Baby name consultation: Boy no. 4 needs a name with meaning and a cute “little brother” nickname

Kelly and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and fourth boy! This little guy joins big brothers:

Patrick Robert
James Gregory
Peter Thomas

Such fantastic names! So classic and handsome!

Kelly writes,

I am so excited to have this consultation done as we have been at a total loss for names, even after prayer and extensive research of names. We are expecting baby boy number four … We love classic, strong, traditional names. We’d love to find a name that goes with our other boys but that also isn’t too popular and has meaning behind it. We have chosen Francis as the middle name after St. Francis De Sales … Andrew, Joseph and John are out … Names that we have considered are William, Edward (Teddy), George (doesn’t sound as great with our last name), Henry, Maximilian (doesn’t necessarily fit with the others). I’d love to find a name that also has a cute nickname given that he’ll be the youngest of the pack.”

Okay! *Rubs hands together* 😀 Kelly and her husband have a great list, but I’m eager to see if I can help them find a name they really love!

I love that they’ve chosen Francis as the middle name, for St. Francis de Sales, one of my favorites. I wonder if Kelly and her husband might like to consider it as a first name though? Especially since Kelly said they’d love to find a name that has a cute nickname since their little guy will be the youngest of a pack of boys. Frankie strikes me as that kind of nickname, so cute!

I do love the other the names they’re considering! Here are my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • William: Will, Liam, and Billy are all great nicknames that could go well with the other boys
  • Edward/Teddy: Super cute, I agree! I love St. Edward the Confessor
  • George: I agree that it’s not great with their last name
  • Henry: I love Henry, such a sweet name
  • Maximilian: I can see what Kelly means about Maximilian not being the best fit with Patrick, James, and Peter — if they’re considering it because they love St. Maximilian Kolbe, maybe they’d like to consider his birth name, Raymond, instead? Patrick, James, Peter, and Raymond go together a bit better I think, and Ray’s a cute nickname

I also noted that Kelly would prefer a name that isn’t too popular, so I looked up the popularity of the names they’ve already used and those they’re considering, to get a sense of what kind of popularity we’re talking about. These are the numbers based on the most recent data (2018):

Patrick: 189
James: 4
Peter: 211

William: 3
Edward: 169
George: 127
Henry: 16
Maximilian: 448

So Kelly and her hubs have a mix of names that are quite popular (James, William, Henry), and others that are outside the top 100 (Patrick, Peter, Edward George, Maximilian). In my suggestions below, I included a mix as well. Here are the numbers for the names I’ve already suggested:

Francis: 480
Raymond: 299

I didn’t forget that Kelly also wanted to have a name with meaning, so I definitely took that into account when looking for names that I thought she and her hubby might like. You all know that I always start 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 that research for Kelly, and looked for names among the results that had a good faith meaning. Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Michael
I was pretty influenced by their oldest son’s name: Patrick with brothers James and Peter says “classic Irish Catholic,” which is the theme I had in my head the most when looking for names for this family (though not exclusively). Michael is one of those names! It’s no. 14, which is similar to Henry and less popular than James and William. Michael Francis is so handsome, and Mikey is an adorable nickname.

(2) Timothy
Timothy is one of my favorite names in the “classic Irish Catholic” theme. And being that it’s also a New Testament name, it seems like it can really strengthen the tie among all Kelly’s boys’ names. I love the nickname Timmy! Timothy is right in that sweet spot at no. 165.

(3) Charles
Because Patrick isn’t a biblical name and James and Peter are, I definitely wanted to include some names that aren’t biblical. Charles is a match for this family’s style, and has been used quite a bit recently by Catholics wishing to honor St. John Paul II (his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles). There are also loads of other Sts. Charles, it’s a great, saintly name! And Charlie is so darling. Charles is no. 52.

(4) Oliver
Oliver has shot up the charts recently and is currently at no. 5, which is nice for their James, since his name is so popular at no. 4. It’s also got that nice Irish connection like Patrick, with St. Oliver Plunkett being a great patron; they could also consider it to have biblical connections if they wanted, with the Mount of Olives and the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane being two prominent examples. I love Oliver Francis, that’s stunning. And is anything cuter than Ollie?!

(5) Martin
I like Martin quite a bit — I would definitely consider it classic, strong, and traditional. I love the nickname Marty too, I can definitely see a youngest brother being called Marty! Martin Francis sounds wonderful together. Martin is no. 272.

(6) Kenneth
I wonder what they would think of Kenneth? Kenny is such a great, friendly nickname, and there are two Sts. Kenneth — one Irish and one Welsh. Kenneth is no. 226.

(7) Kevin
I wasn’t surprised to see Kevin listed as a style match for Patrick — like Patrick, it’s a classic, strong, traditional Irish name, and it’s a saint’s name as well. I know of Kevins who go by Kev, which is pretty cool, and I could see Kevvy being a brother nickname when he’s small. Kevin’s no. 125.

(8) David
Finally, David is a style match for this family, which struck me as having a good feel because it’s biblical, like James and Peter, but Old Testament, which gives it its own thing. And my grandfather, who was born and raised in Ireland, was named David, so that felt like a great connection for Patrick (again, totally subjective here, but my consultations are always a mix of research and gut feeling!). Davy is one of my favorite nicknames, I love it. David is no. 122.

