Fun Friday Question: How different are your parents’ taste?

I had so much fun with last week’s question and follow-up! It was so fun to read about your “almost names”!

Here’s another question for you: How different are your parents’ taste in names? If you were able to ask them right now what names they would have on their list if they didn’t have to take into account their spouse’s taste, what names would they be?

My parents did a phenomenal job naming me and my sibs (most of whom prefer to remain anonymous on here), but their lists are pretty different. I asked my mom last night for one or two of her favorite boy and girl names and she said:

Girl
— Róisín (Irish for “little rose”; said ro-SHEEN)
— Máirhín (the Irish “Mary” [Mair-] + “hín,” which is the ending syllable of the diminutive of her dad’s name — see Dáithín below; said mar-HEEN)
— Áine (used as the Irish equivalent of Anne, which is the name of Mom’s mom; said like the name Anya; Mom prefers this as a middle name, but then thought she preferred the sound of Áine Róisín and Áine Máirhín to Róisín Áine and Máirhín Áine )

Boy
— Fionn (“finn”)
— Dáithín (Mom’s dad was from Ireland and had the given name David, but he attended a St. Paddy’s Day event at my school once and introduced himself as Dáithín , which Mom had never heard before — he was apparently called that when he was small. [He also spoke with a brogue during that event, which he’d also never done.] Dáithí is used as the Irish equivalent of David)
— Mícheál (the Irish spelling of Michael, said MEE-haul)

It’s pretty clear what Mom’s taste in names is! 😂☘️

Dad wasn’t able to get back to me before this story went to press 😀 , but these are names I remember him talking about since I was little:

Girl
— Maureen, nicknamed Mo
— Samantha, nicknamed Sam

Boy
— Daniel (not sure about a nickname?)
— Sebastian, nicknamed Seb(by) (Dad often referenced former track and field Olympian [and current British politician] Sebastian Coe when he talked about this name; it was the nicknames Seb and Sebby that he really loved, I’m not convinced the full Sebastian is actually his style)

Dad loves girl names that can have a boyish nickname!

Mom’s Máirhín and Dad’s Maureen are pretty similar from their girl lists (though I don’t think Mom loves Mo and Dad probably wouldn’t go for an Irish spelling). Both my parents have biblical names on their boy list, which is what my brothers have, and if my sisters and I had been boys we would have had biblical names too, so there’s some common ground there. I love seeing that, though their lists look pretty different, there’s some points of possible overlap and compromise!

How about your parents? 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!

Advertisements

Birth announcement: Linus John!

I’m still working on catching up on birth announcements from the last several months, but I couldn’t not post this hot-off-the-presses announcement for a baby born Sunday!

I did a consultation and birth announcement for Emily’s second little guy a few years ago, and I’m thrilled to announce that she’s had another little boy — an Easter baby AND a rainbow baby! She and her hubby gave him the so-handsome name … Linus John!

I love Linus! And I love it with his big sibs: Simon Matthew, George Stephen (happy feast day, Buddy!), and Frances Xavier (with Jesus). A great, saintly crew!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Linus!!


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!

Birth announcement: Damian Nicholas Elijah and Isaac Anthony Cosmas!

Sweet Carrie, who I did a consultation for three years ago for her fourth baby and posted a birth announcement for that same little guy, has given birth to twin boys!! They have the amazingly perfect names … Damian Nicholas Elijah and Isaac Anthony Cosmas!

She explains here how they got their names:

Damian has been on of [her hubby’s] favorite names for a long time, and it was on the top of the list when I was pregnant with Dominic. Considering Sts. Cosmas and Damian were reputed to be twins, we thought now would be the perfect time to use it. Also, [hubby] has always been a fan of St. Damien of Molokai. St. Nicholas is one of our favorite Saints, and so we are so happy to have him included with our children’s patron Saints. Elijah the Prophet is a favorite Biblical character in our family, as well.

When we first found out we were having twins, we laughed. ‘Isaac’ seemed like a perfect fit for that reason, after the Biblical Patriarch. His first middle name is Anthony, after [hubby’s] maternal grandfather, and St. Anthony the great. Then we decided to add Cosmas, since as I mentioned, St. Damian was reputed to be his twin, and we wanted twin Saints to be their patrons as well.

… [I]t was actually pretty fun to come up with their names and I’m glad for what we settled on: being named after a pair of brother/twin Saints, two Biblical figures, and two Saints well-venerated in both East and West.”

I’m so impressed at how they brought all those elements together!! I absolutely love these boys’ names!!

Congratulations to Carrie and her hubs and big sibs Travis Joseph Derek, Clare Marie Thérèse, Gemma Kateri Rose, and Dominic Maximilian Mark, and happy birthday Baby Damian and Baby Isaac!!


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!

Baby name consultation: New boy name needed asap!

I haven’t reopened consultations yet! This mama purchased a consultation during my Black Friday 2017 special and emailed me a few weeks ago to see if she could redeem it. I thought it would be a good way to see if I’m ready to accept consultation requests again — unfortunately, it took me several weeks to get this one done! So I’m still not there yet. Keep watching the blog for updates!

I posted a consultation for Genie from Barefoot Abbey over three years ago, and a birth announcement for that baby (a girl after five boys!) not long after. Since then, she’s had another baby (a boy), and has another baby (green bean=gender unknown) due very soon!

Genie writes,

We are expecting our 7th living baby in March and have run into a bit of a naming quandary … For the first time ever our family has not found out the gender of our baby before birth so we need both a boy an girl name at the ready for this Sweet Pea. We’ve had a running list of names from our courtship and picked the boy name that was the back up for our son born in 2017: Charles Edmund Jude.

Now herein lies our dilemma… last week my sister in law named our new nephew Charles Edward … It may not end up being an issue if this baby is a girl, but with our track record of 6 boys and 1 girl I think we should be prepared. What is the etiquette on repeat names in this situation and when they would only be together at holidays? I’d love to say that we still have a several boy name choices we like, but after 6 sons, our list is dwindling. Another thought early after their name announcement was to switch the order of the names and put Edmund as the first name and Charles as the second. Our issue with this swap is losing the nickname Charlie and not having a favored replacement for Edmund.”

