Baby name consultation: Whether and how to use an honor name for baby boy

Theresa and her husband are expecting their fifth baby and third boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Mary Kathryn (“named after both grandmothers“)
John David (“named after St. John the Baptist and his Godfather is David, my husband’s brother“)
Lucy Marie (“named after St. Lucy“)
Joseph Stephen (“we liked Joseph and it was a J name to follow John, his middle name is after my brother Stephen and also his godfather“)

Beautiful names! Classic, solid, saintly.

Theresa writes,

I have had 3 miscarriages, 2 of them before our 4th child and then one just last year … NOW again we got a happy surprise and I conceived in Aug! I say surprise but I know its God’s plan and will, we are due May 4, it’s a boy! I never found out the gender before but with this one I just felt like I wanted to know to plan on names and at least get some clothes up from the basement sitting in boxes!

*** here is one more weird twist on this: My oldest brother died this past July at age 46. I conceived about one month after his death, and my due date is one week after his birthday! God took my brother away but also gave us new life! I am brought to tears just saying that.

So now we are stuck! Do I name this boy after my brother who died, Jeffrey Paul (my dad’s name is Paul) or would that be too weird for my parents and siblings to see a little Jeff run around, or use Jeff as his middle name? Or do we stick to another boy’s J name, like Jacob, Jason, Joshua, or do we choose a Saint name around when he is born May 4? My father-in-law’s name is Ronald Michael, and my grandfathers names were Anton or Andrew.

Anything you can do to help us or shed some light, advice at all would be so helpful!

I was so inspired by Theresa’s story! I love how the timing of this baby coincided so amazingly with the passing of her brother — what a light this little one is in such a dark time for her family!

I can see why naming this baby after Theresa’s brother is an appealing idea. I don’t know if it would be too weird or too difficult for her parents and siblings to have a new little Jeff in the family — every family’s different, and probably the only way to know whether it would be too painful or not is to ask them. But I cautioned Theresa to only ask the question if she’s ready to adjust her actions based on their answer, you know? If she asks the question and they respond enthusiastically and happily that they would love that, then she’ll probably feel required to do so, even if she wasn’t totally sure she wanted to use Jeffrey as the first name. If she really loves Jeffrey and it’s meaningful to her to use it but her family responds negatively, it might be hard for her to switch to something else, where if she didn’t ask them and just did it, they would probably eventually come around (I mean, they’d have to — they couldn’t just not call him by his name forever!). But I could see how Theresa might not want to put them in that position.

If Theresa and her hubs decided to use Jeffrey as a first name but were still worried about how it would be received, they could consider using a different nickname than Jeff. Jay is the first one that comes to mind as a fairly natural one as it’s Jeffrey’s initial spelled out. Or J.P., if they did Jeffrey Paul. Or even if they didn’t want to call him that all the time, it might be nice to give family members the option.

I do like the idea of using Jeffrey as a middle name — it’s the natural spot for honor names that maybe aren’t quite right for first-name use, and it would allow her to use her brother’s name without the issue of whether or not it would be too painful for her family to use/hear on a daily basis. I like the idea of Paul Jeffrey a lot, especially if Paul was her brother’s middle name.

In fact, if Paul was Theresa’s brother’s middle name, my very favorite idea for her is either Michael Paul or Paul Ronald/Michael, after the two grandfathers, like Mary Kathryn is for both grandmothers (I thought Michael was more Theresa and her hubs’ style than Ronald, hence my thought of Michael Paul if they were going to do the first name for her father-in-law. If they put a name for Theresa’s father-in-law in the middle, I think both Paul Ronald and Paul Michael are fine). How cool to be able to work in both grandfathers and Theresa’s brother in one name!

If Paul wasn’t Theresa’s brother’s middle name, I still love the idea of naming after both grandfathers with her little guy’s name, since both grandmothers were honored with her oldest. If Theresa still wanted to work in her brother, she could consider two middles: Michael Paul Jeffrey, or Paul Michael Jeffrey, or Paul Ronald Jeffrey, etc. I wrote about double middle names here: https://sanctanomina.net/2017/10/04/double-middle-names/.

Another way to honor Theresa’s brother without using his exact name is to give her son the same initials. If Jeffrey Paul is her brother’s full name, then maybe something like Jacob Peter, Jason Pierce, or Joshua Patrick would do the trick — any time she’d tell her son’s name story, Theresa could say that they started with J.P. initials for her brother (or whatever his initials were) and went from there, so her brother would be an integral part of her son’s name story. Some people love this approach, and others think it’s too much of a stretch; if it helps, I always think intention is the most important part of baby naming (I wrote about that here: https://nameberry.com/blog/good-intention-baby-naming).

