I know we’re all horrified by the effects of the winter storm on Texas — Sancta Nomina has many readers from Texas, and I’ve been praying for them and everyone who is suffering from the snow and cold, power outages and food shortages. Being from the snowy northeast, I know well how scary winter weather can be, even in a place with the infrastructure and familiarity to deal with it, never mind for those who don’t have the same experience and resources. Please continue to pray for them! I also made a donation in the name of the Sancta Nomina community to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston with the request that it be used where it’s needed most. 🙏🙏🙏
Courtney and her husband are due next week (!!) with a little green bean 🌱 (gender unknown)! Courtney writes,
“We like simple and classic names. Ordinary spellings and names that will age well as they grow up. I am a teacher, so finding names is challenging. Ha! And my husband comes from a huge extended family who tries not to repeat names. So as you can see, we are kind of stumped. We don’t know what the gender is.
Girl names we like:
- Emma Catherine
- Lucy Ann
- Charlotte (Charlie) (“we don’t typically like ‘boy names’ for girls but that’s the exception”)
Boy names we both don’t say no to (ha!):
Names we like but can’t use:
I agree, this was a challenge! “Simple and classic names” is a great category, and “ordinary spellings” is a kind thing to think of for one’s baby! At the same time, it’s the simple, classic, ordinarily spelled names that are perennially popular, and with Courtney being a teacher, my expectations are very low that I’ve actually been able to come up with an idea that she and her hubby haven’t already considered and decided against. But I’m always happy to try!
First, I love their ideas of Emma Catherine, Lucy Ann, and Charlotte nicknamed Charlie — they’re all lovely and feminine, and even Charlie has taken on more of a spunky feel to me these days, rather than boyish, since it’s used so much currently as a nickname for the ultra-feminine (even princess-y!) Charlotte. Similar ideas in the Charlotte/Charlie vein that they might like to consider for the future include Madeline nicknamed Maddy and Georgia nicknamed Georgie.
Jack and Miles are fantastic boy names, and I was so surprised by Lane! I LOVE being surprised by names on parents’ lists! The Baby Name Wizard (affliate link) — which you all know I always use in my consultations — categorizes it as Country & Western, which is similar to Wyatt on the list of names they like but can’t use, and also reminded me of the feel I get from Jack and Miles, Emma and Lucy, Charlie for a girl, and Annie/Annabelle on the list of names they like but can’t use — it all makes sense! Two of my ideas in my list of “official” suggestions below were inspired in part by this feel, and another that was on the Country & Western list that doesn’t feel quite right for this family as an official suggestion for this baby (but maybe for the future?) that I’d like to mention anyway is Casey (Bl. Solanus Casey would be a great patron!).
I thought, too, since Courtney and her hubby are first-time parents that it would be good to include the most recent (2019) rankings for each name, as compiled by the Social Security Administration, so that Courtney can see how likely it will be to encounter a child with the name in the classroom, for example (though also note that popularity is not nearly what it used to be, and I would hope they wouldn’t let popularity discourage them from choosing a name they really love!). Here are the names mentioned so far:
- Emma: no. 2 (after 5 years at no. 1 and being in the top 3 since 2003)
- Lucy: 48
- Charlotte: no. 6 for the second year in a row (entered the top ten in 2014)
- Madeline: no. 97
- Georgia: no. 205
- Lane: no. 258
- Jack: no. 19 (John no. 28 and Jackson no. 17)
- Miles: no. 75
- Casey: no. 527 for boys (no. 897 for girls)
As for my list of official suggestions, I’ve already mentioned the Baby Name Wizard — you all know that I lean on it heavily in consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — I looked up the names Courtney and her hubs are considering and the additional ones they like but can’t use, and came up with this list, none of which are on their lists of names they can’t use:
(1) Claire, Clara
Claire is a match for Emma, Charlotte, Miles, and Jack, so I think it’s a good bet they might like it! Clara is a pretty variant that’s a match for Cora, so I wanted to be sure to suggest it as well. Claire is no. 55 and Clara is no. 95.
(2) Molly (or Mary?)
Molly’s a match for Lucy, Jack, Annie, and Max — such a sweet name! You might already know that Molly started as a nickname for Mary, and is still sometimes used that way, so they could consider that route as well. Molly is no. 161 and Mary is no. 126.
(3) Elizabeth (Elsie, Elise, Eliza, etc.), Isabel(le)
There were so many Elizabeth names in the results for this family that I definitely wanted to include them! Elizabeth itself is a match for John; its nicknames/short forms Elsie is a match for Charlie, Elise for Miles, and Eliza for Cora; and the Elizabeth variants Isabelle is a match for Charlotte and Isabel for Sophie. So many Elizabeth names! One of the nice things about Elizabeth is that it’s such a “simple, classic name” but has so many nicknames and short forms that you can easily choose one to fit your taste. Others that I love for Elizabeth include Ellie, Libby, Lizzie, Lily, Betsy, and Beth, and there are loads of others. Elizabeth is no. 14, Elsie no. 247, Elise no. 207, Eliza no. 119, Isabelle no. 117, and Isabel no. 135.
Like Molly, Sadie started its life as a nickname of another name — in this case, Sarah — but has come to be used as a given name in its own right. I enjoyed seeing it listed as a match for similarly sweet names Lucy, Cora, and Sophie. Sadie is no. 87, Sarah is no. 81, and Sara is no. 163.
The only name Faith was a match for was Wyatt, but I really loved that, since Wyatt is one of those quintessential Country & Western names, and Faith is one of my favorite, underused Catholic names. It’s familiar but not even in the top 100 at no. 125 (though it was a top 100 name from 1999 to 2016).
Owen is a style match for Emma, Charlotte, Miles, and Sophie! Owen can be a form of Eugene and its soundalike Eoin is a form of John, so some people take Owen to be a form of John, but my favorite patronage is the amazing St. Nicholas Owen! Owen is no. 21.
Benjamin is a match for Emma and Charlotte and Ben is a match for Annie. I love the name Benjamin! Lots of other people do, too — it’s no. 7 and has been in the top 10 since 2015.
I’m interested to see what Courtney and her hubby think of Luke, as I think it straddles different styles they like! It’s a match for Lane and Jack, and its variants Luca for Gemma and Lucas for Jacob. It’s Country & Western while also biblical and saintly, a great option! Luke is no. 32, Luca no. 87, and Lucas no. 8.
Samuel’s a match for Emma, and Sam — one of the best, friendliest nicknames for boys in my opinion — is a match for Lucy, Charlie-for-a-girl, Jack, Cora, and Annie. Such a great name! Samuel’s no. 22 and has always been a top 100 name.
My last idea is a little more of a risk, maybe — Elliot (that spelling, though I also love the literary Eliot and the longer Elliott) is a match for Miles and Milo. I love that Elliot is a medieval diminutive of Elias, which is the form of Elijah used in many languages. A biblical name that doesn’t come across as biblical! Elliot is no. 173, Eliot is not in the top 1000, and Elliott is no. 160.
And those are all my ideas for Courtney’s little bub! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Courtney and her husband’s first baby?
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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)