Sibling Project

The Baby Name Wizard book, by Laura Wattenberg, is a brilliant compilation and analysis of U.S. naming trends that tends to be uncannily accurate and presented in a way that’s insanely helpful. (You can read my full review of it here.) I lean on it heavily in all my consultations and in many name conversations, and I enjoy relaxing with it as straight reading material (and I always learn something new each time I flip through it).

But the deeper I get in Catholic naming, the more holes I see in the BNW data, and I get it — we’re a small subset of American parents and we follow naming rules that are often different from the majority — but I’d still love something that was basically an addendum to the BNW with a specifically Catholicky Catholic focus. Hence my idea for the Sancta Nomina Sibling Project: a database of the names that are similar to each other in terms of style/feel/popularity from an American Catholic perspective (so sorry to my foreign readers! I love you all, and I love all the info you share!).

For right now, this fancy-sounding database will just be here on the blog, a combination of my thoughts and feedback from all of you. I’m not a statistics guru like Ms. Wattenberg, but I think just having this info handy in a sort of unofficial way will be really helpful to me and to many of you (and maybe to her! Hint hint! Laura, I’d love if this info was helpful to you in future editions!).

Each name here is one that’s well represented among the Sancta Nomina readers, either on already-named children, or on lists of names in consideration, but whose BNW entry is unhelpful/inaccurate for parents considering these names for reasons of faith (or there’s no BNW entry at all).


This entry is based on the feedback on this post. I expected only real-life siblings’ names of Kateris, but was delighted to also get thoughts on what names were stylistic matches for Kateri (which was my goal to begin with) (I was most interested to see that the names that were considered style matches didn’t always match up with real-life siblings’ names!). I included all that info here, as well as the various pronunciations used by real Kateris.

Pronunciation: kah-TEER-ee (9), kah-TEHR-ee (4), KATE-eh-ree (1), GAH-duh-lee (just me) (the numbers refer to how many of the people who referenced pronunciation gave each one as the pronunciation they hear on the Kateris they know)

Nicknames: Kate, Katie, Kat, Kit, Kitty, Teeri

 Stylistically similar names (girls): Avila, Azelie, Cabrini, Chiara, Clairvaux, Faustina, Gemma, Gianna, Jacinta, Maristel(l)a, Philomena, Rosemary, Siena, Vianney, Zelie

Stylistically similar names (boys): Blaise, Dominic, Gabriel, Ignatius, Isaac, Jude, Xavier, Sebastian

Real-life sisters’ names: Abigail, Adelina, Alexandra, Aliz, Andrea, Anna, Arianna, Avila, Bernadette, Bridget, Cecilia, Chiara, Claire, Cora, Dionne, Elizabeth, Elyse, Felicity, Gabi, Gabriella, Gabrielle, Gianna, Grace, Guadalupe, Isabel, Isabella,  Isla, Jessica, Juliette, Kendra, Lucia, Lydia, Maddi, Magdalene, Makya, Malia, Mallory, Maria, Mariah, Mary, Mary Helen, Mary Rose, Meadow, Medora, Mini-Francis, Molly, Monica, Reina, Rosemarie, Rosemary, Sarah, Tara, Thèresé, Victoria, Zèlie

Real-life brothers’ names: Ambrose, Andrew, Anthony, Alex, Benjamin, Blaise, Christopher, Clayton, Daniel, David, Dominic,  Eamon, Edwin, Elijah, Eugene, Ezekiel, Henry, Isaac, Isaiah, Joachim, Jonah, Jonathan, Joseph, Josiah, Jude, Kieran, Lennon, Leo, Luke, Luke-Xavier, Malachi, Mark, Mason, Max, Maximilian, Nicholas, Noah, Peter, PeterXavier, Raphael, Rush, Sebastian, Stephen, Thomas, Tobiah, Tobias, Tristan, Will, William, Xander, Xavier, Zachary

Bloggers with a Kateri: Danielle Bean

John Paul

This entry is based on the feedback on this post. A few interesting things were that I received less feedback about what names seemed stylistically similar than I had in the Kateri post (so the majority of the “stylistically similar names” are my own ideas); a good point was made that the Jon Paul spelling seems to have a very different feel than any of the variants using the John spelling; there seemed to be an inordinate amount of real-life siblings that also have double names (e.g., Anne-Marie and alllll the Mary+’s!); and that John Paul makes a really great”bridge name” between styles, as it takes two really “normal,” traditional names and blings them out so that it fits both with other “normal” names (like Joseph and Mary) and with more sparkly/unusual/Catholicky Catholic names (like Kolbe and Faustina).

