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!


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

  1. My friend chose the spelling “Maryn” for her daughter to make the connection with Mary even more clear. I think Maren is my favorite spelling of this great name!


  2. I love when people suggest my name for babies (option 1)!! It’s a great name!!

    Some ideas are Marina – “of the sea” – & Mariana (or Marianna or Marianne).


  3. I like Marin, Maren, Marine, and Marina.

    As far as Marin and Maren, I pronounce them differently — I’m not sure if everyone does.

    I pronounce Marin as muh RIN (accent on the second syllable) and, for me, Maren rhymes with Karen.

    Marine is a popular name in France, but relatively unknown in the U.S. I think I would choose fresh, but familiar, Marine.

    Best wishes to you!


  4. I know lots of people don’t like nicknames that take too many “steps” to get to, but the first thing that came to my mind was Mary Ann nicknamed Maryn (pronounced same as Marin).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our spunky daughter after two boys is Maeve! So I thought I’d toss that into the ring!

    Mirren might be another version of Marin you’d like, or the Cornish Merryn.

    Liked by 1 person

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