Baby name consultation: “Easily recognizable but not common name” needed for Felicity’s baby brother or sister

Happy Monday, everyone! There are some great feast days today: St. Marianne Cope, who was from Syracuse, NY, which is just a couple hours from me; the Espousal of the Virgin Mary (how beautiful!); and Abel the Patriarch (at least one Sancta Nomina family as an Abel!), among others. We also have a snow day here — my boys are outside building snowmen and forts as I type this and my mom sent over some brownies, which we’ll have when the boys come in. And now I’m sharing a baby name consultation with you! What a nice day! 🙂

Elise and her husband are expecting baby number two — a little green bean 🌱 (gender unknown)! This wee babe joins big sister:

Felicity Hope

Isn’t that just so beautiful??

Elise writes,

We aren’t finding out the baby’s gender until birth (we did the same with my daughter). Our daughter’s name is Felicity Hope. She was born screaming and sputtering and I remember distinctly saying to my husband ‘but she’s so mad — Felicity means happiness!’ when he suggested Felicity. But it is 100% perfect for her as she has been the sweetest and most happy-go-lucky girl since. We can’t imagine her with any other name. We like that it is a recognizable name but not common. I also love that she gets to hear her name in mass on occasion 🙂

We feel like we hit the jackpot on her name and are in a bit of a conundrum with this next baby. We are hoping for a name that again is easily recognizable but not common. One of my pet peeves growing up was getting called ‘Elsie’ so hopefully we can avoid a name that would be easily mispronounced as well. We both come from large families (I’m one of 5 with a close extended family and my husband is one of 12) so that makes it tricky for repeat names

Whatever first name we go with we are certain 100% that if we have a boy his middle name will be Wayne (after my father). My due date is 3/22 — which is right around 3/19 St Joseph’s feast day which will be the 9th anniversary of my father’s death

It’s funny because the top boy names we had while pregnant with Felicity are still on our list but our new frontrunner is Gilbert. It seems to fit with our recognizable yet not common name. (funny fact which we noticed when hanging stockings is that thus far our family members, including our dogs, have the beginning initials of B (bear), C (Copper), D (Daniel), E (Elise) and F (Felicity) and our last name [begins with an H] — so G (Gilbert) would be the next letter in the sequence) 

Here’s a list of names we considered for Felicity if she had been a boy/ names we have been considering:

Arthur — we have since had a nephew named Archer born so maybe too close 

Ephram 

Edmund — I still really like this one Edward is a family name on my side and Edsko is a family name on my husband’s so this is like a compromised variation 

Dominic 

Ambrose — my husband isn’t a fan so likely not

Our girl list (some are names we considered for Felicity others are newer ones) 

Florence — right now this seems to be our favorite. But we didn’t know if having two F girls would be too much/ too similar. We call Felicity Flissy and I’m thinking we would likely nn Florence to something like Flora (though I think Wren would be cute too). 

Ester

Lucy — this is also a favorite and almost was Felicity’s name however it’s a little too popular we feel. I think it’s a cute name (also part of the canon) so maybe a variation? Had considered something like Lucinda but not sure. I liked the nn Lulu so could work with Lucy or a name similar

Lillian — Lily would fit with St Joseph’s feast day but again maybe too common of a name 

Iris — a new one my husband likes but I’m not 100% on board yet 

Middle name likely Rose (same as mine) or Ann (family name on both sides) 

Names we like but probably wouldn’t use: 

James — though not really loving this like we had 

Gideon — my husband doesn’t care for this much

Rilian — from Chronicles of Narnia though may be too out there

I liked Josephine — a nod to St Joseph if baby was born on 3/19 — though it is a middle name of a niece and I’m not sure the parents would be fans of us using it as a first name 

Camille — my husband isn’t a fan of this anymore

Eloise — I liked it bc it’s similar to my name but it’s been pretty popular lately and my husband has a nickname mental block

Cora — love this name but my husband not so much

Vera — I like this one but same as above

I love all this! I, too, love that Felicity is “a recognizable name but not common” and I totally get that Elise and her hubby feel like they “hit the jackpot on her name”! I also love Felicity paired with Hope — unexpected and beautiful! Great, great job!!

As for the names they’ve discussed/are considering, here are my thoughts, in case they’re helpful:

  • How meaningful that Elise is due right near St. Joseph’s feast day, which is also the anniversary of her dad’s passing! I’m guessing Joseph Wayne isn’t their favorite idea, but I love all the significance that combo would hold … If they like that idea but it’s not feeling sparkly enough for them, maybe an unusual nickname for Joseph? OR — even better — I found some cool, unusual variants that I’m including in my list of official suggestions below!
  • Gilbert: Ahhh I love that this is their top boy name!! Of course I love Gilbert Blythe and G.K. Chesterton, and it’s definitely a “recognizable yet not common” name. It also swings their whole vibe to a distinctly British one in my mind, which I love! I also love that a G name would be the next in their sequence — those kinds of patterns are so fun if they can work out!
  • Arthur: This feels very similar to Gilbert to me, nice.
  • Ephram: This is one of those names I have a hard time pinning down … it has kind of a sophisticated feel to me, which goes along with the British vibe.
  • Edmund: I like the idea of trying to come up with a compromise name between Edward from Elise’s side and Edsko from hubby’s, and Edmund seems great.
  • Dominic: Elise didn’t comment on it, so I’m thinking it’s not a favorite? I do love it though! Felicity and Dominic are a pretty amazing pair.
  • Ambrose: I love that Ambrose fits with their British-y feel and also with the Catholicky Catholic side! And really, Edmund and Dominic do too.
  • Florence: I was surprised that Florence is their top name! It’s a great name, but I would have thought of it as having a different feel than Felicity. That doesn’t have to be a problem though! I’d much rather they choose names they love! I like Flora a lot — in fact, I would have thought of Flora as Felicity’s sister quicker than Florence. Wren is cute too! As for the two F’s, I wouldn’t worry about that — I would say three in a row makes a pattern that might be weird to break, but otherwise no big deal.
  • Ester: Est(h)er reminds me of Ephram with its Old Testament-ness, and I’ve always loved that Esther was a queen — so nice for a little girl!
  • Lucy: Ohh yes, I love Lucy for this family! I wonder if they’ve considered Lucia as a longer name? Or, since Elise mentioned Eloise, one of my favorite offbeat ideas to get to Lucy is Louisa with the nickname Lucy — maybe that? Felicity and Louisa, Flissy and Lucy?
  • Lillian: The Lily names were what my mind went to as well when Elise mentioned being due near the feast of St. Joseph, but they certainly are popular. Lilia is a variant I don’t see too much, if that helps. Also, any of the Lucy names could work as a nod to St. Joseph because of his title Light of the Patriarchs!
  • Iris: I’m so interested that Elise’s husband likes this but that she isn’t sure yet! In my experience, husbands don’t tend to be the ones that like fresher, less expected options! Grace Patton has an Iris, if that helps.
  • Middle names of Rose and Ann: Lovely.
  • James: For some reason, James feels very British to me! I can totally see them liking it.
  • Gideon: Gideon has long been a favorite of mine! Funny, though, that they have both Gilbert and Gideon on their list — when the actor who played Gilbert Blythe died in 2015, I posted about the nickname Gil and since Gilbert isn’t my personal style, I’d come up with other ideas to get to Gil — Gideon Louis was a combo I liked!
  • Rilian: Gilbert, Gideon, Rilian, and Lillian are kind of all swirling around a similar sound family, so it makes sense to me that Elise and her hubby like them all. If William wasn’t so very familiar, I wonder if they would like it? What about Maximilian? I have another idea below in my list of official suggestions that’s inspired by these three as well.
  • Camille: I’d love for both parents to love the name they choose, so if either of them aren’t on board with a name, I’d definitely shelve it for now.
  • Eloise: See my comments above re: Lucy.
  • Cora, Vera: These are great names, and since Elise likes them but hubby doesn’t, I included some ideas below inspired by them that might do the trick instead.

So I think they have a lot of great ideas!! But of course I can always come up with more. 😉

You might have seen from other recent consultations I posted that my trusty Baby Name Wizard is seeming increasingly out of date, but I did look up the names Elise and her hubs like in it to be sure I was on the right path. I also took a look at a few posts I’d done and one that was done for me that I thought might have some good ideas for this family:

This post I did on names to honor St. Joseph

This spotlight on a family who has Gilbert on their list for a boy

This birth announcement for a British-American family who has similar taste in names to this family I think

This consultation Abby from Appellation Mountain did for me when I was pregnant with my youngest, as I myself love boy names with vowel clusters like Gideon and Rilian.

Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Felicity’s new baby:

Girl

(1) Gemma

My hands-down number-one idea for this baby if a girl is Gemma! It’s saintly (St. Gemma Galgani), with a very British feel (there are a bunch of British actresses named Gemma, weirdly!), and it starts with G! I mean, come on!! And with its G being a soft G, they can easily follow it with Gilbert in the future without it feeling like too many G’s. I absolutely love Gemma for Felicity’s sister, and Gemma Rose is to die for.

(2) Clara, Claire, Corinna

These are all names that I thought might scratch the “Cora” itch in a way that Elise’s husband will like better! Clara and Claire came to mind immediately because of their shortness and beginning with C; Clara especially seems like a good fit since it also ends in -a like Cora. But then I thought maybe Corinna would be even better, even though it’s longer, as Cora can be a nickname for it! I like all of these as Felicity’s sister.

(3) Verity

Like Corinna for Cora, this the name that I thought might be a good substitute for Vera! I think Verity is such a cool name — it’s got an old fashioned feel while also holding new interest for today’s parents (one inspiration I’ve seen is the character of Verity in “Poldark,” which also gives it a nice U.K. feel). It means “truth,” which is fantastic. One possible negative is that it has the same ending as Felicity … but is that any different than Florence have the same beginning? Only Elise and her husband know how comfortable they’d feel with that!

