we may have more freedom to just pick something we like. However, I still really like having a name that has deep significance. In general, I feel like I have more criteria ideas than actual name ideas. But here is what I have so far.

For both a boy name and a girl name:

— I don’t want to start with a K or a hard C sound (like Catherine)

— After K, K, M, doing another K would leave Molly out and set us up for a pattern I don’t really want (all or a lot of Ks). I want to move away from it.

— I might want to avoid a y ending

— This is kind of opposite of the 1st criteria — Kane is pretty much the only one without a y ending (Marty, Amy, Kristy, Molly, Joey, even the dog Lucy). It would be nice to move away from this pattern too.

— Maybe start with M or A or even a J?

— Kristy and Kane, Molly and M____ have a nice ring. Or even teams on the initials — Kristy/Kane, Marty/Molly, Amy/A___. Or subtle, almost hidden patterns with the initials – K, K, M, M, J, J (Kristy Kane Martin Molly Joey J___)

— Normal/common/familiar name and spelling, that is not popular or rising in popularity. I like unique names and spellings! Plus the whole point of a name is to distinguish one person from another! But… I don’t want it to be a burden. I don’t want negative reactions to them (You named them what? Seriously? That is a weird name. etc.), always needing to correct people or spell it for them or being difficult for others to pronounce, and I don’t want them to be one of 4 kids in the same class/grade with the same name saddled with their last initial (Emma A. Emma B.). Besides I think I have seen research that shows people with more common names generally have better luck, they are hired more easily or considered for promotion more, taken more seriously, etc. I think try avoid top 100, maybe 200. In addition to this, we accidentally picked names that we realized have multiple spelling options (in Kristy and Kane, even Molly) and I don’t like how people can get them wrong.

— No gender neutral names — I reserve these for miscarried babies that we don’t know gender … It is similar to the familiar criteria point — I want it easier for my kid, not making people wonder or assume when they see the name in print if it matches the person (substitute at school: Jordan? Is he here today? No SHE is not)

— I tend to want a name you almost can’t nickname. I know this one makes you a bit sad 😉 But I want my babies to be called what we named them, that is why we picked that name. Granted, we kind of do this with Kane. Technically his first name is Martin and I am always correcting people like doctor’s offices and it’s a pain (breaking the common criteria point).

— My husband sent me an article where he found the patron saint of handgunners (Italian guy). We have never really considered patron saints before. That might be a good idea! I am a teacher of the deaf (and deaf myself), husband is a gunsmith and kung fu instructor. I don’t know if you would find anything down those lines… 🙂

For a boy name:

— Clearly masculine. Goes with the gender neutral point. A strong name, not soft

— [Husband] considers Craig for a middle, and maybe Adam Craig, after his dad Martin Craig, who goes by Craig. And sort of his brother, Andrew Craig. Plus we seem to have Craigs in the family — “gotta have it!” But I feel like we already named after his dad in Kane. However, I probably don’t mind it being in the more hidden middle spot. Besides he is a great man. The Adam Craig idea he came up with combining our 2 brothers (mine is Adam James) and makes for a cool nickname (ACE) from the initials, plus goes with the A initial criteria idea. 

— I have always considered Lincoln for a middle. It was my grandpa’s name on my mom’s side (Donald Lincoln) and I just think it sounds cool. Not sure I like it enough for the first name spot or if it matches our others for a first name plus it is rising in popularity pretty quick from what I see.

— James or Magnus? We considered James Magnus in the hospital with Kane and wanted to call him Magnus. Has the M or the J from the initial criteria point. James is my dad (and hero), but we already named after my mom (Vicky) in Molly … maybe a middle? There is already a James at the baby sitters. Magnus is strong, but is it too unfamiliar? Not sure if husband still likes this idea (he was the one who brought up Magnus before).

For a girl name:

— Clearly feminine. Goes with the gender neutral point. A pretty name. 

— I have always had Marian Fiat on my list, is it still there?? For reasons you know. Although, I am not feeling as strong about it this time around. But is still just so awesome! Fits the M criteria idea.

