Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4 needs first name for middle Shirley or Warren

Caitlin, who blogs at The Burch Book, and for whom I posted a consultation for her third little one nearly two years ago, is having another baby! She and her husband are expecting a little green bean (=gender unknown) 🌱, a little brother or sister for big sisters:

Claire Camille
Margaret Joyce (Maggie)
Beatrice Jacqueline (Betsy)

Not only do I love this set of sisters, but aren’t you dying over Betsy as a nickname for Beatrice?? I love it!

Caitlin writes,

Our process has been to use a saint name for the first name and one of our grandparents’ names for the middle name. We have one grandmother’s name left to use – Shirley. So that will definitely be the middle name if we have a fourth girl. The two girls’ names we’ve talked the most seriously about are Alice and Helen. If we were to have a boy, we would use Warren as a middle name. That is my husband’s middle name as well as his grandfather’s name. The boys’ names at the top of our list are George, Patrick, Henry and James. We also kind of like Edmund and Benedict but those seem a little more daring somehow. I guess the only other thing I would mention is that we will probably stick to names from our own Irish/Scottish/British cultural heritage. I don’t see us naming someone Therese or Lucia (although we would use Theresa or Lucy) … [also] we call our younger daughters Maggie and Betsy and we are trying to avoid that same name ending this time (as much as we love Lucy, Rosie, Annie, etc.).”

I love all the names they’re considering! Alice and Helen seem really well matched as sisters to the older girls, and George, Patrick, Henry, and James are all solidly in the Irish/British/Scottish saintly name category. It’s such a great list of names that I wondered what I’d be able to come up with! Especially since I wanted to suggest names that are new, not just the ones I’d suggested in their last consultation (though I do still love them: Alice, Lydia, Louisa, Eleanor, Violet, Henry, Samuel, Benjamin, Edward/Edmund, Joseph). (Speaking of their last consultation, Caitlin had said back then that they wanted to avoid repeating initials — she didn’t specify that as a rule this time around, and they do have Benedict is on their list, which repeats Beatrice’s B, but I tried to stick to that just in case.)

As usual, I looked up all the names Caitlin and her hubs have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard, and I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker. Based on all that research, these are my ideas for this little baby:

Girl
(1) Jane
I think Jane is my favorite idea for them for a girl — Claire, Margaret/Maggie, Beatrice/Betsy, and Jane strike me as such a perfect bunch of sister names! I think Jane Shirley sounds smashing.

(2) Katherine nicked Kate
This is my second favorite idea for them, and not because it’s my own name! Haha! Katherine was a big style match for them per the BNW, usually spelled Catherine, but the Katherine spelling avoids repeating initials. Additionally, Kate is a great match for Claire, Maggie, and Betsy in my opinion, and doesn’t end in the “ee” sound.

(3) Anna
Anne would have been a natural fit for this family I think, if they didn’t want to avoid Annie. But Anna’s a beautiful alternative, and I think people are far less likely to nickname Anna as Annie than they would with Anne. I kind of like how Anna Shirley echoes Anne Shirley (of Green Gables fame, of course) without being exact. I considered whether Anna was too Latinate for their taste, but it has good use in England and Ireland, so I figured it would be okay.

(4) Frances
Frances did well for them in my research, and I really like it as a name, but I’m a little hesitant about it for this baby because I’m not sure Caitlin and her hubs would be able to avoid an “ee” nickname (Francie, Franny, Frankie). If they wanted to be firm and consistent about using the full name though, Frances is elegant and lovely.

(5) Julia or Juliet
I probably would have thought that between Julia and Juliet, Julia was more their speed, but Juliet was a style match for Claire, so I thought I’d list them together. Juliette is very French, but Juliet is actually the anglicized spelling, and I love it with the older girls! I suspect that Caitlin and her hubs might not love that it’s not obviously saintly, but since it’s a variant of Julia, it can take any of the Sts. Julia as patron. I spotlighted the name here, including faith connections. I love Julia too, though I think it might be more likely to nickname to Julie than Juliet would? Or they could do Julia as the given name and Juliet as the nickname (since Juliet is actually a diminutive of Julia), which would allow them to avoid another “ee” nickname.

(6) Eleanor (Nora, Nell), or just Nora
My last idea for a girl is a repeat from last time, but it just kept popping up in my research so I had to include it! They’re already considering Helen, and some people use Eleanor as a variant of Helen (read more about that here), and both Eleanor and Helen can use the sweet nickname Nell, so they might think it’s kind of redundant, except for the fact that Eleanor can also allow for the nickname Nora — I love Nora! Claire, Margaret/Maggie, Beatrice/Betsy, and Eleanor/Nora are wonderful together! If they prefer just Nora on its own, I love that too, it’s such a great name.

Boy
(1) Robert
There aren’t too many more boy names to add to a list of Irish/British/Scottish-feeling names besides the ones Caitlin has put together already! But Robert immediately came to mind — watching Downton Abbey definitely put it on my radar, and though I’ve previously rolled my eyes at my husband telling me that “Bob” is his name style, I’ve really been feeling the full Robert recently. It’s easy to say, and St. Robert Bellarmine’s a great patron saint. If they wanted to do a nickname, Robbie, Bobby, Rory, and Bert are all possibilities, or maybe something cute like Roo when he’s little.

(2) Oliver
Oliver’s a style match for both Beatrice and Henry, and I feel like both of those names are pretty good representatives of this family’s style as a whole, so I thought Oliver was a great one to suggest! St. Oliver Plunkett’s awesome, and while I love the nickname Ollie, I don’t think it’s necessarily inevitable — the full Oliver is so handsome.

(3) Theodore
Theodore’s a style match for Beatrice and Alice — perfect! It’s handsome and gentlemanly, and the nicknames Theo and Ted(dy) are both great (Teddy can also be a nickname for the Edmund on their list).

(4) Louis
I was so surprised by how well Louis did for them in my research! It’s a match for Beatrice, Alice, Helen, and George! St. Louis de Montfort is great, as is St. Louis Martin.

(5) Timothy
Timothy actually only showed up in the list of names similar in style to Patrick, but I thought it fit their Irish/Scottish/English sensibility so well that I thought I’d include it. It does end in the “ee” sound, as does Timmy, but maybe it’s okay when we’re talking about formal names? And them could do just Tim as a nickname, or even Ty.

(6) Thomas
Finally, Thomas. St. Thomas More and St. Thomas a Becket are notable English Sts. Thomas, and most little boys I know named Thomas go by the full Thomas, so there’s very little risk of Tommy. I think it’s great for this family!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister to Claire, Margaret/Maggie, and Beatrice/Betsy?

Baby name consultation: Traditional, timeless, saintly name needed for boy no. 5

I have this group of girlfriends from college that make up most of my inner circle — girls I lived with, laughed with, cried with, had as bridesmaids in my wedding, and still to this day count as sisters. I’m so excited that today’s consultation is for one of them! Rosey and her husband Brian are expecting their sixth born baby — and fifth boy! (This makes seventeen boys [and only three girls!] among us! Boy no. 16’s birth announcement is here.)

This little guy joins big sibs:

Kenneth Brian
Paul Vincent
Clare Patricia Rose
James Emanuel
Henry Joseph

An amazingly named bunch of kids, don’t you think? 😍

Brian got the ball rolling by writing,

Kate! Help! This baby is never going to be named!

You know our existing names as a starting point. First name should be a fairly traditional, timeless catholic saint name, the middle name can be a little more ‘catholicy catholic’ but not all the way out there (Augustine, Blaise, Benedict OK; but Polycarp or Athanasius would be too much)

We don’t seek to nickname, unless there’s an obvious, traditionally accepted nickname for a particular name, we don’t want to come up with anything new or cutting edge. And we don’t want any nickname to be dependent on the middle name. We do use diminutives at home currently: Kenny, Paulie, Jamie, but we like that each son can take their full first name out into the world ‘as is’ with no problem.”

(This part made me laugh, regarding nicknames: “we don’t want to come up with anything new or cutting edge. And we don’t want any nickname to be dependent on the middle name.” They know me too well! 😂)

Brian continues:

I have some combos I really like, but Rosey is ‘meh’ with (at the moment) 🙂:

Charles Augustine
Mark Augustine
Andrew (w Benedict, Charles or Thomas as middle)

Other first names I think could work, but also not grabbing Rosey:

Thomas
Jude
Anthony
John
George
Steven
Francis

Names excluded for various reasons:

Luke [doesn’t work with last name]
Peter
Michael (though could possibly be used as a middle name)
David

And because it’s hilarious and I’m still laughing about it, there’s this too:

Also, FTR, I gave Rosey a spreadsheet of 73 ‘acceptable to me’ FN/MN combos and asked her to check her top 10-20, but she just put it in the junk drawer and said to skip straight to you. She never likes to take the engineering approach. *sigh*

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

As for Rosey, she said,

I really don’t care for Charles. But I guess names that I don’t totally hate are (in no specific order) blaise, George, mark, jude, Matthew and of course I love the names of the kids we have. I am OK with Augustine as a middle name and I guess Charles would be fine for a middle name too. I probably would go for almost any middle name.”