(4) Juliet

I almost always suggest Juliet as a sister for Felicity! They’re style matches per the BNW, and additionally for this family, Juliet has that vowel-cluster-thing that they seem to like! I did a spotlight on Juliet here, including nickname ideas and saintly connections.

(5) Adelaide

Adelaide struck me as having the same description Elise gave for Felicity and Gilbert: recognizable but not common. It’s such a pretty name — I think it has a similarly feminine feel as Felicity, and its possible nickname Ada gives me an old timey feel, a little like Florence, Ester, and Gilbert.

Boy

(1) Gabriel, Gareth (or Garrett), Grant

I wanted to start my boy name ideas with some G options, like I did for girl names. Gabriel is one of my very favorites, so I had to suggest it! Gareth is probably a closer fit for this family’s style, as I think it feels particularly British; Garrett sounds similar to Gareth and has the added connection of deriving from Gerard (saintly connection alert!). Finally, I’ve seen Grant considered by several families who like/have used the name Felicity. One family considered it a nod to the “grant us peace” part of the Mass, which I thought was so cool.

(2) Jessop

This is the idea I had for St. Joseph that I mentioned above! In my post on names for St. Joseph, I included an entry from A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) for Jessop, Jessopp, Jessope, Jessup, Jessep, all of which reflect a pronunciation of Joseph from mid-sixteenth century England. I LOVE discovering that kind of info!! I know that Jessop (or whatever spelling) might not be quite right for this family, but then again — maybe it hits exactly the right note!

(3) Simon

When I think of British-feeling names for boys, Simon is almost always my first thought. I actually really love it for this family! It’s bookish and handsome and biblical, so great. I considered suggesting Simeon as well, since it has that vowel cluster, but I’m feeling like Simon is more their speed.

(4) Benedict

I was inspired to add Benedict to this list for two reasons: Dominic on their list of names they’re considering, and Benedict Cumberbatch for the British connection! Benedict is such a fantastic option for anyone loving a saintly + British vibe, and its medieval short form Bennett, which can also serve as a nickname, seems very similar in feel to Felicity in my opinion.

(5) Julian

If only Julian started with a G, I’d feel like this might be the perfect boy name for Elise and her hubby! It’s got a vowel cluster and it can have a British vibe — the only downfall is that if they use Julian for a boy, they can’t use Juliet for a girl, and I like Juliet for them more than I like Julian for them (but their opinion is the one that matters!).

(Bonus) Caspian, Tobias, Mathias

Finally, I wanted to add these names as a bonus, because I wasn’t sure they were exactly right, but maybe they are, and they’re all awesome. Caspian is so cool and has the Rilian feel while being a little more mainstream I think, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to make it one of my five main suggestions. And Tobias and Mathias I think could both be exactly right! But I suggested them both to Elise’s sister-in-law in a consultation I did for her a while ago, and I didn’t want Elise to think I was just repeating info! I also wanted to offer some other vowel-cluster names that I had on my own list, as noted in my consultation by Abby from Appellation Mountain: Joachim, Campion, Jeremiah, Elliott, and Damien.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Felicity Hope?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name needed for rosary-loving family’s baby boy!

Happy New Year, everyone!! Don’t miss my Year In Review post that I put up the other day!

Julia and her husband are expecting their sixth living baby — their second boy! He joins big siblings:

Alice Katharine (“My maternal grandmother’s name was Alice, my mother is Katharine.”)

+Rose Francis (miscarriage) (“Wanted to name Rose due to St. Therese novena answer to prayer and Francis [male version due to St. Francis de Sales feast day that day, and not knowing baby’s gender].”)

+John Paul (miscarriage) (“Was thinking of the name Henry before we learned of baby’s death, but it was the Nativity of John the Baptist and we liked the name John anyway [John the Evangelist too!], as well as JPII, Hubby’s brother is Paul and the paternal grandfather.”)

Annemarie Elizabeth (“I liked Marian names and Hubby liked Ann. My middle name is Elizabeth.”)

Charles Anthony (“He is adopted.  His birth mom named him Charlie, we changed it to Charles officially but call him Charlie.  Anthony is Hubby’s dad’s name and Hubby’s middle name.”)

Veronica Leigh (“We just like St. Veronica, have a friend Veronica who’s awesome, My grandfather was Vernon [kind of a stretch], My dad’s middle name is Lee.”)

Clare Susan (“St. Clare/devotion to the Eucharist during Covid, great simple name, Hubby’s mother is Susan.”)

Such great names, right?? I really love all the family connections — each of the combinations they chose is lovely, and I love that their Charlie’s name fits in so nicely and that he has Julia’s hubby’s middle name and Grandpa’s first name. I also think Veronica as a nod to Vernon isn’t a stretch at all! Very clever!!

Julia writes,

This is a baby boy!  We are liking Dominic, Michael, Joseph (but only for a middle name) … And… We love the rosary 🥰”

They also like Nicholas, but can’t use it.

I love their list for a boy! Dominic, Michael, Joseph, and Nicholas are all wonderful, strong names, and Julia’s added comment about loving the rosary is just perfect — Dominic and Michael particularly make me think of the rosary because of St. Dominic’s connection (tradition holds that Our Lady gave him the rosary and charged him with its promulgation) and because the Prayer of St. Michael is often said at the end of it. I’m glad she included that Joseph is only in consideration for a middle name, and that they like Nicholas but can’t use it — they both give me an extra sense of the kinds of names they like.

In terms of coming up with new ideas for this family, I found their love of the rosary to be particularly helpful — it sent me right to the book of Marian names I wrote, as many of the names I included were because of particular connections to the rosary. I also looked up the names Julia and her husband have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It’s increasingly becoming out of date and the author doesn’t show signs of doing a new edition, but I did actually find it helpful in cross checking the ideas I had for this family. I also couldn’t help but notice that Dominic, Michael, and Nicholas all have a strong CK sound and Dominic and Nicholas both specifically contain “Nic” — that all gives me a sense of the sounds that might appeal to Julia and her hubby in a name. Based on all that, these are my ideas for this baby boy:

(1) Patrick

My first and favorite idea for this family is Patrick. I think it’s a great fit with their other kids’ names, it has the strong CK sound they seem to like, and Ven. Patrick Peyton is referred to as “The Rosary Priest” in Fr. Calloway’s book Champions of the Rosary (affiliate link). As I wrote in my book, “He started the Family Rosary Crusade in the 1940s, which was an international Rosary apostolate, and ‘organized rosary events in more than 40 countries, gathering over 28 million people to pray the rosary’ — all stemming from his love for Our Lady.” Patrick seems to tick all their boxes! Pat and Paddy are traditional nicknames (I know a little Paddy and it’s the darlingest nickname on a little guy!), I love Pack and Packy (I’m a big fan of offbeat nicknames!), and I’ve even seen Trick and Rick/Ricky.

(2) Benedict

Benedict is mostly inspired by Dominic, which I admit is a name I was a little surprised to see on their list (except for the rosary connection) — Dominic has a heavier feel to me than their other kids’ names (with the exception of Veronica — Veronica and Dominic are quite well matched in my mind). Benedict has a similar feel to Dominic and Veronica, and has the great, friendly nickname Ben that mimics the great, friendly feel of Charlie (and I think they could even use Nick/Nicky as a nickname for Benedict if they wanted to!). And it’s got a rosary connection! As I wrote in my book, “Mary is called benedicta in the Latin form of the Hail Mary. Additionally, Fr. Calloway called Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ‘The Theologian of the Rosary’ in his book Champions of the Rosary.”

(3) Leo

Leo diverges from the sounds of Dominic/Michael/Nicholas/Patrick/Benedict that I think they really like, but I can see it being a natural fit with their children nonetheless, and, of course, it’s got a rosary connection! Pope Leo XIII is called “The Pope of the Rosary” in Fr. Calloway’s book because he dedicated October to the rosary and inserted the title “Queen of the Mostly Holy Rosary” into the Litany of Loreto, among other rosary-focused things.

(Bonus) Zechariah or Zachary

I put these names in the “bonus” spot since I don’t think they fit this family’s style as well as Patrick, Benedict, and Leo (either the more biblical feeling Zechariah nor its more familiar variant Zachary), but they *do* fit into the sounds Julia and her husband seem to like (the strong “CK” thing) and they bring to mind, for me, the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary — The Visitation, because of Zechariah’s role in naming John the Baptist, which provides a nice rosary connection. So I wanted to include it just in case!

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby brother of Alice, Annemarie, Charles, Veronica, and Clare?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Italianish name that doesn’t end in a vowel and isn’t easily nicknamed for baby boy no. 2

Merry Christmas, everyone!! And happy feast of St. Stephen!!

I posted a consultation for Christi and her husband a year and a half ago for their son, and I’m excited to both give you all the update on his name and share my thoughts/ideas/suggestions for their new baby boy on the way! He joins his big sister and big brother:

Anastasia Therese

Domenick Vincent called Deo

I absolutely looooove these names!! Deo as a nickname for Domenick was my idea — I was so excited that Christi and her hubby loved it!

For this new baby boy, Christi writes,

I’m writing to you again for help as we are expecting another boy (due May 3) and I’m driving myself crazy obsessing over what we’ll name him! You were so helpful in naming our second, Domenick Vincent nn Deo, and I’m hoping that you can provide some thoughts/ feedback for baby #3. As a reminder, our daughter is Anastasia Therese.

As you might remember with Deo’s consultation, Gianni was/ still is at the top of our list. My husband is a little more sold on it than I am though (I can’t decide if it’s TOO Italian for us or not!). With a very overtly Italian last name, I feel like it’s hard to match both a non-Italian first name (for example, I really like Bennett or Brody, but they just don’t go with the naming style we’ve established) OR a suuuuper Italian first name (for example, Alessandro). None of our kids ‘look’ Italian (blonde/ light brown and blue eyes haha) so I feel like it just doesn’t fit.