— Some form of Nell? After a dearly beloved person — Lynelle. She was my aunt, Godmother, confirmation sponsor, confidant, maid of honor and Kristy’s Godmother who passed away just after Christmas a few years ago. We called her Nellie … I would love to find a way to name after her, maybe in a middle spot? She was just so special to me and never had children of her own (although I gave her Joey). Husband isn’t feeling it (Nell).

— A form of Mary in there somewhere? Pretty sure you can help me out in this realm 😉 Both our girls have a form of Mary, might be fun to continue the trend if a girl, even if it isn’t obvious. Marian would tick that box

 

I liked how Amy said that they’ve already covered “a lot of hard hitting bases” and now she feels like they might have more freedom to pick something they like. But then again, Amy said she likes having names with deep significance, and that’s something I kept coming to as well — I feel like she wouldn’t be content with a name that merely fits her style, she’ll want it to have layers of meaning like her other kids’ names do. So that made it an extra challenge for me, and affected my strategy: I basically looked for names that seemed like they’d fit Amy and her hubby’s style and that start with M, J, or A and don’t end in the y sound (and that were Marian, for a girl), and then I tried to backfit meaning into them. It’s not a bad strategy — I’ve used it when naming my own kids — hopefully it works well in terms of offering Amy ideas that she likes!

I also loved that Amy stated that she likes unique names and spellings — good for her to just own it! But I also love that she acknowledges that choosing unique names/spellings could be hard for one’s child. I think she has a great, balanced mindset here.

I laughed when Amy said she’d prefer a name that can’t be nicknamed, and then followed it with “I know this one makes you a bit sad”! Haha! Well, you all know I do love a good nickname, but if parents prefer no nicknames, that’s fine with me! I only ever want to help parents find names *they* like, no matter what I think.

As for the names Amy and her hubs are considering:

— I like Adam Craig for all the positive reasons Amy listed, but if she doesn’t love it then I think it should be crossed off the list, in order to help them whittle it down.

— I loved James Magnus when Amy was pregnant with Molly, and I can see it having extra significance this time around, with the J matching up with Joey’s initial and the M with Molly’s — especially if he went by his middle name, like Kane does. Then they’d have Kristy, Kane, Molly, and Magnus, which has a really pleasing rhythm. If James is problematic, though, because popularity/there’s a James at the babysitter’s/they already honored Amy’s parents with her mom’s name as Molly’s middle, maybe a different J name? I have some ideas below.

— I love the name Lincoln anyway, and the fact that it’s a family name for Amy is so great! As she noted, it has had a pretty steep rise in popularity and at no. 40 is far more popular than what Amy said she’d like. But as a middle name I think it’s perfect — unexpected and so cool.

— I still love Marian Fiat! I just love that it makes a phrase, while still being a name, you know? But maybe a different Marian name in the first name spot would be enough to freshen it up for Amy?

— I love Amy’s idea of honoring her Lynelle, and using Nell as the way to do so is a great idea. Some names that take Nell as a nickname or are contained within the name include Helen, Helena, Elena, Eleanor (which Amy had said in one of the previous consultations that her dad had suggested, along with Ellison), Ellen, and Elizabeth — in fact, “Nell” is a traditional nickname for any name beginning with El, as people used to say “mine El,” which shifted to “my Nell.” I remember from Molly’s consultation that Amy had a friend named Ellen who’d passed away, and Marty’s mom’s middle name is Ellen, and Amy also mentioned maybe Elizabeth for her Grandma Betty — Ellen or Elizabeth could be perfect candidates for middle names for all those reasons. I also came across Antonella and Marinella — both are Italian names, with the former being a feminine form of Anthony and the latter an elaboration of Marina. And Marianella is the name of the Italian town where St. Alphonsus Liguori was born. These three names seem bigger than what Amy would like as a first name, but they’d be great in the middle spot; additionally, Amy said in the past she might like a nod to her Italian heritage, and these would certainly do it! Both Marinella and Marianella would include the Marian element, and they’re also both similar to Marielle, which Amy had previously said Marty had suggested when she was pregnant with Kristy.