Theresa mentioned her grandfathers’ names Anton and Andrew — of those two, I feel like Andrew fits the style of her other kiddos’ names pretty well.

If Theresa and her hubs decide not to give their son Theresa’s brother’s first name, nor one of the grandfathers’ or great-grandfathers’ names, the other ideas Theresa mentioned were using another J name or using the name of a saint born around her baby’s due date. Regarding using another J name, I would only do so if they had a J name they really love. We already discussed Jeffrey, which of course would qualify, but unless they love Jacob, Jason, or Joshua (or James, which seems a better match for their family to me than Jacob, Jason, or Joshua), I don’t think there’s any need to consider a J name just because their other boys have J names. In fact, if they only had two children — John and Joseph — I might recommend against another J name, because it would really seem to lock them into a theme. Since Theresa and her hubs have four children, two of whom don’t have J names, and the two J’s aren’t even next to each other in the lineup, it’s far less of an issue — I think they could choose to use a J name or to use a different initial with no problem whatsoever either way. All this just to say again, I wouldn’t choose a J name just because their other boys have J names. But if they want to, they should go right ahead.

I looked up the saints/blesseds with feast days around May 4 (which, incidentally, is Star Wars day! Haha! “May the 4th be with you” and all that! If he was actually born on the 4th, I would be really tempted to suggest they use Luke! What a fun nod to Star Wars day AND an amazing Saint’s name! And I consider Luke to be a Marian name too, since his gospel is the most Marian, as it contains the Annunciation and Magnificat! But then, Luke is probably too similar to Lucy anyway, oh well). Anyway, back to the Church calendar, I actually thought it was a better idea to find names that really fit their taste/style, and then see if there are any saints with feast days around their due date with those names — they likely won’t have to choose between using a family name/name they like and choosing a saint’s name whose feast is near the baby’s birthday — there are so many saints and blesseds that I’m sure they can find a match!

To find names that I thought Theresa and her hubs might like, I started by looking up the names they’ve used for their older children and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that research, these are names that were pretty big style matches for this family:

(1) Thomas
Theresa’s kiddos’ names are as classic and saintly as they come, and Thomas fits right in with that! He’s a natural brother to Mary, John, Lucy, and Joseph — as soon as I saw what a big match Thomas is for their style, I knew it would make my final list of suggestions!

(2) Charles
I was interested to see that the Charles family of names showed up as style matches for almost all the names they’ve chosen so far and those they like as well! Of those (Charles and Carl), I thought Charles fits their style best, and its nickname Charlie was actually a match for Lucy!

(3) Edward, Robert, William
I’m including these three together because Thomas and Charles were really the big winners in terms of style matches for Theresa and her hubs, but Edward, Robert, and William also did fairly well for them, and they all have feast days within a week (before or after) of Theresa’s due date.

So I looked up all the feast days from April 27 to May 11 — one week before Theresa’s due date to one week after — on CatholicSaints.info, which doesn’t have all the saints in its database but seems to be pretty darn close! It lists for each day the feasts of that day, both those that appear on the calendar and those that are minor feasts that don’t appear on the calendar. I thought these might of interest to Theresa:

April 27
Bl. Jacov Varingez (Jacov is a variant of Jacob, and James and Jacob are the same name [James is the Latin, Jacob is the Hebrew], so this Blessed could be a patron for a Jacob or a James)

April 30
Bl. William Southerne

May 3
St. James the Lesser (this is the feast on the calendar for this day!)
Bl. Edoardo Giuseppe Rosaz (Edoardo is a variant of Edward)
Bl. Tommaso Acerbis (Tommaso is a variant of Thomas)

May 4
Bl. Luca da Toro (I just listed this here for fun — an actual holy Luke with a feast on Star Wars day!)
Bl. Michal Giedroyc (Michal is a variant of Michael)
Bl. Paolini Bigazzini (Paolini is a variant of Paul)
St. Paulinus of Cologne (not too much known about him. Paulinus is a variant of Paul)
St. Paulinus of Senigallia (not much known about him either)
St. Robert Lawrence

May 5
Conversion of St. Augustine (I’m including this because it’s an amazing feast day! It seems like the kind of thing Theresa would like to know about. Augustine would make a great first or middle name)

May 6
Bl. Anthony Middleton (Theresa’s grandfather’s name, Anton, is a variant of Anthony)
Bl. Edward Jones
St. James of Numidia (for a James or a Jacob)
Bl. William Tandi

May 8
Apparition of Michael the Archangel (what an amazing feast day! It would be so neat to name a little boy born on this day Michael!)

