Baby name consultation: Classic name, preferably with biblical and/or Marian ties, for baby no. 3

Thank you to all who took advantage of my Black Friday Specials! I have one more special, which is for today only: I’m offering ten Christmas Gift Certificates for Ordinary Consultations for $25 each! (Regular price: $50.) The first ten people who email me today for a gift certificate will receive an invoice from me via email for $25 by midnight tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 2. These gift certificates can be redeemed starting December 26th. I will work on them in the same way I do all consultation requests — first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances). I will email you a gift certificate that you can print out and present to the person receiving it as a gift (I can send it to by Dec. 5 in case you want to give it as a St. Nicholas gift!). There’s no expiration date on the gift certificates.

Today’s mama and her hubby are expecting their third baby in April, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! He or she joins big siblings:

Magdalyn Rae (“Saint Magdalene’s feast day is on the day our daughter was released from the NICU. Rae is my middle name. We call her Maggie and I love how Rae paired nicely with both Magdalyn and Maggie. My husband … one day came home and said he liked this name. I liked Saint Magdalene’s story and “Maggie” was one of my top five names“)

Joseph James (“[Joseph is husband’s middle name] and Saint Joseph (is there a better saint to name your son after?!). James is my husband’s uncle. My husband lived with him painting houses for a summer and that’s how he bought my engagement ring. I also liked the alliteration of Joseph James“)

(I love that engagement ring story!)

For baby number three my husband hasn’t give me a lot. He likes the name Margaret for a girl and Jim for a boy. I can’t tell if he’s joking 😉 I said Jim is a nickname for James (our son’s middle name) and he said “does that matter?” I said “fine, let’s just name the baby Jim Ray if it’s a boy so he has both our first and second born children’s names!” The ONLY preference I know is that my husband does not like names that sound too trendy. He’s all about classic.

For a girl we like the following names:

1. Stella Maris: I saw this on your site and love that it is a Marian name.
2. Margaret (Saint Margaret): Picked by husband. I love the nickname Etta but I’m not sure that my husband would go for a non-traditional nickname.
3. Juliet (husband’s pick): I would only go for this if NN could be Etta. I don’t like Jules or Julie and I’m afraid most people would go there.
4. Ava (Saint Ava): Too common? I feel like it could go great with Maggie and Joseph.
5. We have a favorite book where a little girl named Maple has a Maple tree and then one day a Willow tree is growing (you can guess her mom is pregnant and later has a baby Willow). I cried the first time I read that book when I was pregnant with baby #2 and wished I had named my first Maple and that I would have a second named Willow. Not sure my husband would go with either and they don’t really mesh with the first two!

For a boy:

1. Husband likes “Jim” (still don’t know if this is sarcasm)
2. I like Jack but can’t find a tie to a saint or biblical character
3. Henry
4. Truman (I like the alliteration of Truman Taylor) and the nickname “Tru” but my husband is iffy about how “trendy” it sounds. and I’m trying to find a “Catholic” tie.

Some things I would like to consider with baby naming:

1. A name that represents someone Jesus would have interacted with like Joseph and Magdalene. That’s why I’d love to find a Marian name for a boy or girl. Saints are good too but a reference to someone in the Bible would be great. It can be an alteration of a name since a lot of the “classic” names we’ve ruled out (see below)

2. We have a LOT of relatives. Like a lot. And although we are okay with shared names to some extent we have a long list of “no’s” including:

Josh, Luke, Lucas, Jacob, Jake, John, Andrew, Caleb, Matthias, Benjamin, Raymond, William, Nicholas, Donald, Mathew, Patrick, Sebastian, Theodore, Cyprian, Jasper, Jackson, Anderson, Nathaniel, August

Anna, Cecilia, Katherine, Hannah, Madeline, Brook, Brooklyn, Rebecca, Gianna

3. I don’t have a strong preference for middle names … I just want it to have SOME sort of meaning and sound great

4. Meaningful things to us: We LOVE Colorado. We actually decided on baby 3 on the way to Colorado. I tried to summon some names from that (Esten for Estes Park, Max for Maxwell Inn we stayed out) but nothing really stuck. My husband is an optometrist (patron saint Clare?) and I am a speech language pathologist. We are getting ready to move and in the middle of a lot of transitions so maybe a patron saint to represent that and bring us peace during this chaos? We were married on August 7th, my husband’s birth is 9-17, my daughter’s is 7-17, and my son’s is 10-17 so seven is a heavy number in our family if that gives you any fun ideas?

I love trying to incorporate things into babies’ names that are important to the parents in faith-filled ways, like patron saints for parents’ professions or connections to places they love. So fun!

Alrighty, so I loved that Maggie was one of Mama’s top five names and then Papa decided on his own that he liked Magdalyn — how perfect and amazing is that??! Magdalyn Rae is gorgeous. And of course I agree I agree that St. Joseph is such a perfect namesake for a little guy. Joseph James is so handsome!

As for Margaret for a girl and Jim for a boy for this baby: hubby’s a funny guy! Sisters Magdalyn and Margaret would strike me as really unexpected, as I generally think of Magdalyn and Margaret as two sides of the same coin — those who like the nickname Maggie and have traditional taste go for Margaret, while those who like the nickname Maggie and like more unusual names go for Magdalyn. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since he wants to repeat their son’s middle name as their next son’s first! Hilarious!

I really like Mama’s solution of the nickname Etta — that makes it very doable, in my opinion. I don’t mind the idea of sisters with the more unusual Magdalyn with the familiar nickname Maggie, and the familiar Margaret with the more unusual nickname Etta. It’s true that Etta isn’t a traditional nickname for Margaret, so if that’s a real problem, Margaret does have loads of traditional nicknames and variants that could work, if that’s what would sell Papa:

  • Greta: This one rhymes with Etta, so it feels like the closest to Mama’s idea while still being a traditional short form of Margaret.
  • Maisie: Maisie is a diminutive of Margaret via Ireland and Scotland, so sweet!
  • Rita: This is technically a nickname for the Italian variant of Margaret, though of course it’s taken on a life of its own.
  • Peg, Peggy: Amazingly, Peggy is a medieval nickname for Margaret!
  • Molly: Molly is the only one on this list that isn’t technically a nickname for Margaret, in the sense that it’s actually a variant of Mary. But, it does have occasional usage as a nickname for Margaret, for example “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” who wasn’t actually known as Molly in life, only after she died was she called Molly. I’ve known families who have named daughters Margaret and call them Molly, and I’ve encountered many people who assume Molly is a nickname for Margaret, in the sense of it being etymologically related. Sisters Maggie and Molly sound like a natural pair.

As for the names on the list of those they’re considering:

  • Stella Maris: Isn’t it a gorgeous name? A variant of it is Maristella, which they might also like.
  • Margaret: See above.
  • Juliet: This is one of my very favorite names! Etta is a perfect nickname for it; the spelling Juliette could make it feel more natural (or even Julietta). I spotlighted the name here, and the comments are pretty great!
  • Ava: There’s a reason this name is so popular! It’s a gorgeous name! I particularly like that St. Ava was blind as a child and later miraculously healed — that could make a great connection to Papa’s occupation! Also, Ava is a variant of Eva/Eve, so it can be considered biblical. A different connection is that one of Our Lady’s titles is The New Eve, so it can be considered Marian in that sense; a different Marian connection comes from how “Ava Maria” sounds like “Ave Maria” (which means “Hail Mary” in Latin) — Ava Maria as a first/middle combo would really drive home that meaning.
  • Willow: Aw, this is a sweet story! I love it! Though it’s too late to have a Maple, they do have a daughter whose name starts with M, so maybe they’d want to consider a W name for a second girl? Then they could use Maple and Willow even as little code names or nicknames that just Mama uses for her girls? The first name that comes to mind in this vein is Willa — it’s so like Willow in appearance and sound, but more … serious maybe? Dignified? A better fit with sister Magdalyn? Wilhelmina’s another option — it’s kind of heavy, but it’s saintly (via William), and Willa and Willow can both be nicknames for it, as can Mina, which is sweet. And they’d be in good company with amazing namer Natalie Hanson, who has a daughter Wilhelmina who goes by Willa. Another option would be to put Mary in front of it — putting Mary in front of any name, from traditional names to mom’s maiden name or similar, automatically makes the combo seem classy and Catholic. Mary Willow and Mary Willa are both great options, and in fact, Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie’s given name is actually Mary Willa! One final thing is that I recently discovered the very cool fact that Willow Sunday is another name for Palm Sunday, especially in the East, and since their baby is due in April, and Palm Sunday in 2020 is also in April (April 5), Willow (or Willa) could be perfect for a baby girl for that reason too!
  • Jim: I’m not sure what to say about Jim! I hope it was sarcasm on Papa’s part!
  • Jack: I like Jack for this family! Jack is a diminutive of John, which is perfect for Mama’s hope to tie to a biblical character that Jesus would have interacted with! Many people name their sons John to get to the nickname Jack, but many also just name their son Jack. In fact, Jack as a given name has always been in the top 200, with its peaks of popularity being 1929 and 1930, when it was no. 14, and then in 1996 it entered the top 100 again and is currently at no. 28. So I’d say Jack is a great option! When I was researching saints/blesseds with speech problems (as a nod to Mama’s occupation), I found Giovanni Dominici, known in English as Bl. John Dominic — he had a speech impediment that was miraculously healed. That made me think that he would be a great patron for their little boy, and I love the combo Jack Dominic! (They have John on the list of family names they can’t use, but Jack Dominic means John Dominic anyway, so I think Jack Dominic is perfect! Also, Dominic has seven letters, and was traditionally given to boys born on Sunday [Dominic means “of the Lord,” and Sunday is the day of the Lord], which is the seventh day of the week! I love that connection to “seven” here!)
  • Henry: A great name, I love it. I spotlighted it here.
  • Truman: What a cool name! And I love the nickname Tru! As far as a faith connection, there isn’t a saint with that name or surname as far as I can tell, but its meaning is “true, trusty, or faithful man,” which seems like it could connect to Jesus Himself. And with the nickname Tru, truth is certainly a great faith connection (it reminds me of names like Verity, which means “truth,” and Veronica, which means “true image”). I think it works! They can also beef up the faithiness/saintliness with the middle name — something like Truman Emmanuel would really bring Jesus to mind, for example. As for it being trendy, it was actually much more popular from 1900-1954 than it is now!

