Baby name consultation: Stuck between two names for little sister

Happy Monday! Did you guys all see the good news over the weekend that Bl. Margaret of Castello has been declared a Saint?! I think this is such great news!!

Erin and her husband are expecting their second baby any day — their first girl! This little one joins big brother:

Calvin Frederick (“Both are family names and I liked that Frederick was also a saint name“)

Such a handsome name!!

Regarding Baby Girl, Erin writes,

We’ve narrowed it down to 2 first names, Lucy or Josephine (Josie). I’d like to have a front runner name heading to the hospital and middle names picked out for each. Lucy is a family name on both side and my confirmation name. It was my front runner for a long time, but we worry about it getting popular and also sounding slightly childish. Josephine is a name we both really like but doesn’t have a family tie. I also don’t love that we would rarely call her by her formal name. Overall though, I love both names and would be happy with either. Below are the middle names we are considering. I’d like to honor my mom’s side because we haven’t used anything from her side yet, but are struggling to find one we love.

  • Marie, Ann (“both lovely but I feel like I everyone has these middle names. Marie is tied to the most people we’d like to honor. Ann is my mom’s middle name. We’ve also considered Lucy Annmarie to use both these middle names with a twist“)
  • Renee (“my middle name and my godmother’s name, probably the current front runner“)
  • Margaret (“I like with Lucy but not as strong of family ties“)
  • Mae (“is an important family name on the other side that I really like with Josephine“)

Other family names: Theresa, Helen, Leah, Betty (not short for Elizabeth)

[Also] … we’ve avoided names that end in A since we have 3 A sounds in it.”

SO FUN to think about girl names after already naming a boy!! I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on the names Erin and her hubby are considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Lucy: Oh man, Lucy totally has my heart here. The fact that it’s a family name on both sides AND Erin’s Confirmation name AND their longtime frontrunner is amazing! About it “getting popular” and “sounding slightly childish,” I actually think the former helps with any feelings of the latter! By which I mean, the fact that Lucy is on an upward swing popularity-wise (no. 48 in 2019, up from 306 in 2000 and 75 in 2010) means that when their little Lucy is grown up, there will be a fair amount of Lucys her age, so by the time she’s a woman, everyone will feel like it’s a woman’s name. The women of today were born in a time when Lucy wasn’t popular at all (it was no. 207 in 1950 and 203 in 2004 and between that time dipped to a low of 500 in 1973 before heading up again, but still remaining fairly uncommon), so to us it either feels like a grandmother/great-grandmother name or a baby/little girl’s name, but that won’t last long. It’s actually nice to use it now, when the name will kind of grow with your baby. That said, they could consider using a longer Lucy variant as the given name and then use Lucy as the nickname — Lucille and Lucienne are two that don’t end in A, and Lucienne makes me think of something like Lucianne or Lucy-Ann to incorporate Erin’s mom’s middle name into the baby’s first name.
  • Josephine: If it wasn’t for how amazing Lucy is for them (in my humble opinion haha!), I would be all over Josephine! It’s the Year of St. Joseph, so it’s the perfect time to use a Joseph name for a baby! Also, I do understand what Erin means about not loving that they “would rarely call her by her formal name,” but I’ve heard from many families who named their babies with the intention of using a particular nickname only to find that when the baby arrives, they love using the full name more than they realized. Bestowing a formal name, even if a nickname is used exclusively, can give the baby options for different areas and times of his/her life. If it weren’t for the fact that Erin and hubby “both really like” Josephine (so I could see it being the frontrunner for a future daughter), and also that they want to honor Erin’s mom/her mom’s side of the family, I would definitely think Lucy Josephine is the winning combo.
  • Marie, Ann: I know what Erin means about feeling like these are everyone’s favorite middle names, as lovely and saintly as they are. If honoring her mom is Erin’s favorite idea, maybe she could consider her mom’s maiden name? I find maiden names to be such charming names for little ones (depending on the surname of course), in either the first or middle spot and for both boys and girls. Or maybe another surname or given name from her side? I also love Erin’s idea of Lucy Annmarie.
  • Renee: While I love that Renee is Erin’s middle name and her godmother’s middle name, this isn’t my favorite idea for this baby’s middle name IF they use Lucy (or a variant) for the first name, as Lucy will already be a nice nod to Erin, so they can use the middle spot for her mom or someone else they’d like to honor. But if they don’t use Lucy, I do love Renee, since I’m a big fan of working Mom’s name into one of her kids’ names somehow, and I also love that their baby will be born during Easter (meaning Eastertide: the period from Easter to Pentecost) and Renee means “reborn.” Josephine Renee would be very meaningful, for example: a name for the year in which their baby’s born (the Year of St. Joseph), and a name for the season in which she’s born (Easter), that also honors Erin. Also, Erin said that she likes Mae as a middle name for Josephine, so I like that Renee rhymes with Mae — Josephine Renee and Josephine Mae have a similar sound, so I think Erin would like Josephine Renee.
  • Margaret: Lucy Margaret is a really beautiful combo, and I feel like the seriousness of Margaret is nice with the lightness of Lucy. Since Lucy is a family name, maybe they don’t want to worry so much about having a family name in the middle as well?
  • Mae: Mae is a form of Mary, as is Marie, so in theory any Mary name could honor all the Maries and Maes Erin knows. I know this kind of idea doesn’t always work neatly in real life, though — would a Marie feel honored by Mae and vice versa? Would Marie and Mae feel honored by Mary or Molly? The answers to these questions vary from person to person and family to family — depending on the personalities in your family, these ideas might be helpful. Otherwise, for this family Josephine Mae is a great combo that feels perfect for me for their *second* daughter (I’m still rooting for Lucy for this baby!). In fact, I think Lucy Annmarie and Josephine Mae are my favorite combos of the names Erin mentioned, and they sound amazing as sister names, and I love that both name combos have a form of Mary in them, which is a very traditional Catholic naming practice.

But who cares what my favorites are! Haha! And even though Lucy Annmarie and Josephine Mae would be my favorites for girls 1 and 2, I am still hung up on the perfection of a Josephine in the Year of St. Joseph. It’s so hard when you have so many great names to choose from and combine together!

I hate to muddy the waters or make Erin’s decision any more difficult, but a Mini Consultation gets them three name ideas, so at the very least they can tuck them away for potential future use. 😊 You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names that the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) 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 using Calvin, Lucy, Josephine, and Josie as inspiration, with the following results:

(1) Alice

I love that Alice is a style match for both Calvin and Lucy! It’s such a sweet name, and I love the combos Alice Ann, Alice Annmarie, and Alice Renee. I also like Alice-Ann as a double first name! Something like Alice-Ann Renee would be meaningful from a family names perspective, if they decided not to use Ann and Renee for this baby (or if they decide not to use either Lucy or Josephine for this baby).

(2) Eleanor, Helena

Eleanor’s a match for Josephine and Ella for Lucy, but I love Ellie as a nickname for their daughter even more — sisters Lucy, Josie, and Ellie are darling! And I love Lucy, Josephine, and Eleanor, as well as Lucille/Lucy-Ann, Josephine, and Eleanor. Or Nora — I love the nickname Nora for Eleanor too. Oh, and Nell! Nell also works as a nickname for the Helen names, and Helena’s a match for Josephine — maybe they’d like to consider Helena nn Nell as a nod to the Helen in their family for a future girl?

(3) Molly, Ruby, Sadie

I’m grouping these together because they have a similar rhythm and feel, and they’re all matches for Lucy and Josie. I mentioned above that Molly is a variant of Mary — it actually started as a nickname for Mary, so something like Mary Theresa or Mary Margaret or Mary MaidenName nn Molly could totally work. It also has occasional usage as a nickname for Margaret — Margaret Mae nn Molly would be cute!

I’ve loved Ruby for years, but I often think it sounds best as a nickname rather than a given name. I actually did a post on it here, including some names that it can be a nickname for, in case that’s helpful for Erin going forward. Considering the family names she mentioned, I like the idea of something like Rosemarie Betty nn Ruby, for example.

And Sadie started as a nickname for Sarah, and can still be used that way (like Mary/Molly), but like Molly has taken on a life of its own as a given name as well. I’ve also seen it used as a nickname for Mercedes, which gives it a nice Marian spin (for Our Lady of Mercies). Sarah Margaret nn Sadie is quite a nice combo, though no family connection … I like rearranging classic names in unexpected ways, so something like Ann-Sarah as a double first name with Sadie as a nickname would be the kind of thing I’d like to consider if I liked the name Sadie and had Ann as a family name to work in (though that ends in A …).

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Calvin?


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!)

Real-life “Chilton” names

Ahhh I started the week telling you that this week was going to be similar to last week, with three consultation posts planned — but the second and third turned out not to want a public post after all! Which is totally 100% absolutely fine — there is absolutely no requirement or expectation that you have your consultation made public. I just wanted to let you know why I haven’t posted again until now!

I have two things for you today: first, a mama who recently took advantage of my buy-my-book-get-a-consultation deal told me that she’s planning to donate the book to her OB-GYN’s office (which happens to be NFP-only and named after a Catholic Saint, what?? Lucky lady!!), which I thought was a fantastic idea! So I wanted to share that with all of you too, in case that’s something you’d like to do as well, especially if you bought the book before I was offering this deal and would have liked to take advantage of it.

Secondly, my older boys run Cross Country, and all of the schools in our league are public schools except ours, which is a co-ed Catholic school, and one other, which is a private all-girls’ boarding school that also has day students. The last two meets were held at this private school, and if you’ve seen Gilmore Girls then you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s *just like Chilton*. It’s an enormous campus with gorgeous old buildings (“They actually have turrets!” one of my boys exclaimed) that I’m sure have literal ivy on them, and their athletic facility has multiple volleyball courts and an indoor swimming pool — it’s truly more like college than high school. (There were four schools involved in the meet, so our boys ran against the boys’ teams from the other two co-ed schools, while our girls had this private school’s team to compete against as well as the other two schools’ girls’ teams, just in case this is confusing.)

