How to name an entity

Good FRIDAY morning!! TGIF!!

I received an email from a reader asking,

Have you ever considered writing posts about other times we want to use a name that is dear to our Catholic faith … like naming a home, property, farm, homeschool, boat, etc.”

Such a fun question! I actually have had the privilege of working on names for businesses, projects, and ministries — they’ve all been private consultations except that I was able to share the results of this one:

One my dearest friends, who was one of my two original readers (the other being my mom) and has been so supportive and encouraging and helpful to me since I started the blog, referred a friend of hers to me when the friend was trying to come up with a name for a ministry she was starting. It was such fun to work on a project like this! And I was pretty pleased with the ideas I came up with, and she seemed to be too — I just recently read about her new ministry, sporting one of the names I’d suggested, and I’m really delighted to direct you all to her in case you have what she’s looking for. Check it out: The Madonna and Child Project by Alexandra Sullivan Photography (and be sure to check out her work, she’s so talented!).”

When I’m working on a project like this, I like to try to incorporate the family’s patron saint(s), or saints connected to the industry or topic — sometimes this might mean using the saint’s actual name (like “St. Joseph’s Carpentry Business”) or symbols associated with that saint (like “The Lily and the Square Carpentry Business”), that kind of thing. (CatholicSaints.info often has the symbols of the saints included in each saint’s entry, for example. Or you can google it, of course.) Sometimes an explicitly faithy or saintly name isn’t quite appropriate, as with a business that operates mostly in the secular world, which is when I love to “bury” the connection in a more creative name (like the “Lily and Square” idea above). I always remind such entities that they need to search online to be sure there aren’t other businesses with the same name that might cause a legal problem — if you were to hire an advertising/marketing agency or branding firm to come up with name ideas, they’ll include that as part of their service, but I don’t have the time or resources to do that and I wouldn’t want anyone to get in trouble because of me!

For private naming (like homes, homeschools, etc.), you can go as crazy faith-wise as you want! I love to look to Sisters for inspiration, so many of their names are so perfectly suited to something like this! You can have a whole string of things you have a special devotion to! Like, Our Lady of the Holy Family and the Precious Blood, that kind of thing. Or something lighter and fun, like Our Lady of Small Children and Dirty Dishes! Haha! For Marian ideas, the Litany of Loreto is a good one to look through (in both English and Latin — English names are great and totally fine; Latin names up the Catholic ante). You can search for topics on CatholicSaints.info too (like “patron of artists” or just “artists”) for saint ideas, or just google the same.

I know several of our readers have named homesteads and homeschools, so I’d love to hear how they chose their names! And any other advice any of you have! Have a great weekend!


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!

BIG NEWS!!

You guys! I am SO EXCITED to share with you a very special announcement:

I’m having a book published! A book of Marian names! Ahhhh!!

I’ve been researching and compiling Marian names for nearly ten years — with a good amount of help from all of you via our conversations on the blog! — and I’m so thrilled that Marian Press (publisher of Fr. Calloway’s and Fr. Gaitley’s books, among others) has agreed to publish it!

🎉🎉🎉🎉💃💃💃

It’s entitled Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady — yes indeed, names for boys too! It will be available for purchase in May (month of Our Lady!), and I’ll have more details for you in the coming weeks. It has turned out amazingly well under the guidance of the team at Marian Press, if I do say so myself. 😊

Writing a book is one of the dreams of my life, and you have to know that writing one that honors Our Lady, and has to do with names, is a greater gift than I could ever have imagined.

This is such a big week, with the announcement of our baby-on-the-way followed by the announcement of my book! God is so good. ❤️

Flowers for Mary, part II

I posted a Flowers for Mary post ages ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to it since then in consultations and my own research for other things. And — breaking news! — I just now clicked on the link I refer to in the post, in order to give some examples of the great names there, and it says Forbidden! What! I’ll have to dig deeper on this, but in the meantime, the actual reason I started writing the post (providential timing!) was to direct your attention to this infographic:

MaryGarden

from Catholic Extension (infographic used with permission).

How great is this resource?? I’ve suggested Lily, Rose, and Violet a million times as Marian names, and I love the descriptions of their Marian connections here.

And I was so excited to see Daisy as being a Marian flower — I hadn’t ever seen that, and I’m forever going on about how Daisy is such a great nickname for Margaret — I LOVE the idea of a Margaret nicked Daisy being able to claim St. Margaret and Our Lady as patrons!! (I’ve already made a Marian connection with the name Pearl, which is what Margaret means, and the Irish Margaret — Mairead — is so similar to the Irish Mary — Maire … I’m leaning really close to calling Margaret a Marian name!)

I’ve also seen Marigold connected to the Crowning of Our Lady (Mary’s Gold), and of course I love all these ideas for an actual garden of flowers and other plants (not just a garden of blooms of the baby variety ☺).

What’s your favorite floral Marian name?

