Baby name consultation: Boy no. 3/baby no. 4 needs great first name with friendly nickname

Kim and her husband are expecting their fourth baby and third boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Charles Patrick (Charlie)
Peter Augustine (Pete)
Magdalene Lucy (Maggie)

What a great set! I absolutely love how sophisticated each full first name is, and how friendly all the nicknames are!

Kim writes,

I love Henry and the cheerful ring of it, but that name is out for my husband. The following names have already been used in our family: Francis, James, John, Andrew, Thomas, Joseph, Dominic, Stephen, Matthew, Patrick, Nicholas, Anthony, Samuel … [also] we have the Baby Name Wizard and don’t like any of the sibling suggestions for the kids’ names.”

So you all had to know how excited I got to see that Kim and her hubs had already looked through the Baby Name Wizard — my go-to when starting a consultation, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — and didn’t like any of the ideas! The more challenging the name challenge, the more fun I have with it!

I also want to say that I really love the combo Magdalene Lucy … Lucy’s so unexpected to me in the middle spot, and it just flows really really well with Magdalene. Lovely! (Their boys’ names are great too! Magdalene Lucy just particularly struck me.)

So I took a couple of different routes when coming up with ideas for this baby boy. I actually did start with the BNW, as usual, in order to see what names Kim and her hubs don’t care for, and also to do some extended research, by which I mean I started looking up names that I thought felt like their style, and then looking up their style matches, etc. I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site, plugging in both their kiddos’ full names and nicknames, as well as looking at matches for just the boys’ names and for the sib set as a whole. There were definitely a few names that kept popping up over and over again, in all the different sites/sources I used, two of which were also listed as style matches for their kids’ names in the BNW (i.e., names Kim and her hubs don’t like), but I included them below anyway—sometimes a discussion about a name can sway parents one way or another. It’s worth a try!

I also gave good weight to names with “friendly” nicknames — when Kim said she loves the “cheerful” feel of Henry, I think it’s similar to the vibe I get from the nicknames of her kids. I definitely think of Charlie, Pete, and Maggie as having a real friendliness to them, and I thought it revealed the kinds of names Kim and her hubs would gravitate toward.

Okay, without further ado, here are my ideas:

(1) Long and heavy hitting, like Augustine and Magdalene
I had so many ideas that I decided to group them into categories! I was struck by Peter’s middle name Augustine and Maggie’s full name Magdalene—I often see those names pop up in lists by families who love longer, heavy-hitting names (“heavy hitting”=catacombs + incense kinds of names), and I wondered if that might be a category Kim and her hubs would like to consider for their next baby. In particular, I thought of:

  • Sebastian—Sebastian’s actually a style match for Dominic, which is on Kim’s list of names they can’t use. But Dominic also goes along with the heavy-hitting feel of Augustine and Magdalene, so I was interested in its style matches, and Sebastian struck me as a good possibility. There are some really cute nickname possibilities: Seb and Sebbie are pretty traditional, and Bash is one I only heard of a few years ago (Grace Patton has a Sebastian nn Bash) and fell in love with. I’ve also heard Bas/Baz and even Ian!
  • Theodore—Theodore’s one of those names that kept showing up over and over in my research. According to the BNW it’s a style match for August (since the BNW doesn’t have an entry for Augustine, I’ve had pretty good luck with substituting August in the past), and the Name Matchmaker offered it as a match for all Kim’s kids’ names. The nicknames Ted/Teddy and Theo struck me as really great matches for Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Nathaniel—Nathaniel has that really biblical feel of Magdalene, and it’s also the name of one of the Twelve Apostles, so it’s really saintly as well. But what really sold me is the nickname: Nate is a great, friendly nickname, similar in my mind to Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Benedict—Ben is also a nickname that I think this family might like, based on the feel of Charlie, Pete, and Maggie, as well as Lucy and Henry. Benedict is a great way to get to it if they wanted to channel the “long and heavy hitting” vibe of Augustine and Magdalene.

(2) Long and normal-ish
Augustine and Magdalene definitely have a different feel to me than Charles, Peter, Lucy, and Henry, though of course they do all go together by virtue of their saintliness, which is one of the things I love about Catholic naming. If this family didn’t want to go 100% the Augustine/Magdalene route for this little boy, a sort of compromise option might be a name that’s longer, like A and M, but not as weighty, if that makes any sense. In that vein, I thought of:

  • Alexander—Sebastian had a few style matches that I thought were swirling around the right area, like Nathaniel (suggested above) and also Alexander. Charles, Peter, and Alexander have a really royal feel to them, as brothers, and Alexander has loads of fun nickname options, like Xander/Zander/Xan/Zan, Sandy, Sander, and of course Alex. Given that their other kids go by Charlie, Pete, and Maggie, I’m guessing Alex is probably mostly their speed, though I think Sandy would fit in really well—a friend of mine named her son Sandy, which surprised me so much at first, but the more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more it’s grown up me. Certainly it used to be used a lot more for boys and I’d love to see it come back again.
  • Benjamin—I listed Benedict above, as it has that monastery feel of Dominic and Augustine, but Benjamin comes across as a bit friendlier I’d say. And again, I’d say Ben is a great fit for this family, and I also love Benny and Benji.
  • William—William is absolutely a name I would have thought was spot-on for this little boy! When I saw it listed as a style match for Charles I thought Nooooo! I’m so worried that means Kim and her hubs don’t like it! But I’m just going ahead and listing it here anyway! I think William is such a great match as a brother to Charles and Peter, and the nickname Will seems perfect as a brother to Charlie, Peter, and Maggie, and a great match for the feel of Henry as well.

(3) Middling
Despite the fact that Augustine and Magdalene are so long, two-thirds of Kim’s kids’ first names as well as her favorite name for this little boy (Henry) are actually much shorter, so it would be silly to not include some names like that. A few rose to the top for me, including:

  • Oliver—I’m guessing they hate Oliver, since they surely saw it listed in the BNW as a match for Lucy and Henry, but in the off chance that they might come around, I had to include it! Oliver is such a great name, and St. Oliver Plunkett such a great saint. I also love the nickname Ollie—it has that same friendly feel to me as Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Bennett—Each of my categories here has contained a formal name for the nickname Ben! I really do love Ben for this family, and Bennet(t) is yet another name that they might like. It’s a medieval variant of Benedict, which gives it great saintliness, and it has long use as a last name (a la the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice).
  • Martin—Martin was strongly recommended by the Name Matchmaker as a good match for all their kids’ names as a set. I love Martin as a brother to Charles and Peter, and I love Marty as a brother to Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Nathan—I suggested Nathaniel in the first category, and I want to include Nathan here — they’re both driven by the nickname Nate, which I love with the other kids, and Nathan’s biblical too.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Charlie, Pete, and Maggie’s little brother, remembering that they have Augustine and Magdalene in the mix as well?

Baby name consultation: “Nursing home,” Spanish, and saint/New Testament boy names for born baby no. 3

Mandi, who blogs at A Blog About Miscarriage and sells Lilla Rose hair accessories, is one of our longest, most devoted readers! I posted a consultation for her when she was expecting her second born baby, and then a birth announcement when the baby was born, and I frequently look to her for resources for families who have lost a baby to miscarriage and input on naming miscarried babies (here and here). I loved her pregnancy announcement and her coining of the term “golden baby” for a baby born after a rainbow baby. She, who lost four babies of her own, is such a great resource for anyone mourning a little one, and I’m thrilled she’s part of our community.

I’m also thrilled to post another consultation for her today!! She and her husband are expecting their third born baby, who joins big sibs on earth:

Lucia Rose
David Newton, Jr. (Davey)

And in heaven:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

Though they don’t know the baby’s gender, they’re all set with a girl’s name, so they’re just hoping for help with a boy’s. Mandi writes,

In terms of boy baby names, I feel like we are starting from scratch. I knew before I even met David that I wanted my eldest son to be a Junior. It worked out perfectly that David was a family name already. His name was kind of the obvious choice and we didn’t think about any others.

It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject, so I’ll mostly just tell you my thought process and likes and then he’ll just have to approve or veto ideas. He did at one point say he liked men’s names like “Ralph” – kind of old fashioned, I guess? I am not a fan of Ralph specifically but not opposed to names you would generally associate with the nursing home crowd (if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell).

We would want familiar, traditional boys names, along the lines of David. A few names we like but wouldn’t use (at least at this time) are John, Michael, Robert, and Francis. Other names I like are Joseph, Peter, and Thomas. I have always loved the name Guillermo but it’s a no-go for my husband as are other more strongly ethnic names (I generally love Spanish names, hence Lucia) though he at one point mentioned liking Joaquin.

Another important consideration is that we would want the name to be directly connected to a well known Saint (or biblical figure, though despite my son named David, I am more strongly drawn to New Testament names). Added bonus if we have a strong connection to the Saint, but obviously you would have no way of knowing that and it’s not necessary – we can always develop a devotion after the fact. We would most likely use a family name for the middle – probably Alan or Milo after my grandfather or David’s.”

Can I just say that what Mandi said about her husband (“It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject” and “if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell”) is so familiar! In my own marriage and many of yours, husbands’ name tastes can be so mysterious, no matter what ideas they offer!

Anyway, this was a really interesting consultation to work on—between Mandi’s husband maybe liking names like “Ralph” and her loving Spanish names, and having a desire for “familiar, traditional boys names” + “directly connected to a well known Saint/biblical figure” I was interested to see what I’d come up with! I’m kind of digging my list of suggestions—I’m eager to see what you all think!