We would love to use Joseph for the middle name (Joseph is a beloved family name and St. Joseph the worker’s feast is right around  my due date) though it’s not an official decision. I struggle with Gianni Joseph though, as it reminds me of G.I. Joe, haha! Am I overthinking that? That’s all I can hear now

Other names that we like/ are considering:

1) Romeo- I feel like this is Italian without being too Italian, but is it too bold? Any kid with that name has a lot of association coming in with his name. Also Joseph again doesn’t really flow with this for a middle (Ro Jo?! haha).

2) Sebastian

3) Malachi

4) Valentino- I really like this but I can’t decide if we can commit to calling him by his full name (we are trying to avoid nicknames this time around)

5) Angelo- I like this, husband not as much

6) Amelio/ Emilio- We were considering Amelia if it was a girl (Amelia is a family name), so we were throwing around the idea of making Amelia masculine (I’ve never seen it written Amelio though). I don’t like the traditional Emilio spelling as much

We’ve considered but won’t use:

Maxim/ Massimo, Adrian, Julian, Apollo, Gabriel 

I’m wondering if there are other names like Domenick/ Dominic that go well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel? I think that might be the silver bullet we are looking for. Would love your thoughts on that!!

It was so fun for me to come up with name ideas for Christi’s new baby boy! It was definitely a challenge, which I LOVE!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names Christi and her hubby are already considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Gianni Joseph: Christi is too funny with her G.I. Joe reference!! I know they loved Gianni when they were expecting Deo as well. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have thought of G.I. Joe at all when seeing Gianni Joseph! Especially since I’m sure Joseph wouldn’t be part of his everyday name, and most people in his life won’t know his middle name, you know? That said, I totally understand having something in your head that’s “all you can hear now,” it’s a real thing! If they really want to know my thought, I would say naming their son John Giuseppe solves their problems! They’d have John, who they can call Johnny, thus retaining the sound of the name Christi and her hubby love; they’d have a super Italian name tucked in the middle so it’s not too much, and it honors the Saint they want to honor; and they’d avoid the G.I. Joe connotation. On paper, it seems like the perfect solution! However, I know that even if this all seems perfect on paper, Gianni and Johnny do feel like different names … that Italian spelling gives Gianni a certain something …
  • Romeo: I love that they’re considering Romeo! I have long loved Romeo for a Catholic baby, ever since I found out that Romeo and Roman both mean “from Rome,” and in medieval Italian also meant “pilgrim to Rome” — such beautiful meanings for a baby boy being raised in the faith! Of course, I do understand Christi’s worry about the associations with Romeo. Roman is a nice option, but although I know they were considering it last time, the fact that it’s not currently on their list makes me think they’ve decided they like Romeo more. Another option might be to use the original Latin form Romaeus. Romaeus introduces yet a third “feel” to the name, joining the feels of Romeo and Roman, which are different from each other while being such similar names. Christi mentioned the possible problem of Ro Jo for Romeo Joseph — I actually think Romeo Joseph sounds very handsome! And I would never think to land on Ro Jo! But thinking about nicknames for Romeo, and for Romaeus, I feel like it’s not at all crazy to consider Roman as a nickname for both Romeo and Romaeus, which could also help tone down the Shakespeare association with Romeo and the heaviness of Romaeus.
  • Sebastian: Christi had Sebastian on her list last time, so I know she loves it! It’s funny because on the surface of her email, it seems that she and her hubs are looking for an Italian name, but if I took the Italian part out of the equation, sibs Anastasia and Domenick would have me looking for similarly long, heavy-hitting, saintly names, and Sebastian would absolutely make that list. I wonder if they’ve considered the Italian variant Sebastiano? They could still use any of the Sebastian nicknames (Seb/Sebby, Bash), and they’d have the Italian feel they love. (Though, since they seem to want to have a little distance from “super Italian,” Sebastian might be the better way to go.)
  • Malachi: As with Gianni, Romeo, and Sebastian, Malachi was on their list last time. It’s a very cool name! Just so different from the other names they like — it doesn’t have that heavy Catholic feel of Anastasia/Domenick/Sebastian and it doesn’t have the heavy Italian of Gianni/Romeo, it’s sort of in its own category. If there were other names they liked that were similar in style to Malachi, I could see keeping it on the list or using it this time, but as it is, I guess I feel like this is a name they’ll always like but never use. I still like my alternative idea from last time that was inspired by Malachi: Melchiorre. It’s the Italian variant of Melchior, which is the name one of the Three Wise Men has traditionally been known by, and it was one of St. John Bosco’s middle names. I think they could still do the Chi nickname that they like, or Mac, which is a nickname I always like for Malachi and I think it could do fine for Melchiorre.
  • Valentino: Another name from their list last time — it’s nice to see the consistency! It *is* a big name to not have a nickname for, but an awesome full name if they can commit to using the full name every time. I wonder if they’ve considered using the anglicized Valentine?
  • Angelo: I love the angel names, from their actual names (Gabriel, etc.) to the literal angel names (Angelo, Seraphino, etc.). I also love Angel as a nickname for it — I don’t see that on boys too much where I live, but it’s not unheard of among Spanish-speaking families, and the main male protagonist in the classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles was Angel, which I always thought was cool.
  • Amelio/Emilio: I’ve never seen the spelling Amelio either, though behindthename.com does have a user-submitted entry for Amelio, saying it’s an Italian masculine form of Amelia. Since they don’t like Emilio as much, I guess I’m hoping that they’ll have enough ideas between their own and any I offer that they like that they can save Amelia for a girl!
  • Maxim/Massimo, Adrian, Julian, Apollo, Gabriel: It’s helpful for me to know Christi and her husband have considered these and crossed them off their list!

Before getting to new ideas, I also want to discuss briefly two things that Christi said: (1) that they’re hoping not to use a nickname this time around, and (2) that they’re wondering about names like Domenick that go well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel.

Regarding the first one, I think their best bet for a non-nicknamed name would be something shorter — I think it will be very hard to avoid nicknames for names like Sebastian and Valentino! Of course, if they’re firm and consistent, they can have a fair amount of success with that when their boy is small; much less so as he grows up, unfortunately (at least in my experience!). So my advice would be to not hold on too hard to the hope of no nickname, and certainly don’t let it sway them from choosing the name they love the most. (Gianni avoids this problem entirely!) And in fact, I kind of disregarded the no-nickname thing altogether when I was compiling my list of ideas for this family! I think the right given name/nickname combo might be exactly what sways Christi and her hubby toward one name or another (like Domenick/Deo).

Regarding the second point, I laughed when I read that Christi would love to know what names are like Domenick in terms of going well with an Italian last name but don’t end in a vowel, because they love so many names that end in a vowel!! At the same time, I thought it was a pretty brilliant thought (as Christi put it, “the silver bullet”), and I definitely went on the hunt to gather name ideas that fit.

One last thought before moving ahead — I just wanted to point out that several ideas I had last time I still love for this family! In fact, whenever I’m doing a second (or more) consultation for a family, I always try to come up with ideas without any interference from the previous consultations — I start fresh, as if it’s the first time I’m considering the family and their taste, and only after I come up with a list do I look back to make sure I’m not repeating any or anything like that. Very often, I’ll discover that my “fresh” ideas have a huge amount of overlap with the previous consultation(s), which is both encouraging and frustrating, haha! Anyway, when I made my list for Christi this time, feeling that I’d really come up with some great ideas, I later discovered that they were basically all names I’d suggested before. Gah! So anyway, I wanted to list them here again to make sure Christi didn’t forget and to share with all of you in case they’re helpful for your own naming:

  • Pier, Piero
  • Dante
  • Orlando
  • Christian (doesn’t end in a vowel, although Christi had said she likes Cristiano, which is also awesome, and I continue to love that these names would honor Christi nicely — as well as Jesus Himself!)
  • Anthony with the possible nickname Ty (doesn’t end in a vowel! I mean, not really. Not the way Christi meant, with all the ends-in-o Italian names. Anthony and Domenick and Johnny and Joseph and Vincent are all part of those super-Italian-but-not-Italian names!)

Ok! On to my new ideas! Unfortunately, I’m finding my trusty Baby Name Wizard book to be increasingly out of date, and since the author doesn’t seem to be intending to publish a new edition any time soon, I’ve been trying to go with my gut more. For Christi, I also looked up Italian Saints as well as (and I know you’ll all get a kick out of this!) characters’ names in The Godfather, Sopranos, and Mickey Blue Eyes to get a good sense of which non-Italian names nevertheless have a stereotypical Italian feel especially when paired with a very Italian last name (like Johnny). And I definitely considered Anastasia’s and Domenick’s names outside of the Italian sphere for inspiration. I’m excited about my ideas for this family!

(1) Benedict or Benedetto

One of the things I found is that the anglicized versions of names that also have an Italian variant are very common in Italian families. Their Domenick is a perfect example, as the Italian variant is Domenico. From that perspective, the heavy-hitting Catholic names are perfect! Benedict is absolutely a name I’d consider to fit with the feeling of Anastasia and Domenick, and St. Benedict of Nursia (the Original St. Benedict) was actually an Italian Saint! Benito is a short form of the Italian variant, Benedetto, that could be a great nickname for Benedict to pull in the Italian more. And/or they can use the full Italian Benedetto! Benedetto is great in that it can take the totally non-Italian nickname Ben/Benny, or the Italian Benito, OR Bennett!! Christi said she “really likes” Bennett but doesn’t feel like it goes with their naming style — Benedetto nicknamed Bennett could help solve that problem! And it’s totally not a stretch either, because Bennett is actually the medieval short form of Benedict! So much perfection here (if they want it to be)!