Oof! I can understand the floundering feeling Genie and her husband must have, trying to figure out if their chosen name is still okay to use, and if not, what other name do they like as much. Fortunately, they have great taste! Check out their older kiddos’ names:

Our naming style has a lot of Saint, Anglo/Celtic, and literary influence. These are our children’s names:

Malachi Benedict Aquinas
• Malachi – first canonized saint of Ireland, “Carrots” is one of his nicknames
• Benedict – St. Benedict was a big part of our pre-marriage prep, Pope Benedict XVI
• Aquinas – Our courtship began on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Noah Oliver Francis
• Noah – my husband liked the sound & justified it as being close to the Gaelic word for saint
• Oliver – last canonized saint of Ireland, he usually goes by “Noah Oliver” or after the Gaelic pronounced “Ollibear”
• Francis – the patron of the parish we’d attended all our marriage. He took me there after the pub on our first date.

Liam Michael Damien
• Liam – Bl. Liam Tirry one of the 17 Irish martyrs, his nickname is the Scottish term of endearment “Ducky”
• Michael – St. Michael is one of my husband’s patrons along with St. Thomas Becket & St. John the Baptist.
• Damien – St. Damien of Molokai, my dad used to go build for the remainder of his colony.

Aelred Dominic John (this is the son we lost in 2013)
• Aelred – St. Aelred the English St. Bernard, Spiritual Friendship author
• Dominic – St. Dominic, OL of the Rosary, meaning (belonging to God)
• John – my husband’s brother (has all daughters), patron, meaning (God is gracious)

Henry Andrew James
• Henry – St. Henry Walpole, Bl. John Henry Newman
• Andrew – St. Andrew of Scotland, my husband’s middle name, our Christmas gift after praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena
• James – St. James the Great, my grandfather’s name, his nickname is “Camino” (he’s the path God chose for our family)

Moira Elizabeth Charlotte – “Mosy , Ladybird, or Birdie”
• Moira – Irish/ Scottish variant of Mary, for Our Lady of Lourdes, from Peter Pan
• Elizabeth – one of my patronesses and middle name
• Charlotte – JP II, Bl. Charlotte of the Resurrection a martyr of Compiegne, this was her brother’s choice from Charlotte’s Web

George Maximilian Joseph – “Joe-Joe,”
• George – St. George for one of our sons’ favorite feast days, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
• Maximilian – St. Maximilian Kolbe servant of Our Lady
• Joseph – St. Joseph and his Most Chaste Heart

Amazing, right? I love how thoughtful each combination is! These are the names on their list for this baby:

Boy Saint names left on our list but aren’t yet striking to us:
• Edmund – St. Edmund Campion reformation martyr
• Owen – St. Nicholas Owen reformation priest hole builder
• Becket – St. Thomas Becket on of DH’s patrons
• Sebastian – early church martyr
• Finnian – St. Finnian of Ireland
• Jude – saint of the impossible
• Blaise – my special patron in college as a voice major

• Samuel – like the name but won’t use without a related post Bible saint

For reference the top 3 names in the running for our last son were:
• George – what we used
• Charles
• Edmund

Ok now for girl names… We don’t have a top choice yet and are still looking at options.
We’ve had set combos on the list for many years and want something with a marian connection. I’ll separate them out by first and middle names we like to give you an idea of style.

First Names:
• Beatrix – “Beasy” Marian from the latin for blessed, l like Immaculee or Evangeline with it but that’s two Marian names back to back.
• Genevieve – patroness, my baptismal but not legal name, “Gigi or Evie”
• Josephine – for Bl. Josephine Leroux martyr of the French Revolution, like it with Felicity Marie as the middle names, “Josie”, not sure about the overlap with George
• Margaret – “Meg/Megsy” (Little Women), one of my patronesses, Ss. Margaret Clitherow & Margaret of Scotland, my 3rd name (baptismal).
• Emmelia – “Emmie/Mila” on of my patronesses, mother of saints, I like it with Magdalen Rose as the middle names.
• Lucy – St. Lucy day is one of our family’s favorite saints in Advent, Lucia of Fatima, C. S. Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery
• Penelope – for St. Penelope (baptismal name Irene) of Thessaloniki, missionary & virgin martyr of the 4th century

Middle Names:
• Evangeline – love the sound of this, Mary the new Eve
• Felicity – love the meaning of the name and Ss. Felicity & Perpetua
• Imelda – patroness, confirmation saint at my reception into the Church from Anglicanism in ’11
• Elinor – my husband was born in the Feast of St. Helena, Austen spelling (Sense & Sensibility)
• Gemma – love this modern saint’s story
• Magdalene – love that she was the first follower to see Jesus after the Resurrection, first son was due on Good Friday and was almost “Moira Magdalene Clare”

2nd Middle Names:
• Hope – meaning
• Anne – St. Anne (Mary’s mom) & St. Anna Maria Taigi, Green Gables spelling
• Marie – Marian derivative
• Therese – love the simplicity of her little way
• Faith – meaning
• Rose – Marian
• Clare – family name, great saint
• Jane – my husband’s grandmother & aunt, Jane Eyre

It was such a pleasure to read all these beautiful names!

Alrighty, so I’ll address Genie’s question about etiquette first. She asked, “What is the etiquette on repeat names in this situation and when they would only be together at holidays?” It’s important to note that there isn’t any official etiquette — each person and family is so unique in regards to the way they think about things, that Genie and her hubs really be more the experts here. Given what they know of them, how would the family, including Genie’s sister-in-law, respond to Genie’s son being given the same first name and a very similar middle as his 6-weeks-older cousin? If it’s something that’s likely to cause a family rift, I’d say that’s a good reason for them to come up with another name. If the family won’t mind too much, then they can do what they’d like. I think the fact that the children will only see each other at holidays is a good thing to remember. (I’ve posted a bit about this topic, which might be helpful both to Genie and to any of you dealing with a similar dilemma: Dibs on names? Sharing ok?, Miscarried baby’s name stolen?, and Name thieves.)

