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.”
“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:
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:
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.
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.
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!)