Okay! Those are my thoughts on the names that these parents are considering. As for new ideas, you all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used 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. I also researched patrons of Colorado, patrons of those with eye problems and speech problems, and patrons of peace, as well as Estes Park (to find the origin of its name), and I spent a while thinking of ways to work in the number seven. Based on all that, these are my additional ideas for this baby:

Girl
(1) Seraphina
This was inspired by a few different things: first, Sadie is a style match for Stella according to the BNW, which is a traditional nickname for Sarah. I didn’t think Sarah was quite their style, but I thought of Seraphina, since Sera is commonly used as a nickname for it. Secondly, Seraphina can be considered a Marian name, since it refers to the seraphim (the order of angels who “stand before God as ministering servants in the heavenly court”) and one of Our Lady’s titles is Queen of the Angels; this fulfills Mama’s desire for a Marian name. Thirdly, Jesus surely interacts with the seraphim. 😊 It checks off a lot of their boxes! Seraphina is such a lovely name, and I love it as a sister to Magdalyn and Joseph.

(2) Veronica
I was inspired to add Veronica to the list when I was researching faith connections for Truman. It means “true icon,” and though St. Veronica isn’t specifically named in the bible, it’s the name that has traditionally been used to identify the woman who wiped Jesus’ face on his way to the cross, which fulfills Mama’s hope for a name of someone Jesus interacted with. I spotlighted it here, including nickname ideas.

(3) Colette
I discovered Colette when I was looking up patrons of those with eye problems, and immediately loved it for this family for a few reasons: first, it can take Etta as a nickname like Margaret and Juliet. Secondly, it’s a short form of Nicolette (which St. Colette is also known as), which is a feminine form of Nicholas, which is a biblical name (he’s mentioned in Acts 6:5 as one of the first seven deacons — seven!). Thirdly, St. Colette not only suffered from eye problems, but speech problems as well: “She had visions in which Saint Francis of Assisi ordered her to restore the Rule of Saint Clare to its original severity. When she hesitated, she was struck blind for three days and mute for three more; she saw this as a sign to take action.” (source) I love that she nods to both Mama’s and Papa’s professions!

(4) Elizabeth/Isabel/Isabelle/Isabella
I looked up patron saints of peace, because of how Mama said, “We are getting ready to move and in the middle of a lot of transitions so maybe a patron saint to represent that and bring us peace during this chaos,” and was immediately drawn to St. Elizabeth of Portugal. She’s known as “The Peacemaker” and is a patron saint of peace; I also love that her name is the name of Our Lady’s cousin. The Visitation is one of my favorite Mysteries of the Rosary, when Mary visits Elizabeth and John the Baptist leaps for joy in his mother’s womb at being in the presence of Jesus in His mother’s womb. If Elizabeth isn’t quite their style, maybe they’d like its variants Isabel, Isabelle, or Isabella (St. Elizabeth of Portugal is also known as Isabel and Isabella)? There’s also Elisabet (which St. Elizabeth of Portugal is also known as), Eliza, Elise, Elisa, Lisbeth, Lisette, and so many others, and a whole bunch of nicknames as well.

(5) Annabel
Annabelle is a style match for Juliet, and I love that it has the “Anna” in there, which connects it to St. Anne — the grandmother of Jesus — without using Anna by itself, which is on the list of family names they don’t want to use. It also has a separate, Marian meaning as a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, and one of Our Lady’s titles is Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable, where “amiable”=“lovable”). How cool is that? I have the Annabel spelling listed here because it has seven letters, which I thought was pretty neat.

*(6) Bonus: Eleanora, Eleanor, Elinor
I couldn’t not include these names, as Eleanora is a style match for Magdalyn, Eleanor is a match for Henry, and Elinor is a match for Truman! They didn’t really seem this family’s style to me, but the BNW is rarely wrong, so I definitely had to list these here! The Eleanor names aren’t biblical, though it does have saintly connections (the comments are great too). I love its nicknames Ellie and Nell (which can both be for Elizabeth too, if they wanted) and Nora, so sweet!

Boy
(1) Elliott
Elliott is such a great name for this family, in my opinion, for a few different reasons: first, it’s a style match for both Stella and Juliet. Secondly, it’s a variant of Elias, which is biblical! Thirdly, though there are several ways to spell this name (two L’s or one, two T’s or one), Elliott has seven letters!

(2) Raphael
I was excited to see that Raphael is a style match for Juliet, because it’s biblical, it has seven letters (I was overly excited to find names with seven letters! Haha!), and St. Raphael the Archangel is patron of blind people and against eye disease and problems, a perfect nod to Papa’s profession!

(3) Samuel
Samuel is a match for Joseph and Henry, Sam is a match for Jack and Maggie, and Samuel is biblical! So many great reasons to love this name!

(4) Charles
Charles showed up so many times in my research for this family! It’s a style match for Margaret and Henry, and Charlie is a match for Maggie, Stella, and Jack. It’s such a great name! And it has seven letters! I know it’s not biblical, but it is saintly, and (this might be weird) my husband and I strongly considered the combo Charles Augustine for one of our boys, which I still love, and St. Augustine is a patron against sore eyes, so if they like that combo, it could be a great one for them!

(5) Bennett
I know Benjamin is on their no list, but Bennett is a different animal. It’s a match for Juliet, and Ben’s a match for Maggie, so I thought Bennett — which is a variant of Benedict — would be a great suggestion for them. (And it has seven letters! Woo! 😊 )

Finally, I wanted to share some info I found in my research that might be helpful to them:

  • I discovered that Estes Park in Colorado is named after Joel Estes, so I looked up his surname and it literally means “of the East” — so I wondered if they might like to consider Easton as a nod to Estes Park?
  • There’s also a Mary’s Lake in Estes Park, which I thought was a really nice connection to using Mary (like the Mary Willa idea above) in addition to Mary being for Our Lady.
  • The Immaculate Mary is actually the patron of Colorado, adding extra meaning to a Marian name for this baby. If they like the idea of Immaculata for a first name or a middle, it could also tie to Our Lady’s patronage of Colorado.
  • Francis of Assisi is another patron of Colorado — if they don’t care for Francis as a first name, maybe they’d like it as a middle? Or one of the feminine variants (Frances, Franca, Francesca) for a girl?
  • I loved that Mama mentioned Clare, because of Papa’s work, and think it would make a great first or middle name. Another patron of eye issues is St. Lucy, who had her eyes plucked out (in fact, she’s usually depicted holding a tray with her eyeballs on it!) and it’s said that her eyesight was restored before her death. Lucy/Lucia/Lucille might be names they’d like to consider for that reason.

And those are all my ideas! What do you think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Magdalyn/Maggie and Joseph?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

Beth and her husband aren’t expecting a baby yet, but they hope to be soon, and need help finding a girl’s name they love!

Beth writes,

Our children’s names so far are:

Justin
Aiden
Annalise
Jeremy (with Jesus)

Names I like but my husband dislikes are:

Cora
Verity
Camille
Isobel
Honora/Nora
Majella

The last two of these are hard to pronounce for him due to his accent (he has a Mexican background). His family also prefer names that sound as they are spelled as that is how Spanish names work. So names like Caeli (pronounced “Chaylee”) are out of the picture. He is not really keen on Spanish names.

He likes:

Amelia
Hope

We prefer a Saints name or a Biblical name or a variant (like Molly for Mary). We don’t want the name to start with: A or J, as we have used those twice already. I tend to like names that are a little out of popular use (although we went with Aiden despite this).

Names we can’t use due to extended family use:

Emily
Phoebe
Claudia
Eleanor
Gianna
Kateri

Ok I think that is it for rules. I’m looking forward to your input!

I love Beth’s children’s names! Justin, Aiden, and Jeremy are so handsome for boys, and Annalise is so lovely and feminine! In fact, when compiling my list of ideas for Beth and her hubs, I was most influenced by Annalise’s name — I really wanted to find girl names that could stand up to Annalise’s feminine oomph.

