Baby name consultation: Girl name help needed for little green bean — looking for traditional/classic or even “boring”!

Be sure to read my update, which I posted just a few minutes ago! Then enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Mandy writes in needing help with a girl name for their 6th child, 5th on earth:

We are team green but really need help with a girl name. We have always had a hard time coming up with girl names whereas boy names seem to be endless for us!

This child will join big siblings:

Robert Edward
Catherine Louise
Patrick Joseph
Anna Margaret
Francis Emmanuel (in heaven)

They have some rules for naming their children! She writes,

Must be a saint or have a clear saint connection for the first name. We chose St. Anne for Anna’s patron saint but otherwise the patron saints are obvious. This is important because we ask for our patron saints’ intercession every night during bedtime prayers! Must be clearly a boy or girl name (nothing gender neutral), must be spelled correctly when I tell you their name (Catherine has been mostly ok, surprisingly!), and must be correctly pronounced when you see it on a piece of paper. I was a teacher before I had kids and these rules are 99% because of my experiences there. Must have a family name either in the first or middle name spot.”

Family names they have to work with are Marie, Mary, Elizabeth, and Marian. I love these names. With the exception of Elizabeth, they’re all Mary-related names, which makes choosing a first name to go with them easier.

Mama Mandy writes about their naming style,

Obviously, we like pretty traditional, classic, some would even say boring names! And all of our kids go by their given names; we don’t do nicknames. One thing we didn’t do on purpose is, with the first three kids, we used 2 syllable first and middle names. I felt like we had to continue that with Anna since we thought, at the time, she might be the last one. I still like the cadence of 2 syllables, but it’s not a hard and fast rule with this baby since most people don’t even notice. Another bonus for this baby (but not a deal breaker) is if we could use a different first initial. It’s just so handy to be able to label things with one letter!

Some names they can’t use include: Claire, Bridget, Theresa, Lucy, Grace, Sophia, and Cecilia (which they had previously loved for one of their other children but was then used by a family member).

Names they like include Elizabeth, Marie, Monica, and Felicity. Mama Mandy wanted to know if Felicity is too “fluffy” next to her other kids.

Some thoughts on names they like:

Elizabeth– Mama Mandy is right that Elizabeth is popular and always has been. It has consistently been in the top 20 since the 1880s. It is the most enduringly classic girls’ name there is. She’s probably hearing it a lot because it is being used a lot! It is significantly more popular than their other children’s names (Robert is #79, Catherine #325, Patrick #213, and Anna #84) but stylistically, it fits perfectly. They said their style is traditional, classic, and kind of boring — Elizabeth fits that all to a T! That’s a really good thing! However, if they’re really not feeling Elizabeth, try Lillian instead. Lillian started out as a diminutive of Elizabeth (so they can still get all those good St. Elizabeth patrons in or she could take St. Lillian of Cordoba as her patron) but is now more often used as an embellishment of Lily. Lillian currently ranks at #51 and was in the top 40 or higher throughout the 1920s. Lillian might be the perfect way to honor the Elizabeths in their life while giving this child her own identity and a less popular name. Lillian Marie is gorgeous! So is Lillian Mary. For what it’s worth, Elizabeth Marie, Elizabeth Mary, and Elizabeth Marian are all beautiful, too.

Marie– Beautiful name but if they both aren’t excited about it, I’d keep this for the middle spot. Marie pairs beautifully with literally any name out there except other Mary variants. It’s so wonderfully versatile. I love this in the middle spot. In terms of popularity, it’s currently at #598 and was a top 20 name in the 1920s.

Monica– I like this name a lot and it’s popularity has stayed fairly steady. It was a top 500 name in the 1920s and is currently at #693. Not overused, not weird. I don’t know how “classic” this name is, though. It sounds good with their other kids and Monica Marie is swoon-worthy. I love the cadence of that! Great name and great patroness.

Felicity– Mama Mandy asked if I thought this name was too “fluffy” next to their other kids and my answer is, not really. It is more embellished than the others but not overly so. She’s a little more modern than their other children (although we know she’s actually pretty ancient because of St. Felicity) but Felicity didn’t enter the top 1000 names (so, she didn’t even enter the charts) until 1998. Currently, she sits at #441. Felicity Marie and Felicity Elizabeth are both so beautiful. I don’t mind the alliteration [with their last name], either, but maybe we can do better.

Of these, I actually really love Lillian for them. I think it bridges the gap between their other kids and Felicity and also takes out the anxiety of popularity.

On to new names!

1) Dorothy

This name means “gift of God” and was a top 5 name in the 1920s. Currently, she sits at #483, which I think they’ll like. Besides Servant of God Dorothy Day, there are St. Dorothy of Caesarea, St. Dorothy of Montau, and St. Dorothy of Aquileia. I love this name for them because it hits the traditional, classic, and popular in the 1920s notes without being popular today, is two syllables, and fits nicely with their other kids. She’s a little less “boring” (I don’t think their kids’ names are boring) than the others, too, which gives her just enough pep to stand out but not enough to not be part of the crowd. Dorothy Mary, Dorothy Marie, and Dorothy Elizabeth are gorgeous! I love the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Dorothy. Modern but classic, traditional but fun.

2) Caroline

It’s currently #81 and was in the top 200 in the 1920s. This name strikes me the same way Patrick does: a little more popular now rather than then but not mismatched. It’s traditional but not so much classic. That’s fine! Especially since they have Patrick in the mix. It’s a form of the name Charles meaning not only is there Bl. Caroline Gerhardinger for a patron (which I totally count Blesseds and Venerables and Servants of God for patrons!) but they could also count any of the multiple Blessed Charlottes, as Charlotte is just a different form of the same name. In that vein, they could count any St. Charles or Karl as her patron or, if they wanted to stretch it a bit, they could count St. John Paul II as her patron, since his birth name was Karol, another form of Charles. Caroline Elizabeth is beautiful and I like the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Caroline. They would be repeating an initial, though, which shouldn’t necessarily bother them but they did bring it up as a concern.

3) Irene

This was inspired, in part, by Monica and Felicity, who strayed ever so slightly from their normal tastes. This name means “peace” and I like that it has a one word meaning like their other girls (Catherine means “pure” and Anna means “grace”). It currently sits at #674 but was a top 30 name in the 1920s. I think it’s criminally underused these days! There are a bunch of Sts. Irene but the most known are St. Irene of Rome, St. Irene of Thessalonica (who had two sisters!) and St. Irene of Macedonia (in the Orthodox Church, she’s known as St. Irene the Great Martyr or St. Irene of Thessaloniki, just so you don’t get confused it you look them up). I love Irene Marie, Irene Elizabeth, and Irene Felicity. Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Irene sound like characters out of a black and white movie. I love them together! Bonus, Irene is two syllables, just like the rest of them. If they named this daughter Irene, no one would say that their children have “boring” names (this is just patently untrue anyway, but this name would really cement that).

One unofficial suggestion that just won’t stop bugging me: Josephine. I didn’t include her in the official suggestions because Patrick’s middle name is Joseph and I didn’t know how they’d feel about almost repeating a name that way. She’s currently #72 and was a top 50 or higher name in the 1920s, meaning she really hasn’t changed in popularity and is a steady classic. I love the way Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Josephine sound.

Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Isabel Martha!

I posted a consultation for K and her husband back in January and I’m excited to share that their little girl has arrived and been given the GOR-geous name … Isabel Martha!

K writes,

Just wanted to let you know we welcomed Isabel Martha on 4/9. We’re calling her Libby and are totally in love. Thanks for the suggestion!

