Fun Friday Question: What name pocket are you in (if any)?

Don’t forget to enter The Catholic Working Mom’s Guide to Life giveaway if you haven’t already! You have until Sunday at midnight!

My dear friend KZG, who I’ve known for over twenty years, and with whom I lived and traveled while young, and who was a bridesmaid in my wedding and godmother to one of my boys, has also been one of my longest readers (in the beginning of the blog, she and my mom were my only two readers!) and biggest supporters/cheerleaders. She’s also the one who lets me know any time anyone in the Catholic blogosphere is pregnant — she has “introduced” me to so many of you! I gave her a special shout-out in my book for all the ways she’s been a bright light to Sancta Nomina (and always to me ❤ ).

So anyway, this past Tuesday she texted me, “Have you written about how popular Rocco is?” and went on to tell me that it’s super popular where she is (downstate NY), especially in the 4-6 year old age range (in her experience). So I responded how interesting that is, and that not only is it not terribly popular nationwide, it’s also on a downswing, so she must be in a pocket and I wondered why?

rocco

She reminded me that there’s a high population of families with Italian heritage where she lives, which makes sense, and we continued our text convo about other things and I mentally made a note to write about Rocco at some point in the future.

THE VERY NEXT DAY Laura Wattenberg, aka The Baby Name Wizard, who has a new web site called Namerology (she’s no longer at the Baby Name Wizard site), posted Maeve of Massachusetts, Meet Magnus of Minnesota, which was all about name pockets due to high concentrations of certain ethnicities (specifially Irish in Boston/Massachusetts, Swedish in Minnesota, and Italian in New Jersey [I would add downstate New York — Duchess and Westchester Counties, New York City, and Long Island — which borders New Jersey]).

SHE ACTUALLY SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED ROCCO!

The Swedish immigrants who flocked to Minnesota are recalled in the modern popularity of names like Ingrid and Henrik, and the Italian immigrants who helped shape New Jersey in names like Francesca and Rocco.”

Of course I texted her right away!! KZG is amazing!!

I can’t think of any names that are particular to my area as opposed to the rest of the country — I know loads of kids with the new top ten names, and the top names in New York State specifically (which KZG also sent me, name genius that she is) aren’t that different, and no names are coming to mind as those I hear that wouldn’t be as known to other places. (I will say that Sancta Nomina provides a Catholic name pocket though! 😂 The beautiful names of our faith are so familiar to me through interacting with all of you and the research I do for the blog/book/social media, etc. that I forget not everyone is as familiar!)

What about all of you? Do you hear names on the little ones in your town/area that aren’t common in other places? Happy Friday!


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!

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Couple good “Anna” posts

Don’t forget to enter the Feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim giveaway — it ends tomorrow at midnight!

Continuing our theme of St. Anne, I read two posts today about the name Anna that I thought you all would enjoy as much as I did! There’s this one at British Baby Names: Name Help: Honouring Anna, which provides an awesome list of names that have a connection to Anna.

The second was this dilemma at Baby Name Wizard: Boy and Girl Name Help for Helena’s Sibling – can’t commit to any on the shortlist and due in 5 weeks! Extra fun for us is the fact that the mama wrote, “We also would like one of the names (first or middle) to be a saint name/religious in nature as we are practicing Roman Catholics.” Lots of names on their lists are ones we often love here!

Sibling Project: Therese

I’ve still got St. Therese on my mind, three days after her feast day! 🌹

In July I asked for feedback regarding T(h)eresa for my Sibling Project, and at the time I wasn’t 100% sure whether I would do an entry for Therese or not. Ultimately I decided that I think Therese is different enough in style/feel that it needs its own entry, so here’s its post — we’ll see if I’m right!

As with Theresa, I actually don’t think Therese’s entry in the Baby Name Wizard is that far off:

Girls: Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Nadine, Helene, Patrice

Boys: Gerard, Roland, Laurence, Claude, Armand, Jerome

I fully agree with the French feel and/or saintliness of Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Gerard, and Jerome. But I do think the entry could use some tweaking, as I think I’m correct in saying that most of the families I see that have a Theresa variant use Therese, and not a lot of families use names like Nadine, Patrice, Claude, and Roland. The SSA data shows that overall Therese is “a bit downbeat” as Laura put it in the BNW — it’s fallen hard from its most recent peak at No. 252 in 1959 (it had a higher peak at No. 220 in 1927 before falling and rising again. I’m going out on a not-very-shaky limb and say that its 1927 peak was entirely due to our sweet St. Therese, who was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925).

therese

But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1984!

So tell me about all the little Thereses you know! (“Little”=15 years old or younger.) How do they pronounce their name? Do they go by a nickname? What are their siblings’ names?

And beyond real-life examples, what names (for girls and boys) do you think are style matches for Therese?