Before listing my ideas, I’ll offer some thoughts on the names on Beth’s and her husbands’ lists, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cora: Beautiful name! And it rhymes with Nora, which lets me know that Beth likes that sound/rhythm
  • Verity: Such a cool virtue-type name — much less popular than Grace, for example, but still in the same category
  • Camille: Has a similar foreign-ish feel as Annalise (foreign-ish because it’s a French name that’s familiar in English, like Annalise has German/Scandinavian background but still familiar in English)
  • Isobel: I love this spelling, it takes the familiar Isabel(le) and makes it more unusual, which is always fun. However, since the “Lise” in Annalise is from Elizabeth, I would suggest crossing Isobel off the list, since it’s an Elizabeth variant (though I love that Beth included it, as it gives me a good sense of her taste)
  • Honora/Nora: I can see that Honora would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and his family, but Nora would be okay, right? (Except that hubby doesn’t care for it.)
  • Majella: I love Majella too. I wonder if the Italian variant Maiella would appeal to Beth and her husband? It’s said like my-EL-la, which I think is okay for those whose first language is Spanish?
  • Amelia: Other than it being an A name, Amelia fits right in with several of the names on Beth’s list, so I’m hopeful I can find some names that they both like!
  • Hope: Beth has Verity and Honora on her list, and her hubby has Hope — I’m feeling pretty hopeful (!) that I can offer some other virtue-type names that they might both be on board with!

Okay, all that said, you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and 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. I did so for this family, looking up all the names Beth listed, but giving heavy weight toward names that I thought would go well with Annalise. Based on that, these are my ideas for them:

(1) Clara (or variants?)
Clara’s a match for Cora, and Claire’s a match for Camille and Nora, so I thought a name in this vein would be a good suggestion here. I like Clara better than Claire (or Clare) as Annalise’s sister, and Clara has a similar rhythm to Cora and Nora, but Clara and Claire/Clare are both beautiful, so they can’t go wrong! Since Annalise is so long, I did look for ways to lengthen Clara, which might be totally unnecessary if they love Clara as is, but I thought it was worthwhile mentioning Clarabelle/Claribel and Clarissa as frillier options, as well as Clairvaux, which is a similar style as Majella, but I’m thinking that Beth’s hubby and in-laws wouldn’t know what to do with Clairvaux (as many English speakers would feel the same!)! I looked up Clar- names on the babynamewizard.com site, just to see if there were any ideas I hadn’t thought of, and saw Clarity — I kind of like Clarity! It can take Clare or Clara as a nickname, and it’s a virtue-type name like Verity, Honora, and Hope. So they have some options here, if they like the Clara idea but want something more! St. Clare of Assisi is a great patron (and St. Bernard would be for a Clairvaux).

(2) Felicity
I kind of love Felicity for this family! It’s a virtue-type name like Verity and Hope (and it’s a style match for both per the BNW!), and it has the same ending as Verity too. I spotlighted in on the blog here, where I offered nickname ideas as well. St. Felicity is one of the best!

(3) Natalia
I’m not sure Beth and her hubby will love this one, as it wasn’t a huge style match like some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Natalie is a style match for Jeremy, and I kind of loved the idea of looping his style in a little. I didn’t think Natalie was quite right here, but I thought Natalia really could be. It’s a gorgeous saintly name, and I love it with Annalise. There are a couple Sts. Natalia.

(4) Violet
Like Natalia, Violet didn’t show up that much in my research (it’s a match for Camille), but when I saw it I thought it felt right. It’s got a similar rhythm to Verity and starts with the same letter, but it’s less “out there,” which Beth’s hubby might appreciate. Violets are a symbol of Our Lady — they represent her humility and used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty — so Violet can be considered a Marian name (I have it as an entry in my book of Marian names for that reason).

(5) Eve (or variants/related names?)
I was surprised at how often names like Eve showed up in my research — the name itself is listed as a style match for Honor (standing in for Honora, which doesn’t have its own entry but is listed as a variant of Honor); its variant Ava is a match for Aiden (but starts with A); its soundalike Iva is a match for Cora; and its visual relation Evelyn is a match for Amelia. I thought Eve might be a bit too spare for Annalise’s sister (though it has such an elegance that if Beth loved it, I would love it too), but I thought Eva and Evelyn could work well, or my favorite: Evelina. If they like Eve or a variant, then Our Lady would be patroness, as one of her titles is the New Eve. If they like Evelyn or Evelina, they could still choose the Eve connection for a patron, but they actually have a separate etymology as a variant of Aveline, which is related to Avila, so St. Teresa of Avila could be their daughter’s saint.

(6) Maristela
This last idea was initially inspired by the fact that Stella is a match for Nora, but I thought Stella would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and in-laws, so I thought Maristela might be a neat way to work it in in an easier way. Then I realized that Annalise is Anna + Elizabeth and Maristela is Maria + Stella and thought that was such a neat thing for sisters to share! Maybe they (and you all) will think it’s too matchy? But if Beth and her husband like it, that construction could be carried through any other daughters they might have (examples: Piamarta, Dorolinda). Maristela comes from Our Lady’s title Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris).

Finally, I wanted to include some names that did quite well in my research just in case they hit just the right note, but they didn’t make my “official” list because they didn’t follow Beth’s guidelines:

  • Charlotte: A match for Annalise and Amelia, so great! But sooo popular right now. I did a post on patron saints for girls named Charlotte.
  • Sophie/Sophia: Matches for Isabel (standing in for Isobel) and Amelia, but also very popular. This is a Marian name, as Sophia means “wisdom” and one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.
  • Juliet: A match for Camille and Hope, Julia’s a match for Amelia, and Julianna for Annalise — I thought Juliet was the best option of those for this family, but it starts with a J. Bah! I did a post on Juliet(te) and its patrons on the blog. (For what it’s worth, if they end up doing another J or A name, I would recommend J, since those they encounter in everyday life won’t know of Jeremy’s name, and another A name would make Justin, Aiden, and Annalise seem really A heavy. But another J name would simply feel balanced. However, if they might have more children after the next, I would definitely stay away from J and A names.)

And those are all my ideas for a daughter for Beth and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Justin, Aiden, Annalise, and Jeremy?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: How to narrow it down?

Elisha and her husband are expecting their first baby — a little girl! In my consultation for them, I mostly tried to help them nail down the style they feel is “their children’s names,” as they had some very feminine names on their list, as well as some more unisex, surname-type names. This is what I said to them:

It’s so fun for me to work with first-time parents, as it’s sort of like the sky’s the limit, name-wise! You don’t have older children with a set name style yet, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not your favorite name will clash with theirs — you can choose with abandon!

At the same time, though … I do encourage all first-time parents to give at least a little thought to how they would see the naming of their future children play out. A perfect example is that you have the ultra-feminine Evangeline on your list, as well as the more unisex Kennedy. Both names are fine and fabulous, but if you consider your possible future children, do you see them having names more in the Evangeline/Genevieve/Lilian vein, or more in the Kennedy/Morgan/Lindsey vein? Either way is fine! And to a certain extent, even if siblings’ names are wildly different and a little jarring to others, who cares?! (Except that people who care about names — like I suspect you do — do tend to care about those kinds of things …)

Elisha and her hubs thought this exercise had merit, and replied:

Thank you so much for all of the research that you put into this consultation! … We had so much fun reading through this and discussing it. After much discussion, we have narrowed our names down to Evangeline, Penelope, Rosabelle, and Genevieve with Grace and Feighth* leading our middle names. It would appear that we do enjoy those ultra-feminine names both individually and if we have more daughters later.

Our biggest reservation seems to be saving a name for later with no guarantee of another girl. For instance, if we chose Evangeline Feighth, we would be taking Feighth away from Genevieve. However, we could enjoy Evangeline Grace and save Feighth for Genevieve, but risk never having another girl. We read about that risk on your site somewhere awhile back …

Do you have any suggestions on how we might narrow them down from that? … Maybe the Sancta Nomina community will give us that last idea that solidifies our choice/grouping.”

(*Feighth is a spelling that has special meaning to Elisha and her hubs.)

You guys always have such great ideas, I know you’ll have some good advice for this couple! These are my thoughts:

— Fairness is something I encourage parents to think about when naming their children. Mostly, what I mean is, I think it’s important to do your best to make sure each child feels that their name is just as special as his/her siblings’ names. Though each name (both firsts and middles) on Elisha and her husband’s list has a great deal of significance to them through various connections to important things in their lives, Elisha told me that Evangeline is the only one that has a family connection. That detail seems to me to be a make or break — if honoring family is important, then Evangeline emerges as the clear winner. If Elisha and her hubs would prefer not to feel like they have to include a family connection in every child’s name, then perhaps Evangeline moves to the bottom of the list. (That said, the family connection with Evangeline isn’t super obvious, so they could still choose Evangeline on other merits and not point out the family connection.)