Isabel Martha!! Called Libby!! 😍😍😍 If you remember, K’s ideal was a given first name that didn’t repeat any of their (her, hubby’s, and big sister’s) given first names with a nickname that had a different first initial than the given first name, and Martha worked in somewhere. While I love a good challenge — and this was definitely a good challenge! — I was worried that K was setting herself up for disappointment (though she herself acknowledged it was a tall order and she wasn’t wedded to those hopes). But she did it!! What an absolutely beautiful and perfect choice!!

Congratulations to K and her husband and big sister Eleanor Lynn nn Nora, and happy birthday Baby Isabel!!

Isabel “Libby” with her big sister Eleanor “Nora”


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Twin girls join big sibs, including twin brothers!

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still flying high from last week — so many things happened! My oldest graduated from high school on Friday, and the Baccalaureate Mass the night before and the graduation itself were so meaningful for my boy and for our whole family. We are all so grateful for God’s goodness!! And then — Friday itself!! What big news!! I never thought I’d see the day!! A friend pointed out to me that not only was Friday the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (he who first recognized Jesus’ humanity while both were in the womb) and the birthday of the woman who founded the March for Life, Nellie Gray. Wow!! What a day!! Keep praying!! And enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kaitrin writes in needing help naming identical twin girls!

Twins are amazing for lots of reasons, but naming twins, you know, means the names have to sound good together etc,! With the impending preemie delivery I’m feeling increased pressure to have names, and I thought your help would be great!

These babies come after three big brothers, two of whom are also identical twins, and one
sister (in heaven):

Vaughn Joseph

Jude Rian (twin)

Cormac Kelly (twin)

Jane Mari (in heaven)

Absolutely stunning names!

Mama Kaitrin says that she likes the way names that start or end in vowels sound with their last name.

I love Classic names and husband leans more to liking more modern or different names — he loves Maren for example. I don’t dislike, but I love so many before that,” she writes.

These babies also have a lot of powerful intercessors in heaven including St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anne, St. Clare, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Joan of Arc, and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo.

Mama Kaitrin says that her husband really really wants one of the babies to have the nickname Tess, so I kept that in mind when putting together this consultation. She writes,

Last month we felt pretty set on 1. Mary Therese, calling her ‘Tess’/ and 2. Anne Beretta and calling her ‘Etta’ (one of our big intercessor asks this pregnancy has been St. Gianna Beretta Molla, and neither of us love Gianna). I love the sound of Etta Aldridge. sweet and feminine. But I feel Tess and Etta doesn’t sound quite right — maybe even switching the order to Etta and Tess helps my ear a bit, I know that’s funny and strange. But Tess and Rosie sounds cuter to me so I can’t say goodbye to Rose. And is Mary Therese too common? Or does that not matter since we’d be calling her by middle name?

She also says,

I definitely don’t want rhymey twin names, but coordinating or stylistically similar would be fun, I think.”

Names they can’t use include: Molly, Maggie, Annie, Anna, Norah, Grace, Camille, and Gianna.

Names they like include: Julia Clare, Mary Alice, Julia Mae, Miriam, Gemma, Beatrice, Vivian, Rose Faustina, Rose Eline, Ruth Eline, Chiara Joan “Joni”, Margot, Bernadette “Etta”, Therese Eline and Miriam Clare, and Mary Therese “Tess” and Anne Beretta “Etta”.

Such great info! So, on to names!

Some thoughts on names they like.

Julia Clare- This is such a sweet combo, I really like it. I think it leans a little different from their boys, which is fine for a girl! I don’t know how much I like this next to a Tess sister, though.

Mary Alice- Classic combo, cannot go wrong here. Clunky cool.

Julia Mae- Same thoughts as Julia Clare. Mae is hot in the middle spot right now, but I love the subtle nod to Mary.

Miriam- Very different from their other children in a good way! I think this really opens them up. I never would have thought to pair her with sister Margot (more on that name below) but I really love it.

Gemma- I love this name, it’s super sweet. Gemma and Tess sound pretty good to me.

Beatrice- Again, a little different from their others. I don’t know how much I like it next to Tess, though; they sound mismatched to me.

Vivian- Same thoughts as Beatrice.

Rose Faustina- I love Rose for them but not sure how I feel about Faustina in the middle. I agree that Rose/Rosie and Tess are super cute together!

Rose Eline- I love all the meaning with this name.

Ruth Eline- Sounds very different from their boys. Ruth and Miriam would make incredible twin sisters, though!

Chiara Joan “Joni”- I like this name a lot and I love that Mama Kaitrin has a fun connection to Joni like her husband did with Cormac. Chiara is pretty different from their boys, though, and I don’t particularly feel like Chiara and Tess go well together.

Margot- Love this name for them! A little different but not enough to feel out of place. Love this with sister Miriam, too. I like this name with Therese but not necessarily with Tess.

Bernadette “Etta”- Love this so much. I love Etta and Tess as sisters, too. Great name.

Therese Eline- Fun name but a lot of Es, especially if they’re pronouncing it Ther-EE-s instead of Tay-REZ.

Miriam Clare- I love this with sister name Therese Eline. I like Therese and Miriam together a lot.

Mary Therese “Tess”- Mama Kaitrin asked if I thought this was pretty common and the answer is, yes, even if they’re going to call her Tess. Now, that shouldn’t necessarily deter them but I do think they’ve got much better names and combos to work with than this.

Anne Beretta “Etta”- I like Etta and Tess together a lot, which is something Mama Kaitrin was worried about. I don’t care for this name with their other children overall, though. It just sounds sort of bland next to everyone else. I think there are better names that can get to Etta that pair better with Therese.

Okay, on to new names! One thing I’m assuming here is that one baby will be Tess. I think they’d be hard pressed to pass on that. It’s a great nickname with wonderful longer forms and it fits in well with their other children. It’s jam-packed with meaning and goodness for their family, too. So I was thinking of names to go with Therese/Tess. I will give some thoughts at the end on full name combos I think would go really well together.

1) Brigid/Bridget

Their sons’ names all lean very Irish/Welsh and even little Jane Mari in heaven has a Welsh name! Well, what name is, arguably, more Irish than Brigid/Bridget? They want a powerful patron for this baby and St. Brigid is certainly a powerhouse. There’s also St. Bridget of Sweden who is incredible. Brigid/Bridget and Tess sound like natural sisters to me and they can tie them together more through their middle names. They could also call this baby Birdie, which reminded me of Rosie, and I love how it sounds with Tess.

2) Frances

Clunky cool is what this name is, just like some of the names on their list. My Irish grandfather once convinced my grandmother to have another baby (she had notoriously high risk pregnancies) by saying, “We haven’t had a Frances yet!” Such a good, strong, solid name for a girl. Nicknames are plenty, but for them my favorites are Fran and Franny, though Frankie is super cute and in right now, too. I love the sound of Tess and Fran together!

3) Elizabeth nn Lily

This one is what I thought would suit both Mama Kaitrin’s and her husband’s styles best. He likes a little more modern and fun while she prefers traditional and classic. Well, I think this strikes that balance. Elizabeth is the most traditional and classic name there is for girls but it’s also been the most steady in the top 100, making it modern, too. What’s great about this name is that it has almost endless nickname potential! Lizzy, Bess, Betsy, Betty, Libby…the list goes on! But one slightly unconventional nickname that I thought they would appreciate is Lily. It gets at the cutesy nickname and flower name like she likes, similar to Rosie, while being fun and unexpected like I’m gathering her husband likes. Elizabeth and Therese are gorgeous sisters and Tess and Lily are so sweet and fun! I think this name is a home run for them.