This is such a fun challenge! I’ve loved watching Rosey and Brian name each of their children, and being able to offer some thoughts/ideas/suggestions for one of them is such a privilege!

So of course there are lots of great ideas here. I’m a big fan of mixing safe with adventurous, like with James Emanuel, Charles Augustine, and Mark Augustine … if they used something like Blaise or Jude for first names, I could see something more staid like Michael or Francis balancing them out really nicely and making them feel more comfortable with the overall effect (not saying Blaise and Jude are crazy, just a little more adventurous than their other ideas and and their other kids’ names … and actually, I love the idea of Blaise for them because they’re into track/cross country — you know, Blaise … like blaze … like super speedy! 😁) But of course none of that is necessary either — safe + safe, and adventurous + adventurous are fine and fabulous!

I admit I tried to think a *tiny* bit outside the box since Henry’s name was a surprise to them last time — it wasn’t even on the list until the end. One of my ideas in particular doesn’t fit their “traditional and timeless” criteria, but I had to throw in at least one like that, just in case!

You all know that I rely pretty heavily on the Baby Name Wizard when doing consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It’s uncannily accurate! But of course it doesn’t always nail a couple’s style, and the lists of similar names it offers aren’t comprehensive, and it doesn’t always do so great with heavy Catholicky Catholic names. (Which is where I come in. 😊)

Okay, without further ado! Based on all my research as well as names I’d come up with for Rosey and Brian before I even cracked the BNW book open, here are my ideas for their newest little guy:

(1) Timothy
I don’t know if it was intentional (and certainly not with Kenny, since his is a straight honor name), but their older kids’ first names all have a distinctly (to me) Irish/Scottish/Brit feel to them (I know they have other associations as well, I just mean as a group), which is one of the reasons I love Timothy for them. Like their other kids, it doesn’t hit you over the head with Celtic-y feeling, but it’s a popular name in Ireland and with Irish and Irish-American families, so it’s taken on a green sheen. It’s also biblical, saintly, traditional, and timeless. I really love this one for them. And since it’s longer, a shorter middle would make a nice rhythm: Timothy Jude, Timothy Blaise, and Timothy George are all really nice imo.

(2) Fulton
This is the idea I mentioned earlier as being the one outside-the-box name I allowed myself to include. I don’t even know what made me think of it for Rosey and Brian initially, but it came to me the other day and I rolled it around a few times with their last name … I love it! And Ven. Fulton Sheen, who was actually baptized Peter John but called Fulton, which was his mom’s maide name, is such a great patron! I’m loving the idea of Fulton Peter or Fulton John, especially if they want to highlight the connection to him, or Fulton Anthony or even Fulton Francis (I don’t mind the alliteration, though I know some people don’t care for it.

(3) Robert
Robert’s been on my radar for a while now (I think it was Downton Abbey that did it!) — I’ve been loving how handsome and traditional it is, and the nicknames Bobby and Robby have been striking me as really adorable. And St. Robert Bellarmine!

(4) Martin
Martin’s totally traditional and timeless, but you rare hear Martin anymore! It really fits in nicely with Kenny’s name, I think, which I would describe similarly.

(5) Philip
I’m actually not sure how Rosey and Brian feel about repeating initials, but Philip has long been one of my favorite favorites. I love the traditional nickname Pip for it, but I think it’s one of those nicknames that doesn’t grow really well with a boy, so their mindset — nickname at home/with the family, but not outside — is perfect for Philip/Pip.

(6) Gregory
This is another favorite of mine — I always like to quote what the BNW says about it: “Popes, saints, and Gregory Peck! Can a name get any more distinguished?” I love that! Pope St. Gregory the Great is an amazing patron, and the full Gregory is so handsome.

(7) Theodore
I’ll end with seven ideas, and this last one is fun because it reminds me a lot of Henry — Theodore’s an older name that’s popping up more and more, including among parents who also like Henry, and is on a similar curve as Henry in the SSA stats (though Henry’s a bit ahead of it). Theo’s an easy nickname for home, or Ted/Teddy, and the full Theodore is smart and serious.

Though those seven are my main suggestions, I sometimes find it helpful to list the names that didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, just in case. David was my no. 1 for them for a long time, until they said it’s on the no list! I almost included Daniel (Danny Boy!), Tobias (maybe too out there?), and Nicholas (I’m still thinking it might be a good idea), and Andrew was another on my mind for them before I even saw that it was a contender.

And those are all my ideas for Rosey and Brian’s littlest guy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Kenny, Paul, Clare, James, and Henry?

ETA: I was given permission to include their girl name ideas after I’d already posted, woo! If this baby had been a girl, they planned to use Gemma Katharine, and other girl name combos they like include MaryAlice Veronica, Mary Alice, Veronica Mary, and Veronica Rose.

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 2 (difficult last name and eclectic name taste)

It’s springtime, which apparently means alllll the babiessss!!! 💐💃💐💃💐💃 Buckle up, cause we’re in for a couple of weeks of a lot of consultation posts! Woo!! I have two or three scheduled to post every week until the end of May, and they’re each just as fun and fabulous as the next.

Today’s is for Nury and her husband — they’re expecting their second baby, and second boy! He joins big brother:

Alec Michael

Which I love. So handsome.

Nury writes,

Choosing the name of our first child was difficult, to say the least. Our last name … is long and difficult. All of the boys names in my husband’s family tend to be short and not too exotic (Michael, George, Steven, David, Daniel, Richard). My husband’s name is Sean and we do not want to use that. We also definitely do not want to use Michael. There are a large number of Michaels in both of our families, including Sean’s father and brother. We are open to relatively uncommon names, but they should be easy to say — we want him to have a name that people can recognize and say easily since [our last name] causes so much confusion!

We chose Alec as the first name for our son after months and months of discussion and debate. At the very end, we were nearly set on Thomas Michael (Thomas is the name of a dear friend and mentor to Sean and also two of my favorite saints). We settled on Alec after we met him and decided it would stand as a tribute to my grandfather (whose middle name was Alejandro). Michael was chosen as the middle name in honor of Sean’s father who passed in 2011.

The only name we have seriously considered for this new baby is Thomas again. But I also like the following names: Victor, Becket, George, Patrick, James, and Eric. We are also considering using my father’s name, Marcelo, as a middle name. He passed away last July, a month before we conceived this baby. However, that’s not a requirement.”

I was really impressed both with Alec’s name and with the names on Nury’s list of those they’re considering—they all fit perfectly into her desire to have a name “that people can recognize and say easily” despite being all different styles! Nice job! I also love the idea of Thomas Marcelo, it sounds like it’s full of meaning for them.

I’m going to guess that one of the reasons they had a hard time coming up with a name for their first son is exactly because their taste in names is all over the place—and I say that in a good way! I love eclectic namers—those who don’t fit into any one obvious style. It does make it hard to nail down name ideas though, since there’s no real “place” to go look for more, you know? Like, if a couple loved last-names-as-first-names, then I would know where to look for more. If they loved Irish names, I would know where to find those. You know? On the list of names Nury and her husband have used (Alec) and are considering (Thomas, Victor, Becket, George, Patrick, and Eric) I can see separating them out into the following categories: Scottish/English/Celtic (Alec, Becket, George, Patrick), traditional saintly (Thomas, Victor, George, Patrick), Spanish (Victor, Eric), last name (Becket), and Scandinavian (Eric). But even though I could see grouping a couple/few of them into categories, there was zero overlap in the suggested names in the Baby Name Wizard when I looked up all their names! (You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used/like/are considering in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity.) This is so unusual, and extra challenging!

I don’t want any of you to think that any of this is bad though! And it seriously increases the fun for me, I love love a good challenge!! 😊 One thing I did notice in terms of a theme or style that, once I noticed, became really obvious to me, is that they really like names that have the K sound in them: Alec, Victor, Becket, Patrick, and Eric. Even Alec’s middle name, Michael. Out of the eight names that they’ve chosen or like, six have the K sound in them! I think that’s more than coincidence, and I used that idea to come up with a few names that I thought might fit into the various categories their names fall into:

(1) Dominic
Dominic has that K sound at the end, and can take nicknames that include it too, like Nick and Nico. It’s saintly, and I think it works well in Spanish as well as across all the European countries, including Ireland, the UK, and the Scandinavian countries.

(2) Nico
Speaking of Nico as a nickname for Dominic, why not Nico as a given name? It’s one of my favorites—short and snappy and masculine, and I like that it has four letters like Alec. I think it’s easy to say in various languages, and St. Nicholas can be patron.

(3) Nic(h)olas
And speaking of Nicholas, I wonder if they would consider it as a first name? I like both the Nicholas and Nicolas spellings, and I think most people think it’s easy to say.