— The middle name options of Grace and Feighth seem to be part of the first-name decision-making process for Elisha and her hubby. They have a similar enough sound to me (one syllable, long A) that neither jumps out to me as better sound-wise with any of the first-name options, so I would then consider that since Feighth has particular significance to this couple, while Grace is simply a name they like, that Feighth should be the frontrunner middle name. Or, since Evangeline has family significance, for example, then perhaps a less-significant middle like Grace would be better with it, thus saving the more-significant middle name as a match for a less-significant first name. Does that make sense?

— Finally, Elisha referenced my article about the risk of saving a name for later use, knowing that there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to use it later. The two bits of advice I offered in that post based on your great ideas when I posed the question on the blog were: “Name this baby as if he or she were your last (or only)” and “Consider which name you’d be sadder to not ever get to use.”

How about all of you? What advice would you give to these new parents? How would you rank the names on their short list?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

 

Baby name consultation: First boy after four girls needs a rare-ish, more unexpected type name

Rosa and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — and first boy!! He joins big sisters:

Arabella Katherine
Victoria Elizabeth
Jeanne Frances (in heaven)
Kateri Gianna

I love these names!! They’re so feminine and beautiful!!

Rosa writes,

We are having the hardest time finding an agreeable name for this little one. I’m desperate! I’m convinced he will never have a name 😂. I’ve taken to calling him Sine Nomine.”

(Sine Nomine! SO BRILLIANT!! I told Rosa that I wish I’d thought of that when I was expecting Luke — as it was, all I came up with was Sanctino, which isn’t even correct!)

Names my husband likes so far are Kieran, Xavier, and Beckett. Unfortunately we have a friends or family who have boys with these names. They are all at least 4 years older than our little man though. [Hubby] just doesn’t love the idea of copying names. I’m also afraid Kieran and Kateri might be too close.

[Hubby] is a HUGE fan of the nickname Ace, so he would concede to Ignatius as a middle name.

I don’t have any names that I am especially turned off by although James and Michael are on the no list for [my husband]. [He] has also said no to the following names that were on my maybe list: David, Kolbe, Fulton, Pius, Leo, Liam, Aquinas (Quin), Thomas, Fin, Augustine (Gus), Wyatt, Casey.

I would love to honor my favorite uncle, David. He just passed away this summer at age 65, may his soul rest in peace. I actually had been calling this little guy David Ignatius since just a few days after I found out I was pregnant, but [husband] has rejected David. Unfortunately David is also my Father’s name and [my husband] has drawn a clear line on namesakes for any of our parents, that means David, Dewitt, Robert, and Edward are also off the table. I have totally failed in finding any David derivatives. I would also love to honor our Blessed Mother. My Birthday is on the Feast of Our Lady of Victory/the Rosary and I have been especially drawn to Mary ever since I was little. My favorite of her titles are Mother of Mercy and Cause of our Joy. The key would be finding names that [my husband] likes, I’ve been drawing blanks on that front too.”

This papa is a tough customer! I enjoyed trying to find names that I thought Rosa would love, that her hubby would be okay with as well. Hopefully our thoughts — yours and mine — are helpful!

Okay, so since they haven’t had any boys yet, I was interested to see what names are on Rosa’s and her husband’s list, to see if they would follow the style of their girls (which I might describe as long and slightly exotic-feeling), or if they would have a totally different style for boy names (as often happens). I think, after seeing their lists, that they retain the “exotic-ness” — or perhaps better described as being on the more rare and unexpected side — with most of them, and then they do have some long ones as well (Aquinas, Augustine). So they’re not terribly different from their girls, which made research a bit easier — I always like to try to find names that fit in well with the older siblings.

I like the names on Mister’s list — Kieran, Xavier, and Beckett are all interesting and somewhat unexpected, and Xavier especially is a good match with their girls’ names. I agree with Rosa that Kieran and Kateri are overly similar — I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker necessarily, but since there are so many other names that could fit the bill, I would encourage them to cross Kieran off the list, or perhaps move it to the middle name spot. If Beckett is off the list, I wonder what Rosa and her hubs would think of Bennett? It’s so similar to Beckett, and it’s a medieval diminutive of Benedict, which gives it a great saintly connection. Actually … I quite like the full Benedict with their girls! I wonder what they would think of Benedict?

I love the nickname Ace too! Ignatius is a great way to get to it; some others that I’ve mentioned on the blog include Aloysius, Athanasius, and Atticus — I particularly like Atticus for this faily, and there are at least two Sts. Atticus. It was also listed as a style match for Arabella, Victoria, and Kateri when entered all together on the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com.

The names from Rosa’s list that feel like the closest style matches to Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri to me are Kolbe, Fulton, Pius, Leo, Aquinas, Thomas, and Augustine (though I like all the names on her list). But what I’d really love to do is find a way for Rosa to have her David Ignatius! I love that combo, I love the meaning, I love how significant it is to her. Some variants of David that might work include:

— Dawson: This is my favorite for them — it means “son of David,” but I wouldn’t let that worry them (the -son name are used out of context of being an actual son all the time: think of popular names Jameson, Emerson, Addison, Madison, etc.) — I would just think of it as a David variant. You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used 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 — I did so here, and Dawson was actually a specific style match for Colby (standing in for Kolbe, which doesn’t have its own entry), and since it’s a surname it’s also similar in style to Xavier, Beckett, Fulton, Aquinas, and Casey! Dawson Ignatius is very handsome!

According to behindthename.com, Daveth is a Cornish variant of David — I like Daveth! It’s interesting! Daveth Ignatius is pretty amazing.

— Taavi is another David variant — a Finnish one — and I’ve actually had two readers that I did consultations for end up naming their sons Taavi! Check them out here and here.

— Dewey is a Welsh variant of David, and it kind of reminds me of Wyatt, so maybe Rosa would like it? Dewey Ignatius feels kind of retro cool.

Another really cool thing about the David names is that I included David in my book of Marian names because of the Marian title “Tower of David” (as listed in the Litany of Loreto) — Rosa said she’d love to honor our Blessed Mother, so a David name would definitely do it!

Regarding her dear uncle, since her hubby doesn’t want to use his first name, I wonder if Rosa’s uncle’s middle name is an option? Is his last name one that could work as a first name? Did he have a hobby that might lead to a name? Favorite saint? Even favorite ball player or similar? I was also thinking how Jonathan and David were friends in the bible — maybe Jonathan could nod to him in a way Rosa’s husband is okay with? I hope she can figure out a name that ties to her uncle!

As for names that might tie into Our Lady of Victory/Our Lady of the Rosary, Mother of Mercy, and Cause of Our Joy, some that I included in my book are:

— Dominic: St. Dominic is traditionally considered the saint to whom Our Lady gave her rosary, which makes it a great Marian/Rosary name! Another fun tidbit is that Dominic means “of the Lord” and was traditionally given to boys born on Sunday. Very cool! AND Dominic’s actually a style match for Rosa’s girls’ names! I love how long and sophisticated it is. I did a spotlight of Dominic here.

— Rosario: Not only could Rosario honor Our Lady in Rosa’s son’s name, but also herself! Though Rosario is feminine in Spanish, it’s masculine in Italian.

— Royce: Royce is a name I don’t see used too much, but I included it in my book because it’s from a medieval variant of Rose, which makes it Marian and Rosarian (and also a nod to Rosa)! It’s kind of debonair, no?

— Clement: Clement means “merciful” and many of my readers considered it for their babies during the Jubilee Year of Mercy (and other times too! Like this little guy).

— Leeson: If you can believe it, Leeson is an English surname that derives ultimately from the Latin laetitia, meaning “joy,” by way of the common medieval variant of it, Lettice, and its short form, Lece. Causa Nostrae Laetitiae is the Latin for “Cause of Our Joy,” so Leeson is a legit name that can be used for a boy that directly connects to Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy! Lee is an easy nickname, or they could totally use Leo, like from Rosa’s list!

Finally, there are a few names that seem like they’d be good matches for this family, based on my research in the Baby Name Wizard and in the Sibling Project on my blog (Kateri’s entry in the BNW focuses on Native American names as style matches, so I started the Sibling Project to list Catholic style matches for names like Kateri) and the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com.

Based on all that, these are my additional suggestions for Rosa’s little guy:

(1) Sebastian
According to my research, Sebastian is a style match for all of their girls’ names, and it’s long like theirs, so it had to go on the list! Nickname options include Seb and Sebby, Bastian (like in Neverending Story — except Bastian was his given name), Bash (like Grace Patton’s son, brother of the Clement linked to above), and Baz. So many options! I think Ace could be tricked out of it, too, if Rosa’s hubby wanted to do so. St. Sebastian is the patron of athletes, so the Ace nickname could come from that, too.

(2) Tobias
Tobias was listed as a specific match for Arabella as well as Sebastian, which, since Sebastian is a match for all of the big sisters, makes Tobias a pretty good fit I think! I don’t know if you all are familiar with Emily Stimpson Chapman, but her little guy is Tobias who goes by Toby and he’s just the cutest. Even if they don’t care for Toby as a nickname, I love the full Tobias, so handsome!

(3) Felix
I loved that Felix is listed as a style match for Xavier from Rosa’s hubby’s list and Leo from hers! I’ve done birth announcements for two little Felixes — both named Felix Thomas, funny enough! Here and here, in case you want to get a feel for the kind of names Felix would be a brother for.

