Happy Monday, feast of St. Francis de Sales! He’s one of my favorite Saints and one I’ve taken as a personal patron because he’s a patron of writers. St. Francis de Sales, pray for us! Here’s the third of my five January consultations — enjoy!
I posted a consultation for Sara and her husband when they were expecting their twin girls several years ago, and then posted a birth announcement for her beautiful babies, and I’m so excited that Sara’s expecting again! This little one joins big sibs:
Caroline Rose (Cali)
Evelyn Pearl (Evie)
I have always loved their taste in names — Landon, Brooks, Caroline/Cali, and Evelyn/Evie is just such an attractive bunch!
Though they don’t know if this baby is a boy or girl, they have some solid ideas for girls, so they need help with boy names. One thing that Sara shared that I didn’t previously know is that she lost a third baby during her pregnancy with the girls, and they’d like to consider using Everett as the baby’s middle name if they have a boy, in honor of the baby they lost. Additionally, Sara writes,
“We could also use my husband’s name, Erich, or his middle name, Edward, as a middle if it needed to be shorter. That’s all assuming this is a baby boy! We are going to have it be a surprise but I’ve had so many dreams that this baby is a boy I’m really focusing on boy names for now. With all my others I dreamt their gender early on and it was correct.”
For style considerations, names on their girl list include:
- Rosalie/Rosalind Grace nn Rosie
- Margaret Grace
- Magnolia “Maggie” Grace (“both of my husband’s grandmothers are Margaret so either of the last two options feels like a nice honorary name with the nickname Maggie“)
For a boy, names they’ve considered include (in order of preference):
- Theo (“cannot use Theodore and also don’t like a third boy being Theodore because of those darn chipmunks 🙂 Love the meaning, “God’s Gift,” and that feels so relevant to the story I told you above. I like this name a lot, however, it sort of feels like a nickname and it seems very trendy right now, I know a Teddy and two Theodores off the top of my head, one of which is my cousin’s new baby! And my boys despise it for some reason although my husband likes this option“)
- Rowan/Owen (“like both of these … Rowan is a nice option that we keep going back and forth about although it doesn’t have any real personal significance“)
- August (“I love this one, husband thinks it’s weird that he wouldn’t actually be born in August and maybe thinks it’s a little pretentious? I love the nickname Auggie but may not be able to convince him about this
- Jasper (“like this option but not sure about the -er ending” [their last name ends in -er])
- Max/Maxwell (“Maybe not in keeping as well with the other kid’s names. I want all the names to feel like they belong together although this is still a cute name“)
- Phoenix (“feels especially relevent because of the “rising from the ashes” but honestly, I just don’t think the name fits with the other kids and the association with the city is not my favorite. Plus I can never spell it correctly!“)
Names they can’t use include:
And finally, Sara would prefer names with meaning/significance that aren’t “overly odd/unique but not super popular (like in the top 5) and goes well with all of the other kids … Lastly, I would prefer not to repeat initials with the other kids since it’s hard enough to keep everyone straight as it is!“
Okay, let me first offer my thoughts on the names currently on their list for a boy, in case they’re helpful:
- Theo: (The “chipmunks” comment made me laugh!) Theo can certainly work on its own — it’s no. 172 on the SSA list for 2020 as a given name, which means it’s both not unheard of as a given name (check out this little Theo as one example), and also far less popular than Theodore (no. 23). Theophilus (a biblical name) and Theobald are two names that can take Theo as a nickname that are less popular than Theodore (neither one are in the top 1000). I wonder what Sara and her hubby would think of Thaddeus? I often think of Theodore and Thaddeus as being two sides of the same coin — in fact, I posted about this very idea once ages ago, with that very title! Theodore and Thaddeus can both take Ted as a nickname (I know a Thaddeus called Ted), and I don’t even think it’s necessarily a stretch to say that Theo can work as a nickname idea for Thaddeus. If they like Thaddeus but not Ted or Theo as nicknames for it, Thad and Tad/Taddy are also possibilities. Regarding its meaning, it’s actually possible that Thaddeus means the same thing as Theodore! I love the name Thaddeus. Also, Matthew and its variants (Matthias etc.) also mean “God’s gift.” Thaddeus is no. 789 and Matthew is no. 30.
