Baby name consultation: Antique/exotic/saintly name for baby no. 6/boy no. 3

Amy and her husband Brandon are expecting their sixth baby! And how lucky is Amy — Brandon bought her this consultation for Mother’s Day!! 😍😍😍 Husbands, take note!!

This new baby is Amy and Brandon’s third boy! Brandon explained about their older children’s names:

Mason Douglas (“We like strong masculine names for our boys, and Mason fit the bill nicely. We don’t care for names that can be for boys or girls (Pat, Chris, etc), though I later had a co-worker with a daughter named Mason. We didn’t think it was too popular at the time, but I think it turned out to be very near the top of the list that year or shortly thereafter. Douglas is my middle name and my dad’s middle name and I’m also the oldest in my family.”)

Molly Marie (“So at this point I need to pause and explain that we found out ahead of time that Mason was a boy. At the time, we couldn’t agree on whether or not to find out the sex of the baby, so we ended up flipping a coin and agreeing to take turns. Amy won the first round, so we found out Mason was a boy at the 20-week ultrasound. For #2, it was my turn, so we waited until Molly was born to learn she was a girl. Not knowing what she was, we of course couldn’t choose a name for sure ahead of time, so we had a boy name (Isaac) and a girl name (Anna) picked out. Somewhere along the way very shortly before Molly’s birth we ended up at the hospital with pre-term labor, and one of the nurses had a daughter named Molly. We both fell in love with the name, and when Molly was born she got it. It fits her perfectly, we think. Since we used my middle name for our first boy, it only made sense to use Amy’s middle name, Marie, for our first girl.”)

Kateri Elizabeth (“Amy always wanted a daughter named Kateri. At first I thought it was a little “out there”, but we knew as soon as we found out we were having another girl (at the 20-week ultrasound again this time) that she would be our Kateri. Blessed (at the time) Kateri was Amy’s confirmation saint, and she’s always had a particular attachment to her. Elizabeth is my mom’s middle name, so we honored her by sharing it with Kateri.”)

Anthony Mark Benedict (“By the time Anthony was born, we’d formed a close friendship with the pastor at our church, Fr. Tony. We honored him by naming Anthony after him. Mark is Amy’s dad’s middle name, and Benedict was the Pope at the time.”)

Gianna Nicole Francesca (“We had a hard time getting pregnant with Anthony, and we had gone to a display of relics of St. Gianna and prayed for her intercession numerous times before we got pregnant with Anthony. We knew when we found out Gianna was a girl (odd number, so at the 20-week ultrasound again) that we needed to honor St. Gianna for her help in having our second son. At this point we had run out of eligible related godparents, so Gianna’s godparents are not family (#1-4 have aunts and uncles for godparents). Amy has a younger sister named Nicole who was too young to be a godmother when Gianna was born, so instead of choosing her as a godparent we gave Gianna her name as one of her middle names. We liked the two-middle-name arrangement with Anthony, and we had a new Pope, so Gianna also got Francesca as a second middle name.”)

I love how intentional and thoughtful each of the names is! I love each combo — both the names and the reasons (and I love Molly Marie’s Marian-ness, what a blessed little lady!).

Brandon continued,

Amy was so so so certain for the first part of this pregnancy that she was having a girl. She was so certain about it that I had to know if she was right, so I wanted to find out at the ultrasound what we were having. She was shocked to find out it is a boy.

Somewhere between babies #1 and #2 we rediscovered our Catholic faith and began learning and re-learning and growing in our love and knowledge of the Church and her wisdom. We didn’t pick Mason for any saint (the closest we know of in name is Blessed John Mason), but all the others have particular saints attached to them as well as family meaning.

Amy is currently hooked on the name Isaac for this baby, but I’ve cooled off on it a bit. We had Isaac picked out for baby #2 eight years ago, so I’m just not as attached now. We also agree on Titus, Oliver, Dominic, and Tobias for first names. St. Joseph as the patron saint of families has always been a particular love of ours; we have leaned on him many times for assistance through difficult situations. We’d like to include Joseph in this child’s middle name. However, my father passed away recently after a 2-year struggle with ALS, so we are considering his name, James, as a middle name also. My grandfather’s name was Thaddeus, which is also in the running for a first or middle name. Also in the running for middle names are Paul (Amy’s uncle) and Fulton. Other names we like for first or middle names, but don’t necessarily have full first-name agreement on are Ezekiel (Zeke is so cute!), Zechariah (also would be Zeke), Felix, Finian, Leo, Matthias, Maximilian, Augustine, Emmett, Nicholas, and Severin.