Okay, some thoughts on whole combos they might like. I noticed in their patrons that they have three little clusters, mostly: Theresas (Calcutta and Lisieux), Claires (Clare and Chiara), and Joans (Joan, Jane, and Gianna). The following suggestions sort of play with these to get all their patrons in and to tie the girls together.

Therese Joan and Frances Clare (Joan and Clare are powerhouses and classic names)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Gianna (this gives both girls a form of the name Jane to tie them together and to their sister in heaven)

Therese Frances and Elizabeth Clare (I love the pairing and Frances and Clare in the middle to evoke Sts. Francis and Clare, two incredible powerhouses and friends!)

Therese Elizabeth and Bridget/Brigid Joan (Classic but strong)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Clare (This is my favorite combo)

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Paschal Joseph!

I’ve had the great privilege of posting two previous birth announcements for Elizabeth (here and here), and I’m delighted to share yet another! Elizabeth and her husband named their new baby boy the amazing … Paschal Joseph!

Elizabeth writes,

[Y]ou’ve posted birth/name announcements for my babies in the past, and I just had another in December, so I wanted to share, especially because his name came up as an extra/bonus suggestion in one of your recent consultations! I was like 🙌🏻 lol!

I am pleased to introduce baby Paschal Joseph, born on December 8th. Pronounced “Pass-Cal” with cal as in calorie; the same as the chameleon in Tangled.

You can read his birth story if you feel inclined (: “

(I AM so inclined! I LOVE birth stories!!)

And of course I know you want to know the name story!

I’d had Paschal on my list for years, after having scoured lists of saints names for anything I liked the sound of. There is a Pope St Paschal, which was my intro. It was in our top 2-3 boy names when I was pregnant with Cecily, so we were researching more about each name, and found St Paschal Baylon, who had a great devotion to the Eucharist, and according to some sources is a patron of vocations to the priesthood (although he was a lay Franciscan brother himself). We would absolutely LOVE for God to call any or all of our sons to the priesthood, so finding this particular saint sealed the deal on this name for us, had Cecily been a boy. Then this time around, I took the positive pregnancy test Easter weekend, and since “paschal” (rhymes with rascal here) as an adjective means relating to Easter, that sealed the deal that it was still the right name — if it was a boy — this time. We chose the spelling Paschal to associate it more with Easter and less with math (ie. Blaise Pascal / Pascal’s triangle), although we also don’t mind the math reference: Justin (my husband) is an engineer, and I, “just for fun,” added a math minor to my English and Spanish majors in college.

Joseph had been the plan for a second boy’s middle name basically forever. My grandpa was Joseph (“Joe”), and my husband’s grandpa was Bobby Joe, and we lost both these grandpas before having any kids, so we liked the idea of honoring both of them. Plus, Miryam’s middle name is after me, Luke’s is after Justin, Cecily’s is after Justin’s confirmation saint, and my confirmation saint is St Josephine, so Joseph for a boy fits right in. Additionally, I had unofficially taken St Joseph as a patron of our family years ago, and then officially did a consecration to him just before this baby was born. It was only too perfect that our little Paschal Joseph came on the final day of the year of St Joseph, since his name had been picked out since 2019.

I’d been hoping this baby would be a boy (we waited until birth to find out) especially so that my Luke would have a brother, but also because I had become so attached to this name!

I love all of these details!! Paschal Joseph absolutely seems to be the perfect name for this handsome little guy!!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and her hubby and big sibs Miryam, Luke, and Cecily, and happy birthday Baby Paschal!!

Paschal Joseph


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby girl no. 3 needs a saintly, Marian, regal, feminine, familiar name like her big sisters

Happy Monday, everyone! And what a Monday it is, following Father’s Day (I hope all the dads in your life had a happy and blessed day!), which was also the day that the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) was celebrated (at least in my diocese — last Thursday was the actual feast day), which was also the actual date of Juneteenth, which is being celebrated as a public holiday today (this statement by the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association is both informative and inspiring). Wow! This is also the beginning of the week that will see my firstborn graduate from high school, which I’m both excitedly anticipating and sadly dreading. Ah, life. I’m going to work on scheduling some more posts for this week and maybe next as well, so hopefully you’ll have some good reading to look forward to! In the meantime, please enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams.

Mama Megan writes in needing help with a name for baby girl #3. Mom is Megan Elaine and dad is Michael Andrew. This little girl will be joining big siblings:

Eleanor Grace

Annalise Rose

Mama Megan says they have some rules they like to follow for names:

  • Saint name patron for one name
  • Connection to Mary in the other name
  • Sounds regal
  • Not clunky/hard to say
  • 3 syllables or less
  • Feminine
  • Familiar but not too popular/trendy
  • Most people know how to spell it

Great list of criteria! Megan continues,

We have four names that we are stuck on: Margaret Anne, Margaret Lily, Stella Marie, and Felicity Marie.”

She says,

We love Margaret for the connection to my name ‘Megan’ and that we found out we were pregnant around St. Margaret of Scotland’s feast day and my due date is near St. Margaret of Antioch’s feast day. It’s also a classic and vintage name. My husband is concerned about nicknames and family and friends calling her ‘Marge’ or ‘Margery’ … I am a little concerned Margaret will stick out from the softer sounding names of our other daughters.”

They like Anne and Lily as middle names because they’re either very classic or have a connection to Mary (lilies symbolize Mary’s purity in her Immaculate Conception). Megan continues,

Stella for Our Lady Star of the Sea and Marie for St. Therese since her actually first name is Marie. My husband had a long standing devotion to her and received many roses growing up from her rose novena. We’ve tried each pregnancy to figure out a way to honor St. Therese without using Therese and this is an exciting possibility. I love OL Star of the Sea as I am from a small coastal town and grew up very close to the ocean. We are also navigating a high risk pregnancy with a preterm c section in the next few weeks due to placenta previa. So, the guiding star aspect is very appealing. However, is Stella too close to Eleanor? And is Stella vintage or new agey? My husband is concerned it’s new agey.”

I love this so much. I had never considered Marie as a way to honor St. Therese!

Finally, Megan writes about Felicity Marie,

I like the saint’s story and the L sounds in Felicity. Marie would be for Our Lady.”

First, some thoughts on the names/name combinations they’re considering:

Margaret- I love the connection with mom Megan through this name, that gives mother and daughter something special to share. I also love that two Sts. Margaret are already connected to this baby! Margaret is a great name and has so many nickname potentials that I don’t think they should worry about family calling her Marge or Margery. They can insist everyone call her a particular nickname or by her full name. Some other great nicknames are the classic Maggie, Peggy, Daisy, or get a little creative and call her Etta. If they feel like these are just not their style, what about Marina instead of Margaret? St. Margaret of Antioch is sometimes known as Marina and it also gives them a tie-in to Stella Maris (sea theme) to honor Mary in that way. Margaret does feel a little stuffier and clunkier than their other girls’ names but I still think she fits in. I like both Margaret Anne (very classic, clunky cool, a little stuffy, very regal) and Margaret Lily (breezy, a little more fun, sounds like a girl in this era) but I lean towards Margaret Lily. More thoughts on the potential middles below.

Anne- This name is very classic and regal and I love the Ann-with-an-e spelling (I’m biased as it’s one of my middle names). The only problem with this name, really, is that it doesn’t leave any room for a Marian name. It’s also much more old school than their other daughters’ names, especially with Margaret, making it stylistically a little different from them.