(4) Cooper or Cupertino
Like Felix, Cooper was a style match for a name from Rosa’s hubby’s list (Beckett) and a name from her list (Colby, standing in for Kolbe), which I love to see! I’ve had a couple of readers consider Cooper in honor of St. Joseph Cupertino (like this one), and I’ve heard of a little boy given the name Cupertino as his first name and called Cooper as a nickname — I love all of these options! For this family, I feel like Cupertino goes best with Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri, whether or not they use the nickname Cooper, but Cooper Ignatius is pretty amazing too!

(5) Cassian (Cash)
It’s funny how my mind works sometimes in regards to names — thinking about Ignatius as a potential middle name for Rosa’s little guy and her hubby’s love of the nickname Ace just reminded me of other nicknames for Ignatius I’ve heard, like Nash … so when I saw Cash listed as a style match for Ace in the BNW I took notice due to its similarity to Nash … And Cash made me think of the name Cassian, for St. John Cassian, which I think is SO handsome! It kind of sounds like Kieran, and it’s a surname like Xavier and Beckett, so hopefully Rosa’s husband won’t hate it! Here’s a birth announcement I did for a little Cassian, I love it.

(6) Maximilian, Milo
Maximilian is a match for Arabella, Victoria, and Xavier, and Max is a match for both Leo and Gus, and Rosa had Kolbe on her list, so I thought Maximilian was a great name to suggest! Max is such a darling nickname as well. However, Milo is also a style match for both Leo and Gus, and I’ve actually suggested Milo or Miles on the blog before as a nickname for Maximilian, and I thought doing something like that would be a little more distinctive — which is definitely how I’d characterize this family’s name taste! A bonus feature is that Miles and Milo have a history in Ireland of being used as the anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — how cool is that?? And actually, for that matter, Maximilian is an entry in my book of Marian names because of St. Maximilian Kolbe and his love for her! Maximilian Daveth is kind of cool … or Milo Dawson … maybe?

(7) Gabriel
Gabriel is a match for the big sisters’ names and also for Xavier. It’s also an entry in my book of Marian names, for the First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announces to Our Lady that she’s been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Great name, great patron saint, great Marian connection!

(8) Blaise
Blaise is much shorter than Arabella, Victoria, and Kateri, but it’s the same length as Jeanne and, like Jeanne, is also French — I like that connection to their little one in heaven! And I think Blaise has the same sophisticated feel as the other girls’ names. I also thought Rosa’s hubby might like it since it sounds like “blaze” which makes me think of “fast and speedy” … a similar kind of sportsy feel as Ace.

(9) Evander, Leander
My last suggestions actually didn’t come from my research, but rather from one of the Taavi’s birth announcements — he has a big brother named Evander and I thought ooh! Could be a good fit for this family! The Ace nickname thing also keeps making me think of sports, and I thought Evander Holyfield might appeal to Rosa’s husband. Then I thought, maybe that’s a bad association? It can be connected to a saint via the name Ivor (behindthename.com says Evander is an anglicized form of Iomhar, which is a Scottish form of Ivor, which is one of the names St. Ibar of Meath is also known as), but Evander also made me think of the (less boxing, more saintly) name Leander, and I quite like that with Rosa’s girls! They could also use Leo from Rosa’s list as a nickname if they wanted to.

And those are all my ideas for Rosa’s little guy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne, and Kateri?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: “Slightly different” name needed for baby brother or sister

Cassandra and her husband are expecting their fourth living baby (fifth overall), a little green bean! He or she joins big siblings:

Thomas Patrick (“this was the one name my husband was dead set on from before we were married. His late maternal grandfather was Thomas Patrick. Additionally, my husband’s father is Thomas and his brother is Patrick. So we’ve pretty much covered his side of the family with this name. Another note … our son mostly goes by Thomas. We have no issues with the name “Tommy” (or nicknames in general) but we know lots of other families with Tommy, Tom, etc so our son refers to himself as “Thomas”)”

Theresa Angeline (“when our daughter was born, we had a list of girl names, but it still took us a few hours to decide. We both loved Therese, but didn’t want her name to be constantly mispronounced. Once we chose Theresa (the hubs insisted on the “h” in there), we debated middle names. He liked Marie, but I told him that Theresa Marie was too common. I suggested Angeline which is my middle name (and my paternal grandmother’s middle name as well). I always liked my middle name because it was different. As for nicknames for her … we had every intention of calling her Tess. We told everyone that was the plan, but for some reason, it didn’t seem right to us as we got to know her. Now she goes by Theresa or the pet name TT (her best friend who is 9 days older than her called her this when they were toddlers and it stuck)“)

David Anthony (“for our next boy, we went with something from my side of the family. My paternal grandfather was David. We also have a very close friend in seminary whose name is David and we wanted to honor him as well. Anthony is my father and was my maternal grandfather. He mostly goes by the pet name “Day Day.” Not entirely sure how that happened, but it’s what most people call him“)

Nadia Rose (with Jesus) (“we had an early loss. I felt pretty strongly that she was a girl so we chose a girl’s name. My husband wanted something that meant “hope” but I am not a huge fan of the actual name “Hope.” I threw out “Nadia” as an alternative and he liked it. Rose was chosen because it’s the name I kept hearing in my head when I found out we had lost the baby“)

I love each of these, and the reasons behind each one! ❤

Cassandra writes,

We are Team Green and I feel like we need some new ideas for this baby. We have a lot of names on our list, but I’m not totally sold on any of them. Usually, I like to have two boy and two girl name combos chosen for the birth. I just feel like we need to make sure the name “fits” the baby …

If we have a boy, I’d like to honor my brother somehow. His name is Matthew so Matthias has been thrown around. He is also a huge fan of the name Victor so we could use that somehow.

If we have a girl, I’m toying with the idea of giving a nod to one of my college and grad school roommates. This is where is gets a bit tricky. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth, but I have a SIL named Sarah … I’ve mulled over using Seraphina as a possible nod. Or her initials are S.F. so I could use that as well. I have always called her “Franzie” (a play off her last name), but I’m not keen on using Frances. This one is not a necessity, but something I’d like to work in if possible.

My husband’s biggest thing is that our children need Saints’ names …

Names currently on our list …

Boys
Jonas Matthew seems to be my husband’s favorite so far. We both like the name Jonas slightly more than Jonah, but people seem to think of the Jonas brothers so I don’t know if that would be an issue.
Benedict
Brendan
Brennan
Nathan/Nathaniel
Vianney (I have wanted this as a middle name since high school. Hubs will only consider it as a middle name.)
Xavier (more likely as a middle name)
Raphael (again more likely as a middle name)

Hubs has nixed Beckett and Bennett because they are last names and not first names.

Girls
Clara
Anastasia
Seraphina
Felicity
Lily or Lila
Catherine (husband is not a fan of using just Katia)
Elizabeth
Evelyn
Cecilia

Other notes….
We do love Marian names, but our last name begins with “Mar…” So it can get to alliterative sometimes. We’ve debated doing BVM initials (ie Brennan Vianney M.) For a Marian name.

Too many “s” or “sh” sounds can be hard in a name with our last name.

Names we can’t use for one reason or another:
Michael
Jacob
Timothy
Hannah
Sarah

Husband doesn’t like place names (I.e. Avila, Siena, etc.) Or last names as first names.

I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

I’m really interested to see where Cassandra and her husband will land with a name for this baby! Thomas, Theresa, and David have a definite “feel” to me as all three peaked in popularity in the 1950s-ish, which gives them a mid-century feel, especially as a sibling set, and Brendan, Clara, Lily, Catherine, Elizabeth, Evelyn, and Cecilia from their list all feel like natural fits for that. And then, Nadia, Matthias, Victor, Jonas, Benedict, Nathaniel, Vianney, Xavier, Raphael, Anastasia, Seraphina, Felicity, and Lila have a much more exotic and perhaps more current feel, which is really fun to see a divergence in taste and the kinds of names they’re willing to consider for this baby!

That said, I do feel like going from Thomas, Theresa, and David to Seraphina, for example, is a bit jarring — not that that should be a deal breaker! Just that, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I was trying to find names that straddled the line between Thomas and Seraphina, that acted as “bridge” names almost between the two styles. (I’m not forgetting their Nadia in this conversation, only that her name isn’t one that most people will hear when they encounter this family.) And maybe there’s no need for bridge names! They’ve already jumped in with both feet to the more “exotic” style with Nadia’s name (which I absolutely love), so maybe Anastasia, Seraphina, and Xavier are indeed where they want to go with this baby’s name! Actually, I think Cassandra put it best: “I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

From their list, I think Clara, Lila, Cecilia, Nathan, and Nathaniel are closest to that middle ground I’m thinking of — I can see them each being varying degrees of unexpected with Thomas, Theresa, and David, but none of them feel like a different style from what they’ve already done. But I really love all the names on their list!