(4) Cole or Colin
Still (unintentionally) continuing with the Nicholas theme, Cole is a traditional nickname for it, and it can also stand on its own as its own name. My husband and I actually considered it for one of our boys! Colin is also a traditional diminutive for Nicholas, though it’s most well known as a name in its own right. It was actually listed as a style match for Alec in the BNW, though I’m not sure it fits Nury’s “easy to say” criteria well enough? Most people I know say COLL-in, but others are more familiar with Colin Powell’s pronunciation: COLE-in.

(5) Kolbe
And jumping off of Cole, Kolbe is also inspired by Becket on their list in that it’s a saintly last name (St. Maximilian Kolbe). I’m just not sure if it’s as easy to say as they’d like? I mean, I don’t know if most people who see it know it’s said KOLE-bee right away?

(6) Mark, Marc, Marco, Marcus
I wondered if they’d be interested in using a variant of Nury’s dad’s name as their son’s first name, similar to how they did with Alejandro –> Alec? According to behindthename.com, Marcelo is a variant of Marcellus, which was originally a diminutive of Marcus. In light of that, any of the Marcus variants seem like they could work to honor Nury’s dad, if she felt like they were close enough to her dad’s name. And changing from Marcelo to Mark/Marc/Marco/Marcus pulls in that K sound that they seem to like. Marc was also listed as a style match for Eric.

(7) Kevin
Kevin was listed as a style match for Eric, but I would also say it’s similar to Patrick because of being an Irish name, which also makes it fit in well with the UK/Celtic feel of Alec, Becket, and George. It’s a saint’s name as well.

(8) Cooper
This is another one, like Kolbe, that was inspired by Becket—it was actually listed as a style match for it in the BNW. One of you readers knows a little Cupertino, for St. Joseph of Cupertino, and he goes by Cooper—I think that’s so clever!

Those are all my suggestions based on the idea that Nury and her husband might prefer names with a K sound in them, but don’t worry, I have some other ideas too! Like:

(8) Andrew or just Drew
Though behindthename says Alec is an English short form of Alexander, babynamewizard and others say it’s the Scottish form of Alex(ander), which is definitely the vibe I get from it (not the only vibe—Alec works well with lots of different kinds of names I think). James on their list is another name that can have a Scottish feel to it, and I’m not really sure why—maybe because of King James?—but I have a friend who married a Scot and they named one of their boys James, which made so much sense to me. Anyway, all that to say, Andrew is another name that has a similar feel. St. Andrew is actually the patron of Scotland, and there’s St. Andrews University there, near the town of St. Andrews. If they didn’t like the full Andrew, I think its nickname Drew can stand on its own, and pairs really nicely with Alec.

(9) Charles, Carl(o)(s), Karl
Charles is a style match for Thomas, George, and James, and it’s one of those names that works in all different languages and cultures. Carlo is a nice option as well, as is Carlos (which was a style match for Victor), and Karl has that Scandinavian feel that I get from Eric. A nice bonus is that all these names can take St. John Paul for patron, since his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish form of Charles. (There are also lots of other Sts. Charles, if they want to go a non-JP2 route.)

(10) Miles or Milo
If you’ve been reading my blog long, you’ll likely know that I love the name Miles and push it on lots of parents! 😁 It’s used in Ireland as an anglicization of the Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary”—so Miles is a Marian name! It’s also a style match for Alec, and is similarly nickname-proof. If they don’t love how the S in Miles runs into the S of their last name, but they like the idea of Miles, maybe they’d prefer Milo? It also has use as an anglicization of Maolmhuire (if that’s important to them). If they didn’t care for the double M of Miles Marcelo or Milo Marcelo, I quite like Miles Thomas and Milo Thomas.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Alec’s little brother?

Baby name consultation: Patton Camper No. 6!

Happppppy Easter Monday y’all!!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!! Doesn’t the world look extra sunny now that Lent is over and the tomb is empty? He is risen! Hallelujah!

I’m thrilled/delighted/dancing with joy 💃💃💃 to post today’s consultation! Funny enough, it was Easter Monday of 2015 when I posted the first consultation I did for this family (for Baby No. 5) — pretty cool that I get to post one for their newest little one on Easter Monday 2017!

So yes, as you’ve surely gleaned from the title, today’s consultation is for Grace over at Camp Patton — she’s one of my favorite favorite bloggers, not least because she posts lots of pictures of her beautiful children, and she are her husband have the BEST taste in names! Lest you’ve forgotten, this wee green bean (=gender unknown)  🌱 will join big sibs:

Julia Grace
Sebastian Xavier (Bash)
Theodore Augustine (Theo)
Phoebe Annika
Bosco Ignatius

(In calling this baby No. 6, I mean their sixth baby on earth — I don’t at all mean to forget their little Felipe, who’s surely interceding for them all, like so many of our babies.)

I’m ridiculously in love with the names Grace and her hubby Simon have chosen, and there’s not really a whole lot I feel like I can add — no matter what they end up naming their babe, I know it will be ah-mazing.

That said, when I asked Grace if she would mind if I offered some new suggestions, she said:

Yes! We’d love that!

We are always so undecided until the last minute!

Thank you Kate!!!! SO excited!!!

I know, right?? SO EXCITED!! 😍😍😍

She continued,

For boys we’ve tossed around Dominic or Damian (I think we should avoid a name ending in “o” as we’ve got Theo, Bosco, and now Diego and I’m constantly confusing their names!) and for girls I kind of like Caroline or Felicity but I’m not sure if Felicity is too similar to Phoebe and if it’s too long a name not to have a nickname for? (I’m not a huge fan of “lissy”) — I suggested Simon for a boy but Simon said that ship has sailed since we didn’t name our first born Simon but I disagree — ha!!!

As I’m sure you’re not surprised by, I have thoughts about this whole paragraph. First, I LOVE Dominic and Damian. Love! Dominic’s one of my very favorites (I spotlighted the name here), and I’m over the moon every time I see anyone considering Damian! (Here’s a little Damien I did a recent birth announcement for.) It’s such a great name with such a great saintly pedigree, I can’t say enough good things about it. (I’m not even going to acknowledge that movie. And I really hope you don’t know what I’m referring to.)

I also love Caroline and Felicity, both of which I included in my ideas in my first consultation post 😊. So let’s talk about Felicity. (1) Do I think it’s too similar to Phoebe? I do not. I considered this last time and decided it was perfect enough, even following immediately after Phoebe, to include it in my list of ideas. In a family with a bunch of kids, two of them sharing the same initial sound isn’t that big a deal at all, especially with having different first initials. Add in that, this time, there’s a Bosco in between Phoebe and this new baby, and I think it’s totally and completely fine. (2) What about nicknames? Nicknames! The nickname issue so often seems to be a sticking point in regards to choosing Felicity! But fear not — I did a spotlight on Felicity recently, and I included nickname ideas! A lot of the readers left great ideas too, including what they call their real-life little Felicitys, so be sure to check it out; some that I think could work well for the Pattons include:

  • Fliss(y)
  • Flick, Flicka (actress Felicity Huffman has a web site for women in general and moms in particular called What the Flicka)
  • Lily
  • Fin (especially maybe for something like Felicity Nora)
  • Zita is a Hungarian diminutive of the name, and Zyta a Polish short form
  • Felly
  • Cissy
  • Flitzi, Fitzi, Fitz
  • Cece
  • Liddy

So I would definitely keep Felicity on their list, and I know one little Felicity in real life who is always Felicity, so that’s an option too.

And what about Simon, after Dad? I’m glad brother Theodore isn’t interfering with Grace’s love of this idea, because Simon is a great name. But what about naming a non-firstborn son after dad? This could be the topic of a whole other post — in fact, I’ll plan to do that soon — but I’ll offer that though perhaps it’s more traditional to name a firstborn son after dad, if you’re going to do that kind of thing, it’s not UNtraditional nor unheard of to give Dad’s name to a subsequent son. I’ve got loads of personal examples: we named our firstborn after our two dads, and our second boy got my husband’s name as a middle, my brother’s second son is a Junior, my two brothers were named after my grandfathers, and if there was ever a third boy he would have gotten my dad’s name as a middle. There’s something really nice about naming a non-firstborn after Dad, actually — there are a lot of traditional firstborn “perks,” so saving Dad’s name for a second/third/fourth son could help even the playing field a bit. But if Simon can’t come around to the idea of Simon as a first name, I think it would make an amazing middle (for a boy or a girl! More on that below).

Really, I think Dominic, Damian, Simon, Caroline, and Felicity would all be amazing additions to the amazingly named Patton children, and I’d be thrilled if they named their baby any of them.

Despite the fact that the Patton Parents are expert namers and have some tremendous ideas, of course I can always come up with some more! First I just have to say, I still love all the ideas I suggested last time (for a girl: various ideas for backing into the nickname Lola, Elisabeth, Felicity, Stella; for a boy: Maximilian nicked Miles, Francis nicked Finn, Gregory nicked Rory or Gus [Gregory Simon=Gus so perfectly!]). And the arrival of Mr. Bosco opened up another whole area of possibilities with the last-name-as-first name thing, which really had already been there a little bit with Bash’s middle name being Xavier (I think Xavier’s mostly lost its last-naminess, but when there’s also a Bosco in the family, it comes to the fore a little more), so I was tempted to offer some more along those lines — Kolbe, Bennett, Becket, Siena, Serra — but I fought against it because I was feeling like following Bosco with another surname name might feel like a little too much. Do you agree? I did make two exceptions though, which I’ll explain below.