Other ways of working with this situation include Genie and her hubs coming up with a new nickname for Charles, so that their nephew is Charles Edward “Charlie,” and their son is Charles Edmund Jude “Cal,” for example. Charlie and Cal are different enough that they won’t get confused at family get togethers, and Genie would get to have her favorite given name combo. Abby from Appellation Mountain did a great post on new ideas for nicknames for Charles (Huck is particularly fun for parents who love literary names). Or they could do a nickname from his middle name — Charles Edmund Jude nicknamed Ed, Ned, Ted, or even Jude. St. John Paul’s brother’s name was Edmund, and he went by Mundek, which might appeal to Genie as a nickname. (I suspect she won’t like the idea of coming up with a new nickname, however, since she said Charlie was one of the things she loves about Charles.)

If it might help to be given a reason why Charles isn’t a great idea, I’ll offer that Genie and her hubs already used Charlotte in Moira’s name. Repeating names among siblings isn’t a problem, of course, but it might help lessen the sting of not using Charles.

I love Genie’s list of possibilities — Edmund, Owen, Becket, Sebastian, Finnian, Jude, Blaise, and Samuel are all fantastic. Some thoughts: Would Campion as a first name interest them? They’d have the reference to the saint, with some cute nickname options (Cam, Camp), and Campion’s a Marian name as well — it’s an entry in my book! I love Marian names for boys! I also love Samuel, and I think it’s my favorite of those on Genie’s list. Not only is it biblical, like Malachi and Noah (and Moira, via Mary), but its nickname Sam is spot-on for the style and feel of Charlie (per the Baby Name Wizard, which you all know I use in my consultations in looking for names that are similar in style/feel/popularity to the parents’ favorites), and pairing it with Becket would give a literary connection to the Irish writer Samuel Beckett. I don’t know much about him, so maybe that connection is an unsavory one to Genie or people of faith in general? But I do know that as soon as I thought of Samuel and Becket together, I thought, “Isn’t that a literary name?” Samuel Becket Jude is a great combo, in my opinion, as is Samuel Becket Blaise — I love that alliteration! If they prefer not to have that connection to Samuel Beckett, though, I also like Samuel Edmund Blaise, Samuel Edmund Owen, Samuel Sebastian Blaise, Samuel Finnian Blaise. (I love Jude as a second middle for all these combos as well.)

Speaking of Samuel’s biblical-ness vs. saintliness, there’s a fourth-century St. Samuel, but I quite liked the story of thirteenth-century Franciscan Friar and martyr, Bl. Samuele of Ceuta.

As for girl ideas, I love their list! They have some fabulous names on there! I love that each name has really great reasons for being on there. It seems like it’s just a matter of putting together the right combination! I love that they want a Marian connection — they have so many great ones on there already. I thought I might offer Daisy as a nickname for Margaret — you probably know it’s a traditional nickname for Margaret, and it’s also a Marian symbol (I discuss it more in my book of Marian names). Also Hope and Faith can be Marian, for Our Lady of Hope and Our Lady of Faith.

As for new ideas for Genie’s little one, I did my usual research — I looked up the names she and her hubs have already used (both boy and girl) as well as the names they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard in order to look for additional names that fit with their taste in terms of style/feel/popularity. I came up with ideas for both boys and girls, and usually I’d list the girl ideas first, but since boy names are where they’re particularly stuck, I’ll start with those.

First off, the boy names they were considering for Moira, had she been a boy, were George Ignatius Eliot and Charles/Maximilian Joseph Louis — pulling out names they haven’t already used (excluding Charles), I love the idea of Eliot Ignatius Jude, for example (see my suggestion of Eliot below!), or Louis Ignatius Blaise (but Louis following George [and even Moira’s second middle Charlotte] might be too “royal family” … or maybe that would make it perfect for this family?), or Samuel Ignatius Edmund, or Owen Ignatius Eliot … I could go on all day making up combos from these beautiful names! 😀

These are my new ideas:

(1) Nathaniel (or Hawthorn(e)?)
Despite the fact that Malachi is named for the Irish saint, it comes across as ultra-biblical to me, especially with Noah as a brother. So I’d love to find an idea that could loop them in more with the other boys, while still appealing to Genie’s style. I thought Nathaniel was one such — it’s biblical, but it has an English feel to me … or maybe more *New* England, like author Nathaniel Hawthorne, which provides a literary connection as well (also, fun fact: his daughter is Servant of God Rose Hawthorne [aka Mother Alphonsa]). They could also trick a Marian connection out of Nathaniel if they wanted, in that Hawthorn is actually an entry in my book of Marian names because of her title Our Lady of the Hawthorn (best known in Spanish, French, and Basque) — using Nathaniel in part because of the literary connection with Nathaniel Hawthorne might call Our Lady to mind? (Yes, I do realize this is one of my crazier suggestions! 😀 ) Or maybe they’d would like to consider Hawthorn(e) as a first or middle?

(2) Jasper
Jasper did really well for this family in my research, being listed as similar to Jude, Beatrix, Josephine, and Amelia (standing in for Emmelia). It’s the name traditionally given to one of the Three Wise Men, and it’s also a precious stone in the bible, and it has literary connections (it’s the name of a Thomas Hardy character).

(3) Thaddeus or Theodore
I love the idea of Thaddeus for this family — I think it has that gravitas that their other boys’ names have. It’s distinguished and sophisticated, biblical, and has Irish connections too — I have a special devotion to Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, an Irish Dominican priest and martyr. Plus, the nicknames Tad, Taddy, Ted, and Teddy are all so sweet. Actually, Thad’s been growing on me recently too. Theodore is similar to Thaddeus — I always think of them as two sides of the same coin in that they both have similar nicknames and a similar sound, but people who like Thaddeus tend to not like Theodore so much, and vice versa. And Theodore has Theo as a possible nickname as well, which I really like.

