Baby name consultation: Girl name needed for baby no. 6 (British-y/Irish-y/Celtic-y)

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

Reese Joseph (“Joseph is a family name that runs through both sides of our family as a middle name. He is named after St. Joseph, protector of the holy family. Reese means ardour or enthusiasm and I think that fits his personality well.”)

Finnian Michael (Finn)We picked Finnian for both the Irish saint namesake as well as the nickname derived from it. We loved the nickname Finn and worked backwards from there, finding a saint that would match that. It was either Finnian or Finbarr so for us the choice was easy. Michael is in honor of the great Archangel as well as honoring my deceased brother.”

John Thomas (sometimes called Jack)John is named specifically for St. John the Apostle (the one whom Jesus loved!) but there are really so many great saints out there with that name that we couldn’t go wrong. It is also the name of a beloved Grandpa (who was named John but often went by Jack). Thomas is for St. Thomas Aquinas – and our John is really such a little philosopher at heart.”

Lucy Rose (“We picked Lucy because it is pretty, and light, distinctly feminine, but also fits better with the shorter names of our first three than say, Philomena or Benedicta. I loved that St. Lucy was such a beautiful model of purity. Rose is a nod to our Our Lady of Guadalupe and to St. Rose of Lima. She is also named after my Grandma Rose Lucy.“)

Gabriel John (also referred to as Gabey, Gabe) (“I have always loved the name Gabriel but never used it on any of our boys previously. I hadn’t even considered it for this child until one day in adoration I asked God what the name of this child was supposed to be (we knew he was a boy) and shortly after I began praying the joyful mysteries. Once I got to the Annunciation the name clicked in and it became number one on my list. After discovering that my husband had no qualms with the name and that it’s meaning is “God is my strength”, we never looked back. Also he was born 4 days after Christmas and I think that Gabriel fits so nicely into the season. His middle name was picked for St. John Vianney and also is my husbands middle name.”)

I loooove all of these!! Of course I couldn’t help but notice that the style of names changed somewhat as their family grew, which Mary Beth addresses:

Our style has become refined over the years in regards to our children’s names. When we started with our oldest, we were young and newly married – and hadn’t thought much about the names that our children would have. Over time we’ve come to see how important the naming of a child is – a name that will stay with them for all eternity!

I love seeing how a couple’s taste in names changes as life goes on — it’s so fun to see where they started and where they are now! Some couples change a lot and some change very little; some start with more conservative taste and become bolder, and some do just the opposite. Working with the population of families that I do, I’ve also seen quite a few couples who’ve had conversion experiences or whose faith has deepened as time goes on, and their babies’ names often reflect that. One of my favorite things is helping find names that loop in the siblings with the outlying names, that provide bridges between the styles while still having great faith connections.

Mary Beth continues,

We love names that are clearly masculine for boys and feminine for girls, especially since Reese’s name has since gained in popularity for girls. We also sneak in family names as much as possible. We require that at least the first name is a saint’s name, biblical name or Marian name.

One interesting twist to our naming process with this child is that we have agreed that my husband get’s to name this child if he is a boy and I will pick the name if she is a girl (we each have veto power however if we really hate the name). Hubby prefers straightforward names, simple names, masculine names (for a boy). I prefer longer names, beautiful names, names with meaning and history.

For this baby (#6) we found out that I was pregnant on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the due date is one day after the Assumption of Mary in August (exactly one year after our family consecrated ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart!), so I feel like Our Lady’s fingerprints are all over this child. We would love to give him or her a Marian name (either first or middle) to honor that. Your book has given me some great ideas as well as solidified some names for me that I had already been considering but did not know of the Marian connection.

Names I like for girls (in a loose order of preference):

Esther: I love the sound of this name, that there’s 2 syllables (one syllable has been done a lot in our family and yet I worry that 3 syllables is a stretch). I also enjoy that this name is well-known enough but not popular today. Esther is one of my favorite bible heroines and the name of a very sweet aunt. Essie as a nickname is precious. Husband thinks it’s ok.

Felicity: I like that it means happiness; also the uncommonness and the sound of the name. While I love the name I’m not sure of a good viable nn for it, since Lucy and “Lissy” sounds too similar. Name is growing on Hubby.

Clementine : I love this name — Marian and family connection! And how cute is Clemmie? I have a bit of an attraction to certain literary names that I grew up reading, especially British ones. For instance, I would love to have a Louisa as a nod to Louisa May Alcott, but it would not jive with Lucy. Hubby gives thumbs up.

Ruth : A favorite bible heroine but also just like the name and the simplicity goes with our family’s style. The simplicity makes it an easier sell for my husband.

Margaret : My mom’s name who I would love to honor. Not sure about a nickname? I don’t care for Maggie, Gretta, Marge or Molly. I could see using Etta but I don’t know if it’s too far-fetched.

Hope : I don’t have much reason for liking hope (except for the attributable virtue) but I haven’t been able to shake the name ever since hearing of an acquaintance with the name – it’s just so pretty! I read in one of your posts that Hope could be named after Our Lady of Hope – which I love! Hubby approves.

Elisabeth : It is pretty common but so lovely and classic, biblical and British (I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice). We would have to do some work to find a nickname for it because my nn is Betty and Lissy sounds too similar to Lucy. I do like Liesel for nn but awfully close again to Lucy.

Mary : Obviously a great name! – and has a triple family connection since it’s my first name, my mother’s middle name and our Blessed Mother’s name. Maybe overused since it’s my first name, although I often go by a nickname. If used it would likely be a middle name or a first name in a case where we call her by her middle name (as in Mary Clementine but called Clementine).

Middle names:

Immaculata
Maristella or Stellamaris
Regina
Henrietta
Marie
Verity
Frances
Therese
(any unused first name/)

Alice [is] also [a] contender … [it] is more Hubby’s preference (I have hesitations on the name since I don’t like the nickname Ali and I didn’t know there was a saint Alice but in the meantime I have found one) … I do find that each other’s preferences will sway the other to some degree so we might not want to cross [it] out.”

I’m not surprised that Mary Beth said that she has an affinity for British names, as her children’s name have a definite Irish/Celtic/British Isles feel to me. I love it! Reese and Finnian are most obvious; John Thomas is a huge name in my Irish family, and even though Jack is so popular now, it always ultimately makes me think of an Irish boy/man. I love St. Lucy, but when I hear Lucy my first thought is always Narnia! And I’ve often suggested Gabriel to families with an Irishy sensibility, citing actor Gabriel Byrne as a great example of Gabriel’s usage in Ireland. So that’s really where my mind went when coming up with ideas for this family.

It’s an interesting twist that Mary Beth’s hubs gets to choose the name for this baby if they have a boy, and MB gets to name a girl! I’ve known other couples who have done similarly, but I’m most surprised by the fact that it sounds like they didn’t do so with their previous children! (That would make an excellent basis for a Fun Friday Question …)

You have to know how excited I am to read, as Mary Beth says, “Our Lady’s fingerprints all over this child”! And I’m so glad that my book was helpful to them! A few of the ideas I had for this baby are in my book, so I’m a little worried that, since MB didn’t have them on her list, she’s already decided against them, but maybe a good argument in favor of them is all that’s needed?

First though, these are my thoughts on the names Mary Beth likes for a girl:

  • Esther: I do love it! And I love her reasons for loving it — the fact that she has a personal connection with the biblical figure and that it’s a family name. I admit it seems to me a little mismatched with her other kids, but the family connection definitely trumps that I think, and I agree that Essie is darling! (Hmm … but maybe too much like Lucy?)
  • Felicity: I love it too, and I think it goes great with the older kids. Nicknames often seem to be problematic for parents considering Felicity! Lucy and Lissy are too similar, I agree, but there are others, like Flick and Flicka, Lily, Fin, Zita, Fee, Felly, and Liddy — these were all discussed in the spotlight I did of Felicity a while ago.
  • Ruth: I love Ruth, and I think of it as similar to Esther, so normally I might think of it as a mismatch for the other kids, BUT the only Ruth I know in real life is native Irish! And of course she goes by Ruthie, which of course they’d have to call her, it’s the sweetest!
  • Margaret: Oh man, I would have a hard time not choosing Margaret if I were Mary Beth! Her mom’s name! And a fantastic match with the older kids! I think Etta is totally fine and not too farfetched at all! Other nicknames for it that she didn’t mention include Margo, Madge, Mae/May, Mamie, Meg, Peggy, and Rita, but my very favorites for this family are Maisie and Daisy! Maisie is a Celtic (Irish&Scottish) diminutive of Margaret, and Daisy is a traditional nickname for it (since the French form of Margaret is also the name of the daisy flower in French: marguerite) — I think both would be amazing with the other kids! I could also see something like Margaret Eve nicknaming to Maeve, which I think would be really cool (I have Daisy, Eve, and Maeve in my book!).
  • Hope: I agree with MB, there’s something about Hope! Yes, it can be for Our Lady of Hope!
  • Elisabeth: I love this spelling! Elizabeth/Elisabeth has SO MANY nicknames! Some of my favorites are Betsy (probably too close to Betty?), Libby, Liddy, Ellie, and Tess, but they’re all so great! Elisabeth can also shorten to Elise, which is so pretty.
  • Mary: Oh yes! I like Mary Beth’s plan to have it be a middle, or a hidden first name.
  • [Alice: I don’t think people tend to nickname Alice? I mean, Alison seems very nicknameable — I feel like most Alisons go by Ali at least sometimes during their lives, but Alice has a more distinguished feel (while also being so sweet), I don’t know, I don’t think I’d ever find myself casually nicknaming an Alice. Maybe Ali’s used more than I thought!]