Okay! On to my ideas. You all know that I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard in my consultations, as it offers, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker this time around as well. I used both the names they’ve already used (first names only, except I also included Xavier and Annika, both of which Grace has said in the past that she sort of wished they’d saved for first names), and those they’re considering in my research. A lot of names spoke to me that didn’t last time, and I also took some chances and ventured farther afield. This is what I came up with:

Girl

(1) Emmeline
I started out feeling like the Pattons had a Brideshead Revisisted feel going on with Julia, Sebastian, and Theodore, and while I initially felt a little bit like Phoebe threw me for a loop, all I had to do was remember that my own family tree on my dad’s side — which has a direct line back to 1600s England — has a bunch of girls named Phebe in it (that spelling), especially the closer you get to the family’s emigration from England, to make me think I wasn’t that far off with Brideshead Revisited. Add in Caroline and Felicity to the names they’re considering, and I’m feeling pretty good about suggesting the lovely Emmeline. Behind the Name says it’s a variant of Amelia, which is where patron saints can be found, or you could think of it as an elaboration of Emma, in which case these saints would suit. It can be said emma-LINE, emma-LYNN, and emma-LEEN, and can be spelled Emmaline and Emmalyn. Emma and Emmy are sweet nicknames.

(2) Magdalene
This is the first surname name I allowed myself to suggest, both because it’s a girl’s name rather than a boy’s, and because it doesn’t feel surnamey and has a long history of use as a first name. I also like that it’s long, like Sebastian and Theodore — until now the girls’ names have been short, and until Bosco the boys’ names were long, so it’s kind of cool to switch it up with a longer girl’s name. There are lots of nickname possibilities: Maggie, Maddie, Molly, and Magda are some that I’d consider (Magda has that Brit feel to me).

(3) Verity
Ever since watching Poldark (which I happen to know Grace is a little bit into), I’ve loved the name Verity. Not only is it uncommon but familiar, which is sort of a sweet spot with naming, it’s got great faith significance in the sense that it means “truth.” It also has a little of that Puritan feeling that I get from Phoebe and Felicity, which is a feel I love.

(4) Audrey
I was surprised to find Audrey listed as style match for Dominic, so I looked it up in the BNW and a good number of the names listed as similar to it are ones I could see fitting in really well at Camp Patton, like Claire, Evelyn, Charlotte, Elliott, and Luke. I thought about it for a bit, and since Audrey Hepburn is its overwhelming association for me, and she herself was British (not to keep harping on the British thing), I started to really feel it. It’s classy, and literary (Shakespearean, no less: As You Like It), and saintly (though it took me a few minutes to find a version of her story that was uplifting).

(5) Mary/Maria + _____
I mentioned the possibility of a Mary+ name in my last consultation, and it’s on the list again! I’m a big fan of balance in baby naming, which I realize works better on storybook families than those in the real world, and it’s so totally not a big deal whether sibling names have that aesthetic composition that makes me sigh with contentment, but as many of you know I do often find myself trying to come up with names that “bridge” different styles in the names of the already-born children. With Bosco’s name having a different feel than his big sibs, I wanted to offer an idea that might make sense of it beyond the [very real and awesome] “Catholic names all go together by virtue of them being Catholic names” idea (which I myself have happily employed in the naming of my own children). To that end, I thought a Mary+ double would be just the thing, as putting Mary in front of virtually any name makes it (1) totally doable for a girl and (2) gives it a Catholic oomph, and (3) there’s the added layer of a double first name being unusual enough that it can fit in with all sorts of unusual names. There were a few ideas I liked for this idea (and I liked Maria as much as or better than Mary in some examples):

  • Mary Simone or Maria Simone: I mentioned above that if Dad Patton can’t get on board with Simon for a boy’s first, maybe he wouldn’t mind it as a middle for a boy OR a girl. I really love the idea of Mary Simone or Maria Simone, *especially* if a nickname like Maisie is used! You know I’m a fan of those firstname+middlename mashup nicknames! I think Mary/Maria Simone nicked Maisie would be amazing. (And they could even go with the old English pronunciation of Maria if they wanted, which is like Mariah — I know a little girl who has Maria-pronounced-like-Mariah for a middle name.)
  • Mary Tess or Maria Tess: I like Tess for them anyway, but I don’t feel like Therese/T(h)eresa is exactly their style. But Mary Tess or Maria Tess are sweet! She could go by the double name, or just Tess on the day-to-day.
  • Mary Elliott, or Mary Emmett, or Mary Bennett: One of my favorite things to do with a Mary+ double is to pair it with a boy name or a surname (this is my second surname suggestion). It feminizes the second name without making it seem like a girl name, if that makes any sense, and gives the very Catholic & traditional Mary+ construction a little whimsy and unexpectedness while still staying grounded. Elliott, Emmett, and Bennett are all names I liked for them for a boy, but ultimately cut them from my final list — this would be a neat way to work them in in a different way. (Elliott is a variant of Elijah, Emmett is actually from a surname deriving from Emma, and Bennett is a medieval variant of Benedict, so lots of patron saint options here.)

A last note about girl names: There were several that I considered last time that didn’t make the cut then or now, including Penelope, Imogen(e), Genevieve, Iris or Ivy, Lydia, Corinne, and Liv. This time around, the ones that I considered but ultimately decided not to include on this girl list include Alice, Zara, Lydia (for the second time … hmmm), and Natalia.

Boy

(1) Oliver
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t suggest Oliver last time — I love it for the Pattons!! It did tremendously well in my research, being similar to Julia, Sebastian, Phoebe, Felicity, and Simon. Wow! In this consultation from a couple months ago, a family (who already has a Dominic and a Kolbe — like Dominic on the Pattons’ list and Kolbe has a similar feel to Bosco to me) who was considering Oliver explained, “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 that! Additionally, though it seems that Oliver is not etymologically related to “olive,” it’s close enough that it could be a nod to Our Lady of the Olives, and you all know what a sucker I am for a Marian boy name! A reader also pointed this out to me from Psalm 128:

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
around your table.”

Um, pretty accurate I’d say (in the very very best way!). 😉 In that same consultation, I also suggested middle names for Oliver and I thought some of the combos might appeal to the Pattons as well: Oliver Nathaniel, Oliver James, Oliver Matthias.

(2) Isaac
Isaac has been on my own list for a long time, I love it! I love that it’s biblical, which I’m sure it’s why it was listed as a style match for Julia and Phoebe, and I love that it’s saintly — St. Isaac Jogues is one of the North American Martyrs (their shrine is near me and a local church is named after him, so the name really has taken on more of a saintly feel than biblical for me). It’s got great nickname options in Ike and Zac.

(3) Gabriel
Gabriel is a fantastic name for a little boy. It’s biblical, saintly, angelic, and Marian, which covers all the bases! It’s a style match for Xavier, Simon, Dominic, and has great nickname options: Gabe is friendly and boyish; Gil is bookish and dreamy in a Gilbert Blythe sort of way.

(4) Alexander
Alexander is a long name name like Sebastian and Theodore; it’s papal and saintly and pan-European; but what really encouraged me to put it on the list was the nickname Xander. Grace lamented once that they didn’t save Xavier for a first name, and in my experience people who like Xavier often like Xander. BUT, if she and Simon don’t care for Xander but like Alexander, Sander’s my recent favorite nickname for it. There’s Alex too, of course, which is such a classic.

(5) Nathaniel
Finally, Nathaniel, a style match for Sebastian, Simon, Caroline, and Julia according to my research, but also having some of that Puritan/Pilgrim feel of Phoebe and Felicity. It’s such a handsome, serious name with the great nickname Nate.

The boy names that I considered but ultimately cut from my final list included Tobias (I really loved this one for them, but I just kept thinking that the long O and the B, especially if they used the nickname Toby, was too much with Bosco and Theo and Diego), Tristan (a name moms tend to like and dads tend to not, in my experience), Benedict/Bennett and Benjamin, Matthias (I’m trying to remember why I didn’t include it?), Samuel, Joseph, Henry, Elliott, Emmett, and Jude.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Julia, Sebastian, Theodore, Phoebe, and Bosco?

Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

I know (or I hope) you all know how much I love your contributions to our wonderful little community here, right? 💕💕💕 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received notes from several of you sharing birth and name announcements you’d come across that you thought I’d like to see, and of course you’re so right — I loved them all! And I wanted to post them here for all of you lovers of the names of our faith.

