Baby name consultation: German or German-friendly name for boy no. 3

Another consultation for this week! So many babies on the way! 😍😍😍

Leah and her husband are expecting their sixth baby and third boy! This little guy joins big siblings:

Maximilian Joseph (“For our first, Maximilian was really the only name we both said we liked from my list. We were of course thinking of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I have visited Auschwitz. I do like the idea of our children having a Saint to look up to and ask for help. We both liked the nickname as well, which we most often use. The name meaning “greatest” was a bonus. 🙂

My husband liked Joseph, which was his dad’s middle name. I also liked it because our son was born in March, right around the Feast of St. Joseph

I am also a German teacher and speak the language with my children. So I wanted a name that is spelled (almost) identical and is similar sounding in both English and German.”)

Clara Marie (“For our first daughter, Clara was again the only name that we (at first) both could agree on. I have visited Assisi, and like the meaning of clear, bright. I am partial to girls’ names ending in “a”

My middle name is Marie, after my grandmother, Mary, so I found that appropriate and honoring Saint Mary, of course.”)

Gianna Elizabeth (“Then came our twin girls, and I recall it wasn’t sooo hard to come up with two girls names … Gianna is the older twin, and my husband wanted them in alphabetical order. I was reading about St. Gianna Beretta Molla during the twins pregnancy, like her story, and like how the name (in English) sounds. My Mother’s middle name is Elizabeth.”)

Katerina Helena (“My husband actually wanted to name Clara, Katerina, about two weeks before her due date, but, by then, I was already much too decided on Clara. I think of St. Catherina of Siena as her namesake

My Mother-in-law is named Helen, hence Helena.”)

Johannes William (“Sticking with German sounding names, we both liked Johannes fairly early on and stuck with it throughout my pregnancy. I was thinking of St. John the Baptist and our son was due, but not born, on his feast day. I also like the nicknames Jo, Hans and Hansi, all of which he gets called, except by my husband, who calls everyone by their whole name, except for Max.

I don’t love that some “strangers” pronounce the J in English, instead of German, but we expected that, and it’s not a big deal. I enjoy the German J (yo) sound. I also like the meaning “gift from God”

William is my husband’s middle name, after his Uncle.”)

I love each of these names!!

Names Leah and her husband are considering for their new baby include:

  • Sebastian (“My husband suggested this name first of all, and I liked it. But, to pronounce it in German, it could get a little tiresome to me. Also, I tend to use nicknames, so I would probably call him “Basti”. I like the story of the soldier and martyr St. Sebastian as a patron. It’s sort of on the backburner now.”)
  • Wilhelm (“My husband suggested this too and currently likes it the best. I don’t, because our youngest sons’ middle name is William, the English form of Wilhelm. It just seems like the same name. I would always pronounce Wilhelm with the hard “v” sound and nickname him “Willi”.”)
  • Wolfgang (“I’m not sure which one of us came up with this. The story of St. Wolfgang is not very inspiring to me, but perhaps I haven’t read enough about him. I find it interesting that his chapel was a highly popular pilgrimage site. I would again pronounce this with the hard “v” sound and nickname him “Wolfi”, which I find super sweet for a little boy. When he’s older I feel like “Wolf” is a nice and manly boy nickname that friends might give. The meaning can be taken as “one who goes with the wolves”, or who is like a wolf, which is a good thing, since the wolf was a “hero” and winner of battles or fights.”)

Names they’ve discussed but decided to cross off their list include:

  • Zachariah (“husband doesn’t like how it sounds“)
  • Job (“husband doesn’t like it“)
  • Pio (“husband doesn’t like how it sounds“)
  • Sixtus (“seems like a joke to me“)

It’s so fun to work on consultations where the parents favor names from a certain language or background — I love scrolling through lists of names that might be new to me! Maximilian, Clara, Gianna, Katerina, and Johannes are fantastic names for Leah’s older children, and I was excited to look for German or German-friendly names for their new baby boy.

