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!

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 6 needs his own name in a big family with lots of boy cousins

Happy Spring! Hooray! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Mary writes in needing help naming their 8th child, 6th boy! Little man will be joining big siblings:

Zelie Anna
George Patrick
Timothy Michael
Martin Gerard
Joseph Benedict
Patrick Peyton
Fina Janine

Her husband Kevin does not want a junior. She writes,

Here is our difficulty. We have A LOT of nephews and we spend a lot of time with them and don’t want to duplicate unless we really love it (Joseph is a repeat with a nephew named Joseph and a niece named Josephine) … A lot of the names we love, but like I said just don’t want to repeat.”

Names they cannot use include:

  • Kevin
  • Anthony
  • Augustine
  • Oliver
  • Henry
  • Charles
  • Benjamin
  • Thomas
  • Maximilian
  • Zachary
  • Francis
  • Nicholas
  • Michael
  • Sebastian
  • Peter
  • Kolbe
  • William
  • Joshua
  • Daniel
  • James
  • Matthew
  • John
  • John Paul
  • Vincent
  • Clement

Mary writes,

So far I love Ambrose, but my husband doesn’t love it. Also our last name is Benz. My husbands favorite name is Benedict but I can’t get over” Benedict with their last name.

On to names. Some thoughts on the ones they like.

Ambrose- Fantastic name and great patron to go along with it. This seems a little outside of their established style but not too far out. It’s very Catholicky Catholic, and that’s a good thing! It ranks at #820, meaning it’s not popular at all but they may hear it in Catholic circles.

Benedict- I understand why this is on their list. It’s a great name that has so much meaning for them. I do not like the sound of Ben [last name], though, and they’ve already used it in the middle spot for another son. I know that doesn’t matter to them much, as they’ve done this before, but I think there is a better name out there for them.

Okay, on to new suggestions! This was one of the most fun challenges I’ve had in a while because of all the names they can’t use that would be right within their wheelhouse. I hope I’ve come up with some suitable alternatives.

1) Gabriel

The world is catching on to how great this name is, as it currently ranks at #38. It means “God is my strong man” and I think that’s an incredible meaning for a little boy. Gabriel fits so well with all their other kids, too. There is, of course, St. Gabriel the Archangel for patron but there’s also lesser known St. Gabriel Possenti who had a strong devotion to Our Lady through the title Our Lady of Sorrows. You can read more about him here. I love the sound of Gabriel Ambrose and Gabe is such a cute nickname (if they’re into nicknames).

2) Paul

I was surprised to find that no one in their life had used this name yet, so I had to include it! It means “small” or “humble” and the obvious patron is St. Paul the Apostle, although there are plenty of others. It ranks at #252, meaning it’s not popular or trendy but is recognizable and established, pretty much the sweet spot they want. The only con I could see is that Paul would mean they have a lot of P names in their family. I’m not sure if that bothers them or not.

3) Miles

This may not seem like a very traditional name but it is and has a rich history! It most likely means “gracious” or “soldier” but it is also the Anglicized version of two Gaelic names, Maoilios meaning “servant of Jesus” and Maolmhuire meaning “servant of the Virgin Mary.” How cool is that! There is a Bl. Miles Gerard also. This name currently ranks at 58, meaning that it’s still fairly uncommon, though they’ll hear it more often. I think this name fits in beautifully with their other children. I love the depth of meanings of this name.

4) Anselm

Ambrose always makes me think of Anselm. It means “with divine protection” and was born by St. Anselm, a Doctor of the Church. It doesn’t even rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s unique and not trendy. The only place they’ll hear this name is Catholic circles and even very rarely there. It’s a little different from their other kids but still fits in and is very traditional as far as Catholic names go.

5) Theodore/Thaddeus

These names give off the same vibe to me (and actually may share a root) so I always include them together. If you like one of these names, you’ll probably like the other. Theodore means “gift of God” and currently ranks at #23. Several saints bore this name. I think the meaning is so sweet and great for an eighth child. Nicknames Ted, Teddy, and Theo are so cute, too. I love love love Theodore Ambrose and other good combinations are Theodore Gabriel, Theodore Paul, and Theodore Anselm. Thaddeus comes from possibly the same root or could mean “heart.” It currently ranks at #785 meaning it’s rare but not weird. St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the Apostles, too. Nicknames Tad and Taddy are super cute. I love Thaddeus Ambrose, Thaddeus Paul, and Thaddeus Miles.

