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!)

12 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Stuck between two names for little sister

  1. These were 2 of my favorite options when naming my daughter, who ended up being named Edith! It came down to Lucy and Edith, with Josephine having been vetoed by my husband to save Joseph for a son potentially. So perhaps they’d like Edith! Edith Annemarie and Edith Renee are both great choices in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was definitely going to say “what about Lucy-Ann Marie” if you didn’t. The nickname “Lucy-Ann” could even still be used, if they wanted to lengthen it for everyday use and/or differentiate it from all the other little Lucy’s, but don’t like the idea of a hyphenated name (assuming Lucy Annmarie). My name is Elizabeth Annette and my mom considered the nickname Beth-Ann for me from it, but I’ve ended up being the full Elizabeth always (with rare special-affection-based exceptions).
    I agree though that they really have it in the bag with any combo they’re already considering!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luciana or Lucyanna/Lucy Anna might also be pretty. Lucy is a full name and doesn’t sound at all childish to me. I had a college professor called Lucy and knew one my age. A woman I know has a 2 year old with the name.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of Lucy Renee to mirror Calvin Frederick: two family names for each child.
    Lucy Marianne or Lucy Josephine are also great.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually love Lucy Ann. Calvin and Lucy sound great together! I also think Lucy Marianne is great! As is Lucy Margaret.
    Ruby Ann is equally adorable with Calvin. I’ve also been loving Annie lately, so Annie Lucia or Annie Lucille would also get my vote to honor both mom and grandma.

    Liked by 1 person

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