Birth announcement: Lewis Maron Job!

Our dear reader eclare, aka Emma, for whom I had the privilege of posting a birth announcement for her fifth baby and fifth boy almost two years ago, has had her sixth baby — her sixth boy! She and her husband have given him the amazing and meaningful name … Lewis Maron Job!

Happily, Emma provided lots of details about his naming!

Lewis: both our childhoods were defined by C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, our adolescences enlightened by his Screwtape Letters, and our adult faith refined by Lewis’ many works of nonfiction. The name Lewis also is tied to our Arthur’s patrons (Blsd. Arthur Bell and St Edmund Campion) by a 3rd hunted priest of the Reformation: St. David Lewis, a Catholic priest who was martyred for the “crime” of offering Holy Mass in England in the 1600s. Lewis is also a distant family name on both sides. And St. Louis Martin, the first married saint to be canonized alongside his wife, is another patron through the French spelling of the same name.
http://lastwelshmartyr.blogspot.com/2009/10/family-of-st-david-lewis.html
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lewis_(Jesuit)

Maron: a holy hermit in Syria in the 400s, namesake of the Maronite Catholic Church. St. Maron lived in the open air, exposed to all the elements until his death at a very old age. His faith in the Lord and his dwelling in the Spirit sustained him, beyond physical explanation. Our spiritual director and his monks — near whom we plan to move and raise our sons — are Maronites, as are Lewis’ godparents.
http://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/saints_much.html
http://www.itmonline.org/bodytheology/stmaron.html

Job: our devotion to St. Job, the Much-Suffering, has been strong these past two years of many difficulties. Throughout our months without water which resulted in the deaths of many of our animals and plants (adjacent property owners challenged our water rights), to a flood/mudslide that ruined our fences and pastures, another flood that saturated the interior of our house, dozens of mudslides that closed our road for up to 3 weeks at a time, 20 months of essential unemployment, a 1st trimester that coincided with Don’s police academy, 3 blown car engines, and so on, we looked to the unfailing faith-while-suffering of St. Job as our model. http://otftd.blogspot.com/2013/05/righteous-job-model-of-long-suffering.html

I’ve loved the name Lewis for awhile now, for all the reasons listed, but it took me some time to find a patron. Once I found St David Lewis and his story, we were both sold. We’ve had Lewis Maron picked out for #6 since #5 was born (then the “Job” addition came to us this Fall). The same thing happened with our Arthur and Reuben: loved the name, then found the patron. It feels a little backwards, but I like to think of it as the Saint finding *us* through our love of the name. ❤️

A second weird name-y confession: I’ve always disliked the name Louis, and I still do!! Isn’t that so weird? But Lewis is completely different to me. So balanced, with the consonants in the front, middle, and end, and no danger of being a “Louie.” Even Lew is different from Lou — so literary and all. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Lastly, I had some misgivings about using Lewis because it is very much a place-name where we live. It’s near the end of the Lewis & Clark Expedition/Oregon Trail and every hill, dale, and puddle is Lewis-something. In the end I decided to own it, since it makes this spelling more familiar to everyone. Plus, it’s kind of cool to see his name wherever we go!

Isn’t this all so great?? Emma has such great taste in names, I’m not at all surprised that her little guy was given such a handsome and unexpected combination. And I love all her additional thoughts — her “weird name-y confession” of disliking Louis but loving Lewis, having Saints find us through the love of certain names (I so agree!), and just owning a potentially difficult characteristic of a name — such great stuff!

Congratulations to Emma and her husband and the five big brothers, and happy birthday Baby Lewis!!

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Lewis Maron Job

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Baby name consultation: A sister for Lois

Kristin and her husband are expecting their second baby — a second girl! She joins big sister:

Lois Ann

Lois! Very cool, and very unusual! There were only 118 baby girls named Lois in 2016, and it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1983. It’s so hard to find a name that’s familiar yet unusual, but they did it! Nice job! I love this bit in its entry in the Baby Name Wizard too:

“… think of Lois as a trim little biblical classic that hasn’t been heard in years. Or fire up your competitive spirit: British parents have already rediscovered this name. Do you want to fall behind?

Haha!

Kristin writes,

These are the names we are considering:

Petra
Maris/Stella/Stellamaris
Marian
Isla
Eva
​Evelyn
Alice
Cecilia
Clara
Eliza
Juliet

I love the names Helen/Helena but my husband has vetoed those. I tend to like classic, yet not too common names, but not too out there. Petra is on our list, but that’s probably as ‘out there’ as we’d go. I’d love for this baby to have a Marian first or middle name. We’re new Catholics and haven’t developed strong devotions to any particular saints yet, but I would love a saint name whether it’s Marian or not. I’ve considered Josephine since my due date is the feast day of St. Joseph, but I’m not crazy about that name. It would be neat to honor St. Joseph in some other way though if possible.”

Due on the feast of St. Joseph!! So great!!

I really enjoyed working on this, as I was able to delve into names that I hardly ever come across otherwise!

I was so surprised that Kristin said Petra is as “out there” as they’d go — according to my research in the Baby Name Wizard (which, as you all know, I always start a consultation with, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), it’s exactly this family’s style! It shares a bunch of style matches with both Lois and Marian. I love it for them!