6) Basil

St. Basil the Great is a Doctor of the Church and you can’t get much more traditional than that! In English, Basil means “king” but in Arabic it means “brave, valiant”. How cool! I love this name for them as it sort of bridges more common traditional names with more uncommon traditional names. It doesn’t rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s relatively unheard of but not weird. I think it’s criminally underused! It’s definitely on my list of guilty pleasure names. Basil Ambrose is a powerhouse. Basil Gabriel, Basil Paul, Basil Anselm, and Basil Theodore are also really strong and traditional.

7) Gregory

Lots of saints to go along with this name, including Pope St. Gregory the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen. It means “watchful, alert” and ranks at #432, meaning it’s falling out of favor in the trendy circles but is still traditional and recognizable. I think this name fits in really well with their other kids, especially the boys, who seem to be not immediately identifiable as Catholic but with strong, traditional Catholic roots. This name fits that bill. Gregory Ambrose makes for a super Catholic little man and Gregory goes with just about every name I’ve suggested, too. I think this is a great name that doesn’t get used nearly enough these days.

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. 3 (girl no. 2) needs name that goes well with big sibs

Happy Irish week! Woot! If you’re into Irish names like I am, you might like to take a look at my past St. Patrick Day posts, as well as all the posts I’ve done that I’ve included the tag “Irish names” or otherwise mention Irish names in the post. There’s also the feast of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (my parish’s Saint) on Tuesday and St. Joseph on Saturday — a great, heavy-hitting week! Let’s start it off with this fun consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Abby writes in,

We need help naming our third baby. Baby girl is due April 25 and we are having trouble choosing her name.

Her older sister is Margaret Jane nickname Meg. Margaret wasn’t a name that was on either of our preferred name lists but was really the only name I would consider when I was pregnant with her. My husband was skeptical until the delivery room when he saw her and agreed that it was the correct name for her. We picked Jane because we liked how it sounded with Margaret (and slightly because of the association with Peter Pan). We almost switched it to Clare because she was born on the feast of St. Clare.

Baby’s older brother is Stephen Paul, we call him Paul. He is named after both of his grandfathers and his dad’s name is Stephen as well. We picked the name for our first son before we got married so this one was easy.

In terms of style we both like traditional names or traditional Catholic/saint names. I also want a name that either fits or has a nickname that fits well with Meg and Paul because those names go so well together.”

Names on their shortlist are:

  • Therese (“her nickname would be Tess. I love St. Therese and feel like God told me in prayer that He would give me a daughter named Tess. So this will be on my list until we find her, just not sure it’s this baby. My husband likes this name but we are having trouble coming up with a middle name that we both like”)
  • Caroline (“I think this is my husbands favorite girl name and I like it too. My main concern with this one is how it fits with our other two kids. I don’t like the nickname Carrie but would consider Cara. I’ve never really heard of that before but it makes some sense”)
  • C/Katherine (“nickname Kate. Middle name would be either Isabelle or Mirabelle though I am open to more out of the box suggestions for middle name since both Katherine and our last name are fairly vanilla. It seems like a good place to add something super Catholic”)
  • Elizabeth (“nickname would be Eliza. My husband isn’t as sold on this one and I worry about it becoming too reminiscent of the British royal family. Also doing some research on this I found that Tess has been used as a nickname for Elizabeth as well- so we would consider Elizabeth Therese nickname Tess but I’m worried it’s a little bit of a stretch”)
  • Leah (“I think this is such a cute name, my husband isn’t as sold but he likes Leah Therese which I have mixed feelings about (we wouldn’t use a name as a first name that we had previously used as a middle)”)

Some other thoughts on names Abby had,

I have a devotion to St Gianna (I’m also a pediatrician) but I don’t know if we would use it as a first name. We are considering Anne as a middle name for my mother. Our son has both grandfathers’ names and Margaret is actually my grandmother’s name and my husbands aunt’s name (she died as an infant) though that’s not why we chose her name. We plan to use Benedict Grey for our next son. Grey is my mother in law’s maiden name.”

Some names they cannot use include:

  • Emma
  • Hannah
  • Lily
  • Olivia
  • Cecilia
  • Madeline

First, let me talk a bit about their shortlist.

