Happy Spring! Hooray! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!
Mama Mary writes in needing help naming their 8th child, 6th boy! Little man will be joining big siblings:
Her husband Kevin does not want a junior. She writes,
“Here is our difficulty. We have A LOT of nephews and we spend a lot of time with them and don’t want to duplicate unless we really love it (Joseph is a repeat with a nephew named Joseph and a niece named Josephine) … A lot of the names we love, but like I said just don’t want to repeat.”
Names they cannot use include:
- John Paul
“So far I love Ambrose, but my husband doesn’t love it. Also our last name is Benz. My husbands favorite name is Benedict but I can’t get over” Benedict with their last name.
On to names. Some thoughts on the ones they like.
Ambrose- Fantastic name and great patron to go along with it. This seems a little outside of their established style but not too far out. It’s very Catholicky Catholic, and that’s a good thing! It ranks at #820, meaning it’s not popular at all but they may hear it in Catholic circles.
Benedict- I understand why this is on their list. It’s a great name that has so much meaning for them. I do not like the sound of Ben [last name], though, and they’ve already used it in the middle spot for another son. I know that doesn’t matter to them much, as they’ve done this before, but I think there is a better name out there for them.
Okay, on to new suggestions! This was one of the most fun challenges I’ve had in a while because of all the names they can’t use that would be right within their wheelhouse. I hope I’ve come up with some suitable alternatives.
The world is catching on to how great this name is, as it currently ranks at #38. It means “God is my strong man” and I think that’s an incredible meaning for a little boy. Gabriel fits so well with all their other kids, too. There is, of course, St. Gabriel the Archangel for patron but there’s also lesser known St. Gabriel Possenti who had a strong devotion to Our Lady through the title Our Lady of Sorrows. You can read more about him here. I love the sound of Gabriel Ambrose and Gabe is such a cute nickname (if they’re into nicknames).
I was surprised to find that no one in their life had used this name yet, so I had to include it! It means “small” or “humble” and the obvious patron is St. Paul the Apostle, although there are plenty of others. It ranks at #252, meaning it’s not popular or trendy but is recognizable and established, pretty much the sweet spot they want. The only con I could see is that Paul would mean they have a lot of P names in their family. I’m not sure if that bothers them or not.
This may not seem like a very traditional name but it is and has a rich history! It most likely means “gracious” or “soldier” but it is also the Anglicized version of two Gaelic names, Maoilios meaning “servant of Jesus” and Maolmhuire meaning “servant of the Virgin Mary.” How cool is that! There is a Bl. Miles Gerard also. This name currently ranks at 58, meaning that it’s still fairly uncommon, though they’ll hear it more often. I think this name fits in beautifully with their other children. I love the depth of meanings of this name.
Ambrose always makes me think of Anselm. It means “with divine protection” and was born by St. Anselm, a Doctor of the Church. It doesn’t even rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s unique and not trendy. The only place they’ll hear this name is Catholic circles and even very rarely there. It’s a little different from their other kids but still fits in and is very traditional as far as Catholic names go.
These names give off the same vibe to me (and actually may share a root) so I always include them together. If you like one of these names, you’ll probably like the other. Theodore means “gift of God” and currently ranks at #23. Several saints bore this name. I think the meaning is so sweet and great for an eighth child. Nicknames Ted, Teddy, and Theo are so cute, too. I love love love Theodore Ambrose and other good combinations are Theodore Gabriel, Theodore Paul, and Theodore Anselm. Thaddeus comes from possibly the same root or could mean “heart.” It currently ranks at #785 meaning it’s rare but not weird. St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the Apostles, too. Nicknames Tad and Taddy are super cute. I love Thaddeus Ambrose, Thaddeus Paul, and Thaddeus Miles.
St. Basil the Great is a Doctor of the Church and you can’t get much more traditional than that! In English, Basil means “king” but in Arabic it means “brave, valiant”. How cool! I love this name for them as it sort of bridges more common traditional names with more uncommon traditional names. It doesn’t rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s relatively unheard of but not weird. I think it’s criminally underused! It’s definitely on my list of guilty pleasure names. Basil Ambrose is a powerhouse. Basil Gabriel, Basil Paul, Basil Anselm, and Basil Theodore are also really strong and traditional.
Lots of saints to go along with this name, including Pope St. Gregory the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen. It means “watchful, alert” and ranks at #432, meaning it’s falling out of favor in the trendy circles but is still traditional and recognizable. I think this name fits in really well with their other kids, especially the boys, who seem to be not immediately identifiable as Catholic but with strong, traditional Catholic roots. This name fits that bill. Gregory Ambrose makes for a super Catholic little man and Gregory goes with just about every name I’ve suggested, too. I think this is a great name that doesn’t get used nearly enough these days.
These are my thoughts. What do you think?
I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! 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!