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?

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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?

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!!

Baby name consultation: Chinese (+Catholic?) names

Today’s consultation is a little different — I don’t have permission to post the family’s details, but I wanted to hear your ideas regarding one part of their “dilemma.” One of the parents is Chinese, and while the baby’s name will be an English one, the parent’s Chinese heritage is an important consideration. But the parent who emailed me is the non-Chinese parent and didn’t have a good sense of what names the spouse would like or not like. So I did a little research into Chinese naming customs, and found this article, which included this bit of info that I thought was helpful:

While we might find it strange for so many Chinese to share the same surname, they find it equally odd for so many in the West to share the same forename.

Whereas most of us know a few Janes, Johns, Jameses, Saras, and Andrews, this repetition does not really happen in China. In fact the focus is on creating a unique name for your child, which won’t be shared with others or copied from elsewhere …

The names are also designed to mean something. It could be anything from Xiao-Long (小龍), meaning ‘little dragon’, to Li-Kong (立功), which means something close to ‘worthy of merit’

I took all this to mean that (1) junioring isn’t really done, and (2) the name “definitions” that I usually caution against giving too much weight to are actually really important in Chinese naming. Do you agree? Is there more to know about English names given to babies of Chinese parents?

I also looked up Chinese saints, and found this great listing of the Martyr Saints of China, but then I also found this article about when JP2 canonized the first Chinese saints and wow — I knew that the state-run Chinese Catholic Church is at odds with the [underground] Chinese Catholic Church loyal to Rome, but I didn’t know much beyond that — what a sad article!

Based on that, just from a naming perspective, I didn’t feel as confident about my ability to suggest names that someone emailing a Catholic baby name consultant for name help, who has a Chinese naming tradition to consider, might like.

I know this isn’t a lot to go on, but if any particular names come to mind for either boys or girls, I’d love to hear them! And if you have any more information on Chinese naming, especially with a Catholic sensibility, please share!

Baby name consultation: Sophisticated and saintly for baby no. 3

Allison and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean! (=gender unknown) This little one joins big sibs:

Caroline Constance, called Cece (“We loved the name Caroline and it happened to be my great great grandmother’s name. Constance was my husband’s grandmother”)

Gerard Patrick (“My husband calls him Jerry, but pretty much everyone just uses Gerard. Patrick is my husband’s middle name and we liked how they sounded together”)

I love these names! Sophisticated and homey at the same time, if that makes any sense.

Allison writes,

I feel like we have a French sounding first name thing going on, but aren’t tied to it. Matt would really like an easy to pronounce and recognize name. Gerard gets a lot of ‘Jarod’ and ‘Gerald’ and it can be frustrating … We do like the names that have some type of meaning or family tie. We also like heritage. Matt is Irish. I’m mostly Greek and Italian. We also like some family last names as middle names. Also nice to have at least one saint in there! All that said—we are open to new names, too!

The names they’re currently considering for this baby include:

Maria Elisa (“too many vowels?”)
Marie Elisa
Mary Elisa (“Mariel nickname?”)
Teresa
Mary Teresa (“Tess?”)

John Finelli (“Finn?”)

Family names that might be inspiring include:

Linda
Leta
John (“My dad is John George, and his dad was George John, and his dad was John George. We’ve heavily considered both John and George over the years. I’m one of 2 girls, so no boys got to carry it on”)
Kevin (“Kevin definitely could be a strong contender in the middle name spot”)
Megan
Kathleen
Brendan
Sean
Mary
Colin
Molly
Ella
Thelma
Elisa
Margaret
Marian
George
Roger
Brian
Thomas
Stephen
Maria
Carrie (Calliope)
Severino (Sam)
Deserina (Des)
Rosemarie
Virgie

So! Many! Great! Names!

I love the names Allison and her hubs are considering for this baby—you all know I’m a huge fan of the Mary+ names, so Maria Elisa, Marie Elisa, Mary Elisa, and Mary Teresa are all up my alley! I do love Allison’s idea of Mariel as a nickname for Mary Elisa—really, it can work for any of those combos. Those combos also remind me of an idea reader skimac left in a comment once: Marielise, as a mashup of Mary/Marie/Maria and Elise. Or Marielisa/Marelisa, to use Allison’s family member Elisa’s name. So pretty! The Marelisa idea might especially help with Allison’s worry that Maria Elisa is too many vowels.