(2) Augustine or Agostino

Domenick/Dominic and Benedict would always be joined by Augustine in my mind as heavy-hitting, monastery-type names (which is a vibe I LOVE). If they were to choose Augustine, I would 100% try to sell them on using Gus as the nickname — not only is it totally adorable, but it has that Old World feel that I associate with very ethnic European names. That said, we have friends who have really leaned into their Italian heritage — like this family, they have a very Italian last name — and both the dad and the son are Agostino. The son goes by the full Agostino, so it’s totally possible! The dad goes by Auggie, which can help “hide” the Italian-ness if they want to. And I think Gus can work for Agostino as well!

(3) Francis, Francesco

One of the names that’s often given to Italian-American male characters is Frankie. Such a great nickname! They could certainly do Francis — saintly, heavy hitting, the name of an Italian Saint, doesn’t end in a vowel — or they could do the full Francesco with the nickname Frankie. Love love love.

(4) Salvatore

Salvatore is definitely an Italian name, and it definitely ends in a vowel, and in Italy you would hear that vowel, but in America, it’s as if the vowel doesn’t exist, so it might be perfect for this family! My sons have a friend named Salvatore whose parents call him the full Salvatore all the time, but my boys call him Sal. It’s a fanTAStic name! Very Old World, very faithy (I mean, “savior” — come on! Such a great Jesus name!), rare but easy and friendly. I love it.

(5) Capistran or Capistrano

I went to a Franciscan college and one of the dear friars that I loved was Fr. Capistran. What a cool name! It was for St. John of Capistrano, a Franciscan Italian Saint; my friar friend went by Fr. Cap — I LOVE Cap as a nickname!! They could do Capistran, like him, which would given them that doesn’t-end-in-a-vowel name that still has great Italian roots, or they could do the full Capistrano, which would also allow them to use Cap as a nickname.

(6) Cupertino

I was a little bit on a last-name kick (in which I include place names, like St. John of Cupertino, since the “of Cupertino” part basically acts as a surname), inspired by how Christi said she likes Bennett and Brody (they both have traditional usage as surnames) but they don’t fit her style — I was determined to find a couple of options that would! St. Joseph of Cupertino is the Saint that inspires this name, and I’ve seen him used as baby name inspiration before — I know of one couple who named their son Cupertino as a given name and calls him Cooper as a nickname, and another couple who named their son Cooper with St. Joseph of Cupertino as patron. I think Cupertino would be cool for this family, and Coop or Cooper would be such sweet nicknames!

(7) Bosco

I couldn’t not include one of my very favorite saintly Italian surname names, which has lots of good usage outside of Italian families, which starts with a B like Bennett and Brody, which might make it perfect (even though it ends in a vowel), and it’s short enough that it likely wouldn’t get nicknamed! I love Bosco, I think it’s such a fun and spunky name, and obvious to anyone who has a working knowledge of the Saints who it refers to. There are a few Sancta Nomina families who have sons named Bosco: here, here, here.

Those are my seven “official” suggestions, but I came across a few more in my research that I wanted to be sure to list, just in case:

  • Corrado is the Italian variant of Conrad, and St. Conrad of Piacenza is an Italian Saint. But Corrado! What a cool, cool name!
  • Cajetan is the English version of the Italian name Gaetano. I’ve always loved the name Cajetan, and St. Cajetan himself. Caj is a cool nickname!
  • Gennaro is the Italian for St. Januarius, and my sisters went to school with a boy named Gennaro — I grew up loooving his name and determined to name a son Gennaro, even though I have no Italian blood at all!
  • You probably know that Santino nicknamed Sonny is a Godfather character, so maybe a little too on the nose, but Santino means “little Saint” and Sonny is such a fantastic nickname, I just had to suggest it! One of my boys went to nursery school with a little Santino who went by Sonny and I absolutely loved it.

And those are all my ideas for Christi’s baby boy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby brother of Anastasia and Domenick-called-Deo?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Canon/outside- or inside-the-box/heavy-hitting names are all considerations for baby no. 5!

It’s Thanksgiving week! Woo! I am so grateful for all of you!! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa (who I’m also so grateful for!)!

Mama Katie writes in asking for help naming their 6th child!

We are 21 weeks along and haven’t found out the gender yet, but I just might if I can’t figure out the name! Ha!

This baby will be joining big siblings:

Gabriel (in heaven)
Paul Christopher sometimes called “PK”
Immaculata Gracie “Gracie”
Jacinta Katherine “Cinta”
Joseph David sometimes called “Bubba” or “Buddy”

She writes about names they’re currently drawn to:

Celine – especially after reading her relationship with her younger sister, St. Therese, this is probably our top runner. June – my mom’s name and my husband’s maternal grandmother – and I like the feel of it even as a first name, but I don’t want to have three J’s in a row – Jacinta, Joseph and June. Maybe a middle name for Celine, with the nickname of CJ? Christiana – I have always liked this name, but I don’t really want to have it shortened to “Chris.” Margaret Mary – This is my great grandmother’s name reversed (She was Mary Margaret) – but I also have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus). Maria- since I have a niece Mary, I have thought Maria would be a pretty name, but I’ve also considered making little one’s name even more like Celine Martin and having it be “Marie-Celine”…Timothy – the biblical connection to St. Paul, as well as our beloved pastor of our parish. I’m not sure about what to use for a middle name! Maximillian. Frassati – this has been a pipe dream of mine, because my husband wouldn’t go for something so out of the box for a boy. Haha. Roy – I don’t know if this would work in at all, but my dear father passed away a year ago, and his best friend is named Roy, and Roy has become so dear to me. My husband might reject that name, but it is in the background for me anyway. We have started attending the Traditional Latin Mass, and I keep looking in the Canon for some of those heavy hitting names, but I’m unsure of any of the names.”

Some thoughts on names they like but maybe don’t feel quite like “the one”.

Celine– I really love this one for them! I think it’s sweet just like their other girls, I love the connection to Celine Martin and sweet St. Therese. I think it’s a great fit with all of their kids. Since all of the Martin girls, except the oldest, went by the second part of their names, I think just Celine to honor her and Therese would be lovely. I like the sound of Celine with their others better than Marie-Celine. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Celine are so so sweet. I really really love this.

June– I like this for them but I agree that three Js in a row is a bit much. I like the sound of Celine June, June grounds it. Two names in a row that end in the N sound might be a bit much, though. I think there may be better names out there for them.

Christiana– I love this name, too! I really love Christiana June, too, and I think they could keep it from getting shortened to “Chris” by just insisting her name is Christiana. I knew a Christiana in college who had never been Chris. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Christiana sound amazing together.

Maria– Cute, good, standard, traditional name. I think it may be too close to their niece Mary, though. I think there are better names for them out there.

Margaret Mary– I like this but I don’t love it. It’s not as sweet as their other girls, but I do love the connection to her grandmother and the Sacred Heart.

Timothy– I really like this for them! Gabriel, Paul, Immaculate/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Timothy sound great to me. I think this name is really right in their wheelhouse. As far as a middle name with it, I think any of the other names they like would go well with it. Timothy Maximilian and Timothy Roy stand out to me.

Maximilian– I love this name for them. It fits right in with everyone else. The only drawback is it would almost definitely get shortened to Max (in my experience, this one gets shortened a lot more commonly than a name like Christiana does). Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Maximilian sound complete to me.

Frassati– I like this but I don’t think it fits with their other boys. Their boy style strikes me as very traditional, maybe a little old man chic. Frassati matches their girls, though! I think they could stick this in the middle spot and get the best of both worlds!

Roy– I’m not completely sure what it is about this name, but I really love it for them. It gives that old man chic that I think is their sweet spot and it has such a sweet meaning and connection for their family. I think this would be especially great in the middle spot.

Okay, on to new suggestions. Their current children’s names and the names they like really inspired me and I had a hard time getting it down to 5 names for each gender! Let’s start with the girls.

Girl

(1) Anastasia

This is a name found in the Canon, a great saint, and it’s a little frillier like their other girls. It’s slightly popular right now at #181 and I think that’s a great place for them to be. It means “resurrection,” so it has a direct connection to Jesus, too. Full disclosure, this is my oldest daughter’s second middle name and we adore it. I would’ve considered this as a first name for another daughter if I hadn’t already used it. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Anastasia sound incredible together! I really really love Anastasia Celine or Celine Anastasia or even Anastasia June! Really, this name goes with every other name they like and I love how it fits into their family.

(2) Annunziata

This one was directly inspired by Immaculata and Gabriel. I think they lean a little unusual and frilly in their girl names and this one fits that to a T. I love the Marian connection for their girls (Jacinta is Marian to me because of being one of the visionaries at Fatima). It’s a reference to the Annunciation, tying in some of their other children and I think it’s just such a sweet name. If, like Immaculata, she’s a little hesitant about her name, she can always shorten it to Annie. However, I think Immaculata may be more into her name if she had a similarly named sister. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Annunziata/Annie sound so spectacular!

(3) Hildegard

Not many families could pull this name off, but I think theirs totally could. It’s outside the box like their other girls, unusual but not weird, and has a powerhouse saint connection (St. Hildegard of Bingen). It means “battle enclosure” and is outside of the top 1000 names. It can shorten to Hildie or Hilda if necessary, but I like the whole thing. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Hildegard sound stunningly Catholic and they all fit together well.

(4) Beatrice

I thought of this one because it was a style match for some of their girls and names they like and because it’s a little bit frilly but still sweet. It means “blessed, happy” and is at #565 right now. There is one saint and several blessed by this name, so it’s steeped in Catholicism. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Beatrice are all so sweet together.