Lily- I love this in the middle spot with Margaret and I love all the connections they have for it. This is my favorite middle name that they’ve mentioned period. I love that it’s a Marian name that you wouldn’t usually think of! So unexpected, fun, and cool. Lily is hot right now, so placing it in the middle spot gives the whole name some pizzazz and punch.

Stella- This name is nowhere near Eleanor, even if you take Eleanor to mean “light.” I think “star” and “light” are different enough and have different faith connotations. I love Stella as a nod to Mary, Stella Maris. This name is hot right now, it sits at #41 which is the highest it’s ever ranked, but it has been in good use since at least the 1880s, meaning it’s not new agey at all, just an enduring classic. If that bothers them still, it can also be an old Slavic nickname for Anastasia. I love both Stella and Anastasia with their other girls.

Marie- You cannot get anymore enduring, classic, or Marian than this. It’s a great name but its overuse by parents in the 1980s and 1990s in the middle spot may make it feel more like a filler than anything with meaning. That doesn’t have to deter them, though, since they have lots of meaning for it! I especially love it as a nod to St. Therese. Her full name was actually Marie Françoise-Thérèse. I love that she had a very full, rich name, just like their child will. They can’t go wrong with this name.

Felicity- I don’t have a ton of thoughts on this name other than that I really like it with their other girls. Eleanor, Annalise, and Felicity just sound like sisters to me. They all have the same light, regal, classic but modern feel to me. You can’t go wrong with this name, either.

Out of these names, Margaret Lily and Stella Marie really stand out to me as great for their family and with the other girls’ names.

On to new suggestions!

1) Audrey

This regal sounding name is currently at #60, meaning it’s having a moment but is an enduring classic. The highest it ever reached was #59 in 1933. This name means “noble strength” and I just love that for a little girl. Even better, there’s a saint to go with it. St. Audrey or Ethelreda was a devout princess. What little girl wouldn’t want a literal princess as a role model! I love that our faith encompasses people of all types and backgrounds. I love the continuing vowel sounds with their other girls and Eleanor, Annalise, and Audrey sound like a bunch of little princesses to me. I love Audrey Marie best but also like the sounds of Audrey Anne and Audrey Margaret. If they wanted to get bold, I’d go with Audrey Stella.

2) Lydia

I think, like Stella, this name feels new agey even though it’s not. It currently sits at 90 but hit its highest rank in 1883 at #75. St. Lydia Purpuraria was converted by St. Paul and is the patron saint of the color purple. I’ve always thought it was so fun that we have patron saints for colors. I like Lydia with their other girls a lot. Eleanor, Annalise, and Lydia just feel good together. I love Lydia Marie but if they wanted to be bold, I love Lydia Lily (lots of fun alliteration there) and Lydia Felicity.

3) Iris

This one may seem a little more left-field and I intentionally went there for this name. I liked that their girls have different initials but all vowels. I wanted to see if I could find a name that fit their criteria with a different vowel initial. I think I’ve come really close. Iris is obviously a flower but that flower is also known as the “sword lily” and has a connection to Our Lady of Sorrows. Isn’t that magnificent? I thought this was a magnificent way to honor Our Lady subtly while matching with her siblings and their criteria. Eleanor, Annalise, and Iris are lovely together. I love Iris Margaret, Iris Anne, Iris Marie (to get St. Therese in there!), and Iris Felicity. If they don’t like Iris, I thought they might also like Ivy, which is sometimes called Mary’s Tears and therefore connected to Our Lady of Sorrows. Iris sits at #107, which is the highest it’s ever been. It’s a common nature name that they won’t hear everyday everywhere like Lily has become. Ivy is a little more popular at #49 and I think it feels a little trendier, too. I like Ivy Margaret and Ivy Anne. Either Iris or Ivy is phenomenal.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Mama prefers shorter, modern-ish names for baby no. 6

You guys! The newest (2021) baby name stats from the Social Security Administration were released Friday, and I didn’t even realize it for two days!! That really tells you how bonkers things are here right now! What were you reactions? Did anything strike you as surprising or disappointing?

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all you physical mothers and spiritual mothers!! I hope you had a wonderful day!! I hope you all enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Melissa writes in asking for help naming baby boy, baby #6 overall. Melissa writes,

I worked with Kate last year on a name for our baby girl, and found out shortly after that we are expecting again! A little sweet surprise baby boy, due on July 25th!

Baby boy will join big siblings:

Graham Michael

Joseph Richard nn Joe or Joey

Lucy Kay

Zelie Marie

Isla Frances

Graham and Joseph were both names of important priests in their lives and the boys’ middle names are family names. Lucy and Zelie have family names in the middle, too. Kate did a consultation for Isla Frances and Mama Melissa says of the whole name, “I like the more modern name paired with a classic!” I kept that in mind when doing this consultation.

For this baby, they are considering using Christopher in some capacity but Melissa doesn’t like the nickname Chris. Perhaps she’d like the more offbeat Topher? She writes,

[H]e is due on St. Christopher’s feast day, and that is one of my husbands very favorite names! It’s also the name of his oldest brother and the next priest in line of our priests! So I do feel like Christopher needs to happen! We’ve thought about Christopher Jude or Jude Christopher! … I’m also worried about Christopher being too long! I tend to like shorter names! I really like Jude, but also am having a hard time picturing that as a first name! My husband likes it, but doesn’t love it.”

Some other names they’re considering are Patrick, Benedict, Charles nn Charlie, Thomas nn Tommy, Luke, and Callum. Swoon!! Some names they can’t use include: Leo, Dominic, Peter, John, Max, and Ryan.

Let’s get to the names!

Some thoughts on names they like but don’t feel like the one:

Jude- Great name! Fits in so well with their other kids’ names. I love this name and I adore Jude Christopher. Jude bridges the gap between ultra-Catholic names like Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie and more modern or covertly Catholic names like Graham and Isla. This is a great fit with their brood.

Patrick- I like this name a lot and think it fits in with their other kids really well. My only concern is that it’s a little more bland than most of their children’s names. I do like the sound of Patrick Christopher, though!

Benedict- This name is a little stuffier, to me, than their other kids’ names. Benedict Christopher is really nice, though. Perhaps they’d like Bennett (a form of Benedict) or Beckett better?

Charles nn Charlie- This is a great name and that reflects in the number of little Charleses and Charlies running around now. I like this with their other kids but I’m not a fan of Charles Christopher.

Thomas nn Tommy- This gives me the same feel as Charles. I like Thomas Christopher, though.

Luke- I like this name but agree that it’s too close to Lucy. I like the feel of this name, though, so I kept that in mind when coming up with suggestions.

Callum- I LOVE this name! It’s Scottish, like they like, means “dove,” there are saints to go with it, and it’s not popular but not weird. I think this name checks all of their boxes. I actually like how Callum Christopher sounds, too (I don’t usually go for alliteration, but this one just flows so nicely). I’d love to see them use this name.

Okay, on to new suggestions.

1) Declan

This is an Irish name meaning “man of prayer.” Isn’t that such a great meaning? When they said they like Callum, this was the first name that came to mind. It’s Irish, has a great meaning, and has a saint to go along with it (St. Declan was the first bishop of Ardmore, Ireland), and isn’t too popular. It does sit at #102, so they might encounter another one, but I don’t think that should sway them at all. Declan Christopher is amazing! And Declan goes really well with their other kids. It’s an old name but feels more modern and bridges the gap between Graham and Isla and Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie really well. If they don’t use Callum, this is my choice for them.