Teresa and Mary Teresa are both great, and I love the nickname Tess. Really, I think all of these ideas are great for a little sister of Caroline/Cece and Gerard. I wonder, though, what they’d think of Therese? You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names that 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, and Therese is a style match for Gerard! St. Therese’s given name was Marie-Therese, so pairing Therese with a Mary name can be a pretty great nod to her as well.

And just like I love the Mary+ names, I love John+ names! Using a family surname in the middle, with John as the first name, and an everyday nickname from the middle name is SO my style! John Finelli is so handsome, and I love the nickname Finn!

That said, though, I do have to make a case for John George! I don’t think I’d suggest George John, since Gerard and George share so many of the same sounds AND letters, but John George would be so meaningful to Allison’s dad, I’m sure! They could even consider something like John George Finelli with the nickname Finn, if they didn’t want to lose that.

Going through their family names, there were a few others that I thought might do well for them as well, including:
Margaret: Margaret seems like a slam dunk with big sibs Caroline and Gerard! Not only did Margaret show up as a strong style match for them in the BNW, but so did Margo(t), which would be a great nickname. I love nicknames Maggie, Meg, Maisie, and Daisy as well.
Marian: Marianne was another strong style match for this family, per the BNW, and since Marian’s a family name, I wondered if they might consider either Marian itself or tweak it to be Marianne?
Kathleen: Caroline always makes me think of Catherine, like these sisters, and my sister-in-law’s nieces are Kathleen and Caroline, so I thought Kathleen might be a good name to consider! Kate is also a style match for Tess, so Kathleen called Kate seems extra perfect here.
Rosemarie: I totally had Rosemary on my list for this family before I even saw that they have a Rosemarie family member! I love Rosemarie, I think it’s a great option.
Virgi(nia): Virgie’s such a sweet name—I assume it’s a nickname for Virginia? I rolled Virginia around in my mind a few times and thought it might work here nicely.
Thomas: Thomas is solid, saintly, and serious, just like Gerard. It would definitely be a good fit for this sib set.
Stephen: Stephen was another style match according to my research, and having it also be a family name is such a bonus!
(Sam): Samuel showed up a few times for them in the BNW as well, and I could totally see a little Samuel/Sam being a nod to Severino (Sam) … or even Severino nicknamed Sam itself? So cool!

I really don’t think Allison and her hubs have to look any farther than their family tree, with all those amazing names! But of course I came up with a bunch of other ideas that I thought might appeal to them. 😊 Based on my research and my own namey head, perhaps they’d like:

Girl
(1) Bernadette
Bernadette was actually the first name I scribbled down for them while reading Allison’s email (Rosemary second)! I absolutely love it with Caroline and Gerard, and it’s got some fun nicknames like Benny, Betty, Netty, and Birdie, all of which are great sisters to Cece imo.

(2) Julia
This is 100% based on the BNW—it has Julia listed as a style match for Caroline, Maria, and John, which I thought was pretty solid! I did a spotlight on Juliet(te) a while ago, which included all the saintly connections for Julia—there are loads!

(3) Victoria
Victoria was a style match for both Caroline and Maria, and I feel like it has the same sophistication I get from Caroline and Gerard. Certainly Vicky/i and Tori are well-known nicknames, but they could also get creative like they did with Caroline Constance/Cece and consider nicknames like Cora, Via, and Ria.

(4) Holly
Holly surprised me! It’s a style match for Rosemary and Margo, which I’d already thought would be a good fit for Allison and her hubs, and then I was thinking that since this baby is due in January, maybe they’d like the Christmas connection?

(5) Monica
Finally, what about Monica? The more I think about it, the more I think it’s spot-on for this family! Caroline, Gerard, and Monica are such a smart, saintly bunch!