(4) Eliot/Eli
Elliott and Eli both did fantastically well for this family in my research, which doesn’t surprise me, since they’re related — Elliott is derived from Elijah. I love Elliott with Genie’s other boys, and I think it fits in really well with their parameters. Eli is a great nickname for it, and also a good fit with their family I think. Funny enough, I’d scribbled down this idea for them before remembering that Eliot was a contender for the second middle of one of the name combos they liked for Moira if she’d been a boy! So I definitely want to heartily suggest it here (Eliot being the literary spelling).

(5) Philip
I wonder if they’ve ever considered Philip? I don’t see many parents considering it, but I love it, and tried to get my husband on board with it for one of our boys. I thought Genie would especially like the nickname Pip, which gives it an immediate Anglo literary connection. St. Philip Neri is a great non-biblical patron as well.

(6) Simon
Simon is serious and bookish and has a definite literary and Brit feel. I love that it connects to Malachi and Noah biblically.

(7) Xavier
When I saw this name pop up in my research as a match for Genie’s style, it immediately felt like a good option. I always think of it as having Irish connections because it was my grandfather’s middle name (his first name was not Francis!), and he was Irish (born and raised). Even if they weren’t sure about it as a first name, it would make a fantastic middle.

(8) Isaac
I’ve known several parents with an Oliver or Owen who also have an Isaac. It seems like a great fit for this family!

(9) Pierce
Pierce fits right in with the Elliott, Simon, Nathaniel, Xavier, and Isaac-type names for me — not only does it have a similar feel, but it can also be Marian! It’s an entry in my book, after Simeon’s prophecy that Our Lady’s heart would be pierced by a sword — one of my readers knows a little Pierce so-named in honor of that particular Marian occurrence. How cool!

(10) Colman, Cormac
These were mostly inspired by this family’s Irishy Irish names: Malachi, Oliver, Liam, and Moira, and Finnian from the list of considerations. Colman and Cormac are both Irish saints with great nickname potential (Cole for the former, Mac for the latter). I love them both.

I thought each of the names on this list would fit in well with the big brothers in either the first name spot or either of the middles. I hope Genie and her hubs find some good inspiration there!

As for the girls, these are really just names that jumped out in my research as particularly good matches for them — I really think they have such a great list that they don’t need too much help in that regard. But it was fun to compile this list anyway!:

(1) Susanna (or Sosanna?)
Susanna means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew, which gives it a nice Marian connection. I love that it has a whole bunch of nickname options, from Susie to Suki to Anna to Zuzu, and others. It’s also biblical; it has that same New England/Pilgrim feel as Nathaniel; and it’s got a literary connection as well — Shakespeare’s daughter’s name was Susanna! To put an Irish spin on it, I’ve seen Sosanna listed as an Irish form of Susanna — that could be a pretty option! (Fun fact: the daughter of actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick is named Sosie Ruth!)

(2) Jemima
I would love to see a couple give their daughter the name Jemima! I know it might not be comfortable in the first name spot, but especially since this family does two middles, it might be a perfect fit. Jemima is biblical, it has the lovely meaning “dove,” and its usage is far more British than American.

(3) Lydia
I actually can’t believe Lydia isn’t already on their list! It’s such a great name with a great biblical connection, and her own color too! The biblical Lydia sold purple cloth, so the little Lydias I know claim purple as their own, which is so cool.

(4) Sophie
Sophie was a HUGE match for this family in my research!! It can be Marian, as in Our Lady’s title Seat of Wisdom, and it’s got a similar sweetness to Moira.

(5) Catherine
Catherine’s another one that I’m surprised isn’t on their list somewhere! It was a pretty good style match for their taste in my research and would make a great first or middle. (But it might have the same “royal family” issue as Louis? Could the Katherine spelling help?)

(6) Alice
Similar to Catherine, Alice did really well in my research, and it has that same sweetness as Moira and Sophie to me.

(7) Violet
My final suggestion rivals Sophie as the girl name that is the biggest style match for this family. I particularly like that it has the V that Genie seem to like (Evangeline and Genevieve) (though Genevieve’s hard to beat with its connection to Genie herself!), and it’s an entry in my book, as it’s a symbol of Our Lady’s modesty and humility. How lovely!

And those are all my ideas for Genie and her husband! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Malachi, Noah, Liam, Henry, Moira, and George?


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!

Birth announcement: Thomas Gregory!

I had the great privilege of posting about Laura a few times in the past, including a birth announcement for her last baby, and I’m delighted to share that she’s had another baby! Another handsome boy, given the fantastic name … Thomas Gregory!

Laura writes,

I wanted to share with you and your readers that we welcomed Thomas Gregory on August 27. He joins Paul, Clare, Mark, Katharine, James, Andrew and Gabriel.

Some pregnancies I have agonized over the name but this time I decidedly quickly to use Thomas a name I’ve loved for a long time. The alliteration with our last name has held us off in the past but you, along with others I’ve mentioned it to, said that they didn’t find the flow problematic. My husband has definitely had more sway with the last two babies’ names so he was more than willing for me to take the lead. He has always loved the name too but just hesitated about the flow.

Thomas of course fits in with the other boys New Testament names. St. Thomas the Apostle always reminds me of the Holy Eucharist because of the tradition of repeating his prayer “My Lord and My God” after the consecration.

His middle name, Gregory, was the name of my mom’s older brother who was killed in the Korean War. I was close to my grandmother when she was alive and still feel quite close to her so passing along the name of her only son is meaningful to me and of course to my mom and her sisters as well. Also my due date was September 3 which is the feast of St. Gregory so that also made it feel like the right time to use the name.”

Is Thomas Gregory such a wonderful, strong combo?! I love the meaning behind each name! (And he was due on the feast of St. Gregory! So cool!)

