Prayers for a happy delivery: Wee Lassie Heckaman

I don’t usually know ahead of time when the wee babes whose names are discussed here in consultation posts will be born, but I do know that the Heckaman baby is due to be born via scheduled c-section today. Please pray for her and her mama for a happy delivery! St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Gerard Majella, and St. Anne, please pray for them!

Baby name consultant: Baby #4, if a boy

Angela and John have three born children already, with these amazing names:

Lucia Marina (Italian pronunciation of Lucia)

Kolbe Oliver

Blaise Campion

Baby #4 is due February 4th!! That’s in two days!! And they’re struggling to come up with a boy’s name. Angela writes, “Now we’re expecting #4 on Feb 4 and I’m starting to stress that we don’t have a boys name … given our history, I’m guessing chances are it’s a boy.  I love the name Benedict, but my husband had an ill-behaved dog with that name.  We are both warming to Clement, but it hasn’t really jumped out at me.  I have been reading a bit about Bl Pier Giorgio, but I think Pier Giorgio is a little heavy for a non-Italian family (our last name is very German sounding and we’re very anglo-looking).  We do like Raphael, and he was in our OT reading at our wedding, but I had a student with that name, so a bit of a mixed association.  My husband likes Chrysostom for a middle name, and I think the name has great meaning, but with a middle name like that I’d like to have something more accessible for the first.  I liked your suggestion for Bede as a nickname for Benedict, and I’ll try that one out with my husband.  But he really can’t seem to get on the Benedict band wagon.”

I had loads of fun thinking of names for this little baby on the way, if a boy. I love Angela and John’s bold over-the-top (in the best way!) Catholic naming style. I mean, it’s *Catholic*. Woo! I think I came up with some good ideas (I usually shoot for three) for a little brother to Lucia Marina, Kolbe Oliver, and Blaise Campion:

(1) Xavier

Instead of a specific name, I almost made my #1 choice “super Catholic, short-ish, last-namey.” Lucia, Kolbe, and Blaise are all of similar length, which is visually pleasing; they’re super heavy-hitting no-doubt-about-it Catholic; and Kolbe and Campion are both last names. I love all those attributes, so I tried to think of others that I thought felt similarly and came up with: Jude, Damien, Fulton, Claver, Bede, and Xavier. Angela said she liked my idea of Bede as a nickname for Benedict, so I wondered if she’d like Bede on its own. Jude is great, Fulton is great, Damien is great. Claver is more unexpected, and maybe too much hard-C/K with Kolbe? I think my runner-up for #1 would be Jude. I like Jude Chrysostom very much.

But Xavier really rose to the top for me as it perfectly fits all the above criteria (super Catholic, short-ish, last-namey). I particularly like that, though it was originally a last name, it’s become well used as a first name, so it kind of bridges the very-last-name feel of Kolbe (though Kolbe is on the rise as a first name, I hear it from time to time) and the first-name-ness of Lucia and Blaise. One downside is that it has two acceptable pronunciations in English (ex-ZAY-vyer and ZAY-vyer), a fact that tends to be polarizing enough that some parents can’t handle it if someone calls their son by the wrong pronunciation. I myself think it’s easy enough to just correct people, probably as they already have to do with Lucia. I like Xavier Chrysostom, and the nicknames Xave and Xavey are super cute on a little guy, never mind the coolest initial ever: X.

(2) Gabriel

The presence of Raphael on their list right away made me think of Gabriel, and then when Angela said she’d like to have a more accessible first name to balance out Chrysostom, I was totally sold. Gabriel has that heavy-hitting-Catholic feel of the other kids, and totally fits in well with them in my opinion, while being pretty popular at the moment on the name charts, so it’s more familiar to people than Kolbe and Blaise. Gabriel Chrysostom is such an awesome name imo, I really like it for this new baby. A runner-up for #2 for me would be John — just John. As in, John Chrysostom. As in, John the dad. With Lucia, Kolbe, and Blaise, it’s unexpected, but John is always a great name, especially when paired with an unusual middle.

(3) George

Pier Giorgio was my inspiration for George — I agree that Pier Giorgio would be too much for a non-Italian family, but Peter George is the same name and would totally fit with the family’s ethnic background. Lucia, Kolbe, Blaise, and Peter sound great together! And Peter George would be my runner up here. But then I was thinking about Pope Francis’ pre-papal name being Jorge, which is George in Spanish, and thought maybe George would be cooler in the first name spot — the Pope and Pier Giorgio remembered in one name! Then I was thinking even more about the Pope Francis connection, and how his full pre-papal name was Jorge Mario, and how Mario isn’t technically a male form of Mary, but I know some people use it that way, and I thought that George Mary would be an amazing name for a little boy with the kind of parents who could/would use Mary for a boy’s middle name. I could definitely see Angela and John pulling it off! Lucia Marina, Kolbe Oliver, Blaise Campion, and George Mary. Faaaabulous. 🙂

So those were my ideas — how about the rest of you? We don’t have long to help Angela and John name this little baby — please comment away!