May 9
Bl. Thomas Pickering

May 10
Feast of the Ascension (what an amazing feast day to be born on! It’s celebrated forty days after Easter, which, in 2018, falls on May 10. The apostles [minus Judas] witnessed the Ascension (Acts 1:6-9), so Thomas and James would be good names for a baby boy born on this day)
Bl. Antonio of Norcia (not much is known about him. Antonio is an Anthony variant, like Theresa’s Grandpa Anton)
Bl. William of Pontoise (; not much is known about him)

May 11
Bl. Diego of Saldaña (Diego is a Spanish form of James/Jacob)
Bl. James Walworth

Of course, even if Theresa and her hubs choose a name that corresponds to one of these feast days, they don’t have to feel bound to that Saint or Blessed if they don’t want to! There are so many great saints with these names! But if they like the idea of choosing a patron based on a birthday, there are some great ideas here I think. (Also, I didn’t include all the feasts on all the days — just the ones with names I thought they’d like — to check them all out, here’s the link for May 4, and then just go forward and back from there.)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest and/or advice would you give Theresa and her husband in naming the little brother of Mary, John, Lucy, and Joseph?

Advertisements

Birth announcement: Benjamin Locke!

I posted a consultation for Ashley and her husband last month, and Ashley let me know her little guy has arrived! The so-handsomely named … Benjamin Locke!

Ashley writes,

We had our little guy last Thursday.  His labor and delivery was by far the most difficult of all 5 of them. He started being difficult a few weeks before delivery by being breech and then it just continued. I was calling him my little troublemaker for the last month.

We went back and forth a lot over naming him and didn’t decide until Day 3 after he was born. We ended up really considering Locke, Ben, Leo, and Jack. We ended up settling on Benjamin Locke Wagner. And we will call him Ben. I had been so anti Benjamin but after he was born, I saw more of the softness in Benjamin and our little guy was just so perfectly sweet and still a week later never cries, that the sweetness of Benjamin kind of won me over.”

What a great name story!! I love this: “the sweetness of Benjamin kind of won me over.” ❤ ❤ ❤ I also love that his big brother has a family surname for a first name and a tradition given name for a middle, while Ben has a traditional given name for a first and a family surname-type name for a middle. Well done!

Congratulations to Ashley and her hubs and big sibs Nash, Clare, Holly, and Anna, and happy birthday Baby Benjamin!!

IMG_5964

Benjamin Locke

Name story: Caspian and Eliot

Today’s Name Story is about Shaina’s little guys! She writes,

Our first son we named Caspian Isaiah. I told my husband while we were dating that I loved the name Caspian and wanted to use it for a son someday! We are both big Lewis fans, and he played an important role in my grandfather’s faith walk when he went through a period of agnosticism. Well.. about nine months after our wedding, Caspian made his debut! We picked Isaiah because we wanted a Bible name and we loved the way it sounded with the first and last name. Our girl name (we haven’t found out gender before birth so far) was Melanie Rowena. I felt a little silly naming our baby Caspian…because really, who does that? But the slight weirdness wore off quickly and it fits him perfectly.

During my second pregnancy, my husband and I went back and forth on a boy name. I love the name Eliot and he didn’t. But I kept coming back to it and eventually he said we could use it as long as we spelled it his way. Agreed! We chose the middle name James. Our girl name for him was Aida Christine. We both love the sound of Aida and were having a really hard time finding a saint name we liked to go with it, but apparently there are several St Christinas and Christine is a family name on my husband’s side. When our son was born, he reminded us both so much of my side of the family and my father specifically that we gave him my dad’s name too, so he ended up Lane Eliot James. We mainly call him Eliot still. And Ee-ot! haha.”

Caspian and Eliot!! Looooovvvveeeeeee!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Shaina said that “finding a name that does go with Caspian without being total geeks is a difficult balance,” but I think they did an amazing job with Eliot!

Shaina wrote, “We became Catholic shortly after Eliot was born, so I’ve been enjoying diving into your blog and discovering a different motivation behind naming,” which makes me so so happy that I can help in this small way! And also — she shared her list of names for future babies! (She was very clear though that these aren’t necessarily husband-approved! 😀 ) Check these out:

John Michael Loren. (call name Loren. I love the name John but we have four of them in the family already. And love that Loren is less common.) John for our both our mentor and my husband’s confirmation names. And so many St Johns. Michael after my husband, and St Michael. And Loren after my husband’s grandfather.

Vivienne Cypress. just love it. the end. (well, and there’s a hymn written by a friend dear to our hearts from the scripture “how like a cypress evergreen”

William Wise

Lewis Martin. Lewis and Martin are both family names. And L M is my MIL’s initials.