First though, I wondered what Mandi and her hubs would think of considering Alan as a first name? She said it’s a middle name contender, in honor of her grandfather, but it totally has the feeling of Ralph to me … although, looking at the SSA stats, I can see that Ralph was far more popular in the early part of the twentieth century, dropping out of the top 100 in the early 60s while Alan peaked in the 50s/60s before settling into the top 200 and staying there even til today. Ralph and Alan were similar in popularity in the 50s though, and that mid-century overlap is actually really similar to David’s popularity arc (top ten from 1937 to 1991, peaking at no. 1 in 1960—right around when my three Uncle Davids were born! Remarkably, from 1957 to 1971, it was one of the top three names). Anyway, I think Alan would be an interesting name for them to consider for a first name, given that Ralph is already sort of in the mix, and I know that I’m totally being influenced by the fact that I’m currently reading Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary and Bl. Alan de la Roche was a total rockstar (also a Dominican, and I’m a lay Dominican, woot!). Alan Milo has a really cool ring to it.

As for other ideas, as always I started by looking up Lucia and David in the Baby Name Wizard, as well as Cecilia, Ralph, John, Michael, Robert, Francis, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, and Joseph. (And, for what it’s worth, Peter and Thomas are my favorites for them from the list of those they’re considering—I even had Peter on my own list of ideas for them until I remembered it was already on their list!) I also took a look through the list of Latino names in the back of the book for inspiration. Based on all that, and my own thoughts as well, these are my ideas for Mandi’s baby (if a boy):

(1) Stephen
This was my very first idea, before even cracking open the BNW. It’s the name of a well known saint AND a New Testament figure, and also one of my boys’ best friends is Stephen, and his brother is David, and there’s a pair of brothers in my family named Stephen and David! So to me, David and Stephen go together like peas and carrots. 😁 I like Stephen Milo a lot.

(2) William
This is totally inspired by Mandi’s love of Guillermo, and is the first of several ideas I have connected to her love of Spanish names. I was thinking that she could totally just call her son by the Spanish equivalent of his name—even if it’s just a fun, home-only nickname, maybe even just something she calls him from time to time. It may help satisfy her Spanish-name love without being too foreign for her husband, you know? So William is the English equivalent of Guillermo, and it’s also a style match for John, Joseph, and Thomas. William Alan and William Milo are both fine, imo.

(3) Henry
Henry is another that I liked for this family in part because it has a Spanish equivalent that would be easy enough for Mandi to whisper to her boy from time to time (Enrique), and also because it’s a match for Lucy (similar to Lucia) and Joseph. I quite like it as a brother for David/Davey! Henry Alan and Henry Milo are great.

(4) Gerard
When I was looking through the list of Latino names, Gerardo jumped out at me and I thought, “Huh. Gerard would be great.” It has a similar old-man feel to me as Ralph, and in fact peaked in 1956, so it fits in well with the mid-century peak of Alan and David. St. Gerard Majella is such a great patron for all oms, and especially for moms who have previously lost babies, as he’s the patron of pregnant women, unborn children, childbirth, mothers, and motherhood! Gerard Alan and Gerard Milo are equally fine I think.

(5) Charles
Charles matched up with Lucia (via the Spanish variant Carlo), Cecilia, John, and Joseph, and there are so many great patrons associated with the name—St. Charles Borromeo, Bl. Karl of Austria, and St. JP2 are the three that I always think of first. Charles Alan and Charles Milo both sound fine, and Charles Alan has a particularly nice feel to me.

(6) Edward
Edward is similar in style to Robert and Joseph and has even more of the nursing home feel, just based on its popularity arc—it was a top ten name until 1931 and has slowly decreased ever since. It’s a lovely, gentlemanly name, and I love St. Edward the Confessor. Like with Charles, Edward Alan and Edward Milo are fine, with the former having a particular sparkle to me.

(7) Martin
Martin was only listed as a style match for Peter, but as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great suggestion for Mandi and her Mister. St. Martin de Porres’ father was Spanish, and I love that Martin can have that Spanish connection without being strongly ethnic. Brothers Davey and Marty are super cute too! Martin Alan doesn’t flow as well, and I don’t mind the alliteration of Martin Milo, though I know some people don’t care for that kind of thing.

(8) Victor
Finally, Victor, which was a last-minute addition to my list! I was thumbing through the BNW recently, just for fun, and was reading the Victor entry where I was reminded that, as it says in the BNW, “Like Hector, Victor is currently most popular with Latino parents,” which of course made me think of Mandi! It’s papal and saintly, a great name! I did a post about nicknames for Victor, which continues to be one of the posts that draws the most people here from internet searches (a lot of people are searching for good nicknames for Victor!), and an article at CatholicMom, and I’m particularly loving the Spanish nicknames Vicho and Victo for them. Victor Alan and Victor Milo are both great.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other ideas can you offer Mandi and her husband for a boy baby?