Of the other names Kristin and her hubs are considering, I see a few styles emerging. There are the Lois-like names — those that are sort of “retro chic” and still relatively unusual: Petra, Maris, Marian.

Then there are the up-and-comers — the ones that have that vintage feel and have already started to come back, or are already totally back: Stella, Eva, Evelyn, Alice, Clara, Cecilia, Eliza.

And then the “miscellaneous”: Stellamaris, which is gorgeous but doesn’t feel like any style beyond Catholicky Catholic to me (which of course I love); Isla, which is currently popular and rising fast (no. 126 in 2016 after entering the top 1000 in 2008); and Juliet, which has a slightly offbeat character — romantic, feminine, not-quite-vintage in the sense that it hovered between 500 and 1000 for all of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first and is currently at its height of popularity after a slow rise that seems to have plateaued (no. 228 in 2016).

Of those styles, I think the retro chic and up-and-comers are the best fit with sister Lois (especially the retro chic names). Even though I love the names Stellamaris, Isla, and Juliet, they have such a different feel to me than Lois that I would worry that the sisters would come across as “unbalanced” almost, if that makes sense. Certainly, it doesn’t matter what other people think, but I’m sure Kristin and her hubs wouldn’t want their girls to feel like one of them got the “better” name or the “cooler” name or the “more interesting” name, you know? Or, I could be totally wrong! I hope Kristin totally disregards what I’m saying if she disagrees!

I love that they’re new Catholics too! I know you all join me in welcoming them to the Church!! ❤ Being that their due date is the feast of St. Joseph (!!), I love that they’ve considered Josephine! It’s actually a style match for Cecilia and Helena, so it seems like a name they would like, but if they don’t like it, they don’t like it! Another option would be Josefa, which is actually a style match for Petra. I knew a girl in college named Josefa so the name has all good connotations for me. There are some other names derived from Joseph as well, like Josephina, Josée, and Josette. Or perhaps they could consider any Jo- name as a nod to St. Joseph, like Joanna or Joleen. Or maybe they could focus on the fact that some translations of the Bible call him a “just man” (“righteous” in other translations; see Matthew 1:19), so maybe they could consider Justine or Justina in his honor.

So I think they have some real winners on their current list, but of course I can always come up with more! Based on my research in the BNW and also some that I did using the Name Matchmaker, here are some additional ideas that I think Kristin and her Mister might like:

(1) Margery or Marjorie
Marjorie is a style match for Lois, and Margery for Marian, so I thought this was a great idea for them! Margery is an old form of Margaret, and Marjorie is a medieval variant of Margery, so they both point to any of the Sts. Margaret — there are a bunch of great ones! St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and St. Margaret of Scotland are personal favorites of mine (also St. Rita, whose real name was Margherita — an Italian Margaret variant); you can read about loads more here.

(2) Sylvia
I see Sylvie occasionally from parents, but I think the older-feeling Sylvia is closer to their style — and the BNW agrees, as Sylvia’s listed as a match for Marian and Stella. There are a couple of saints with this name (listed with the Silvia spelling), including the mother of Pope St. Gregory the Great!

(3) Vivian
Vivian is currently at the most popular it’s been since the 1930s (it was no. 95 in 2016), but it actually peaked in the early 1920s — less than ten years before Lois’ peak — so I feel like they’re well matched from that perspective. Sisters Lois and Vivian have a starlet feel to them I think, and Vivian’s also a match for Marian and Evelyn from Kristin’s list. There are a few saints with this name (though they’re all male!).

(4) Daphne
I was surprised to see Daphne listed as a style match for both Juliet and Helena! It’s got the lovely meaning of “laurel,” and though it’s not a saint’s name as far as I can tell, a saintly middle name would be perfect with it (maybe something like Daphne Josephine/Justine? Daphne Marian or Daphne Maria?).

(5) Loretta
Loretta showed up in the list of names the Name Matchmaker offered as matches for Lois. I don’t mind that they both start with L at all — in fact, I think Lois and Loretta sound great! Like with Vivian above, I feel like Loretta has that starlet feel, and the best part is that it’s Marian! The Litany of Loreto is a listing of titles for Our Lady, and Loreto is the name of a town in Italy where the home of Our Lady — where the Annunciation took place — was miraculously moved to from Nazareth. And yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of Loreto! My grandmother’s name was Loretta, and she often went by Rett — I really love the idea of Lois and Rett!

(6) Ruth, Rita, Rhea, Ruby, Regina
Speaking of sweet, four-letter R names, each of these showed up in my research as style matches for various names on Kristin’s list. I love them all! Ruth is biblical like Lois and is a style match for Helen; Rita has a bit of that starlet feel (and St. Rita!) and was a match for Lois; Rhea is a match for Petra and Marian; and Ruby is a match for Stella, and I did a spotlight of its faith connections here.

I didn’t see Regina in any of my research, but these R names had me thinking about this family, whose daughters all go by their middle names, all of which start with R or the R sound, and the older four’s middle names all have four letters (including Ruth and Rhea!), and then their sweet (Therese) Regina was born (she is one of the highlights of my IG feed!) — I like Regina a lot for this family! It’s got a more recent peak than Lois — 1967 — but I don’t know, I’m just feeling like Lois and Regina go together well. Do you agree? And it’s Marian!