- Rowan/Owen: These are both great names! I’m surprised that Rowan is the one that seems to rise to the top for them, as I think Owen feels like it fits better with the other kids. (But of course, who cares — if they love Rowan, they should use it!)
- August: I LOVE August for this family! I think it’s a great fit for their kids in general, and as a brother to their other boys! I’ve seen others wonder if August is weird for a non-August-born baby, but I think it’s helpful to remember that August has a whole other meaning — it’s an adjective that comes from (according to the dictionary) “the Latin word augustus, meaning ‘consecrated’ or ‘venerable,’” which really ties into the faith and saintly connections (St. Augustine, for one) and is, I assume, why it was used as a name in the first place. That said, I can see how one might think it’s pretentious, since its main dictionary definition includes “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur” and “having a formal and impressive quality,” but I really don’t think that’s what *most* people think when they hear it, as evidenced by the fact that it was given to a fair number of baby boys born in 2020 (ranked no. 155), and the nickname Auggie absolutely brings it into the “easy and friendly” category. I wonder if Sara’s husband would husband find Augustus or Augustine more to his liking?
- Jasper: I probably would have suggested Jasper to them if it wasn’t already on their list — it’s a great fit with the other kids! That said, I do see what Sara means about the repeating -er ending … I guess I wouldn’t cross it off altogether, but I’m pretty sure there’s a better option for them.
- Max/Maxwell: I think Maxwell is absolutely in keeping with the other kids’ given names, and Max has a similar feeling to Cali and Evie. I like this option!
- Julian: Similar to the other names here — I could see it working well!
- Phoenix: I agree with Sara that it’s a style departure from the other kids’ names, though I, too, appreciate the meaning of “rising from the ashes.” Something interesting that Sara might like is that Phoenix actually means “dark red,” and Rowan is the diminutive of an Irish word meaning “red” (so basically, “little red one”), so Rowan could provide a connection to the Phoenix idea if she wants it to!
Alrighty, on to new ideas! I kept the idea of “names with meaning” (especially the meaning of a baby after loss) in mind when I was doing my usual research, which you’ll see reflected in some of my ideas below. You all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they like 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, but I also had some gut-reaction ideas:
(1) Hardy, Garrett
Everett derives from Everard, which means “brave boar,” from the Germanic elements ebur “wild boar” and hard “brave.” (That hard element is also seen in Gerard: ger “spear” plus hard “brave.”) Though of course “boar” doesn’t seem like a meaning anyone would like, “brave” is fantastic, and the element hard is actually where the name Hardy comes from. Hardy is one of my favorites! I think brothers named Landon, Brooks, and Hardy are fantastic together — surname-y and firstname-y at the same time — and I love the more subtle but very real connection to Everett.
If they like this idea, but not Hardy especially, Garrett is derived from Gerard, so would have that same shared hard element with Everett-via-Everard, and I like that it also has the same ending as Everett. Garrett also has that Celtic feel of Rowan, Owen, and can’t-use Finn and Oliver, and also the bit of Country & Western feel that Landon and Brooks can have — very cool!
(2) Malcolm, Ambrose, Royce
I’m listing these three together because they were immediate ideas I had for this family while I was initially reading Sara’s email. Specifically, I wondered if Malcolm nicknamed Mac might be a nice replacement for Maxwell nicknamed Max? Like Garrett, Malcolm has the Celtic feel of Rowan, Owen, Finn, and Oliver, and Mac is just *that much* different from Max that it maybe feels a bit fresher.
I actually can’t remember why Ambrose came to my mind right away! But as I was working on this, I loved discovering that Brody is a style match for Landon, and I’ve seen Brody as a nickname for Ambrose — that could be a cool way to get around the “no repeating initials” rule! I actually really like Brody with Landon and Brooks. But then, I also remembered that Ambrose means “immortal,” which fits right in with the Phoenix idea! I’ve seen Amby used as a nickname for Ambrose, which avoids using another B.
As for Royce, it’s actually a male variant of Rose! Behind the Name says it’s from “a surname that was derived from the medieval given name Royse, a variant of Rose,” and I thought of it when I was reading Sara’s email because of how much she loves the Rose names. Transferring a Rose name to a boy is an unexpected move, but there’s no denying Royce is a masculine name!