UPDATED TO ADD: After I had typed all this up, I had two more names come to mind that might work: Bosco (or the full John Bosco) (I was inspired by my last name spotlight!), and Chrysostom itself. I have a friend who has a friend whose name is Chrysostom and he goes by Chrys.

Baby name consultant: Baby #4, a girl

Mama Jessie, who’s due in less than three weeks!, wrote asking for help with naming her little girl. She and her husband already have Noah, Owen, and Eleanor (nicknamed Ella), and in considering names for the new little one, she wrote, “We both would like a saint name somewhere in there but aren’t particular about whether it is first or second … My one firm rule is that if the first name is over 2 syllables, I have to have a way to nickname it down to 2 or less … Names we both love that we have considered are Gianna, and Philomena. We are struggling with both though bc we don’t have a nickname for either that we like (Gia, Anna, Lola, Fila, Minnie and mena are all no gos) Plus we aren’t even sure Philomena is a saint since apparently there was some change in the 1960s and we have been told yes and no by different sources. My husband loves Terese. I can’t nickname it and worry about mispronunciation. My absolute favs are Lucy and Magdalena, both which my husband likes but he would want Lucy to be a nickname and has ruled out Luciana and Lucia , or he needs a nickname for Magdalena that is not Maggie or Lena. We both really like Grace for a middle name but aren’t set on it. I’d love something that matches the feel of both Eleanor/Ella like my first little girl but by the time I weigh everything else, I can hardly think about that too.”

First off, I too love nicknames — having one is pretty much a rule for me — so I enjoyed trying to think of some for Gianna and Philomena. For Gianna, besides the Gia and Anna that Jessie said they couldn’t use, I thought of Gina and Nina (which I particularly like), and I also know a little Gianna who goes by Gigi. For Philomena, I loved all the nicknames they’d already considered and discarded — nice job Mom and Dad! — and I contributed Pia, Pippa, Pina, Fina, Finn or Finna, and Pim to the list. Regarding Philomena as a saint, I’d never heard anything about her not being one until Jessie’s email! I looked it up — she’s in all my saints’ names books, but this article says differently (and quite convincingly): Why is Philomena No Longer Considered a Saint? Its use is certainly a mark of a super-Catholic family, and even the article I linked to above said, “In fact, this may actually not be the name of the person in the tomb at all, for the Greco-Latin roots of the word simply mean ‘lover of the light,’ and thus the tomb-inscription may have been intended as a description of the deceased person rather than her personal name.” So if one wanted to use it in that way — because of its meaning, and that meaning’s connection to God and His Truth — that would be quite valid, in my opinion, and quite faith-filled. It would definitely make an interesting story for a little girl named Philomena!

But I try to give three suggestions when considering a name dilemma, and I decided not to include Gianna or Philomena in my final three. Rather, my first is:

(1) Louisa

Louisa is inspired by Jessie’s love of Lucy and her husband’s desire for Lucy to be a nickname for a more formal name. He doesn’t like Lucia or Luciana, so I’ll throw out there that Lucinda and Lucille are also common Luc- names. But I’ve long thought Lucy would be a natural nickname for Louisa, and I love Louisa. It totally has the same feel to me as Eleanor — in fact, Eleanor is included in the list of similar girl names to Louisa in the Baby Name Wizard book (which I consider to be basically the most expert of all name books), which is just like striking gold to me, because Jessie had said, “I’d love something that matches the feel of both Eleanor/Ella like my first little girl but by the time I weigh everything else, I can hardly think about that too.” And with either St. Louis de Montfort of Bl. Louisa Therese (!) de Montaignac de Chauvance (who I knew nothing about until I looked up Louisa in one of my books! She was beatified by JP2, which is very cool) as a patron saint, Louisa nn Lucy, to me, satisfies everything Jessie seemed to want in a name. I love Louisa Grace, as they like Grace as a middle name, or Louisa Therese like Bl. Louisa.

Despite a name’s seeming perfection on paper, though, sometimes it just doesn’t do the trick. So my second suggestion is:

(2) Magdalena

Jessie described Magdalena as her other favorite along with Lucy, but said her hubby doesn’t care for Maggie or Lena. Well. If all that’s standing in the way of them using this gorgeous name is the right nickname, I think I got them covered. What about: Magda, Meg, Molly or Dolly, Madge, Mandy, Mae/May, or Maddy? Magdalena Grace is so pretty, and as a special bonus, Molly is listed as a name with similar feel as Noah in the Baby Name Wizard book! I really think Magdalena nn Molly could work, I love how Molly bridges the style between Magdalena and Noah, Molly totally feels like it could fit with Eleanor/Ella to me, and it’s Irish like Owen! Woo!