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Thomas!!

thomas_gregory

Thomas Gregory

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 3 needs name that connects to both big brothers

(Be sure to check out the great piece Fr. Michael Rennier — husband, father of five, and an ordained Catholic priest through the Pastoral Provision for former Episcopal clergymen that was created by Pope St. John Paul II — wrote on naming babies over at Aleteia! He mentions Sancta Nomina! 😍)

(Also, don’t forget about my book signing this Sunday [July 29 from 1-3]! I know there aren’t many of you in my area, but I’d love to see any of you who live close by or happen to be passing through!)

Lauren and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean! 🌱 He or she joins big siblings:

Peter William (“Peter is for Peter the Apostle, William for Dad“)
Damien Andrew (“Damien for St. Damien of Molokai, and Andrew for the apostle and also for St. Andre Bessette, recently canonized when hubby and I were both students at Notre Dame (he was the first saint to be canonized from the Holy Cross order, which established Notre Dame)“)

Loooove both of these names!! You know I have a particular soft spot for Damien. 🙂

Lauren writes,

My favorite thing about their names is that they link together: Peter and Andrew were brothers, and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. I also found out after they were born that there is a St. Peter Damian who is a Doctor of the Church.

I like that both boys have great saints as their namesakes. I especially like that Peter hears about St. Peter frequently at Mass during the readings, especially during the Easter season, when he was born.

For New Baby (gender TBD, due on Christmas Day), we would love to find a name that links to at least one (preferably both) of the other kids’ names, looks up to a great saint or mystery … Because our last name is so common, we would like a first name that is somewhat more off the beaten path but without being weird (like Damien).

Names we are considering for a girl:

Cora (for the Sacred Hearts: St. Damien was a priest in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the Notre Dame basilica is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart [of Jesus] — is there a connection to Peter in there somehow? This is the front-runner)

Madeline (for St. Mary Magdalene, a favorite — but I don’t like the nickname “Maddy” and am afraid that people would call her that)

Bethany (maybe where Mary Magdalene lived, but at any rate it’s where Jesus’ friends lived)

Grace
Monica
Cecilia
Adelaide (I love this name but my husband is not sure)

Other favorite female saints include [Mother] Theodore Guerin (born Anne-Therese), Hildegard of Bingen, Veronica, and Mary of Egypt — but these names don’t seem to suit our taste.

Names we are considering for a boy:

We are having a harder time with this, and none of these feels quite right.
Adam
Thomas
Michael
Patrick
We like St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas More, St. Joseph the Worker, St. Augustine, John Paul II, etc.

Family names we can’t use:

Ann
Paul (love this name!)
Joan
Daniel
John
William, Willem
Matthew
Sebastian
Willem
Xavier
Annika
Charlotte
Janet

Names that have been floated that one of us has vetoed:

Clementine
Mary
Ruth
Gregory
Joseph
Nicholas
Theodore
Vera
Noel(le)
Stella
Gloria
Noah
Jacob
James
Anthony (I love this name and St. Anthony of the Desert, but my husband doesn’t like it)
Many of the most obvious Christmas names: Natalie/a, Emmanuel/la, Gabriel/la, Lucas. I like the idea of a Christmas name, but I just haven’t come across one that I really like

Some names that have come up recently on the blog that we don’t care for are Leo, Bennett, Maximilian, Karol, and Annabel.

We also don’t really care if the style of the names match among our three kids. We are all about the meaning, namesake, history, spiritual significance. We want them to be spiritually inspired by their names and hopefully feel connected to their siblings by means of the spiritual (not necessarily stylistic) connections among their names.”

Whew! You all know I love a good name challenge!

You should have seen me doing research for this family — I looked everywhere I could think of for connections between names, it’s such a fun thing they want to do, but hard! Wow! I think Lauren and her hubs will find it’s even more difficult the more children they have (if they’re so blessed), but it’s still a really fun thing to do. Honestly, I could probably spend months seeking out more ideas with connections to their Peter William and Damien Andrew. Hopefully the ideas I have here are helpful in some way!

I’ll start with thoughts on the list of names they’re considering:

  • Cora: A gorgeous name! I love that they’d be using it for the Sacred Hearts, and so cool that they already have a connection to Damien! The only connection to St. Peter I could find — which I think is a pretty great one — is that, in St. Peter’s Basilica, there’s the Altar of the Sacred Heart, whose altarpiece was blessed at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s canonization (she was *the* promoter of the Sacred Heart).
  • Madeline: I love Madeline, though I wonder if they might be interested in switching to one of its variants: Magdalen/Magdalene/Magdalyn/Magdalena? That way they bypass the Maddy issue, and they have a less common name, more in the vein of Damien (Damien is no. 266, while Madeline is no. 100 and none of the Magdalene variants I listed are in the top 1000 except Magdalena, which is no. 955) (note that the spelling Damian is no. 119, which is actually pretty similar to Madeline in terms of popularity. Funny enough, Peter’s no. 213!).
  • Bethany: Another nice connection here is that Bethany is where Jesus ascended from, and his apostles (including Peter and Andrew) were there: “Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.” (Luke 24:50–51)
  • Grace: A beautiful name! It can be Marian, for Our Lady of Grace, and also in the Hail Mary, “full of Grace.” I didn’t find any connections between Grace and Peter/William/Damien/Andrew, except if they wanted to think of them as living grace-filled lives, or being open to the grace of God, etc.
  • Monica: I love St. Monica, I love that they have her name on their list!
  • Cecilia: Ditto, beautiful name and saint.
  • Adelaide: I love it too! I looked at the various blesseds/saints named Adelaide and found that St. Adela of Messines (also known as Adelaide) was the mother-in-law of William the Conqueror, but I’m thinking that’s probably not the kind of connection to their Peter William that Lauren and her hubs were hoping for …
  • Adam: I don’t see many parents considering Adam these days! Nice job to Lauren and her hubs picking something that feels fresh! Although … looking at the data, Adam’s actually no. 77, so it’s not as uncommon as I thought. I looked through the holy Adams I could find, and the only one I could find a connection to their older boys of any kind is with Adam the Patriarch in the sense that he was a biblical character like St. Peter and St. Andrew. Not the greatest connection, but a cool thing is that his memorial is celebrated on Dec. 24, which is nice for a Christmas baby.
  • Thomas: Thomas fits all of their criteria except being less common … he was an apostle like Peter and Andrew, and one of the connections I thought might be useful (especially moving forward with possible future children) is that there are holy Peters, Andrews, and Thomases in the listings of Martyrs of England, Wales, and Scotland (there are a lot of martyrs in those countries, so I thought it might provide good fodder for the future as well).
  • Michael: There are loads of holy Michaels, too many for me to go through them all! Here’s the list in case it’s helpful. It’s a great name, but I suspect it’s more popular than Lauren and her hubs would like? It’s been a top 10 name since 1943, spending more than 40 years in the no. 1 spot, and only dropped out of the top ten in 2017 (it’s currently no. 12). One way to jazz it up, if they’d like to, is to consider an alternate nickname for everyday use … one of my favorite unexpected nickname ideas for Michael is Miles, and one of the English martyrs is Bl. Miles Gerard.
  • Patrick: I like it! And Ven. Patrick Peyton is a great patron that ties in with Andrew, since he was a member of the Holy Cross order like St. Andre Bessette.