We’re open to suggestions, combinations, ideas, and we (obviously) like the “Catholicky-Catholic” (as I think you put it) names.”

And Amy also shared,

A friend told me about your blog, and I spent HOURS reading it, looking for names. I even bought the book you use, and discovered none of our names match any list together at all. I would say after reading that, I’m a fan of the “antique charm” category, and we also like the saint realm, obviously. I really like some Old Testament names, but prefer ones that are also now saints. Brandon made an excel spreadsheet of the names we like, so he’s correct in everything he sent. I think the only thing he didn’t mention was the definitely no category. We don’t want to use any of our siblings names as first names, so for that reason Michael, Stephen, Timothy, and Joseph can’t be first. They’re fine for middle names, though Joseph is the only one of them that really is on the table. We’ve obviously done the 2 middle name thing twice now, but I’m not set on doing it again. It will just depend on the name combination. We also don’t have any nicknames in our bunch, but we aren’t against that, it just hasn’t happened.”

I just love hearing from both Amy and Brandon — I don’t usually get to hear from both parents! I love how much they’ve talked about all this, and seem to be on the same page in terms of which names are contenders.

I loved reading about how they rediscovered their faith after Mason was born — I often see families with less faithy-feeling names in the beginning, and they get more so as they have more kids, and I think it’s really cool to see a couple’s faith journey reflected in their kids’ names. And I love that they found Bl. John Mason! I’d never heard of him, but he’s totally my go-to now for any family that has a Mason! (Which is one of my very favorite of the occupational-surname names, love it!)

So after hearing from Amy that they already went through the Baby Name Wizard I was a little worried about what I could come up with that they don’t already have on their list or have decided they don’t like! I did take a look through the Antique Charm category, and Amy’s right, that seems right up their alley! The Saints category also has some great names (I love that the focus there is on more unusual names, rather than the ones everyone knows), and I thought another category fit pretty well for them too: Exotic Traditionals. I also looked up each name’s entry and looked at names listed there, and found some decent overlap with some of the names on their “definitely like” list (Isaac, Titus, Oliver, Dominic, Tobias) as well as their so-so list (Ezekiel, Zechariah, Felix, Finnian, Nicholas, Leo, Matthias, Maximilian, Augustine, Emmett, Severin, Thaddeus). So I think I have some decent ideas!

Just a couple thoughts about some of the names they’re currently considering:

Isaac: love it! It’s on my own list, such a great name. Amy and Brandon also like the Z names (Ezekiel, Zechariah, Zeke) and Isaac fits right with that and can take the nickname Zac.
Titus: I know a little Titus (or not so little—I think he’s 14 now) and I always wonder why I don’t hear his name more!
Oliver: Such a great name and a great saint, and I really like the combo Oliver Thaddeus.
Dominic: Another of my faves!
Tobias: Another name I wish would see more play! I’m a big fan of pan-European names, and Tobias is definitely one.
Ezekiel, Zechariah, Zeke: Zeke is super cute and I’ve also considered it for Zechariah. In case it’s helpful to Amy and Brandon in making their decision, I can see Zechariah fitting in pretty well with a Catholicky Catholic theme, but Ezekiel feels a step away—do you agree?
Matthias: I love this name too, and I think it could fit in great with their family.
Maximilian: Definitely a Catholicky Catholic name!
Augustine: Ditto!
Emmett: This one surprised me! All the others have such saintly connections, and Emmett’s is a bit more difficult to see. It originated as a medieval diminutive of Emma, so any of the Sts. Emma can be patron, but I’m not sure a boy would love that? I do love the name Emmett though, so I’m not trying to sway them from it, and it fits the feel of Mason really well. I like the idea of pairing a name that’s less saintly in feel with a super saintly middle—Emmett Thaddeus, Emmett Joseph, and Emmett James are pretty great I think.
Severin: Wow! I really like the idea of the nickname Sev.
Thaddeus: I love it! I’m also loving that it was Brandon’s grandpa’s name, and if it was paired with Joseph and James, it would be all the dads together! Thaddeus Joseph James is pretty great!
Fulton: I actually love Fulton for them as a first name! I wonder if there’s any chance they’d consider it? Fulton James, Fulton Joseph, Fulton Joseph James are all great!
Felix, Finnian, Nicholas, Leo: All great, all saintly. I’ve been seeing Fox suggested as a nickname for Felix recently, which is cute. Finn is awesome. Nicholas and Leo are both Pope Saint the Greats, which is fun.