(7) Edith
I’m so excited that Edith seems like a name Kristin and her hubs might like! It’s a match for Alice, Clara, Helen, and Marian, and best of all, it’s the name of an awesome saint, St. Edith Stein! She was a convert from Judaism who became a Carmelite Sister (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), and was killed by the Nazis. An awesome patron for a little girl!

There were some other names that showed up in my research for this family but didn’t make the final cut for various reasons, but I thought I’d share them here just in case they’re helpful/inspiring: Lucy, Lydia, Esther, June, Willa, Avis, Gloria, and Anita (I thought Anita was so perfect! Except it’s a variant of Ann, which is Lois’ middle name).

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Lois’ little sister, taking into account the “classic, yet not too common” + saintly and/or Marian criteria?

Name update: Molly’s name sign!

Happy feast of the Immaculate Conception!! What a wonderful, holy day!! I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet on the blog this week! Advent has me scurrying around like a (very happily) busy bee … or elf … 😉 Also, I’m continuing to work away on the consultations for all those who took advantage of the Black Friday deal — I’m still on track to get them to you within the time frame I told you I would, but certainly feel free to email you if you’d like a status update!

I posted a birth announcement for our devoted reader Amy’s baby girl, Molly Victoria, back in July, and I’d previously posted a write-up Amy did on name signs for users of American Sign Language, so I was thrilled that she gave me permission to post this new information about Baby Molly’s name sign:

We have found Molly’s name sign. M hand shape twisting on the side of the jaw/cheek. M obviously for Molly ([big sister] Kristy’s uses a K, [big brother] Kane’s uses both M and K [his given name is Martin Kane]) and in the area for female signs. It mimics the sign for candy, or how you would put your finger to your cheek and twist to tell someone to smile (something my husband would do to me when we were dating, sort of a game with deep meaning/feelings because it’s how we knew we were falling in love). It also resembles the sign for sweet and/or sugar, which brushes off the cheek in that spot with a hand shape similar to M. This is because whenever anyone asks ‘how’s the baby?’ the answer always seems to be ‘so sweet.’ It describes her: always sweet, smiling, happy, delight.”

I love all the layers to Molly’s name sign! The “sweet”ness and the connection to Amy and her husband’s courtship is so wonderful! And I love that her name sign was “found” — such a cool thing to think of waiting and observing until it becomes obvious. Amy had said as much in her previous post where she explained,

Culturally, a name sign should only be given to you by a Deaf person (you can’t just make up your own) and they are also not always bestowed right away. Sometimes it can takes months or longer while you wait for the right one to come along … for the most part name signs are given based on a characteristic unique that person.”

Thanks to Amy for sharing this with all of us!! ❤

Baby name consultation: Uebbing Baby Cinque/Cinq

I’m super excited to post today’s consultation!! Our girl Jenny Uebbing — so called because I had the privilege of doing a consultation for her when she was expecting her fourth baby, and then posting his birth announcement, and she interviewed me for this post on her blog Mama Needs Coffee over at the Catholic News Agency last spring — is expecting her fifth baby in only a few weeks, a little green bean (=gender unknown)!

This little bebe will join big sibs:

Joseph Kolbe
John Paul Francis
Genevieve Therese nicked Evie
Luke Maximilian

Which, I love, of course. So many great names! So many amazing saints represented!

An interesting development between last time, when I really focused on Italian-ish names, because I know Jenny loves all things Italian (and Francesca Rose was a serious contender if Luke had been a girl), is this:

[W]e’ve refined our naming style to be ‘super manly traditional saint names’ for boys and over the top girly, exotic French names (bonus points if it’s a saint we have a devotion to).”

I love the Italian vibe, but I love the French vibe too! Not a problem at all! And it’s very common for parents to have a different taste in names for boys vs. girls, so “super manly traditional saint names” for boys and “over the top girly, exotic French names” for girls is awesome. I love both of those styles!

Jenny continues,

This baby is sex unknown, so for a boy we’ve tossed around Anthony, Benedict, Nicholas, for first names and Blaise, Reid, or Augustine for middles.

For a girl it’s harder. Yesterday I was dead set on Cosette (a feminized diminutive for Nicholas, swoon) Marie-Azelie, but it was a bridge too far for Dave. He suggested Colette as a compromise, but I don’t love it. Other girl possibilities: Isobel/Isabel/Isabelle, Elizabeth/Elisabeth, Zelie, Azelie, Caroline, Grace, Emilia/Emiliana, or some form of Julia/na/ette (for Denver’s own Servant of God, Julia Greeley).

Here are our remaining favorite saints we’ve either yet to use, or whose names we just aren’t crazy about: Mother Angelica, Rose of Lima, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Calcutta, Augustine, Scanlan (some kind of nod to Fr. Mike), and Patrick. oh, and Our Lady, of course!