Boy
(1) Lawrence
I actually felt like I had a bit of a hard time with girl names, but there were so many boy names that jumped out at me that I thought would hit the right notes! Lawrence is one—it’s a style match for Gerard and Therese as well as Constance (Cece’s middle name) and Marianne (which I mentioned above). My 7yo had a Lawrence in his preschool class—he was always and only Lawrence, and it was so unexpected, I loved it.

(2) Paul
Paul was a pretty great match for them, being listed as similar to Mary, Teresa, John, and Carolyn (similar enough to Caroline for this purpose, I thought). It certainly fits Allison’s hubs’ desire for “an easy to pronounce and recognize name”!

(3) Russell
Russell was another name that surprised me—it’s a style match for Carolyn, Theresa, Constance, Rosemary, and Lawrence (and by extension Gerard and Therese)—wow! Russell is such a solid name, and I love the nickname Russ. I’ve also seen Sully considered as a nickname for it!

(4) Louis
I’m listing Louis here simply because it *feels* like it would be a good fit imo. Do you agree? Easy to spell/pronounce, solid and saintly—love it!

(5) Martin
Finally, Martin has just the same feel to me as Gerard. They seem like perfectly matched brothers to me! And Marty is such a cute nickname!

There were a bunch of other boy names I considered including that didn’t make the final cut for one reason or another, but I thought I’d list them here just in case they’re helpful: William/Liam, Robert, Oliver, Leo, Jasper (could be great for a baby born on the Epiphany!), Francis, Gregory, and Raymond.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Caroline/Cece and Gerard?

Baby name consultation: Name of Greek origin needed for baby no. 4/girl no. 3

Rebecca and her husband are expecting their fourth baby on earth — their third girl! This little lady joins big sibs:

Sophia Kathryn (“Holy Wisdom and Catherine of Siena as well as a nod to my sister Kathryn“)

Chloe Patricia (“first green plant of spring, Saint Patrick, and her great grandmother is Patricia“)

Theodore Robert “Theo” (“God’s gift, Robert Bellarmine, and my dad is Robert“)

Jude Raphael (with Jesus) (“we prayed a novena for the intercession of Saint Jude when we realized we might lose him, and Raphael ‘God heals’“)

Albert Alphonsus (with Jesus) (“2 saints we love“)

Rebecca was sure to note that their miscarried babies were given names of saints they love, but they “would be less likely to name children who join us on this Earth after birth” with those names.

I love Sophia, Chloe, and Theo(dore) together, such a great group of names — sweet and sophisticated at the same time.

Rebecca writes,

We would sort of like to stick with the Greek theme we’ve stumbled into and have a few names we do like but none that we’re fully attached to. Saints/biblical names are a plus but not essential as first names. Our list includes Phoebe, Daphne, Elia, Eliana, and to a lesser degree Emma and Olivia. I’m hoping for Margaret (Mary, Margaret of Scotland, my mom’s middle name) or Rose (saint Rose of Lima and I just love it but [my hubs] doesn’t as a first name) for a middle name.”

Alrighty, so first, I wanted to offer some thoughts on the names Rebecca and her hubs are considering:

— I like both Phoebe and Daphne, they’re interesting picks and not terribly common
— Elia and Eliana are both lovely, and they made me think of Elena and Eleni—both are Greek forms of Helen, and I know a Greek family who has a little Eleni, it’s such a sweet name
— Emma and Olivia are great names, and very popular these days because of it. If popularity bothers them, the similar-but-longer Emmeline was listed as a style match for Theodore in the Baby Name Wizard (which, as you all know, I always consult when I start a consultation, as it lists for each entry boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity). I also found Emmeleia on the Greek Name Days site — such a pretty name! (That web site is such a great resource — I would definitely recommend taking a look through it)

As for new ideas, these are based on my research in the BNW (including its listing of Greek names in the back of the book) as well as a search through behindthename.com for Greek girl names and the list provided on Nameberry of Greek names, all of which resulted in some good ideas of Greek origin, but I also included some non-Greek names that I thought they might also like:

(1) Evangeline or Eva
I really like Evangeline for this family. Though it’s totally not a big deal at all, I like that Sophia, Chloe, and Evangeline all have different endings, and I like that Evangeline is long like Theodore. I also LOVE the sweet nickname Evie! I’ve also seen Lina used as a nickname for it. If they prefer something shorter, Eva is the Greek version of Eve, and is quite lovely itself.