First up, I hope you all know Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director-turned-amazing advocate for the unborn, as well as for those who work at abortion clinics and who want to get out of the industry (she provides all kinds of resources and support, including finding jobs for them and helping them financially, through her wonderful organization And Then There Were None). She’s absolutely tireless in her efforts, even with being mama to five beautiful little ones AND expecting twins!! She and her husband recently solicited name ideas for their twin baby girls (and shared their older kiddos’ names), and her husband shared on FB last week that they’ve decided! Go check out the beeaauutiful names they chose! 👯 (Thanks to Mary and Jen for sharing this info!)

I always love hearing about the European royal names and how Catholic they often are, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the names of a British politician’s children! Check out Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his fifth child an amazing name and North Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomes fifth child but his name causes a stir. (Thanks to Jilana!)

Check out this little guy’s name! And Clive makes five: a birth story. I really loved reading how perfectly his name fit the naming rules his parents had — like, perfectly! And of course C.S. Lewis. Great naming story. (He’s also got some gorgeously named big sisters!) (Thanks to proud auntie Francine!)

Finally, Amy tagged me on a photo of her twin girls she’d posted on IG to illustrate her announcement that she’d posted about how she’d chosen their names and said, “@santanomina how did I do? They’re both French, places and saints!” I’m still so tickled that anyone cares what I think! Haha! Of course I 🏃 (or more like 💃) over to her blog to read all about these sweet girls’ names in “Are They Family Names?” – Behind the Names Special and can say with authority that she and her husband did a marvelous job. Beautiful times two! 👯 (Thanks also to Mary, who also shared the link with me!)

What a fun round-up! I hope you all have as much fun reading about these babies as I did!

Baby name consultation: No. 5 tiebreaker’s coming tomorrow and needs a name!

Kelli and her husband are expecting their fifth baby and third boy! Her induction was originally scheduled for next week (and I planned to post this tomorrow) but she emailed tonight to let me know there’s been a change of plans and the little guy’s arriving tomorrow! They’re still eager for name feedback, so please share any ideas you have!

Baby Boy joins big sibs:

Abby Leigh (“Our first baby and named before my husband, Adam, and I were really religious and definitely not Catholic … we both liked it, and at the time did not like Abigail. We slightly regret now not having used the full version of the name. Our daughter (now 13) wishes we had used the full thing, and so sometimes she pretends like we did and we occasionally refer to her as Abigail to appease her. Leigh was always a name I loved, and the spelling I thought was just beautiful. My husband’s grandmother’s middle name is Lee, named after her mother’s maiden name, so it also just happened to fall in place nicely. We just lucked out that there is a Saint Abigail (biblical and alternate form of St Gobnait) so that her name doesn’t seem too strange with our other kids.”)

William Thomas (“My husband and I have different naming preferences, so every kid has been a bit of a compromise. I refused to use Thomas as a first name because I don’t really care for it too much. However, it is my husband’s middle name, his Dad’s name, his grandfather’s name, and his great grandfather’s name, so I was kind of stuck with it in some way or another. Since I didn’t like Thomas, I claimed full rights to first name choosing and it came down to Aaron or William. I just loved the way William Thomas sounded. Of course, now that we have converted, I am so glad my son has many wonderful saints he is named for by accident. We call him Will.”)

Aaron Matthew (“My husband has always loved this name, and since I picked the prior first name for our older son I gave him Aaron this go round. I liked the name well enough. We were considering conversion to the Catholic church at this point, so wanted biblical or saint names. We had a baby shower where his name was going to be Aaron Josiah and we had told the world this, but when he was born I realized we had completely messed up on the middle name. Took us more than a day to decide on his middle name, and it came down to Samuel or Matthew. My Great Uncle Sammy had just passed away a couple months before he was born, and Aaron’s godfather had a brother named Matthew who had passed away shortly before as well. We ended up going with Matthew because his godfather was not going to be having any more children, and we wanted to honor him and his brother by using the middle name Matthew.”)

Jessica Caeli (“We call her Jessa, and I completely won a battle for this name! I just knew this was supposed to be her name. However, my husband did not care for it, but he did like Jessica ok. A perfect compromise of Jessica for the first name and Jessa as a sweet nickname was doable with some middle name compromise as well. Adam has always wanted to use the name Kaylee for a first name, but I haven’t ever cared for it. I loved the name Caeli (pronounced Chay-lee) after the Regina Caeli, but Adam didn’t like its so we agreed to Caeli but pronounced Kaylee as the middle. We were a bit worried about Caeli being unsual compared to the other kids names, but we figured since it was the middle name we could squeak by and pull it off, especially since the pronunciation was more typical to non-Catholic family and friends. Fortunately it ended up being the perfect name for her and she’s just a doll.”)

Great names, right? A little bit eclectic, a little bit unexpected — I love them!

Kelli writes,

We know this baby is a boy, but are having a terrible time finding names we like, agree on, or even feel at all “right”. We haven’t had any good ultrasound pictures of the face, which I think for me is throwing me off my game. We usually get an awesome picture of the sweet baby face, but this guy only wants to show us his er… other parts. So definitely a boy, but no cute little pictures of his nose or anything.

We realized that both of our boys happen to have middle names of apostles. We didn’t really do it on purpose, and since we are open to having more kids in the future, feel like our choice of middle name is really key for this baby. If we go with another apostle middle name we feel stuck for any future boys to have apostle middle names as well, but if we switch things up now than the first two can just be played off as coincidence and no big deal.

Adam doesn’t like calling kids by their middle names, so we can’t do a first name with the middle name being the nickname. The first name is the first name and what the kid will be known as, unless there is a shortened version of the first name that can be used, like Will and Jessa. I’ve tried to change his mind on this unsuccessfully.

All of our kids names are fairly traditional sounding, so we feel like we can’t go too far off and be crazy. We would like for it to somehow tie in to a saint name, biblical name, or something faith related for both the first and middle names, but it doesn’t have to be super exact either. It can be a little bit of a stretch. Usually we find names we like and see if there is some way it connects to the faith, rather than the other way around.

I also feel like going a bit nontraditional with Jessa’s middle name may have given us a bit of leeway in what we can do for naming this baby. Unusual first names might be ok, if it has a nice regular sounding nickname we could use (ex. Benedict but calling him Ben, although we don’t like that one).

I don’t like names to be too long. If its a long first name, I prefer a one or two syllable middle name so it doesn’t get too “mouthy”. It needs to be easy to yell across the house or whisper threateningly in public, lol. Shorter first names can pull off longer middle names, but I am hesitant to use a long middle name since we haven’t ever done it before. I would kind of like a first name that could have a one syllable nickname, so Will isn’t the only one who doesn’t have a two syllable first name.

Although we have 2 A names, we would also rather not use the same letters again. We are negotiable on that, but A names are definitely out for first name unless we have a good nickname to use that doesn’t start with A.

My husband wants to make sure the boys all have strong sounding names that are masculine, as he feels this is very important.

Popularity isn’t super important to us if we like the name.

You can see that I like a wider variety of names, and my husband is pretty picky based on the above lists, whereas I have more “criteria” that needs to be met. We have always managed to compromise before, but I guess by number 5 we are about out of ideas for that! I am sorry for all of these restrictions. I feel like we have given you an impossible task.”

(I LOVE impossible name tasks!! I love having lots of parameters to work within and criteria to satisfy, and while I often don’t hit the mark, sometimes I do, and in super-challenging cases any success is that much sweeter. 😁)

Names on their “maybe” list include:

David (“middle name only per husband“)
Philip (“was a top contender, but now we feel meh about it“)
Noah (“always comes up when choosing names, but never feels quite right. Also Adam had a friend in high school who passed away named Noah, so that’s another reason its often on the table. A distant cousin has two kids named Abby and Noah, so I feel using both the names they used, even though we don’t really know them“)
Joseph (“meh“)
Jacob (“Will wants us to use this desperately, but we don’t love it. However, another one of my husband’s friends who passed away was named Jacob, so it is often on our list as well“)
Nicholas
Andrew (“I love it and love the nickname Drew, but Adam only likes it for a middle name, if that“)
Zachary (“another name that always comes up but has never stuck. Husband is pushing for this one, but the nickname “Zach/Zac/Zack” feels a little too harsh for me for this baby“)
Gregory (“middle name only per husband“)

Names they’ve discussed but have crossed off the list for various reasons:

Gideon, Titus, Soren (“we like them but they seem too far off from our other kids names to pull off“)
Martin “Marty”, Colm (Cull-um), Owen, Seamus, Nolan, Reid, Dean, Becket, Killian, Evan (“names I liked but my husband despised“)
Kealan, Kevin, Caleb, Travis, Brian, Patrick, Michael, Robert, Kieran, Luke, Jeffrey, Easton, Hendrix, Eric, Kolbe, Daniel, Stephen (used by close family/friends)

We also considered Sheen as a middle name because we didn’t like Fulton but I LOVE Fulton Sheen, but my husband thought it was a bit crazy to make a boy sound so shiny.”

Alrighty, so first off—I LOVE their older kiddos’ names!! I have a real soft spot for Jessa and Caeli—Jessa really makes Jessica sparkle, and Caeli is Catholicky Catholic but putting it in the middle spot and using the Kaylee pronunciation makes it so much easier for everyone who’s not into hardcore catacomb-y names. Great job!