I looove Mary Beth’s list of middle name ideas!! Immaculata, Maristella/Stellmaris, Regina, and Marie are especially perfect to honor Our Lady with a non-Marian first name, while Henrietta, Verity, Frances, and Therese would be great as a middle name for a Marian first name.

Alrighty, as you all know, I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each name, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. As I mentioned before, I also really had my eye out for Irish-y/Celtic-y/British-y type names, not only because I get that vibe from Mary Beth’s kids as a whole, but also because as I mentioned I really try to loop in any siblings with names that are kind of outliers, and her oldest two — especially Reese — are starting to have that feel. And I looked through my book as well! With all that in mind, these are my additional ideas for this baby, if a girl:

(1) Beatrice or Beatrix
I’m not sure which I like better here, Beatrice or Beatrix! I have them in my book — they mean “she who blesses, makes happy, delights,” which is an amazing meaning for a little girl, and a great connection to Our Lady! Bea is a great nickname, and I like Tris and Trixie too! Beatrice is a style match for both Clementine and Alice.

(2) Juliet
Julia is a match for John and Juliet for Felicity and Hope, and of them, I like Juliet quite a bit for this family, but they’re both lovely! I did a spotlight of the Julia names a while ago, complete with patron saints. The Juliette spelling is French and frilly, but the Juliet spelling is more in keeping with the older kids I think.

(3) Annabel(le)
Annabelle is also match for Felicity and Hope, and I immediately thought of Annabel in my book: it arose in Scotland in the middle ages as a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, which is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable)! I think it’s so lovely, and Annie as a nickname sounds perfect as Lucy’s sister!

(4) Susanna
Speaking of Annie: Anna, Hannah, and Susannah all were results of my research as well, and of them, I thought Susanna might be perfect! It’s also in my book, as it means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew, which could make for a nice connection with sister Lucy Rose! Susannah has a heavier Old Testament feel (more along the lines of Esther and Ruth), while Susanna is New Testament and saintly — and in fact, St. Susanna’s feast day is August 11! The same month this baby is due!

(5) Miriam
Lovely Miriam fits right in with Esther and Ruth, and it’s Marian to boot! Mary Beth’s husband likes some Old Testament names too, so I like that Miriam might appeal to both of them. Miri and Mimi are sweet nicknames as well.

(6) Maura or Moira
Speaking of variants of Mary, since we’re (or, at least I’m) talking about Irish-y names, I wonder if Mary Beth might like to consider one of the Irish forms of Mary? It would be a neat way of connecting her first name, her mom’s middle name, and of course Our Lady in a new way in her daughter’s name. I love both Maura and Moira!

(7) Nora
Nora isn’t as obviously faithy as some of my other ideas, but it kept tugging me as a perfect fit for this family! Though it’s got good usage as a given name in its own right, it’s a short form of either Honora or Eleanor, either of which could provide a patron (Bl. Archangela Girlani’s birth name was Eleanor, and there’s a Bl. Eleanora as well; Venerable Honora Nagle would do also). A name like this might be best paired with one of the heavy hitting Marian middles, like Nora Maristella or Nora Clementine.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Reese, Finnian, John, Lucy, and Gabriel?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Short name with no nicknames needed for a little sister

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! (Blessings to you all on St. Patrick’s Day!)

I’m so sorry I didn’t post this consultation yesterday — I came down with a wee (only a wee, thank goodness) stomach bug and felt gross for most of the day, but I’m much better today! I’ve got my Guinness stew cooking (yes, while everyone else was making sure they had enough toilet paper and canned goods, I was making sure I had enough Guinness and stew beef 😂☘️) and a plan for the boys’ school for today (huge shout out to our teachers who have nearly seamlessly transitioned to distance teaching) and a nice cup of coffee so here we go!

I had the honor of doing two previous consultations for Caitlin and her husband, for babies no. 3 and 4, and I’m so happy for them that they’re expecting their fifth — a little green bean! This sweet baby joins big sibs:

Claire Camille
Margaret Joyce (Maggie)
Beatrice Jacqueline (Betsy)
George Warren

I just love their style, and I love Betsy as a nickname for Beatrice! So perfect!

Caitlin writes,

We’ve followed the pattern of patron saints as first names and our grandparents’ names as middle names. We’re pretty set on a boy’s name: Patrick William. But we’re struggling with a girl’s name that meets our criteria and that we agree on!

Our second and third daughters’ names are in a very similar style. They are both on the longer side, but we call them by nicknames that have the same ending. We want to avoid that name ending this time, and we want to have a shorter name (like our oldest, Claire) that doesn’t have any nicknames.

We also only have one grandmother’s name left to use. Her name was Shirley Anne and we’d be happy with either Shirley or Anne as a middle name.

I really like the name Alice and my husband really likes the name Helen. We’re trying to think of more names to add to our list. Lydia? Adele? We like Joan and Jane but feel like they’re a little *too* short.”

I couldn’t wait to see what names they considering, especially for a girl (I do love Patrick William, so handsome!), and I wasn’t disappointed! Alice and Helen as frontrunners, and Lydia, Adele, Joan, and Jane as possibilities are all fantastic!

First though, I wonder if Caitlin and her hubby have considered Anne Shirley as a first+middle combo?? I mean, what an opportunity!! I think Anne fits their criteria of a great patron saint for a first name, it goes great with Shirley as a middle (not just because it’s the name of one of the best literary characters ever), and it’s short, like Claire. The only thing working against it is that Annie is such a common nickname for it — but it doesn’t have to be! They can definitely be firm and consistent and insist on “just Anne” always, just like the amazing Anne-with-an-E herself. I could also see Nan arise as a non-ee-ending nickname — it was originally a diminutive of Anne (even though it’s not any shorter) and it feels sweet and affectionate to me. I looked back at my previous emails with Caitlin and saw that I suggested Anna for them before, but I’m loving Anne even more for them this time.

Okay, now that I’ve tried to convince them of Anne as a first name (!) here are my thoughts on the other names they’re considering:

  • Alice: I love it with the older kids, great name
  • Helen: I’m surprised that Caitlin’s husband is the one who likes Helen — I feel like moms are the ones who usually like the older names! It’s a great name too
  • Lydia: I love Lydia! The older girls definitely have an Austen-type feel, so I think Lydia fits in nicely
  • Adele: Also great! They’ve done really well coming up with names that don’t necessarily automatically nickname to anything (though I love Nell for Helen)
  • Joan and Jane: I love both of these, and since they’re both one syllable, they’re not any shorter than Claire!

So basically I’m like, I have nothing to offer! They have such great ideas! I can see each one of them working really well with both of the middle name options, and they each sound great as sisters to the older kids. I’m pretty excited to see what name they end up giving this baby!

Of course, even though they have a fantastic list, I can always come up with more! I did my usual research, looking up the names they’ve already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard and compiling a list of names from there, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also had some of my own ideas of names that I thought they might like, and once I had a good list I went back through our old emails to be sure I wasn’t repeating any. Sure enough, I was — I’d suggested Eleanor with the nicknames Nell or Nora, and this time I was going to suggest just Nora as the first name due to its short length and lack of nicknames (and also it fits with their Irish/Scottish/British heritage that Caitlin had told me they wanted to stick with). Otherwise, all my ideas are new! This is what I came up with:

(1) Elise or Eliza
Elise is a style match for Claire, and I loved it as soon as I saw it! Because it’s already a diminutive of Elisabeth, I think it’s less likely to be nicknamed? I also love that it’s French, like Claire. Eliza is a match for Lydia, and I could see it also working quite nicely for this family! Any of the Sts. Elizabeth would be wonderful as patron.