(2) Georgia, Georgiana
I was surprised by Georgia, as I wouldn’t have thought of it as a Greek name, but indeed it’s categorized as such — not only was it included in the lists of Greek names I looked at, but the BNW also says that it’s “more common in England and Greece than in the U.S.” It also caught my eye because it’s a style match for Theodore! I also love the longer Georgiana.

(3) Anastasia or Stasia
Anastasia is such a gorgeous name that, like Evangeline, has a nice length. But if they thought it was too long, I love both Ana and Stasia as nicknames, and I love Stasia as a given name on its own as well. (I don’t know if Rebecca and her hubs care about repeating initials though?)

(4) Anna or Annabel(le)
Speaking of Ana, what about Anna? I love Anna, and it’s got that pan-European usage that Sophia has, which is so great, and it’s biblical like Chloe and has Greek usage like all of them, including Theodore. But actually, Annabel(le) was my first thought for them Ann-wise after Anastasia — it was listed as a style match for both Theo and Olivia in the BNW, which I thought was pretty amazing (though it loses the Greek).

(5) Irene
A reader emailed just the other day to tell me of the increase she’s been seeing in the number of little girls named Irene. Those of you who follow Simcha Fisher know that she also has a little Irene. It’s Greek for peace, and though it’s been more of an “old lady” name until recently, those names are coming back!

(6) Lucy
Lucy’s another that isn’t Greek, but it is a style match for Theo and Emma and it has that sweetness that I get from their other kiddos’ names, I love it!

(7) Lydia
I love Lydia for this little girl!! It’s Greek, and biblical like Sophia and Chloe, and a style match for some names that also match up with Theo!

(8) Thais or Tessa
Thais is a bit out there as a suggestion, but it’s one of my very favorite husband-would-never-agree names! When I saw it on one of the Greek lists, I had to include it. Pronunciation could be an issue — those familiar with the opera, or from a non-English-speaking country, will be familiar with the pronunciation tie-EES (which is made more obvious if you use the diaresis: Thaïs); I’ve seen TAY-iss, TACE, and THAY-iss as other pronunciations that people use and go by. (I did a spotlight on Thais here.) Tessa is similar but much easier, and though it was listed on Nameberry’s Greek list, it isn’t actually Greek or of Greek origin as far as I can tell. But I love Tessa as a sister to Sophia, Chloe, and Theo (the full T(h)eresa is lovely too! And Tessa is a great nickname, if they prefer that route).

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Sophia, Chloe, and Theo(dore)?

Baby name consultation: Svellerella Baby No. 5!

Today’s consultation is for Carolyn, who you’ll know from her blog Svellerella (+Instagram) and her gorgeous hand-drawn-illustrations-and-lettering Etsy shop Brass & Mint Co. (+Instagram)! (Find her on Facebook too!) She was also on Haley and Christy’s podcast Fountain of Carrots last week talking about mothering her little boy with special needs — as she said, “They asked me about what it was like going through an Autism diagnosis and parenting a kid with autism, getting to church with Emmett’s challenges, and how I “do it all” (spoiler: I don’t.).” Such a beautiful, loving, pro-life mama witness!

Carolyn and her husband Craig are now expecting their fifth baby — fifth boy! I loooooove the names they’ve chosen so far:

Lexington Anthony (“We picked Lexington because we liked the phonetics, and the originality of it. At that time, neither of us cared about name meanings, and while we still love his name, it’s a little out of our scope of interest towards “originality” these days. Anthony was chosen for St. Anthony of Padua. And upon thinking about it later and knowing the story of St. Anthony’s ability to speak eloquently, it is a funny spiritual accident that we chose the first name Lexington — lexicon.”)

Emmett James (“We love the old timey feel of the name Emmett. And James was our Biblical/Christian pick.”)

Collin John Paul (“Honestly, It was the only name we agreed on. John Paul is after my patron saint JPII.”)