Illa Anne-Marie. Illa is my husband’s grandmother’s name. And I dunno, I just like the way Anne-Marie goes with it.

Sebastian Philip. After Bach! And St Sebastian. And Philip after my husband’s friend.”

So many unexpected names! I LOVE unexpected names! I love that they’d call John Michael Loren by his second middle, WOW! Vivienne Cypress! Cypress! What a cool middle name! Same with Wise! I love William Wise! And Illa! Can you tell I’m all heart eyes over these interesting picks?! I love Lewis Martin and Sebastian Philip as well. Such a cool list!

Thank you to Shaina for sharing all of this with us! Here are her handsome little guys:

Caspian and Eliot

Baby name consultation: Back again for baby no. 7 — lots of double names!

I had the great privilege of doing a consultation for Keri and her husband a couple of years ago for their fifth baby, and I’m delighted to post a consultation for their seventh baby today! They’re expecting a little girl who joins big sibs:

Keegan Thomas
Emma Claire (“and we do call her ‘Emma Claire’“)
Evan Jacob
Andrew Paul
John Paul Augustine (“John Paul”)
Mary Grace Elizabeth (“Mary Grace”)

I love all these names, and I have such a soft spot for double names! So fun that they have three kiddos with double names!

Keri writes,

You did a consult for me with Baby #5 (a boy) and I so enjoyed it! Since then we have added another sweet baby girl to our family and are now expecting #7, another girl! These last two girls (this will be our third daughter) are really blowing our minds as we had come to think of ourselves as a mostly boy family!

Obviously (and as you may remember from our previous consult), our names have become more Catholic in style. Keegan was named to honor my favorite cousin who passed away at the age of 20. His name was ‘Kevin Thomas.’ Back when we named Keegan we were more concerned with our names being ‘unique.’ The more kids we have the less we seem to care about that!

For years we said that if we ever had another girl after Emma Claire she would be ‘Elizabeth’ and we would call her ‘Libby’ or ‘Libby Jane’ (my mom’s middle name) or ‘Libby Kate.’ And then Mary Grace was even born on St Elizabeth Ann Seton’s feast day! But through a series of circumstances it became clear that she was to have a Marian name so we put ‘Elizabeth’ in the second spot, believing that we would never have another girl. We deeply regret that now and have even toyed with the idea of using the name anyway. I think I am starting to come to terms with the idea of something different, however. But … sigh …

Names we are tossing around currently include:
-Caroline
-Catherine (but I think we are getting close to ruling it out)
-Annaliese (nn Annie) or Annaliese Catherine (nn Annie Cate) OR
-Anna Catherine (full double name but prob would call her Anna Cate, at least for a while)
*the only problem with this is that I am not in love with Anna on its own. I do like Annaliese, though)
-Genevieve (nn Vivi? I don’t particularly like Evie and don’t like Ginny, etc)
-Isabel (could we call her “Libby?”)
-Cecilia (though I do have at least one friend with a Cecilia)
-Lucy (though I don’t think it’s long enough on its own. I think Lucia (Lu—SEE-uh) is gorgeous but not sure it fits in our family. Definitely considering it as a middle name as we LOVE St Lucy here!)
-Eloise (nn Lucy?) too little girlish? How will it age?
-Abigail
-Josephine (hubby is lukewarm and also have a friend with a Josie)

Other potential middles-
-Zelie or Azelie or even Azelie-Marie
-Jane (my mom’s middle name, though she didn’t like it. Sadly, she has early onset Alzheimer’s and can’t tell me what she thinks of it now)
-June
-Joy

I also love Evelyn (but too similar to Evan) and Imogen (similar to Emma). I like Eleanor but hubby doesn’t. We considered Cordelia for a few days but it doesn’t seem to quite fit (but it’s a lovely name). Something like Madeline or Adeline has also crossed our minds although I ruled out the former 7 years ago when I was first pregnant with a girl because it seemed so incredibly popular.

-Also worth noting: Emma Claire is OBSESSED with naming the baby Margaret. I think she got it from “Daniel Tiger.” 😂 It has seemed a bit old lady to me in the past but I do see the charm in it now and what amazing patrons! We are still not sure we would use it but it’s not as jarring to us as it was initially. We can’t use “Maggie”, however, which I do think is adorable.

Whew! That’s where we are now! Feminine names with strong patrons and probably either a double or at least 3 syllable first name? Also, if it helps at all had this baby been a boy I was thinking ‘Becket Ignatius.’