I’m glad Lauren included the list of family names they can’t use (such a bummer about Paul!) and those that one of them has vetoed, this is such helpful info! I’m also glad to know they don’t care for Leo, Bennett, Maximilian, Karol, and Annabel, as I almost certainly would have suggested Leo and Annabel to them otherwise! As for Christmas names, I’m glad they listed the ones they’ve considered and decided they don’t like, that’s very helpful. Here’s my latest Christmas-and-Advent-names post, which they might like to go through (lots of names!). I looked through it myself to find ideas for this family, some of which I incorporated in my official suggestions below.

Okay! On to those suggestions! I used a few different strategies to find ideas for Lauren and her hubs. My first one was to look up all the names they’ve used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard, which you all know I start all my consultations with, as it provides for each entry boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I know Lauren said they don’t care so much about their kiddos’ names matching each other in terms of style, but this kind of research gives me an idea of the kinds of names she and her hubby are likely to prefer. I then looked through the list of potential matches for the for any connections with their older boys’ names. I also looked up St. Peter, St. Damien, St. Andrew, and St. Peter Damian to find any possible connections between them that might be helpful. That’s where I came up with the idea of looking through the list of British Isles martyrs (here and here), which has several Peters, Andrews, and Thomases, as well as the holy people of the Holy Cross Order and the Dominican Order (as a Third Order Dominican, I kept being struck by how many names I remembered from the litany of Dominican Saints and Blesseds that I thought might provide good connections for Lauren and her hubs).

All that said, these are my thoughts/ideas/suggestions:

Girl
(1) Susanna
I rarely suggest Susanna, which is funny since it’s the girl name we’ve held on to through all six of our boys! But I really like it for this family, for a few different reasons: it’s biblical, like Peter and Andrew; it’s saintly (there are several); it’s more unusual, like Damien (in fact, it’s not even in the top 1000!); and I consider it a Christmas name as well, via the movie It’s a Wonderful Life — Zuzu is a nickname for the Susan- names, so George Bailey’s little Zuzu was likely Susan, as Susan was popular at the time. Susan’s also one of the Narnia children, but while siblings Peter and Susan might possibly feel like too much, I don’t think Peter and Susanna would raise an eyebrow.

(2) Lucy
Speaking of Narnia, Lucy might be too much Narnia with brother Peter, or maybe they’ll love the connection! Lucy means “light,” which, in order to connect it to one of their older boys, they could think of as relating to the light of the Advent candles, and the first Sunday of Advent is set by St. Andrew’s feast day!

(3) Josephine
I know Joseph is on their vetoed list, but what about Josephine for a girl? I love that St. Damien’s birth name was Joseph, so Josephine would connect to him, as well as to their devotion to St. Joseph the Worker. It’s also, of course, a feminine variant of a biblical name, which loops in Peter as well.

(4) Christina, Christine, Christiane, Christiana
Lauren didn’t mention any of the Christ- names as possibilities for their Christmas baby, but Christina was a style match for them based on my research in the BNW, which made me think of all the gorgeous Christ- names for girls. I love Christine, Christiane, and Christiana as well as Christina.

(5) Margaret
There’s more than one Margaret in the list of martyrs of England, Wales, and Scotland, which connects it to Peter and Andrew in that way. Since they have Madeline on their list, which made me think of the Magdalene names, I wondered if Margaret — which of course can also take Maggie as a nickname, like Magdalene can — would be appealing to them. There’s also the Sacred Heart connection with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and there are several Dominican saints/blesseds named Margaret (along with St. Peter of Verona and several Bls. Peter, Bl. Damien of Finale, and a few Bls. Andrew).

(6) Maura
A very cool connection I found is that St. Peter Damian lived for a time in Ravenna, Italy (in fact, he took the name Damian after a priest he was sent to live with in Ravenna AND St. Andrew the Apostle is one of the patrons of Ravenna!). On top of that, St. Maura of Ravenna was martyred in Ravenna, and as I’m a sucker for any Marian name, I thought Maura would be an amazing idea. As a variant of Mary, it even works as a Christmas-y name!

(7) Ravenna
Just in case they want to have at least one far-out suggestion, what about Ravenna as a first name? I actually know of a devout family who named one of their daughters Ravenna (there are other saints associated with Ravenna, I’m not sure which one they chose the name for). Its rhythm reminds of Susanna, it’s a really cool idea for a certain kind of family.