I’m also loving the fact that they call their Abby “Abigail” sometimes. I’ve often thought that bestowing a name that’s traditionally been a nickname—like Abby, Maggie, Jack—could legitimately allow the child to claim Abigail/Margaret/John as their own (just like they can claim St. Abigail/St. Margaret/St. John as their own). (I’m glad they only have “slight” regret—Abby Leigh is a beautiful name! And it sounds like it was pretty representative of where they were as a couple at the time, which can be kind of fun to remember.)

I have a few thoughts about the names Kelli and her hubs are considering:

David, Gregory: David’s a great, solid name, and really similar in style to their other kids’ names. A great middle name choice, and great faith associations (the biblical king of course, and also the patron saint of Wales). I also think it’s relatively easy to pair with a variety of first names. Gregory’s another great one—papal and saintly (Pope St. Gregory the Great!) and so handsome. A short first name would pair really well with Gregory as a middle, like Noah Gregory.

Philip: so interesting that it was a top choice and now they’re waning on it! It’s one of my faves too. I know that the possibility of Phil (or Philly for a little guy) turns some people off of Philip, but I think Pip/Pippin, Flip, and Finn are all viable options.

Noah: So interesting that they have relatives with an Abby and a Noah! Our neighbors’ two kids are Abby and Noah as well! They definitely go together. My only hesitation with Noah (though for some reason not so much with any of their other biblical name ideas) is that it’s SO biblical, which leaves William out of the brothers’ name style (and technically out of the whole sibset, since Jessica’s also a biblical name, though I think few people know that, so Jessica doesn’t come across as biblical at all).

Joseph: love it, such a great name and a great saint. But being “meh” says to me, “Keep looking!” Also, it repeats Jessa’s J.

Jacob: funny enough, even though Jacob is just as biblical/Old Testament as Noah, and just as popular secularly as Noah, I just don’t think of it in quite the same way as Noah. This could be weirdness on my part—maybe people would still see William as the odd man out if Jacob was used? It’s so cute that Will loves the name Jacob so much. But, a J name.

Nicholas, Andrew, Zachary: these are such solid, cool-boy names to me (in a good way!). They’re all biblical, but I don’t think most people think of Nicholas and Zachary as biblical, and Andrew’s so classic and has that Brit vibe (via its ultra Scottish connections) that I think it goes really well with William while looping Aaron in via biblical. But Kelli said no more A names, so at least for this baby, I’d probably cross Andrew off the list (or use as a middle, as Kelli said). Nick and Zach/Zac/Zack are so similar in sound (and Jake too, for that matter) that at least from a nickname perspective, I think they’re all pretty equal and great. I do feel like Nicholas feels a bit more … timeless? Classic? While Zachary feels a bit more modern, which is funny since they’re both equally ancient. I looked up their stats on the Social Security web site and was interested to see that Zachary didn’t break into the top 200 until the 70s, while Nicholas has been in the top 200 for as long as the SSA has been keeping stats. However, they both had a peak of popularity in the 90s (Nicholas at #5 in 1999; Zachary at #12 in 1994) and they’re currently still in the top 100 at #62 and #88 (Nicholas and Zachary, respectively). So I’m thinking of Nicholas/Nick and Zachary/Zach as pretty similar options for this family, and both great. But Kelli doesn’t seem thrilled about either one, so let’s keep looking.

Gideon, Titus, Soren: love these names! But I agree that they’re very different from the other kiddos. Maybe as middle names? I personally love using John for a boy the way that Mary’s used for a girl—putting John or Mary in front of any name gives the whole thing a Catholic spin, and both John and Mary can serve as the first part of a double name (where both first and middle names are always used together) or—as Kelli has tried unsuccessfully to convince her husband of—as a “reverse middle name” almost, where the child goes by the middle name. Does that make sense? I mean, anyone can go by their middle name no matter what their first name, but Mary has traditional usage that way (all of my dad’s first cousins who are women, for example, are Mary___, and they all go by their middle names), and so does John in my family. So John Gideon, John Titus, and John Soren all strike me as really really handsome, and they could call him John Gideon as a full name, for example, or just John/Jack, or just Gideon. However, all that said, I do understand if Kelli’s husband simply can’t be swayed to the going-by-one’s-middle-name idea. In which case I still like the idea of John____ and going by the double name or just John/Johnny/Jack. They could even do Jake as a nickname for John—it’s got fairly traditional usage that way, and gets in Will’s love of Jacob without doing Jacob. (But John’s a J name.)

Martin/Marty, Colm, Owen, Seamus, Nolan, Reid, Dean, Becket, Killian, Evan: I love these names! I’m really interested in Kelli’s Irishy sensibility here … I feel like William and Andrew are on the outskirts of it (having good Brit/Scot usage), and I tried to take it into account when coming up with new ideas for them (Owen was actually one of my frontrunners for them until I looked back at this list and realized Owen was already on it!).

I’m dying over Kelli’s husband saying Sheen as a middle “was a bit crazy to make a boy sound so shiny”! Haha! I can see what he means (especially since he has a preference for strong, masculine-sounding names). I also think their method of finding a name they like and backing into a patron saint from there is fine and legit, and a method I’ve used myself quite happily (and I wrote about here).

Okay! So on to my ideas for Kelli’s little boy! As you all know, I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already 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. For this consultation, I also used entered all the kids’ names (as a group) on Nymbler to see what its suggestions for a brother for the sibset as a whole would be. Based on all that, and some of my own ideas, these are my suggestions:

(1) Samuel
As soon as I saw that they’d considered Samuel as a middle name for Aaron, after Kelli’s Great Uncle Sammy, I scribbled it down as a first name idea for them. It’s obviously biblical like Abby/Abigail and Aaron, but classic and gentlemanly like William, and it has the awesome nicknames Sam, which is one syllable like Will, or Sammy, which nods even more closely to Kelli’s great uncle, and both Sam and Sammy are great with Jessa. I think it’s a great option for this little guy!

(2) Jared (or Gerard?)
I really tried not to duplicate first initials, but I have two J names (the other’s below) that I had to suggest (besides John, mentioned above). Jared seemed a great fit for this family to me—like Jessica, it too is biblical though I don’t think a lot of people know that, which also makes it a nice fit for Will. Another option, if they like the sound of the name but not the repeated J, is Gerard, and this is a weird suggestion because in American English Jared and Gerard don’t sound alike at all—I’m tapping into Kelli’s love of Irishy names in the sense that in British English and Irish English, Gerard has the stress on the first syllable like Jared (and like Gerald), so they end up sounding very similar. (Bernard is similar—we say ber-NARD, but remember that the character in Four Weddings and a Funeral [set in England] was BER-nerd.) I had an Irish friend ages ago named Gerard, and it sounded exactly like Jared when he said his name; I understand actor Gerard Butler says his name the same way. This idea of course is fraught with issues—the explanations they’d have to constantly give might become a real headache—but for the right family it could make perfect sense. And William, Aaron, and Gerard make a very sophisticated set of brothers!

(3) Garrett
Jared and Gerard made me think of Garrett, which I’m definitely interested in for Kelli and her hubs. It’s got a Celtic feel as well as a surnamey feel (given that it actually got its start as a surname, which was derived, funny enough, from Gerald or Gerard), and as such it reminds me of Nolan, Reid, Dean, and especially Becket from her list. I love the idea of brothers William, Aaron, and Garrett—so handsome!

(4) James
This is the other J name I had to suggest. Jacob made me think of it, since James is the Latin form of Jacob, and as such Jake is possible as a not-unheard-of and understandable (to those who know) nickname for James. (Pairing James with a K middle name, like James Kenneth or James Kolbe, makes Jake make even more sense.) I should also mention that I’m a little hung up on Jake for them because of Jacob being on their list and Will being “desperate” for it, as well as the fact that Jake is a style match for Abby and Drew and similar in sound to Nick and Zach on their list.

(5) Gabriel
Gabriel’s a style match for Abigail and Noah, and Gabe’s a similar friendly+masculine+one-syllable nickname like Will, Nick, Zach, Drew, Sam, and Jake. It’s biblical like Aaron, and Irish actor Gabriel Byrne gives it a shot of green that Kelli might like. It’s also got a little more of an obviously Catholic feel I think than the other kids’ names, which ties it in nicely with Caeli. It’s actually got a sort of similar popularity arc as Nicholas and Zachary—not as steep a rise as Zachary, not as consistent as Nicholas, but otherwise pretty similar, though perhaps a few years behind—it’s currently where Nicholas and Zachary were a few years ago (it was #22 in 2015).

(6) Ethan
Ethan was inspired by Evan on Kelli’s list of names she likes that her hubby doesn’t (sometimes similar-but-different makes all the difference!), as well as the fact that it’s biblical and a style match for Abigail, Noah, Jacob, Zachary, and Owen. It covers a lot of bases!