Anyway! I was walking past the field hockey field with my two little boys on our way to the bathroom (multiple trips to the bathroom, and yes they had a men’s room — my older boys were very worried about that, haha!) and I heard the coach call out to two of the girls: “Agatha! Cece!”

Don’t Agatha and Cece seem exactly right for the environment I described?? Also, I’ve seen Agatha floated by a couple families recently who weren’t sure it was ready to come back, but this Agatha’s parents decided it was okay fifteen years ago!

Then I was able to see the roster of their runners, and thought these were particularly amazing (alt characters for privacy):

  • B3ck3tt
  • Lou!se
  • Ivy@nn
  • P0rtia

P0rtia and Lou!se made me think of the characters of Rory’s Chilton schoolmates Paris and Louise, and the surname name B3ck3tt and double first name Ivy@nn also seemed really perfect. I counted eight girls on their team, so it’s pretty amazing that a full half of them had names that jumped out at me.

I hope you all have a great weekend! TGIF!!


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!)

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 6 (boy no. 3) — biblical? Western? Other?

This week’s going to be another consultation-heavy week — I have three to post again for mamas who are due soon! I’m excited!

First up: Rachelle and her husband are expecting their sixth baby — their third boy! Little Mister joins big sibs:

Samuel David (Sam, Sammy) (“Samuel came to me later in our pregnancy during Mass during the reading when God calls out to Samuel. David is my husband’s name“)

Adelaide Marie (Addy) (“Adelaide is my confirmation saint and Marie is my middle name and a tradition in my family for first girls of the family“)

Paul Thomas (Pauly) (“Paul was my husband’s grandpa’s name, my brother’s name, and after St. Paul. Thomas is after my late uncle Fr. Tom, and St. Thomas Aquinas“)

Veronica Therese (Nica, Nic) (“Veronica was my great-grandma’s name and after St. Veronica. Therese after St. Therese, I read I Believe in Love during her pregnancy and found a new devotion to St. Therese“)

Miriam Ann (Miri) (“Miriam after our Mother. My husband and I did our Marian consecration during her pregnancy and wanted to honor Mary. Ann after my mom and St. Anne“)

I absolutely love the names Rachelle and her hubby have given their older kids — Samuel, Adelaide, Paul, Veronica, and Miriam are all really wonderful names! They’re solid and saintly and traditional, but there’s an unexpectedness about them too that I just love. And you all know that I’m a big nickname girl — I love Sam/Sammy, Addy, Pauly, Nica/Nic, and Miri! I was excited to see what names and nicknames I could come up with for their new baby boy!

Rachelle writes,

I am pretty indecisive or maybe I just take a long time to really make up my mind, so with a baby’s name and firm date I need to decide by, it makes it tricky. My husband doesn’t ever seem to have an exceptionally strong liking to any name, but he knows when he doesn’t like a name. I think he also knows that if we find the name earlier in the pregnancy, I still hem and haw over it so he just waits :).

My style: In general, I like older names, classics. I would prefer them to have meaning — after someone we love, a saint, someone in the bible, or a great literary character. Girl names are for some reason a little easier for me to circle in on than boys. A lot of times I’m intrigued by a name but then when I imagine myself calling to the child in the backyard or at a sporting event, it just doesn’t seem right (it’s what ruled Henry out for us 9 years ago … it also happened with Desmond and a few other names — I love the names but they don’t seem to fit one of my sons, even though they aren’t born yet). So I have a larger running list of boy names that I’m intrigued by, but some of them are maybe too out there for them to fit well. Nicknames are also important for us and play a part in the decision process. I’d like there to be a good nickname. For all our children, we call them by their full name and nickname equally

We know his middle name! We had decided that if this is a boy, his middle name will be Joseph after David’s grandpa, his Dad’s middle name, my great uncle (a Jesuit priest) and my grandpa’s middle name. So many Joseph’s in our lives — we pretty much had to!  And now that it is the year of St. Joseph, it is even more special — though I’m sure he will be one of many many many boys born this year named after him.  

My top first names: 

  • George (“after Pier Giorgio. I’m not sure I love the nicknames for this that I’ve heard [namely Georgie and Geo, thought the second could be ok]”) (“husband is on the fence on this one“)
  • Simon (“I really like the Simons in the bible, I feel like this would fit the name styles of our other 2 boys, but I don’t know if I like Si for a nickname, and I don’t think it’s too close Sam but maybe?“)
  • Jesse (“husband is a firm no on this one“)  

Names I’m intrigued by: 

  • Ezra (“I like the nickname Ezzie, it’s different enough from our kids nicknames, but it’s a little more unique than the current vibe we have going at least with our boy names … but my husband has been vocal about liking this one“)
  • Hugo (“I think it’s so cute, the nickname Hugh would grow on me, but I don’t have any personal connection to the name“) 
  • Casey (“Blessed Solanus Casey has been coming up a bit this pregnancy and I love his story“)  
  • Martin (“love St. Martin, but I don’t love Marty“)
  • Adam (“I could like this one a lot but the nickname situation is tricky. there isn’t one I like a lot I don’t think, and many of them are close to Addy“)
  • Ethan (“We don’t have a personal connection to the name“)
  • Malachi (“similar to Ezra, too uncommon for our boy names?“)
  • Cassian/Cassius (“Like the sound but is it too uncommon to fit? I like the nickname Cash fine. Big hold up is the meaning of the name!“)

Names I would have considered if not for my current children’s names/nicknames:

  • Nicholas
  • Simeon
  • Matthew

Names we can’t consider because they are our nephews:

  • Jerome
  • Elliot
  • Dominic
  • Thomas
  • Blaise
  • Henry
  • Noah
  • Benjamin
  • Lucas
  • Leo
  • Christopher
  • Levin
  • Graham
  • Theodore (Teddy)
  • Caleb
  • Matthew
  • Peter

Other names we’re not really considering:

  • John/Jon
  • Michael
  • Stephen
  • Timothy
  • James
  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Isaiah
  • David
  • Aaron (“I could go through the whole bible and say yay or nay, but I won’t 🙂 

Just wanted to add my husband has expressed he really likes the name Malcolm as well. Wondering about any Christian/Catholic connections to the name?“)

It made me laugh to read about how Rachelle said her husband “knows that if we find the name earlier in the pregnancy, I still hem and haw over it so he just waits.” I like to stew about things too — I always love that there’s nine months to think about/talk about/decide on a name — and even change our minds! We’d decided on Oliver for our third and Augustin for our sixth, but then in my sixth month of pregnancy with my third and just a couple weeks before my sixth was born, we changed our minds, which I found kind of thrilling!

Joseph as the middle name is just perfect — the family connections and the Year of St. Joseph make it a total no-brainer, I agree!

So I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on the names that they like and are intrigued by, in case they’re helpful:

  • George: I like George a lot with Samuel and Paul, and since Rachelle currently has more biblical names than not in her older kids’ names, it would be nice to get another non-biblical name in there with this baby. (Not that it’s at all necessary — they have such a nice mix of names that it’s not at all a big deal to choose a biblical name for this baby, and I have both biblical and non-biblical names in my “official” suggestions below. It’s just something I was thinking about in regards to George and the other non-biblical names they have on their list.) Georgie is cute and I love Geo — names with a twist are always fun, and I don’t hear Geo too often; additionally, I think it would strengthen the tie with Pier Giorgio, since Geo sounds like the end of Giorgio. Another idea that I’ve always loved is Geordie (said like Jordy) — it’s a traditional Scottish nickname for George.
  • Simon: I love Simon too, I wouldn’t cross it off their list! But definitely think on it for a while, because of the similarity with Samuel. One idea is that Sepp and Seppel are German diminutives of Joseph, and I feel like Simon Joseph would make even more sense of a nickname like that. Maybe Simon Joseph nicknamed Sepp? Another idea, which didn’t make my list of “official” suggestions below because it’s currently no. 3, which seems too popular for what Rachelle and her hubby like, is the name I mentioned above as the name we’d initially chosen for our third boy before changing our minds: Oliver. It has that same bookish, smart feel to me that Simon has, and I love Samuel, Paul, and Oliver as brothers. And how cute is Ollie??
  • Jesse: Aw I love the name Jesse too, but my husband also wouldn’t go for it either! It was good for me to know Rachelle likes it — it helped in my research.
  • Ezra: Era’s definitely a cool name — any name with an X or a Z is pretty cool I think! Ezzie is cute, but even more than that, if Rachelle and her husband BOTH like it, that’s huge! I think it should be moved to the top of the list!
  • Hugo: I feel exactly the same way as Rachelle does about Hugo! My husband and I had it high on our list for our last two boys, but like she said, we don’t have any personal connection to the name, so we could never fully commit. It is darling, though!
  • Casey: I love Bl. Solanus too! Casey is a great name, and I thought it was so cool to discover that Casey and Jesse are style matches for each other! I can see that — they both can have kind of a Western/cowboy vibe I think. One issue with Casey, that’s also an issue with Jesse for some people, is that Casey is used for girls as well — it’s no. 527 for boys and no. 897 for girls. (Jesse, that spelling, hasn’t been in the top 1000 for girls since the year 2000, while the spelling Jessie was no. 695 in 2019. Jesse is no. 201 for boys.)
  • Martin: St. Martin is great, and I think they could enforce the full Martin with no nickname if they wanted to, at least when he’s small. If that’s an unacceptable risk, St. Martin’s Wikipedia entry says his given name was Juan Martín — I wonder what they would think of John Martin as a double first name in his honor? I know Rachelle said no John/Jon, so this likely isn’t a good idea for them, but otherwise John Martin provides that sparkle that her other kids’ names have, I think, since double names are somewhat rare, and John Martin Joseph sounds fine together.
  • Adam: Hmm that is tricky … I’ve never actually heard of a nickname for Adam, and if I were to try to think of one, Addy’s probably what I’d come up with. But I’d really put Adam in the category of names that don’t have natural nicknames, so if they were okay with just Adam, I think it could work as Adelaide/Addy’s brother and brother to the other kids as well.
  • Ethan: Another great name, and one that, though biblical, I don’t think comes across as biblical — I sense that not a lot of people realize it’s a biblical name, do you all agree? That makes me like it more for this family rather than less, though.
  • Malachi: Like Ezra, Malachi is definitely a departure from Samuel and Paul’s style in the sense that it’s much more unusual, but I think Ezra and Malachi are similar in style to Miriam especially so I think it’s okay. I like Mac as a nickname for Malachi a lot.
  • Cassius/Cassian: I too love these names, and the nickname Cash! The definition is unfortunate, but there are a lot of beloved holy names that have unfortunate definitions, like Cecilia (blind) and Blaise (lisping), and I would definitely argue that their “meaning” goes beyond — and is more important than — their “definition” (I wrote more about that here). If it still bothers them but they want to find other ways to get to Cash, Cashel is the name of a place in Ireland — the Rock of Cashel — which is where St. Patrick is said to have conversated the King of Munster. Or maybe they’d like the rhyming Nash, which I’ve seen used as a nickname for Ignatius and Athanasius?
  • Malcolm: I’d love to see Malcolm used more! Like with Malachi, I love the idea of Mac as a nickname for Malcolm. And yes, there are great faith connections with the name! Malcolm literally means, “disciple of St. Columba” — St. Columba of Iona, also known as Columcille, is known as one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland,” and is a great patron. Malcolm’s a great option!
  • Nicholas, Simeon, Matthew: I’m glad Rachelle included these as names they like! Though they can’t use them, they were helpful in my research. I had two ideas about Matthew — one is that I know someone named Matthew who goes by Mitty (at least he did when he was little), which I think is awesome (though they’d have to decide if Mitt Romney being the most familiar Mitt to the general public is problematic). Another idea is Matthias instead of Matthew — you could look to the end of it for nicknames — Ties and Thijs are Dutch diminutives which are said like TEES and TAYS, which leads me to think they could do something like that maybe as a nickname? Maybe Tice or something like that?

Okay! On to new ideas! I mentioned earlier that Jesse and Casey are style matches for each other — you all know that that refers to the research I always do for consultations in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I definitely went for a mix of biblical and non-biblical names, and I was happy to offer fun nickname options where applicable.

(1) Gabriel, Raphael

Gabriel is a match for Samuel and Caleb, and Raphael is a match for Veronica and Simeon, so I thought one of these angelic names might be perfect! I like that Gabriel is in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, which is a nice bridge for Rachelle’s Old- and New Testament-named kids, and I love the friendly nickname Gabe. If they don’t care for Gabe, I’ve seen Gib, Gil, and Eli used as nicknames for Gabriel. Raphael is much less used than Gabriel (it’s no. 521 compared to Gabriel’s no. 37), which can be really appealing, and I love the nickname Rafe. Ray is an even easier nickname.

(2) Nathan(iel)

The way I got to this idea was kind of a funny one — Nathaniel is a match for Nicholas, and Jonathan is a match for Matthew, and I know Rachelle loves Nicholas and Matthew, so I thought Nathaniel and Jonathan were meaningful since they connected to those other two names she loves, and since Nathan is contained within both Nathaniel and Jonathan, I thought Nathan might be the perfect answer, especially since Nathan itself is a match for Samuel! Or maybe they’d like the full Nathaniel with Nathan or Nate as a nickname? Or Nash! I could see Nash working as a nickname for Nathaniel! Also, Neal is a style match for Paul — Niel could totally be a nickname for Nathaniel! Some fun options here!

(3) Tobias

Rachelle’s girl names are a little more “exotic,” maybe, than the boy names they’ve used and most of those they like, so when I saw Tobias as a match for Simeon, I thought it went along nicely with how I think of Adelaide, Veronica, and Miriam as well! I think it’s so handsome.

(4) Oscar

Oscar is a match for both Adelaide and Hugo, I love that! Oscar is such a great name — I’ve been enjoying seeing it used more and more by the families I work with. This family welcomed an Oskar (that spelling) not too long ago has been calling the baby Ozzie, so cute!

(5) Milo

Milo is a match for Ezra and Hugo, isn’t that interesting? I normally wouldn’t think Ezra and Hugo had any overlapping characteristics, but there you have it — just one of the many reasons I lean on the Baby Name Wizard to help me out! An interesting thing about Milo is that it has traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “disciple of the Virgin Mary” — just like Malcolm (Mael Coluim) means “disciple of St. Columba”! I love that! I’ve also sometimes suggested Milo and its cognate Miles as unusual nicknames for Michael, so if Rachelle and her hubby decide they’d like to use Michael after all, using Milo as a nickname could be perfect.

(6) Gregory

Gregory is a match for Veronica, and when I was briefly researching St. Martin, I saw that Pope Gregory XVI beatified him, which could be a way of nodding to St. Martin without using his name, so I thought those two things made me want to include Gregory here. I actually hear quite a bit from families I work with that Gregory is a favorite, but what usually stops people from using it in my experience is the nickname situation. While Gregory still sounds sort of stately and serious and handsome, Greg turns most current parents off. But I love Rory as a nickname for it — and in fact, Rory is a match for Casey and Jesse! I think Grey could also work, as well as Gus, especially if there’s a prominent S in the middle name, which Gregory Joseph does have.

(8) Charles

Rachelle said she loves the name Caleb (on their list of names they can’t use), so I wanted to see if I could come up with any names that might be feasible alternatives. I thought Charles was one, with the nickname Cal, which can also be a nickname for Caleb. I love Charles with Samuel and Paul — what a smart sounding trio of brothers! — and Cal is really cool. If they prefer Charlie as a nickname, that’s fine too, because I think one of the things that’s so great about Caleb is that it’s both masculine and sweet, and I think Charles nn Charlie fits that nicely. (Charles also has a bunch of other nickname possibilities that they might like to look through.)

(9) Jacob

This final idea is also inspired by Jacob — Jacob is usually the name that I see paired with Caleb as either an actual brother name or a name that people who like Caleb also like. I’ve even seen Cubby used as a nickname for both Caleb and Jacob for a little guy (probably not so much as he gets older)! If not Cubby, I always love Jake, and I’ve also seen Coby used as a nickname for Jacob. 

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Samuel, Adelaide, Paul, Veronica, and Miriam?


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!)

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 7 needs beautiful Latin name (Greek is ok too)

Is THREE consultation posts in one week a new Sancta Nomina record?? Could be! Don’t forget to check on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, if you haven’t already!

Christine and her husband are expecting their seventh baby — their fourth girl! This little lady joins big sibs:

Sylvester George (“This entire name was dictated by a family tradition of my husband’s. The firstborn son gets named after his grandfather — first and middle name. What this effectively does is make two names — Thomas Louis, and Sylvester George — alternate every generation. My son is the 8th generation *that we know of* to receive his name via this tradition. I kind of like that our kids mostly have names with a tangible meaning, and a ‘symbol’ I can draw for them when I label their ‘stuff.’ Sylvester means, basically, woodsman (or, as we like to say ‘lumberjack’) — so I use a tree symbol for him. He goes by the nickname Sly.”)

Stella Maris (“We knew we wanted to honor Our Lady with our first daughter’s name. We loved the name Stella, and decided to just use the full Marian title, by giving her ‘Maris’ as the middle name. Since Stella means ‘star,’ this is the symbol I draw for her. She goes by her full name Stella.”)

Linus Joseph (“My husband wasn’t as crazy about the name Linus as I was, but I was able to use the fact that I had had no choice in our first son’s name to get him to let me have my choice on our second! We both have a devotion to St. Joseph, so this was a natural choice for the middle name. We liked the fact that both our sons had ‘Pope names.’  Linus means ‘flaxen (haired),’ so I draw a bundle of flax for him. He goes by his full name Linus.”)

Flora Therese (“We didn’t settle on her name until after she was born. We were toying with a lot of different Marian name options, as we thought it would be really nice to name all our girls for Our Lady (whether in their first or middle name). But there were just no other names we found that we loved as much as we had loved Stella Maris. We were also considering the name ‘Rose’ — the name of my husband’s grandmother, and also just a beautiful name. But we felt it didn’t fit well with the ‘Latin theme’ we had started to develop. We landed on Flora, which we both thought was pretty, and chose another favorite Saint, Therese, as her secondary patron. I really like that the two names go together, as Therese is known as ‘the Little Flower.’ I draw a flower symbol for her. She goes by her full name Flora [though occasionally gets called Flo or Flossie].”)

Felix Amadeus (“This was another one by husband wasn’t as wild about, but let me have my way on. I liked that Felix was another Pope name, and one of the rare Latin boy names that didn’t end in the typical ‘-us’ suffix. And really, I just loved the meaning of the two names: Felix (happy/fortunate) and Amadeus (love of God) — and his personality fits it well! I draw a happy face as his symbol. He goes by his full name Felix.”)

