Baby name consultation: First girl after three boys needs a “short, strong, distinct name”

Happy Sixth Day of Christmas! I’m working on my annual “Year in review” post and hope to have it up in the next few days. In it, I’ll be detailing my return to baby name consulting — stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this latest consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Megan writes in to say she’s having her first girl after three boys and she and her husband are having some problems coming up with a name they both love.

She writes,

The girl’s name that has been with me for years now is Marin. I like the sound of it, the Marian reference, and the ocean reference. Interestingly, when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, my oldest son called the baby Star or Sea Star for most of the pregnancy (we didn’t know the gender until birth). My husband is ‘so so’ about Marin — I think he is warming up to it, but he is from Marin County in California, so there is kind of a weird association for him with the name. So we may be open to other first names, if you could provide a couple of options.”

First, a little bit on the name they love, Marin. To distance it from the county in California, maybe use a different spelling? Maren is the more traditional spelling of this name and it carries the same meaning and sound. Mauren makes it even more distant but moves it to a form of Maureen, which is itself a form of Mary. All are Marian-related in this way (Marin means “of the sea,” making it related to Mary Maris Stella). I think changing the spelling might make this name more palatable for her husband.

She writes that they would like some middle name suggestions, too.

Considerations for the middle name:

  • We lost my mom this year, so it would be nice to commemorate her in some way — her name was Marcia Ann and I think we are inclined to use Ann, however Marin Ann sounds a little off to us, so we have considered adding a 2nd middle name (my mother in law’s middle name is Victoria, so adding that as a second middle name is a consideration)
  • We have chosen saint names in the past for middle names

As far as middle names go, I love double middle names! I was given two middles at birth and each of my children have two middle names. I say definitely do this!

About honoring her mom, Marcia Ann. I understand that Marcia is a tough name to work with nowadays and that’s probably why they’re considering the more classic and flexible Ann. Might I suggest a different form of Marcia to honor her instead? It’ll give their child some uniqueness without feeling weird or dated, especially in the middle spot. Some alternate forms of Marcia include Marcy, Marceline, Marcellina, Marzia, and Marcella. I really love Marceline and Marcella. Maren Marcella Victoria and Maren Victoria Marceline are so lovely!

This baby will be joining big siblings:

Cole Dominic
Reston Theodore
Declan Patrick

Megan writes their considerations for first names are “shorter, strong, distinct names — that aren’t overly popular.” That I can work with!

On to new suggestions. I kind of deduced that their style is short, spunky, and strong, so that’s what I tried to stick to. Any of these would be lovely as a first name or work great in the middle spot with Maren.

(1) Louisa/Luisa
Megan said they love Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin so I thought this was a natural choice. Not many people honor St. Louis with a girl! This name means “famous warrior” which is perfectly fiery for a little girl after three boys! This name checks all of the short, spunky, and strong boxes. Louisa Marcella Victoria is straight fire!

(2) Ivy
This name is growing in popularity but isn’t too popular yet. It’s a plant name like St. Zelie’s name and there’s a type of ivy called Mary’s Tears which makes this a Marian name! This name is short and spunky, although I don’t know if it would meet the definition of strong. Maren Ivy Marceline is a great combination.

(3) Flora
I was thinking of ways to honor St. Zelie and I thought, why not just go for the flower? This name means “flower” which makes it a nice honor name for Zelie and for her famous daughter Therese. It’s definitely short and spunky. Maren Marceline Flora has such a lovely flow.

(4) Alice/Alix
These are actually the same name, so I’m including them both here. Alice has that clunky cool feel, while Alix feels cutting edge and new. These names are forms of the name Adelaide which is another possible origin for the French name Azelie, the full name of St. Zelie. This is how I came to these names for them, as a roundabout way of honoring St. Zelie. Once I found these names, though, I loved them on their own merit for them and think they really fit their style. Maren Alice Victoria, Maren Alice Marceline, and Alix Marcella Maren are all incredible combos!

(5) Aliza
This is another possible for of Adelaide, which could honor St. Zelie but it definitely means “joyful” in Hebrew and I thought what a wonderful name for a first daughter after three boys that is. It’s short, spunky, and strong and goes great with Maren, Marceline, and Victoria! Some of my favorite combos with this name include Maren Aliza Marceline and Aliza Marceline Victoria. So much strength!

(6) Marta
Since they have a devotion to both of the Martin saints, I thought maybe they’d like this name to honor them both. Marta is a feminine form of Martin and while the meaning leaves a little to be desired (it means “warlike”), the association with the saints makes up for it, in my mind. It’s short, spunky, and strong and actually made me think of Marin, so maybe this is a good alternative for Megan and her husband? I love the combinations Marta Marcella Victoria and Marta Victoria Marceline.

(7) Margo(t)
I was trying to think of alternatives to Marin that they both might like and this name came to mind. It’s a form of Margaret, meaning “pearl,” and was the name of many saints. It’s short, spunky, and strong and goes great with their boys’ names. I like Margot Victoria Ann, Margot Marceline Victoria, and Margot Marcella Victoria.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?

I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back soon for details of my return), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!


Baby name consultation: Fifth boy and no boy names left!

Happy Third Week of Advent! I hope you’re all as excited about Christmas as everyone in my house is! Enjoy today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams:

Mama Frances writes in asking for baby naming help.