Baby name consultation: Third baby & third boy + cementing “naming style”

Erin and her husband are expecting their third baby — and third boy! Little Mister joins big brothers:

Dominic Andrew (“we love saint Dominic, it’s a strong name and has strong sounds (starts with a consonant, ends with the hard C/K sound). Andrew is my husbands name and we  liked keeping that in the family in a less formal way than a Jr.”)

Kolbe Jude (“Also a strong name and strong sounding name, after St. Maximilian Kolbe. I love that saint’s story, I love that he is a more recent saint. Jude- St. Jude worked many miracles for us the year leading up to Kolbe’s birth and it was a joy to honor him that way.”)

Both of which I looooove, totally my speed!

Erin writes,

I really like that, although not our intention, we have two saint names with deep Marian devotions AND middle names of original apostles. So, although it isn’t a deal breaker, it would be neat to continue that streak.

Our top choice, and the only name we agree on at the moment is: Oliver (after Oliver Plunkett). I like Oliver, but it is a departure from the way our other names “sound.” And, I’m really uncomfortable having only one name we both like … it feels like settling. Maybe the right middle name would make it fall into place?

We like Oliver Plunkett’s story because in today’s culture it is hard to be a faithful Catholic. We’d like any name-sake to be an example of how to live out the faith when facing persecution or other challenges.”

I love so so much the reasoning behind their love of St. Oliver’s story!

Names Erin likes include:

Xavier
Ignatius
Clement
Sebastian

Names her husband likes include:

Isaac (for St. Isaac Jogues)
Samuel
Fisher (for St. John Fisher)

Names they’ve previously considered but no longer want to use include:

William/Liam
Jeremiah
John Paul
Leo
Phillip

Finally, Erin says,

My own opinion is that our two names thus far have been strong, Catholic names, but nothing too out there. And, we are sort of cementing that pattern with number three– and I’d like to err on the side of slightly more unusual rather than more common.”

Alrighty, so I too love their pattern of first names=”saint’s name with deep Marian devotion” and middles=”names of original apostles”! Though I took a quick look online and couldn’t find anything that explicitly discussed St. Oliver’s Marian devotion, not only am I sure he had one, but I’ve also seen Olivia used to honor Our Lady of the Olives — so they could think of Oliver as a twofer! St. Oliver and Our Lady in one name!

As for middle names for it, I really like Oliver Nathaniel (Bartholomew was called Nathaniel in the Gospel of John), which I think is the most unusual of the remaining apostles’ names … or Oliver Levi (another name for the apostle Matthew) … Oliver James has a very Brit, bookish +feel, which I quite like … Oliver Thomas is solid and handsome … if they wanted to think outside of the original apostles, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas—I love Oliver Matthias, and like Nathaniel, it brings a little more of the unusual that Erin said she’d rather they err on the side of, an obviously biblical sparkle. And if they ventured even further into New Testament territory, something like Oliver Nicodemus would be amazing.

As for new ideas, I know what they mean about their third baby—especially being the same gender as their older two—really cementing their naming style. One of the ways to manage that, if they don’t want to get boxed in for the future, is to use three different styles for each of their three boys, and I actually think Oliver would do that: Dominic has a real Latin-y incense+monastery feel; Kolbe is a surname with a more modern feel; and Oliver’s Irishy and sweet. Going forward, they’d have three different feels to choose from, and good overlap between them.

Finding names that fit a “third category” was one of my goals when coming up with additional name ideas, and I also wanted to find names that I thought would have good overlap between Dominic’s and Kolbe’s styles — I think I have some good ideas. You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names with a similar style/feel/popularity; I also combed my own mental files and came up with:

(1) Roman
In thinking of that “third category” idea, I thought: Dominic is a first name, Kolbe is a surname, what about a name for a “thing”? Roman was the first idea I had in this category— it literally means “a Roman,” and it makes me think of the Pope, the Vatican, and the Church. I really like it with Dominic and Kolbe, and it was even listed as a style match for Dominic in the BNW! One of the down sides of “thing names” is that they tend to sound more like surnames than not, but I think Roman is a really good one because it’s not too surnamey, but having a bit of that feeling also makes it fit nicely with Kolbe. Two other names that I thought could fit in this category, though perhaps not as obvious to the outside world, are Tiber (for the Tiber River in Rome; “crossing the Tiber” is a phrase used by converts to Catholicism; one of our readers named her son Tiber) and Boon(e) (in the sense of “blessing, gift”), both of which I love. (Lots of other ideas here.)

(2) Fulton or Bennett
Beyond the idea of a third category, I loved the idea of finding names that would “straddle” the two styles Erin and her hubs have used already (and of course I’m only calling them “two styles” in order to find other names that fit … they certainly both fit squarely in the “super saintly” category)—so I thought a name that has equal-ish use as a first name and a surname would do so. Fulton was the first idea I had—though it was Fulton Sheen’s mom’s maiden name, everyone knows it as his first name. The other idea was Bennett, which is a medieval form of Benedict, which is how the surname arose—I know a few little Bennetts, and it’s certainly recognizable as a surname as well.