Names we can’t use:

Gianna
Josephine
Margaret
Mary
Philomena
anything that starts with an F, last name probs 🙂
Gabriel
Veronica
Stephen
Mark
James
Leah
Anne

I LOVE Cosette, and Cosette Marie-Azelie is amazing! Oh what names we’d all use if we didn’t have to deal with husbands!! Haha! 😀 My very first thought was, “What about Colette?” as it’s also a feminine diminutive of Nicholas, but then of course Jenny addressed it in the next sentence! I wanted to make an argument in favor of Colette anyway, though. A friend of mine named her daughter Maria Colette a while ago because she had a devotion to St. Colette — it was the first time I’d heard of her, so I had to look her up, and I was really taken with her story. Here are a couple that are good: here and here, but neither mention what I really love about her (and why my friend has the devotion to her), which is that she’s the patron of stillbirth, women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers, and sick children, due to her role in stories related here. Anyway, if Jenny doesn’t care for it, then she doesn’t care for it! But it does check off her boxes of “over the top girly” and “French.”

I also love her and her hubs’ ideas of Isobel/Isabel/Isabelle and Elizabeth/Elisabeth (I’m a huge fan of the Elisabeth spelling, both because it’s just a little more unusual than Elizabeth and more French, and also because of Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur), Zelie and Azelie, Caroline (more JP2 love!), Grace, Emilia/Emiliana (for JP2 also, I believe, as his mom’s name was Emilia), and Julia/na/ette (Juliet is one of my all-time faves, and Juliette is so French and lovely! I did a Juliet(te) spotlight here). I’m also still loving the idea we discussed last time of Zelie as a nickname for Elizabeth! And they also might like to consider Elise (a French short form of Elizabeth) or Lisette, which is basically “little Elisabeth,” which is so sweet — really, all the -ette names are just so darling, and so French!

Their boy ideas are great too! Anthony, Benedict, and Nicholas are all wonderful and fit their “super manly traditional saint names” criteria perfectly, and I like the more unusual Blaise, Reid, and Augustine for middles.

As for their saints whose names they maybe aren’t crazy about, some ideas I had include:

  • Though Anthony is on their list is because of St. Anthony of Padua, I thought they could possibly think of it nodding to Mother Angelica as well, since her birth name was Rita Antoinette. Additionally, her Order is a branch of the Poor Clares, founded by Marie Claire Bouillevaux, so Clare/Claire could possibly be used in Mother’s honor as well?
  • You all probably already know that St. Rose of Lima’s birth name was Isabel, so that would of course be a great way to nod to her! She also had a great devotion to St. Catherine of Siena, so maybe a name in honor of her could also be considered in honor of St. Catherine?
  • This could be considered a really huge stretch for Cosette, or it might be just perfect to convince Jenny’s hubby: Cosette in Les Miserables’ name was actually Euphrasie (Cosette was a nickname, meaning “little thing,” separate from its use as a variant of Nicholas; Euphrasie is the French form of the Greek name meaning “joyful”), and St. Catherine of Siena was nicknamed Euphrosyne because she was so joyful, sooo … maybe Cosette could be for St. Catherine of Siena?? (It’s this kind of convoluted thinking that makes husbands nervous to hear my ideas I think! Haha!) As a bonus, I actually included Catherine in a list of Advent names I put together last year because of the “joy” connection, so using this same crazy train of thought, Cosette could be good for an Advent baby?
  • I know Therese usually makes people think of St. Therese, but since it’s simply the French form of T(h)eresa, maybe Jenny could think of Evie’s middle name as already nodding to Mother Teresa? And so be able to cross her off the list? Otherwise, her birth name was Agnes, which doesn’t strike me as Jenny’s style for a first name, but would make a smashing middle name
  • Patrick is interesting — it’s definitely a “super manly traditional saint name”! I wonder if Jenny and her hubs would consider it for a first name?
  • Re: Fr. Mike Scanlan and Our Lady, I wonder if they would ever consider something like Marie-Scanlan for a girl? Jenny said they can’t use Mary as a first name (otherwise I would have suggested Mary Scanlan, which really skews very Irish, so probably not a great suggestion anyway), but Marie-Scanlan retains the French tradition of hyphenating, and using Scanlan as the second part of it is so unexpected! If I were to do Marie-Scanlan, I’d consider something like Maisie as a nickname, looove!!

And speaking of hyphenating names, an additional thought about girl’s names before getting into my suggestions: in my opinion, it’s so easy to come up with “over the top girly, exotic French names” by hyphenating one’s favorites! It’s such a French thing to do! Something like Grace-Azelie, for example, would be amazing, and Grace or Gracie could be the everyday call name. It’s fun to come up with different combinations! (Some included below.) And specifically using Marie- as the first part just cements the Frenchiness. Marie-Grace, Marie-Caroline, Marie-Emilia, Marie-Juliette are so beautiful, AND they could consider doing so as a way of nodding to St. Zelie since she herself was Marie-Azelie and she named all her daughters Marie-[something]. Oh, and Marie-Elise could be for St. Elizabeth+SOG Elisabeth Leseur+St. Rose of Lima (Isabel)! I’ve also seen it rendered Marielise, which is beautiful and unusual and maybe easier to deal with than a hyphenated name?