(2) Edith
Edith wasn’t a style match for any of their other names per the BNW, but Helen made me think of it right away. Even though a lot of people love Edith for its sweet nickname Edie, Edith on its own with no nickname is totally doable. St. Edith Stein is a fantastic patron for a young girl.

(3) Rose or Rosa
Is Rose too similar in length to Joan and Jane — too short? It’s so lovely and feminine though, I love it! And it’s a style match for Alice and Jane. Rosie is certainly common, but again: firm and consistent can make sure she’s always just Rose. I think Rosa is less likely to be nicknamed, maybe? And it’s just that wee bit longer, and it’s a match for George!

(4) Ruth
As with Edith, people who I see drawn to Ruth are usually totally taken with the sweet Ruthie, but just Ruth is great too! Its meaning of “friend” is wonderful, and because Catilin and her hubs love their heritage, I know they’ll be interested to know that the only person I know my age with the name Ruth is native Irish.

(5) Stella
Despite Edie, Rosie, and Ruthie, one of my main motivators was trying to find names that didn’t have an obvious or natural nickname, so when I saw Stella listed as a style match, I thought it might be just right. Also, of course, I love the Marian connection with her title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea).

(6) Flora
Same as with Stella because of no obvious nickname, when I saw Flora as a match for Adele, I thought it could be perfect! It’s one of those names that I never think of, but when I do encounter it I’m always pleased.

(7) Faith, Eve
Finally, I did a search in the Name Finder on babynamewizard.com for one-syllable girl names that don’t begin with C, M, B, G, or P, and of the results, I thought both Faith and Eve would be lovely with the older kids. They both have great Marian connections, and I like them both with the middle name options. (Hope and Grace also fit, and in fact, Grace was a huge hit for this family in my research, but I thought Gracie would be even harder to avoid than Edie and Rosie. I didn’t think Hope was exactly right.)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Claire, Margaret/Maggie, Beatrice/Betsy, and George?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Advent name for a surprise baby?

I’ve had the great privilege to do two previous consultations for today’s family — one which was supposed to post here but I got to post a birth announcement instead because the baby came sooner than expected!, and this one and subsequent birth announcement, and I’m honored to post this consultation for them today! They’re expecting their fifth baby on earth, a little green bean who joins big sibs:

Lea writes,

We are 15 weeks along with a (surprise) baby #5! We are due August 14, 2020. We have 4 other children on Earth and 4 in heaven. Here are our other children’s names. You helped us name 2 of them!

James Pershing
Paul Raymond
Luke Gordon
Felicity Victoria Kathleen

And in heaven: Agnes, Eli, Isaac, and Nicholas

I just love these names! The boys’ names are so handsome and straightforward (and Luke was specifically with Our Lady in mind!), and Felicity is such a beautiful name for the little sister of all those brothers!

We are stumped on boy names in particular but I’d like to hear your suggestions for girls too. I have a strong intuition that it is a boy, though! 

Names we have considered for a girl are mostly Advent themed as we discovered baby was coming during the first week of Advent.

Marian Elizabeth
Marian Violet
Marian Rose
Lucy Rose Marie

And boys we have considered are:
Maximilian Victor (since we’re due on St Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day)
Samuel Victor (like the name and the way it fits with other boys)

We don’t really like Kolbe (husband doesn’t anyway) and Victor would probably be the middle name because it’s the last grandfather to be used by us. Each of our other boys has a grandfather in their middle name.

We love Rose and Marie for girls but not really for first names because they feel a little too common.  

So, suggestions for names that are either Advent/saint themed would be appreciated! As I mentioned this baby was a total surprise to us, we’ve not faced this circumstance before so maybe a name reflecting that would be neat if that exists??

I totally get that they’re stumped on boy names, since I had a harder time coming up with new ideas for boys than for girls! I did my usual research first in the Baby Name Wizard, looking for style matches for the names they’ve already used and those they like/are considering, then found all my old posts on Advent and Christmas names (they’re all listed here), and between the two of them, I made my list of ideas for this baby. That’s when I went back and reread my previous conversations with Lea, and had to cross a few of my ideas off my list, as I’d previously suggested them! I’ll list them here again, though, just in case:

Girl
(1) Annabel
I suggested this for them when they were expecting Felicity, saying: “The Anna family of names were big for you in my research — Anna is a style match for James and Jude, Anita for Paul, and Hannah for Isaac. While I love Anna names (and St. Anne!), I didn’t think the ones I mentioned would fit your “unique” designation, but I thought Annabel/Annabelle might. It’s not technically an Anna name, arising in the Middle Ages in Scotland as a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, which is contained in the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable), but of course the fact that Anna is contained in it can definitely be a nod to St. Anne. In fact, you could think of it as Anna + belle, where belle means “beautiful” in French. How lovely! I love that it’s also a Marian name. I don’t feel like I have a good sense of your taste in girl names, so I don’t know if you’ll love it, but I really like it for you.” Now that they have Felicity, I actually think Annabel(le) goes really well as her sister! I also included Annabel in an article about Christmas names that I did for CatholicMom, saying that it “is fitting for the holy day on which we celebrate Mother Mary giving birth to her Baby.” (I know Lea asked about Advent names, but I looked through my Christmas names posts because the names can often be Advent-y as well.)

(2) Anna, Hannah
I mentioned these in the Annabel bit above, but an added reason that I love Hannah or Anna for Lea and her hubs this time, especially, is because of their baby being a surprise. Hannah prayed for Samuel for so long, and St. Anne and St. Joachim prayed for Mary for so long, that I think their stories are great for anyone who’s surprised by a baby-on-the-way! Anne is lovely, but I think Anna is a better fit for them.

(3) Faith, Hope, Nadine
When Lea was expecting Felicity, she said she’d love a name with a good meaning, and I had Faith, Hope, and Nadine (which means “hope”) listed as suggestions for her back then. This time, I had them on my list because of their Advent meaning!

Boy
(1) Joseph
I was digging Joseph for this baby, because of the Advent/Christmas connection, but then I discovered that I suggested it for them when they were expecting Luke and interested in Marian names. Maybe they’d like to consider it again?

(2) Gabriel
Similar to Joseph, I’d suggested Gabriel when they were expecting Luke because of its Marian meaning; I love it now for them because of its connection to Advent and Christmas.

(3) Martin
Martin was one I considered suggesting to them for Felicity, but then decided not to –which I noted in Felicity’s consultation, so I really already threw it out there! I had it on my list again for them now because it’s a style match for Paul, and I was really trying to find new boy names to suggest to them. It’s a great saintly name, but unfortunately I don’t think it has any Advent or Christmas connection.

(4) Henry
I suggested Henry for Luke almost solely because I have a friend who has a James and a Paul, as well as a Henry! Haha! This time, I had it on my list because it’s a match for Lucy and Samuel, though, like Martin, it doesn’t have any Advent/Christmas connection, as far as I know.

Alright, so those are the names I’d previously suggested that would have been on my list today otherwise. But don’t worry! I can always come up with more ideas! 😜 First though, I just want to offer some thoughts on the names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Marian Elizabeth/Violet/Rose: I think Marian as a first name is unexpected and lovely, and certainly *ahem* Marian! 😂 I love each of the middle names Lea and her hubs are considering with it: with Elizabeth, it’s so “The Visitation,” which is awesome; Violet and Rose can both nod to the Advent candles, which is great for what they’re looking for.
  • Lucy Rose Marie: Gorgeous! I like that St. Lucy’s feast day is Dec. 13, which is both during Advent and close to when they found out this baby was on his/her way! Rose and Marie as middle names are just beautiful. If it’s helpful, I have a friend named Rosemarie. (Actually … I wonder if Rosemary or Rosemarie might interest them in the first name spot? I like them both for this family and as Felicity’s sister!)
  • Maximilian Victor: Awesome, I love St. Max and I love that Lea’s due on his feast day! Maximilian has more of a “Felicity” feel to me than their older boys, and helped me when trying to come up with boy ideas for them.
  • Samuel Victor: I agree, I like how it sounds with the older boys. I also love the story of Hannah and Samuel, and as I mentioned above with Hannah, I think Samuel could be a nice nod to the surprise! of this baby.

Speaking of the surprise factor, when I read that Lea might like a name that nods to that, my first thought was Isaac! I excitedly scribbled it down for them … and then remembered they already have an Isaac! But I quite like the Hannah/St. Anne/Anna idea for them in that vein. Another surprise baby was John the Baptist, though Lea had previously said John has been used a lot in their family.