You all know that Miles is one of my favorite names ever! It’s got traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — a totally Marian name hidden in a totally current boy’s name! Specifically for this family, Miles is a style match for both Owen and Maxwell, which I thought was pretty cool. It is rising in popularity so Sara will want to be sure she’s okay with that, but so far it’s still below her “no top 25” threshold (it was no. 59 in 2020).
(4) Bennett, Austin
I’m including these two together because they’re both medieval forms of names that Sara either likes or have a meaning she would like, and they’re both surname-y and firstname-y like Landon and Brooks. Bennett is a medieval form of Benedict, which means “blessed” — a meaning I thought Sara would really appreciate being worked into her little boy’s name. Unfortunately, it repeats Brooks’ initial, but it seems such a good fit for them (even being a style match for Brooks, Everett, Owen, and Maxwell, and having the same ending as Everett) that I didn’t want to not include it. Maybe they’d like it as a middle name?
Austin is a medieval contracted form of Augustine, and Augustine of course comes from august. I know Austin and August have different feels, but the more I thought about it, the more I like how Landon, Brooks, and Austin sound together.
Fulton is totally inspired by the surname+firstname feel of Landon and Brooks and of course Fulton Sheen. I love it in this family! I wrote a post a few years ago offering nickname ideas for it (be sure to read the comments too!).
Grant is a style match for Brooks, but what really encouraged me to include it here are the faith connections — I’ve suggested it a few times in consultations because of them, like how I said in this one (appropriately titled “Rainbow baby needs a meaningful name,” where the parents hoped to maybe honor the baby they lost to SIDS in their new baby’s name): “One possibility might be in Job 6:8, when he says, “Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant what I long for” … Another is the beginning of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”” I’ve also suggested a faith connection can be the part in the Mass where we say, “Grant us peace,” which seems perfect for parents who have suffered loss.
Samuel is a match for both Caroline and Evelyn, which I thought could be really cool — Samuel goes great with Landon and Brooks and for it to be a style match for both the girls really loops everyone in together. But beyond that, the story of Hannah in the bible and her fervent prayers for a child — and for Samuel to be the answer to that prayer — can be very meaningful for any woman who has longed for a baby.
(8) John, Henry (John Henry?)
John is one of those ideas that I just had on my own, mostly because of Sara’s idea of considering Everett as a middle name. I think John Everett sounds SO handsome, and I’m loving the idea of Jet(t) as a nickname!
Then I saw that, like Samuel, Henry is a style match for Caroline and Evelyn (as well as Theo and Margaret), so I had to include it! But I was thinking that Sara might prefer a more unexpected name than Henry, so I thought again of John — John Henry is one of the sweetest combos for a little boy, and totally works for a man as well!
Finally, I want to go back to Sara’s love of meanings for a minute, because there are a bunch more names with meanings or connections she might like, so even though they didn’t seem to warrant a place in my list of “official” suggestions, I didn’t want to not mention them, just in case. Because she loves the meaning of Theodore being “gift of God” (Theo alone is the “God” part of that construction) and the connection of Phoenix to “rising from the ashes,” I looked up names meaning/connected to resurrection and Easter, as well as “gift” and “blessed,” and some miscellaneous names showed themselves as well (not all of these feel right [Anastasius] but might spark some inspiration):
Resurrection and Easter (“rising from the ashes”)
- Anastasius (“resurrection”)
- Paschal/Pascal (“related to Easter”)
- Jesse (possibly meaning “gift”)
- Matthew et al. (specifically “gift of God” as noted above)
- Asher (I like this one because it has the visual/audial “ash” connection, like “rising from the ashes,” though it actually means “happy, blessed”)
- Baruch (“blessed”)
- Benedict (“blessed”)
- Macarius (“blessed, happy”)
- Dominic (“of the Lord”) (Jesse Dominic could roughly translate as “gift of the Lord”)
- Gabriel (some people think of their lost babies as “angel babies,” and Gabriel itself was actually a style match for Julian)
- Isaac (“he will laugh; he will rejoice”)
- Kenneth (“born of fire”)
And you might like to take a look at these articles on naming rainbow babies:
- “26 Names That Are Perfect for a Rainbow Baby” by Rita Templeton at Scary Mommy
- “These Are Some of the Most Popular Names for Rainbow Babies” by Nehal Aggarwal at The Bump
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother of Landon, Brooks, Caroline/Cali, and Evelyn/Evie?
The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)
For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!