Baby name consultation: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

Beth and her husband aren’t expecting a baby yet, but they hope to be soon, and need help finding a girl’s name they love!

Beth writes,

Our children’s names so far are:

Justin
Aiden
Annalise
Jeremy (with Jesus)

Names I like but my husband dislikes are:

Cora
Verity
Camille
Isobel
Honora/Nora
Majella

The last two of these are hard to pronounce for him due to his accent (he has a Mexican background). His family also prefer names that sound as they are spelled as that is how Spanish names work. So names like Caeli (pronounced “Chaylee”) are out of the picture. He is not really keen on Spanish names.

He likes:

Amelia
Hope

We prefer a Saints name or a Biblical name or a variant (like Molly for Mary). We don’t want the name to start with: A or J, as we have used those twice already. I tend to like names that are a little out of popular use (although we went with Aiden despite this).

Names we can’t use due to extended family use:

Emily
Phoebe
Claudia
Eleanor
Gianna
Kateri

Ok I think that is it for rules. I’m looking forward to your input!

I love Beth’s children’s names! Justin, Aiden, and Jeremy are so handsome for boys, and Annalise is so lovely and feminine! In fact, when compiling my list of ideas for Beth and her hubs, I was most influenced by Annalise’s name — I really wanted to find girl names that could stand up to Annalise’s feminine oomph.

Before listing my ideas, I’ll offer some thoughts on the names on Beth’s and her husbands’ lists, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cora: Beautiful name! And it rhymes with Nora, which lets me know that Beth likes that sound/rhythm
  • Verity: Such a cool virtue-type name — much less popular than Grace, for example, but still in the same category
  • Camille: Has a similar foreign-ish feel as Annalise (foreign-ish because it’s a French name that’s familiar in English, like Annalise has German/Scandinavian background but still familiar in English)
  • Isobel: I love this spelling, it takes the familiar Isabel(le) and makes it more unusual, which is always fun. However, since the “Lise” in Annalise is from Elizabeth, I would suggest crossing Isobel off the list, since it’s an Elizabeth variant (though I love that Beth included it, as it gives me a good sense of her taste)
  • Honora/Nora: I can see that Honora would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and his family, but Nora would be okay, right? (Except that hubby doesn’t care for it.)
  • Majella: I love Majella too. I wonder if the Italian variant Maiella would appeal to Beth and her husband? It’s said like my-EL-la, which I think is okay for those whose first language is Spanish?
  • Amelia: Other than it being an A name, Amelia fits right in with several of the names on Beth’s list, so I’m hopeful I can find some names that they both like!
  • Hope: Beth has Verity and Honora on her list, and her hubby has Hope — I’m feeling pretty hopeful (!) that I can offer some other virtue-type names that they might both be on board with!

Okay, all that said, you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and 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, looking up all the names Beth listed, but giving heavy weight toward names that I thought would go well with Annalise. Based on that, these are my ideas for them:

(1) Clara (or variants?)
Clara’s a match for Cora, and Claire’s a match for Camille and Nora, so I thought a name in this vein would be a good suggestion here. I like Clara better than Claire (or Clare) as Annalise’s sister, and Clara has a similar rhythm to Cora and Nora, but Clara and Claire/Clare are both beautiful, so they can’t go wrong! Since Annalise is so long, I did look for ways to lengthen Clara, which might be totally unnecessary if they love Clara as is, but I thought it was worthwhile mentioning Clarabelle/Claribel and Clarissa as frillier options, as well as Clairvaux, which is a similar style as Majella, but I’m thinking that Beth’s hubby and in-laws wouldn’t know what to do with Clairvaux (as many English speakers would feel the same!)! I looked up Clar- names on the babynamewizard.com site, just to see if there were any ideas I hadn’t thought of, and saw Clarity — I kind of like Clarity! It can take Clare or Clara as a nickname, and it’s a virtue-type name like Verity, Honora, and Hope. So they have some options here, if they like the Clara idea but want something more! St. Clare of Assisi is a great patron (and St. Bernard would be for a Clairvaux).

(2) Felicity
I kind of love Felicity for this family! It’s a virtue-type name like Verity and Hope (and it’s a style match for both per the BNW!), and it has the same ending as Verity too. I spotlighted in on the blog here, where I offered nickname ideas as well. St. Felicity is one of the best!

(3) Natalia
I’m not sure Beth and her hubby will love this one, as it wasn’t a huge style match like some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Natalie is a style match for Jeremy, and I kind of loved the idea of looping his style in a little. I didn’t think Natalie was quite right here, but I thought Natalia really could be. It’s a gorgeous saintly name, and I love it with Annalise. There are a couple Sts. Natalia.