(7) Brandon
Brandon was listed as a style match for Jessica, and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to suggest it. It has an Irishy feel to me, like Colm, Owen, Seamus, Nolan, and Killian from Kelli’s list, because of its similarity to Brendan; it’s also a surname like Nolan, Reid, Dean, and Becket. As a surname, it calls to mind the wonderful Col. Brandon from Sense and Sensibility, which makes me think it’s a fantastic match for William with a Britishy feel.

(8) Ryan
Ryan was another one inspired by Jessica (a style match per the BNW) as well as the Irishy surnamey names Kelli likes. I did a spotlight on it a while back at the request of a reader to find some faith connections for it, and it’s since became a favorite of mine because of what I was able to find. I really like it with the other kids’ names.

(9) Henry
Henry is a style match for William and Joseph per the BNW, and it’s such a sweet yet exclusively masculine name with lots of great saint connections that I had to suggest it. If they wanted a one-syllable nickname like Will, they could do Hank, which is beyond adorable on a little guy!

(10) Miles
My last idea is Miles, for a few different reasons: it’s surnamey like Brandon and Ryan and the similar names Kelli likes; it’s one syllable (ish … depending on how you say it, it can sound like one-and-a-half syllables, which I think makes it a good match for the length of Will and the rest of the kids as well); and it’s got an ah-MAZ-ing Irish connection that I continue to be swoony about: it’s used as the Anglicization of the Old Irish masculine name Maolmhuire, which means, literally, “servant of the Virgin Mary.” A legit Marian name for a boy! I’ve also seen it possibly connected in origin to Michael, which opens up the possibility of St. Michael as a patron.

I also had a few names I considered suggesting and ultimately decided not to for various reasons, but I thought I’d list them here just in case: Isaac, Kenneth, Tobias. Also, Kelli’s comment about Benedict nicknamed Ben made me wonder if they might like to consider Benjamin or Bennett instead? Since she said they don’t care for Benedict, I wasn’t sure enough about Ben- names in general to include them in my official suggestions, but I couldn’t not mention Benjamin or Bennett just in case.

And those are all my ideas for Kelli and her husband! What do you all think? What would you suggest for Abby, Will, Aaron, and Jessa’s little brother? (And prayers for Kelli and the baby during tomorrow’s birth!)

Baby name consultation: Danish + Irish inspiration for Baby No. 2

Lindsay and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown)! This wee babe joins big brother:

William Thomas

Solid, handsome, there’s nothing wrong with a name like William Thomas!

About his name, Lindsay writes,

So many people in my family have the name William, my brother, cousins and uncles on both sides, my dad is a Bill from Wilber like his dad. I always knew I wanted a William of my own. When I met my husband, he was introduced as Nolan…come to find out his first name is William and just goes by his middle name! His dad was William. his mom’s dad, some uncles and a nephew too! We chose Thomas after his brother in law who raised him after his parents passed when he was a young. And also St. Thomas More who I’ve always been drawn to.”

Again, perfection. 👌

About this new baby, Lindsay writes,

We just found out we are pregnant with our second! We didn’t know our son’s gender until he was born. We went in with two full names per gender and wanted to meet our child first before settling on a name. The other boy’s name that we didn’t use is still a huge contender should this baby be a boy. So I’ll start with our two boy name options.

Here’s the other boy name that we didn’t use the first time around:

Thatcher Pio (If we hadn’t chosen William Thomas for our first son he would have been Thomas Thatcher and go by the middle name…so that is why Thatcher is still in the mix but trying to find another middle name since we’ve used the name Thomas)

We love Padre Pio in our family 🙂 and we want to name a son after him. But I’m not convinced this flows. What do you think? Thatcher is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name and I just love it. So English and solid but also I’ve never heard it as a first name.

Thatcher is a first contender for me but my husband still wants to go in with two names for each gender. We both love Theodore! I know it means “gift of God” so that’s wonderful but I’m not sure about middle name because I do want a name from my side in there. Guess I’ll have to figure that one out! I know there is a St. Theodore but I don’t know any info.

For girls…

The two names that were our contenders the first time around are still tip top. But a fun thing has happened that makes it hard to decide which! Here they are:

Stellamaris Anne
I’ve always loved Stella and then I heard Stella Maris and just love it to give a nod to our Blessed Mother. I would make it the full first name so I can have one middle name. We’d mainly call her Stella. Oh and is there a specific pronunciation for Maris? I always went with Mare-is as in the sound of Mary. But then on the Fountains of Carrots podcast I heard it as Mar-is. Does it matter? Anne: My sister’s middle name is Anne and I’d just love to acknowledge her and my Mother in law’s middle name is Ann and she always had a love for St. Anne. She died when my husband was young so I never met her but his nine siblings gave me a St. Anne medal at our wedding. I was on day 5 of a St. Anne novena praying that we could conceive (we had trouble getting pregnant the first time) when I found out I was pregnant this time around. So needless to say I really want this child to have Anne in her name should she be a girl! Oh and I love Anne of Green Gables … a literary nod that I like hehe. I would say the entire name is my personal front runner but the other option means a lot to my husband and it has grown on me. But using Anne with this other first name option gets tricky. I’ll move on to explain.

Eleanor Francis (Frances)
To begin, my dad’s middle name is Francis. Is it weird to spell it that way for a girl? I thought I read somewhere that both spellings used to be interchangeable for genders. Maybe I made this up haha. Anyway, I also looked up St. Frances and she is so wonderful … what an amazing patron saint for a young girl! Now onto the first name … Eleanor. Eleanor is my husband’s grandmother’s name. It took me a while to really love it but I do now. I love the classic, timelessness of it. I like all these nicknames (Lenny [don’t want it to turn into Lynn], Nell, Nellie) but am still hesitant about what we would use … maybe it would help once we know our girl. I like the name as is but we are a nickname type of family so I would kind of like to have an idea so it doesn’t turn into something we don’t want. And I’m not sure my husband is sold on a nickname. For particular reasons we don’t want any type of El nickname or Nora.

The dilemma is that I do not want to use Anne with Eleanor because I would probably still want to use Francis as a middle name and that doesn’t work in my opinion with Stellamaris. So basically first name/middle name combos are solid as they are.

Hopefully I’ll have more girls and here is the rest of the running list basically in order to give you a sense of our style:

Zellie
Imogen (don’t think it really has any religious/catholic tie though)
Liesel
Willa (although haven’t decided if I can really have a William and a Willa haha)
(I’ve thrown around the idea of making Zellie a front runner this time around to fix my Anne middle name problem)

We also like Louis for a boy and Benjamin but they would not be front runners right now. My husband likes Henry and Oliver. I like both but they are way down the list and I’m not sure I’d ever really want to use Oliver.

Some ideas for future middle names based on family names and Saints are:

Katherine, Virginia, Avila, Goretti

Boys middle names are harder for me.

Oh and I’ve tried to find cool Danish names because I’m Danish so if any neat ones pop up in your mind I’d love to hear them and my husband is Irish. I’ve always love Irish culture and we went there on our honeymoon 🙂 “

I’m such a HUGE fan of hearing all the details! I know some of you who I’ve done consultations for apologize to me for giving me lots of details, but I say the more the merrier!

Alrighty, so diving right in: I love Thatcher Pio! I absolutely think they go together well, great combo!

Theodore’s also great, and while I obviously don’t know what names Lindsay has on her side of the family, just trying to think of middle names that come to mind quickly as going well with it, I love the idea of Theodore John — a nice short middle following a longer first. Most families have a John somewhere! I also love that there’s St. John of Avila, which can tie into the Avila she listed as a possible future middle. Or if she wanted to tie in her husband’s Irish, perhaps Theodore Sean? Or Jens or Hans, both Danish forms of John? Or Theodore Bent, where Bent is a Danish form of Benedict? I actually really like the idea of using a Danish name in the middle, because then it automatically becomes a name from Lindsay’s side, just by virtue of its Danish-ness, and also because it balances out Pio a bit. William Thomas and Thatcher Pio, super handsome as they each are on their own and very Britishy (except Pio), are nevertheless quite different at first glance — William Thomas is all super traditional and no surprise, while both Thatcher and Pio are unusual and surprising. So if they did something like Theodore Jens or Theodore Bent for this baby, it would make a really nice bridge between William Thomas and Thatcher Pio. Does that make sense?

Some other short Danish names that I thought could pair nicely with Theodore include:

— Bernt (Bernard)
— Carl (Charles)
— Claus (Nicholas)
— Elias (Elijah)
— Frans (Francis)
— Klemens (Clement)
— Poul (Paul)

There are a whole bunch of other options here, including pronunciations.

Since we’re talking about Danish names, these are the three ideas I had for Danish names that would make good first names for boys in my opinion:

(1) Matthias
I love how (1) biblical, (2) Catholic (since Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ spot by the rest … perhaps they could be thought of as the first Church Council? 🙂 ), and (3) Scandinavian Matthias is! Such a great name, and I saw too that Mads is the Danish diminutive for it, cute!