Anastasia Rose (“Again, we really deliberated over her name, and didn’t manage to pick it until hours after she was born. We kept mulling over ways we could use the name Rose, but have it “work” with our other kids’ names.  Our top contender when I went into labor was probably Rosalia, but neither of us loved it. While holding her later in the hospital room, my husband was reading choices off of a big list of possible names we had made. When he said ‘Anastasia,’ the name really struck me. I suggested making it Anastasia Rose, and calling her by the double name of ‘Annie Rose’ (definitely inspired by the Alfie and Annie Rose picture books!). Also, my husband’s mother is named Anne, and his grandmother, as I mentioned, is named Rose — so there were some good family connections there. We decided to go with it, and I only later found out that my husband had totally ad-libbed that name suggestion on the spot — it wasn’t one we had ever put on our list! While Anastasia is technically a Greek name, we felt like it had the same feel of our other name choices, and so fit well. Anastasia means resurrection, so I usually draw a cross symbol for her. Everybody calls her Annie Rose … except my husband! He later decided that while he loves the sound of her name, calling her by the full name ‘Anastasia’ was too many syllables and didn’t roll off the tongue well; and he also realized that he dislikes the idea of a double name. So he’s been trying out the nickname ‘Ressi’ [a local nickname used in my neighborhood for ‘Resurrection’] as his personal pet name for her, but I’m not sure if it will stick.”)

I absolutely love all these names! This family’s style is really fun — elegant and unusual and just as Christine said: “less-common but recognizable first names.” Her hubby’s family tradition of Sylvester George is intense! I can’t believe that there are eight generations *that they know of* of firstborn sons having the same first and middle of his grandfather! Thomas Louis is fairly easy to work with, but Sylvester George is certainly not to everyone’s taste — but it seems perfect for this family, which is fantastic! Stella Maris, Linus Joseph, Flora Therese, Felix Amadeus, and Anastasia Rose are each just really stunning combos. Nice job! And I love how Christine draws little symbols to represent each one, I definitely kept that in mind as I worked on this. I also love Anastasia’s name story — Annie Rose is a darling nickname (I love the literary and family significance!), and I’m so intrigued by Ressi as well!

Christine writes,

So, we’ve gotten ourselves sort of stuck into a naming theme now! We have chosen mostly Latinate names for our kids. This is probably partially because we attend the Traditional Latin Mass and so have a strong appreciation for the Latin language, and also because my husband is a big Roman history buff. Additionally, we have the world’s most common and boring last name, so I feel like we need to give our kids less-common but recognizable first names. I don’t have strong feelings about middle names — I mostly think of it as a good place to add another Saint whose name we wouldn’t necessarily use as a first name.

Unfortunately, we have always struggled more with our girl names! I’m really just looking for a pretty and feminine name that fits well with the others. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Latin, but it should have the right sound/feel. I’m not totally tied to the idea of her name having a meaning which is easily conveyed by a drawn symbol, but that could be considered a bonus. I think I care more about the sound of the name than the meaning, though I do usually consider both. I’m happy to learn about and develop a devotion to her name Saint *after* choosing the name. In light of my husband’s difficulties with Anastasia’s lengthy name, it’s probably best to stick with names which are less than four syllables, or that have a pretty and short nickname we could use.

Some names we have considered in the past:

  • Aurelia: I love this one, but my husband isn’t so sure. I think mostly because many people pronounce the ‘e’ differently.
  • Camilla: I don’t really love the sound of the name, but ‘Millie’ is one of my favorites for a nickname.
  • Cora: We love the sound, and the fact that it would evoke The Sacred Heart, which I have a devotion to. But it rhymes with Flora! I’m open to other names with a Sacred Heart meaning.
  • Cordelia/Cornelia: My husband and I each have fairly strong feelings about which we prefer, and I’m not sure if we can compromise!
  • Eucharistica: I don’t know if we’re brave enough to ever actually use this one, because it’s an intense name! We saw it once, years ago, on a gravestone and it’s stuck with us.
  • Fidelia
  • Gloria
  • Julia
  • Louisa: Another name I like more than my husband. Louis is his middle name, so I like this one especially.
  • Leora: My great-grandmother’s name, which I just think is unique.”

When I read Christine’s older children’s names, I was immediately eager to see what names she and her hubby are considering for this baby, and I wasn’t disappointed — what a great group of names! I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on each of them, in case they’re helpful:

  • Aurelia: Such a beautiful name! But yes, I’ve heard it said different ways, and some people are really baffled about how it should be said. I wonder if Aurea or Aurora would appeal?
  • Camilla: I totally latched onto the fact that the nickname Millie is what Christine loves about Camilla — I kept that in mind in my suggestions below!
  • Cora: Rhyming with Flora definitely presents a problem for Cora! It’s a beautiful name, and I love that they’d use it for the Sacred Heart (I often see it used for the Immaculate Heart of Mary — both such wonderful intentions!). I wonder if the longer Corinna might appeal? According to Behind the Name, which I consider to be one of the most trustworthy sites for name meanings, Cora and Corinna are both Latinized forms of the Greek for “maiden” (kore), which can given an extra Marian layer on top of the nods to the Immaculate Heart or the Sacred Heart because of cor meaning “heart” in Latin. I like that Corinna has both Latin and Greek connections, since they’ve used both Latin and Greek names!
  • Cordelia/Cornelia: How funny that Christine and her husband each prefer one of these and dislike the other! Perhaps my Corinna idea above would be a good alternative that they could both agree on?
  • Eucharistica: WOW! I’ve seen some intense names used by families I’ve worked with, but never Eucharistica! I’m with Christine — I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to use it as a first name, but I would LOVE it as a middle! It makes me think of the name Charis — a family I worked with named their daughter Charis because of it being contained in the word eucharist, which I thought was a very cool and accessible way to get a heavy dose of the faith in their child’s name. Charissa and Carissa are elaborated forms of Charis — would either of those appeal?
  • Fidelia: I love Fidelia! However, one thing that I noticed is that they have two kids with S names, two with F’s, and one each with L and A, so adding in a third F might be a bit much? Or not! It also reminded me of this birth announcement — I think Christine will like that family’s style!
  • Gloria: Until I encountered a little Gloria somewhat recently, I thought it was such an old lady name, haha! But I’ve come to love its beauty and faith connection!
  • Julia: Beautiful, timeless.
  • Louisa: I too love Louisa as a nod to Dad’s middle name, bummer that he doesn’t like it as much as Christine does!
  • Leora: How cool that Christine has Leora in her family tree! I would definitely agree that it’s a unique name — I haven’t ever seen it in real life — but something funny is that when I was doing research for this family (you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard [affiliate link] as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity) and I looked up Leora (not even expecting to find it — the rarer names don’t tend to have their own entries in the BNW), not only did it indeed have its own entry, but Flora and Aurelia are style matches for it! Wow! Christine and her hubs have such consistent taste!

So those are my thoughts on the names on their list — now on to my new ideas! As noted above, I did my usual research in the BNW, and I also went through the lists on Behind the Name of Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, and Late Roman names as well as names from Roman Mythology, and I had a couple ideas of my own for them as well:

(1) Caecilia, Caeli

Cecilia is much beloved by so many Catholic families that I feel like they must have already considered this one and decided they don’t like it, but it was the first one I thought of for them because of a family I worked with whose daughter’s name was spelled Caecilia, which is the “original Latin form of Cecilia,” according to Behind the Name. I love that! I don’t know how the family I worked with pronounces their daughter’s name, but Behind the Name says it’s pronounced kie-KEE-lee-a, which could be awesome, but I also think you could just use seh-SEE-lee-a. Or chay-CHEE-lee-a! Being into Latin and names, Christine probably knows that Cecilia means “blind,” which some parents who are particularly into name meanings really dislike (I addressed that here), but I would definitely focus on St. Cecilia’s connection to music, which would make a little musical note a perfect symbol for their baby!

Caecilia made me think of Caeli, which I see here and there in the families that I work with as a nod to Our Lady’s title Regina Caeli. Or they could spell it Coeli and really confuse everyone! On the one hand, I like that Caeli doesn’t end in A — I like how Christine noted that one of the things she liked about Felix was that it’s one of the few Latin boy names that doesn’t end in -us, and I thought similarly about Caeli. But then, all of her other girls have names that end in A, which makes me want them to continue it! Maybe Caeli could be a nickname for Caecilia? All sorts of layers of meaning in that!

(2) Regina

I mentioned Caeli, but what about the first part of that Marian title: Regina? Like with Cecilia, I feel like they must have considered Regina at some point and decided they don’t like it. But I was inspired to include it here because Christine said she’s “open to other names with a Sacred Heart meaning,” and I’d done a name spotlight a while ago on the name Ruby (which is a style match for Stella and Annie!) at the request of a reader who loved it and wanted to figure out some faith connections, and one of the main ones I made an argument for was in honor of the Sacred Heart! I think many people who might love the faith connections for Ruby might not love Ruby as a given name — which is my assumption about Christine and her hubby as well — so I’d offered several first+middle pairings in that post that I thought could nickname to Ruby, and Regina Kolbe was one, which Christine might like, but then I thought she might like Regina Beata even more! So that’s my suggestion here: Regina Beata, which translates as “blessed Queen” and is a clear reference to Our Lady, continuing the Marian nods they have in each of their girls’ names, with the nickname Ruby, which is for the Sacred Heart. Christine could draw a little crown for a symbol, or a little jewel, depending on her drawing skills!