I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Okay, so I’m totally with Keri on Libby Jane — I can see why she so regrets not having used it when they had the chance; I can see why she’s trying to let it go; and I too might also consider using Elizabeth again if I were in her shoes. It’s a pickle! But I had some ideas that I thought might be helpful regarding this particular dilemma:

  • Isabel nicknamed Libby was the first idea I had when I was reading Keri’s email, so the fact that they already have it on their list of possibles is good!
  • I was also surprised to see the fairly rare Lisbeth in my research for this family in the Baby Name Wizard — it’s a match for Annaliese! So that’s another Elizabeth variant that might interest them (you all know that I rely heavily on the BNW when doing consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity)
  • I also wondered if they’d be interested in creating a nickname from the first+middle combo? Something like Lillian Bernadette could allow for the nickname Libby … even Lillian Bernadette Jane for Libby Jane, or Lillian Bernadette Kate … Or Lauren Abigail … Or Laura Beatrice/Beatrix … with Kate or Jane as a second middle (all those names (firsts and middles) were either on Keri’s list or were results of my research)
  • In the same idea of making Libby out of an L first name and a B/B-heavy middle, I also thought maybe a first with a strong L that’s not necessarily the first letter could also do it? Like Zelie or Azelie as a first with Bernadette/Beatrice/Abigail as a middle. Or Olivia? Or Avila, which has “il” instead of “Li” contained in it, but I think something like Avila Beatrice would make Libby as a nickname very understandable

Some other thoughts about the names they’re considering:

  • Caroline: I love it, beautiful name. And its nickname Callie is so cute!
  • Catherine: Also wonderful, fits right in with their other kids
  • Annaliese [Catherine] nicked Annie or Annie Cate: Love! Great idea!
  • Anna Catherine nicked Anna Cate: Also beautiful!
  • Genevieve nicked Vivi: Totally works!
  • Cecilia: Such a pretty name
  • Lucy: See below
  • Eloise nicked Lucy: Definitely works (as does Louisa) … not sure what Keri means about Eloise not aging well though? I think it’s lovely and sophisticated for a woman!
  • Abigail: Very nice
  • Josephine: Also very nice

I think they have such great ideas! My favorite though is Lucy — Lucy is such a darling name, and it makes a double name so easily! Lucy Catherine can be Lucy Cate; Eloise Jane can be Lucy Jane. I don’t see any problem with Lucia in their family, but maybe Lucille is a better fit for them? I definitely love the Lucy idea!

Zelie/Azelie/Azelie-Marie are all beautiful. Regarding Jane, it seems to be meaningful to Keri, even if it wasn’t her mom’s favorite, and if using it makes Keri think of her mom in a positive way, I could see it being a really nice choice. The fact that her mom didn’t care for it could even be like a funny family story that gets told when they relate how their daughter got her name.

June and Joy are both lovely as well.

So funny that Evelyn and Imogen are both favorites, but so similar to names they’ve chosen already! I’m glad Keri included them in her email though, as it gave me extra data to work with. I’m amazed that they seriously considered Cordelia! It gets a lot of love on name boards, but I’ve rarely seen anyone seriously consider it. Such a fun addition to my list of names to research!

Madeline and Adeline are both beautiful, and interestingly, Madeline’s held steady in the 80s/90s for the past seven years (down from the 50s/60s before that), but Adeline’s jumped up like crazy recently! From 2011–2014 it was in the 200s, then 135 in 2015, then 63 in 2016! Wow!

And that’s too funny about Baby Margaret on Daniel! I’ve heard that from more than one parent! There are other nicknames for Margaret that they might like, since they can’t use Maggie: Maisie and Daisy are both traditional nicknames for it, and Meg/Megan, Greta, Marta, and Rita are all Margaret variants that can work nicely as nicknames.

Okay, so using the names Keri and her husband have already bestowed on their kids, as well as the names they like/are considering, as inspiration in my research, with a preference for double names and/or 3-syllable names, these are my ideas for Keri’s little girl:

(1) Stella, Stellamaris
Stella’s a match for Lucy and Claire, and the “el” sound showed up in a lot of names they like (Elizabeth, Isabel, Eloise, Eleanor, Zelie/Azelie), so I thought Stella was a good suggestion! Stella Jane, Stella Kate/Cate, Stella Joy, Stella June are all really sweet! Or, maybe they’d like to consider the confection Stellamaris?

(2) Adelaide
Adeline made me think of Adelaide, which is such a beautiful name! I looked it up in the BNW to see what names are style matches for it, and loved seeing Anneliese, Genevieve, Josephine, and Louisa (like Eloise on their list) listed! There are a couple Sts. Adelaide. I also think they could maybe make Libby work with the right middle name?