Jude Benedict (“We absolutely love the name Jude. It’s older, not overly popular, and while it breaks our streak of multiple syllable first names, it sounds strong to us. St. Benedict is my husband’s patron saint, and we love Benedict XVI.”)

What an interesting bunch of names! You all know I love bold naming, so seeing Lexington in the mix is so fun, and I love her other boys’ names as well.

Names they’re considering for this next little guy include:

Ambrose (“he’s due near St. Ambrose’s feast day … the only problem is that neither of us care for the double S sound when said with our last name Svellinger“)
Dominic
Edmund
Theodore (“we love Teddy, don’t love Theo“)
Gabriel (“This one is my top pick currently“)

And Carolyn explains,

We tend to be more creative with first names and choose a Christian based middle name [though note that she said above that Lexington is “a little out of our scope of interest towards ‘originality’ these days”] … Generally, neither of us care for nicknames, with the exception of Theodore. I’m a nerd and pay close attention to the phonetics of a name. For example, I don’t like if a name begins with a sound that starts from the back of the throat and drags with another sound from the same place: the sound that C + L makes when said together is an example. I know, it’s silly. Cluuhhh sounds and feels like I’m hawking a loogie … can’t handle it. Craig thinks I’m ridiculous.”

😂😂😂

Finally,

Last bit of info — I L O V E British literature and often think of Shakespeare, Lewis, Austen, Chesterton, Tolkien, and yes, Rowling — I adore nearly everything that comes from Brit lit and I’d love to draw from something there.”

My mind started clicking as soon as I read all this! I was particularly interested by the fact that Carolyn said Lexington is more unusual than where her and her husband’s current taste is — Emmett, Collin, and Jude really do have a similar feel to me, it’s pretty clear they backed off of really out-there names. That said, as you all know I really love coming up with “bridge” names that connect an outlier sibling name with the others, so I’d really love to come up with an idea that might loop Lexington back in while still fitting with their other boys’ names. I definitely focused on that to a good extent when looking for names that I thought Carolyn and Craig might like.

Backing up a bit for a minute, I wanted to comment on the names they already have on their list for their new little boy:

— Ambrose: We love Ambrose too! If they decide to use it, despite it ending in S and their last name beginning with S, one of its big benefits I think is that it swings their whole set back toward the more unusual.

— Dominic: One of my very favorites! I definitely think it fits well with Emmett, Collin, and Jude.

— Edmund: Narnia! St. Edmund Campion! Such a great name. And Teddy is a traditional nickname for all the Ed- names, so they could totally do Edmund nicked Teddy! I also love the idea of Campion for them — if they could move away from Teddy and Narnia, Campion seems more like Lexington’s style while still being super saintly. And, since Carolyn pointed out the similarity between Lexington and “lexicon,” she might also like to know that Campion means “champion”!

— Theodore: I like its length with Lexington, and it too seems a great fit with Emmett, Collin, and Jude. Teddy’s super cute too. In the interest of shifting a bit towards Lexington’s style (which I’m thinking of variously as “unusual,” “place name,” and “surname-y”), I wonder what they’d think of the more unusual Thaddeus? Teddy can be a nickname for Thaddeus (I know a grown-up Thaddeus who goes by Ted), and Taddy is a similar-but-different nickname for it as well. I also wondered if they’d be interested in getting Teddy as a nickname from mashing up a first+middle combo? I was thinking something like Tolkien Edmund, for example. Too weird? Or Titus Edmund (Titus is a Shakespeare name)?

— Gabriel: Gabriel is one of my very favorite names, I love seeing it here on Carolyn’s list, and as much as I love the faith connection, I also love that it’s got good use in Ireland (actor Gabriel Byrne, for one, love him!), which is not dissimilar from her Brit lit love. Great name! I think it goes really well with Emmett, Collin, and Jude.