Okay! These are the ideas I came up with (making a point not to duplicate ideas I offered last time, which meant I had to cross Bernadette off my list, which otherwise would have been my no. 1 idea for them this time! Or maybe, in light of the previous paragraph, Marie-Bernarde? Which, as I understand it, was St. Bernadette’s actual given name? Bernadette could be a nickname, or a different nickname altogether); also I did my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard, but for the girl’s names I found myself going through the list of French names at the back of it rather than sticking to actual style matches for the names Jenny and Dave have used so far:

Girl
(1) Madeleine and/or Sophie
I have these names together in one idea because of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (also called St. Sophie). I have always loved “Madeleine Sophie” (first + middle) or “Madeleine-Sophie” (double first name) because of her, and like with my idea of Marie-Scanlan above, I would have so much fun coming up with nicknames for it, like Maisie. Evie and Maisie! I also love both Madeleine and Sophie on their own for the Uebbings — they’re both gorgeous, girly, saintly French names (though admittedly not very exotic). Madeleine Azelie, Madeleine Grace, Madeleine Isabel, Madeleine Julia, Sophie Eliz/sabeth, Sophie Emilia(na), Sophie Caroline are all just so lovely. And Sophie lends itself so easily to the hyphenated idea! Sophie-Grace (for Grace on their list, which is Marian, as is Sophie — Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom!) or Sophie-Claire (Mother Mary and Mother Angelica together in one!) are amazing! Also, fun fact: the Sophie the Giraffe teether was named for St. Madeleine Sophie!!

(2) Nat(h)alie (or Noelle or Emmanuelle)
How about Natalie (or the extra-French-spelling-but-same-pronunciation Nathalie)? So perfect for a Christmas baby, since Natalie literally refers to Christmas! (Latin natale domini: birth of the Lord.) I also thought maybe they’d like to consider Noelle for the same reason. The Maria Colette I mentioned above has a sister named Noelle, and she’s the sweetest. I also really like the idea of Marie-Noelle or even Marie-Emmanuelle — both so feminine, French, Marian, and Christmasy!

(3) Corinne
Corinne doesn’t come across as super saintly as some other names, but it’s the French form of Corinna, which comes from the Greek for “maiden,” which is kore, which to me screams “Marian”! Also, we’ve seen families using Cora in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and/or the Sacred Heart of Jesus (like this little lady, whose middle name and sisters’ names are right up Jenny’s alley! Also this sweet girl, who also has three big brothers on earth and whose French middle name is also amazing and a great idea for Jenny), so Corinne can be for that as well.

(4) Elodie
Maybe Evie and Elodie is too much E+ee? But I love the name Elodie, it’s so beautiful! It’s the French form of Alodia, and St. Alodia is a pretty great saint for our times.

(5) Rosalie
I offered some other Rose ideas last time (Rosa, Rosanna) as a nod to St. Rose of Lima, but I didn’t suggest Rosalie and I’m thinking it might be a great idea! It’s the French form of Rosalia, which of course is derived from Rose, and it’s one of my current favorite Rose names.

I also thought these posts, which focus on or discuss really French girl names, might be helpful: here, here, here, here.

Boy
(1) Michael
So Michael was specifically listed as a style match for Anthony and Joseph, but I also know a ton of Nicholas and Michael brothers, so I’d say it’s definitely a match for Nicholas too. I know it was the no. 1 boy name every year but one from 1954 to 1998, and it’s still in the top ten and has been since 1943, but it’s certainly a “super manly traditional saint” name, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because of St. Michael and how very powerful he is and how very needed his protection is needed these days. In fact, even though I prefer less popular names, I’ve added Michael to my own list specifically for that reason. Though I don’t think Jenny and her hubs are into unusual nicknames for boys, since I am I’ve been thinking of options for Michael, and Miles and Milo are my favorites. This post by Abby at Appellation Mountain acknowledges a possible connection between Miles and an Old French form of Michael (Mihel), as well as possible connections to words meaning “soldier” and “gracious,” which add some great layers of meaning. In addition, as I’ve mentioned a bunch of times here on the blog, Miles (and Myles and Milo) has traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of Maolmhuire, which means, “servant of the Virgin Mary,” which I think is amazing. So! Lots to think about it, much of which may not be appealing to the Uebbings, but I can see them liking Michael.

(2) Vincent
Vincent’s a style match for Anthony AND it was Fr. Mike’s real first name! It’s super manly, traditional, and saintly, and thought it’s not necessarily explicitly Italian, it has that feel (like Anthony and Nicholas can also have), which is kind of cool since Jenny likes the Italian vibe.

(3) Thomas
Thomas is a natural brother to Jenny’s older boys! Sts. Thomas More, Aquinas, a Becket, and the Apostle are all amazing, and it’s because of them (and the scads of other holy Thomases) that the name is so traditional and saintly.

(4) Nathan
I really liked the idea of tying in the baby’s name with the fact that he or she is due during the Christmas season. They already have Nicholas on their list, and I would have suggested Andrew (I saw on Facebook that Jenny’s a fan of his novena, which started Nov. 30 and goes until Christmas Eve, the first Sunday of Advent is set according to his feast day) except that sound-wise it’s just not different enough from Anthony (who I know her family has a special devotion to), so I went and scoured my posts on Advent and Christmas names for ideas and while most of them were no good (not their style, or already used by them, or on their “no list”), Nathan jumped out at me from this post I’d done on Jesus’ genealogy as presented in the Gospel of Luke (different than that presented in Matthew, and it’s suggested that Matthew’s might be Joseph’s lineage while Luke’s is Mary’s!). Nathan is one of the ancestors of Jesus who’s not included in Matthew’s list, and the reason it jumped out at me is because Nathaniel was listed as a style match for Nicholas in the BNW and Nathan was listed as a match for Luke. So I definitely thought Nathan was a good idea! It’s certainly manly and traditional and biblical, and it’s SO cool to be able to say he was an ancestor of Jesus, as well as the possible Marian connection.