There are some strategies that I like to employ when trying to bridging styles that Cassandra and her hubs might find helpful, including choosing a “normal” given name but using an offbeat nickname on an everyday basis, or conversely choosing an offbeat given name that can take a “normal” nickname; you’ll see that I used this strategy a bit in my ideas below. I’ve also always loved an unexpected middle name paired with a more normal first name — their idea of Brendan Vianney M___/BVM is a fantastic example of this! Xavier and Raphael would also be awesome middle names in this line of thinking.

I wanted to offer some other thoughts on the names they have on their list, in case they’re helpful:

— I love Matthias as an honor name for Cassandra’s brother Matthew. Another possibility would be Levi, as Matthew in the bible was also known as Levi.

— I love Victor too, and think it might actually be a great bridge-type name! But I wonder if, as Cassandra says her brother loves the name, would he be upset if they used it? Might he be saving it for his future son?

— Naming a daughter for Cassandra’s roommate is so sweet! I like Seraphina as a nod to Sarah, and I like C’s idea of using her roommate’s initials S.F. (or perhaps S.E., for her first and middle?). Franzie’s a fun nickname — I wonder what Cassandra would think about the French Francine? The Italian Francesca? The German Franziska? Or maybe, drawing from her list, something like Felicity Miranda, with Felicity providing the F and Miranda providing the RAN … ? Maybe? Or is that too crazy?

— Jonas Matthew is a really cool combo! I like that, like Matthias, Jonas is biblical like Thomas and David, which can provide a nice link between the brothers’ names. I mean, yes, there are the Jonas Brothers, but there’s also Jonas Salk … I guess currently the former is more recognized than the latter, but I only offer it to show that there are other Jonases people might think of, and honestly, the people who make up their circle will quickly associate Jonas primarily with their son, if Cassandra and her hubby end up naming a son so.

— I love Benedict, and I’m thinking it might be really good for this family — Thomas and David are obviously biblical, and I think most people would assume a Ben is Benjamin, and it would make total sense with Thomas and David. And I would be so excited to find out that someone I assumed was Benjamin was actually Benedict! (I love Benjamin too, I just really love being surprised by a name! Haha!) That said, I think Benedict goes really well with Thomas, Theresa, and David. I love it!

— Brendan and Brennan are so similar but just the tiniest bit different … Brendan has more of a classic feel to me while Brennan is more contemporary maybe?

— Nathan and Nathaniel are both awesome too, and like with Brendan/Brennan, they have a slightly different feel — Nathan feels sort of “normal” while Nathaniel’s a bit sparklier — which I think is what Cassandra’s looking for? I like Nathaniel a lot for them, and they can always use Nathan as a nickname, which makes Nathaniel a two-for-one name!

— Vianney, Xavier, Raphael are awesome names and fantastic middle name options. I really feel like using one of them in the middle might scratch that itch of having something a little different than what they’ve already done.

— Might Cassandra’s husband be swayed by the fact that the surname Bennett arose from the first name Bennett, and not the other way around? Bennett was actually the medieval diminutive of Benedict (as was Austin for Augustine).

— Clara’s such a sweet name, I like it with Thomas, Theresa, and David.

— I’m so interested that C and her hubs named a daughter Nadia and have Anastasia on the list — they both scream Russian to me (though they both of other uses), and especially since C also mentioned liking Katia. That’s a fun style, and influenced one of my ideas below. I also wondered if they’d be interested in considering Stasia (or Stacia) as the given name — it’s a short form of Anastasia, so would have St. Anastasia as patron, and it begins with S, so could be a nod to her friend Sarah.

— Seraphina is gorgeous. Although, since they don’t want to use the name Sarah, would it bother them if others called her Sera? I know a little Seraphina who goes by Sera.

— I love Felicity, it’s such a lovely name, and it has a touch of Pilgrim feel to it, which goes especially well with Thomas and David I think.

— Lily and Lila are both beautiful, and along the lines of using an unexpected nickname for a normal given name, I wonder if they’d be intrigued by the fact that Lily (and Lila could work here too) is a traditional nickname for Elizabeth? What would they think of Elizabeth as a first name in honor of C’s roommate, with the nickname Lily/Lila? Or, Lilia (or they can spell it Lilya) is the Russian form of Lily — maybe they’d like that?

— Catherine absolutely fits really well. I think Cassandra could still use Katia as a nickname if she wanted to?

— Elizabeth: ditto, and it’s an entry in my book of Marian names, because of the Mystery of the Visitation. Eliza was a big style match for this family in my research, I wonder if they might like to consider it instead of the longer Elizabeth?

— Evelyn is lovely, and I think it goes well with the others, though I think it comes across as less saintly than the others. Though it’s not technically related to Eve, they could use it in that way for the Marian connection.

— Cecilia is a fantastic fit as well.

So I think Cassandra and her husband have some really great names on their list already! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the name they end up using is on their current list. But I can always come up with more ideas! 😂

You all know that I start my consultations by looking up the names the parents have already used 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. I did so for this family, and in addition to Thomas, Theresa, David, Nadia, and the names on their list of considerations, I added Tess and Sarah (even though Cassandra said they wouldn’t use Sarah, it was a huge style match for them, so I thought I’d see what other names are style matches for it that I may not yet have come across). This is what I came up with:

Girl
(1) Natalia
Natalia was influenced both by the fact that it’s listed as a style match for Anastasia, and also that Natalie is a match for Nathan (and of course that it’s similar to Nathan/Nathaniel on their list). I like that it’s a Russian name that begins with an N, like Nadia — it might make for a nice connection between them. Natalia is a saint’s name, but it also ultimately comes from the Latin for Christmas (natale domini=birth of the Lord), which could be perfect for an almost-Advent baby.

(2) Susanna
This is actually my favorite suggestion for Cassandra and her hubs! I feel like Susanna fits the exact profile I’m thinking of when I talk about “bridge” names — it’s much rarer than Thomas, Theresa, and David, but I definitely think it fits in well with them. Anna was actually a good match for their style, being similar to Thomas, Clara, and Catherine, and the Russian Anna — Anya — is similar to Nadia, so Susanna gives them Anna but with a twist. I love it both as a sibling to Thomas, Theresa, and David, and specifically as a sister to Theresa, and I think it hangs equally well with Nadia. And it begins with an S, for C’s friend Sarah! It’s also an entry in my book, as Susanna means both “lily” and “rose”!

(3) Julia
Julia is a match for Elizabeth and Sarah and Juliet is a match for Felicity, so I liked the Julia family of names for this family, and thought Julia was more their speed than Juliet (though I love Juliet, so if they love it, I hope they go for it!). Julia is such a great name — perfect for a little girl and perfect for a grown woman, similar to how I think of Theresa.

(4) Lydia
Lydia is a match for Jonas, and as soon as I saw it I thought it felt like a good fit here. One of the things I’ve always loved about Lydia is that the biblical character was a seller of purple cloth, so a little Lydia would have her own color!

(5) Veronica
Veronica was only a match for Theresa, but I thought that was great, for sisters to share a style like that! And certainly Veronica goes with Nadia as well — in fact, Theresa, Nadia, and Veronica make a very pleasing set of sisters!

(6) Molly
Molly was influenced both by the fact that they’d intended to call Theresa Tess — and Molly is a style match for Tess — but also that it’s a variant of Mary, so it’s a way to have a Marian name without using a Mar- name.

Boy
(1) Samuel
I know Cassandra said that she might like to name a daughter after her friend Sarah, but I found myself on the lookout for S names in general, and then thought maybe she’d like to do SF (or SE?) initials no matter whether they have a boy or a girl? Samuel is a great name that’s biblical like Thomas and David, and the story of Samuel in the bible is a great one for anyone longing for a baby — after the loss of their little Nadia, Samuel could be the perfect name.

(2) Simon
Another S name, but I’m really loving Simon as a brother to Thomas, Theresa, and David — it makes the whole group seem extra sophisticated!

(3) Stephen
Last S name, I promise! It’s just that, I know two brother sets who are two generations apart named David and Stephen! That’s some classic staying power! And then I have uncles who are brothers named Thomas and David, so in my mind Thomas, David, and Stephen are fantastic brother names.

(4) John Paul
John Paul was a name that came to me outside of research (the BNW doesn’t even have an entry for John Paul) — I was really thinking of that “bridge” name idea, and John Paul feels like such a perfect one. John and Paul are both really similar in style to Thomas and David, but putting them together gives the whole thing a little bit of an edge (a saintly edge) and is definitely more unexpected. His name is an entry in my book of Marian names because of what a huge devotion St. John Paul had to her!

(5) Lukas
Lucas, Lukas, and Luke did really well for this family in my research, and of those I thought Lukas went more along the lines of what they’re looking for — the K spelling gives it a really international feel (which it is), but it’s still biblical like Thomas and David. It’s also an entry in my book of Marian names because his gospel is the most Marian and contains her Magnificat.

(6) Thaddeus, Theodore/Theo, Maximilian
Each of these names seemed SO perfect for this family until I realized something about them at the last minute! I thought maybe they don’t want another Th- name after Thomas and Theresa? But Thaddeus and Theodore are both matches for them, and there’s a particular Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty who has a brother named Thomas! And Theo is a match for Tess as well! And then I couldn’t not suggest Maximilian! It’s a match for Benedict and Seraphina, and friendly Max goes with almost every name. And St. Maximilian Kolbe! And I actually love Maximilian M___, but then I thought maybe Max M___ was too much? But maybe not! Maybe they’ll love Thaddeus, Theodore, and/or Maximilian! I couldn’t not mention them!