(3) Simon or Gabriel
Finally, I thought another way to manage their styles going forward would be to switch the order of the names—instead of sticking with a really saintly first name and New Testament middle (I’m using “New Testament” rather than “original apostles” in order to include Gabriel, which I think is a great fit for them!), perhaps they could consider their pattern to be “one name from the New Testament, and one that’s really saintly.” To that end, I thought Simon would be a great fit for a first name. It reminds me a lot of Oliver—it has a similar bookish, academic feel, and is of course one of the original twelve. I thought of Simon Peter as a combo being a good one for this family—it brings in that heavy hitting feel of Dominic and Kolbe—and then I thought of Pierce, which is a variant of Peter, so Simon Pierce would really be “Simon Peter,” but Pierce has an added Marian element in that one of our readers said she knows someone who named her son Pierce after the Prophecy of Simeon (“a sword will pierce [Mary’s] heart”). Cool, no? And Gabriel’s a style match for Xavier, Isaac, and Samuel, and so tied with Our Lady through the Annunciation, as well as being a New Testament name.

And those are my ideas for Erin and her husband’s new baby boy! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother of Dominic and Kolbe, if they end up not going with Oliver?

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 4 needs easy biblical and/or saintly name that works with middle name and last name

Boy no. 4Andrea and her husband are expecting their fifth baby and fourth boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

James Giovanni (“I might have picked the name James because I love Jim Halpert from the show the Office 🙂 Also, the church I went to growing up was St. James. The bishop of the church my husband attended growing up was named James, and he really looked up to him — so there are lots of connections. For his middle name, we picked Giovanni — my husband’s middle name is John, so I picked Giovanni as a different form. Also, there is some Italian ethnicity on my mom’s side, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate that, too“)

Dominic Antonio (“Dominic I have just always liked. I love the works of art depicting Mary giving St. Dominic the rosary. Dominic just sounds so Catholic and traditional. We chose Antonio for his middle name, after St. Anthony“)

Rose Eve (“My grandma’s name was Rose, and I thought Rosie would be a cute nickname. Eve I just liked. I love short and simple names. Rose was stillborn and is our family’s saint“)

Joseph David (“We prayed a novena (or a few) for pregnancy and childbirth to St. Joseph. David is after the biblical David, and also my dad“)

Wonderful names, all! I love the Italian influence — it’s so fun to put ethnic names in the middle if you don’t feel comfortable using them for firsts. (Also—I’m DYING over the fact that James’ name might have been inspired by Jim Halpert! Haha! I love him too, he’s definitely one of my favorite characters.)

Andrea writes,

Picking out a baby name has been pretty easy for us in the past, but we are stuck on this one! We have a baby boy on the way, and there aren’t a lot of names jumping out at us — and the names we like we can’t use for one reason or another.”

Their preferences for this baby’s name include:

  • Old Testament or well-known saints name
  • Easy to pronounce/ not confusing for general population 🙂
  • Would like to use Nicholas as a middle name if possible
  • Doesn’t start with J
  • Doesn’t start with A (“if we use Nicholas for a middle name, baby’s initials would be ANL 🙂 “)

Names they like but can’t use for various reasons include:

  • Levi (“our last name starts with L, so it might sound weird..?“)
  • Mark (“we have a nephew Marcus — it’s too similar sounding“)
  • Michael (“we know way too many Michaels“)
  • Daniel (“know too many Daniels“)
  • Stephen (“I like it, but there would be confusion about pronunciation — is it Steven or Stefen?“)
  • Ian (“spouse and I can’t agree on how to pronounce it, we both know people who are named Ian but both pronounce it differently“)
  • Patrick (“I LOVE, but my husband has a brother and a brother-in-law named Patrick. We checked with them, and they said they don’t care if we used the name, so…. I’m tempted! I feel like Patrick goes really well with the names of our children. However, I feel Patrick doesn’t work well with Nicholas as a middle name, though.. do you think so, too?“)
  • Their nephews’ names: Matthew, Jeremy, Leo, Victor, Morgan, Chester, William, Aaron, Jesse, Jonathan, Peter, Marcus
  • Others: Paul, Robert, Gregory, George, Henry, Philip, Albert, Gerard

Finally, Andrea wrote to me again and said,

[My hubs] and I were recently talking about using the name Sullivan for a middle name. It was the last name of one of the bishops in our diocese, and my husband was close with him. I looked up the name meaning of Sullivan, and it is derived from an Irish surname meaning ‘little dark eye.’ My heart kind of melted a little bit when I read that. I think that would be cute — especially since [we] both have brown eyes!!

Okay, first off, I love Sullivan! I completely agree — the meaning is so sweet! And I feel like it really opens up a lot more possibilities for this family — I found Nicholas really hard to find a first name for!