(5) Miscellaneous
I had a hard time coming up with a fifth boy idea for this little one! I considered Peter, Martin, and Robert, but they all seemed to lack … *something.* I’m not sure what and maybe I’m way off — maybe Jenny and Dave would love one of those names! So I thought I’d put them together as my fifth idea.

And those are all my ideas for Jenny’s fifth baby! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Joseph, John Paul, Genevieve/Evie, and Luke, taking into account their criteria?

Birth announcement: Finn Douglas!

I received such a fun email the other day! Cheri is a reader who wanted to let me know about the birth of her baby, and to tell me a little about the names she and her husband have chosen for all their kiddos! I fell in love with all of the names and the stories behind them, and of course I was all, “Can I post this on the blog??” and I’m so delighted Cheri said yes!

She and her hubs recently welcomed their sixth baby — and sixth boy! (My mom-of-six-boys heart always sings upon meeting another!) They gave their littlest guy the swoon-worthy name … Finn Douglas!

Cheri writes,

I just wanted to say thank you for your website!! I was SO close to getting a consultation. I even started typing up an email to send. I think the process of writing it all out in an email helped us narrow down our choices. And reading through consultations was incredibly insightful. It helped us look at the names we had given our children with fresh eyes and helped us articulate why we’ve chosen the ones we did. You helped without even knowing you were doing so!

We had our 6th baby at the end of September. We did not find out the gender at the ultrasound. Probability said that would be a boy since we had already been blessed with 5! Ha! But it was still exciting not finding out until the birth.

We were very happy to welcome Finn Douglas into our family! As soon as the doctor said, “It’s a boy!”, the first thing that I though was, “well of course it is!”

We had a really hard time coming up with a name that fit our criteria, wasn’t used by someone close to us, and fit with our other sons’ names.

I think your website was where I first saw the name Finn. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every consultation where you’ve mentioned it.

[Re: Finn Douglas] Our last name is Irish and we like the stories of Saint Finnian and Saint Finbar. Douglas is both my brother’s middle name and the first name of my grandpa. I was very close to him. He passed away 16 years ago. He LOVED babies! I wish he could have met mine. There is also a Blessed George Douglas who has a very interesting story.”

I’m a HUGE fan of the name Finn, and Finn Douglas is such a great combo! And isn’t this such a great email? I’m so so so happy that the blog helped this beautiful family choose a name! You all have helped me create such a great resource!!

Before sharing Cheri’s older boys’ names, I’ll share the criteria she and her hubs have used:

So our naming philosophy: we like names that are easy to spell, familiar, masculine, and have some Christian/ Old Testament/ Saint connection, with no obvious nicknames (so maybe we’re a little boring? Ha!). We also did not want any first initial duplicates (I’m a homeschooler & list lover and usually label & list things by each kid’s first initial). We kind of have an Irish/Old-Fashioned thing going on. We also seem to have a knack for picking names that rise dramatically in popularity 2-3 years after we use them. Ha!! Oh well…”

I don’t think their taste is boring at all! I love it! These are the names of their older five boys:

Isaac James (“We love the story of Abraham and Isaac, and that Isaac means God laughs. James is both his grandfather and godfather’s name“)

Aidan Xavier (“We were hesitant to use this name because it was fairly popular. But we kept coming back to it. Someone told us at the time, “God names our children, we just have to listen.” Once he was born, we KNEW God had named him. Aidan means “little fire” and he was born with a full head of beautiful auburn hair. We love the stories of Saint Aidan & his generosity. During college, my husband lived with 5 amazing Catholic men in a house named after St. Francis Xavier. This is a nod to them and to Saint Francis Xavier“)

Owen Dean (“Owen was born at 33 weeks & was tiny. It is fitting that he was named after St. Nicholas Owen I read that he was a very small man, under 5 feet – it seemed perfect for preemie. He was such an amazing & heroic Saint! Dean is his Grandpa’s middle name“)

Liam John (“We loved the name and unfortunately the only Saint Liam we could find is a race horse. Ha! But it’s a variation of William so Saint William works. We found out that he was a boy on the feast of Saint John Vianney and his great grandpa’s name is John“)

Eli Anthony (“We like the OT story of Eli and Samuel and how Eli told Samuel to respond to the Lord, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!” We chose Anthony after our family prayed a Novena to Saint Anthony when this son was in utero and diagnosed with some serious growth problems. He was born perfectly healthy so we chose this middle name in thanksgiving to Saint Anthony“)

Amazing, right?? I love each one, and I love them all together!

Congratulations to Cheri and her husband and big brothers Isaac, Aidan, Owen, Liam, and Eli, and happy birthday Baby Finn!!