Sibling Project: T(h)eresa

I’m really really enjoying working on the Sibling Project, and I hope you’re all finding it interesting and/or helpful! We’ve done Kateri and John Paul so far, and today’s post is thanks to Laura’s suggestion of Theresa, which she explains so well:

The [Baby Name Wizard] books suggestions tend to miss the Catholic rationale behind some of my favorite names. I was always horrified by the sibling suggestions for Theresa which I think is such a great name. 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.”

I actually think there’s an added problem as well — in the BNW, there’s only an entry for Teresa, with Theresa listed as an alternate spelling (which it is, of course, but I *think* people pick one spelling over the other for reasons that are related to favorite saints as well as stylistic preference and sometimes cultural/language considerations, which makes a difference).

The following names are listed as style matches for Teresa:

Girls: Cynthia, Pamela, Suzanne, Deborah, Colleen, Anita, Nina, Kathryn

Boys: Allen, Douglas, Russell, Mark, Paul, Stephen, Gregory, Philip

Just like Laura said, there’s a lot of mid-century going on there. I don’t disagree with Kathryn, Mark, Paul, Stephen, Gregory, and Philip because of the saintliness, but I do think T(h)eresa’s style/feel from our perspective is more well rounded.

What do you all think? Do you see a difference between Teresa and Theresa? Which do you prefer and why? Do you know any T(h)eresas (especially little ones, like younger than … 15?), and if so, what are their siblings’ names? Do they go by a nickname? Do you know why their parents chose the spelling they did? Do you hear different pronunciations (ter-EE-sah vs. ter-AY-sah, for example)?

I’m not totally sure how I’ll handle this entry on the SibPro page, being that it’s really for two names that I think might have different feels — maybe two different entries? We’ll see how it goes … if I have to post an addendum or follow-up questions next week I will. (I considered adding Therese in here too, but I don’t think the entry in the Baby Name Wizard is that far off, so I may not do an entry for it.)

Sibling Project: John Paul

You might have noticed that I started a new tab at the top of the page called “Sibling Project,” in which I explained what the project is and added Kateri as the first entry (I thank you all so much for your feedback on Kateri! I loved reading all your comments!). I can easily add new info, so if you haven’t yet shared the sibs’ names of the Kateris you know, just let me know!

Next up: John Paul, which doesn’t have its own entry in the Baby Name Wizard. One of the things that came out of the Kateri post that I loved was the difference between names you all thought were most like it in style, and names of real-life siblings of real-like Kateris. I LOVE seeing that Kateri fits in just as well with Anthony as with Ambrose, and with Tara as with Therese.

Here too, I’d love to know what names you think are most like John Paul in style, and what the siblings’ names are of John Pauls you know in real life. Also, how do the John Pauls you know spell their names? John Paul, John-Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul, or … ? And any nicknames they go by as well. Just to clarify, this only pertains to boys with the first name John Paul, not to boys with the first name John and the middle name Paul (though if their given name is John Paul and no other middle, and they go by the double John Paul, that counts). Thank you!!

 

 

Sibling Project: Kateri

You all know how I feel about the Baby Name Wizard book — basically that it’s 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 as a series of occasional posts seeking your feedback on one name at a time. I’m not a statistics guru like BNW author Laura 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.

Today’s name is Kateri, because it’s the name whose entry drives me the battiest in the BNW — from our perspective, the names listed as similar are completely off base:

Girls: Shadi, Halona, Winema, Mahala, Chenoa, Nayeli
Boys: Sakrai, Chayton, Kohana, Wayra, Seattle, Enapay

I come across Kateri a lot through the blog, and not a one of the ones that I know have siblings with any of these names, or any Native American names in general.

So what I’d love to know from you is, if you know any little Kateris, could you share (using alt characters for privacy if you prefer) her siblings’ first names? Also, please include the pronunciation that each Kateri you know uses, and any nicknames that she goes by (that are related to Kateri, like Kate, not schnookums names like Honey Pie or others completely unrelated to Kateri). Thanks!

Reading round-up

Buckle up guys, I’ve been adding to my “reading round-up” list for months now — today’s the day! I’m getting it done!

Grace told me about a NYC gathering she’d gone to called Catholic Underground, which is totally the kind of thing I would have loved when I was in college, and the name of the director:

Of course, it was fabulous with an hour of adoration and getting to see one of the actual missionary images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But the reason I’m emailing you is not just to tell you about a great experience but to share with you an awesome religious name I spotted. On the little flier we got walking in the door there was a nice little letter from the director of Catholic Underground, and his name is…….Br. Mark-Mary!!! How cool is that!? It’s so rare that you see men take feminine names, so it just makes me so happy to see it when it happens!