I spent quite a bit of time looking back at the consultations for Kane and Molly and the comments on the posts as well, and wanted to be sure to mention the following names as ones I think Amy and her hubs might like to revisit (some are ideas Amy mentioned before, and some are ones I previously suggested that I still think are good ideas):

— Alice or Elise: Amy had mentioned considering Alice for Kristy and the Spanish pronunciation ah-LEES — I like that Alice starts with an A, like Amy’s name and Joey’s middle, and I like that Elise is one of those El names that Nell could be a nickname for and has that same pronunciation as the Spanish Alice. Elise is a French form of Elizabeth, so that could be for Grandma Betty too.

— Samuel: I love the name Samuel, and the story of Hannah and Samuel in the bible is a great one of a mother longing for a baby and having her prayer answered — it might be particularly meaningful after the loss of Joey. Additionally, Amy said she might like to work gunsmith info into the name — Samuel Colt is the guy for whom the firearm company is named, so Samuel could be a subtle but real nod to Marty’s profession!

— Vincent: I really like Vincent for them, as it has that Italian feel, and Amy had mentioned previously that they were close to a priest named Fr. Vince.

— Mandy: My favorite suggestion for Kane if he’d been a girl was Amanda Victoria — that was when Amy was thinking of AVE initials. I thought Mandy was a great fit as Kristy’s sister, and I continue to think it’s a great fit for Kristy, Kane, and Molly’s sister. The full Amanda means “beloved,” which is awesome — and is the same meaning as Amy’s name! — and Mandy also retains that meaning. I’m including Mandy here instead of Amanda because Amy doesn’t want a nicknameable name, if possible, and the M of Mandy fits with her hope for an A, J, or M name. I know it ends in Y, but they could use Manda instead if they prefer?

— Joanna/Johanna, Gianna: I’d previously suggested Joanna, and Amy said she prefers Johanna — I like them both! They’re J names, which fits what Amy’s looking for; they’re variants of John, which is Amy’s dad’s middle name; and they can nod to Marty’s grandmother Joan! I do wonder thought if the Jo- sound is too similar to Joey’s? Amy had also previously said she likes the name Gianna; while it doesn’t have the J initial, it does have the J sound, and it’s the Italian variant of Joanna/Johanna, and gets away from the possibly problematic Jo- sound, so it might be perfect!

— Jason: I suggested Jason for Kane and Amy didn’t love it then, but I continue to think it fits well with her other kids’ names, and I love that it’s biblical too. I know Amy doesn’t want nicknames, but Jay is a great one. (Ooh — I wonder if they would consider Jay as a given name?? I like that!!)

— Amelie, Emily, Amelia: A reader suggested Amelie for Molly, which Amy said she likes, and she also said she likes Amelia, as it could be a tribute to her, and Emily was a name that Amy had listed as a possibility in the past as well. Of these, only Amelia doesn’t end in the Y sound — it’s a beautiful A name!

— Jenna, Jemma: This was actually on my list of names to suggest this time around, and then I saw that Kristy’s favorite name for when Amy was pregnant with Molly (I think) was Jenna from Balto! Haha! I think it would be worth considering — it begins with a J and doesn’t end in a Y, I like it! Similarly, I’d suggested Gemma for them in the past, which Amy didn’t care for, but I thought maybe she’d changed her mind, especially if they spell it Jemma, so as to get that J in there.

— Calabria nn Callie: This was a name Amy had emailed me about outside of the previous consultations, which is an amazing name connected to her Italian heritage — I loved that she was considering it last time, and wondered if she still is? I love Callie with her kids’ names too, but is it too similar to Molly? And it begins with that hard K sound, so it’s probably off the table (at least for now), right?