Finn Douglas with his big brothers ❤

Birth announcement: Gregory Conrad!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her hubs a couple of months ago, and she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazingly perfect name … Gregory Conrad!

Amanda writes,

Gregory Conrad was born yesterday, the feast of St Cecilia (patron saint of musicians) and the anniversary of when this sweet little guy’s daddy asked me to marry him 13 years ago.

Our Little “Rory” is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who was also a wonderful musician and created the Gregorian Chant, and his daddy, Vincent Conrad, who was named after a grandfather Conrad as well. 🙂

I thought you would also like to know that on the way to the hospital, we looked up male patron saints of musicians and Gregory was at the top of the list. That kind of made up our minds, even before we saw his face, because Gregory and Sylvester were our top two at that point!! If that’s not a sign from Heaven, I don’t know what is 🙂

We let [daughter] Ellie pick his middle name when the kiddos met him, giving her the choices of Lucas, Conrad, or Jonah (because it means stubborn!). She was pretty tickled to get to help. We will also shorten it to “Rory” or even ‘Gregor’ … but not ‘Greg,’ as I’m just not crazy about one syllable. Please keep baby and I in your prayers, as it was a very long and difficult labor and delivery. So thankful he is here and healthy!

Gregory with the nickname Rory was on Amanda’s initial list this time around, and it’s an option I’ve long loved and suggested on the blog! I love it! There’s so much meaning in this little guy’s name and birth, from the connection to music (Amanda’s a musician), to his birthday being the anniversary of the day Amanda and her hubs got engaged, to his name being a five-syllable combo, just like his big brothers and sister, wow!

Please do keep Amanda and her baby boy in your prayers! Congratulations to the whole family, including big sibs Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian, and happy birthday Baby Gregory!!

Gregory Conrad with his mama and big brothers and sister

Baby name consultation: Our Family Fiat’s number 3!

Do you all follow Amy at Our Family Fiat (web site and Instagram)? She and her husband Ryan have the CUTEST twin girls with the gorgeous names:

Adelaide Ryan
Clairvaux Elizabeth

Amazing right? As Amy explained, “both names are long, french in origin, honor saints and are names of places (Adelaide, Australia and Clairvaux, France).” They did such an amazing job choosing names that share characteristics without being matchy!

Now they’re expecting their third baby girl!! I was so excited when Amy emailed me for a consultation — I love her taste and couldn’t wait to come up with some ideas for Adelaide’s and Clairvaux’s little sister!

Amy wrote,

I’d love for this little girls’ name to follow suit [meaning: “long, French in origin, honor saints and are names of places”] …

Some other girl names we love are Gemma and Isla but I have some reservations being that they are short and not at all french sounding. I may feel more excited about them, especially Gemma if I had a long, french feeling middle name and bonus points if it’s also a place.

If we found a perfect first name that fits well with Clairvaux & Adelaide I’d be open to a more masculine middle name like Adelaide’s (more than likely “James”)

We clearly don’t mind if a name is unique and we love if they have nickname options. (We often call Clairvaux “Vauxie” but love that she can go by Claire one day if she desires a less out-there name, etc)

The only name my husband has ever liked (without my prompting) is Kyla but I can’t bring myself to agree.

Names I proposed but he has declined: Hawthorne, Genevieve, Hildegard, Xavia, Vivienne, Juniper

Names ending in x are no longer an option.”

So exciting!!

Alright, so though Amy said she’d like this little girl’s name to follow suit, and I certainly went on a hunt for the unicorn name that would check all those boxes (and had a blast doing so!), I wondered if finding a name that exactly fit all that criteria would be too limiting for them in the future? That is, I think they can easily find several long French saint names … or long place names … or French place names … or long saint names … but “long French saint place names” is, I think, hard to keep up in the long run! So when I was researching ideas for Amy and Ryan, I tried to include a mix of all those, even if they weren’t exactly perfect.

Before I get into my ideas though, I want to address their other ideas. I love Gemma and Isla too, and I thought Isla was a great way to nod to the sounds of Kyla while still finding a name they can both agree on. I kept Amy’s idea of long French middles in mind when I was coming up with ideas — I think several of my ideas could work as middles for Gemma and Isla. I also love the idea of James (or other male name) in the middle like they did with Adelaide’s middle name—I can see that being a nice complement to the perfect first name.

I used all the names Amy mentioned that they both like (Adelaide, Clairvaux, Gemma, Isla) as inspiration in my research, as well as Kyla, Genevieve, Vivienne, and Juniper (my trusty Baby Name Wizard [which, as you all know, is my right-hand man in baby name consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity] doesn’t have an entry for Hawthorn, Hildegard, or Xavia, and I actually used Claire as a stand-in for Clairvaux, and I think the results were helpful!). Okay, so based on all that, these were my ideas for Amy and Ryan’s littlest girl:

(1) Juliette
I totally understand if you’re all tired of me suggesting Juliet(te) a lot in other consultations, I just love it! And it seemed like such a good fit here—using the “ette” ending totally makes the name obviously French and lengthens it out as well. And it’s so feminine that it can easily take a masculine middle—I love Juliette James. I thought it would also go great as a middle—Gemma Juliette sounds pretty great to me (I love alliteration). I did a spotlight on it a while ago, which offers some good faith connections too. AND on a whim I googled “place name juliette,” just in case, and discovered there’s a Juliette in Georgia!!