I love that!! #MenWhoLoveMary

Emma wanted to be sure I’d seen this post (from early December) over at Swistle’s blog, saying, “Oh boy, does Swistle ever need Sancta Nomina over at her blog today!!!!” Haha! The mom writing is expecting her third, and her older two are Harriet Paloma (“Hattie”), and Hugo Campion. Ohh my! In her dilemma letter she writes things like,

Their middle names feel (to my ears) more modern and have religious significance (“Paloma,” meaning “dove” which stands both for peace and for the Holy Spirit, “Campion,” after St. Edmund Campion)

and

[regarding the fact they’re considering Consuelo] I have always been fascinated by the French and Spanish-language tradition of naming children after the Virgin Mary, but using her many titles or apparition locations. English is pretty limited when it comes to honor names for the Blessed Mother. We have Mary, Marie, and some more unusual, but related, variants such as Mae, Mamie, Maren, Molly. But nothing compared with the range and diversity of the French/Spanish naming tradition: Lourdes, Carmel, Soledad, Guadalupe, Luz, Amparo, Araceli, Socorro, Belen, Pilar, Delores. And on and on! My daughter’s godmother is Monserrat after Our Lady of Monserrat (love!!).”

I would indeed have loved to get my hands on that dilemma! But this bit from Swistle sums up my feelings pretty exactly (the question was Margaret vs. Consuelo as a first name):

Margaret Consuelo is a pretty kick-butt name, and coordinates beautifully with Harriet Paloma and Hugo Campion. Paloma (peace) and Consuelo (solace) are particularly well-matched.”

Speaking of Swistle, I also loved the sib set in this post: Charles (Huck), Isaac, Katherine, and Seth. (I love Huck for Charles!!) One of the commenters (our very own eclare!) said she guessed the family might be Catholic, based on the size of the family, the kids’ names (which she accurately described as “saint/biblical”), and some on their list (including Xavier), and I agree. I was disappointed by Swistle’s reply though — she said, “I don’t think Seth or Charlotte are saint names,” which is misleading. Seth the Patriarch (from the Old Testament) appears in Book of Saints by the Monks of Ramsgate as well as Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, and his feast day is March 1. There are also several Blesseds Charlotte, and, as eclare correctly pointed out, Charlotte can be and is often used as an honor name for any of the Sts. Charles/Karl/Carl/Carlo/Karol.

One more Swistle post: Baby Names to Consider: Classic/Traditional Names with Atypical/Non-Traditional Nicknames. I loved reading the ideas from her and the commenters!

Shelby told me about this article: The Saint behind the Jagermeister Logo is also one of the 14 Holy Helpers. I love finding out stuff like that! As Shelby put it, it “goes well with your post about Catholic things in plain sight like the Sophie the Giraffe.” “Catholic things in plain sight”! I love that!

It reminds me of something else I read recently: Nutella Founder Dies, Said Secret of Success Was Our Lady of Lourdes: Devout Catholic took employees to visit site of Marian apparitions. Yes, Nutella is now my new favorite food. 🙂

Then there was this: A 3yo boy named Diesel will only answer to Popcorn, and so his parents are going to legally change his name.

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is one of my favorite resources, and I was so struck by one of its recent blog posts about the rise of certain names in Protestant records after the Reformation that I raised a question:

dmnes1-01.27.16

The Apocrypha in this context are the books (or parts of books, as in the case of Daniel) that are part of the Catholic bible but not part of the Protestant bible. (As opposed to books Catholics consider to be apocryphal, like the Protoevangelium of James.) It was so strange to me that Judith (the book of Judith is rejected by Protestants) and Susan (the English form of Susanna(h), from the part of the book of Daniel that’s considered apocryphal by Protestants) would receive an uptick in use by Protestants after the Reformation. So interesting! And even better — the DMNES team (including our own Sara) is on it!

dmnes2-01.27.16

I find stuff like this so fascinating. As I said to Sara, I learn so much about culture, religious, politics, history, and language through names. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with!

I was also interested by this bit in the DMNES post on New Testament names after the Reformation, about our dear St. Anne:

Anne: This name could be classified as either an Old Testament name or a New Testament name. In the OT, this was the name of the mother of Samuel (more often modernly transliterated as Hannah); in the apocrypha, Anne is usually identified as the mother of Mary, though she is not named explicitly in the NT. Whatever the origin and whatever the spelling, this name was always common; it was, in fact, one of the most common feminine names throughout all of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary. The name was so well entrenched that the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints did not cause any reduction in its popularity.” (emphasis mine)

How cool is that! It’s also particularly funny that its entrenchment was “due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary” — not only a saint, despite “the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints,” but a saint who’s never named in the bible we all agree on, nor even in the apocrypha rejected by Protestantism — Mary’s mother’s name is only given in the Protoevangelium of James, so its use is totally due to Catholic tradition. She’s a great lady, that St. Anne. 🙂 ❤

Finally, I was enjoying these dilemmas on the Baby Name Wizard site recently:

Thoughts on Gemma

Bishop as a first name?

Religious or not religious? (this mom has since figured out a solution, but I really liked some of the ideas offered in this post)

(Also, I think the commenter Optatus Cleary would like it here. 🙂 )

Whew! I think that’s all I have for today!

ETA: Oh! Also this: Twitter Reveals That All Kids Hate Their Names (my takeaway: pray and do the best you can, and then don’t worry), and this: Are There Any More Z Names? Neither the author (Laura Wattenberg herself) nor any of the commenters mentioned Zelie/Azelie!