Okay! So Amy and Brandon have a fantastic list of names, and if they end up using any of them, I won’t be disappointed! (Not that it matters if I’m disappointed or not!) But I had a few other ideas that might spark some conversation and maybe even hit the right note:

(1) Miles
One of the things I like to do when I see different styles of name in a family is come up with ideas that might help bridge them. Mason is a little bit of an outlier (I LOVED finding out about Bl. John Mason!), so I liked the idea of finding names that might have the same feel and be really saintly too—I probably had that more in mind than any other. Amy said she spent a while looking through the blog, so she probably saw that I often push Miles on parents! I discovered that it has traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which literally means “servant of the Virgin Mary.” Marian names are my favorite, and finding ones that work for boys are thrilling! Miles and Mason (and Emmett and Fulton) definitely have the same feeling to me; its variant Milo (which has also been used in Ireland for Maolmhuire) is a style match for Felix and Leo on their list; and Miles can also connect to the Irishness of Molly and Finnian. I like Miles Joseph, Miles Joseph James, Miles Paul, and Miles Fulton.

(2) Garrett
Garrett is also a style match for Mason, and a reader shared that she knows a family who named a son Garrett in order to honor St. Margaret! Wow! Even better for a boy though, is that Garrett is derived from either Gerald or Gerard—St. Gerard Majella is a great patron! There are a bunch of Sts. Gerald too. Garrett Paul has a nice ring … Garrett James …

(3) Becket
Since we’re talking about surnamey-type names, I wonder what they’d think of Becket? St. Thomas Becket would be patron, and it’s one of those saintly surnames that’s getting good use in Catholic families currently (like Fulton). Becket Joseph, Becket James, and Becket Joseph James are all great.

(4) Xavier
Xavier is also a saintly surname that’s had a lot of first-name use! It’s also heavy on that Z sound they like, and might even provide a way for them to get to Zeke in a different way … something like Xavier Michael, where there’s a Z sound in the first name and a K sound in the middle. (I get a little nutty with creative nicknames! 😂)

(5) Owen
Owen’s a style match for Mason, which is amazing, and it’s also the last name of one of my very favorite saint: St. Nicholas Owen! He built hidey holes to protect priests for persecution and death in England, and was tortured for his silence and he died from his wounds. Such a brave man! Amy and Brandon already have Nicholas on their list—a Nicholas Owen combo would be cool too! I wasn’t loving Thaddeus as a middle name for the first four names I suggested, but I kind of love Owen Thaddeus! Owen James is nice too.

(6) Elias
Elijah was a style match for a bunch of names they like—Titus (the Titus I know has a brother Elijah!), Ezekiel, Tobias—but when I saw its variant Elias listed as a match for Matthias, I thought it seemed a better fit for this family. It’s also a match for Dominic, and funny enough Elliot, which I always think of as feeling similar to Emmett, is a medieval diminutive of Elias. I don’t think I realized how Catholicky Catholic it is, though, until I read an article Catholic writer Simcha Fisher did a year ago on Catholic baby names (she interviewed me for it!) in which her subhead read: “Fulton and Vianney, Felicity and Avila, Giorgio and Elias are all showing up in 21st century baptismal books.” What a great group of names, and so cool to see Elias in there! I like Elias Paul.

(7) Gabriel
Gabriel’s got that same biblical feel as Isaac, Tobias, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Matthias, and Thaddeus, while being a bit lighter; it’s also a style match for Dominic. I think Gabe is one of the best nicknames for a boy—friendly and masculine. Gabriel Joseph is quite handsome.

(8) Joachim
I’m including Joachim because Amy and Brandon have some heavy hitters on their list and they like Catholicky Catholic names. Even still, Joachim is a rare bird! He could go by Joe/Joey, to lighten it up, or Jake, which is my favorite idea for it. It’s an Exotic Traditional, like Ezekiel, Felix, Matthias, Maximilian, Severin, Thaddeus, Titus, and Zechariah. Joachim James has a nice ring, as does Joachim Paul.