2) Everett

I was trying to think of names between Patrick and Callum and this name came to mind. It’s a style match for Graham, which I think is important in balancing out their kids. It doesn’t have a Catholic connection, as far as I can find, and it means “wild boar” but I don’t think these things should deter them since they’ll be using super strong, Catholic Christopher in the middle.

3) Owen

This is another Celtic name meaning “well-born.” It currently sits at #22, making it deceptively popular. I like the sound of brothers Graham, Joseph, and Owen and the sound of Owen Christopher. It’s also a deceptively Catholic name, being the name of several saints including St. Nicholas Owen. This is also a style match for Graham meaning it’ll bridge the gap between Graham and Isla and Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie. I love this name for them.

4) Nolan

Another style match for Graham, this is an Irish name meaning “famous” or “loud.” It sits at #61, meaning it’s pretty popular but not so popular that they’ll hear it all the time. I couldn’t find any Catholic connections with this one, either, but again, I don’t think that should deter them. I love siblings Graham, Joseph, Lucy, Zelie, Isla, and Nolan and I love how Nolan Christopher sounds.

5) Edmund

This name seems way more popular than it is, but it’s actually out of the top 1000! They may run into other little Eddies, but most of them will be Edwards not Edmunds. I love this name for its meaning “rich protection” and it’s saintly connections. St. Edmund was king and martyr and there’s also martyr St. Edmund Campion. For something a little different, they may also like Campion, meaning “champion,” and call him Cam, Campy, or Champ. I love how both Edmund Christopher and Campion Christopher sound. Either of these names bridge their love of more modern sounding names with more saintly names.

6) Cormac

This name was directly inspired by their love of Callum. It means “charioteer” and is out of the top 1000. There are also several saints to go along with it. Cormac Christopher has such a nice flow. This name is a little different than their other children and other names they like but I think it’s not too out there. Nicknames include Cory and Mac, both really great for a little boy!

7) Dashiell

Callum and Declan made me think of this name. Its meaning is unknown but it is Scottish in origin! Graham and Dashiell make such great brothers, too! Dashiell is so dashing and handsome and goes so well with all of their other kids. Dashiell Christopher is super handsome and accessible. Nickname Dash gives this great pep and zing for a little brother, too.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Place name or not for Siena’s little sister?

Happy May, month of Our Lady! Which starts off on the 1st with the feast of her holy husband, St. Joseph the Worker! My no. 6 received his First Holy Communion on that very feast day just three days ago, and my no. 2 will be Confirmed on Friday, so this wonderful month has kicked off in a big way in my house! I hope May has been wonderful for all of you so far! Please enjoy this consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kendall writes in needing help naming baby number 6! Baby will join big siblings:

Michael Thomas

Francis Joan (in heaven)

Joseph Robert

Siena Anne

James Charles

She writes,

All middle names are family names, all first are Saint names. (With the exception of baby in Heaven, St Joan of Arc was my Confirmation Saint). This baby’s middle name will be Marie, unless we can both be convinced otherwise and use an iteration of it!

Mama Kendal also mentions that baby’s name cannot start with E or B because of the way it sounds with their last name.

She goes on to say,

With Siena, we had a hard time picking between Siena and Adeline. We ultimately went with Siena for multiple reasons but two being Adeline isn’t a Saint name and there was some potential for hurt family feelings with Adeline. We still really like Adeline and would call her Addie, but again, not a Saint. Also, don’t love the rhyme with our last name. So we pivoted to Adelaide but it’s not our favorite, sounds too old. I really like Cora and my justification is “Heart of Mary” but he’s not on board. For a while we both liked Charlotte but felt like it was a bit of a stretch for Pope Saint John Paul 2. I love the name Emmy, was thinking like Marie Elizabeth or Elizabeth Marie but we run into the issue of beginning with an E name and beginning with an M name (after having two J names, we would prefer to not repeat a letter again). My husband’s middle name is Alexander so we have toyed with Alexandra, but don’t love it. His Confirmation Saint is St Maximilian Kolbe but he doesn’t like Kolbe as a girl’s name.”

She mentions that she wouldn’t mind a nickname for this child, even though she’s been adamant that the other kids not go by nicknames. Her husband needs names to pass the “CEO test” where it could be a name that a CEO would have.

Other names they like but aren’t quite it include Gianna, Gemma, and Madeleine.

Names they can’t use include:

  • Felicity
  • Hildegard
  • Chiara
  • Claire
  • Jane
  • Ann
  • Zelie
  • Emma
  • Maresa
  • Jordan
  • Catherine
  • Josephine
  • Penelope
  • Cassandra
  • Courtney
  • Jessica

Mama Kendall writes that they might be interested in a form of Catherine or Theresa, but not Caitlin.

Okay, some thoughts on names they like!

Adeline- They said they love this name but it’s not a saint name. It’s true that there’s no Saint Adeline, but there is a Blessed Adeline! I wonder if that fits their criteria. If so, I’d love to see them use this name. It fits so well with their other children and clearly has meaning to them.

Cora- I love this name for them, too, and I love it’s covert connection to Mary. Paired with middle Marie, this name definitely means “heart of Mary” and what a cool meaning that is! Cora is spunky but classic and that fits right in with their other children. Sisters Siena and Cora is just sending me, too! I love them together!

Charlotte- This name is significantly more popular than their other children’s names, which makes it feel a little out of place to me. They asked if it was too much of a stretch to use this name to honor St. John Paul II and my answer is no. His birth name was Karol which is the Polish form of Charles. Charlotte is the feminine version of that. Another direction they could go, is Caroline. Same root, just different translation. With Caroline, though, they get the same first sound as Karol. Lots to think about with this one.

Emmy- I like this name for them but it starts with an E, which they don’t want, and it’s a little less formal than their other kids. I think there are better names out there for them.

Alexandra- Great name, fits in with the other kids, lots of nickname potential. This is actually one of my favorite names for its versatility and long history. Sisters Siena and Alexandra are really nice, too. Something fun here, there’s St. Catherine of Alexandria, if they go with Alexandria instead of Alexandra, they could have two girls named after Catherine saints but with different names. I think that’s a cool sister connection!

Gianna- Great saint, great name. I like it next to Siena especially but I agree that that’s a lot of soft G sounds overall.

Gemma- Same thoughts as Gianna. This one reads a little spunkier to me, though, which I kept in mind as I did the consultation.

Okay, on to new names!

1) Avila

When I saw they had a Siena and considered Kolbe, my mind immediately went to other place names associated with saints. Avila was first to come to mind. What I love about this name is that it’s not just a place name, it also means “bird.” St. Teresa of Ávila makes this name have a saint and meaning and she’s a powerhouse, just like St. Catherine of Siena. I think sisters Siena and Avila are really sweet, especially since both have word connections and not just place connections.

2) Lisieux

They mentioned possibly wanting a form of Theresa for this name and I thought, why not another place name? Lisieux is the town in France where St. Thérèse was from. What I like about this name is that it has nickname potential, which they mentioned being important to them. This can easily shorten to the very cute Lissy, making it very accessible in daily life. If Paris and London get lots of use, why not Lisieux!

3) Amelia

This name was a style match for some of their kids and names they like. There is a St. Amelia to go with it (she’s sometimes known as St. Amalberga). This name is very popular at #6, so she might run into others with her name, but there’s a reason it’s so popular, it’s a good name! Their boys have more popular names, so I don’t think this will bother them at all and it shouldn’t. Amelia passes the CEO test, too. There is nickname potential here too with Ami, Melia, and Mia. I like it in its entirety, though.