(3) Aemilia, Emmelia, Emilia

Aemilia’s one of the first names on one of the lists of Latin names I looked through, which could be great — another A name, like Anastasia, which continues their pattern of having pairs of names with the same initial! One St. Amelia, also known as St. Amalburga of Mauberge, has her feast day on July 10, which is really close to Christine’s due date! Then I thought about Emmelia, which I think is said basically the same but I believe is Greek, so that could be nice for Anastasia — some of my readers with Eastern leanings (including this mama who’s actually Eastern Orthodox, and shared some more info about St. Emmelia in that post) often mention her as a Saint they love, and her feast day is May 30 — even closer to Christine’s due date! Or the spelling Emilia, which is the spelling of St. John Paul’s mom, whose cause for canonization is open. So many great options! (Though do know they apparently all have different etymologies: “rival” for Aemilia vs. “melodius” for Emmelia [according to the Eastern Orthodox mom, though Behind the Name didn’t offer a meaning] vs. “work” for Emilia.) But for all of them, the thing that excited me the most about including them for this baby is that they can all take Millie as a nickname! I couldn’t think of a little symbol for these names though — maybe it can come from the middle name?

(4) Helena

Speaking of holy mothers, I like Helena for this baby! I like that it, like Cora, is a Latinized form of a Greek name, which is a nice connection between Stella/Flora and Anastasia. I admit I was caught up in Christine’sa little symbols and so I love that Helena is thought to mean “torch” or related to the Greek for “moon,” both of which lend themselves nicely to little symbols!

(5) Perpetua, Pia

Perpetua’s probably pushing it in terms of length, but when I saw it in one of the Latin lists, my heart leapt. Perpetua! Such a great, Catholicky Catholic name that can nod to both Our Lady under title Our Lady of Perpetual Help and also the wonderful St. Perpetua! I’ve thought of Pep/Peppie, Pippa/Pippi, and Poppy as nicknames for Perpetua (probably not Peppa though, right? Because of Peppa the Pig? I’ve never seen it though, maybe that’s a fun association for a little girl?), and I also have a friend who named her daughter Perpetua and calls her Tua. AND Perpetua’s symbol could be the sign for infinity (sideways 8)! So easy and fun!

I’ve also thought Pia could work as a nickname for Perpetua, which is great, but it made me think that maybe they’d like to consider Pia as a given name! It seems like perfect balance to Anastasia’s length, being only three letters, but at the same time it’s two syllables like Stella and Flora, and it’s Marian as well — Our Lady is referred to as pia in the Salve Regina. I’m starting to see Pia here and there on parents’ lists of names, and the actor David Henrie and his wife, who are devout Catholics, named their daughter Pia! (Pia Philomena Francesca, to be exact. What a name! I love it!) (I’m assuming Christine’s not interested in Philomena, right? Too long, right? But if she could be swayed … Millie could work as a nickname for Philomena!)

(6) Lucia

This is another of those names that I feel like Christine and her hubby must have discussed and moved on from, since I feel like it’s a sort of obvious addition to a list of feminine Latin names, but not only do I love the name and its meaning (a Lucia’s symbol could be a light bulb or a flame or a torch like Helena), and also that it can be Marian via the title Our Lady of Light, and also that you could really go Latin and use Lux as a nickname, but also that Lucia starts with L like Linus! Continuing their pairs-of-same-initials pattern!

(7) Maria, Mariae

My last suggestion is another that I’m sure they’ve discussed, but hear me out. Maria is, I believe, both the Latin and Greek form of Mary, which is awesome, and it’s classic, straightforward, and ends in A like the other girls. Because of its familiarity, it can balance a more adventurous middle name nicely — maybe Maria Eucharistica? OR! Ooh! Maria Laetitia nicknamed Millie!!

If they’d like a Mary name but Maria’s a little too tame, a name that *feels* even more Latin is Mariae, which is the genitive form of Maria — it literally means “of/belonging to Mary,” which is such an incredible meaning! In fact, Mariae was a frontrunner for us for a middle name if we ever had a girl (seven boys and no girls!). I admit that, as much as I love Mariae, I don’t love that it doesn’t end in A like their other girls, but maybe that’s okay with them? For both Maria and Mariae, maybe Christine could do the Auspice Maria (AM intertwined) or another of the Marian monograms (this is the one on my book’s cover) for her symbol?

Those are my “official” suggestions, but there were some other names that were in the Roman/Latin lists of names that intrigued me, so I thought I’d include them here just in case:

  • Benedicta
  • Clara
  • Dominica
  • Donata
  • Justina
  • Katerina
  • Margarita
  • Matrona
  • Maura
  • Petronilla
  • Silvia
  • Veronica
  • Viviana

And I also thought about Zoe, too — a super-short-feeling name like Pia that’s Greek like Anastasia.

Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Sylvester, Stella, Linus, Flora, Felix, and Anastasia?


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!)

Birth announcement: Leo Nicholas!

Don’t forget to check out the two consultation I posted this week — yesterday’s and Monday’s!

I did a private consultation last fall for Sarah and her husband, and I’m delighted to share that their baby boy has been born and given the fantastic name … Leo Nicholas!

Sarah writes,

I wanted to let you know that our boy, Leo Nicholas arrived on March 5! We are all delighted. We had great naming debate, the front runners all along were Anthony and Leo (I was able to convince my husband to bring it to the table and eventually he grew to like it), though we strongly considered Charles (and others from your list — Dominic and Benedict were discussed often).”

Leo Nicholas!! So strong and handsome!!

Congratulations to Sarah and her hubby and big sibs James and Gianna, and happy birthday Baby Leo!!

Leo Nicholas

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!)

Baby name consultation: Twin boys (babies no. 4 and 5) need good, strong names that go well together

Ohmygosh, a consultation posted on Monday, a birth announcement yesterday, and another consultation today?? Yes!! And I’ve got posts lined up for tomorrow and Friday too — springtime and babies, y’all!!

Today’s consultation is for parents who are expecting twin boys!! These little guys join big sibs:

  • Joseph Charles IV (patron St. Joseph; read about this family’s special connection to St. Joseph here)
  • Evelyn Lucille (patron St. Lucy)
  • Thomas Benedict (patron St. Thomas Aquinas [Benedict was after Pope Benedict])

Mama Carlin writes,

Our other boys were so easy to name and our daughter we had a unique experience to say the least, but still very easy to choose. Now that we have the twin boys, we feel at a loss for options. Nothing has really felt just right.

Names are a really big deal for my husband, funny enough. I feel like this is typically something that women tend to enjoy more, but my husband definitely has had a strong and thoughtful say on the names of each of our children.  My husband is very adamant about raising the boys to become the men that God intended them to be. He wants them to become great leaders of faith in their future households or vocations, or just out in the world, in general. These names, to him in particular, will help to empower them, especially by example of their patron, as they become men themselves

When we first started our family, the idea of twins was always a possibility. Identicals on both side, fraternals on my side.”

WOW!!

Things we are looking for in names for the twins:

  • Strong, masculine, and classic names
    • Completely open to all name suggestions, so please don’t get caught up on the “classic” part.
  • A great saint inspiring the name 
    • We celebrate their feast days! We are also 100% ok with the boys having different feast days too. It will give them a chance to be celebrated on their own!
  • We love a good meaning behind the name too.
    • Both boys were named after grandfathers we were very very close with. Joseph’s grandfather — Joe and my grandfather — Thomas.
    • We scoured family trees and nothing seemed to pop out at us … We decided that the twins do not need to be named after a family member, since they will have their patron and each other. 
  • Names that go well with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas  
    • I guess this is subjective, but I would really like to emphasize how at a loss we are picking out names and are open to any and all suggestions you may have! 
  • The Nickname factor: 
    • I’m usually calling everyone by their full name, who knows why, but we are both down for a really cool nickname too.

Names that have always sort have been on our running list:

  • Leo
  • Agustine/Augustin/Auggie

What we have thought about, but why we aren’t totally sold on these options:

  • Leo & Gregory 
    • Pope St. Leo the Great + Pope St. Gregory the Great
    • We both love the idea of the boys being named after the two Greats!
    • My husband has always been on the Leo train. His Great Grandpa Leonard was a pretty awesome dude and if we had a singleton, this would be a forerunner. 
    • My husband thinks Gregory is super strong sounding for a man, however, I am having a hard time with Gregory. I cannot imagine calling one of my babies Gregory or Greg. 
  • James & John
    • We only love these names because the two Apostles James and John were considered the “Sons of Thunder” and we love that! haha! Our boys have been so feisty at each ultrasound with perinatology. They already have such loud personalities already!
    • But as outright names – James and John do not do it for either of us

A little about the boys already!

We have had several appointments with perinatology and it has been so cool to see, even at 15, 17, 19 weeks, their personalities develop. They like to be silly when we do ultrasounds by tangling their legs and kicking around so we cannot get pictures of them. Early on, they would swim opposite directions and pinch the amniotic sac to make Baby A look like Baby B and vice versa. Ha! James and John haven’t been a real front runner for names, but the story of being called the Thunder Brothers has been told, a lot of family friends and even the sonographers are referring to them as the Thunder Brothers, because of their bold personalities. As silly as they are; they adore each other already, which is the most beautiful thing to watch in an ultrasound. They have yet to flip opposite directions, always keeping their heads side by side and hugging each other. Seriously?! In-utero baby hugs and loves?! I’m not crying, your crying… ok I cry every time. Just the best

Let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications, but I hope this is a good start for you! Thank you so much! Cannot wait to hear your suggestions!

I just love the joy and wonder that comes through when Carlin talks about the babies!!

I loved reading about Carlin’s husband’s interest in names — she’s right that that’s fairly rare, at least in my experience! His perspective on raising their sons to be strong men of God is just wonderful, and I agree with him about the role their names play, I felt similarly when naming each of my boys (I’m sure I would have about girls too, but I only have boys!).

I wanted to point out, too, that, while I don’t know the origin of Carlin’s name, I assume it’s a feminine variant of Charles — or certainly can be considered so, even if that wasn’t her parents’ intention — so Joseph Charles can also be thought of as incorporating both her and her husband, which is fantastic.