(4) Violet
Like Natalia, Violet didn’t show up that much in my research (it’s a match for Camille), but when I saw it I thought it felt right. It’s got a similar rhythm to Verity and starts with the same letter, but it’s less “out there,” which Beth’s hubby might appreciate. Violets are a symbol of Our Lady — they represent her humility and used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty — so Violet can be considered a Marian name (I have it as an entry in my book of Marian names for that reason).

(5) Eve (or variants/related names?)
I was surprised at how often names like Eve showed up in my research — the name itself is listed as a style match for Honor (standing in for Honora, which doesn’t have its own entry but is listed as a variant of Honor); its variant Ava is a match for Aiden (but starts with A); its soundalike Iva is a match for Cora; and its visual relation Evelyn is a match for Amelia. I thought Eve might be a bit too spare for Annalise’s sister (though it has such an elegance that if Beth loved it, I would love it too), but I thought Eva and Evelyn could work well, or my favorite: Evelina. If they like Eve or a variant, then Our Lady would be patroness, as one of her titles is the New Eve. If they like Evelyn or Evelina, they could still choose the Eve connection for a patron, but they actually have a separate etymology as a variant of Aveline, which is related to Avila, so St. Teresa of Avila could be their daughter’s saint.

(6) Maristela
This last idea was initially inspired by the fact that Stella is a match for Nora, but I thought Stella would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and in-laws, so I thought Maristela might be a neat way to work it in in an easier way. Then I realized that Annalise is Anna + Elizabeth and Maristela is Maria + Stella and thought that was such a neat thing for sisters to share! Maybe they (and you all) will think it’s too matchy? But if Beth and her husband like it, that construction could be carried through any other daughters they might have (examples: Piamarta, Dorolinda). Maristela comes from Our Lady’s title Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris).

Finally, I wanted to include some names that did quite well in my research just in case they hit just the right note, but they didn’t make my “official” list because they didn’t follow Beth’s guidelines:

  • Charlotte: A match for Annalise and Amelia, so great! But sooo popular right now. I did a post on patron saints for girls named Charlotte.
  • Sophie/Sophia: Matches for Isabel (standing in for Isobel) and Amelia, but also very popular. This is a Marian name, as Sophia means “wisdom” and one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.
  • Juliet: A match for Camille and Hope, Julia’s a match for Amelia, and Julianna for Annalise — I thought Juliet was the best option of those for this family, but it starts with a J. Bah! I did a post on Juliet(te) and its patrons on the blog. (For what it’s worth, if they end up doing another J or A name, I would recommend J, since those they encounter in everyday life won’t know of Jeremy’s name, and another A name would make Justin, Aiden, and Annalise seem really A heavy. But another J name would simply feel balanced. However, if they might have more children after the next, I would definitely stay away from J and A names.)

And those are all my ideas for a daughter for Beth and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Justin, Aiden, Annalise, and Jeremy?


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!

3 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

  1. I feel like from Beth’s list Camille or Verity go the best with Annalise, especially Camille. I absolutely love Isobel, but indeed with Annalise, plus their mum’s name being Beth, it’s a bit too much. Amelia is beautiful but apart from starting with an A I have an impression it’s so popular, unlike Annalise! How about Emmeline/Em(m)elina instead of Amelia? Annalise & Emmeline sound gorgeous to me. Maiella, or even Mariella suggested by Sandra, instead of Majella is brilliant!
    Felicity is gorgeous and a lovely alternative for Verity, I love it to pieces! Felicia could work too.
    Clara goes well with the siblings, but personally I’d rather go with something longer like Clarissa, or if they like a virtue name Clarity would be really original and beautiful. Clairvaux is a fun idea but indeed a bit of a linguistic challenge. 😀
    I like the gentle and ethereal feel of Natalia. It’s been awfully popular for girls over here in Poland but I think it could be a nice and much less popular alternative to Amelia in the US. If Natalia doesn’t feel right for them, maybe the distantly related Noelle/Noelia would?
    Personally I am not a big fan of Eve but if the difference in length between Annalise and Eve doesn’t bother Beth and her husband and they like it, they would make a nice sister set stylewise. I adore Evelina though, and Annalise & Evelina are so beautiful, and have such a cool Scandinavian feel. I guess though that with all the siblings Evelyn flows a bit better.
    I don’t find Annalise & Maristela too matchy at all, I really like how they’re both combinations of two names and it’s a nice pattern to establish. And also Maristela is a truly beautiful name.

    Like

  2. I love the idea of Felicity for this family, too! Kind of the bridge name between Hope and Verity!

    Another name that comes to mind is Caroline. Annalise and Caroline sound like sisters! I also like Vivian for them.

    And if they want another “mashup” name, like Annalise, I think Rosemary would be great.

    Like

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