Alrighty, on to new ideas! Coming up with new ideas was hard! Having done it twice already with similar criteria, I was starting to feel like I had nothing new to offer! But I came up with a few ideas that I’m kind of excited about:

Girl
(1) Justine (or Justina)
Justine is the name I’m most excited about for Amy and her hubs! I knew both a little Justina and a little Justine when I was younger and they were so darling, so I have all good associations with these otherwise pretty rare names (Justine dropped out of the top 1000 in 2009 and Justina dropped out in 2000). Of the two, Justine is my favorite for this family because it’s two syllables, like Kristy and Molly (kind of nice for sisters to share that! Thought certainly not necessary), and doesn’t have a natural nickname as far as I know. It begins with a J, has a great meaning (“just”), and there are actually several saints named Justina, who of course would be patron for a Justine. If they prefer Justina though, I love that too!

(2) Jillian (or Jill?)
For some of my research, I just perused the A, M, and J sections of the Baby Name Wizard to see if anything jumped out at me, and Jillian did! It’s actually a variant of Julian, which is where a patron saint would come from, but I think stylistically more the kind of name Amy would like. I’m hearing it a bit more here and there—Kristin from One Hail Mary at a Time named her baby Jillian Rose, for one example—but it ranked no. 735 in 2018 and is dropping. Lillian and Vivian were two names that did well for this family in my research, but I thought they were more popular than Amy would like — Jillian has their sounds without their popularity. Even as I write this though, I’m thinking Jill might be even more Amy’s style — not only does it have the same patron saint options as Jillian, but it dropped out of the top 1000 in 2001, which I know she’ll like!

(3) Maeve
This is another name that jumped out at me as I was looking through the BNW, because it begins with an M, because it’s one syllable (which I thought Amy might like, as a complement to Kane), because it has the long A sound like Amy and Kane, and because its meaning, given by Baby Names of Ireland as “the cause of great joy,” is why I included it in my book (because of Our Lady’s title “Cause of Our Joy”) — it seemed like the perfect meaning after the loss of Joey. It was no. 334 in 2018, so it fits Amy’s criteria of not in the top 100 or even 200.

(4) Megan
Kristy, Molly, and Megan seem like such perfect sister names to me — Megan was yet another one that jumped out at me. It was no. 545 in 2018 and is dropping, which makes it great popularity-wise for them, and it’s a form of Margaret, which is where the patron saint would come from. I think it’s a great option!

(5) Emilia
I didn’t include this with the Amelie/Emily/Amelia names above because I didn’t want it to get lost, and I don’t think we discussed it before. Emilia’s the Italian variant of Emily, and sounds like Amelia, I thought Amy might like it! It’s also John Paul’s mom’s name!

(6) Tess or Tessa
I know Tess and Tessa don’t start with the desired A, M, or J, but I really like them with Kristy, Kane, and Molly, so I thought I’d include them anyway, just in case. I like that Tess is one syllable, like Kane, and that Tessa is two syllables, like Kristy and Molly, and that neither one end in the Y sound. They’re derived from Theresa, so any of the holy Theresas can be patron.

(7) Barbara
I’m not sure if I think Amy will like Barbara or not, but St. Barbara is the patron of ammunition workers, artillerymen, and gunners, so I thought she might like to consider it, since she said she and Marty might like to consider patron saints of gunsmiths. Kendra Tierney just named her baby girl Barbara Josephine, and it’s actually never been out of the top 1000, though it’s at its all-time low right now at no. 930. Could be perfect for this family! If not as a first name, maybe as a middle?

(8) Mercy
My last girl idea for Amy and her hubs is Mercy, another one of the names that jumped out at me during my research because it begins with M and it’s got such great faith connections (Our Lady of Mercy, Divine Mercy). I know it ends in Y, and it’s a bit unusual for a first name, but not unheard of (Mercy and its variants were big among the Sancta Nomina families during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, for example).