Therese nn Tess- I love this and the nickname Tess. Tess goes so well with Meg and Paul, as does Therese with Margaret and Stephen. I think they’d be hard-pressed to pass on this name. I think any of the names on their shortlist would work as a great middle name with this, too. My favorites are Therese Caroline, Therese C/Katherine and Therese Elizabeth.

Caroline- Beautiful name with fun nickname options. I don’t think Carrie or Cara go as nicely with Meg and Paul, but they’re still cute.

C/Katherine nn Kate- If they’re going to go with Kate as the nickname, I’d go with Katherine. Another lovely name that fits right in with their other two. Another can’t miss name. Also, I love that they’d branch out of their established style a bit in the middle spot with this name with either Isabelle or Mirabelle.

Elizabeth nn Eliza or Elizabeth Therese nn Tess- I love this! Elizabeth is the ultimate classic name, literally never going out of style and with so many nickname options! I love either an Eliza or Tess with the older kids. Such a great name.

Leah- A little different from their other kids, especially since it doesn’t have a natural nickname. Leah Therese is beautiful and they could still call her Tess (kind of like how they call Stephen Paul, Paul). I think this is a little too different from their others, though, and that’s probably why it’s not feeling like the one.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Johanna/Joanna

St. Joanna was a follower of Jesus and this name means “Yahweh is gracious.” I love this name for them as it’s a little less “vanilla” but still classic and beautiful. Nickname Jo goes so well with Meg and Paul and is reminiscent of Little Women. Neither name is very popular, making it fresh but not unusual. Bonus, Abby likes St. Gianna and this is just her name in another language!

(2) Lucy

Meaning “light,” this is a fun, happy, light name for a little girl and a strong, friendly name for a woman. I thought of this name as an alternative to Leah. Nickname Lu is spunky and bright and fits right alongside Meg and Paul. It is fairly popular at #49 (and probably more popular in most Catholic circles). If that bothers them, they might also like Lydia which sits at 96.

(3) Anna

Another ultimate classic name that rarely goes out of style. It means “favor” or “grace” and is the name of the mother of Mary. They mentioned so much honoring tied up with the name Anne that I thought maybe they’d consider Anna to give this child a distinctive yet meaningful name. There’s no nickname potential here, though. If that bothers them, maybe they’d like Annalise (or one of its many spellings) nicknamed Anna better. The bonus with Annalise is that it’s a smoosh of Anna and Elizabeth, so they get all of those great meanings and nickname potentials tied up together!

(4) Josephine

This is the first name that came to mind for them. It’s clunky cool like Margaret and nickname Jo is fun and upbeat. Margaret, Stephen, and Josephine make a classic, sophisticated sibling set and Meg, Paul, and Jo make great playground playmates. I really love this name for them. I think this is another can’t-miss for them.

(5) Julia

Leah made me think of this name, too, as it’s similar in style and feel and also doesn’t have an intuitive nickname. There are nicknames Jules and Juliette (it originated as a diminutive of Julia!) but they’re a little clunkier, especially next to fresh and upbeat Meg and Paul. But if the nickname bit doesn’t bother them too much, Meg, Paul, and Julia sound like perfect siblings to me.

(6) Alexandra

There are several saints who bear this name and it’s clunky cool like Margaret. It’s not too popular at #137 but not out there at all. I think that’s their sweet spot. Nicknames are plentiful for this name from the popular and recognizable Alex to the spunky Allie to even Ana! If they want another name with good nickname potential, this one can’t miss.

(7) Natalie

Classic, sophisticated, friendly, fun, and not overly popular, this is a great, solid name. Margaret, Stephen, and Natalie are a beautiful sibling set and Meg, Paul, and Natalie (or Nat, Natty, or even Lee!) are fun and fresh. With names so classic on their other kids and shortlist, I would be remiss not to mention this beautiful name.

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: Middle name to honor Grandma (or both grandmas?) as well as Mother Mary (or other Saint?)

Happy end of February, everybody! I hope your Lent starts out well and continues strong! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams. ❤

Mama Ana writes in needing help with a middle name for her baby girl, Isabel, and their last name rhymes with “jewel”. She says,

For the middle name I would like to either honor one of my grandmothers or do a Marian name or a saint’s name. We don’t want any “R” or “B” names because of initial problems (IBS/IRS). I’ve listed some of the names we like, but I really want there to be meaning behind her middle name. My grandmother’s names are Mara Lucia and Margarida. (Not seriously considering Mara or Margarida though, just would maybe like a connection to those names/them).”

Her husband’s grandmothers’ names are both Mary.