I love their older kiddos’ names! James, Dominic, Rose/Rosie, and Joseph are a wonderful sibset — saintly, classic, and so handsome!

I’m definitely picking up an Italian vibe from the kids’ names — not only because of Giovanni and Antonio being middle names, but also Dominic, Rose, and Joseph are sibling names of several Italian families I know! So I was really interested to see Ian and Patrick on Andrea’s list! I do like that both Patrick and Ian would be a nudge toward James’ name (not that James doesn’t go with Dominic, Rose, and Joseph! I don’t mean that at all, just that it has less of an Italian feel than the others to me … and really, I think Dominic is the name that shifts the set toward Italian. James, Rose, and Joseph would just be lovely saintly names that go well, and Ian and Patrick would fit in well … but Dominic really brings in that Italian flair. Which is funny, because I’ve often argued AGAINST the idea that Dominic is overtly Italian! I did a whole spotlight on it, and how it’s totally fine for non-Italians to use, and included several non-Italian actors that are named Dominic [including some Irish]! So I guess I am more swayed by middle names Giovanni and Antonio than I realized).

Patrick Nicholas is tough … I’ve said it out loud several times and I could really go either way … on the one hand, the end of Patrick and the beginning of Nicholas rhyme (trick and Nick), so that might be kind of weird … on the other hand, I don’t think they sound terrible together! I think I’d support their decision one way or the other. And Patrick Sullivan takes care of that issue altogether.

Andrea and her hubs have a really great list of names they like, and it was really helpful when I was doing my research for them. You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that research, these are my three ideas for this baby boy (Andrea requested a mini consultation, hence only three ideas) (“three.” You’ll see what I mean):

(1) Vincent
James, Rose, and Joseph are very similar style-wise, and the names suggested by the BNW as similar to them were all the same — Thomas, William, Carl/Charles-type names. So I really wanted to make sure Dominic’s style had a chance to shine a little in my suggestions for them, and when I saw that Vincent was listed as a style match for Dominic, I knew it was a great idea. Like their other kiddos’ names, it’s super saintly and classic, and I think it fits in really well with James, Rose, and Joseph, while being a really nice match for Dominic as well. I think both Vincent Nicholas and Vincent Sullivan sound fine.

(2) Timothy
Timothy was 100% inspired by Patrick — when I saw it listed as a style match for Patrick, I knew I had to suggest it, since it’s also a biblical name. Then I discovered it’s also a match for Stephen and Nicholas! Timothy Nicholas isn’t terrible; Timothy Sullivan is awesome.

(3) Samuel, Gabriel
I love both of these names for this family for different reasons. Samuel is a match for Rose and Joseph, and the nickname Sam is always amazing. Gabriel has more of Dominic’s feel to me, which I love, while also being biblical, and I always point to Irish actor Gabriel Byrne as an example of how it can be considered Irishy. I’m not sure I love either of them with Nicholas, but Sullivan feels really good with both of them (and I don’t hate them with Nicholas). My only hesitation with them is that they end in L, and some people don’t care for first names ending in the same letter their last name begins with. I personally don’t mind, especially if they’ll usually use a nickname (Sam(my) L___ and Gabe L___ both sound great).

(Bonus) Andrew
This is the name that was one of my finalists until I remembered they didn’t want an A name. BUT with Sullivan in the mix, I’m throwing Andrew back in! It hits their preferred criteria — biblical as well as well-known saint; easy to pronounce/not confusing. I initially also loved it because I thought it sounded the best with Nicholas of all my ideas! Oops! But I love Andrew Sullivan too.

And those are my ideas for Andrea’s newest little guy! What do you all think? What would you suggest for a little brother to James, Dominic, Rose, and Joseph, with the middle name Nicholas or Sullivan and last name that begins with L?

Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

I met Katie, one of you wonderful readers, at the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference in October, and I got to meet her littlest guy, snoozing away in his wrap (soooo cute. I.love.babies!), who has one of my very favorite names for one of my very favorite saints: John Paul!

So of course we started chatting about names, and she was telling me that her husband hadn’t wanted John Paul to have a middle name, because he thought that three names was too much, and my interest was immediately piqued, because I know this very issue has been struggled with regarding this very name by some of you (and myself as well!).

So I was literally waiting with bated breath to hear how they resolved it (not even joking, I’m a little breathless about names 😂) when we got interrupted (this sweet old lady came over to tell Katie how much she reminded her of the Madonna and Child, which she totally did) and I never heard the rest of the story.

So yes, I emailed Katie! And we had a nice virtual chat and she said it would be okay for me to post about her John Paul’s name, as well as her seven other kiddos’ names! I’m so excited to introduce this beautiful family to you today and share their names with you!