4) Alice

This was a style match for a couple of their kids’ names. What really intrigued me about this name, though, is that it’s a form of Adelaide, which they said they had considered. Bonus, there is a St. Adelaide! I think this name is short and spunky but enduringly classic. It’s having a bit of a moment at #76 meaning that parents are rediscovering this great classic name.

5) Genevieve

Alexandra made me think of this name because it’s a little longer and more embellished than their other kids. Meaning “family woman” this name is currently at #169 meaning it’s classic and common but not popular. There is St. Genevieve to go along with the name, too, and she was really cool. Beyond Gen and Genny, they can also shorten this name to Vivi or the even spunkier Viva. Great nickname potential, great saint, and goes with their other kids. I really love this name for them.

6) Anastasia

Another name I thought of because of Alexandra. It sits at #158, meaning it has the same feel as Genevieve. St. Anastasia is actually mentioned in the canon at the Mass, making this an extra cool saint name. It also means “resurrection” tying it to Jesus very directly. They can shorten this name to Ana, Ani, Stasia, and Stacy. I really love this name (full disclosure: it’s my oldest daughter’s second middle name). I really love this name for them, specifically because it checks all of their boxes while sounding natural next to their other kids.

7) Flora

I was trying to think of ways to honor different saints T(h)eresa and this is another name that came to mind. St. Thérèse of Lisieux is also known as St. Theresa the Little Flower and Flora means “flower.” Also cool, St. Zélie’s name is a form of the Azalea flower, so Flora can be a nod to her, too. There are also several saints and blesseds named Flora. What a covert powerhouse of a name! It ranks at #929 so it’s not popular or common but it’s not weird either. I love sisters Siena and Flora and I think she fits right in with all of the children’s names, too. Flora Marie is just so sweet. I really really love this name for them.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4 needs the perfect boy name (not James!)

Happy last week of April!! I can’t believe May is already almost here — I’m looking forward to consistently warm weather! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Nicole writes in asking for help naming baby #4. They’re team green bean but they have some girls names they like, so she just needs help finding the perfect boy name!

She writes,

I love so many names but feel like there are so many we can’t use. And I don’t love too much out there names for boys, I’ll put a list below. The middle name will be Peter, we have several to honor in our family. We made the mistake of telling our kids a front runner was James. And now no matter what we say, they only say they want James. This is throwing us way off. I love the name but don’t feel a strong connection to it.”

I actually love James for this family, but more on that in a minute.

Nicole writes,

I would love a name with meaning or around feast days. We have so much family born in May. My son is May 20 and my mom was May 3, my sister May 26 and cousin May 17.”

So maybe a saint name with a May feast day would work for this family?

She also says they love names with good nicknames. If baby is a boy, his middle name will be Peter.

This little baby will join big siblings:

David Edward “Eddie”

Sylvia Jo “Sylvie”

Clara Jeanne

Names they can’t use or don’t like include:

  • Blaise
  • Kolbe
  • Declan
  • Garrett
  • Gregory
  • Any Ben- name

Mama Nicole wanted me to give some thoughts on their girl names Catherine Juliette “Cate” (the frontrunner) and Wilhelmina Jane “Willa.” I think either would fit right in! Wilhelmina is clunky cool and Willa is soft and cute. I like it with their last name, too (begins with W). I also really really love Catherine Juliette “Cate,” though! I think that is such a stunning combination. The only drawback, and it’s minor, is that it repeats Clara’s sound. Maybe that doesn’t bother them. I don’t think it should! It’s just so amazing and fits right in with their other kids. They’ve got two incredible options here, but if I absolutely had to choose between them, I’d use Catherine Juliette first.

Now for some thoughts on boy names they like.

James- This is such a great, classic, strong name. You can’t go wrong with it! James Peter is so handsome, too, and flows so well. I think it’s really telling that the kids love this name so much, too. Nicknames Jim, Jimmy, and Jamie make it super accessible and fun. If they’re really not set on this, maybe they’d like Jacob instead? It’s actually the same name, just from a different language root. Jacob Peter is still really handsome but maybe slightly more unexpected. Nicknames can be Jake, Jack, or Coby. Lots to think about with these names!

Zachary- Another good, classic name. Zachary Peter is strong, too. Something fun with this, instead of calling him Zach, they could call him ZP, pronounced like “Zippy.” Just another option! I like this name for them and think it’s a good representation of their naming style.

Charles- Right in their lane, which is really good. I love brothers Eddie and Charlie, too. Charles Peter is fantastic. Nicknames can include Charlie (in vogue right now), Chuck, and Chucky. I’m partial to Charlie, but there are options.

Alvin- This was not a name I was expecting at all! I think this closes the gap between Eddie and Clara to Sylvia really well. In that regard, I don’t think it’s too out there for them at all. I do wonder if a certain chipmunk wouldn’t be at the forefront of everyone’s minds with this one, though.

Vincent- I love this name so much. I like it with their kids, too. Vin and Vinnie are great nicknames. I love the idea of brothers Edward and Vincent, Eddie and Vinnie.

Jonathan- Good name, but I think they’ve got other, stronger options here.

Luke- I like this name but I think Luke Peter feels a little choppy.

Nathan- Another good name but they have better options. This one also feels a little different than their other kids to me.

Anthony- I like Anthony with their kids but I was thinking about nicknames and the only one is Tony. I love Tony, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. I also don’t think Tony goes with their other kids and their nicknames. Anthony Peter, though, is fantastic.

Patrick- I feel like this one fits in well with their kids but is slightly more popular or mainstream than the others. I don’t particularly like the alliteration of Patrick Peter, either.

Michael- This feels super common but it’s really not anymore. I like this with their kids. It’s classic, strong, has good nicknames…I feel like this is a can’t miss name. Michael Peter is really nice, too.

On to new suggestions!

1) Theodore/Thaddeus

I find myself suggesting these names together a lot, not only because they share a probable root, but because they’re so similar stylistically. Theodore means “gift of God” and is currently sitting at #23, meaning it’s popular, but with good reason! I love nicknames Theo, Ted, and Teddy. Teddy and Eddie might be too much, though, so I’d probably call this child Theo. Bonus, St. Theodore of Bologna’s feast day is May 5th! Thaddeus can be a form of Theodore or possibly means “heart.” Ranking at #785, it’s much less common. The patron is St. Jude Thaddeus and nicknames Tad and Taddy are super cute. I knew a little Thaddeus who went by Tadpole, too.

2) Frederick

I thought of this name because it has covert Catholic connections. There’s a St. Frederick and Bl. Frederic Ozanam. Meaning “peaceful ruler,” this name is a little more uncommon (#485) but not weird and I think that’s their sweet spot. The only drawback to this name is that nickname Freddy rhymes with Eddie. I’d probably shorten this to Fred. I love Frederick Peter.

3) Raphael

Another in the vein of uncommon but not weird, I love this underused name. I think it bridges the gap between Sylvia and her siblings really nicely. Nicknames include Rafe, Ralph, and Raffie. There are lots of saints to go along with this name including the archangel and St. Raphael Kalinowski. Raphael Peter is so fantastic! Eddie, Sylvie, Clara, and Rafe sound so cool and unexpected but cohesive. I really love this name for them.

4) Louis

This name means “famous battle” and ranks at #260, meaning it’s not trendy or super popular but not uncommon, either. Lou and Louie are nicknames. There are lots of saints to go with this name but Bl. Louis Moreau’s feast day is May 24. Louis Peter reads a little old world, old man to me, but in a cute, modern way. Sylvia Jo reads the same way to me.