Carolyn’s “C+L” issue made me laugh! Also that her hubs thinks it’s ridiculous! We all have our quirks when it comes to naming, and I’m always so interested to hear other people’s. I purposely stayed away from suggesting Clive for them because of this. 😊

I also love names from British literature! So when I was thinking of names to suggest, I looked up all the male names from Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Jane Austen, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Charles Dickens (thank you internet!) (searches for Chesterton’s characters didn’t result in any other than Fr. Brown, but neither Father nor Brown seemed like their style 😉), as well as place names mentioned in those works. I wrote down all the ones that I thought might possibly fit their style, then cross-checked that list against my research in the Baby Name Wizard (you all know that I always start by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity). Because Lexington isn’t listed in the BNW, I used Lennox as a stand-in there, and then looked Lexington up in the Name Matchmaker tool on the BNW web site — it showed a bunch of names as being similar to Lexington that I already had on my list for them!

So here are my ideas, in no particular order:

(1) Garrick or Oliver
My original idea here was Garrick, as in Harry Potter character Garrick Ollivander (and actually, if Carolyn hadn’t said that Lexington was farther out than they would currently like, I’d probably be pushing Ollivander on them! I love it! I think it totally fits with Lexington in length and feel, and the nickname Ollie is so well matched with Emmett, Collin, and Jude. But then, they don’t like nicknames either …). But then I thought maybe Oliver would be good! There’s Oliver Twist and St. Oliver Plunket, who’s amazing, and Oliver totally fits with Emmett, Collin, and Jude.

(2) Caspian
I definitely think Caspian can hang with Emmett, Collin, and Jude, and its unusual-ness pulls in Lexington a bit more. I also love that that both Lexington and Caspian are place names (Caspian Sea), and of course Caspian is a Narnia name!

(3) Bartlett (or Bartholomew?) (or Bates?)
One of Great Expectations’ Pip’s brothers was named Bartholomew, and I thought that I like Bartholomew for them — it’s got that nice length that Lexington has. Then I was thinking about how the surname Bartlett is derived from Bartholomew, and decided I love Bartlett even more for them! I love it with all their boys’ names, and Bartlett’s Buildings is where Lucy Steele usually stayed when she was in London (Sense and Sensibility), so cool! But then, are Emmett and Bartlett too similar? (I actually had Garrett included in my first suggestion, with Garrick, and ended up deleting it because I thought Emmett and Garrett were probably too similar.) So maybe then the full Bartholomew is a better suggestion. Or maybe Bates? Bates is another surname derived from Bartholomew, which could also work — would Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey count as a Brit Lit character?? But Bates runs into their last name … Gah!

(4) Dig(g)ory
This is another more Lexington-esque name due to uniqueness, but it’s got so many cool literary connections, and I really love the sound of it, so I had to include it! There’s Cedric Diggory from HP, of course, and I’ve read that he was actually given the last name Diggory as a nod to Professor Digory Kirke from the Narnia Chronicles, which is another great reference. But the first time I ever heard the name was in high school when I read Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native — one of the main characters is Diggory Venn. (Also, I’m a huge nicknamer, so I can’t help but say that Dig is a really cool nickname and the name of one of the good guys in the current TV series Arrow).

(5) Sebastian
My last idea is Sebastian. It’s a Shakespeare name and a saint’s name; it’s long like Lexington and I think it also fits in well with their other boys. Some people don’t like alliteration, but I tend to, and Sebastian Svellinger sounds smashing imo. 😊

While those are my “official” suggestions, I did have a few others I considered when trying to whittle down the list, which I thought I’d include here just in case they’re helpful: Austen, Augustine (Austen’s actually a medieval variant of Augustine!), Chesterton (could be cute?), Orlando (Shakespeare and place name), Duncan (hmm … maybe I should have included this on my official list), Kingsley (Kingston was a style match for Lennox, which made me think of HP character Kingsley Shacklebolt), Quentin or Quinlan (for a fifth baby!), Jasper (a style match for Emmett and Jude), Brandon (I looooove Col. Brandon from Sense and Sensibility), Abel (two different Dickens characters named Abel), and Rider/Ryder (the former for the Riders of Rohan in Lord of the Rings; the latter for Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited).

In looking back over my ideas, I feel like maybe I focused too much on connecting with Lexington, which is totally me inserting myself into Carolyn and Craig’s taste, which I really try not to do! (Not too much anyway!) So I hope that this was at least a little helpful!

What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Lexington, Emmett, Collin, and Jude?