Boy
(1) Dominic
Let’s kick off the boy names by going right to the source of the Dominican Order! Not only does Dominic have the Dominican connection like the Peters, Andrews, and Bl. Damien listed above, but I also included it in a list of Advent names having to do with the O Antiphons.

(2) Henry
Henry’s a big name in the lists of British Isles martyrs, including Sts. Henry Morse and Henry Walpole, and Bl. Henry Suso is a Dominican blessed. I liked that it seemed like yet a third, distinct style from Peter and Damien.

(3) Owen
St. Nicholas Owen is one of the English martyrs and one of my favorite saints. I might have suggested Nicholas to Lauren and her hubs, in order to loop in the Christmas theme, but since Lauren said Nicholas has been vetoed, then Owen it is! (Owen’s actually a style match for Madeline and Grace, which made me think they might like it).

(4) Edmund (or Campion?)
Sts. Edmund Campion and Edmund Arrowsmith are two of the English martyrs — Edmund’s a great name! If not Edmund, while Arrowsmith seems a bit much for a first name, I’ve seen Campion used from time to time, and I like it a lot. Campion might seem like an extra good option if Lauren and her hubs thought brothers Peter and Edmund were just too much Narnia (like with Lucy).

(5) Lewis
I was enjoying coming up with names that I thought were a different style from either Peter or Damien, and I thought Lewis was another one. St. David Lewis is one of the English Martyrs, and while I thought Damien and David were too similar in sound, I thought Lewis might be perfect. This family named their youngest Lewis in his honor.

(6) August
Lauren said they love St. Augustine, and there’s also a St. Augustine Webster who was one of the English Martyrs, but I thought maybe August might be more their speed (and could still nod to either/both of those men).

(7) Bartholomew
This is my farthest-out idea for a boy, and I love it for this family. Not only is Bartholomew an apostle, like Peter and Andrew, but it’s also the name of two Dominican blesseds: the male Bl. Bartholomew of Cerverio and the female Bl. Mary Bartholomew Bagnesi. I would also consider Bartholomew “off the beaten path but without being weird (like Damien),” as Lauren put it.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Peter and Damien?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. Click here to read reviews and endorsements (and if you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated! 🙂).

Baby name consultation: Looking for slightly more traditional than they’ve already used, but still uncommon

Hillary and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — a girl! This little lady joins big siblings (who are “ecstatic,” according to Hillary — so cute!):

Gideon Charles (“Gideon was born while [hubby] and I were living and working in Ethiopia as missionaries. Gideon is a popular name in Ethiopia. His middle name, Charles, was [hubby’s] father’s middle name who died just before we married.”)

Chiri Patricia (“Chiri (pronounced Cheery) was named after the town we lived in in Ethiopia. Her middle name, Patricia, is named after my paternal grandmother Patricia who was a wonderfully generous and beautiful person.”)

Jasper Harrison (“Jasper was named after a friend of [hubby’s] in Kenya who was a camel rancher, who died just before Jasper was born. Harrison was my maternal grandfather’s name, and in addition we lived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, at the time, so wanted to honor our town as we did for Chiri.”)

Aren’t these cool names?? I love them all! Not only do I love them just for themselves, but also all the meaning behind each one, such a great job!

Hillary writes,

For our little girl, we may be interested in a slightly more traditional, but still not too common, name. We have taken to calling her ‘Josie” short for Josephine, as we have a special love for St. Joseph, to whom we prayed a novena when we returned from Africa and Jeff was job hunting. St. Joseph has cared for our family in many ways. I am not crazy about another JJ name, however, as [their last name begins with J and Dad and Jasper’s names both begin with J], Josie J___ might be too much!

Jeff really likes Polly (Polly is a paternal aunt of mine) but I worry it will bring parrots to mind.

My middle name is Jane, and there are many generations of women before me on my father’s side with the middle name Jane, so that is a good possibility. Jane J___ is fraught with alliteration concerns, however! [Not only do they both begin with J, but Jane sounds quite similar to their last name.]

Some other names we have talked about: Grace, Susanna, Heidi, Marian, Polly; we also like the names Fern and Daisy

Other names with significant relatives in our family: Meredith, Ann, Dorothy, Joyce, Sandra, Elizabeth, Jennifer

I loved working on this! So many wonderful names! My first thought when reading Hillary’s email was to tackle the issue of Josie. I love that they’re already calling the baby Josie, and I love that it’s because of their love for St. Joseph and his care for their family! I had two idea of ways to work with this, if they were open to keeping St. Joseph in the baby’s name in some form (given name or nickname):

  • Since they’re already calling the baby Josie, I wondered if I could find names that Josie could possibly be a nickname for that don’t start with J. I know that doesn’t solve the Josie J___ dilemma, but it might help soften it. I searched for girl names that include “jo” somewhere in them on babynamewizard.com’s Name Finder, and was intrigued by Marjory/Marjorie and Marjolaine/Marjolein. I liked that Marjory/Marjorie is more of a “more traditional, but still not too common” kind of name, as Hillary mentioned they might prefer this time. It’s a variant of Margaret via Margaret’s medieval variant Margery, which was actually a style match for Marian from their list when I did research for this family in the Baby Name Wizard! (You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity.) Marjolaine/Marjolein are variants of “marjoram” (the herb), kind of a cool way to work in a flower-type/nature name without being too obvious. With Marjorie/Marjory/Marjolaine/Marjolein, they might like to pair it with an S-heavy middle name, to make sense of Josie as a nickname — Sandra from their list of family names might do perfectly!
  • If they didn’t like the idea of Josie being a non-conventional nickname for a different name as mentioned above, maybe they’d prefer to consider Josephine as a given name with a different nickname? Posie/Pos(e)y has traditional usage as a Josephine nickname, which is so sweet, and I’ve often thought Sophie could work as well, since all its letters are contained within Josephine.
  • Then I thought that Hillary and her hubs might like Posie/Pos(e)y as a given name on its own! It’s similar to Polly (in that Polly was a nickname in origin — a nickname for Mary) and rhymes with the Josie they’ve already been using; it’s a nickname for Josephine so the connection to St. Joseph is solid; and it doesn’t begin with J! Posie J___ is absolutely darling.