Okay! On to my suggestions for this baby:

Girl
(1) Lydia
As soon as I saw Lydia in the post on Advent names I did for CatholicMom, I thought yes!! The biblical Lydia was a seller of purple cloth, which could be a nice nod to the purple candles of the Advent wreath. Additionally, it’s a style match for Samuel! I love it as a sister to Felicity.

(2) Stella
Stella might be too Christmassy and not Adventy enough? But I love it for this family! It means “star,” and so can refer to the Christmas star, but it can also refer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris), and it’s a style match for Lucy.

(3) Holly, Ivy
Of course both Holly and Ivy have an unmistakable Christmas feel (and I know I’m referring Christmas a lot, instead of Advent, but it’s hard to separate out the two! And most people have holly and ivy up during Advent, so I think they work!), but they’re also both entries in my book of Marian names! I wrote: “Christmas holly (Ilex opaca et al.) has been known as St. Mary’s Holly and represents the perpetual virginity of Our Lady” and “Kenilworth ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) has also been known as Tears of Mary.” Ivy is also a style match for Eli.

(4) Natalie/a
Speaking of Christmas names that also work for Advent, Natalie is a style match for Nicholas and I thought they might really like it! Its variant Natalia is gorgeous too. St. Natalia’s feast is July 27, so if the baby comes that early, Natalia or Natalie might be perfect!

(5) Susanna (Zuzu)
Susanna might be my favorite idea for this baby — it means both “rose” and “lily” in Hebrew, which gives Lea and her hubs Rose without the “common” feeling (and is also why it’s in my Marian names book); it can be Advent-y through its nickname Zuzu (Zuzu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life!); AND St. Susanna’s feast day is August 11! Felicity and Susanna sound like amazing sisters!

(6) Immaculata
Finally, I have Immaculata here more as a middle name idea, inspired by St. Maximilian Kolbe, since he founded the Militia of the Immaculata and often referred to Our Lady as “the Immaculata.” I know a little Faith Immaculata and I’ve always thought her name was just stunning; for this family, I’m loving the idea of Rose Immaculata — Marian and Kolbe-ian in one name! I know Lea said Rose feels too common, but as a first name it isn’t really. It was no. 123 in 2018; it was a top 100 name — often in the top 20 — from 1900 to 1960 before dropping down as far as 392 in 1997. It is on the upswing — it broke into the top 300 in 2011 and since then has increased each year — but Lucy is no. 51, for reference. Of course, if they just can’t shake that “too common” feel, then that matters! But giving the name an unexpected middle can give the whole combo a real sparkle.

Boy
(1) Andrew
I loooove Andrew for this baby, it’s hands down my favorite idea!! I think it’s amazing as a brother to James, Paul, and Luke (and Felicity of course), but even better, did you know that Advent is set in reference to the feast of St. Andrew? His feast is Nov. 30, and the First Sunday of Advent is always the Sunday nearest his feast. How cool! Andrew Victor is very handsome.

(2) David
I also quite like David for them — as with Andrew, I love it with brothers James, Paul, and Luke, and its Advent connection is fantastic, being that we wait for the birth of King David’s descendant. David Victor sounds fine together.

(3) Nathan(iel)
Another name from Jesus’ genealogy is Nathan, and since Nathan is a style match for both Luke and Samuel, I thought it would be a good suggestion for this baby! Nathan’s place in the genealogy is pretty cool, as I wrote about in this post. The longer Nathaniel is a match for Nicholas, and Nate and even Nathan can certainly be nicknames for it. Nathan Victor and Nathaniel Victor both work nicely.

(4) Dominic
Dominic is a match for Maximilian, and I love that it means “of the Lord,” so they can definitely assign it an Advent meaning if they want to! St. Dominic’s feast day is August 8, which could be great for a boy born a few days early! Dominic Victor has a pretty heavy-duty meaning: “victory of the Lord”!

(5) Charles
Charles is based solely on style — it’s a match for James; Charlie is a match for Lucy; and its variant Carl is a match for Paul. Since they’re having a hard time with boy names, I felt like I couldn’t not include a name that seems to match their taste! Charles and Charlie are great names and have such great patrons: Sts. Charles Borromeo and Charles Garnier; St. John Paul II (birth name: Karol); and Bl. Karl of Austria (for whom JP2 was named!), among others. (If you read the article at that link, you’ll be left thinking there’s no better name for a Catholic boy than Charles!) I like Charles Victor.

(6) Sebastian
Originally, I had Oliver here, also for style reasons: it’s a match for both Felicity and Lucy, and a sweet brother for James, Paul, and Luke. But then I said Oliver Victor out loud and thought that didn’t work too well! So I’m changing my last idea to Sebastian, which is also a match for Felicity, as well as Maximilian. I actually love Sebastian Victor together, since St. Sebastian is the patron of athletes!

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of James, Paul, Luke, and Felicity?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 9 needs a name in the established theme

I’m thrilled today to post a consultation for one of my favorite families, for whom I’ve done three previous consultations (!) (here, here, and here) and three birth announcements (!) (here, here, and here) — and they’re expecting another baby! Josh and Mari are having another girl — their sixth! — a baby sister for:

Ariana Camille
Audrey Caroline
Caleb Daniel
Amelia Clare (“Millie”)
Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna” or “Gigi”)
Charles Michael (“Charlie”)
Anessa Corinne (“Nessa” or “Nessie”)
Christian Gabriel

As you can see, they have an A-C theme for girls, and they’ve done such a lovely job with picking beautiful names in the theme!

Josh writes:

We learned on Christmas Day that we are expecting baby #9, a girl, in late August, which will give us three kids with August birthdays. We’d like to enlist your help again with a name. As may recall we have an A-C theme going with our girls, and we want to stick to that.

Our top contender right now is Adrienne Cecilia. Here are some first names we are considering:

Adelaide (previously vetoed for Anessa, although I like it)
Abigail (nice name, although our best friends have an Abigail)
Adeline
Angeline

We’d like some other middle name ideas too, but I think it would be tough to knock out Cecilia unless we pick a first name that doesn’t go well with it.”

I love their top contender of Adrienne Cecilia — it’s a beautiful combo that has two great saintly connections and a pleasing rhythm. Wonderful! Adelaide, Abigail, Adeline, and Angeline are also great options; of those, I’d probably cross off Abigail because of their best friends’ daughter, and I would give Angeline an edge because of it being Mari’s middle name.

Since the desire for an A name is the primary concern for this family, I didn’t do my usual research to find names that match their style in the Baby Name Wizard; rather, I looked through the A section of a couple of my name books, including the book of Marian baby names that I wrote. Some of these might be too Spanish or Italian for their family, but I actually didn’t include the really out-there ones, only the ones that I could see Josh and Mari thinking were okay. First though, I went through our past emails to be sure I wasn’t suggesting names I’ve already suggested. They were:

Avila
Ava
Alice, Alicia, Adelaide,* Aleydis
Adeline,* Adele, Adelia
Aurora
Abigail*
Amata, Amanda, Amy/Aimee
Agnes* (as Anessa)
Antonia
Augusta (which was going to be one of my top suggestions this time, because of the baby being due in August!)
Charis, Carys
Cara, Carine/Carina, Caritas
Cora, Corinne*
Clementine
Carmel, Carmela/Carmella, Carmen
Casey
Chloe
Christina, Christine, Christiane

(the asterisks denote names that they’ve used or considered)

And two other names they said they’d considered in the past were Anneliese and Charity.

I love seeing all these names listed here like this — what a handy reference for them for this baby, and even going forward should they be blessed with another daughter in the future! Here are my new A-name ideas for them:

(1) Addolorata
Starting right away with a super-Italian name, Addolorata is the Italian variant of Dolores and, like Dolores, refers to Our Lady of Sorrows. One of the things I love about Addolorata for this family is that it can take the sweet and accessible nickname Addy, like Adelaide and Adeline from the list of names they’re currently considering.

(2) Alma
Alma is Marian because of Our Lady’s title Alma Redemptoris Mater, but its translation is tricky. This is what I wrote in my book:

[It] has been translated into English in several ways by different authors, depending on their intended poetic effect: ‘Mother of Christ,’ by Fr. Edward Caswall; ‘Kindly Mother of the Redeemer,’ by John Henry Cardinal Newman; ‘Sweet Mother of Our Saviour Blest,’ by John Wallace; ‘Maiden! Mother of Him Who redeemed us,’ by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute; and ‘gentle, loving bounteous mother,’ by Thomas Sheehan. These translations are influenced by the various translations of the term alma itself: it is said to be a Hebrew word meaning ‘young woman’ (married as well as unmarried); it can also come from the Latin almus, meaning ‘nourishing,’ and the Spanish alma, which means ‘soul.’