I think their criteria for names for the twins is perfect. I love how Carlin said they want “strong, masculine, and classic names” but also “don’t get caught up on the ‘classic’ part.” I love that they celebrate their feast days, that’s such a fun thing. I think their reasoning behind being okay with them not having family names — “they will have their patron and each other” — is great. “Names that go well with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas” is speaking my language — although I certainly know it’s not necessary, it’s so pleasing to hear of sib sets that sound like they belong together style-wise. And I’m always good with nicknames!

So first, I’m going to offer my thoughts on the names Carlin and her hubby have thought about/considered, in case they’re helpful:

  • Leo: I think Leo is a great option for them! I love that Joseph is biblical, that Thomas is biblical but actually in their Thomas’ case is for a non-biblical Saint, and Leo would be a non-biblical name for a non-biblical Saint, so it sort of rounds it all out nicely, if that makes sense, and loops Evelyn in even more since neither of her names are biblical. The fact that Carlin’s hubby’s great-grandfather Leonard was “a pretty awesome dude” and also, especially, that if they had a singleton “this would be a frontrunner” tells me that Leo is definitely the name to beat!
  • Agustine/Augustin/Auggie: I love this name — my husband and I very nearly named our sixth boy Augustin Francis! In fact, that was the name we’d decided on for him but when I was eight months pregnant we changed our minds, and it was almost a hundred percent because of pronunciation issues, so I thought I’d mention that just in case. We strongly preferred the au-GUS-tin pronunciation and it drove us crazy that the Augustine spelling tripped people up — we heard au-gus-TEEN at least half the time, which we didn’t care for. So we’d chosen the Augustin spelling because of that but eventually decided it was all too fussy for us. I only share that so Carlin and her hubs can be sure to have thought about all that — if they’re okay with it, that’s great!
  • Leo and Gregory: I, too, love the idea of the boys being named after two Pope St. the Greats! And I think Leo and Gregory are fantastic together. But it’s funny about Gregory — even though it pops up a LOT on the lists of names the families I work with are often considering, it’s rarely chosen, and I think it’s because we’re all dealing with a little bit of 70s fallout or something — I hear “Greg Brady” a lot when people tell me why Gregory isn’t feeling quite right, “Greg” is just not doing is for parents these days. In the past, I’ve suggested Rory, Grey, and even Gus (for like Gregory Stephen or similar, where there’s a strong S in the middle name) as possible alternative nicknames — maybe that would help? I’ve also liked considering the variant Gregor — it can still take Pope St. Gregory the Great as patron, but losing the final Y makes it feel less Greg-ish I think. Do you all agree? Something like Gregor Magnus, where Magnus means “great,” could reinforce that, if they like Gregor but worried that it was veering too far from Gregory the Great.
  • James and John: Oh man. Carlin had me at Leo, and then to read about the “Sons of Thunder” and how they’re being referred to by family and friends as the Thunder Brothers makes me think that James and John are also basically requirements at this point! I always like the idea of connecting twins in their names somehow, whether it’s having the same first initial, or variants of the same name somehow (e.g., one with the first name Sean and the other with the middle name John), so having James and John present in their names because of the Thunder Brothers connection is amazing. Since Carlin said that “as outright names — James and John do not do it for either of” them, I might suggest using them as middle names. Leo John and Gregory James, for example, or Leo James and Augustin John. Or one as a first name and one as a middle name, like Leo James and John Augustin nn Auggie. And I’m just now thinking — since Leo would have a family connection to Great Grandpa Leonard, a way to incorporate a family tie for their other son might be using the Italian form of Augustine: Agostino. Then it would be a nod to Carlin’s husband’s family via heritage. Leo James and John Agostino? And something like John Agostino nn Auggie could totally work. And putting the “more complicated” name in the middle can make it feel more comfortable for Carlin. You’ll also see more ideas from me below that include John as a first name, whether or not they use John as the everyday call name, as I’ve often thought that John can work like Mary does for girls — it works in front of most names to make them feel really faithy and traditional, even if the second name isn’t so faithy and traditional, or is a little more offbeat or complicated. Or just as a really handsome combo. For this family, I love the idea of John Augustin or John Agostino. Or John Gregory. Oh gosh, now Agostino has me thinking about the Italian for John and James, Giovanni and Giacomo … Leo Giovanni and James Agostino? Leo Giacomo and John Agostino? Am I going way too far down the Italian path??? Haha!

Alright, those are my thoughts on the names Carlin and her husband have discussed, now on to my new suggestions! You all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they’re considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. This very much ties into Carlin’s hope that the boys’ names go with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas. I certainly kept an eye out for names with great faith connections, and I also approached the naming of the twins in two ways: names that seemed like great twin names (same initial, for example), and those that would make great singleton suggestions for this family if these babies were born two years apart from each other, for example (and then they could use the middle names as the twin connection if they wanted). I also have some suggestions below that are based on gut feeling rather than research (always tricky! But maybe perfect!). Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Luke

As soon as I saw Leo on their list I had to suggest Luke, for a totally subjective reason: I had Leo and Luke on my list for twin boys for years! Haha! Specifically Leo Maximilian (I loved the “Leo the Great” layer here too with Maximilian, as well as the Kolbe connection) and Luke Emmanuel. But also, Luke is totally a name I would suggest to them if they were having just one boy. I love that it’s biblical like Joseph and Thomas, and I included it as an entry in the book of Marian names I wrote because his gospel is the most Marian, containing within it the Annunciation, Visitation, the prophecy that Our Lady’s heart would be pierced by a sword, the first half of the Hail Mary, and Our Lady’s beautiful Magnificat. I personally like that Leo and Luke would share the same initial — a nice twin thing — but I can also see how that might not be appealing, since I know very well how easy it is to mix up kids’ names that don’t even sound the same! I will note that I spent some time thinking about whether or not Evelyn’s middle name of Lucille takes away some of the appeal of Luke and decided that I would be okay with it if it were me because the Lucy names and the Luke names aren’t actually etymologically related (though many people will name a girl Lucy after a Luke and vice versa, understandably).

(2) Henry (and Edmund?)

Years ago I read this post on naming twins by Meg Hunter-Kilmer (awesome on her own, but also sister of Rosie from A Blog for My Mom, and it was Rosie’s twins that inspired the post) that I’ve referred to it often, and one of the combos she suggested was Henry and Edmund because “Henry Walpole was converted when Edmund Campion’s blood spattered on him and went on to be ordained and martyred in England, just like Edmund.” That’s quite a connection! Henry is actually a style match for Evelyn, and I think it’s great with Joseph and Thomas. Maybe Leo Edmund and Henry Augustin? Or do they like Edmund enough as a first name? Henry James and Edmund John? (Obviously I hope they feel free to ignore my first+middle combo ideas! It’s just so fun to play around with the names and come up with ideas!)

(3) Oliver (and Owen?)

Joseph and Thomas are so familiar that I think they can really take lots of different styles of names as brothers, while Evelyn’s style is a little more distinct, so I enjoyed trying to find names that I thought would be really great as Joseph and Thomas’ brothers while also connecting with Evelyn’s style. Oliver is a match for Evelyn, and St. Oliver Plunkett’s one of my favorites! I like that Oliver is a match for Evelyn, and Ollie is such a cute nickname, and I definitely think Joseph, Thomas, and Oliver sound great together, and if they go with Leo for the other twin, I like that Leo ends in O and Oliver starts with O. Leo and Oliver, Leo and Ollie. Leo John and Oliver James? I also want to include that Owen is a match for Evelyn as well, and while I don’t see Owen being their style for a first name so much (though Oliver and Owen would be adorable!), some people take Owen as a form of John, and in fact, St. Nicholas Owen, who I LOVE, was also known as Little John, so there could be something there — another way to connect the boys, like Leo John and Luke Owen, or Augustin John and Gregory Owen.

(4) Nicholas

This is totally due to how Carlin said she and her hubby both “love the idea of the boys being named after the two Greats,” because Pope St. Nicholas the Great is another one! I like Nicholas for them! Leo and Nicholas, Leo and Nick/Nicky, Leo and Nico (that last one is nice because of the shared O ending).

(5) John Paul (Jack?)

There are four Popes who are Pope St. the Great and we’ve already talked about three of them — Leo, Gregory, Nicholas — but what about the fourth and most recent, Pope St. John Paul the Great?! This is kind of not a new idea, since they already have John on their list, but maybe John Paul is the way to incorporate John in a way that they like? Leo James and John Paul? Two Pope St. the Greats AND the Sons of Thunder? John Paul can be a first name, where they might want to add a middle, or they can use John as the first name and Paul as the middle, even if they intend to call him John Paul all the time. Length-wise, Leo James and John Paul are very balanced, which is pleasing … John Paul itself is one of those names that has the monastery + incense names as style matches — Augustine, Benedict, etc. — and can also fit in really well with the Joseph/Thomas names (I would put Leo in the middle between those two styles, which is awesome), so choosing John Paul for one of their twins would also help keep options open for them both now and going forward. John Paul and Leo go great together, John Paul and Augustin go great together, John Paul and Luke go great together, etc. If they like the idea of John Paul, but not the idea of calling him John Paul, or John, or JP, then maybe Jack is the perfect nickname for them? Jack is a style match for both Evelyn and Leo!

(6) Gabriel (and Michael?)