(5) Aurelia/Aurora

I wasn’t sure which of these they’d like better, so I’m including them both. Aurelia means “golden, gilded,” is at #516, and there’s Bl. Aurelia of Wirberg for patronage. Aurora means “dawn,” is at #36 (so significantly more popular, although not enough to see a double in their circles, most likely), and has Ven. Aurora Calvo Hernández-Agero for patronage. I like that both of these are a little unusual and frilly and super sweet, just like their other girls. These are just a little outside the box, especially in Catholic circles, and I think that’s their sweet spot for girls. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Aurelia/Aurora are so beautiful together.

On to boys!

Boy

(1) Thaddeus

This is such a sweet, traditional name that’s in the Canon for the Apostle St. Jude Thaddeus. It’s uncommon (it sits at #818) but it’s not weird. And it shortens to the super sweet Tad (or Tadpole when he’s really little. Swoon!). It means “heart” or “gift of God” and may be related to the mega-popular Theodore. I think Thaddeus is a great fit and bridge between their girls and their boys. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Thaddeus sounds really great, very Catholic, and somewhat
traditional to me.

(2) Silas

I thought of this name because St. Silas/Silvanus was a companion of Paul and I thought that would be a sweet way to honor brothers. Silas means “wood, forest” and sits at #91, meaning it’s gaining in popularity but is not overly popular. This one is a little more up-and-coming than their other children’s names, but I don’t think it’s a mismatch. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Silas sound fun, modern, and yet traditional.

(3) Walter

I said elsewhere that I think their boy style is old man chic and this name is old man chic! It sits at #271 which means it’s up-and-coming but not overly popular, traditional but also modern, uncommon but not unusual. This is their sweet spot. There are plenty of Sts. Walter but I always think of Ven. Walter Ciszek who was an American chaplain in the Army. Fitting, since the name means “ruler of the army.” Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Walter sound so great together–– traditional,
outside the box, uncommon but not weird, very Catholic.

(4) Charles

This name is pretty popular at #50 right now but it also gives me the old man chic vibes that their other boys (and names they like) give me. It means “man” which is cool and can relate to St. Charles Borromeo or even Pope St. John Paul II as his given name was another form of Charles, Karol. This name is up-and-coming but yet traditional, which is a good spot for them to be. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Charles sound like a complete set to me.

(5) Blaise

This name is way less common than it seems at #997! I was shocked to find this out. I would’ve put it in the #400s but the numbers don’t lie. What that means is that this name is uncommon but not weird and modern-sounding. It also sounds energetic for its homophone “blaze.” It really means “lisping” but meaning is what we put into a name. St. Blaise is the patron saint of throat problems. Gosh, I just really love this name for them. I think it checks every box for them. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Blaise sound so cool, modern, traditional, and Catholic to me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that this is my favorite. Blaise Timothy, Blaise, Roy, and Blaise Thaddeus stand out to me as full combos.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no.2/girl no. 2 needs a name that brings together punk rock, Doctor Who, and Catholicism!

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa!

Mama Jordan writes in asking for help naming their second child, second daughter. They’re just completely stuck! This daughter will join big sister:

Amelia Rose

Jordan says she loves the following names but is having a hard time getting her husband on board: Molly, Madeline, and Isabelle. The only name that Dad has put forth is Haley/Hailey and Mama Jordan only sort of likes that one.

Names they can’t use include Stefanie, Victoria, Michele, Cora, Helen, Christine/Christina, Josephine, Aubrey, Caroline, Penelope, Ariana, and Jocelyn.

They are considering Jane, Claire, and Margaret for middle names.

Jordan and her husband love punk rock, Doctor Who, and Catholicism, making this a super fun consultation!

First, about front-runner names:

Molly– I really love this name for them. It’s sweet but substantial and has a long history. Bonus points that big sis Amelia loves it. It’s a form of Mary and currently sits at #186, making it less popular than Amelia but still on par with her. If they don’t like Molly, what about medieval rhyming name Polly, also from Mary? Polly is a Doctor Who name and ranks out of the top 1000, making it like the complete opposite of Amelia, but in a sweet way. Honestly, I prefer Molly and Molly Jane at that, but Polly could be a great compromise.

Madeline– I love this name with this spelling, as it evokes the children’s books. It’s the French form of the name Magdalene, so it has a powerhouse saint to back it up. It ranks at #95, making it on par with Amelia, and Amelia and Madeline sound like perfect sisters to me. I love Madeline Jane, Madeline Claire, and Madeline Isabelle. Alternatively, Molly Madeline is really sweet and she could be called M&M (can you imagine the Halloween costume!).

Isabelle– This is my absolute favorite for them. There’s just something about this name that speaks to me and to their family and style. It fits so perfectly. Amelia and Isabelle. Maybe it’s that they both start with vowels. I just love this name for them. Isabelle Jane, Isabelle Claire, and Isabelle Margaret are all stunning. I also really like Isabelle Madeline. It’s also a form of Elizabeth which is Mama Jordan’s middle name and I like that connection to her. It ranks at 117 currently, meaning it’s popular but won’t be heard everywhere they go. Some other forms of Elizabeth that I like for them are Lillian (Amelia and Lillian, swoon!) which started as a form of Elizabeth before it became an embellishment of Lily and ranks at #51, which is on par with Amelia. I also like offbeat Liesel for them. It doesn’t even rank in the top 1000 in America ever but I love it’s lilting sound and how it goes with Amelia (Amelia and Liesel). I think their best bet here, though, is Isabelle. It’s modern but with substance and roots, it’s cool and breezy, it fits with Amelia, it has beautiful family ties, and it goes with every middle name they’re considering.

Haley/Hailey– I like this. It doesn’t have as much substance as the others (there are no saints to go along with it and it doesn’t have as storied a history as any of the others) but it’s cool and modern. The spellings currently rank, in order, #559 and #77. It’s actually more popular than I would have guessed. It’s nice that dad Nate likes this name and I love its subtle punk rock tie-in (Haley Williams is the singer of Paramore). Amelia and Hailey don’t sound mismatched to me but they don’t quite seem right, either. What about Isabelle Haley?

On to new suggestions. I looked up Doctor Who and punk rock names, I used a style match for names like Amelia and ones they already like, and I went off of some intuition. Here’s what I came up with.

(1) Genevieve

It means “family woman,” is French, and ranks at #155, making it common but not popular. Madeline was a style match and I thought the sounds of Amelia and Genevieve go well together. St. Genevieve was a powerhouse, too. I think this is a name that packs a lot of punch for a little girl, but isn’t overwhelming. There are also plenty of nicknames to go with this name, if they want to go that route, from Genny to Viva. Genevieve Claire, Genevieve Margaret, and Genevieve Isabelle stand out to me.

(2) Juliet/Juliana

I wasn’t sure which of these names they’d like more, so I’m including them both. Juliette was a style match for Amelia, Madeline, and Isabelle but I thought they’d like the Juliet spelling better because of the song “Check Yes, Juliet.” This spelling ranks at #295 right now. There is also Ven. Juliette Colbert de Falletti di Barolo to go along with it. The drawback is, of course, the Shakespeare play. Most people are over that by now, though, so it wouldn’t be anywhere near an issue until she got to high school, maybe. Juliana was inspired by Juliet and The Juliana Theory. It has the same root as Juliet (they come from Julius meaning either “downy-bearded” or “sky father”; not the best but also we infuse meaning into names beyond their etymological meanings). Juliana ranks at #210 right now and has St. Juliana Falconieri to go with it. I love the sound of Amelia and Juliet or Amelia and Juliana. I love Juliet Isabelle, Juliet Claire, Juliana Isabelle, Juliana Madeline, and Juliana Claire. They could even name her Juliana Jane and get away with it. These are just such versatile names.

(3) Eloise

This name came up as a style match for Madeline and it just struck me as sweet and playful yet substantial, like Amelia. Amelia and Eloise sound beautiful together, too! This name means “healthy; wide” and sits at #109, which surprised me! There is a Bl. Helwisa aka Eloise to go with it, too. Eloise Claire really stands out to me and for something different, I really love Eloise Elizabeth.

(4) Etta

This came up as a style match for a few of the names they like and I thought it was just good enough to include. I love that it’s short and punchy. It’s a short form for names like Henrietta and Loretta. Singer Etta James’s first name was actually Jamesetta. Anyway, Etta as a stand-alone name ranks at #932 right now, so it’s basically the opposite of Amelia while still holding up to her. Carson Daly of MTV named his daughter Etta. I think Ven. Antonietta Meo would be a sweet patron to go with this name. Etta Jane might be too close to Etta James but I like Etta Claire, Etta Margaret, Etta Isabelle, Etta Elizabeth, and Etta Madeline.

(5) Blair

When I think of Mama Jordan and Dad Nate and Amelia, I think slightly preppy. This name is slightly preppy! I actually love that it’s girl-leaning-unisex; gives it a punch that not many other names have. It means “plain, field, battlefield” and currently ranks at #315. Amelia and Blair sound super cute and preppy to me. There’s a Gossip Girl reference there, too, that no one but fans of the show would ever ask them about. I love Blair Margaret or Blair Isabelle.

(6) Tabitha

This name came up as a style match for some of the other names they like and I can see why. It’s just a little offbeat and cute but with history. It’s Hebrew for “gazelle” and was the name of the woman in the New Testament whom St. Peter restored to life (she’s also known as Dorcas). It’s out of the top 1000 names, though, which really surprised me. This name has been used in Riverdale, Stranger Things, and X-Men, giving it fandom credibility without being in your face. I love the way Amelia and Tabitha sound together. Tabitha Jane called TJ is so so cute. I also love Tabitha Claire and Tabitha Isabelle or Isabelle Tabitha.

(7) Honor/Honora

Finally, when I think of preppy, I think Honor. It’s an old virtue name, giving it substance. Amelia and Honor or Amelia and Honora just sound old school cool chic to me. Neither name is in the top 1000 and never have been. Honor Isabelle sounds stunning to my ear. I also like Honora Claire and Honor Margaret.

Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Classic and timeless but maybe also a little quirky for baby no. 3/boy no. 1?

Happy October 25! I just looked up the calendar at CatholicSaints.info to see whose feast is today, and the first one listed is “Dedication of all Churches where the Consecration Date is Unknown” — I love that we have a feast day for that! I also love this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — enjoy!

Dad Tanner writes in asking for help naming their first boy after two girls. He says,

We lean toward traditional and classic names, names of Saints or creative names related to to Saints, also Biblical names, old and New Testament. I like the English And Scottish saints, but it doesn’t have to be from those either.”

A little open-ended! I like that!

He lists some holy people the family admires, for a little inspiration: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Josemaria Escriva; St. John Paul 2, St. John Vianney, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Mother Teresa, Servant of God Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis.

They like the names Francis, John Paul, and Lewis/Louis.

Names they can’t use include: Dominic, Jack, John, Thomas, William, James, Samuel, George, Adam, Jimmy, Patrick, Edward, Edmund, Gabriel, Theodore, Blaze, Bernard, Xavier, and Paul.

This little boy will join big sisters:

Rose Margaret
Josephine Elizabeth

Okay, some thoughts on names they like but don’t feel like “the one”.

Francis- I actually love this name for them. It has that classic, timeless feel like their daughters’ names do.

John Paul- I feel like this one is too close to John, which they can’t use. I love the connection to a saint they love, though, and that informed one of my suggestions below.

Lewis/Louis- I love this name for them! Either spelling, depending on how strong they want certain associations to be. I think this name has the same timeless, classic feel as Francis and their daughters.

On to new suggestions. I tried to keep them in the classic and timeless vein, but I also went a little bit afield, as this is their first boy and they have some wiggle room there.

(1) Chester

For G.K. Chesterton. I thought just Chester fit in nicely with their girls and also gave some pep to the sibling set. It means “camp, fortress” and is out of the top 1000 names. It’s pretty classic but not timeless. I think this name is just daring for a revival. Other ways they could honor G.K. Chesterton are to choose names they like that start with the same initials like Gerard Kevin and call him G.K. I really love Chester, though, as it’s unexpected but cool and classic and not weird. Rose, Josephine, and Chester sound cool together.

(2) Miles

This name derives from two that mean “servant of Jesus” and “servant of Mary”; how cool for a boy! This name currently ranks at #54, meaning it’s classic and cool, right where I think they would like to be. Rose, Josephine, and Miles sound like they belong together.

(3) Clement

I thought of this name because of their love for Pope St. John Paul II. Clement means “merciful” and Pope St. JP2 is famous for his devotion to Divine Mercy. It’s also old man, classic, which I think is right in their wheelhouse. I love siblings Rose, Josephine, and Clement! The name is out of the top 1000 names but it’s not weird, it’s a great-grandpa name, which are starting to come back into style. There are also many Saints Clement including the fourth pope.

(4) Peter

A little bit of a papal theme going! There is, of course, St. Peter the Apostle and First Pope to go along with this name, and plenty of other Sts. Peter to take patronage from. I love this name because it’s classic and timeless. This name will never be truly out of style. And it sounds like a perfect brother to go along with sisters Rose and Josephine. I think this name gives them a great bridge between the girls while opening them up to future names.

(5) Gerard

I mentioned this one above but think it makes a good name all on its own for them. Gerard is hardy and classic, with just a touch of old man. It means “brave spear” and is out of the top 1000 names. St. Gerard Majella would be the patron and that’s fitting as he’s the patron of expectant mothers. I love the sound of Rose, Josephine, and Gerard but it does give them two of the same sound at the beginning. I don’t know if that bothers them, it shouldn’t, and it doesn’t bother me at all, especially since they have different initials.

(6) Vincent

When I think of classic, timeless name with a slight old man feel, this name always comes to mind. It’s slightly popular right now, at #117, but that just means it’s also cool. I think that’s their sweet spot. St. Vincent de Paul would be the patron and the name means “to conquer”. I love siblings Rose, Josephine, and Vincent. Outside of Chester, this is my favorite suggestion.

(7) Henry

Finally, another timeless, classic, cool name. This name is pretty popular at #9 right now, but rightfully so! It’s a great name that’s finally having its moment. It means “home ruler” and St. John Henry Newman (or Bl. Henry Suso) would be patron. Rose, Josephine, and Henry sound classic and, actually, slightly British to me (which is helpful because some of the holy people they admire are British).

These are my suggestions! What do you think?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Fun news on a wonderful feast day!

Happy Monday everyone!

Today is the feast of both Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Margaret Mary Alacoque and I’m having goosebumps like crazy over here because I’ve recently been wanting to do a certain thing, but wasn’t sure it was a wise decision given all we have going on in my house, but also that maybe I have a little more time this semester than I have for the past year and a half, so maybe my feeling is a little nudge from heaven that I should do this thing I want to do, which is something I’ve been missing …

So I’d basically decided to do the thing, and was thinking I might do it today, but then thought maybe that was rash and I should chill out a little and just plan on doing it sometime this week, and so I thought I’d look to see what feast days are happening this week because I love timing things for a feast day, and it’s very clear that TODAY is the day! Because — and I know you’ll all appreciate this both for its own sake and also because it’s so connected to baby naming — Ignatius is the name my husband and I gave the baby we miscarried after St. Ignatius of Antioch specifically (his writings on the Eucharist were instrumental in bringing my husband into the Church and he took it as his Confirmation name), and Margaret Mary was the middle name I’d decided on for my last baby if he’d been a girl after St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (and also St. Rita, St. Gerard, and Our Lady — all in one name! — and St. M. M. Alacoque herself because of her devotion to the Sacred Heart — “Margaret Mary” checked all the boxes!) — I don’t know how I missed that they both have the same feast day! So yes, today’s Saints are CLEARLY a sign that today is the day to do the thing!

And what is this thing?? I just wanted to let you all know that I am available for consultations again! Theresa has been doing an amazing job for you all, and she’s going to continue doing an amazing job — if you want a consultation from her, please email her directly at TheresaZoeWrites at gmail dot com as you’ve been doing! If you’d like a consultation from me, you can email me at sanctanomina at gmail dot com. Payment details remain the same for both Theresa and me. Please note that if Theresa or I have too many to handle, we’ll share with each other (letting you know ahead of time if that’s the case). I have room for one consultation a week and not too much wiggle room for rush jobs (like if your due date is next week! I’d love to be able to help but I don’t have that flexibility at the moment) — if you email me with a consultation request, I’ll let you know when I can send you my thoughts/ideas/suggestions, so you can decide if it’s too far out.

I really thought that my time doing consultations may have finished, but this fall I’ve been feeling more and more that my big life change of going back to work two summers ago has finally started to just feel like daily life. Like having a new baby! The upheaval eventually calms down. I look forward to hearing from any of you who might like a consultation from me, and I hope you have a wonderful Monday and feast day, and a great week!


For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4/girl no. 2 for Studio Senn!

Happy 105th (!) anniversary of the Miracle of Sun at Fatima! Today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams is for a repeat client — Kortnee from Studio Senn! I had the honor of doing a consultation for her last baby a few years ago and posting a birth announcement; I’m so excited to see that she’s expecting another girl, and to see what name ideas Theresa has for her! Enjoy!

Mama Kortnee writes in asking for help naming her fourth child, second girl. Big siblings are:

Fulton Douglas
Becket Raymond
Perrin Fae

She writes,

Middle names are all family names. First names are Saints (or in the case of Perrin,
a nickname because she was going to be named Peregrine) but all happen to be surnames of
sort or another
.”

Kortnee continues,

For girl names I am drawn to Irish/Scottish punchy names that tend to lean more gender neutral. But my husband says he likes more feminine names.”

Names they like that don’t feel like the one include Rory (for St. Gregory), Greer (for St. Gregory), Quinn (for Ven. Edel Quinn), Reese (for any of the Sts. Teresa), Emmerich (for Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich), and Lydia.

Middle names they are considering include: Ruth, Emile (pronounced em-eel), Catherine, Kate,
and Amelia.

Mama Kortnee presented a unique challenge of already thinking of all the names I would have suggested, so I had to dig a lot deeper.

Some thoughts on names they like but aren’t “the one”.

Rory- I love this punchy little name especially with their other children. I would have thought this would have been feminine enough with the -y ending for Kortnee’s husband but I get it. I love that they would tie this name to St. Gregory.

Greer- Another really fun and expected name! What I love about this one is that it’s unexpected but not weird. Totally right in their wheelhouse.

Quinn- This was the first name that popped to mind before I read they’d already thought of it. Ah, I really love this one for you guys! I don’t think Quinn (with similar sounding last name) is too much, either. It has a nice rhythm.

Reese- I feel like sisters Reese and Perrin are just meant to be. I really love this name and that it gives this child a female patron, too.

Emmerich- Another right in their wheelhouse that I would’ve suggested. I don’t like this one quite as much as the others but I do love that it has nickname potential.

Lydia- One of my favorite names! But I agree that it doesn’t quite fit Kortnee’s style or that of the other children.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Clairvaux

Not a surname and not Irish (but French) this came to mind because it’s unexpected and gender neutral (being a place name) but it feels feminine and has the nickname Claire. I think this one might be right in the sweet spot between Kortnee and her husband. Patron would be St. Bernard of Clairvaux. It’s spunky and a little bit punchy but all over sweet.

(2) Reagan

This surname means “little king” and definitely leans girl while maintaining neutrality. It’s at #126 for girls right now. While not the name of a saint, it could be an honor name for Jesus with its meaning. It’s Irish, too! I like this with sister Perrin and the brothers.