Names they like but aren’t “the one”:

  • Mar (“I love this name, it’s the first three letters of all FOUR of our grandmothers’ names, and it means sea and I feel like there could be a connection to Stellamaris. Husband is concerned it’s too far out there“)
  • Marian
  • Maris
  • Marie (note: I think Mary and Maria are too traditional for us)
  • Lucia (my grandmother’s name is pronounced the Portuguese/Spanish way, but I love the Italian pronunciation)
  • May/Mae/Maeve
  • Rose/Lily (both suggestions from my mom, which I like but don’t want R and Lily is too many L’s with Isabel and Sewell)
  • Malia (my husband nixed this one, but I love Hawaiian everything so loved this when I saw it in your book)
  • Therese (not sold on my name, but love the saint)

Lastly, she mentions,

I am Brazilian so one of the reasons Isabel is a great name is because it works in both languages. I think I care less about the middle name working as well in both languages — mostly because I’m out of ideas, though.”

Some thoughts on ones they like but don’t feel like “the one”:

Mar– I love that this is the first three letters of all four of their grandmothers’ names! That makes it so special and connected. It means “sea” which is a beautiful meaning. I can understand why Ana’s husband thinks this is a little out there but I don’t think it is! The middle spot is also a great place to get a little wild and more out-there without going overboard. I think this name fits that niche nicely. This name really informed the rest of my choices for them.

Marian– Feels a little dated to me and maybe not as romance language inspired as Isabel. I love that this ties the child to all of her great-grandmothers and to Mary, though.

Maris– This is a great, underused name! Isabel Maris has a beautiful flow. I love that this connects directly to Mary, Maris Stella, too.

Marie– Seems a little bland for them. It’s a lot more common in the English speaking world as a middle name than it might seem. They said Mary and Maria were too traditional for them and I would lump Marie in there, as well.

Lucia– I love that this is another connection to a great-grandmother. Isabel Lucia has such a romantic flow and vibe. There are all kinds of saints Lucy and Lucia to choose from as patrons, too.

May/Mae– This is a contracted form of Mary and very much cool and on the rise. Isabel Mae is beautiful. (I’m only slightly biased here; my oldest daughter is Ruby Mae).

Maeve– I wanted to talk about this one separately because it’s actually not etymologically related to May/Mae at all! It’s an Irish name meaning “intoxicating”. It’s a really fantastic name on the rise! But it didn’t really strike me as them.

Rose/Lily– Beautiful names but I agree with Ana’s assessment of both. These did give me an idea, though.

Malia– I love that this is the Hawaiian form of Maria! Gives it such a fresh vibe. But, if Ana’s husband nixed it, then it’s out. This did give me a great feel for their style, though.

Therese– Great name, fantastic patron, but I feel like this pulls them out of their preferred style and wants and desires for a name.

On to some new suggestions! Most of these came as ideas from the names they already like and from all four grandmothers having Mar- names.

(1) Marissa/Maristella

I’m including these as one because they both came as ideas from Maris. Marissa is an embellishment of Maris that makes the name more romance language inspired. Isabel Marissa is very cute and flowy. Maristella is the smoosh name for Maris Stella and when Ana mentioned she likes that connection, I instantly thought of this name. Isabel Maristella is unmistakably Catholic cool. I really especially love Maristella for them. I think this is an embellishment Ana’s husband could get behind that ties in Ana’s love for Stella Maris and all four of their grandmothers.

(2) Marina/Mariana

These give off the same vibe to me, so I’m including them as one. They like Marian but I thought maybe the embellishment Mariana might fit them better. It’s a combination of Mary and Ann, so Mary and her mother, and I thought that was cool for this child. It still has the Mar- beginning to tie Isabel to her great-grandmothers. Since they like Stella Maris and names with connection to the sea, I thought they might like Marina. Isabel Mariana and Isabel Marina are both beautiful.

(3) Marigold

They like flower names Rose and Lily but they don’t quite fit and neither of them has the connections to their grandmothers. What about Marigold? Literally meaning “Mary’s gold” this is a flower name that doesn’t break any rules or repeat too many Ls. It’s hip and cool and brings a whole different spin into the game. Isabel Marigold is cool, covertly Catholic, and connected to everything they love.

(4) Mari

Mar may be too out there and Mary, Maria, and Marie are all too traditional, so what about Mari? Spunky and fun, this name is just another form of Mary but shorter, spunkier, and more romance language. Isabel Mari is spunky and fun.