Yummy tidbits, and a new page

Thank you all for your responses on FB to my earlier request for prayers for a mama in labor, and for all of you who prayed for her! You’re all wonderful! As soon as I have an update and am given the go-ahead to share it, I will.

As a special summer vacation treat for myself 😄 I’ve been reading through all of Swistle’s birth announcement posts. I’ve been doing it for weeks now and I’m on page 44 — going back to 2010 and 2011! As a side note, it’s really interesting to read which names were still considered kind of weird back then that are used regularly now (of course I’m blanking now on even one example … maybe Penelope?), but what I really wanted to post here were the couple that really jumped out to me as amazing or interesting. Like this sibset:

Baby Boy Finchlee, Brother to Wilhelmina, Calista, Zachariah, Theodore, and Philippa. They go by Willa and Calla (twins, love!), Zak, Ted, and Pippa. The name they ended up choosing for their little boy is PERFECT, beyond perfect, I’m dying over it! 👍👐👌 You just have to read the whole post to get the whole story and all the elements!

I love this one too, because of the first paragraph:

Our son is named Giovanni Paolo. I know- Italian overload- but his name has significant meaning to us. He was named after Pope John Paul II who wrote extensively on marriages and families and really inspired my husband and I in our Catholic faith, which is really important to us. I am not tied to sticking with Italian names; we were just attracted to name his Giovanni Paolo instead of John Paul, since John Paul just seemed too ordinary to us. We absolutely love his name, and call him G for short.”

(They didn’t continue the Catholic theme though.)

I also liked the idea in this one of Caia as a nickname for Caterina. Kinda cool! (Swistle did not agree — she’s distinctly anti-unusual nicknames and even usual ones — she even fusses about Ellie not being a traditional nickname for Elizabeth!)

This is actually a good opportunity to tell you about yet another new page I’ve recently started, somewhat inspired by my reading of the old Swistle posts — it’s the Helpful naming tips and info tab up at the top, and I’ve been slowly adding in there comments from here and posts from here and elsewhere that I think are helpful when naming a baby in general, and a Catholic baby in particular. It’s definitely a long-term, ongoing project, and will hopefully be of use to you all!

I’m sure I’ll have more to share from Swistle’s archives as I keep working through, stay tuned! 😀

 

Reading round-up

I have a lot of reading to share with y’all today! (Yes, y’all, and no I’m not from the South. It’s just so useful! More of the country needs to get on that.)

First off, our reader skimac has sent me some awesome recommendations, with her annotations in parentheses:

History of Christian Names by C.M. Yonge (1884) (this seems to be the older revised version)

History of Christian Names Vol. 2 by C.M. Yonge (1864) (seems to be second half of above book, but has some different chapter headings so not sure how different)

Girls’ Christian Names: Their History, Meaning, and Association by Helena Swan (1905)

What is Your Name? A popular account of the meanings and derivations of Christian Names by Sophy Moody (1863)

A List of Christian names: their derivatives, nicknames and equivalents in several foreign languages by United States-Adjutant General’s Office (1920) (all male names since it is a war department document) (my note: I’m totally starry eyed over this description! “derivatives, nicknames and equivalents in several foreign languages” ahhh!! A quick perusal revealed Vest and Vester as nicknames for Sylvester, I’d never thought of those!)

Christian Names and What They Mean: A Birthday Book (very simple but has nice literary reference to every name)

Look at those publication dates! I LOVE old name books, and I’ve seen Charlotte Yonge cited in some of the ones I have. I only read the first page of the first book listed here and a quick look through the fifth, but I’m basically already hooked. 🙂

She also sent me this article the other day, which I quite enjoyed: St. Bruno, Bravado, & Baby Names: A Father’s Guide by Richard Becker. Skimac noted how great it was that it was written from a dad’s perspective, and I agree — we do skew mostly female here, though we do have a couple dads who read and comment and email me, and I always love hearing their perspectives. Thanks guys!

Speaking of dads … my own dad emailed me this article recently, which was pretty fascinating: 49 Preppy Baby Names Destined for the Ivy League. Digby, Connery, Blaine (a family name for me), Yates, and Darcy were some that caught by eye …

And finally, I know you’ve all been dying to see a picture of the well-named Fr. Bede I wrote about the other day — here he is, teaching Finney the Leprechaun about Jesus! 😀 Fr. Bede is seriously one awesome dude.

Happy Friday y’all!

Irish census records

I’ve been meaning to share this here for ages and I’m finally remembering to! Maybe you already know about it? But it was quite the find for me: Census of Ireland 1901/1911 and Census fragments and substitutes, 1821-51. It has:

All thirty-two counties for 1901 and 1911, searchable by all information categories, are now available on this site. Corrections and improvements will be ongoing, and we are very grateful to all users who have submitted corrections to us. A small amount of material is missing from the site, and will be placed online as soon as possible” (emphasis as in original).

I found my grandfather’s family, which was awesome, and one of the other fun things was seeing other Irish names by way of seeing the names of the people who lived near his address. Happy searching!