I also had a bunch of names that *almost* made the cut for this list and ultimately I decided not to include them, for whatever reason, but I thought I’d list them here just in case: Alexandra, Evangeline, Philomena, Naomi, Chloe, Phoebe, Tobias, and Caleb.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Thomas, Theresa, David, and Nadia?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Little brother needs traditional + uncommon name

Jess and her husband are hoping to welcome a baby into their family via adoption this month! This baby will join big sister:

Josephine Jean (“a name that honors one grandpa and both grandmothers. We call her Josephine, Josie, and Posy.  I loved the Little Woman reference, the abundance of nicknames, and the strength/style of the name. I love that Jesus’ father is not quoted in the Bible and yet his actions speak his story. There are options for patron saints – Joseph, Josephine, and Joan of Arc“)

I love every bit of her name!!

Jess writes,

We are adopting a baby (prayers, please) in early October.  If this baby is a girl, we will name her Beatrice Louise or Magdalena Edith.  If the baby is a boy, we’re stuck.  We’d like to honor the remaining grandparent by including the name Edward or Anthony. We have a very Italian last name that starts with V and ends in LO. We gravitate towards strong, traditional, uncommon, and definitively masculine names. We used an app that synced the names that we both like and then narrowed it down. Our current list includes Alden, Cyrus, Everett, Roland, and Reuben.  We’ve considered Milo (sing song w/last name), Saul (too few syllables), Peregrine (patron saint of cancer), Gilbert, Vincent (Vinnie V-O sounds gangster), and Lucas (too popular).  

Alden. We like that it means old friend and that it was Neil Armstrong’s middle name. If we use Edward as a middle name, then the traditional initials aVe could be a slight Marian name harkening to Ave Maria! I read this in your book, but it seems like we are stretching it a bit. We are concerned that Alden may be confused with the more common Aiden.

Roland. Mike’s mom was French and Josephine and Roland seem have an unintended but pleasant French theme. Our extended family has been surprisingly positive about this name; we assumed they would think it was a bit out there. A possible nickname of Roly Poly, if the kid is a bit hefty, gives us pause.

Cyrus. Mike thinks this name is a bit serious and I don’t love the meaning of “throne.” It keeps popping back on the list though.

Reuben.  Mike worries this name is trendy and fears it will be the next Noah or Oliver. Even though I’m the one that advocated for this name for years, I am a bit concerned with the number of spelling variations and the sandwich connection.

Everett. I don’t love the fact that girls are flocking towards this name.

How would you order our list? What are your favorite combos? Why don’t we feel the WOW factor with any boy name? We could also use help with nickname options and recommendations on patron saints.”

These parents have such fun taste in names! I love both Beatrice Louise and Magdalena Edith, they’re lovely! And their boy list was a delight! Alden, Roland, Cyrus, Reuben, and Everett are mostly unexpected and little used, at least among my readers (especially the first four; I see Everett from time to time and have suggested it many times).

First I’ll go through and offer my reactions to and thoughts about each name, and then I’ll take a stab at ranking them afterward:

Alden: I love the aVe thing! Alden Edward is very handsome. I can see what Jess means about it being confused for Aiden, but I think that will only happen in writing — the nurse at the doctor’s office calling his name, for example, after reading it on his chart, or a teacher mis-saying his name on the first day of school. But to me, that’s a minor issue — out loud, it doesn’t sound much like Aiden at all, I don’t think, and even with those who flub it based on seeing it written, all they need is to be firmly corrected, just like most people have to do with their names for one reason or another. One thing to note is that, when I looked it up on behindthename.com to see what it means, what nickname options there are, and what people think about it via the comments, it seems that it’s occasionally used for girls, and since that’s one of Jess’ hesitations about Everett, perhaps that will help her and her hubby cross it off their list. Nickname-wise, I immediately think Al, but the babynamewizard site lists Aldie, Ollie, and Denny as possible nicknames too, all of which I can see. I couldn’t find a patron saint for Alden, so it would come from the middle name — there are some great Sts. Edward and Anthony.

Roland: I like their reasoning here! The French connection is really cool, and the fact that their family likes it. I wouldn’t worry about the “roly poly” nickname  — kids will always come up with mean nicknames if they’re determined to do so, no matter the name. I could see Role, Rollo, Roldo as nicknames; they could also do Rolly (rhymes with Molly), which could remove it from the “roly poly” sound. It looks like there’s a Bl. Nicolas Roland and a Bl. Roland Chézery who could be patrons.

Cyrus: Behindthename.com says Cyrus means “lord,” though I don’t know if Jess and her hubs will like that better than “throne” or not? A name with a similar meaning is Dominic, meaning “of the Lord,” which reminds me of Vincent with its Italian feel (but like with Vincent, not exclusively Italian) and goes quite well with their girl names — maybe they’d like to consider Dominic? If so, I love Dominic Edward — using Anthony would reinforce the Italian connection, which Edward tempers it a bit, I think, which I sense Jess and her husband might like, since they like the French-ness of Josephine. Another that I thought might be perfect is Silas — it sounds like Cyrus and has a great meaning, including maybe being the Greek form of Saul, which would be like giving them Saul, but with more syllables! Additionally, I looked up all the names they like/are considering (both boy and girl names), as well as Josephine, in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Silas was listed as a match for Lucas; Peregrine and Magdalena weren’t in the BNW so I looked them up in the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site and matches for them also included Silas for Magdalena and Silvanus (which behindthename says Silas is probably a short form of) for Peregrine. Wow! If they like the Silas idea, I love both Silas Anthony and Silas Edward. Si is a really sweet nickname, I’ve always liked it. St. Silas is a pretty great patron I think!

Reuben: Interesting that Jess’ hubby thinks this name will be the next Noah or Oliver! I checked the stats on the SSA site and Reuben — that spelling — was at no. 927 and was on a downward trend after a small (very small) increase in popularity over the last couple of years (it increased from 961 in 2012 to a peak of 845 in 2014 before heading down again). The spelling Ruben, which is the French and Spanish spelling, among others, is much popular: it was no. 415 in 2018, but is also on a downward slope as it has been since its peak at 165 in 1980. Based on this info, it doesn’t look like it’ll become trendy any time soon. One of the families on the blog named their son Reuben, and he’s the cutest! Ben is such a great nickname and a natural one for Reuben; Rube is the most natural way to shorten it, I think, but a “rube” isn’t something most people want to be. They could do Roo though, especially at home and when he’s tiny, so cute! The only holy Reuben I could find is Bl. Rubén de Jesús López Aguilar, and of course it’s biblical too.

Everett: A great name. If they don’t like it being used by girls, though, I would recommend crossing it off the list — at this point, they have so many great names that I think whittling down the list would be helpful. Jess and her hubs might find that doing so allows *the* name to rise to the surface naturally. Otherwise, I like Ev as a nickname, and Rett. Everett is a variant of Everard, according to the behindthename, and there are some Sts. Everard that they could choose as patron. Another idea I had, based on Vincent and V sound in Everett is Victor — it’s a style match for Vincent, but doesn’t have the Vinnie problem. Victor/Vic has been on my own list for a long time. Victor Anthony and Victor Edward both sound quite nice. But maybe it’s too many V’s?

Alright, so after thinking a bit about these names, I think I would probably order them this way, with my favorite at the top:

Roland Anthony
Cyrus Anthony or Cyrus Edward (prefer Silas Anthony or Silas Edward)
Reuben Anthony or Reuben Edward
Alden Anthony or Alden Edward
Everett Anthony
(I didn’t think Edward went as well with Roland and Everett)

I also had a few other ideas based on the names they like — I mentioned that I looked up their names in the BNW, and I looked for names that were listed as similar to more than one of their names, and a few jumped out:

Emmett (Cyrus, Everett)
Jasper (Cyrus, Milo, Josephine)
August (Everett, Josephine)
Felix (Everett, Milo, Beatrice)
Oscar (Milo, Magdalena)
Ezra (Milo, Saul)

The names in parentheses are those that listed the name as style matches. Pretty great, right? I do think Alden, Roland, Cyrus, and Reuben are more distinctive, unexpected, and rare than the names here, but I love them all and if Jess and her husband did too I think they could be great for their little boy.

I also wondered if they considered Miles instead of Milo?

And those are my thoughts! What do you all think? How would you rank the names Jess and her husband are considering? What other name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Josephine/Josie/Posy?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name needed for a little sister in an established Mary+ theme

Dana and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little green bean! He or she joins big sister:

Mary Elise

Which I love — Mary Elise is so lovely and feminine and sweet, and I love that it ties together Mary and Elizabeth, which makes it a very “Visitation” name to me!

Dana writes,

We are expecting baby #2 at the end of January. We don’t know what the gender will be, but we know that if it’s a boy, we will name him after my husband, Michael Gabriel, so we don’t need boy names. But we are stuck on girl names! Our daughter is named Mary Elise, which we looved and agreed on right away, so other girl names don’t quite seem to measure up!