It’s a lovely, old-feeling name, and the Marian connection is pretty great!

(3) Araceli
Araceli is the Spanish form of the Marian title Ara Caeli (or Coeli): “Altar of Heaven” — what a beautiful meaning, and I love how Araceli sounds, so feminine and lovely! I posted a birth announcement for a family who gave the name Araceli to their daughter a while ago, which gives a nice real-life example of the name.

(4) Assumpta
This name, of course, refers to the Assumption, and behindthename.com says it’s “used especially in Ireland.” How interesting! Another interesting tidbit is that the Italian Assunta has often been “translated” as Susan when Italian immigrants came to this country, therefore I don’t think there’s any reason they can’t use something like Susie as a nickname for Assumpta. I like the idea of Susie with Millie, Gianna/Gigi, and Nessa/Nessie as a non-A nickname.

(5) Aurea or Aurelia
I’d previously suggested Aurora, but not Aurea or Aurelia. Aurea is Latin for “golden,” which is a gorgeous meaning, and can be Marian in a few different ways: the golden crown Our Lady’s often depicted wearing; the golden roses she had on her feet at Lourdes; her title of Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland; and the fact that her heart appeared golden during some of her apparitions at Beauraing. Aurelia means the same, and is perhaps a bit more familiar. Auri and Ria are possible nicknames for both Aurea and Aurelia, as is Goldie! (Swistle posted a while ago about a family with a daughter named Aurelia that they call Goldie!)

(6) Ave
Previously, I’d suggested Ava, but Ave is a little different: it’s said like AH-vay, like Ave Maria, and is an entry in my book because of how similar it is to Ava, and because of this particular verse in the hymn Ave Maris Stella (“Hail, Star of the Sea”):

O! By Gabriel’s Ave,
Uttered long ao,
Eva’s name reversing,
Established peace below.

I thought it was so cool that the author of the lyrics poetically connected Ave to a reversal of Eva (Eve)!

(7) Azucena
I suspect this one might be a little too out-there for Josh and Mari, but I love it, so I wanted to include it! It’s a Spanish name that refers to the Madonna lily, and shares the same root as Susanna, which itself means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew. Susie could work as a nickname for Azucena as well, as can Zuzu (like Zuzu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life!).

(8) Archangela
If they’re going to go with an Angel name, my very favorite is Mari’s own middle name, Angeline — what a nice connection for a mother and daughter to have! But if they wanted to consider a different one, Archangela is a pretty great option! Not only would a little Archangela be able to claim the archangels as her patrons, but there’s also a Bl. Archangela Girlani.

(9) Alivia
I don’t know if they’re open to alternate spellings, but I’ve seen Alivia as an Olivia variant, and think something like that could work quite nicely for this family, especially as they start to run out of A names that they like.

So those are my A-name ideas, and here are new C-name ideas:

(1) Caeli
I can’t believe I haven’t suggested Caeli already! It’s Latin for “of heaven,” and is used in the Marian titles Regina Caeli (“Queen of Heaven”) and (as mentioned above) Ara Caeli (“Altar of Heaven”). It’s said like CHAY-lee, and is also sometimes spelled Coeli (but pronounced the same). I’ve known of a couple little Catholic girls named Caeli in honor of Our Lady.

(2) Candace
I included Candace in my book for this reason:

This biblical name, mentioned in Acts 8:27, was the title of the queens of Ethopia. It’s said to mean ‘queen mother’ in Cushitic, which perfectly describes Our Lady.”

I could see it being a really great middle name for this baby!

(3) Celeste
I often think of Cecilia and Celeste as being two sides of the same coin — though they don’t mean the same, the fact that they both start with Cel- make them so similar in my mind. I wouldn’t suggest Celeste instead of Cecilia to this family *except* if the first name they choose doesn’t flow so well with Cecilia, and might sound better with Celeste. Celeste means “heavenly,” so etymologically it’s related to Caeli.

(4) Cruz
Cruz might seem an unusual option for a girl, but when I was researching and writing my book, I discovered that Cruz is actually used for both boys and girls in the Spanish-speaking world. It literally means “cross,” and as such can point to the Cross of Crucifixion and of course to Jesus, but in a Marian sense it refers to Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. A name full of meaning! And again, it might have just the right rhythm as a middle name for the chosen first name for this baby.

(5) Colette
My last C suggestion is Colette — one of my recent favorites! St. Colette of Corbie is a patron of expectant mothers (among other things), and her name is just so pretty and feminine! (Her feast day is this Friday, March 6!)

And those are all my new ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest in the A-C theme for the little sister of Ariana, Audrey, Caleb, Amelia (Millie), Anne-Catherine Gianna (Gianna or Gigi), Charles (Charlie), Anessa (Nessa or Nessie), and Christian?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name predictions: Patton Baby No. 8!

Happy Lundi Gras (Mardi Gras’ little-known sister)! 😂 Of course by the time you read this it probably *will* be Mardi Gras, since it’s taken me allll dayyyy to get this up due to my little stinker Luke who refused to nap.

I’m super excited to share my predictions for our buddy Grace Patton’s new baby, due in June!! I’m calling them predictions rather than suggestions since I’ve previously done two consultations for Grace (here and here), and been so surprised by the names she and her hubby ended up giving the babies (which is something I LOVE – being surprised by names never ceases to thrill me!) … so I feel like I don’t really have anything to offer the Pattons! They are Baby Naming Royalty, as far as I’m concerned, and I can’t wait to hear what they name this little green bean! (=gender unknown 🌱) (I posted birth announcements for babies five, six, and seven as well.)

But of course I can’t stop my namey head from trying to get in their headspace and predict what names, or kinds of names?, they might choose! So first off, as a refresher, Baby’s big brothers and sisters are:

Julia Grace
Sebastian Xavier (Bash)
Theodore Augustine (Theo)
Phoebe Anika
Bosco Ignatius
Abraham James (Abe)
Clement Joseph
+Felipé (with Jesus)

Amazing names, each one! ❤ ❤ ❤ I did chat with Grace a little bit recently about names for this baby-on-the-way, and she said,

We really are kind of coming up empty-handed, honestly! We feel like we are completely out of boy names (of course we aren’t — just will take some digging/thinking — and Simon prefers to chat about names on the way to the hospital, ha!) and understand why my mom used one of my brother’s middle names as a first name (Daniel Peter and then Peter Joseph when she had her fourth boy). So, I’d love suggestions or predictions! Phoebe (at the mature age of 5) is really concerned that any potential girl names, “sound nice with Phoebe and Julia” and so far all she has approved is, “Catherine” — ha! I do love that name but I wouldn’t consider it a frontrunner at the moment.

Because Julia’s middle name is Grace and Phoebe’s middle name is Anika (which means grace) — Simon loves the idea of carrying the tradition on with another middle girl name that also means grace — which I feel less strongly about but am not at all opposed to the sentiment!

If Clement wasn’t Clement I think he would’ve been a Dominic but again, not a frontrunner this time around — funny how that works! Sebastian would’ve been a Vivienne had he been a girl and I think Abe was going to be Iris if he was a girl and I still love those names but I don’t know — we still have months to discuss, I suppose!

Such good info here! I love that Phoebe is concerned that a sister’s name “sound nice with Phoebe and Julia” — I definitely took that to heart when coming up with my list of predictions! (For the record, one of the things I love about her idea of Catherine is that it ends in a different sound than Julia and Phoebe — not so easy to do with girl names, since ends-in-a and ends-in-the-ee-sound are pretty common! You’ll see I included some other differently-ending-names below.)

So we know that Vivienne and Iris were previous frontrunners for a girl, as well as Dominic for a boy. I remember from my previous Patton posts that Caroline and Felicity were also previously discussed, as well as Damian and Simon Jr. (yes, even for a non-firstborn); also no more ends-in-o names for boys either (because of Theo and Bosco).

Since I did two previous consultations, there are a lottttt of names that I’ve already suggested, like:

  • Various ideas for backing into the nickname Lola (Violet, Caroline, Lourdes, Louisa, Lucia)
  • Elisabeth
  • Felicity
  • Stella
  • Emmeline
  • Magdalene
  • Verity
  • Audrey
  • A bunch of Mary/Maria/Marie+ ideas (any of those paired with Olivia or Olive, Ophelia, Simone, Tess, Elliott, Emmett, Bennett)
  • Maximilian nicked Miles
  • Francis nicked Finn
  • Gregory nicked Rory or Gus [Gregory Simon=Gus so perfectly!]
  • Oliver
  • Isaac
  • Gabriel
  • Alexander
  • Nathaniel

(As you can see, there were a couple instances of overlap between names I’d suggested and names they considered! SO exciting!)