(3) Terese

My final suggestion is Terese. I do love this name. I’d never seen it spelled that way before (I was only familiar with Therese), but I looked it up and apparently it’s the Basque and Scandinavian form of Teresa, according to my trusty behindthename.com source — I like it! The two pronunciations I’m familiar with, and I believe they’re both valid, are teh-REHZ and teh-REESE. One of my very favorite nicknames in the whole world is Tess, which is a traditional nn for the Theresa names; I’ve also seen Reese used as a nn when the teh-REESE pronunciation is used. (As an aside, I once heard of twin sisters Aurora and Therese that were nicknamed Rory and Reese. So cute!) I don’t mind Reese — it’s fun and spunky — but I adore Tess (it’s quite high on our own girl list). If neither Tess or Reese suits though, Tea, Tracy, Tessa, and Tressa are all nickname for the Theresa names (Tea and Tessa/Tressa probably more so for Theresa itself rather than T(h)erese, but I personally see no reason you couldn’t use them if you wanted to for Terese). My personal preference would be for a different middle than Grace with Terese, just for flow — I quite like Terese Magdalena.

So that’s what I got! What do you all think? Do you have any other idea or suggestions for Jessie and her husband?

Baby name consultant: baby #8, a boy

Sarah and David are expecting their eighth baby, a little boy. Sarah describes them as “your typical Catholic family and like traditional (preferably French or Irish) names.” They have seven children already, named:

Zoe Olivia

Brady Patrick

Michael Joseph

Katherine Mary-Claire

Margaret Rose

George Thomas

Matthew David

They have some names they’re considering, but they don’t want to share them as they really want a fresh perspective. In trying to come up with suggestions, I was struck by what seems to be a difference in style between Zoe’s and Brady’s first names and the names of the rest of the kids. So I relied heavily on the style of Zoe and Brady when musing on names for #8, while also keeping in mind that their younger children have very traditional names.

I used both Nymbler and Name MatchMaker for ideas, and I usually shoot for three suggestions, as I’ve done for others. So my ideas for this little baby are:

(1) Henry

It was the first name that came to my mind, even before checking out the name matching sites, and it was one of the first names they suggested. Brady, Michael, George, Matthew, and Henry sound like a great set of brothers, and I love it with the girls’ names as well.

(2) Myles

As soon as I saw Myles I thought it was a great fit. I think it’s a little more offbeat than Michael, George, and Matthew, which makes me think it’s a great bridge between their names and Brady’s. It does make for a lot of M’s, but with so many kids I don’t think that matters much, and besides — one of my favorite things about Myles is that it can be considered a Marian name! One of my name books, Oxford Dictionary of First Names, says that Maolra is a “[m]odern spelling, common particularly in the west of Ireland, of earlier Maoil-Mhuire ‘devotee of Mary.’ It has been anglicized as Myles.” It’s Irish, it’s Marian, it seems more stylistically consistent with Brady than your other boys’ names, I love this idea! (Do note though that the spelling of Miles is unrelated.)

(3) William

I love William for you. Its traditional-ness is a great style match for your younger boys, and its current popularity, as well as both nicknames Will and Liam (though I know Liam can stand on its own), seem well suited as Brady’s brother. I wouldn’t mind if you chose just Liam as the first name, but William seems just that much more a better match in my opinion.

Oliver was a heavy contender for me until I remembered that Zoe’s middle name is Olivia, and Charles and Jude also struck me as possibles, but in the end I settled on Henry, Myles, and William. If I had to choose a middle name, not knowing anything about how you choose them (family names?), I’d guess Francis.

What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Sarah and David’s baby boy?

Baby name consultant: Baby SHAN-ick, if a girl

The SHAN-ick Family has a little boy, Dominic Paul, and is expecting baby #2, due February 19. They’ve decided on a boy’s name — similar feel and style to Dominic Paul, with your basic Catholic first and middle names, nothing crazy (like Athanasius) — but girl’s names are giving them a hard time. Mom says:

While I’d like at least part of the name to have a saint/Catholic meaning, I’m not obsessed with having both be saints names … my husband would really like a Marian name if it’s a girl. He was into simply “Mary” but I couldn’t get into that … We are sort of toying with a form of Rose: maybe Rosemary … We both love St. Therese of Lisieux but I think the French pronunciation will be too complicated. It stands out as a favorite for middle name. We don’t like Theresa … Lindsey was also a finalist for no particular reason … I have a problem with super popular names: Lucy is nice but I know four. My husband likes Gianna (because of the pro-life connection and because he’s a doctor) but we know SO many Giannas. Maybe I just need to let that go. Gianna may end up a middle name.”