Gabriel’s on this list because of Carlin’s husband’s desire that their sons become great leaders of the faith — Gabriel is made of the Hebrew elements for “strong man, hero” and “God” and while some sites will say that means “God is my strong man,” I prefer to think of it as “strong man of God,” which is amazing. Leo and Gabriel would be great together, and Luke and Gabriel as well. And John Paul and Gabriel. Or John Gabriel as a first+middle combo. Ooh! Leo Michael and Luke Gabriel! A different Pope Leo — Pope Leo XIII — composed the St. Michael Prayer, which would make Leo and Michael a cool combo, and Luke’s Gospel has the Annunciation in it, which would make Luke and Gabriel a cool combo, and Leo Michael and Luke Gabriel would both have Archangel middles and L first names, ahh! Or Michael James and John Gabriel, where they’d both have an Archangel name but in different spots? Michael is actually a style match for Joseph and Thomas, and Michael and John as brothers are sweet. And Michael is such a soldier/warrior name, which is right in line with Carlin’s husband’s hopes for their sons.

(7) Robert

My last idea for this family is Robert, which is a style match for both Joseph and Thomas. As with Leo, I like that it’s a non-biblical Saint’s name, which allows for more options now and in the future. St. Robert Bellarmine is a great patron! Because Robert has that familiarity that Joseph and Thomas have, it can easily take a more unexpected/complicated middle — Robert Augustin has a very pleasing symmetry with Thomas Benedict, for example. Rob/Robbie and Bob/Bobby are the traditional nicknames, but you could also do Rory, Bert, and Bo. Leo James and Robert John are very handsome, or Leo Dominic and Robert Augustin, or John Henry and Robert James.

Those are my “official” suggestions, which you can see I really only used as an attempt to categorize my otherwise sort of scattered thoughts — I could feel my mind pinging all over the place as I was doing this, so many fun options! Lots of ways to mix and match! I wanted to include a few more things that might be helpful. These names go naturally together in the sense of being “famous” pairs or having shared elements:

  • Peter and Paul
  • Daniel and Samuel (both Old Testament names ending in -el and neither one Archangel names)
  • David and Jonathan
  • Ambrose and Augustine
  • Francis and Dominic
  • Damian and Cosmas (this mama named her twin boys after Sts. Damian and Cosmas, but in an unexpected and awesome way!)
  • John Bosco and Dominic Savio (that link to Meg’s twin article above explains)

I did this post on the whole idea of John + something, that might have some appealing ideas for them to work John in somehow. Also, another idea that might work if they use Leo, and thus have a family connection to Great Grandpa Leonard, is to consider John + Carlin’s maiden name maybe? Or another surname from her side?

Though there are only four Pope St. the Greats, CatholicSaints.info lists a bunch of non-pope Saints that have “the Great” added to their names — they might like to look through them if they decide on Leo for one of the twins.

I wrote an article for CatholicMom a while ago on naming twins and multiples — they’ve since done a site redesign and the article is sort of jumbled together, but they might find it helpful, with this addition.

And my “Naming twins” tag on the blog brings up all the posts I’ve done on the topic for both boys and girls, which might be fun to look through.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the twin brothers of Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas?


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!)

Birth announcement: Matthias Daniel!

I did a private consultation for Maria and her husband earlier this year, and she’s let me know her baby boy has arrived! He’s been given the ah-mazing name … Matthias Daniel!

Maria writes,

Our sweet baby has arrived! Thank you for helping us with the name and your encouragement on Matthias! We love his name and love him! 😊 Matthias joins big brothers, Kolbe, Andrew, Isaac, and Benjamin, and big sister, Therese.”

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and their older children, and happy birthday Baby Matthias!!

Matthias Daniel ❤️


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!)

Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for Baby no. 4’s name!

Ashley and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — their fourth girl! Baby Sister joins:

Emma Grace

Kennedy Faith

Lillian Hope

Which I would love anyway — I love the femininity of Emma and Lillian and the spunkiness of Kennedy, and I love that their middle names tie them together so nicely — but then Ashley pointed out that they all have a double letter in the middle, which I hadn’t seen before she said it — how cool! And not only would she ideally like to continue that, but she’s got some other preferences as well — I LOVE a good name challenge! The more rules the merrier!

Ashley writes,

We know the middle name will be Joy. For the first name, I’m a little weird where right now our names go in alphabetical order (E, K, L) so the name would need to be after L. We also want to continue the tradition of having two letters in the middle of the name preferably, but if need be, it could be at the end of the name. I’m also not opposed to starting at the beginning of the alphabet, but would love for it to be from M to Z

Names we cannot do:

  • Noelle
  • Zellie (even though I like it, I don’t want it to rhyme with Jelly)

Names we have thought of, but don’t really like:

  • Molly
  • Nellie 
  • Maree
  • Savannah 
  • Poppy

A name we like:

  • Rosalee (although in this case, I would rather it be Rosalie)

Especially in the year of St. Joseph, my husband would love a name that is in honor of him, but all I could think of was Josaphina or Lilly (which couldn’t do that).”

I’m glad Ashley included the names they can’t use or don’t care for — I likely would have suggested a bunch of them! Before I get to my new suggestions for her little girl, I wanted to comment on a couple things she mentioned, in case they’re helpful:

  • Rosalee: I tried to think of different ways this could work in a way Ashley and her hubs might like better, and the only names I could think of were the similar Rosaleen and Rosheen.
  • Names for St. Joseph: I also really wanted to think of a St. Joseph name for them!! None of the Josephine names have a double letter that I could find except for Josée, which is said like jo-SAY (or zho-ZAY, to be more authentically French) and isn’t in the second half of the alphabet. But then there’s the Italian variants Giuseppa and Giuseppina, which made me think maybe Seppa? As a short form of Giuseppa? I know Seppel is a German diminutive of Joseph, so even though I’ve never seen Seppa used in this way (Seppä is an unrelated Finnish surname that means “smith”), I think an argument could be made for it. If Ashley and her hubby like it, that would be awesome because it would check all their boxes! Seppa Joy could be pretty cool for a little girl born during the Year of St. Joseph!
  • Another way to honor St. Joseph: I looked up Saints who had a special devotion to St. Joseph, in case there was anything there, and found that St. Teresa of Avila took him for a particular patron — Tessa is a diminutive of Teresa that fits with their rules! AND her feast day is October 15, which is close to Ashley’s due date! Wow! Ven. Margaret of the Most Holy Sacrament is another who is known to have had a special devotion to St. Joseph — Mette (pronounced like Meta) is a Danish and Norwegian diminutive of Margaret … Maggie and Peggy are nicknames for Margaret too, but neither seems this family’s style to me … Maybe Reeta, which is a Finnish diminutive?
  • Alternative to Poppy: I know they have Poppy on their list of names they don’t really like — I wonder if that extends to the similar-but-different Pippa? I love Pippa! It can certainly be used on its own, but if they want something longer, it arose as a diminutive of Philippa (like Kate Middleton’s sister), which also fits their rules.

Okay, so Seppa, Tessa, and Pippa are my favorites for this family of the names I mentioned above, but of course I can always come up with more ideas! Haha! It was SO FUN to try to find more names with double letters in the middle — I used the NameFinder tool on babynamewizard.com and just went through the alphabet (bb, cc, etc.) and made a list of those names that I thought had promise. I looked them up on CatholicSaints.info to see if there were any saintly connections, and I also did my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard book (affiliate link), looking up Emma, Kennedy, Lillian, and Rosalie to see if any of their style matches sparked anything. I will say that I was heavily skewed toward Kennedy’s style, since Emma, Lillian, and Rosalie are all of the same basic universe and I thought it would be nice to loop Kennedy in more, so I paid attention to the names that are “surname-y names,” which in my mind includes place names. Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Ashley’s baby girl:

(1) Merryn, Perrin

There are actually two Saints known as Merryn! Both male, but I think Merryn totally works for a girl. Merryn Joy is pretty!

The rhyming Perrin is a diminutive of Peter, and one of my readers named her daughter Perrin! If I were to get nitpicky, I guess my ideal preference would be to have a name that sounds different from Ashley’s other girls — I like that Emma, Kennedy, and Lillian have their own initials, own endings, and own double letters — and Merryn and Perrin have the same ending sound as Lillian. But otherwise, I think they’re both great choices.

(2) Quinn

I’ve had a couple readers who have included Quinn in their daughters’ names in honor of Ven. Edel Quinn. It’s a great match for Kennedy because it’s an Irish surname that has unisex first name usage!

(3) Reilly

Reilly is another Irish surname with unisex first name usage, like Kennedy, and there’s an Irish Dominican martyr named James O’Reilly that could be patron. One of my readers has a daughter named Reilly (her sister was almost Quinn!).

(4) Salette

I think this is my favorite of my suggestions here. It’s in honor of Our Lady of La Salette, and I never would have thought of it but that one of my readers had it on her list of names she was considering. I like that it’s from a place name, so I’d include it in the “surname-y style,” like Kennedy, and of course I always love a good Marian name.

(5) Sienna

St. Catherine of Siena and St. Bernardine of Siena inspired this idea — I’ve seen many people spell it Sienna (even those who know it’s spelled Siena), which would fit perfectly with Ashley’s rules.

Those are my “official suggestions, but there were also a bunch of other names that I considered including but they didn’t make the cut for one reason or another — I wanted to list them here, just in case:

  • Carrigan
  • Corinne
  • Maddalena
  • Mallory
  • Merrigan
  • Prentiss
  • Reece/Reese
  • Rooney
  • Sutton
  • Vivienne
  • Wells/Welles
  • Wynne

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Emma, Kennedy, and Lillian?


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!)

Birth announcement: Isla Frances!

I posted a consultation for Melissa and her husband back in September, and I’m so happy to share that Melissa’s let me know her little girl has been born and been given the gorrrgeous name … Isla Frances!

Melissa writes,

Wanted to share the birth of our little girl, Isla Frances! Thank you for your help and I look forward to working with you again in the future!