Those were all my ideas for Kelly’s baby boy, but after I sent them to her she responded with another question that she’d be delighted to get your thoughts on as well:

Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas! This truly has been so difficult, I never thought naming could be this tough! Hah We are leaning towards William given that it like Patrick, it isn’t biblical, it goes with the other boys, and it was a popular Irish immigrant name (my husband’s great-grandfather). There is another name that randomly came up that I was going to get your thoughts on, Grady. Grady seems unique, but not totally out there and also has the Irish attachment. It also has the meaning noble, like Patrick. Does William Grady (call him Grady) or Grady itself work with the other boys? Does it seem too far off the beaten path? I wish there was a saint association with it to tie it together.”

I told her that I love William, just because it’s great, but I love her reasons behind it too. And I love Grady! I had it on my own list back when I thought I could sway my husband toward more Irishy names, haha!

I took a quick look on for any saintly connection for Grady, and found that one of the priests who is part of the Irish Martyrs was John O’Grady; here’s another entry that mentions him — he’s not canonized, but that could be a nice faith connection for Kelly and her husband to consider (and perhaps she and her family could take it on as a spiritual exercise to pray for his cause for canonization — it appears there isn’t much known about him, including the date he died — maybe their prayers could help bring his holiness to light!). I’m sorry I could find anything more direct!

As for fitting with the other boys, I think Patrick, James, Peter, and Grady sound fine together. Certainly Grady is a different style, which might feel a little jarring to people who really pay attention to those kinds of things (name nuts, mostly!), but the fact that it’s his middle name remedies that nicely — Patrick, James, Peter, and William are exactly perfectly matched. If any of Kelly’s older boys have offbeat nicknames for their names, that would loop Grady in a bit more too, but even if not I think it’s fine! And it opens up some more possibilities for future boys’ names, if they were so blessed.

And that’s all I got! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Patrick, James, and Peter? What do you think of Grady, either as a given name or as a middle name that he’d go by?

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

17 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Boy no. 4 needs a name with meaning and a cute “little brother” nickname

  1. I like William Grady and think that Grady (and William) works well with Patrick, James, and Peter.

    Kevin Francis was the boy name my husband and I never had a chance to use.

    As far as Irish names paired with Francis as a middle, I like:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No ‘J’ names?!? I think Jeremiah or Jeremy would be cute, but really just for the pattern, PJPJ. 😊 (I was raised in a family that had the name pattern of SSMMS and my sister named her kids GJJG.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I second Francis, Timothy (Tadhg), Martin and Kenneth

    The first that came to mind was Edward. All of your choices fit well with your older boy’s names, but I say go with William Grady! If your naming taste has shifted closer to Grady’s style, it’ll make a good transition for future naming.

    With Patrick, James and Peter, I also like:

    Arthur “Bear/Archie”
    Garrett/Gerard “Grady”?
    Griffin “Griffy”/”Finn”
    Philip “Pip”
    Jedidiah “Jedi/Eddie”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My first thought was Simon and then Samuel. Simon Francis and Samuel Francis are both really handsome and goes very well with Patrick, James, and Peter. I do think William Grady is a very nice name! I knew a Grady growing up, so to me it wears well, though it’s certainly a different style than the other boys.

    Along the line of Grady:

    Finnegan / Finnian (Finn would be so cute with the others!)
    Hugh (Hughie!)
    Niall (stretch, but could call him Neely!)

    Other suggestions in the Classic Boy realm:

    Paul (though that’s a lot of Ps)
    Jasper (for another J!)
    Nathan or Nathanial

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William Grady was my husband’s grandfather and such a good man. My husband’s middle name is William and our daughter is named Sadie in his honor.


  6. Both my mom and dad’s families had the classic Irish American names. Their names (first and middle) include James (Jim), Francis, Patrick (Pat), Joseph, Thomas (Tom), Michael (3 generations: Mickey, Mike, Mick), Stephen, Kevin, John, Dennis (Denny), Charles (Chuckie/Chuck and Charlie), and August. There was a lot of overlap between first and middle names on my mom and dad’s sides.

    And going back another generation there’s Bernard, Edward, Peter, Henry, and Richard.

    I am totally obsessed with this name style and love all your suggestions, Kate!


  7. This is like reading a list of my uncles, haha. The only two missing are Daniel (mentioned by some other commenters) and Robert. I really like a Robert Francis, nicknamed Robbie or Bobby!


  8. I definitely think Grady can work into the set! It would take the whole set away from “super traditional” but it still feels “strong/masculine” and “familiar, easy to say/spell” and makes the whole set lean more Irish. Maybe it’s time to *redefine* their style instead of finding something to fit with their pre-establishes style. So I think Grady would work as a first or a middle / call-name. So sweet on a baby brother, no additional nickname necessary. I’ll look forward to hearing what they land on!


  9. I think Aidan Francis would be so nice with the older brothers. It is not as popular as it was a few years back so there might not be another in his class.

    Daniel or Thomas would work well too.

    Grady does not have the appeal of the other brothers’ names.


  10. We have similar taste, and our one and only son (he has 3 sisters 🤣) is Nathaniel. He loves his name, and he loves that he was one of the apostles (our last name is Phillips, middle name James, so his entire name is from the 12 apostles! Maybe Philip is another option?). He can go by Nate, Nathan, or Thaniel.

    Love all your boy names!


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