We also plan on naming all of our daughters “Mary (something)” as their first name, which is a Filipino tradition (my husband’s background) and I love it! Though we also plan on just calling each daughter by the second part of her name. All that to say, I guess the name should flow with Mary, but maybe not? Because she probably wouldn’t go by “Mary ” very often, if ever.

In general, I think we prefer traditional names, with an obvious Catholic/religious feel. We seem to like a lot of saint names or biblical names. Neither of us is very keen on modern names. We’re also hoping for something that isn’t too common but not unheard of (which is one of the reasons why I like Elise so much). And we’d love to have a name with nickname options! Anyway, I hope that’s helpful. Here are two names that we are leaning toward:

Madeleine- probably at the top of our list right now, has a French feel like Elise does, probably go by Maddie.
Theresa/Therese- I’m thinking Mary Therese sounds better than Mary Theresa? Probably call her Tess or Reese.
Catherine- has to be with a “C,” per husband’s request, would call her Catie/Cate. For some reason I much prefer it with a K, though!

Names that I like but my husband doesn’t:
– Christine/Christina
– Evangeline – love the meaning and the French sounding name
– Regina
– Grace- again, my husband knew a Mary Grace…
– Frances

Names that my husband likes but I’m not a huge fan of:
– Jane
– Bernadette

We’ve also considered Margaret but aren’t sure about it. Also Laura but not sure how it could be tied to the faith, or if it flows with Mary.

I was reading old blog posts of yours and came across the name Immaculee. We both really like the name, but it seems a little too Catholicky to me, if you know what I mean haha. Just thought I’d throw that in the mix. Maybe you have some nickname suggestions that would make it a little less obviously Catholic? Not a big fan of “Layla” and Leia is a little too reminiscent of Star Wars 😛

Names that are off the table for one reason or another:
– Claire
– Caroline
– Cecilia (this rhymes with our last name, haha!)
– Josephine
– Rose
– Zelie
– Elisabeth/Elizabeth (Elise is a derivative of this)
– Michaela (too close to Michael if we ever have a boy)

That’s about all I can think of! Also, I know I mentioned that we’ll name a boy after my husband, but even if this isn’t a boy, if we ever have a boy, the first one will be named Michael Gabriel (just as an fyi if that helps for sibling/style matching).”

I love so much that Dana and her husband want to continue the Mary + [something] theme with their daughters! It’s a traditional Catholic custom, so I’m not surprised that Filipino families have taken it as their own! I also love Michael Gabriel, such strong patrons!

Dana’s question about whether the given name should flow with Mary is a great one. Since she said her daughter will likely never go by Mary MiddleName, but always by MiddleName, it certainly isn’t as important. The question reminded me of a post I did a while ago called “Repeating Mary,” in which I included stories others had told me of families they knew (or sometimes their own families) where all/most/many of the daughters had a form of Mary in their names, and one of them said, “The obstetrician that delivered me had a very large, very Catholic family, and had six or seven daughters all named Mary. Of course, they weren’t JUST named Mary, they were Mary X, but one of them was Mary Mary!” I laughed and laughed over that one!

So yes, I think Dana and her hubs can be free of the worry that the chosen name might not “go” with Mary as well as they might like. Of the names she mentioned that they’re considering, I think Laura might be the only one that inches toward that issue (which Dana herself had mentioned), but even still, I actually think Mary Laura sounds fine.

As for the other names they’re considering, a few thoughts:

— Madeleine: Gorgeous, French, great patron saint, great nickname. I love it!

— Theresa/Therese: I actually like both Mary Therese and Mary Theresa! Tess is one of my favorite nicknames, and Reese is so sweet as well!

— Catherine: The “C” spelling is the French one, so I like Catherine as Elise’s sister (despite being a Katherine myself)! That said, Catherine called Kate is traditional: for two examples, Princess Kate is Catherine, and I grew up with a Catherine who went by Kate, so they could totally do Mary Catherine called Kate or Katie if they want! That might be a nice way of finding a compromise between Dana’s preferences and her hubby’s preferences?

— Christina/Christine: I love these as well.

— Evangeline: Ditto.

— Regina: I wonder if the Regina variants Reina (RAY-na) or Reine (REN) might appeal to Dana and her husband? They both mean “queen,” like Regina.

— Grace: If Grace is problematic from an association standpoint (is the Grace Dana’s husband knew an ex-girlfriend? A horrible boss?), it’s probably best to cross this one off the list?

— Frances: This one has been growing on me so much recently, it strikes me as both dignified and sweet (especially the nicknames).

— Jane: Mary Jane is certainly a classic!

— Bernadette: I love the French-ness with Elise.

— Margaret: Mary Margaret is another classic! I love Margaret’s many nicknames: Meg, Maggie, Maisie, Daisy, Greta, Rita.

— Laura: There are actually a few holy Lauras they can turn to as patron! Two saints and two blesseds. Alternately, I was wondering if they’ve considered Loretta? Behind the Name says Loretta may be a variant of Lauretta, which is an Italian diminutive of Laura, so Loretta could take the Laura patrons if they wanted. Or, I’ve always known Loretta to be a Marian name, after Loreto, where the Holy House of Nazareth is, as well as the name of the Marian prayer Litany of Loreto. My grandmother was Mary Loretta, and she went by Rett or Retta; I also recently did a consultation for a family who was considering Loretta with Lola as a nickname.

— Immaculee: I love this one too! Dana’s right, it *is* very Catholicky! Choosing a nickname that makes it less obvious is a perfect solution, and what I would have suggested if she didn’t already mention it. Imma is one I’ve seen — so similar to Emma, and maybe Imogens go by Imma as well? Or Immy? I actually think Dana’s idea of Layla is brilliant, I’m going to remember that one to suggest to other parents who might be interested in Immaculee! I could see Mae working, or Leah/Lea/Lia (rather than Leia; I think it can work even though the LEE-a pronunciation is different than im-mac-yoo-LAY … although — are Elise and Leah too much “lee” sound?), or Mac/Mackey (I have a girl cousin who goes by Mackey and it’s SO CUTE on her!). Figuring out a “mashup” nickname from Mary+Immaculee might be a great idea here too — maybe Mimi or Mim. Or ooh, maybe Molly? Molly’s a variant of Mary anyway — it started as a diminutive of Mary, and I do know someone named Mary who goes by Molly — and I especially like it with the M of Mary and the “lee” of Immaculee. And Molly is a style match for this family according to my research! (More on that below.) I’d love to know what other nickname ideas you all have, especially if you’ve heard them on Immaculees in real life.

So I think Dana and her hubs have a great list! If they were to choose a name from one of these, I think they’d be happy with it! But of course, I can always come up with more ideas! I did my usual research, where I look up the name the parents have used 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, these are my additional ideas for this baby, if a girl:

(1) Camille
Camille wasn’t as great a style match for this family as some of my other suggestions — in fact, it’s a match for only one of the names that they like — but that one name is Elise, so I thought that counted for a whole lot! Camille is such a pretty name, and it’s French, like Elise, which is so pleasing. Despite its feminine vibe, it’s actually both a masculine and feminine name in French, a form of Camilla, so patrons include both the male St. Camillus of Lellis and the female Bl. Camilla Gentili. Cammie is a sweet nickname.

(2) Annette (or Anne, Anna, Hannah)
I kept coming across Anne names in my research, and while Mary Anne is a classic, I felt like maybe they’re looking for something a little more … sparkly? I could be wrong! And Mary Anne is great! And Anne is the French spelling, and it’s a trim, sophisticated name with the awesome nickname Annie. But when I saw Annette listed as a match for Regina, it just felt pretty cool to me. Mary Elise and Mary Annette. They could still use Annie as a nickname, or just Anne. Anna and Hannah were other Anne names that were listed as similar to some of the names they like, and Mary Anna and Mary Hannah are both lovely as well.

(3) Abigail
Abigail is a match for Gabriel and Madeleine, and Abby is a match for Kate and Maddie, so it made sense to include Abigail in this list! I think Mary Abigail is an unexpected pairing, and Abby is such a sweet nickname. There is a St. Gobnata, who is also known as Abigail, and there’s Abigail the Matriarch from the Old Testament, who does have a memorial feast day according to the Church.

(4) Hope
A Mini consultation is normally for three names, but I wanted to be sure to include Hope in the list, so they got a bonus name! I was surprised at what a great match it is according to the BNW, being listed as similar to Elise (which is such a big deal I think), Kate, and Grace. My one tiny reservation is that Hope with their last name, which begins with a P, could run together if they’re not careful about enunciating. My name is Kate Towne, which has been heard as Kay Towne by more people than I can count through my life, so normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me when suggesting names to parents, except that Ho P___ could be problematic. Maybe not! Careful enunciation could solve the problem! (I introduce myself as KaTE [space] Towne, emphasizing that T in what feels like an unnatural way and offering just the slightest pause between first and last names, but it works!) I just want to be sure to warn the parents of that possibility.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Mary Elise, who will go by her middle name exclusively?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!