(5) Marisol

This is a contraction name honoring the Spanish title for Mary, Maria de la Soledad. It also has the meanings of “sea” and “sun” which is fresh and fun. I love Isabel Marisol and I think it can still link back to Mary, Stella Maris, even if it seems like a little bit of a stretch.

(6) Mariae

This is a Latin form of Mary literally meaning “of Mary” or “belonging to Mary”. Their love for a Mary name and the name Mae reminded me of this name. It would make Isabel’s name very unmistakably Catholic, but that’s not a bad thing! My youngest daughter’s second middle name is Mariae and her patroness is Stella Maris. Isabel Mariae is gorgeous!

(7) Cristina

Something a little different for my last suggestion. I was researching Brazilian saints to get some inspiration and came across Venerable Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos. She was a young woman in college to be a doctor when a worker at her apartment attempted to rape her and then stabbed her fourteen times for refusing him. She is set to be beatified sometime this year. I thought that this was such a cool connection, since they’ve chosen the first name Isabel already and Ana is Brazilian. Cristina is a gorgeous name, meaning “Christian”. Isabel Cristina is beautiful and Cristina works in both languages seamlessly! If they’re going to stray from a Mar- name, this is my choice.

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: Saintly, possibly Marian name needed for baby no. 5!

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy this week’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Sarah writes in for help naming her fifth child, a little green bean. Baby will join big siblings:

Liam Henry

Josephine Elizabeth

Isaac David

Naomi Evangeline

She says:

Always a fan of Saint names, especially saints who had a special love for Mary.

Plus James (grandpa), Patrick (husband’s patron saint), Alice (an aunt who passed away this year). I feel kinda funny taking names from a country that we have no heritage from… but that is not an absolute. Our backgrounds are from Poland, Germany, Ireland, England, France, and Omaha Indian. We like names that have a good nickname too.”

So many fun things to consider!

Names they like but aren’t sold on:

Boys- Maximilian (after St. Maximilian Kolbe), James, Felix, Patrick, Ezra. Leaning towards Maximilian James or Felix James. Looking for more options…

Girls- Gianna Catherine (both saints with feast days near my due date, plus I have a special place for St Catherine of Sienna), Veronica Catherine, Zita Rose, Viviana Therese, Annalice Catherine. Open to other options, just haven’t had anything really stick out as a winner.”

I love so many of these names.

Names they can’t use:

Pretty much have crossed off any top 10 names and anything difficult to spell or not phonetic.”

Additionally, they cannot use:

  • Matthew
  • Joshua
  • Benjamin
  • Michael
  • Samuel
  • Benedict
  • Luke
  • Noah
  • Cameron
  • Caleb
  • Ryan
  • Cyrus
  • Thomas
  • Blaise
  • Peter
  • Simon
  • Abigail
  • Rachel
  • Julianna
  • Audrey
  • Ruth
  • Zoe
  • Kathleen

On to names!

First, about the names they like but aren’t totally feeling.

Maximilian — I love this name for them. I love that it’s Polish and connected to a very Marian saint. It goes so well with their other kids, too. I especially love Maximilian James.

Felix — I love that this is their other frontrunner right now. Goes great with their other kids and has the bonus of meaning “happy” which is just such a bright, fun meaning for a kid. Felix James is incredibly handsome.

James — I like this in the middle spot for them and I love that it’s an honor name. I really feel like
this has to be their son’s middle name if they have a boy. It’s just so loaded with goodness for
them.

Patrick — Great, solid name that goes well with the other kids. I love that it honors dad in a different way. You just cannot go wrong with a little Patrick.

Ezra — I wasn’t expecting to see this on their list and I’m so glad it is! It’s fun and unique but still fits in with the other kids. I can see why this doesn’t feel like “the one” though.

Gianna- I was surprised to see this on their list because it’s so different from their other girls’ names. That’s not a bad thing! It would definitely widen their taste. I felt this way about most of the names on their girl list, actually. Gianna Catherine is a beautiful name and I love the connection to saints’ feasts near Sarah’s due date and her love of St. Catherine of Siena.

Veronica — Great name, surprised to see it on their list, think it goes well with their other girls. I
love the nickname Vera for this name, too. Veronica Catherine is so chic.

Zita Rose — Completely and utterly surprised by this name in a good way. They’re actually a little more daring than their other kids’ names and facts Sarah gave me imply!