I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on the names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Sebastian: I love Sebastian, and the nickname Basti is cool! I find that boys tend to love St. Sebastian’s story (those arrows! So gory! So fantastic! Haha!)!
  • Wilhelm: I feel the same as Leah in the sense that they already really used Wilhelm. Otherwise a great name!
  • Wolfgang: I love this too! Wolfi and Wolf are both great nicknames as Leah mentioned — Wolfi for a little guy is adorable, and Wolf for a man is amazing. I looked up St. Wolfgang and thought that the fact that he’s known as the Great Almoner because of his charity is pretty great. This is also one of those names that, if you like German names, Wolfgang definitely needs to be on your list!
  • Zachariah, Job, Pio, Sixtus: I’m glad Leah included the names they’ve considered and decided against, as they provide good information for me in terms of the style of names she and/or her husband likes.

Okay, on to new ideas! 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. I did so here, and I also looked through the list of German and Dutch Names in the back of the book, and then I had a couple of other ideas for this family as well. In fact, I had so many ideas that I was excited about that I had a hard time narrowing down to just three! So I’ll list my three “official” suggestions here, and follow with a few more quick ideas just in case.

(1) Dominik

Dominic was the biggest style match for this family, being listed as similar to Maximilian, Gianna, and Sebastian. Spelling it with a K is a neat way to signal their affinity for the German language while not changing the pronunciation at all. Niko is the nickname that I feel like they would like best, but Dom/Dommy is cute too.

(2) Leo

Leo is one of those great names that travels well and fits with lots of different languages and backgrounds. I think the German pronunciation is just a bit different from the English? But I like it because it’s equally at home as the brother of Johannes as it is Gianna, and it’s an actual style match for Clara.

(3) Henrik

I love Henrik! Henry is so hot right now, and Henrik gives it a nice unexpected twist while still being easy to say with an obvious pronunciation. I loved reading about St. Henry II, also known as Good King Henry, king of Germany — a great patron for a boy! Henry is a match for Clara and William (which I hope means Henrik would be a match for Wilhelm).

Okay, so those are my “official” suggestions, but there are so many other great names that I wanted to suggest! Like:

  • Benedikt: If you love German names and you’re asking a Catholic baby name consultant for ideas, you know our German Pope Benedict’s name has to be on here! Again with the K — I like that it signals Germanness without changing pronunciation.
  • Gerhard nicknamed Hardy: I love St. Gerard anyway, and since Leah’s into nicknames, I love Hardy as a nickname.
  • Hugo: The Italian variant Ugo is actually a style match for both Job and Pio. I think Hugo is adorable!
  • Karl: This very nearly made my official list because Charles is a match for Clara and Carlo for Gianna. It always makes me think of St. John Paul II!
  • Konrad: Actually, both Conrad and Konrad would work — I have Konrad here because I know a family who has embraced the dad’s German heritage and named one of their sons Konrad, but Conrad is legit too, and my husband and I also considered Conrad with the nickname Cord, which is listed on Behind the Name as a German diminutive. Another idea is Kurt, which is a contracted form of Conrad!
  • Oskar: I mostly wanted to include Oskar here because it was in the list of German names and I love it, and that K spelling is great.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Maximilian, Clara, Gianna, Katerina, and Johannes?


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!)

16 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: German or German-friendly name for boy no. 3

  1. Ooh I’m loving Gerhard! Stashing that away as a middle name idea for the future… I love St Gerard but don’t love the name, and I speak German!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My extended family shares a lot of the same German culture and names (we have a Johannes, multiple Helenes, a Gerhard, etc).

    I’m loving Sebastian, Dominik, Henrik, Konrad… Wolfgang could be neat and sounds daring to me. For what it’s worth, as a child I found “Gerhard” hard to say as a native English speaker. Another name in our extended family is “Harald.” It’s pronounced slightly differently in German than English. Alfred is another. Love the “August” suggestion above.

    As an aside, my name, Sarah, was awkward for my German Oma to pronounce and didn’t sound pretty to my ears. I totally appreciate wanting to find a name that you love equally with multiple pronunciations!

    Liked by 1 person

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