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 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 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 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!)


22 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Lots of rules for Baby no. 4’s name!

  1. In the theme of Merryn/Perrin, what about Marrin? I usually see it spelled Marin, but Marrin fits their rules! Another that fits the rules is Marianne. I love this, but I’m not sure if Marianne is too close to Lillian? Nicolette or really anything ending in -ette would work, like Mariette, Odette, Paulette, Suzette, Violette, but I like Nicolette Joy so much!


  2. I like Tessa Joy and Sienna Joy best. I think that Tessa has a softer sound, like Emma, while Lillian and Kennedy have harder sounds, so Tessa balances the quartet phonetically for me.


  3. I think Joy works as a nod to St. Joseph, because it contains Jo in it.

    Some ideas that follow the rules:
    Vianney (I think it’s the best match of all of these for Kennedy)
    Rosalynn (because Ashley likes Rosalie)

    But there are others I think could work great even if they don’t follow the rules:

    And of course you can find another speling of a name you like:


  4. How about Carrington? I like it as a match for Kennedy, in the surname category. Patron saint could be JP2, as a nod to his birth name Karol.


  5. Love Tessa for you! I also second Pippa and Reese.
    If you forgo your preferences, I second Juliette and Corinne.

    A few more with double letters:
    Odessa, Ottilie, Scarlett, Stella and Zinnia.

    Scarlett Joy could honor St. Joseph since Red is associated with him.


    • Just reread Kate’s suggestions and somehow missed Salette! Salette Joy 😍. Could even be a nickname to Scarlett.


  6. Emma, Kennedy, Lillian and
    – Marietta (alphabetical, different double letter, Marian name)
    – Vivienne (repeats NN)
    – Stella (repeats LL)
    – Ottilie (alphabetical, different double letter, saint, love the non Tilly)
    – Galilee

    Marietta Joy is my favorite!


  7. I like:
    Marielle — Marielle Joy
    Merritt — Merritt Joy
    Merryn — Merryn Joy
    Millicent — Millicent Joy
    Nicolette — Nicolette Joy
    Philippa — Philippa Joy
    Tessa — Tessa Joy

    These aren’t last half of the alphabet names, but I also like:
    Annika — Annika Joy
    Cressida — Cressida Joy.
    Hannah — Hannah Joy


  8. I have a Mariel at home, so I wholeheartedly second Marielle Joy! I also love the suggestions of Stella, Susannah and Scarlett.

    My favorite of your suggestions is definitely Sienna Joy. Gorgeous!

    I know they don’t like Nellie, but what about Nella? Or perhaps Zella – the meanings attributed to it are wonderful: “lacking nothing,” “one who knows the way” (!), and “blessed.”

    Maybe a bit of a stretch, but Pepa is a common nickname for Josef in Czech (yep, I’m here with the Czech again)! While Pepa/Peppa probably isn’t quite right, I can easily see considering Pippa to be related and using it as a nod to Joseph. And Pippa Joy is all kinds of awesome! A bit quirkier and definitely LoTR, but Pippin could be wonderful (even as a spunky nickname for Pippa).

    I also love Ottilie as well and I’ve heard, and prefer, it pronounced Oh-teal-ya (okay, again it’s from the Czech Otylie), rather than the English-intuitive pronunciation, Ah-tilly (something like that). I love that pronunciation, particularly with Joy. Ottilie Joy – it almost sounds like “I’ll tell you joy” which is just great!


  9. My first thought was also Susanna.
    Or maybe Callista. I love both names in full, but Annie or Callie would also be so cute with Emma, Kennedy, and Lillian!


  10. Violetta is a name on my list that fits their rules!
    My sister has 3 boys that all have a double letter, so I perused her Facebook post comments where she asked for suggestions to follow that rule in case their #3 had been a girl. Here are some that fit this family’s rules and might appeal: Loretta (same initial as Lillian but alphabetically later by the whole name), Makenna (hopefully just stylistically close enough, but not too close, to Kennedy) (I have another friend with a 6yo with this name so I’ve seen it in real life and it’s so sweet!), Maristella (or Stellamaris), Maebell (or any variant spelling that keeps the ll), Mallory, Maureen.
    Going along the Philippa/Pippa line there’s Priscilla (another of Anne Shirley’s college friends in Anne of the Island) and Phyllis.


  11. What a fun challenge!
    Personally I don’t like the look of putting double letters in a name when the usual spelling doesn’t have it.
    Here’s some names I thought of:
    Morwenna (heard this recently for the first time on the show Poldark and added it to my favorites list!)
    Zipporah (my friend named her daughter this and I love it! It’s biblical but unusual)

    Liked by 1 person

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