There were several that I’d considered that didn’t end up making my final cut, but I think a lot of these still potentially have merit (Grace’s previous idea of Iris is on here! Woo!):

  • Penelope
  • Imogen(e)
  • Genevieve
  • Iris or Ivy
  • Lydia (in BOTH previous consultations)
  • Corinne
  • Liv
  • Alice
  • Zara
  • Natalia
  • Tobias (too much long O probably)
  • Tristan
  • Benedict/Bennett and Benjamin
  • Matthias
  • Samuel
  • Henry
  • Elliott
  • Emmett
  • Jude

Whew! This post is a study in New Evangelization Catholic Baby Naming! 💃 💃 💃 What names are left??

I was actually chuckling as I was pulling this post together, because when I do repeat consultations (or “predictions posts,” as I’m calling this one), I always start from scratch, without looking back at my previous ideas. Then I’ll go back and cross off any repeats. When I did so here, it was hilarious to discover that there were SO MANY names I had to cross off of my ideas below! So many that I thought were spot on, but I’d already suggested them previously! (As usual, I looked up the names they’ve already used in the Baby Name Wizard, and I looked through my book of Marian baby names; I also used the Name Matchmaker tool on babynamewizard.com, and spent a bit of time looking for names that mean “grace.” I also looked through a bunch of recent Appellation Mountain posts that list the names that are big on the site that week — I’ve always thought Grace has her finger on “the pulse,” and up-and-coming names would be right in her wheelhouse I think.) After whittling my list down to just new ideas, these are the names that I think Grace and Simon might consider (with, okay, an actual suggestion or two thrown in here and there, I just can’t help myself):

Girl
(1) Charis
I love this idea, it might be my favorite. Charis, which is said like Karis and Carys and is contained within the word Eucharist, means “grace”! In fact, that’s what it means within the word Eucharist! (From Merriam-Webster: “from eucharistos grateful, from eu- + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice.”) I know of a family who named their daughter Charis because of the Eucharist connection, and I really love it for a sister for Julia and Phoebe (it’s got that different ending!). Both Julia and Phoebe have middle names that mean “grace,” but I really like Charis as a first name for this baby. It can certainly work as a middle too, though I found it sort of difficult to work with rhythm-wise. If they prefer it in the middle, I think something with the rhythm of Felicity Charis would sound lovely.

(2) Margo(t)
Margaret didn’t seem quite right to me, but I love its variant Margo(t)! It can take any of the Sts. Margaret as patron, and of course means the same as Margaret — “pearl,” which happens to be June’s birthstone! Kind of a cool connection for a baby due in June!

(3) Maud(e)
When I saw Maud(e) in one of the recent Appellation Mountain posts, I was immediately struck by it. I’ve never, not once, considered or thought of the name Maud(e) for anyone, but for some reason, it really seemed like one Grace might like! It’s a variant of Matilda (in fact, it’s Matilda’s “usual medieval form,” like Austin for Augustine and Bennett for Benedict), which provides a patron saint.

(4) Edith, Esther
Both Edith and Esther have a similar feel to me — names that were too old lady-ish for a baby not that long ago, but that I’m starting to see on little girls more and more. St. Edith Stein is a huge inspiration behind the little Catholic girls I see with the name (she’s amazing), and I love that Esther is biblical like Julia and Phoebe. Edie and Essie are both adorable nicknames too.

(5) Eliza
I’m not sure what to say about Eliza except that it feels like it might be right! I like it on its own for the Pattons (so far they’ve done shorter girl names [letter-wise] while tending toward longer boy names), but I also like it as a nickname for Elizabeth, if they preferred that.

(6) Bernadette, Colette
Grace and her girls recently took an amazing trip to France, so French names were on my mind when I was working on this. I decided that I really like Bernadette for them! It’s definitely an up-and-coming name vintage-y name, as we discussed recently on the blog, and it was also in my recent saintly nicknames post (which I submitted as my February CatholicMom article after incorporating your ideas from the comments). The spotlight I did on it a few years ago has a few nickname options too. I also love (LOVE) Colette … but maybe it’s not quite right coming right after Clement? If that’s not a bother though, it’s such a pretty name, and St. Colette is a great patron.

Before moving onto boy names, I want to discuss more fully Simon’s hope that they’ll give a name that means “grace” to a girl. I searched on behindthename.com and also a general google search for names meaning “grace,” and the results are almost all variants of Grace or contain Grace (like Graciela, Altagracia, and Engracia), or are variants of Anne (since Anne means “grace”). Julia’s middle name nods to the former (being Grace), and Phoebe’s to the latter (being Anika), which is another reason I was psyched to find Charis — it’s in a third category altogether! Another that’s neither Grace nor Anne is Amara, which is Igbo (the language of the Igbo people of Nigeria) for “grace,” and is quite pretty. Otherwise, I think an Anne name is the best bet, since there are a few that are different enough from Anika I think. Like:

Anja or Anya
Anna or Anne
Annabel(le)
Annette
Anouk
Hannah
Nan, Nancy, Nanette
(many others listed here)

If Grace and Simon like the idea of an Anne name, they might like to choose one based on how their chosen first name sounds. Margo Annabelle sounds gorgeous to me, for example, as does Charis Anne and Charis Annette, Maude Annette, Bernadette Anne, Edith Annabelle, Eliza Nanette … so many beautiful ways to put these names together!

Boy
(1) Oscar
Moving onto boy names, I’m seeing Oscar here and there a bit more these days — I’m thinking of it as a recent addition to the Owen, Oliver group (along with Otto). St. Oscar Romero is a great patron, and the inspiration behind the choice of name for this sweet boy.

(2) Vincent, Victor
Vincent and Victor are old school Catholicky Catholic names that I think always wear well. The full Vincent is so handsome, and Vince and Vinny are easy nicknames. Victor is a particular favorite of mine — I tried to convince my hubby of it many times, and I wrote a whole CatholicMom article about it. “Nicknames for Victor” also continues to be one of the most frequent search terms that lead people to my blog, because of this post I did. So fascinating!

(3) Raphael, Ralph
I’d previously suggested Gabriel for them, but since having Abe, Gabe is no longer an option. Raphael’s rarer anyway, and has the cool nickname Rafe. Speaking of Rafe, what do we think about Ralph? I don’t hugely love the “ralf” pronunciation, but I’ve long loved that Rafe is a traditional pronunciation of it (and the one actor Ralph Fiennes uses). Cool? Or too high maintenance? (I remembered that I thought Design Mom has a Ralph, so I looked it up to be sure and hoooooly cow, check out Ralph’s siblings: Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty, and Flora June. !!! I’ve included Maude, Olive, and Oscar somewhere in this post [either as today’s predictions or previous consultation ideas]; Betty can totally be a nickname for Bernadette; and I’m not joking that I considered the Flora/Fleur/Florence idea before deciding not to include it here. Wow. Spot.On.) I’ve recently come to love St. Ralph Sherwin, which is another plus in Ralph’s favor.

(4) Bear
This is another backing-into-a-name-from-a-nickname idea. Animal names — like Fox and Bear — are big right now, and I considered Bear myself as a nickname for Benedict Gerard — I thought that was so cute! And I already liked Benedict as an idea for another Patton boy. Arthur is another that I’ve seen people using Bear as a nickname for, since Arthur is said to have “bear” as part of its meaning — Arthur has a very Design Mom feel to me, so maybe?

(5) Joaquín
Grace has a little Spanish flair to her style, as seen in sweet Felipé’s name. Joaquín takes its cue from that, being the Spanish form of (my beloved) Joachim, and also the fact that it’s not as unfamiliar as Joachim — Joaquin Phoenix and Kelly Ripa’s son Joaquin are two examples of Joaquins that people might know (especially the former). (If they want to consider Joachim though, you know I’m all over that!!)

Those are all my predictions for boy names, but I couldn’t resist offering this list of long, saintly names that Grace and Simon might consider for middle names (they’ve already used Xavier, Augustine, and Ignatius): Emmanuel, Thaddeus, Ambrose (ooh this might make a great first name for them?), Maximilian, Chrysostom, Athanasius, Matthias, and the once-considered Dominic and Damian.

And those are all the names that I think Patton Baby No. 8 might end up being given! What do you all think? Do you have any predictions or suggestions for the little brother or sister of Julia, Sebastian, Theodore, Phoebe, Bosco, Abraham, and Clement?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultant: Baby boy needs a name with great faith connections that also has sci-fi/science/literary ties

Krista and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little brother to:

Elizabeth Marie

Such a fantastic name — a beautiful, timeless combo that’s biblical, saintly, and Marian — a perfect trifecta! You can even add in the Visitation for a rosary connection! Love it.