Nicknames: Jack, Johnny, John Paulie, Johnny Paulie, JP

Spelling variants: John Paul, John-Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul, Jon Paul (but this is an important point)

Stylistically similar names (girls): Catherine, Cecilia, Clare, Eleanor, Faustina, Felicity, Genevieve, Gianna, Kateri, Mary/Maria (alone or with another name as a double first), Regina

Stylistically similar names (boys): Augustine, Benedict, Blaise, Dominic, Francis, Gabriel, Gregory, Joseph, Jude, Kolbe, Leo, Luke, Maximilian, Michael, Robert, Thomas

Real-life sisters’ names: Abby, Alexandra, Anita, Anna-Laura, Anne-Marie, Betty, Brady, Carmella, Catherine, Cecilia, Charlotte, Clare, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Emilie, Evelyn, Faustina, Genevieve, Gianna, Isabella, Josie, Louise, Madeleine, Maria Francesca, Maria Therese, Mary, Mary Catherine, Mary Claire, Mary Elizabeth, Mary Jane, Mary Lucille, Mary Margaret, Mary Therese, Molly, Rachel, Rebecca, Regina, Sloane, Taylor

Real-life brothers’ names: Angelo, Andrew, Anthony, Augustine, Benedict, Benjamin, Bennett, Charles, Daniel, David, Eddie, Evan, Finnian, Francis, James, Joseph, Joshua, Kolbe, Luke, Maximilian, Michael, Nathan, Parker, Peter, Ray, Robert, Samuel, Sean, Steven, Thomas, Vincent, William

Bloggers with a John Paul: Kendra Tierney at Catholic All Year (first six kids’ names here; no. 7 here; no. 8 here); Jenny Uebbing at Mama Needs Coffee (first three kids’ names here; no. 4 here); Kathryn Whitaker at Team Whitaker (first five kids’ names here, and no. 6 here); Mary at Better Than Eden (all birth stories and names here)


This entry is based on the feedback in this post. I struggled with whether or not to include Therese with T(h)eresa and decided not to, as I thought Therese has a different feel. Though several of you readers seemed to feel differently — and I did take that into account and rethink my opinion — I ultimately decided that Theresa and Teresa still have enough of a different feel to me from Therese that I intend to do a separate entry for Therese in the future.

As for the differences between Theresa and Teresa, there didn’t seem to be quite enough to warrant two different entries, which I was a little surprised by because Teresa has, to me, a distinct Latin flavor, except when it’s being used specifically in honor of our new St. Mother Teresa. (I would expect a Teresa to be more likely to have sisters Ana/Anna and Rosa than Anne and Rose, but that didn’t seem to bear out in your feedback nearly as much as I thought it would. Perhaps between us we just don’t know enough families?)

You’ll also see that I didn’t include *all* the feedback from the comments, as I’d really wanted to focus on the feel of T(h)eresa *now,* for parents currently (2016) of childbearing age (I aimed for T(h)eresas aged 15 or younger, though I didn’t adhere 100% strictly to that), and some of the feedback was regarding Theresas that are older than what I was looking for. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem except that one of the reasons I decided to include T(h)eresa in the Sibling Project is because the entry in the Baby Name Wizard focuses (understandably) on its mid-century peak and, as reader Laura said, “I think a family using Theresa now is more likely to be a Catholic family rather than one that likes the names from mid-century.” (At least among the Sancta Nomina community!)



Both Theresa and Teresa have a mid-century peak. Screen shots from the Theresa and Teresa entries, respectively, on I can’t wait to see how/if Mother Teresa’s canonization affects the stats!

Pronunciation: ter-EE-sah (generally for Theresa; often for Teresa), ter-AY-sah (often for Teresa, especially among those with a Spanish sensibility; sometimes for Theresa)

Nicknames: Tess, Tessie, T (Tee), Teresita, Treese, Reese, Resa, Treep, Teri/Terry, Tracy (the latter two fall more into the mid-century vibe I think)

Spelling variants: Teresa, Theresa (Therese in a separate entry, coming soon)

Stylistically similar names (girls): Anne, C/Katherine, Claire, Elizabeth, Margaret, Maria/Marie/Mary, Rose

Stylistically similar names (boys): John, John Paul, Joseph, Michael, Paul, Peter, Stephen, Thomas

Real-life sisters’ names: Agnes, Anastasia, Angelina, Anne, Caitlin, Catherine, Claire, Corinna, Dorothy, Elaina, Elizabeth, Emma, Franziska, Hannah, Jacinta, Joanna, Katharine, Kathleen, Katie, Lydia, Madeline, Margaret, Maria, Marianna, Marie, Mary, Rebecca, Rose, Sarah, Sophia

Real-life brothers’ names: Adrian, Anthony, Augustine, Benedict, Bennet, James, John, John Paul, Joseph, Krystian, Michael, Nicholas, Paul, Peter, Ryan, Stephen, Thomas, Vincent

Bloggers with a T(h)eresa: Bonnie Engstrom at A Knotted Life (check out this page for all her kiddos’ birth stories, including their names)