(2) Oscar
I’m a huge fan of Oscar — I did a spotlight on it here, and wish it would get more play!

(3) Sander
Alexander is a name I feel like I should love — it’s totally my style *on paper,* according to the Baby Name Wizard (which, as you all know, lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity) — but I’ve never been able to love it. But Sander, which is a Danish diminutive of it, I do love! I think it’s so cool and unexpected, but familiar at the same time.

I also love Louis, Benjamin, Henry, and Oliver, and used them all as inspiration when coming up with new ideas for this family.

Re: their girl ideas, Stellamaris Anne and Eleanor Frances/Francis are both so lovely!

I love putting Stella and Maris together in one first name so they could have one middle name, perfect! Regarding Lindsay’s pronunciation question, I’ve always said MARE-is, like she does, and looking it up quickly on behindthename they list two pronunciations as equal — I believe their MER-is is the same as our MARE-is, and their MAR-is is like Haley’s pronunciation. So I would say either is fine — you get to choose your favorite!

The Anne connections are all amazing!! I can totally see why it’s important to Lindsay to use Anne in her first daughter’s name! So let’s move on to Eleanor for a minute, and I’ll offer some Anne ideas then too.

Re: Francis for a girl — Frances is currently the female variant and Francis the male, but in the old days there was a lot of interchange! So I wouldn’t be surprised if they used to be used for both boys and girls. That said, Brooke Shields named her daughter Rowan Francis, and if I remember correctly she used the Francis spelling specifically because she was honoring a male Francis (maybe her dad?). Especially as a middle name, there’s no harm in choosing whichever spelling one wants! It’s also good to note that Frances and Francis are the *same* name, so Frances in honor of Lindsay’s dad should be totally fine and understandable and obvious. But it’s also very modern and current to use boy names for girls (like how James is getting a lot of play among celeb baby girls, mostly as a middle, but then Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively used it as a first). So I think whichever way they decide to go is great!

That said … I might think that the Francis spelling, being a bit more unusual for a girl, would be more in line with Thatcher Pio than William Thomas, and might therefore make a nice bridge between Lindsay’s oldest and her subsequent children.

Also, in doing research for her somehow I came across Nonie as a nickname for Eleanor! Cuuuute!! I debated whether I thought it was too similar to the unusable Nora, and thought I’d let them decide.

So it seems like, if I’m understanding correctly, that Eleanor Anne would technically be the “best” option — the first name Lindsay’s husband loves and the middle name that she thinks is so perfect and meaningful for a first girl. But as Lindsay pointed out, Stellamaris Frances/is doesn’t have such a great flow. My one suggestion is to consider Maristella instead — it’s the same name as Stellamaris, and can take Stella as a nickname, and Maristella Frances/is sounds a lot better than Stellamaris Frances/is. I posted a birth announcement for a Maristella not too long ago, such a beautiful name! I’ve also thought Maristelle would be a gorgeous variant (like Maris Estelle, which is a French-y Maris Stella), and I think it could still lead to Stella as a nickname (I’ve never actually seen Maristelle though).

Lindsay’s other girl names are so fun! I get a definite Brit vibe from Imogen, and I too love it! And while there’s no *officially* holy Imogen that I could find (i.e., Servant of God/venerable/blessed/saint), a quick google search did yield a Mother Imogen Ryan who was Mother Superior of a Sacred Heart convent and had dealings with Dorothy Day, and wrote a book for children under the name Mary Imogen Ryan. I love the idea of Mary Imogen — Mary+[anything] automatically makes a name Catholicky Catholic I think! And loads of Mary+’s go by their middle names!.

I love Zellie, and Zellie Anne is lovely! Liesel is beautiful too, and Willa! I love that Lindsay included it so I could use it for inspiration, but William and Willa would be really bold!

As far as Danish girls’ names, these were some I quite liked for them from the list of female Danish names provided at behindthename:

(1) Anika, Annelise
Anika is a Danish diminutive of Anna/Anne — I’m guessing Lindsay would still prefer Anne, being that Anne is her sister’s middle name and Ann was her mother-in-law’s middle name, but Anika’s a sweet way to get an uncommon Anne name. Annelise is another great Anne name, and is actually the Danish form of Anneliese, which is Anna and Liese (from Elisabeth, so similar to Liesel on their list!) put together.

(2) Britt or Brit(t)a
These are short forms of Birgitta, which is related to Bridget. I like them both, very cool! Kind of Danish and Irish at the same time!

(3) Hildegard
I know! This is such a big clunky name! But St. Hildegard of Bingen is awesome, and I just die over the nickname Hildy/Hildi, so sweet! (I would totally also do just Hildy or Hildi as a given name too, though neither were included in the list of Danish names.)

(4) Milla
I wonder what Lindsay and her hubs would think of Milla instead of Willa? I think sibs William and Milla would be totally fine! I did a spotlight on Ludmila last year, for St. Ludmila, who was a holy grandmother — I’ve often thought that she would be a nice and unusual way to honor a grandmother in a grandchild’s name, and I think Mil(l)a’s the most current way to do so.

I had some other ideas too, based on research in the Baby Name Wizard, using the names Lindsay likes, as well as my own mental files:

Girl
(1) Clara or Klara
Clara’s a style match for Theo (I looked up both Theo and Theodore, as I thought both gave great ideas), Stella (no entry for Stellamaris), and Louis! It also totally rocks as a sister to Eleanor in my opinion. The spelling Klara is Danish, which could be perfect for them!

(2) Lucy
Lucy is also a match for Theo and Stella, and also Henry! It’s such a sweet name and also fits in really well with Eleanor.

(3) Eva or Evelyn
Yes, Eva was also a match for Theo and Stella! It reminded me of Evelyn, which I thought they might also like — it has that Brit feel to it, to me, probably because of (male) author Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited, great Catholic themes).

(4) Gemma
Gemma! I love love love it for this family! It was only listed as a match for Willa, which is great enough, but it’s also got lots of use in the UK, which fits with Eleanor and Imogen, and it’s super saintly in the same vein as Zellie. So great!

(5) Beatrice or Beatrix
Again, a nice English feel, and quite a good style match for them otherwise, being similar to Theodore, Eleanor (Beatrice), and Imogen (Beatrix).

(6) Verity
I thought some of Lindsay’s more offbeat ideas — Thatcher, Zellie, Imogen, Liesel, Willa — were more indicative of her taste than some of the others, and I relied heavily on their style matches when finding names I thought she might like. Verity’s a match for Imogen, and I would also put it in the Zellie category in the sense of Catholicky Catholic names. (And I love the character of Verity on Poldark!)

(7) Violet
Violet was another great style match for them, similar to Stella, Eleanor, and Oliver. It can also be a Marian name!

Boy
(1) Charles
I couldn’t not suggest Charles to this family after seeing it listed as a style match for William, Eleanor, Louis, Henry, and Stella (Charlie) — wow! It’s a great name!

(2) Everett
Everett was listed as a match for both Theodore and Eleanor, which is great enough, but I also really felt like it had a Thatcher feel to it. Everett’s derived from Everard, and there are several holy men by that name!

(3) Felix
Felix is a match for Theo and Imogen, and was included in the list of Danish names! I’ve also seen it used/considered by families who also use/consider Zellie.

(4) Garett/Gareth
Gareth is a match for Imogen and Gemma, and it reminded me of a comment that was recently left on the blog about a family who used Garrett for a son in honor of St. Margaret. I thought that was so brilliant! I quite like Garrett — it has an Irishy feel to me, and I think it could easily hold its own with Eleanor/Imogen/Oliver-type names; behindthename also says it’s likely derived from Gerard or Gerald, which provides good patron saints. If they prefer Gareth however, Margarethe is the Danish form of Margaret, and perfect patron for a Gareth! (I almost suggested a variant of Margaret to them — lots of great options that totally fit their style! — but then I thought it was a bit much with brother Thatcher.)

**Speaking of Margaret Thatcher, I’m going to interrupt myself for a minute — Lindsay specifically asked,

I do have one more big question about Thatcher. Many of the Irish people loath Margaret Thatcher … am I right? I love Ireland and hope to go there with family in the future … and I don’t want my son, Thatcher, to be looked down upon by the friendly Irish because of his name. Think I’m looking too far into this and thinking people would be more judgmental than they actually would be?

Do any of you have a good sense of how Thatcher would be received in Ireland? **

(5) Simon
Simon is a match for Willa and Oliver, and I also love it with William and Thatcher!

(6) Sebastian
Sebastian actually didn’t show up as a style match for anyone, but I can see it working really well with William, Thatcher, Eleanor, Imogen (that English feel) as well as Stellamaris and Zellie (Catholicky Catholic).

(7) Bennett
Finally, I love Bennett for this family — it’s a match for Willa, but it’s also got a surnamey feel like Thatcher; it’s got that Austen vibe like Eleanor; and it’s a medieval variant of Benedict!

Whew! Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for a little brother or sister to William Thomas, given all the info here? What are your thoughts about first name Thatcher from an Irish perspective?