To start, here’s the end to the John Paul + middle name story:

Yes, he said three names were too many so we were at an impasse. I ended up having a c-section bc baby turned to breech in labor. After [my husband] saw the c-section, I was wheeled back into my room. He said “I’ll name this baby anything you want!” So we went with John Paul on the birth certificate but John Paul Anthony is his name on his baptism certificate, birth announcement, etc. Turns out the husband was just worried about the blanks on the birth certificate form.”

Isn’t that a fantastic solution?! I could see a lot of people being really relieved to let go of the idea that the child’s name can only be what’s on the birth certificate. Like, the legal name is the legal name, but the legal name doesn’t have to be *the name*, you know? I kind of love the idea of a baby’s *real name* only being official with the Church and friends/family/real life. And doing so opens up so many options!

Of course I wanted to know what little John Paul Anthony’s big sibs were named, and I really love each one of them and the reasons behind them:

Daniel Thomas (“named for family friend & my step-dad“)

James Michael (“we liked James & Michael is for my husband“)

Joseph William (“we just liked those names“)

Benjamin Jon (“liked the name Benjamin, Jon is the husband’s middle name“)

Samuel Luke (“I liked the names & the Bible theme…kids liked Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars“)

Twins:
Robert Jacob (“Robert because the husband REALLY liked the name and I was so pregnant with twins that I had no energy to argue. Jacob is for my great grandfather“)

Mary Lucille (“Mary for my grandmother, Lucille because we were going to call her Lucy. But when she was born, I was asking for Mary’s intercession in labor & as I was hemorrhaging after. So when I held our little girl, I felt like a heel not calling her Mary. 😁 “)

John Paul Anthony (“love JP2, all the dads and grandpas are named John. Anthony is because with all these boys, I have a devotion to St. Anthony. Without him we would never go anyplace bc we would never have keys or socks“)

My naming style is less traditional…if it were up to me, we’d have Gavin, Ignatius, Leo, Henry, etc. the husband likes the 80s names…So I consider our name choices a good compromise.”

I LOVED reading all of this! All those boys! And that one sweet little lady! I died over Katie’s comment that Mary Lucille was supposed to be Lucy but after Our Lady’s intercession in labor “I felt like a heel not calling her Mary”!! 😂😂😂

 

Thank you so much to Katie for sharing all this fun and fabulous info with us! Check out her beautiful children (all photos taken by Mary Wiseman):

View More: http://weekly.pass.us/katie-1

Age order: Daniel, James, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, Robert, Mary, and John Paul

Some really cute ones of her younger kiddos:

Clockwise from top left: John Paul, Samuel, Joseph, Mary and Bobby, Dad and Bobby, Mary

💖👕👕👕👕👕👕👗👕💖

Baby name consultation: Brother name for Jude and Isaac

Stephanie and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins big brothers:

Jude Patrick
Isaac Edward

Awesome names, awesome style, love them!

Stephanie writes,

We really like the name Hope for a girl … My husband really wants a Mark Edward III for a boy. I really don’t want to do a “the third.” I could possibly do Mark with a different middle name, and call him by the middle name, but I don’t like the confusion of the exact same name. My boy name preferences fall along the lines of Micah [though unusable because their last name sounds really similar to it], Blaise, Fisher (after St. John Fisher), and Ephraim. My husband isn’t as adventurous with his names, but he did mention Maccabee at one point! My husband is [also] open to Benedict.”

Okay, so first off, I kept in the bit about Stephanie and her husband liking Hope for a girl, for inspiration, but they really only need help with boy names.

Regarding the idea of Mark Edward III, I love Jude and Isaac together, and while Mark does fit in with them in because they’re all biblical and saintly, I feel like Jude and Isaac give off a particular vibe that Mark doesn’t. I’m not quite sure how to describe it … “scholarly” and “sophisticated” come to mind re: Jude and Isaac, but I don’t think Mark is unscholarly or unsophisticated, so that’s not quite right … Do you all know what I mean? Do you agree?

Also, they’ve already used Edward for Isaac’s middle name, and while “matching vibes” and different middle names isn’t a requirement at all if Stephanie and her husband like a particular name, these thoughts might be helpful for Stephanie in trying to convince her husband away from using Mark Edward III.

I was trying to think of various ways that Stephanie’s husband could have the *feel* of a III without actually doing a literal III, and I came up with:

  • Using the same first name, but a different middle name (and he could even go by Trey/Trip/Tripper if they wanted him to, for Mark III, even though he wouldn’t be III on paper [and would therefore avoid some of the paperwork nightmares I’ve heard about])
  • Using a variant of Mark — there’s Marco, Marcus, and Marek. I also discovered the surname Markson, which does actually mean Mark’s son (I saw it spelled somewhere as Marxon too, but then I couldn’t find that again … I think they could definitely do it though if they wanted to!)
  • Using Stephanie’s husband’s initials — an M first name and an E middle name. I think this is my favorite idea for them, and I have M.E. thoughts below
  • How about any nicknames Stephanie’s husband goes by? Any nicknames given to him by college/sports buddies, or some funny thing his family called him when he was little that could perhaps be fashioned into a first name?