(2) Immaculée
Juliette and Immaculée were tied for me as coming immediately to mind as I was reading Amy’s email. I love that Immaculée’s a Marian name, and a French name, and though I didn’t find it as a place name, I think it’s so tied with Immaculée Ilibagiza that Rwanda comes right to mind when I hear it. I like that Adelaide has Australia, and Clairvaux has France, so they could think of a little Immaculée as having Rwanda. Maybe? Immaculée James works really nicely, and I like it as a middle too—Gemma Immaculée and Isla Immaculée both sound fine to me. It would certainly be easier in the middle spot, especially with the accent, but if they used it as a first name, Imma is so similar to Emma that it’s quite do-able as a nickname; others that might work include the boyish Mac and Max, and maybe even Molly.

(3) Vienna or Vienne
One idea I had was to suggest Amy and Ryan pick a place name they like and use the French form of it. Vivienne on their list made me think of Vienna, which I think is one of the best examples—it’s gorgeous and very namey, and changing it to the French form Vienne is really lovely. Though it’s short, I had the thought several times while working on this that they could lengthen (and “Frenchify” even more) certain names by adding Marie and making it a hyphenated first name, as is so common. Marie-Vienna or Marie-Vienne are lovely examples. (But would Ryan still decline it, because it’s basically Vivienne with the “Vi” cut off?)

(4) Maylis
Though this isn’t a long name, it was one of my favorite ideas for Amy and Ryan. Maylis is a town in France, and though I couldn’t find a definitive source that said so, most places I consulted say it’s a combination of “Mary” and “lily,” from the French title “Marie à la fleur de lys” (Mary of the Lily). I also found three acceptable pronunciations: may-LEES, may-LIS, and MAY-lis, all of which I think are workable within America, and I’ve seen Maëlys and Mailys connected to it as possible variants. Such a pretty name!

(5) Salette
Salette is for La Salette, which you all probably know is a Marian apparition site in France, and I think it’s such a gorgeous, delicate name. I’d never thought of it as a given name until I saw it on this family’s short list, and I loved it right away.

(6) Lourdes
Since Lourdes is such an obvious one for their criteria, I assume they considered it and decided against it? But just in case, I couldn’t not include it! Lindsay’s little Lourdes is a perfect recommendation for this beautiful name (and she also has a Clairvaux!). Also, Mia Farrow’s given name is Maria de Lourdes, gorgeous!

(7) Liesse
This is a Marian name that I’ve fallen in love with. Liesse means “joy” in French, which is an amazing meaning, and refers to Our Lady of Liesse/Our Lady of Joy, AND there’s a town named after her in France! The only criteria this one is missing is length! And again, I think adding Marie can fix that easily. Marie-Liesse is beautiful!

(8) Landry
So I had a lot of L names for them! Haha! Landry’s another that I’ve long loved—it’s an old French surname, and as a first name there are a few Sts. Landry—all male and it’s currently no. 805 for boys, probably because of former Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry (which I realize may be a deal breaker for Amy and Ryan, depending on their football loyalties)—but the BNW lists it as a girl’s name, and it’s a place name—there are towns in France, Canada, and the U.S. with the name. Because it’s mostly used for boys, I wouldn’t pair it with a male middle name, but Landry Immaculée or Marie-Landry sound lovely I think.

(9) Madeleine or Magali
So, we have basic perfection here: a long, French, saintly, place name! Madeleine is the French for Magdalene, which of course refers to the place Mary Magdalene came from (Mary of Magdala). Magali is the Occitan form (Occitan is a language spoken in southern France, as well as parts of Italy and Spain; I believe “Provençal” refers to the dialect of Occitan spoken in France). Madeleine is likely more popular than they’d prefer, especially when you add in all the other forms: Madeleine is 350, Madeline is 91, Madelyn is 62, and there are other spellings as well (Madalynn etc.). But having a more common first name makes an unusual middle name more possible; Madeleine James is beautiful. Magali’s certainly more uncommon—it’s not in the top 1000. I met a Magali once and loved her name. However, I hope I’m overthinking this, but I keep feeling like both Madeleine and Magali are too similar in rhythm to Adelaide—do you all agree? I do love Isla Madeleine though …

Those were all my official suggestions, but I also wanted to list several place names of French origin that might have appealed to Amy and Ryan for first names or middle names: Lorraine, Laramie, Marietta, and Normandy.

Also, along with the idea of adding Marie, I also thought they could Frenchify some non-French place names in the same way, like Marie-Avila or Marie-Siena. And though this gets away from the place name idea, they could incorporate their affinity for boy names in this way as well, like Marie-James and Marie-Becket — so feminine and unexpected!

Finally, I was struck by the fact that there was a name that was listed as similar to both Gemma and Isla: Zara! I had to list it here, just because of that.

And those were all my ideas for Amy and Ryan! I’d love to know what other names you all would have recommend for this family, but only in order to help other families who might have similar sensibilities because … in the time between when I did this consultation and today, Amy and Ryan have chosen their girl’s name!! Go check it out on their Instagram announcement — I looooove it!!