Krista writes,

I had the hardest time with names the first time around and seem to be continuing the tradition this time. Part of the issue is my husband will only suggest one name and then become upset if that is not something I agree to. He did give in to Elizabeth with the first (which was one of my first names) but only after she was born and after I had tried to give him MANY options. [He enjoys the connection to Pride and Prejudice.]

He seems to be stuck on naming children after Sci-Fi movies which is a turn off to me (he likes Star Wars and Firefly) … as a recent convert, having a strong Catholic name with a good meaning is important to me. When I looked up Elizabeth it meant “God is my oath” or “sworn to God” … I wanted Marie to honor Our Lady.

His family has a tradition of using John as a middle name for the oldest son which I am okay with but he wants the first name Malcolm (after the lead in Firefly) which I don’t approve of due to the Mal- beginning.

I enjoy Augustine and Luke … but he doesn’t seem open to any of my suggestions that aren’t his ideas (or rather idea) … my husband also studied paleontology (dino paleo) and loves science. Maybe common ground could be found in a famous scientist name that is also a good Catholic name?

I was so happy that Krista allowed me to post this consultation, as I know some of you have been in similar situations! As I told Krista, I have often seen God use our interests and inclinations for His purposes, whether we realize it or not, so maybe her hubby’s affinity for sci-fi and literature will end up drawing him closer to Him! I really wanted to find names that might appeal to his sensibilities while also having great, holy connections that will please Krista. In fact, one of the reasons I started Sancta Nomina was to show that names of all kinds can have saintly connections or other connections to the faith, no matter if parents originally like a name because of it being in a movie/book/video game, etc. I think that the fact Krista’s hubs likes Elizabeth because of the P&P connection is a great start! How wonderful that this name that caught his attention through a work of literature is ALSO a great saintly name! 

So I think trying to find a name that appeals to Krista’s hubby through his human interests, that’s also got some great faith connections, is the perfect way to go! Just like she said about his love for paleontology/science: “Maybe common ground could be found in a famous scientist name that is also a good Catholic name?” And with that in mind, my first goal is to try to convince Krista of Malcolm! It’s actually an awesome Catholic name!! She said she doesn’t approve of the name because of the Mal- beginning, but in this instance the Mal actually doesn’t refer to “bad”! Mal in Latin does, but Malcolm doesn’t derive from Latin; rather, it’s an Irish name meaning “servant [or disciple] of St. Columcille” (also known as St. Columba) — the “mal” refers to “servant/disciple” and comes from/is an anglicization of the Irish maol (Maolcholm). I’ve written before about patron saints finding us through our interests/talents/hobbies/jobs, etc. — perhaps St. Columba/Columcille is pulling Krista’s husband close through his love of the name Malcolm! (As an amazing side note, Columcille means “dove of the Church”! I love that! Columba is a shortened form — it means “dove.” He’s credited with the conversion of Scotland to Christianity; you can read more about him here.) Malcolm was also the name of the husband of St. Margaret of Scotland, who was pretty great. Malcolm John is a really handsome combo.

Even if Krista can come around on the idea of Malcolm, I can see how using Mal as a nickname might continue to feel problematic. The Firefly character goes by Mal, but that doesn’t mean her Malcolm has to (and perhaps this can be a point of compromise for her husband — he gets Malcolm as the given name, but Krista gets to choose the nickname). Mac can work as a nickname, as can Max (which can also allow her to think of St. Maximilian Kolbe as a secondary patron). Colm itself has usage as a given name, as an even further shortening of Columcille (–>Columba–>Colum–>Colm), so they could use Colm as an everyday nickname, which further highlights the saintly connection. Going off of Colm, perhaps Cole can also work as a nickname.

Krista’s ideas of Augustine and Luke are both ones I love as well — Luke in particular seems like one that would be a good compromise for them both, since it’s such a huge Star Wars name!

I also did quite a bit of research trying to find other names that might interest Krista’s husband from his sci-fi perspective while also appealing to Krista from a faith perspective, and I’m pretty happy with what I found! My research included looking up the names of the Firefly characters and their stories (to be sure I wasn’t suggesting names of bad guys), as well as the Star Wars characters (I’m much more familiar with them, we love Star Wars in my house!), and I also looked up notable names in paleontology (I love that connection!). Additionally, I’d done consultations in the past for a family who wanted nature and/or scientific names, and a couple who referred to themselves as “HYUUUUUGE geeks” and had found their children’s names in sci-fi literature first before backfitting them into patron saints (both those consultations contain links to other resources I used, which might be helpful to Krista and her hubs, and some of you) — I found both consultations helpful in coming up with ideas here. (You all know that I usually start with the Baby Name Wizard when doing a consultation, but it didn’t seem appropriate here.)

Okay! Without further ado, these are my additional suggestions for Krista and her husband’s baby boy:

(1) Benjamin or Benedict nicknamed Ben
Star Wars fans know Ben Kenobi as an alternate name for Obi-Wan Kenobi, so Ben can have a nice Star Wars connection without it being too in your face (similar to Luke). Also, Kylo Ren’s good-guy name is Ben Solo! Paleontologist B.F. Mudge, who discovered the Ichthyomis, was Benjamin Franklin Mudge, and I love that Benjamin is biblical like Elizabeth; there are also some Sts. Benjamin that Krista might like to consider as patron. Its definition isn’t that inspiring (“son of the right hand”), but its overall meaning includes all these other wonderful things! (I’ve written before about “definition” vs. “meaning” of names.) Or Krista might be able to convince her hubby of Benedict, which has more of the same feel as Augustine (heavy duty Catholicky Catholic), but was also included on a Nameberry list of Geek Chic Names for Boys because of one of its variants being used by Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing and also actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Benedict means “blessed” and is an entry in my book of Marian names because of it! And of course it’s super saintly. I definitely think one of the Ben names would be great for this family!

(2) Stephen
Another notable paleontologist was Stephen Jay Gould, who was described in his New York Times obituary as “one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century and perhaps the best known since Charles Darwin.” I thought Krista’s husband might really appreciate that a little Stephen John would initial to Stephen J., which mirrors Stephen Jay Gould. And of course, for Krista, there’s St. Stephen, the first martyr, and many others.

(3) Charles
Speaking of Charles Darwin, his name has impeccable faith credentials! Many people have named boys Charles in honor of St. John Paul II, whose birth name was Karol (the Polish form of Charles). He was actually named for Bl. Karl of Austria (who is also referred to as Emperor Charles), who is awesome, and provides another great patron. St. Charles Borromeo is also a favorite of mine, and there are many others. I could see Krista’s hubby really liking the Charles Darwin connection, and there’s also Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time and Charles Xavier from X-Men (I bet he’ll love that connection! So cool!). Another great literary figure is Charles Ryder from Brideshead Revisited, which is considered a great Catholic work!

(4) George nn Geo or Geordie
Fr. George LeMaitre was the priest who came up with the Big Bang Theory and was the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for six years until his death in 1966 (yay for priest scientists!), which makes this name both faithy and science-y! (There are a lot of Sts. George as well.) The nickname Geo can also strengthen the tie to science (as in its meaning of “earth,” like geology), and Geordie (said like Jordy) is a traditional Scottish nickname for George, and also a character on Star Trek! (Geordie LaForge.)

(5) Simon
Okay, moving onto other Firefly names — I haven’t watched it, but I know it’s got some pretty rabid fans, so I’m not surprised Krista’s hubby has latched onto one of the characters as inspiration for a baby’s name. One that I thought would work is Simon, as in character Simon Tam. It doesn’t have the potentially problematic Mal beginning, and he’s a main character as far as I can tell, so the connection to the show should be pretty solid for her husband. As for Saints, there’s Simon Peter and St. Simon Stock (of the brown scapular) and others.

(6) Montford nn Monty
Monty’s a good character in Firefly — friend of Mal’s — which made me think of the name Montford, which I have as an entry in my Marian names book for this reason:

Montford is the surname of St. Louis de Montfort, whose first name is also included in this volume, by virtue of his deep devotion to Our Lady and his classic Marian works True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary, and The Secret of the Rosary. One of my blog readers recently suggested Montfort as a first name with the nickname Monty, which I thought was brilliant.”

Maybe Montfort with the nickname Monty is just the kind of name Krista’s hubby might go for?

(7) Shepherd
Another Firefly character whose name caught my attention is Shepherd Book. If I understand correctly from reading his description on Wikipedia, Shepherd is actually his title (religious ties!) rather than his name, but the fact that he’s called Shepherd makes the name really connected to him. I did a spotlight post on the name Shepherd a while ago, in which I draw some pretty great connections to Jesus. I also did a consultation for a family who has a son named Shepherd, named for a few faith reasons. Could be a great option for this family! Shep is a really cute nickname.