I absolutely love the name Isla, and I love love it paired with Frances — what a stunning combo!!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and big sibs Graham, Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie, and happy birthday Baby Isla!!

Isla Frances

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!)

Baby name consultation: Baby girl needs a super-Irish name like her big sibs

Diana and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — their third girl! Little Miss joins big siblings:

Lillian Nicole

Saoirse Irene

Aidan James

Which you know have me all 😍😍😍 — I love those Irish names!

Diana writes,

My husband and I are having a hard time naming this next child. I don’t like his suggestion and he doesn’t like mine or neither of us feel like it’s right. Our pattern so far has been an Irish name and a family name. We are trying to avoid names that start with the same letter as a sibling or sounding the same.”

The list of names that Diana likes includes:

  • Megan
  • Maighdlin
  • Brigit
  • Marjorie
  • Claire
  • Ellen*
  • Margaret*
  • Madelyn
  • Ester
  • Tamsyn
  • Rhea
  • Mary

And her husband’s list includes:

  • Bianca
  • Isabel
  • Isabella
  • Inis
  • Vera
  • Grace
  • Molly
  • Naomi
  • Amara
  • Talia
  • Natalia*

(Asterisks denote each of their favorites.)

Okay! So first off, Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan are fantastic names! I like Diana’s rules of avoiding using the same first initial for this baby girl, as well as names that sound similar to her older siblings’ names — that definitely helped to narrow down the field of names.

I was really interested to see what names were on their lists, since Lillian seems to me a different style than Saoirse and Aidan — I wondered if their lists be mostly Irishy Irish names, or less so? I was impressed by the range of names on Diana’s list and that of her husband! Here are my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • Megan, Marjorie, Margaret: I grouped these together because they’re from the same name family — Megan is a diminutive of Margaret (and can be used as a nickname for it), and Marjorie is a medieval variant of Margaret. Margaret, Megan, and Maggie all have an Irish feel to them, so I think something here would be great. I wonder if the Gaelic version Mairead (rhymes with “parade”) might do the trick? Maisie is its traditional nickname, which is darling.
  • Brigit: I like that names like Margaret and Brigit are a nice middle ground between Lillian’s style and Saoirse’s. If they spelled it Bridget, they could consider using Bridie as a nickname, which I love.
  • Claire: Claire’s a great name! I wonder, though, if Clare might be the better spelling for this family? Like Co. Clare in Ireland?
  • Ellen: On the one hand, I was surprised by Ellen as it seems to have a different feel than the other names on Diana’s list. But then, my grandfather was born and raised in Ireland and his sister Eileen went by Ellen sometimes (or was it vice versa?), so I can see how Ellen can fit in with an Irish sensibility. I wondered if Eileen or Eleanor (nickname Nora, which has a nice Irish feel) are Ellen-ish names that might appeal to Diana’s husband?
  • Madelyn, Maighdlin: I’d never seen the Irish form of Madelyn (Maighdlin) before, I love it! I think finding the Irish variant of names they like is a good strategy.
  • Ester: Like Ellen, I was surprised by Ester on Diana’s list, but delighted to see that it’s similar in style to Naomi and Talia on her husband’s list — since they’re both having a hard time coming to a name they both like, it’s great to look for any commonality! However, I do think it would be a bit jarring to have a name that comes across as so Old Testament with Saoirse and Aidan as siblings, for example.
  • Tamsyn: I had Tamsin on my own list for my oldest if he’d been a girl, in honor of a Thomas — I liked that Tamsin is a feminine variant of Thomas via Thomasina. The fact that Diana has it on her list says to me that she’s okay expanding their names from strictly Irish to more broadly Celtic/British Isles, as I’m not familiar with its usage in Ireland, though I do think it has traditional usage in the U.K. (I could be wrong though!)
  • Rhea: Wow, another surprise! I think it fits with the “old lady” type names, like Ellen and Ester. One of my readers has a little Rhea.
  • Mary: I was excited to see Mary on Diana’s list, as there are so many pretty Irish Mary variants! Molly is one example, which I noted on her husband’s list — Mary as a given name with Molly as a nickname is how Molly arose as a name to begin with, and might be a nice option for this family. I also love Moira and Maura/Maureen.
  • Bianca, Isabella, Natalia: I’m grouping these together because they have a distinct Latinate feel that’s really beautiful but is at odds with the Irish style I think. But since Diana’s husband loves Natalia, I tried to think of some similar-ish names that would seem more natural with Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan, which I included in my “official” suggestions below.
  • Isabel: Isabel is lovely, and could fit better with their kids than Isabella I think, but even still, it doesn’t have that Irish sparkle.
  • Inis: Is this like “Inish,” like Inis Mor? I’ve never seen it considered as a name before!
  • Vera: Vera strikes me as similar to Ellen, Ester, and Rhea in the sense of it being kind of an “old lady” name, which are definitely back in style right now. But again, it feels like a mismatch with the other kids.
  • Grace: I love Grace, and I think it might normally go nicely with their other kids, but that I don’t love that it shares several sounds with their last name. The Irish variant Grainne takes it one step away, and normally I wouldn’t recommend it because its pronunciation is impossible to figure out for those who don’t know how to pronounce it, but I suspect Diana and her hubby deal with that all the time with Saoirse.
  • Molly: I think Molly’s a great option — see my comments re: Mary above.
  • Naomi, Talia: Naomi is a very Old Testament name, like Ester; I don’t think Talia is an Old Testament name, but it is a Hebrew name and I believe it’s most common among Jewish families? (Except when it’s used as a nickname for Natalia, for example.)
  • Amara: I’m having a hard time figuring Amara out — I thought it might be a Hebrew name like Talia, but what I’m finding is that it’s an Igbo name (from Nigeria) or also the name borne by multiple characters from a couple fantasy shows. So I’d recommend crossing this one off the list, as it’s pretty far away from the style they’ve already established. Maura is an Irish name that is similar in sound which might appeal to Diana’s husband.

So those are my thoughts on the names Diana and her husband have on their lists, which I hope they only find helpful — I don’t want to disparage any names they both really like or make the task of choosing a name for their little girl harder.

Now on to my new ideas! You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this baby; Saoirse doesn’t have her own entry, but there is a list of Celtic names in the back of the book that includes Saoirse and also a nice mix of names that I think would fit well with their older kids, which I also looked through. Based on that, these are my new ideas for Diana’s baby girl:

(1) Catriona (Cait/Cate, Katie)

Catherine is a style match for Margaret; Catalina is a match for Natalia; and Caroline/Carolyn is a match for Margaret, Claire, and Ellen, so I thought Catriona, which is an Irish form of Catherine/Katherine and has similar sounds to Catalina and Caroline, might be perfect. Catriona can take the nickname Cait/Cate as well — Kate is a match for Claire and Katie for Molly, so I like this idea for them a lot.

(2) Isla

Isabel(la) and Inis from Diana’s husband’s list made me think of Isla, which I thought they might like. It’s got both Scottish and Spanish usage — pronounced EYE-la for the former and EES-la for the latter — and I included it as an entry in the book of Marian baby names I wrote, as “its Marian character comes from the title ‘Our Lady of the Isles’ (Moire ro Naomh nan Eilean in Scottish Gaelic, referring to a statue of Our Lady on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland), or any of the devotions in the U.S. and Canada to Our Lady of the Island or Our Lady of the Isle.” Isla is such a pretty name!

(3) Eilís/Eilish

I love these Irish variants of Elizabeth — they are definitely very Saoirse-ish but perhaps a little more accessible, which swings them a little more to the Aidan/Lillian side.

(4) Fiadh

Sophia is a style match for Lillian; Sophie is a match for Isabel and Grace; and Safiya is a match for Amara, but I didn’t think any of those were names Diana and her husband would really like, especially since they begin with S like Saoirse and they don’t want to repeat initials. But Fiadh is said just like the last syllable of Sophia, and like Saoirse it has a meaning of freedom: “wild, untamed.”

(5) Rosemary/Rosemarie, Róisín/Roisin

Rosemary is a style match for Marjorie, and as soon as I saw it I thought of my friend Rosemarie, who is native Irish and grew up in the Gaeltacht, speaking Irish as her co-first language, I believe, so I thought maybe they’d like to consider Rosemary or Rosemarie, especially since Diana has Mary on her list. Rosemary/Rosemarie made me think, too, of Róisín, which is Irish for “little Rose” and is the name of a girl I knew when I was younger. I’ve always loved it, such a pretty name!

(6) Ríona/Ríonach/Ríoghnach

Speaking of pretty Irish names that begin with R, these names are all variants derived from the Irish for “queen,” making them cognates of Regina and therefore they’re Marian names as well, via her title as Queen. One of my readers used Ríonach for her baby’s middle name, it’s amazing!

(7) Nollaig

This might be a strange idea, since I haven’t seen it used as a name, but it’s Irish for “Christmas,” making it like Noelle and Natalia. The final G is said, but otherwise I think it sounds a lot like Molly, especially when said with their G last name, so maybe this would be a good compromise for Diana and her hubby?

(8) Niamh, Naomh

What about one of these names? Naomi on Diana’s husband’s list made me think of both Niamh and Naomh because of the similarities in spelling (though Naomi is said much differently than Niamh and Naomh of course), which I spotlighted here and discussed faith connections.

(9) Maeve/Medb/Méabh/Meadhbh

Finally, I had to suggest Maeve — it’s one of the easiest for those who aren’t familiar with Irish names to figure out, as long as the Maeve spelling is used. If they wanted to get more Irish, though, they can choose from Medb, Méabh, Meadhbh and there might be other spellings too — so many letters for such a little name, haha!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Lillian, Saoirse, and Aidan?


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!)