My husband and I come to you in a name conundrum we really never imagined ourselves to be in. You see, we (and by we, I mean me) are very certain about names — so certain we have always named our babies immediately upon finding out their gender and shared them with anyone who would listen. It proved a great balm, with our first who has a critical congenital heart defect and lots of prenatal complications (and post-birth surgeries). It always tells me exactly who this little person is I am getting to know, and has come so naturally. However, we have now come to find we are happily expecting our sixth child and fifth boy, and we have used so many names we have loved that I am simply struggling naming another little boy … which makes me feel horribly guilty because we have about twenty more girl names waiting in the wings.”

That’s always tough when you’ve used so many of the names you like already!

This little man will be joining big siblings:

Walter “Walt/Wally” David

Franklin “Frank/Franky” Richard

Theodore “Ted/Teddy” Paul

Lottie Theresa

Arthur “Art/Arty” Daniel

They have a few naming rules, though.

  • family honor either in first, middle, or both
  • traditional, but not “popular” names (the more vintage the better)
  • a likable nickname and formal name (most of the time)
  • a way to tie the name to a saint, an etymological derivative is fine
  • we end boy nicknames in y (even if it is less common like Franky and Arty), girls in ‘ie’

Also, they’d like to keep their Irish and Polish heritage in mind when naming this child, though it’s not a hard and fast criteria.

Here are some names they like but don’t feel like “the one”:

  • Alexander (too common), Gerald (don’t like the nickname “Gerry”), Anthony (repeating first initial and nickname Tony would start with a different letter than the full name), George (friends just named their son this), Ronald (no family significance), and Richard (already used it in the middle spot for a different child)

Names they cannot use are:

  • John
  • Joseph
  • Robert
  • Oliver

First, some thoughts on names they like but have issues.

Alexander– I agree that it’s too popular for them but it is popular for a reason, it’s a great name! This is one of those names that you can’t really go wrong with, especially in the middle spot.

Gerald– I love this name for them. I feel like it ticks all of their boxes! Unfortunately, I couldn’t really think of any other nicknames for it besides Gerry, which they aren’t a fan of, without getting really creative (Gerdy, Gordo, Gordy, etc.).

Anthony– This one surprised me for them, in a good way! I love this name and the nickname Tony, but understand their hangups. Perhaps in the middle spot?

George– I don’t think they should worry too much about having two Georges in the same social circle. This is a great name and ticks most of their boxes otherwise!

Ronald– Another name that I really like for them and ticks most of their boxes. Ronald Alexander is a great combination, too, which would give it the family significance Ronald lacks on its own.

Richard– Great name, but I would worry about having already used it on another child, too. I would let this one go since they’ve already used it in a middle spot.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Edward/Edmund/Edwin/Edgar

I couldn’t decide which I thought they would like more, so I’m including them all! Edward is the most popular currently at 195 and Edmund is the least popular currently, not having ranked above 1000 since 1998. These all come with the built-in nicknames of Ed and Eddy and tick all but the family significance box. There are tons of saints to go with each name, too, such as St. Edward the Confessor, St. Edmund Campion, St. Edwin the King, and  St. Edgar the Peaceful. I like any of these names with any of the names they already like in the middle spot, some favorites are Edmund Alexander, Edmund Gerald, and Edwin Alexander.

(2) Lawrence/Laurence

I think I prefer the Laurence spelling for them, but I’ve included both just in case. I love the vintage-ish nicknames of Law and Laury (Laurey?), too. There are tons of Saints with both spellings of the name but one that stood out to me was St. Lawrence O’Toole, since they said their family background leans Irish (and Polish). I think this name fits in with their other kids’ really well but it does share the first initial with the only sister.

(3) Stanley

When they mentioned their family is part Polish, I immediately thought of this name! There’s St. Stanislaus Kostka and Bl. Stanley Rother to tie into it, too. It can take the nicknames Stan and Stanny and fits their vintage vibe so perfectly! I love Stanley Gerald and Stanley Alexander best out of the other names they like.

(4) Douglas

This name was originally a Scottish surname through the Gaelic language, tying it to their family’s heritage. I could only find one saint with the name Douglas, Bl. George Douglas, who was martyred for being a priest. Nicknames Doug and Douggy are super friendly and fun.

(5) Calvin

This was one of the first names I thought of when they said “the more vintage, the better”.  The only problem here is that there are no saints by this name and its connection with John Calvin and Calvinism. Otherwise, I think this fits in with their crew really well and I wouldn’t be afraid of the associations. Calvin Gerald is like peak vintage, too!

(6) Frederick

This comes with the obvious nicknames of Fred and Freddy but it would repeat an initial. I love its meaning of “peaceful ruler”; a great meaning for a 5th boy/6th overall! There are several saints to go along with the name, including St. Frederick and Bl. Frederick Ozanam.

(7) Terrence

I have Irish and Polish in my ancestry, so I actually looked to my family trees to see if there were any winners there. I found Terrence on my Irish side and fell in love! I think this is a great name for them and ticks almost all of their boxes. It has nickname Terry which is very friendly and fun, too. Amazingly, there is Bl. Terrence Albert O’Brien to go with the name! Paired with one of the other names they like, this name feels like a real home run for them. Maybe Terrence Alexander, Terrence Anthony, or Terrence George?

These are my thoughts. What do you guys think?

I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!