5) Timothy

This name means “honoring God” and I love that on a child. Tim and Timmy are the obvious nicknames, which I think pair perfectly with brother Eddie, but unexpected Timo (TEE-moh) brings a little pep and pizzazz to it, matching with sister Sylvie. It’s fairly common at #193, but in a good way. It’s not trendy, just enduring. There are also lots of saints Timothy to go with this name but Sts. Timothy and Martha are celebrated on May 3.

6) Robert

David Edward and their love of Michael made me think of this name. It’s at #80, meaning it’s having a bit of a moment right now but is an enduring classic. Robert Peter is swoon-worthy. This name has tons of nickname potential, too, which I know is important to them. Eddie and Robbie feel like natural brothers to me. There are, again, lots of saints to go with this name, but St. Robert Lawrence’s feast day is May 4.

7) Philip

Finally, Philip. Philip was a style match for Sylvia and I fell in love with it for them. It means “friend of horses” and ranks at #451, meaning it’s uncommon but not weird. Nicknames include Phil, Philly, and Flip (which I LOVE for a little boy!). Philip Peter sounds distinguished and handsome. Edward, Sylvia, Clara, and Philip feel like a natural sibling set, too. Bonus, St. Philip the Apostle is celebrated on May 3. The only drawback I can think of here is the initials PP, but that doesn’t concern me too much, especially since Philip starts with a different sound than Peter.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Formal name with nickname or nickname as given name for first baby?

Can you believe this Sunday is Palm Sunday?? Lent is racing to an end, and I’m so looking forward to Easter. Many prayers for you all for a strong Lenten finish, from me and also, I’m sure, from St. Anne! (Be sure to check out my Instagram, as I just shared a special post about our dear St. Anne, patroness of Sancta Nomina.) Please enjoy this consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Abbey writes in needing help naming their first child. She says,

My husband … likes strong names. He is also of the opinion that they should have a formal name and then a nickname … My mom was of the opinion that your name should be your name. Her name is Sandra, but everyone has always called her Sandy. My sisters’ names are Liz, Marlee and Lexie. Each of us girls have middle names that are named after grandmothers or great-grandmothers.”

Abbey’s husband (Anthony called Tony) likes the names “Duke, Finnigan and Russell (Rusty) for a boy. For girls he likes more whimsical names like Misty or Trish.” Abbey says, “I like more old fashioned names but also like names with meaning or reminds you of someone like a family name.” Her shortlist includes:

  • Irene
  • Bea
  • Tilly
  • Caeli
  • Mary
  • Finnegan
  • Patrick
  • Adam
  • Blaise
  • Cal/Caleb

They would like to include a family name in their child’s name. Abbey writes,

I had a special connection with my great-grandmother. She died when I was in college but we spent a ton of time with her growing up. Her name was Irene Matilda Malli Hlubek. I’ve thought I would use Irene for a girl but I’m not sure what the middle name would be. I was thinking of Irene Malli, as it’s different from Irene Matilda. But I’m looking for boy/girl name ideas just in case.”

Tony and Abbey’s parents are grandparents are Perry Arthur, Polly Ann, Dennis Lee, Sandra (Sandy) Meredith, Salvatore Mercurio, Lois Adele, William Charles, Patricia Louise, Karen LeAnn, Meredith Macel, Maurice Kenneth, and Gary Lee.

Names they cannot use include Lily, Mya, Nic, Levi, Cruz, and Reid.

So much great information! I’ll start by giving some thoughts on names they like that don’t quite feel like the one.

Duke- Very dated, very Western, doesn’t have a nickname. This feels more like an informal name you’d call a child with a formal name that doesn’t naturally have a nickname or go to a nickname you like. Unique, though! So I kept that in mind when searching for other names.

Finnegan/Finnigan- They both had this on their lists so I’m inclined to say this is a winner! It’s a little unusual but shortens to the absolutely spectacular and in vogue Finn. Love this name for them a lot. Finnegan Salvatore or Finnegan Lee honor family really well, too.

Russell nn Rusty- Very dated but sweet. I love Rusty as the nickname for this instead of Russ.

Patrick- Classic, cannot go wrong name. It’s strong, it’s sweet, it will never go out of style. It can shorten to Pat or Paddy but I prefer the whole thing! Patrick pairs so well with so many of their family names, too.

Adam- Very classic, underused but not uncommon name. I like this for them a lot, other than that it doesn’t have a natural nickname.

Blaise- Great name, maybe they’d also like the spelling Blaze to get it away from the saint and into an action? Blaze reminds me more of names like Duke and Rusty, too. Only thing is this doesn’t have a natural nickname. This name and Duke gave me an idea below.

Cal/Caleb- Love this. I think this is a great name for them. Very balanced, right in the sweet spot they’re looking for.

Misty- Very dated, never popular, but very fun!

Trish- Interesting that this traditional nickname for Patricia showed up as a like for the husband who tends to like formal names with good nicknames. Dated but interesting!

Irene- Classic, criminally underused, sweet connection to family. I would say that this is a winner in the first or middle spot for them based solely on the family connection. I think that can’t be beat.

Bea- Sweet short form of Beatrice or Beatrix, both great names. I like any of these for them. I think this name combines the formal and nickname necessity with the classic but whimsical qualities. They couldn’t go wrong with this.

Tilly- A traditional nickname for Matilda, which is a family name. I love this. Fun and whimsical, family name, classic and strong, sweet. This is another one that basically checks all of their boxes.

Caeli- A little adventurous! This opens up their style a bit past strong, sweet, and classic but I like it. Caeli Irene is very sweet.

Mary- It doesn’t get more classic and sweet than this. Mary also pairs well with most of their family names, too. I think this is a great name for them. It doesn’t have a natural nickname really but they can do things like Mar, Mare, or Mamie or something related to whichever middle name they choose.

On to new suggestions! Let’s start with the boys.

1. Callahan

Meaning “bright-headed,” I thought of this name because Abbey liked Cal as possibly a nickname for Caleb. I thought maybe they might like this longer form, too. It is a surname name and that steers its feel away from classic and more into Southern or preppy vibes, though.

2. Jacob

This classic name can’t be beat. Its popularity shows, as it currently sits at #15, but that just means it’s enduring and classic and people recognize that! I love that this can shorten to the very classic Jake or to the more fun and whimsical Coby. That gives this name options, something I think they both will appreciate. Jacob pairs well with many of their family names, too, to give it some more significance.

3. Elijah

I initially thought of the name Eli, which I think suits them so well, but then thought they might like the longer form Elijah to go along with it. Elijah is currently #4 and Eli is #60, meaning they’re popular, enduring, and right in style now while having that classic, strong feel.

4. Blake

This is the “compromise” name I came up with after seeing Duke and Blaise on their lists. I think this fits both of those vibes perfectly making it feel really them! It’s short, sweet, a little out of the norm (it currently sits at #209, meaning they’re not going to hear it everywhere but everyone will know the name), but classic and strong. Blake Lee, Blake Anthony, Blake Salvatore, and Blake William are all amazing.

5. Benjamin

I love this classic, strong name with nickname potential. Beyond Ben there’s also Benji and Bennett (Bennett began as a short form of Benedict, but I think it could work here, too). Another great thing about Benjamin is that it pairs well with basically any family name they have!

On to girls!

1. Esther

This sweet “old lady” name came to me when they said they love Irene. Meaning “star,” this name is classic, strong, and sweet, and can shorten to Essie or even Star. Alternatively, they may like Stella, too, which is more popular right now (Esther is at #153) and a little more in style. I like Esther for them, though, and they could always call her Stella! Esther Irene is swoon-worthy!