(3) Peyton

This name sits at #99 for girls right now even though it’s gender neutral, so it feels more feminine while not being frilly. It’s also an English surname born by Ven. Patrick Peyton, so it even has a patron directly attached! I really love this one for them. My only hang up was that would be two girls with P- names. I don’t think this should bother them, though.

(4) Blaise

I thought, if Blake and Blair can be girls or boys, why not Blaise? It doesn’t rank at all for girls and is at #997 for boys, so it’s not common but it’s also not weird. St. Blaise would be the patron. I just thought, what a zippy, fun name for a girl!

(5) Brenna

This would be a feminine form of St. Brendan. Although not a surname, it’s punchy and Irish and I love it with their other kids. There are various meanings for this name depending on where you take its origin from, but since they’d use it as a feminine form of Brendan, it means “king or prince”. Brenna is out of the top 1000, which I think is perfect for them. Brenna gives me the same punchy, pixie-like, softly feminine feel as Perrin does, and she sounds great with all the kids.

(6) Finley

This name means “white warrior” and is at #211 for girls and #265 for boys, meaning it’s truly gender neutral. There is no saint Finley, but there are tons of Fin- saints that this name could take patronage from. All of those saints happen to be Scottish, too. Finley is also in the same wheelhouse as surname names, although not one itself. Fulton, Becket, Perrin, and Finley sound so sharp to me.

(7) Kiara

The most feminine name on the list, this is actually the name of an Irish saint! It has two possible roots that can make its meaning either “black” (from Ciara) or “clear, bright” (from Chiara). There are lots of possible patrons here including St. Kiara (the Irish saint), St. Clare of Assisi, or St. Ciar (an Irish abbott). I like that this name is feminine but punchy –– hopefully that bridges the gap between Kortnee and her husband better. I like siblings Fulton, Beckett, Perrin, and Kiara. Bonus, I think this name works well with almost all of the middle names they’re considering.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 10 (a boy!) needs a name that fits into the theme!

Today is one of my very favorite feast days: the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary! The cover art of my book of Marian names was inspired by this beautiful holy card:

The inscription on the bottom, S.S. Nomen Mariae, means “The Most Holy Name of Mary” in Latin (Sanctissima Nomen Mariae). Fun fact: Mariae was the middle name we planned for a girl through several of our pregnancies! Two little ladies connected with Sancta Nomina have been given the name as well — one as a first name (Mariae Josephine, loooove), and this one (Theresa’s little girl!) as a middle (Theresa has fantastic taste and creativity!). I explain a little bit about how this beautiful feast came about in my book. A perfect feast day for those who love the names of our faith, especially the names of and for Our Lady! I hope you all have a wonderful one! Today’s consultation actually includes one of the names listed in my book for boys!

Josh and Mari are expecting their 10th baby — their 4th boy! I’ve had the great privilege of doing consultations for several of their older children (posted here, here, here; birth announcements here, here, here, here), and I’m delighted to offer some ideas for their newest little guy! (For those of you wondering, I did this consultation a couple of months ago, when I thought I might be able to do some this summer.)

Josh writes, 

So, as you probably remember, we have a theme going – the girls have A first names and C middle names (with some variants) and the boys have C first names and middle names that similar stylistically.  Here’s the rundown

Ariana Camille (16) 

Audrey Caroline (14)

Caleb Daniel (11)

Amelia Clare (“Millie”) (9)

Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna”) (8)

Charles Michael (6)

Anessa Corinne (4)

Christian Gabriel (3)

Aurelia-Rose Celeste (“Rosie”) (2) 

#10 is a boy, so we’ll be looking to continue the theme generally.  Due date is November 3, so he’ll join two other sibs with November birthdays (Audrey and Charles) unless he gets here early, in which case he’d be our only October baby.   Here are some first names we’ve discussed and like

Clement

Carter

Caedmon 

For middle names, we’ve discussed Samuel as a possibility.  Thought about Raphael too since we have a Michael and a Gabriel, but I’m not sure I love it.  But I would say we haven’t definitely ruled it out either.”

As always, it was such a pleasure to work on this consultation for Josh and Mari! They’ve done such a great job with baby naming — I’ve always loved how they figured out to adhere to their themes (girl theme and boy theme) without it getting weird or feeling forced. I’m excited to help them again!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names they like/are considering:

  • Clement: I have always loved Clement for a few reasons — specifically to me, it’s the name of my parish’s patronal Saint, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (and it belongs to a bunch of other Saints and a Pope as well!). Secondly, it’s a Marian name, as Our Lady is called “clement” in the Hail Holy Queen (“O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”). Thirdly, it means “merciful” — such a great meaning! All that said, though, I admit I’ve often had a hard time really seeing it on a little boy! I actually knew an older gentleman named Clement, and it was so cool on him — it felt just perfect for a sophisticated old man — and of course I know that little boys grow up to be men. And “Clem” as a nickname seemed a little less thrilling than some of the other nicknames I love for boys. But then Grace Patton named her son Clement, and it took on a whole new life for me! So that’s my conclusion: I think it can be really great option for Josh and Mari’s little guy! (I’m still a little hung up on nicknames … I was just rereading the birth announcement I posted for Grace’s Clement and noted that she named the Clement videos on her Instagram “Clement Clips” and thought, “Huh. Clip is kind of cute!” You know me and my crazy nickname ideas!!)
  • Carter: I was surprised by Carter! Their other kiddos’ names have saintly connections, but I didn’t think Carter did. I shouldn’t have doubted, though! I’ve often argued that just about every name can have a saintly connection, and Carter, indeed, does: According to CatholicSaints.info, there’s a St. Carterius of Bourges and a Bl. William Carter. I’m very intrigued by Bl. William Carter, since I struggled a bit over new middle name ideas for this family — it seems difficult to move away from their established -el theme, but if they did something like Carter William, it would make a lot of sense — it would give them a good, solid reason to move away from -el names and would strengthen the connection to Bl. William. Does that make sense?
  • Caedmon: I see Caedmon from time to time on parents’ lists and I’m always surprised by it, since I’ve never met a Caedmon in real life. It’s such a cool name, though, and saintly, and it inspired some of the more Celtic-ish names I included in my suggestions below. My one hesitation with Caedmon is always pronunciation — apparently CAD-man is the correct pronunciation, but I’ve also seen CADE-man, so that will probably be something they’d have to deal with. It absolutely doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker though — loads of names have pronunciation issues!

So those are my thoughts on the names currently on Josh and Mari’s list. As far as middle names, I had the suggestion of William, which I explained in the Carter part above, and I looked back at my previous emails with them and their consultations and see that in addition to the Samuel and Raphael that they said they’re considering, I’ve suggested these as well:

  • Emmanuel
  • Nathaniel
  • Joel
  • Axel
  • Abel
  • Ezekiel
  • Reuel
  • Noel

Some new ones I’ll add include:

  • Angel: a not-uncommon name for boys of Hispanic descent, and it was also the name of the main male character in the English novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Bartel: Dutch diminutive of Bartholomew
  • Hansel: German diminutive of Hans, which is the German form of John
  • Israel: Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God
  • Marcel: originally a diminutive of Marcus; also included in the names of quite a few Saints
  • Martel: from a medieval pet name of Martin
  • Peniel: A biblical place name (see Gen 32:30) meaning “face of God” — what a beautiful meaning!
  • Roussel: French form of Russell, from a nickname meaning “little red one” — maybe perfect for a baby with red hair, or who is particularly red when born? (My mother-in-law always talked about how red my husband was as a newborn, far redder than other babies she’d seen!)
  • Wenzel: a German name that’s technically pronounced VENT-zel, but the cool part is that it’s a medieval German form of Vaclav (Wenceslaus)! St. Wenceslaus is awesome! I did two posts on the name that might be helpful: here and here

(I used this web site to help with this list — it has a million names on here and I spent quite a bit of time scrolling through and only got about a third of the way down! Josh and Mari might want to spend some time on that page themselves in case there was a good option that I missed.)

So there are plenty of -el names if they’re committed to that theme! However, I think both Samuel and Raphael are good choices right now if they’re not sure they want to continue with this theme, since I sense that many people will not realize that Daniel and Samuel are -el names, since they’re so familiar (sometimes the details of very familiar names are almost invisible — a “missing the trees for the forest” type reversal of the old saying, if that makes sense), so if they use Samuel, I don’t think people will bat an eyelash if they use a non-el name in the future. And if they use Raphael, most people will realize they’ve now exhausted the archangels (without getting into discussions of Uriel and others that are questionable from a Catholic standpoint), and won’t necessarily expect an -el middle name going forward. Of course, the fact that this baby is their tenth baby and that they’re heavily weighted towards girls makes it more probable that this won’t be an issue to deal with again! (Or perhaps God has more boys in their future!)

Okay! On to my new ideas!

(1) Martin

This idea is really a cheat idea, since it’s (a) not a C name, and (b) Josh and Mari had it on their list in the first email they ever sent me, so it’s not an original idea of mine, but I’d thought I’d include it in the list because Mari is due on Nov. 3 — the feast of St. Martin de Porres! If they don’t want to go off-theme for a first name, then I’d highly suggest it as a middle name, ESPECIALLY if the baby is actually born on his due date! And in that case, I’d suggest changing it to its variant Martel, which I mentioned above — an -el name that nods to St. Martin! Seems like it could be perfect!

(2) Cashel

Okay, back to C names! I’ve suggested Cashel many times in the past to families who love Irish or Celtic names, so Caedmon on their list makes sense of Cashel to me. The faith connection is the Rock of Cashel; this is the faith connection (from something I wrote for a baptism gift for a little Cashel):

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig) is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock and Cashel of the Kings. In Irish, cashel (caiseal) denotes a circular stone fort and has come to mean “castle.”