As for the other names they’re considering:

  • Polly is sweet! I can’t imagine the parrot connection being really problematic — I grew up with a Polly, and I don’t remember it ever being an issue with her, and names like Polly (sweet and vintage-y) are definitely back in style (though Polly itself hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 70’s). I wonder if they’ve considered Molly? Molly and Polly are both originally nicknames for Mary, arising about the same time, and Molly avoids the parrot association altogether.
  • If Jane is the middle name, which is an idea I love, I don’t think the alliteration is that big a deal — so few people know a person’s middle name as they go through life, you know? It’s not like they’d be saying her full name every time. And the middle spot is often where people put names that they want to use, or feel obligated to use, that don’t work as first names or that they don’t care for style-wise but want to fit in there anyway. Another possibility is to use a Jane variant — it won’t be quite as great as having Hillary’s exact middle name and that of her ancestors, but it could be pretty great nonetheless. If the long A of Jane and the surname is particularly problematic, maybe even switching to Joan or Jean would suffice? Otherwise, there are so many great options: Jane is a John variant, so any of the feminine John variants would work, like Gianna and Joanna, Hanne/Hanna, Yana and Siobhan. Another possibility is Ione, as some sites that argue that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan — so cool, right?
  • Grace: Lovely, simple and sweet.
  • Susanna: The girl name we’ve hung on to through all our six boys! I love it, such a great name.
  • Heidi: Another that I would classify as simple and sweet, like Polly and Grace.
  • Marian: Marian always strikes me as one of the stronger Mary names, probably because of Maid Marian — I love that association!
  • Fern and Daisy: Fantastic names!
  • Regarding their family names, I assumed Hillary and her hubs would probably pull from them for the middle name, and didn’t consider them as first-name contenders, I hope that’s correct!

Alrighty, so I already mentioned that I always do research in the Baby Name Wizard, and really enjoyed seeing what the results of it were for this family — I love seeing names emerge as matches for parents’ overall style. I also plugged Gideon, Jasper, Polly, Heidi, and Fern into the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com (it only lets you do three names at a time, so I tried to choose the girl names that I thought would give me the best results; I searched Gideon, Jasper, and Polly first; Gideon, Jasper, and Heidi second; and Heidi, Polly, and Fern third), which revealed some additional ideas. Based on all that, these are my suggestions:

(1) Naomi
The style matches for Gideon were really exciting to me, I felt like they nailed what I perceive to be Hillary and her hubs’ style pretty well. Naomi was one of them, and I love that Naomi is, in my mind, exactly the kind of name they’d be looking for with “slightly more traditional, but still not too common.” Although … when I looked it up I discovered it was actually no. 69 in 2017, which I’m so surprised by! But I still love it for this family, and I think it also matches up really well with the feel of Susanna (especially spelled Susannah).

(2) Lydia
If sisters are going to have names that seem different in style, I like for there to be some other thread that links them together. When I saw Lydia as a match for Gideon, Grace, and Susanna, I thought it might be perfect because, like Chiri, it’s a place name — the Lydia in the bible was so named because she was from Lydia.

(3) Eden
This, too, was influenced by Chiri’s name, as well as by the fact that it’s a match for Gideon — Eden is a place name, of course, and I think it goes really well with the other kiddos’ names. It was no. 139 in 2017, so I don’t think it’s too unusual (but not too common either). I also looove the nickname Edie!

(4) Mercy
As I said, I really felt like the style matches for Gideon were such great suggestions for this family, and Mercy was another one! Like Grace it’s a virtue-type name, and I saw quite a bit of it (and other names with the same meaning) during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I did think that it could also work as a nickname for Meredith, if Hillary liked the idea of using her family name Meredith as a first name … Meredith Joyce would even bring in the “cy” to add to the “Mer” of Meredith, making it all very pleasing!

(5) Violet, Rose, Lily, Poppy
None of these except for Poppy are unusual, being nos. 48, 141, and 33 for the first three in 2017 (though Rose’s no. 141 is pretty great!), and Poppy was no. 689 — a top 1000 name! I’m so surprised by that as well! They were all matches for this family’s style: Violet for Gideon, Jasper, and Daisy; Rose for Jane and Daisy, and Rosie for Polly; Lily for Grace; and Poppy for Polly and Daisy! And of course I mentioned Posie/Posey and Marjolaine/Marjolein above, which are floral (ish) as well. So I thought it made sense to offer a, ahem, bouquet of choices for Hillary and her hubs! Haha! And actually, Susanna means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew! I’m not sure how that ties in, but it’s too cool not to mention.

(6) Adelaide
This was one of the results of the search on the Name Matchmaker, and it caught my eye because it’s a place name like Chiri and it’s also a variant of Heidi! At no. 276, it’s a nice option for familiar but not too common.

(7) Felicity
My last idea for this family is Felicity, which, like Adelaide, was another of the results on the Name Matchmaker. It’s no. 347 and very much like Adelaide in terms of being familiar but not too common. I also like that its meaning is “happiness,” which is a great meaning for a baby whose siblings are “ecstatic” about her arrival! I also like that Chiri is pronounced like Cheery, which gives it a really happy, sunny feel to me, so that could be a subtle tie-in between the two girls’ names. I also recently did a post on “meaning” nicknames, and one of the ones I’d seen suggested elsewhere was Bliss for Felicity, because of Felicity’s meaning — sisters Chiri and Felicity nicknamed Bliss might be taking the happy connection too far, but on the other hand … it could be perfect! If they like the idea of Felicity, but would prefer more nickname options, I did a spotlight of the name here. One of the ideas is Lily, which is a nice connection to the floral names I suggested above; another is Liddy, which is like Lydia.

And those are my ideas for Hillary and her hubs’ new baby girl! ! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Gideon, Chiri, and Jasper?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!