(3) Clementine
Eleanor, Eloise, and Genevieve yielded Clementine, which I thought was sort of similar to Cordelia, Catherine, Caroline, Madeline, and Adeline sound-wise. Although … now that I think about it … Emma Claire and Clementine are sort of like mirrors of each other? Both have prominent “Em” and “Cl” sounds … gah! Well, I’ll leave it on here anyway in case it sparks something. It’s a Marian name, and can also be for the Divine Mercy, since it means “merciful.”

(4) Audrey
Audrey! I hardly ever think of the lovely Audrey! So it was fun to see it matching up with Evan, Claire, Evelyn, and Abigail! I love the ideas of Audrey Jane and Audrey Kate! There is a St. Audrey, though for this one I think I like the idea of her patron saint coming from her middle name instead (St. Jane de Chantal and St. Catherine of Siena or Laboure are all wonderful!).

(5) Charlotte
Charlotte showed up too many times in my research to ignore! It’s a match for Claire, Annaliese, Evelyn, Madeline, Eleanor, Genevieve, and Josephine! It’s a Charles variant like Caroline is, so using Charlotte now would knock out Caroline for the future, but I thought I needed to mention it. Lottie is a sweet nickname that has a similar feel to me as Lucy, and I love Lottie Jane and Lottie Kate/Cate! There are some great patrons.

(6) Julia
Between Julia and Juliet, this name family was quite a hit for this family. Of the two, I thought maybe Julia was more their speed, and while Jane/June/Joy don’t work so well with it, Julia Catherine is gorgeous, and Julia Cate or Julie Cate are great nicknames. There are lots of holy Julias.

(7) Lydia
This was actually inspired by the previous consultation I did for Keri and her hubs! Keri had said that “Alexander has been a runner-up for every boy we have,” so I looked it up and was pleased to see Catherine, Charlotte, and Abigail listed as matches, and Lydia was included as well. So then I looked Lydia up, just to be sure of its style, and Cecilia, Grace, Clara, Eliza, and Julia were all matches, all of which are either exactly their style or swirling around it! Since Liddy is so close in sound to Libby, I wonder what they’d think of Lydia Catherine or Lydia Jane nicknamed Liddy Cate or Liddy Jane? I’ve always loved that Lydia in the bible sold purple cloth — all the little Lydias I know have taken purple as their own color! There’s also another St. Lydia besides the biblical one.

(8) Magdalen(e)
Madeline is actually a variant of Magdalene, and since they like Maggie and are thinking about Margaret, I thought maybe Magdalen/Magdalene might be a great compromise! Maggie’s the most obvious nickname, but since they can’t use it, I think Maddy, Molly, and Lena (they could do the full Magdalena if they prefer, to get to Lena) are all fine as nicknames. And they all could double up with Cate/Jane nicely I think!

(9) Tessa
I know this idea probably won’t work since, as noted in Keri’s previous consultation, they’re considering adding Therese as Emma Claire’s second middle name, but Tessa seemed so perfect to use in a double name that I thought I’d add it here just in case. And they do have Paul twice in their boys’ names (though I know they’re for different men), and they’re considering using Elizabeth again or a variant, so maybe another Teresa name is okay? Teresa would be a perfect given name, since it’s different from Therese, and Teresa Catherine/Teresa Jane to result in Tessa Cate/Tessa Jane are amazing.

And those are my ideas for Keri and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Keegan, Emma Claire, Evan, Andrew, John Paul, and Mary Grace?

Name story: Owen, Violet, Eliza, Edmund

Leslie emailed me to share the stories behind the names of her kiddos, and I’m so glad she did! This is the latest in the Name Stories series, where I share families’ name stories, whether they’ve had a consultation done or not. (This one also fits nicely in with our recent conversations about literary names!)

Leslie writes,

I discovered your blog while my husband and I were going through RCIA (we were received at Easter 2016) and have enjoyed it so much! We just had our fourth baby (well, on 10/27 — it’s gone fast) and our first since joining the Church, and I was hoping it would be ok for me to say hello, and thank you for your awesome site, and tell you a bit about our kids’ names.

We were Protestant when we named our first three kids, but it’s been so cool to discover ways that their names connect to the Catholic faith, without our planning it. Our first child is Owen David. Owen we just picked because we really liked it but we have loved learning about the awesome St. Nicholas Owen, who used his carpentry skills to build priest holes in 16th century England. David is a family name for both me and my husband.

Next we had Violet Irene. I actually learned from you that Violet can be considered a Marian name! That’s another one that we just picked because we loved it. There is a St Irene, although not much is known about her — I love that the name means “peace” and is the name of the main character in George MacDonald’s book “The Princess and the Goblin.”