Beyond that, I used Jude, Isaac, Hope, Micah (though I know this is off the table because of their last name!), Blaise, Fisher, Ephraim, Maccabee (!) and Benedict as inspiration in my research, which, as you all know, almost always starts by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also combed through my own mental files and came up with the following ideas:

(1) Matthias
Matthias is my favorite idea for them in the “use your husband’s initials” idea (and just in general too, I love it!). It’s got more of an Old Testament rhythm and sound I think, which fits in nicely with Isaac, but it’s actually a New Testament name, which is nice for Jude. And Jude and Isaac are two particularly Catholic biblical names, in my opinion, since St. Jude is so revered and St. Isaac Jogues is so amazing, and I’ve often thought Matthias is a really Catholic biblical name because he was chosen by the others to replace Judas—sort of like the first Church Council! 😁 Something like Matthias Ephraim for M.E. initials, or a less heavy middle like Matthias Evan (kind of fits with the Jude’s Patrick) or Matthias Eli, or, if they didn’t mind heavy, Matthias Emmanuel.

(2) Miles
Miles is my second favorite idea for this family in the M.E. idea. I’ve pushed it on a lot of people! One of its characteristics is that it’s used as an Anglicization of the old Irish name Maelmhuire, which literally means “servant of the Virgin Mary.” So great, right? A legit Marian name for a boy! I didn’t think of it though until I saw that it’s a style match for Isaac, Hope, and Julian, which I know isn’t Jude, but some use Jude as a nickname for Julian, so I’m really feeling it for this family! Because it’s so short I love it with Emmanuel; Ephraim and Eli both go quite nicely with it as well!

(3) Malachi or Malachy
Maccabee made me think of Malachi, as I think they can both take Mac as a nickname, which is so great. The spelling Malachy is Irish, and though Stephanie didn’t mention anything about being Irish and their last name is so German, I latched onto Jude’s middle name (Patrick) when looking for further information.

(4) Pierce
Pierce is listed as a style match for Jude and Blaise in the BNW and one of you readers left a comment about someone they know who named their son Pierce for how Our Lady’s heart was pierced by a sword. Amazing! I like that it’s biblical like Jude and Isaac (as it’s a form of Peter), but also fits that sort of distinguished, scholarly feel I get from Jude and Isaac as well.

(5) Fulton
Fisher on Stephanie’s list made me think of Fulton, and I thought I’d suggest it—maybe her husband would like it better than Fisher? It has more of a first-name feel than Fisher, since most people are familiar with Ven. Fulton Sheen; this post on nickname ideas for Fulton might also be helpful. I also see families who use or consider the name Fulton also use or consider Jude and Isaac, so I think it fits well. I really love how Fulton Mark sounds, if they were open to putting Mark in the middle!

(6) Bennett
Finally, I wondered about Bennett for this family. It’s inspired by Benedict, since it’s a form of Benedict, but it’s lighter and some find it a little easier to work with than Benedict. It’s also a style match for Hope, as well as Luke, and I’ve often thought of Jude and Luke as two sides of the same coin (people who like one tend to like the other, though the more adventurous usually land with Jude, while the others tend to go with Luke), so I thought it was a great fit with Stephanie’s boys. I think Bennett Mark sounds quite nice as well!

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother of Jude and Isaac?

Birth announcement: Simon Augustine!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her husband back in November, and I’m delighted to share that Amanda’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazing name … Simon Augustine!

She writes,

You did a consult for us a while ago and we were SO THRILLED with your suggestions.  I wanted to let you know that Mr. Simon Augustine (Gus) joined us this past Tuesday, 1/17.  😊 We were torn on names right up until the month before he was born and then I was struck down with double pneumonia and cracked two ribs from coughing a week before our scheduled c-section.  We prayed and prayed and prayed for God’s will to be done, of course, but with the ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ that it’d be awesome to at least be partially healed before attempting a repeat c-section recovery.  😉  God heard and answered and the hospital allowed my c-section to be pushed back to 41 weeks (which is fairly unheard of after five sections!).  We felt also that we were being lead toward the name ‘Simon’ which is. of course, in honor of the apostle, but also means “God has heard”.  Our older kids had nicknamed him, “Gus” in utero after the chubby mouse in Cinderella and as a convert, my hubby has a special place in his heart for St. Augustine, so the choice was made.  😊

Thank you, thank you for all the time and effort you put into suggesting beautiful names for our little nugget – we LOVED considering them and re-considering them and it was barely a fight at all, which for us is preeeeeeetty amazing.  😝

What a story! What an amazing mama! And what a name!! I LOVE that the full name is Simon Augustine but they’re calling him Gus!

Congratulations to Amanda and her husband and big sibs Faith, Bennett, Maya, Cate, and Jude, and happy birthday Baby Gus!!

Simon Augustine “Gus”