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!

Spotlight on: Oscar

The scene in the movie “Romero” where the soldiers are shooting up the tabernacle and Archbishop Oscar Romero was risking his life to save the hosts — to literally and freely take the risk of dying for Jesus — was one of the single most moving things I have ever seen — I saw it once in high school and once in college and that scene has stayed with ever since. He was eventually killed while saying Mass “in El Salvador in 1980 by Right-wing death squads. His murder came a day after he had said in a homily that soldiers should obey God’s commands and put down their guns.” (From “Archbishop Oscar Romero was a martyr, declare Vatican Theologians.”)

“Archbishop Romero’s Cause was opened at the Vatican two decades ago but was delayed for years as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith studied his writings, amid debate over whether he had been killed for his faith or for political reasons.” But now it has been ruled that “Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered “in hatred of the faith”” — that he was indeed a martyr — and even that the Archbishop “will “almost certainly” be beatified in 2015, and that Francis may skip the beatification and canonise him in San Salvador.”

So: Oscar. It’s one of those names I want to like. It always shows up in lists of names that are similar to names I like. Like … Leo. And Victor. And Hugo, Rosa, and Milo. (All this according to the Baby Name Wizard book.) And it’s got great Irish connections, which is always appeals to my overwhelmingly green heritage — Oscar was the grandson of Fionn mac Cumhail (Finn McCool). It’s somewhat popular in the Scandinavian countries, which is a large part of my husband’s heritage, so that’s appealing as well.

But there’s Oscar the Grouch and Oscar Meyer bologna and (good heavens) Oscar Pistorius. It’s just not a name I could get on board with … until now? Here’s betting a Blessed or Saint Oscar Romero will make the name jump up and dance all over the baby name stats. Oz or Ozzie are cute nicknames for a little guy (Ozzie Osbourne notwithstanding), or even Scar, I suppose, for the edgier among us, and I could see a grown-up Oscar being an athlete (Oscar de la Hoya) or a poet (Oscar Wilde).

What do you think of Oscar? Can you think of other nicknames for it? Do you know any little or big Oscars? What do they think of their name?

Baby name consultant: Suggestions for Baby Fisher

I think I’ve posted a time or two about blogger/writer/mama-of-many Simcha Fisher, one of my favorites. (Find her at Patheos and National Catholic Register; she also wrote The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning.) She’s expecting her tenth born baby and has graciously agreed to let me offer some suggestions for the wee one’s name. And I’m trying not to freak out that (1) I get to offer actual suggestions for an actual baby and (2) that the baby’s a Fisher baby. (I’m also trying not to use too many exclamation points.) (!!!)

Simcha and her husband Damien have name tastes that I would characterize as kind of eclectic but consistent, and somewhat contrary, as well as Old World and elegant. Their older children are:

Lena

Dora

Clara

Moses

Elijah

Sophia

Lucy

Irene

Benedicta (“Benny”)

If I wanted to pin down their style more exactly, I might group them thusly:

A little old-fashioned, like black-and-white-movie starlets or a gorgeous antique or a hardworking immigrant: Lena, Dora, Clara, Lucy, Irene, Moses, Elijah

Old Testament/Jewish: Moses, Elijah

Currently popular or on its way there: Clara, Sophia, Lucy, Elijah

Clearly Catholic: Clara, Sophia, Lucy, Irene, Benedicta

Simcha also posted once about other names they’d considered and rejected at one time or another, which gives a further peek into their style—Alma, Ada, Delia, Beryl, Oceania, Moselle, Edith. Though rejected, they seem pretty consistent with the names they did choose.

So with all that information at hand, I have the following three suggestions for first names for each gender, in descending order:

Girl

(1) Stella

Stella has that same starlet feel to me as Lena and Dora; the same old-fashioned feel as Clara and Lucy; and as it’s part of the Marian epithet Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”) it totally fits in with Lucy and Benedicta.

(2) Esther or Miriam

I really really like Esther for the Fishers. It’s Old Testament/Jewish, like Moses and Elijah (and I love when a name bridges two styles, as seem to loosely exist between the Fisher girls’ names and the boys’ names); it’s old-fashioned; it’s elegant. But I could see not everyone loving the –er ending of Esther with the –er ending of Fisher. If that were the case, Miriam would be my alternate for choice #2—it has similar attributes to Esther, it flows better with the baby’s surname, and it gets bonus points for being a Marian name.

(3) Hannah

Hannah is soft and sweet, like Clara and Lucy. It’s an Old Testament name, like the brothers’ names, and currently the height of popularity, like Sophia.

Boy

(1) Isaac

Simcha and Damien’s taste for boys so far has seemed pretty straightforward: Old Testament/Jewish. Simcha’s parents converted from Judaism to Catholicism when she was a child, so I’ve always assumed Moses and Elijah are nods to her heritage. Isaac certainly fits that mold. It’s also currently fairly popular, which fits in with Sophia and Clara, but old-fashioned at the same time, with its previous peak being in the 1880’s, like Lena and Dora and Moses. It’s also pretty Catholic, what with St. Isaac Jogues being one of the North American Martyrs (and the recent canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha helping to raise his profile even more).

(2) Solomon

Old Testament/Jewish, the end. Also wise and kingly, elegant and old-fashioned. A solid, consistent choice for a brother to Moses and Elijah.

(3) Asa

Asa is old-fashioned and Old Testament/Jewish, and it’s short and punchy like Lena and Dora and Lucy. It’s also a bold choice because of its rarity (it peaked in popularity in the 1880s), potential for mispronunciation by those who are unfamiliar with it, and potential for crossover to the girl’s side because of the –a ending. But I get the sense that Fishers would not be swayed by such considerations, and Ace is a pretty cool nickname (if a nickname were to be used).

What do you think? Have I hit the nail on the head or missed altogether? Do you have any suggestions for naming the new Fisher Baby?

————-

In formulating my thoughts on the Fishers’ name style and determining other names that I think they might like, I consulted The Baby Name Wizard book and web site, especially the Name Voyager and Namipedia, as well as the Behind the Name web site, and my own mind, which contains a lifetime of conversations about names, reading about names, and thinking about names. (Seriously. I never tire of it.)