Viviana Therese — Beautiful name. I love this expanded version of classic Vivian and gives their taste in names a much more romance language vibe than their current kids. It fits right in and yet expands their taste at the same time.

Annalice — At first I was confused by this spelling of Anneliese but then realized the “Alice” portion is to honor their aunt who passed. I love this. I think it’s a really sweet spin on a name that fits right in with their other kids. Annalice Catherine is just so full of meaning and gorgeous. This would be at the top of my list for them. The only thing is that they’ll constantly have to spell and correct pronunciation of it for the rest of her life.

On to some new ideas! Let’s start with the girls.

(1) Emilia

Two things gave me this idea for them, their Polish heritage and that their other two girls have middle names that begin with E. Servant of God Emilia Wojtyla was Pope St. John Paul II’s mother. So she’s Polish, an almost saint, and her name begins with E. This name is also a little more romance-language inspired than their current kids’ names but like the ones on their not quite list. Catherine Emilia and Annalice Emilia are both beautiful. As a bonus, here are some other E names I thought they might like in the middle spot: Edith, Esther, and Eleanor.

(2) Miriam

This is an Old Testament name like Naomi and also a form of Mary, putting it on par with Josephine. I loved that this form of Mary gave them an Old Testament connection and is less popular than other Mary variants. Miriam Edith, Miriam Emilia, Miriam Esther, Miriam Eleanor, and Miriam Catherine are all really stunning and go beautifully with their other kids’ names.

(3) Tamar

I was thinking of different Old Testament names that fit with Josephine and Naomi and this one came to mind. She was a daughter-in-law of Judah and a daughter of King David, which I thought was a cool connection to Sarah’s husband David, like Isaac is a cool connection to Sarah. Servant of God Dorothy Day named her daughter Tamar Teresa and I’ve always thought that’s beautiful. Tamar Catherine and Tamar Emilia are also really beautiful.

(4) Phoebe

This one came up while I was looking for Biblical names and thought it was a great fit for them. It means “bright, pure”, so it has a similar meaning to Catherine and is the name of a saint who was a friend of St. Paul’s (you can read about her in Romans). It stretches their naming style just a little bit without going crazy but still fits in really well. Phoebe Catherine is beautiful but the meanings may be a little redundant. If they think that’s the case, I also love Phoebe Esther and Phoebe Emilia.

(5) Tabitha

Another name that popped up while I was researching Biblical names. She was the woman restored to life by St. Peter and I’ve always thought that was really cool. Tabby is a cute nickname and Tabitha Catherine, Tabitha Emilia, and Tabitha Eleanor are all really stunning.

Now for the boys!

(1) Dominic

When Sarah said they like saints who honor Mary and already had Maximillian on their list, this was the next name I thought of. Mary gave the Rosary to St. Dominic and he founded the Dominicans. As a plus, the name means “of the Lord” which is super cool and sweet! Dominic James is such a handsome name and fits right in with the other kids.

(2) Bruno

I thought of this name because they said they have German heritage. Little known fact, but Bruno is actually a German name! Even though places like Italy and Spain use the name quite a bit, too. St. Bruno founded the Carthusians. The name means “armor, protection” or “brown” and I think the armor meaning is particularly cool for a little boy. I like that this name is short and sweet like their other two boys. Bruno James is cool and grounded.

(3) Louis

The next Marian saint that came to mind was St. Louis de Montfort who is famous for writing a consecration to Jesus through Mary and True Devotion to Mary. The name also means “famous battle” which is cool for a little boy. I’m super fond of the nickname Lou, too. The only drawback here is if they care if any of their kids share initials. A Liam and a Louis might be too much for them? Louis James is so classically handsome.

(4) Edmund

I was looking up Polish saints and Bl. Edumnd Bojanowski came up. He founded or co-founded four religious congregations devoted, in some way, to Mary, which I thought was cool for them. The name Edmund means “rich protection” and doesn’t rank in the 1000 of baby names. Edmund James is stunning.

(5) John Paul

Maybe a little obvious? Personally, this is the only double first name I like. The obvious connection here is to Pope St. John Paul II who was extremely Marian and, bonus, he was Polish. John means “Yahweh is gracious” and Paul means “small, humble” and I just think they’re so powerful together. John Paul fits right in with their other kids, too, and John Paul James has a beautiful, strong rhythm and flow.

These are my suggestions. 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!