(8) Francis nn Finn
Moving back to Star Wars, Finn has risen in popularity over the last few years, in good part because of the character of Finn in the new Star Wars movies. I’ve suggested it on the blog to a few families as a fresher, more unexpected nickname for the super Catholic name Francis — maybe something like would appeal to Krista and her husband? Her hubby might also appreciate that Renaissance scholar Francis Bacon was “best known for his promotion of the scientific method.”

(9) Cassian
My last suggestion for them is probably a bit more offbeat than the others, but I was kind of amazed that Cassian showed up in my Star Wars research — Cassian Andor was in the movie Rogue One, and was on the rebel side (the good guys), though I don’t think he was a huge character (I haven’t seen Rogue One yet). But Cassian is also the surname of St. John Cassian, so Cassian John would be an amazing nod to him! There are two families I know through the blog who have sons named Cassian: here and here. Cash is a great nickname too.

Those are my “official” suggestions for Krista and her hubby, but others that I considered and ultimately left off my final list for various reasons include: Owen (for Uncle Owen on Star Wars and the amazing St. Nicholas Owen; some take it as a variant of John, so that wouldn’t work too well), Pascal (for Blaise Pascal and the many Sts. Pascal, including St. Pascal Baylon; also Pascal means “Easter”), Caspian (from Narnia), Thomas (for Thomas Edison, and any of the great Sts. Thomas [Aquinas, More, the Apostle]), and Tycho (for astronomer Tycho Brahe, and there’s also St. Tycho of Amathus).

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother of Elizabeth Marie, son of a sci-fi/science/literature fan and a recent convert on fire for the faith?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 9 needs a name that isn’t “completely ordinary,” yet not unheard of

Sarah and her husband are expecting their ninth baby — a little green bean (=gender unknown)! This little girl or boy joins big siblings:

Cody Michael
Benjamin Scott
Claire Elizabeth
Dominic Anthony
Grace Cathryn
Peter Charles
Caroline Maria
Charlotte Zelie (“she goes mostly by ‘Zelie’“)

What a great bunch of names!! It’s important to note that Sarah acknowledged that her oldest’s name is more modern than they have come to prefer, though I did try to find names that can bridge Cody’s style with that of his siblings’ names.

Sarah writes,

This baby will be a “tiebreaker”, as we currently have 4 boys and 4 girls. We are starting to run out of (primarily boy) names, so are curious what you are able to come up with. We have an unwritten rule that the names be traditional and also double as a Saint name. Our style of “traditional” appears to be names that aren’t completely ordinary, yet are definitely not unheard of. The middle names have either been a family name or a powerhouse Saint. We are open to nontraditional for a middle name if it is a super Catholic “mic drop” of a name.”

A “super Catholic ‘mic drop’ of a name”!! I love that!!

Names we cannot use are:
Alexander
Nicholas
John (open to John Paul, however)
Christian
James
Andrew
Rachel
Gabrielle
Lily
Thomas

I was sort of glad to see that they’re struggling with boy names, because I felt like I had an easier time coming up with boy names than with girl names!

As I mentioned, Cody was actually a big inspiration to me when I was trying to come up with name ideas for this baby. His name is certainly an outlier, and I really wanted to try to come up with an idea or two that might make his name seem more a part of the group. First though, I was glad to see that it means “helpful,” which could put it in the same category as Grace — that is, a virtue-type name. That’s a nice spin to put on it! And Michael is a great middle. I’ve included Cody-esque ideas in my suggestions below.

I do like that they’re open to John Paul, I think that’s a great option! I like that it incorporates biblical names, like Benjamin and Peter, and is a heavy-hitting faithy name. It can also take the nicknames Jack and JP, which I think fit in quite nicely with Cody.

You all know that I always start consultations by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel popularity. Within those results, I look for names or connections that have a solid faith connection. It’s a fun process! Based on that, these are my ideas for Sarah’s little one:

Girl
(1) Josephine
I couldn’t help but notice they like French girl names — Claire, Caroline, Charlotte, and Zelie are all French, but in an understated way (especially Claire, Caroline, and Charlotte), where they don’t at all clash with the other kiddos’ names. I hoped to find a similarly not-overly-obvious French name to suggest, and Josephine was a result from my research that seemed perfect. It can honor St. Joseph, or any of the holy Josephines.

(2) Isabella
Funny enough, though the French Isabelle is a style match for Charlotte, I thought the spelling Isabella was a better suggestion for this family, as Queen Isabella of Portugal, aka St. Elizabeth of Portugal, is a great patron. Isabelle can, of course, honor her as well if they prefer, as can Isabel, which was a style match for both Claire and Caroline. I normally wouldn’t suggest an Elizabeth name for them, since Claire’s middle name is Elizabeth, but since they used three Charles names, I thought they were probably fine with considering another Elizabeth name.

(3) Hannah
I was excited to see that Hannah is a style match for Benjamin and Grace—Benjamin is the only Old Testament name they have, so I like that Hannah would loop him in a bit, and having it be a style match for Grace makes it really feel like it fits in well with the other kids as well. Hannah is such a sweet name and can take St. Anne as a patron, as it’s an Anne variant.

(4) Felicity
I think Felicity is the kind of name that exactly fits Sarah and her hubby’s style of “traditional,” as they put it: “names that aren’t completely ordinary, yet are definitely not unheard of.” It’s super saintly and has a long history of usage, and St. Felicity is one of the best patrons for a girl, in my opinion (there are others as well). I spotlighted it here.

(5) Avila
Finally, in my hopes of finding names that could feel a little more Cody-esque while still checking off their other boxes, I’d thought a saintly surname or place name might do the trick: Kolbe, Clairvaux, or Cabrini, for example (but not those, since they’re too similar to Cody, Claire, and Caroline). Avila was one that I thought might do nicely. It’s got its own entry on behindthename, which tells you that it’s “definitely not unheard of,” and it’s the kind of name that families with Dominics and Zelies often choose. St. Teresa of Avila is a great patron, and a Doctor of the Church, which is so great for a little girl!

Boy
(1) Luke
Luke is biblical, like Benjamin and Peter; it’s four letters, like Cody; and it’s Marian, like Dominic! (Marian due to the fact that his gospel is the most Marian, containing within in the Annunciation and Our Lady’s Magnificat, for example; St. Dominic is a very Marian saint due to the fact that Our Lady tasked him with promulgating her rosary). I like Luke a lot for for this family! Being short, it can also take a longer middle name, which some of the heavy hitting “mic drop” names are (e.g., Luke Augustine, Luke Maximilian, Luke Emmanuel).

(2) Gabriel
Speaking of biblical names and the Annunciation, what about Gabriel? I’ve seen Benjamin and Gabriel brother sets fairly frequently, as well as Dominic and Gabriel brother sets, so it feels like a good fit. Gabriel’s also mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament, which is nice for Benjamin and Peter. They have Gabrielle on their “no” list for girls, but I’m hoping Gabriel’s okay for a boy!

(3) Joseph
I suggested Josephine above for a girl, but what about Joseph for a boy? I’m loving that it’s both an Old and New Testament name, and St. Joseph is such an amazing patron for a boy. It was also St. John Paul’s birth middle name, and Pope Benedict’s pre-papal first name. Lots of great connections!

(4) Henry
Henry reminds me of Hannah in that it’s such a sweet name! It’s a style match for Grace, Caroline, and Charlotte, and has a great saintly pedigree — I actually did a spotlight post of it here. Also, since Sarah mentioned possibly being open to John Paul, I wonder if they’d consider John Henry? It would be a really nice nod to our brand new St. John Henry Newman, and can also take the nickname Jack.

(5) Owen
Owen actually showed up a few times in my research — it’s a style match for Claire, Grace, and Charlotte, as well as Logan, which I looked up in order to add to the names that could be style matches for Cody. I think Owen is a great idea for this family! My favorite patron is St. Nicholas Owen — he was amazing! But there are actually a few Owens they can choose from for patron.

(6) Austin
Austin might be my favorite suggestion for this family for a boy. It’s a style match for Cody (!), and it’s a contracted form of Augustine! While it might have a modern feel, it’s been in use for a long time. There are the Austin Friars, founded in 1253, also known as the Hermits of St. Augustine, and I loved this medal for St. Augustine of Canterbury that says “St. Austin” on it. They could also do Augustine with the nickname Austin if they want.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Cody, Benjamin, Claire, Dominic, Grace, Peter, Caroline, and Zelie?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!