Boy
(1) Jacoby (or Jake)
One of the things that constantly stymied me when I was compiling the list of names that I thought Amy might like was popularity — so many times I’d think I’ve found a perfect name, only to discover it’s way more popular than she’d like. Jacoby was actually inspired by Amy’s previous idea of James Magnus and how James would be for her dad, but even though in the James Magnus scenario they were intending to call him Magnus, I still thought Amy’s dad was good inspiration. I actually loved the idea of Jamie for this family, except that Amy said she wanted gender-specific names. James is way too popular, at no. 4, but its Hebrew counterpart Jacob only dropped out of the top ten in 2017 after years at no. 1, so that didn’t seem a good idea. Then I saw Jacoby in my research and thought maybe? It ends in Y unfortunately, but otherwise I think it’s pretty cool and unexpected. Or maybe they’d like just Jake as a given name? I love Jake, love love love, and as a given name it’s only no. 262.

(2) Justin
Justin is a pretty big style match for this family, and St. Justin Martyr is pretty cool. Whether they prefer Justine/a for a girl or Justin for a boy, I like this family of name for them!

(3) Phillip
Philip is a style match for Martin, and even though Kane doesn’t go by his first name, I still thought it would be interesting to include a Martin match. I love Philip! St. Philip Neri is pretty awesome. Then, when I was looking back at mine and Amy’s emails and the other consultations I did for her, I saw that Phillip is a relative’s name — a grandfather’s name, I believe. I also liked that PJ is a family nickname for Amy — maybe something like Phillip James for the grandfather and Amy’s dad would be perfect, with that extra nod to Amy herself?

(4) Gabriel (or Gabe?)
Amy said Marty told her about the patron saint of handgunners, and after doing some research I think he must have discovered St. Gabriel Possenti, also known as St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. As far as I can tell, he’s not actually the patron saint of handgunners — there’s been a push to have him so named, but the Church has not complied — but he’s a great saint regardless! The connection to Our Lady of Sorrows might be a nice nod to Joey, I really like that. I love the name Gabriel and think it could work with Kristy, Kane, and Molly, but if they wanted to use just Gabe, I actually like that too! Kristy, Kane, Molly, and Gabe … I like that Gabe is one syllable like Kane and has that long A like Kane and Amy.

(5) Francis (Frank?)
In addition to handgunners/gunsmiths (and kung fu or martial arts, neither of which I could find patron saints for), Amy also asked about patron saints of the deaf  — there are a few, with St. Francis de Sales being the most well known I think. AND the birth name of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows is Francis Possenti! Two for one patron saints! They could certainly use Francis as a first or a middle, but maybe Frank is more their speed?

(6) Jay
Finally, I know I mentioned this above, but I wanted to mention it again so it doesn’t get lost in the conversation: The more I think about it, the more I like the name Jay for this family! I like that it’s one syllable like Kane, with the long A like Kane and Amy. There’s no possible nickname, and though it ends in Y it doesn’t end in the Y sound. It can cover all the J-named people they might like to honor too!

And those are all my ideas for Amy’s little one! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Kristy, Kane, Molly, and Joey, taking into account all the things Amy both likes and dislikes?


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: Cl3m3nt Mich@el!

A longtime reader has let me know that she’s had her second son, and given him the so-handsome name … Cl3m3nt Mich@el! (Alt characters used at the mama’s request, for privacy.)

She writes,

You did a private consultation for me almost 2 years ago, long before I was pregnant with my newest little one. I wanted to let you know that #2 has arrived and we’ve named him Cl3m3nt Mich@el! 

Cl3m3nt was a name I read to my husband as I browsed your blog. We both liked it and started thinking of it as a possible middle name, but within a day or two it became *his name*!

Cl3m3nt joins big brother B3n3dict K0lb3. Both their names have a few features we love:
1) big time protectors (St. B3n3dict and St. Mich@el the Archangel),
2) Marian ties (Kolb3 and Cl3m3nt from the Hail, Holy Queen prayer), and
3) recent saints — St. Maximilian Kolb3 and Bl. Miguel Pro!

Thank you for your consultation and your super helpful blog!

These parents have chosen such amazing names for their boys, and for such great reasons! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Cl3m3nt!!


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!