(I like to generally shoot for three suggestions, if I can [as I did for Simcha], and I was able to do so here.)

Okay, as I understand it, it seems that for first names the three contenders/ideas you mentioned are (1) a non-Rose Marian name, (2) a Rose name, and (3) Lindsey. Middle name options are Therese and Gianna. Do I have that right?

I went to both Nymbler and Name MatchMaker and entered Dominic, John, Rosemary, and Lindsey as inspirations, and between their results and the general feel I got from your email I have the following thoughts as a sister to Dominic Paul:

(1) Marisa/Marissa or Molly
There are so many gorgeous Marian options, I wasn’t able to pick just one, but these two particular ones seemed to jump out. Behind the Name says Marissa is a variant of Marisa, and Marisa is an Italian/Spanish/Portuguese combination of Maria and Luisa; Namipedia says it’s a modern elaboration of Maria. Its peak of popularity was the 1990s, which is the feel I get from Lindsey (it peaked in the 80’s, but I think Marisa/Marissa and Lindsey share a general “throwback” kind of feel). A friend of mine recently named her daughter Marissa, for Our Lady, which I found a pleasant surprise. I quite like Marisa/Marissa Therese or even Marisa/Marissa Rose.

Molly too seemed like it might suit. I’m related to two — one born in 1979 and the other in 1984 — which is why I think it has that same “throwback” feel to me as Lindsey and Marisa/Marissa — but Name Voyager shows it’s been pretty popular from the 1980’s on, enjoying two pretty comparable peaks in the 1990s and 2010 (by “peak” I mean #84 in 2010 and #94 in the 90’s, so never super popular). It’s a diminutive of Mary, which makes it Marian, and it has definitely become its own name, but it could also work as a nickname for Mary (I know a Mary who goes by Molly). Molly Therese, Molly Gianna, Molly Rose, Molly Rosemary (or replace Molly with Mary on the birth certificate and still call her Molly) all strike me as lovely.

(2) Felicity

You don’t want a “popular” name like Lucy and Gianna, and the kinds of families that have Lucy’s and Gianna’s are the kind that like Felicity as well, so maybe it’s too popular in your circles, but I just love it. It totally fits with Dominic in my opinion, and goes great with your middle name options.

(3) Sydney or Sidony/Sidonie
I found Lindsey to be quite the wild card — not a saint’s name, and with a different feel to me than the other names you mentioned. But it made me think of Sydney right away, which I’d always understood was derived from “St. Denis.” I set out to verify that, and my most trustworthy name-meaning site, Behind the Name, only said it was derived from Sidney, which was an English surname. I checked it out in a couple of my name books, and found the most delightful little nugget:

[As a male name] The name appears regularly in Latin as de Sancto Dionisio, etc., and there can be little doubt that it is a reduction of St. Denis … [As a female name] this is not uncommon as a woman’s name in Ireland, and is probably a survival of Sidony

So then I looked up Sidony and it said,

this name was formerly used by Roman Catholics for girls born about the date of the Feast of the Winding Sheet (i.e., of Christ), more formally alluded to as ‘the Sacred Sendon’. Sendon or Sindon (from Latinsindon … ‘fine cloth’, ‘linen’) was used in Middle English for a fine cloth, especially one used as a shroud. The SacredSendon is supposed to be preserved at Turn … Sidonie is not uncommon in France, and the Irish Sidney is probably reallySidony.” (pp. 268-269, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by E.G. Withycombe, 1977).

Now, come on. How cool! I’d never really heard of Sidony; I’d certainly never heard of its relationship to Sydney; and a name that refers to the Shroud of Turin?? But wait! That’s not the end! I looked up the Feast of the Winding Sheet and the Wikipedia entry said that it’s celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday … which is just two days before this baby is due!

So Sydney/Sidony has jumped onto my favorites list. I think either one goes really well with your middle name options, and though you said you don’t need both names to be saintly, I’m just loving this previously unknown (to me) super Catholic connection.

A P.S. about your Rose names: I really like Rosemary — it’s sweet and vintage-y, certainly Marian, and with cute nickname options (Rosie, Romy). I had a friend long ago named Rosemarie, which I like too. I also like just plain Rose, and Rosa, and Rosalie. Rosemary Therese and Rosemary Gianna both have a nice flow; I actually think Therese and Gianna go well with Rosa and Rosalie as well. I’d love to know what other Rose names you might be considering!

What about you readers? Do you think my suggestions are spot-on are totally crazy? Do any of you have any girl name suggestions for this little baby?