Our third child is Eliza Lark. My husband’s grandmother was named Elisabeth and my sister is Elizabeth so using Eliza was a nod to both of them. We picked her name out before she was born, but by the time I gave birth we were starting to think pretty seriously about converting and St. Elizabeth and the story of the Visitation became really important to me as we were going through all that. I believe her intercession played a significant role in my labor and delivery, and God gave me a lot of peace through that experience that we were indeed supposed to pursue joining the Church.

As for the middle name Lark, my husband suggested we try to use a nature-themed middle name for Eliza, since big sister is Violet, and Lark immediately felt right as it’s the name of one of my favorite children’s books, by Sally Watson. The main character is named Lark and she’s strong and spunky. So both our girls have middle names inspired by strong characters in wonderful children’s books!

We were team green for the first time ever with our fourth baby. I was POSITIVE we were having another girl, but luckily we did have a boy name picked out because that’s what we had!

It was a very easy choice — once we learned about St. Edmund Campion we knew we wanted to name another son after him, if we had one. We loved the sound, loved how it went with our other kids’ names, and loved how it connects us to our beautiful Catholic faith. We somehow made it to Mass on All Saint’s Day, even with the new baby, and it really hit me as I listened to the litany of saints what a precious gift it is to give our child a name that connects him from his first moments to an intercessor in Heaven! Wow, I love being Catholic.

Thank you for letting me share and thank you again for a great blog! God bless you!

What awesome names!! And such great name stories!! As I told Leslie, it’s so cool that they were able to discover saintly connections in their older three’s names after their conversion! And Edmund Campion (yes, that’s his full given name — love it!!) is an amazing addition. About his name, Leslie writes,

I thought we might use Camp as a nickname but so far we mostly just call him Edmund, although his sisters do love to call him “Campion ” or “Edmund Campion”, which is really cute. And something I forgot to mention is that it was very cool to make the connection that Edmund Campion and Nicholas Owen are both English martyrs, it’s a neat link for our boys to share (and Owen, age six, likes to hypothesize that maybe they were friends!).”

(Be still my heart! So sweet! 😍)

Thank you to Leslie for sharing these wonderful stories, and this photo of her beautiful family!

IMG_20180107_153842_283

 

Baby name consultation: Saintly and/or Marian connection for Rory

I received such a fun consultation request recently from Carey (we follow each other on Twitter) (I follow her husband too!)! Carey and her hubs already have one son:

Rory Nathaniel

I looooove the name Rory!! And Rory Nathaniel is a perfect combo. Love love love it.

They’re expecting their second baby, but the consultation request actually had to do with Rory! Carey writes,

I have a kind of unusual request for you. I was wondering if you could do a consultation on a baby I’ve already named? I was confirmed in the church while I was pregnant and I feel like we chose his name before we were truly immersed in the beauty and saintliness that is Catholic naming culture!

So anyway, would you be willing to look at my son’s name and share some Catholic connections we may not have thought of? I love your ability to connect names and intentions in unusual ways.

His name is Rory Nathaniel, and here’s the story: my husband and I both felt very picky about boy names, and we felt like we couldn’t use the ones we did like because they all belonged to family members or friends that would feel weird to name a baby after, if that makes sense.

We chose Rory because we love the show Doctor Who, in which Rory is a great (male) character, but I also binged Gilmore Girls while pregnant so I can’t deny the influence of that show, either. 😉 We tossed around the name Rory almost as a joke, but realized we actually liked the name and none of our other ideas stuck. By the time we found out he was a boy, it had been on top for a while.

We decided that with a two-syllable first and last name, we wanted a middle name with more musicality and narrowed our search to three-syllable saint names, but we were picky about a lot of them for one reason or another (several were vetoed because they would leave him with the initials/nicknames RB or RJ which I don’t like) until we settled on Nathaniel as good enough, since it is a saint name and also comes from Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, which was a book about sea navigation we both loved in school.

Rory’s story might have hinted at some of our nerdiness (Doctor Who, navigation) so I like those connections in his name but since converting I’ve been wondering if there are more religious connections (even esoteric ones) that we can claim retroactively. I don’t know if it’s possible but I would love it to have a sort of connection to Our Lady!

P.S. we’re due with #2 in August and so far our top boy/girl contenders are Elanor Grace and Joseph Augustine, both of which I like in part because they echo Rory’s name. We call him Roso and that would be cute paired with ‘Joso’, but I could also see us nicknaming an Elanor ‘Nory’ so either way, they’d be a pair. 🙂 “

(Roso and Joso/Nory! I die!)

I have to say I’m pretty impressed they didn’t let Gilmore Girls interfere with their love of the name Rory! I’ve seen it happen! Gah! Anyway, I applaud them — Rory’s a great name, and a great name for a boy. I also love that they’d love a connection to Our Lady through his name!