The Rock of Cashel was long the seat of the High Kings of Munster. One of the kings, Aenghus, was baptized by St. Patrick himself at that very spot. In 1101, King Murtagh O’Brien dedicated the Rock of Cashel to God and St. Patrick and gave it to the bishop of Munster. Currently, the Ecclesiastical Province of Cashel includes the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as well as the dioceses of Cloyne (in which lies Cobh), Cork & Ross, Kerry, Killaloe, Limerick, and Waterford & Lismore.

I love Cashel and I love the nickname Cash! And because Cashel is an -el name, they could also consider it for the middle!

(3) Campion

Campion is the surname of St. Edmund Campion and I think it’s a fantastic name for a boy. It has the awesome nickname Cam, which I‘ve always loved. It’s also a Marian name! I included it in my book of Marian names — the white campion is a kind of flower, which is where the connection to Our Lady comes in. Finally, campion means “champion” in Old French! What a great name for a boy!

(4) Canaan

I know a boy named Canaan — I’ve always thought he has the coolest name! Canaan is, of course, the name of the Promised Land, so it has great faith connections in that regard.

(5) Caetano/Cajetan

I saw Caetano in a list of C names for boys, and I immediately remembered that I’d had Cajetan on my own list for years! Caetano is an Italian form of Cajetan (as is Gaetano), and St. Cajetan is a pretty amazing Saint. Caj (pronounced like CADGE) is a pretty cool nickname too!

(6) Curt, Cord

I’d previously suggested Conrad to this family, which I don’t think they loved, but both Curt and Cord caught my eye when I was looking up C names for them, as they’re both contracted forms of Conrad, so they can take any of the Sts. Conrad as patron. Curt and Cord have very different feels to me, so hopefully if they don’t like the one maybe they really like the other!

(7) Cruz

My last idea is Cruz, which has just the coolest, hippest, zippiest feel but also has very deep faith significance, as it means “cross” and has traditional use in both Spanish and Portuguese in honor of the Cross of Crucifixion. I also found evidence of its usage in honor of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. How beautiful! Though it’s used in Hispanic cultures for both boys and girls, I think in America it has a predominantly masculine feel.

As a bonus, I really wanted to suggest Casey, with Bl. Solanus Casey in mind, but I didn’t think Casey was ideal for their last name, so I wanted to include it here in case it’s helpful for any of you readers. I also noted that Kolbe was on Josh and Mari’s original list several years ago — I still like it for them and think it can make a nice addition to their C theme — sort of keeping with it while still branching out. Interestingly, I looked up the surname Kolbe and discovered that some spelling variations include Colb and Colbe — maybe they want to consider one of those in honor of St. Maximilian while still sticking with their C theme?

As an addition to this post, Josh and Mari wrote again to let me know about some more ideas they have:

[D]o you mind if I ask your thoughts on a new idea we had — Clement Joshua?   Obviously Joshua is my name, which in a way fits a pattern with the boys (Daniel and Michael are also family names). We also thought “CJ” might be a cute nickname — we love the name Clement but aren’t wild about ‘Clem.’ 

Our oldest daughter is lobbying hard for Clement Ezekiel with “Zeke” as a nickname, which is also kind of cute. What do you think?

My immediate thoughts are that I love both ideas! I love using Josh’s name as the middle name — doing so trumps any -el theme or any other theme, in my opinion — and CJ is an easy, friendly nickname. This is probably my favorite of the two, because of the connection to Dad and how easy and natural it feels. I do love Zeke, though — what a fun, friendly nickname! And I love that Ezekiel keeps the -el theme, because even though it’s completely one-hundred-percent not necessary to continue with the theme, there’s something just so satisfying about sticking with a theme! What say you all??

And those are all my ideas! What other ideas/suggestions/thoughts can you share for the littlest brother in this beautiful family?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: One-syllable Advent/Christmas name for baby girl needed!

Happy Monday everyone! There are some beautiful feasts today according to my go-to feast day source, CatholicSaints.info: it’s the memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist, as well as the feasts of Our Lady of Tears, Our Lady of the Guard, and Our Lady of Valleverde (among many others. Every day’s a day to remember holy people!). Some cool things for you to research if you’re in a researching mood! Today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams is for a mama that I’ve “known” for years via the internet, and she’s also a real-life friend-of-a-friend — I’m so excited to post this consultation for her seventh baby! Enjoy!

Mama Lina writes in asking for help with a middle name.

I am pregnant with my seventh and due mid December. We have five boys and a girl already and just found out we’re due with another girl. Our daughter is 10 so it’s pretty exciting! Her name will be Evangelina after two of my husband’s great grandmothers and we’ll call her Lina bc I love my name lol. I am named for my own great great grandmother.”

This is fantastic news! And Evangelina is such a swoony name! All of the children have two middle names, the second one being Lina’s maiden name. Evangelina is joining big siblings:

John Diego nn Johnny
Joseph Sebastián nn Joey
Rita Maureen
Michael Augustín nn Mikey
Patrick Thomas nn Paddy
Charles Loyola nn Charley

Aren’t those such great names! Mama Lina writes,

Originally her name was going to be Evangelina Claire — we’ve had this name as our girl name for the last three kids lol. However now that we have her due during advent I really feel drawn to have an advent/Christmas themed middle name.”

Ooooh, I love a good themed name!

She continues,

The issue is that Evangelina is many syllables lol, as well as the fact that all my kids have a second middle name of [her maiden name]. So anything longer than one syllable just feels and sounds really bulky and like we’re trying to be British royalty. So we’re on a hunt for one syllable, girl name that is Advent/Christmas themed. Phew . All we can come up with is Rose and Joy (most likely to be born during Gaudete Week). I do like Rose a lot esp bc St Rose of Lima was a contemporary and friend of St Martin de Porres, a family patron, but just would love more options to consider!

I love a good challenge!

About names they like but don’t feel like the one.

Claire– I love the sound of Evangelina Claire! I can see why it was their go-to for so long. It fits in nicely with their other kids’ names and has a classy, put-together feel.

Rose– Hot in the middle spot, it’s a great name. I love the connection to Advent and Gaudete Sunday. Evangelina Rose is nice if maybe a little bland.

Joy– Evangelina Joy is a joy! I love this connection to Advent, too. This actually gave me some ideas. I can understand why this one doesn’t feel quite right, though. It’s a little less formal and feels maybe too casual, next to their other kids especially.

On to new ideas! I had a BLAST researching themes of Christmas and Advent and names to go along with them. I loved the added challenge of a one syllable name. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Pax/Paz

Another theme of Advent is peace, which these names mean. I wasn’t sure if they’d like the Latin Pax (which leans a little more masculine) or the Spanish Paz (which sounds a little softer and more feminine) better, so I’m including them both. Evangelina Pax or Evangelina Paz sounds beautiful and unexpected. I like these names with their other kids, too, who have middle names like Diego, Augustín and Sebastián. Pax or Paz fit right in!

2) Lux/Luz

Pax made me think of Lux and I again didn’t know if they’d prefer the Latin (which is fairly gender neutral) or the Spanish Luz (which is definitely feminine) better. These names mean “light” which may not seem like a very Adventy or Christmasy meaning but St. Lucy’s feast day is during Advent and her name means light also. Additionally, there is the light of the Star of Bethlehem which led the shepherds and the magi to the baby Jesus. I thought that was a cool connection! Evangelina Lux or Evangelina Luz sound beautiful — all those lilting Ls!

3) Mae

This one syllable form of Mary is hot in the middle spot right now and goes with just about any name. Evangelina Mae is so cute! Lina Mae!! Mary is a central figure in both the Advent and Christmas seasons, so it’s only fitting to honor her. The only downside I saw was that their other daughter Rita’s middle name is Maureen, itself a form of Mary. Both sisters would have forms of Mary for their middle names–– either they’ll love that or they’ll hate it (both of my girls have forms of Mary in the middle, so I’m on team go for it!).

4) Kris/Chris

Speaking of central figures of Advent and Christmas, you don’t get anymore central than Jesus the Christ Child Himself! These one syllable short forms of Christine or Kristina are laidback and familiar but unexpected. Evangelina Chris is really spunky and fun! This name is a little different than the direction they’ve gone with their other kids, but not in a bad or mismatched way. Plus, their boys have more formal, straightforward names while Evangelina is more embellished. With Evangelina Kris, they’d just be swapping the places.

5) Dawn

The O Antiphon on Dec. 21st is “Dawn of the East” in reference to Jesus and the more I thought about it, the more I liked Dawn. It symbolizes a new day, a new beginning and isn’t that what a baby is? Isn’t that what Advent and Christmas are really all about, a new beginning for Creation? I thought this was such a hopeful name. Evangelina Dawn is beautiful and unexpected and powerful. This name was a sleeper hit for me, it grew on me over time; perhaps it will do the same for them.

6) Rey

I know this is traditionally a male Spanish name but with the female Star Wars character taking this name, too, I think it’s leaning gender neutral these days. I thought of this name because Jesus is the King Who came to bring us back into His kingdom. Much like Evangelina Mae, Evangelina Rey is so cute! This would also keep in style with the other kids. I also like the tie in of sisters with middle names honoring Mary and Jesus.

7) Beth

This last one was really hard to settle on as I had a couple I was going between. I decided on this one because of its multiple layers. At first, this is a short form of Elizabeth and St. Elizabeth was the first to receive Mary and Jesus and rejoice. But it is also short for Bethlehem, the sacred place where Jesus was born. For an Advent baby, I thought this was the ultimate name! Elizabeth means “my God is an oath” and Bethlehem means “house of bread” giving the name Eucharistic ties, as well. Who knew such a short name could pack such a huge punch! Evangelina Beth is homey and classic and Lina Beth is so much fun!

Since I wrestled with the last name so much, I’m including one bonus name: Eve. Mary is considered the New Eve and I just love the alliteration of Evangelina Eve.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


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For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!