2. Frances

I was trying to think of very classic girl names with lots of nickname potential that were a little off the beaten path and that’s how I came up with Frances. It currently sits at 416 making it clunky cool, which I think is their sweet spot for girls. Nicknames can include Fran, Franny, Fanny, or Frankie! Frances Irene and Frances with just about every name they like or is a family name go really well together. I think this is a can’t miss name for them.

3. Blythe

This came up as a style match for some of the names they like and I thought it was just whimsical enough to include! Meaning “cheerful” this name is out of the top 1000 meaning it’s uncommon and rare but not unheard of! I love this cheery little name for them but it doesn’t have any natural nicknames. That’s the only downside I can find!

4. Charlotte

Now this name is really popular, currently ranking at #4 but I don’t think that should deter them. It’s a classic, sweet name with fun nickname Lottie! Charlotte pairs well with almost all of their family names, too, making it a great name to work with. I love this name for them.

5. Nellie

I felt really drawn to this fun, classic nickname for them but couldn’t decide on a long form I thought they’d like best. Traditionally, Nellie is a nickname for Helen (at #424), Eleanor (at #22), and Ellen (at #804). Nellie can totally be used on its own, too! This name was totally inspired by the name Tilly on their list. Eleanor Irene is swoon-worthy, as is Eleanor and Helen with most names on their list or in their family. I think this hits their sweet spot of classic, strong, and sweet and a little bit fun, whimsical, and unusual.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Classic, timeless, English-y name with family connection needed for little sister of two big brothers

You guys! April starts this week! It’s freeeeezing here, but April is proof positive that spring weather is almost here to stay! I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Elise writes in asking for help naming a little green bean due in August. Baby will join big siblings:

George Samuel

William Pittman

She writes, “A baby boy would be named James Vernus.”

So boy names are taken care of and we’re just looking for the perfect girl name!

Elise continues,

My favorite names are Margaret and Harriet but unfortunately the T on T sound with [our last name] is a no-go.”

Quick note on Margaret and Harriet: I love these for them! I’m so sad Trey, her husband, isn’t on board them with either. That being said, it gave me great guidance for their style.

Mama Elise says,

There are very few female family names to go based on for inspiration. Maternal grandmother is Gloria and maternal great grandmother is Minerva but neither of these fit our style. One potential consideration for inclusion is Alma (my middle name and my mom’s maiden name is Almader) but idk if it fits stylistically. Other names I love — Clare (my paternal grandmother’s middle name), Eleanor (big fave), Lydia, Matilda, and Beatrice. We do tend towards classic, timeless, English-y names. I’d prefer a family connection with the name (we’ve gone with it for middles so far) but we really don’t have many female names to work with on my mom’s side.”

What a great challenge! I hope Dad gets on board with something.

About names they’re considering or would like to work in somehow:

Alma- I LOVE this for them in the middle spot! What a great way to honor Elise and Elise’s mom. I think it would go well in the middle with any number of names. I was thinking about how to honor Elise a lot in a little girl’s name and I was wondering if they’d consider Elisabeth? Elise is a diminutive of Eliz/sabeth and Elizabeth is the most classic name out there. It is constantly in use throughout all ages, never feels dated or trendy, and crosses all cultures. I think Alma or Elizabeth in the middle spot for this girl is the way to go.

Gloria- I agree that this doesn’t seem like their style. I think it would still work well in the middle spot, though.

Minerva- A great honor name that I agree just isn’t their style. It relates to the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. The Greek equivalent is Athena. I don’t really think that’s their style either! Although I do think nickname Minnie is right in their wheelhouse.

Clare- Love this name and their connections to it. It has a very classic, English-y feel like they like.

Eleanor- I ADORE this name. It’s so good. It is classic and feminine and has the El- beginning like mom, which I love. It can be an honor name without really being an honor name. Meanings are debated but possibly it comes from the name Helen (which I also like for them) meaning “torch”.

Lydia- This one surprised me a bit in a good way. It’s a little more popular than it seems meaning it’s a little trendier than it seems. I love that this opens up their style a bit, though.

Matilda- This seems right in their wheelhouse and nickname Mattie is to die for! Underneath its feminine exterior, this name means “strength in battle”, something any little girl with older brothers will need!

Beatrice- This name seems right in their wheelhouse and I love it for them. Beatrix is even more English (Beatrice is actually the Italian form!). I love that this name means “voyager, traveller” and that can be a nod to St. Therese saying the world is thy ship and not thy home. Anyway, I love love this name for them. Beatrice Elizabeth or Beatrice Alma are my top suggestions for them, if they hadn’t already had it on their list.

On to new suggestions!

1. Florence

This was the first name that came to mind for them. Meaning “prosperous, flourishing” this classic name was also borne by many early saints. It’s got that classic, timeless, English-y feel that they like, too. Nicknames Flo, Florrie, and Flossie make it cute and accessible. It sits at #762 meaning it’s enduring but uncommon. Florence Elizabeth is just super classic. Florence Minerva is classic but interesting and Florence Alma really gives it flair and family ties.

2. Josephine

After Elizabeth, when someone says they want a timeless, classic name, Josephine always comes to mind. I love Josephine next to George and William. Such a great, strong, classic sibling set. I love the nicknames Jo and Josie and Josephine goes with just about every name they’re interested in. I love Josephine Elizabeth, Josephine Alma, Josephine Clare, and Josephine Matilda the best.

3. Blair

So this is Scottish instead of English but it struck me as very them. It has that strong, stately feel that George and William radiate while being just a little bit different. It means “battlefield,” which is cool and sits at #333, meaning it’s uncommon but not weird. I love Blair Alma but if that’s too many kind of out there names in one name for them, Blair Elizabeth is beautiful and stately.

4. Vera

This is a name all on its own or can be a short form of Veronica. On its own it can mean “true”, “faith” (in Russian), or “summer” (in Albanian). As a short form of Veronica, it means “true image.” Fun fact, Veronica is itself a form of Berenice which means “bringing victory.” I love that this little name has so much meaning wound up in it! Vera sits at #246 meaning it has a lot of the same vibe as Blair, also Vera reads more English-y to me. It’s basically a virtue name without being a virtue name, and I like that for them. Vera Elizabeth is stunning. Vera Clare and Vera Josephine are also really beautiful.

5. Constance

This was the third name that came to mind for them right off the top of my head. It means “constant, steadfast,” which is such a beautiful meaning. It’s out of the top 1000 names meaning it’s just not in vogue right now but it’s still plenty recognizable. There are actually a couple saints to go along with this name, too! St. Constance of Vercelli and Bl. Constance de Castro. I thought that was cool. Constance Elizabeth, Constance Alma, Constance Gloria, and Constance Clare are all really nice.

6. Honor

An actual virtue name! I thought of this one because it reads as so stately and wholesome, like their boys. It’s not in the top 1000 of names but I don’t think that matters. There are male Saints Honorius and Honoratus to go along with it but there’s also a Marian angle to this name. Mary has the title Vessel of Honor and I thought this was a great way to honor her through this title and still have a very stately name. I really love this name for them. Honor Elizabeth is just gorgeous.

7. Lucille

The name that kept nagging me, so I had to include it! This name has that classic feel they like but can have such cute and modern nicknames like Lucy, Lu, and Luce (pronounced like “loose”). I thought a Lucille fit them better than a Lucy. It sits at #271 meaning it’s classic and recognizable.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!