So I have a few ideas for saintly connections for their little man — hopefully one of them will strike the right chord!

(1) Connections from its “kingly” meaning
As far as I can tell, there’s no St. Rory (or Ruari/Ruaidhri), but since it means “red king, great king,” according to babynamesofireland.com (I know the rí part means king; I love the idea of “great king” but I’m not sure how that fits here? Ruadh means red), I think Jesus makes an excellent patron! There are loads of Jesus names like Christopher/Christina, Salvatore, Emmanuel, so it’s not unheard of to name a baby after Jesus, and a nod to His kingship is pretty great. Or maybe another notable king, like King David? Here’s a list of saints who were kings. If they wanted to tie into the “red” meaning, I did a spotlight on Ruby, which offers some good possible connections — the Precious Blood and the Passion both come right to mind.

(2) Could possibly think of it as a nickname for a male saint: Gregory, Lawrence, Robert
I’ve suggested Rory as a possible nickname many times for Gregory, and I recently posted a birth announcement for a little Gregory whose parents intend to call him Rory! I was so excited! Pope St. Gregory the Great is a cool patron for a little boy. I also think it could work as a nickname for Lawrence and Robert — St. Lawrence Brindisi and St. Robert Bellarmine are the ones I’m familiar with, but there are a bunch more Sts. Gregory, Lawrence, and Robert — Carey and her hubs might like to look through the lists and see if they make a connection with any? Sts. Gregory, Sts. Lawrence, Sts. Robert.

(3) Could possible think of it as a nickname for a Marian name: Aurora
I’ve seen Rory as a nickname for Aurora (I saw one birth announcement years ago where the parents had twin girls and named them Aurora and Therese, and called them Rory and Reese!), so they could possibly consider their son’s name to be a nod to that name. And Aurora can be Marian! I spotlighted its Marian connections here; if they feel like it’s just a bit too far to consider their son’s name Marian because of its connection to a girl name, I also wrote in that post how it can refer to Jesus as well.

(4) Maybe a connection to Rose or Rosary
The “red” meaning of Rory could maybe nod to roses, which is a symbol of Mary, and then I thought maybe they’d like it to nod to the full “Rosary,” which would be really interesting. The connection to Rosary can happen through the rose connection (based on the color meaning of Rory), or sound — I could see Rory being a natural nickname for Rosary, and I could also see parents coming up with Rory if they wanted to name a boy after the rosary (I did a birth announcement for a little Rosary here).

And those are all the ideas I came up with! What do you all think? Do you have any other ideas/suggestions for a saintly/Marian connection for Rory?

Reader question: Is Patton too General?

A reader has asked an interesting question that I hope you’ll all weigh in on! She writes,

One name we’ve considered A LOT is Patton. I like the sound of it and it generally fits our criteria, but I have two concerns. One is that my husband picked it while thinking of General George Patton (history buff), but I’m a little concerned the connotation is too strong. Even if we’re not technically naming him after the General, there are so few Pattons that the link is obvious. And I don’t know how I feel about our son carrying the presumed namesake of a person not canonized or family. We agree Patton was a great General, but he was known to be harsh and vulgar, and though he was quite religious (protestant) he supposedly opposed the marriage of his daughter to a Catholic and believed in reincarnation. Those concerns aside, I read that Patton can be a diminutive of Patrick, which is awesome (we’re Irish).”

Interesting question, right?

I told her that I’m not really sure what I think about the General Patton connection. For me, General Patton wouldn’t have been my first connection at all! First, I would have thought of Patton being a diminutive of Patrick (I love that this mama knows that!); second, I would have thought of the paten at church. You can see where my head’s at! Haha! Names and faith all the time! A distant third would be the actor Patton Oswalt. But I did ask my husband what his gut reaction was when hearing the name Patton, and he thought about it for a minute (so much for gut reaction!) and said, “Well, there’s General Patton,” but he didn’t seem to think it was a negative or a dealbreaker.

As for her “son carrying the presumed namesake of a person not canonized or family,” if I named my son Patton and someone asked about his name, I would always start with, “It’s a variant of Patrick that we really like.” This would tie the name closely to St. Patrick, both in the parents’ minds and those who they talk to, and of course St. Patrick would be his patron. Then if they brought up the General they could also say, “Yeah, he’s pretty cool,” and move on. Do you all agree?

Another option is to use Patrick as the given name, and use Patton as the nickname, which I also quite like. Do you agree that’s a good option, or do you think Patton as the given name is a better idea?

Please let me know how you would advise this mom?