(9) Cassian or Cashel
Speaking of Exotic Traditionals, and looping back around to the beginning of the list and names that are similar to Mason, I saw Cassian on the Exotic Traditionals list and thought it might be really cool for this little guy. I’ve seen it used in Catholic families, for St. John Cassian, and it’s said CASH-en—which allows for the awesome nickname Cash! Cash made me think of another Cash- names I’ve suggested to other families: Cashel, like the Rock of Cashel in Ireland, where it’s said St. Patrick converted the King of Munster. Cashel taps into the Irishness of Molly and Finnian, and I think it would come across as sort of surnamey to people, which fits with Mason’s style. I like Cassian James, Cassian Paul, and Cashel James.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Mason, Molly, Kateri, Anthony, and Gianna’s little brother?

Baby name consultation: Saintly surname style for third brother

Christina, who has an Etsy shop called The Rushnyk Room (“Beautifully repurposed rushnyks and vintage goods”), and her husband are expecting their third baby — a third boy! Little brother joins big brothers:

Shepherd Gerald (Shep)
Becket George (Beck)

I love them! They go together so well!

Christina writes,

We have decided to go ahead and use [husband’s middle name] Gray for this boy’s middle name … We (especially I) want there to be some kind of Catholic/Christian meaning. I loved Shepherd, because not only was it after The Good Shepherd, I also always loved the story of the shepherds at the nativity, and just thought it was a good name for a boy…a shepherd takes care of animals, lives in the outdoors, etc..we also love the nickname ‘Shep’ and our son goes by this often. Becket we got from St. Thomas Becket and we just liked the surname…a little more unique than just naming him Thomas and liked that he could go by ‘Beck’ as a nickname. We really like names that can be shortened, but this is not a total deal breaker….but I would prefer something that has a good nickname. So, we obviously like more unique names, but don’t want anything too strange…like we are trying too hard. ha

We already have a good list of names going, but hoping you can add to the mix.
Names we have been marinating on:

FISHER- After St. John Fisher, and again, similar to Shepherd, there are lots of fishermen references in the bible- Jesus, the apostles, etc..also, just a good ‘boy’ name. I really love this name … [but] really no good nickname for it. My husband thinks ‘Fin’ is just totally random and doesn’t make sense for Fisher, and Fish isn’t ideal.

AUSTIN- pretty common name, but we do like it. I googled that there actually is a St. Austin or is a nickname for Augustine (which I love bc I would love a baby Gus..but husband says no to that one…he is not down with the super Roman/formal/old sounding names…so no Maximilians, Boscos. etc), but I never knew that before…so doesn’t scream Catholic name to me…but maybe it is.

COOPER- I would like to spell it Cuper after St. Joseph Cupertino, but husband nixed that…so would it still be considered a saint’s name with this spelling? I am worried Cooper Gray would just be too secular for me…but I do like the name! We do love the nickname ‘Coop’.

FULTON- I love the idea of this name, but it just does not flow off the tongue that easily for me…if that makes any sense. Just wish it was a little more pleasing to my ears…but seeing if it grows on me.

PIERCE- this is actually also a family name as well, and I saw it is a form of Peter…similar to Fulton though…I really want to like it, but something about it just sounds harsh to my ears…but still in the running. We would also be using two family names if we did Pierce Gray, so not sure if that is totally kosher.

Other names we have thrown around…Cade, James, Patrick, Jack (a little common compared to his brother’s names, so not sure it would work, but we like those), Sawyer (not a saint’s name and too much ‘er’ with our last name, but it is a name we liked.

Um, I THINK that is everything! Do you think you would have anything to add? I feel like I have looked at so many name lists already!

Oh, and XAVIER! I love it, but husband is trying to come around on that one still…a little strange for him (he was not raised Catholic…I tried to tell him this isn’t really that strange of a name for Catholics!)

I so much enjoyed reading this whole thing! They just have such a great, fun style, while still being tied into the faith.

To start, some thoughts about the names on their list:

— I think Fisher nicked Fin is so clever!! Too bad Christina’s hubby doesn’t like it! I’m not sure what else there is as a nickname besides Fin and Fish though! Unless … they *could* call him Jack, since Fisher is for St. John Fisher, and Jack’s a nickname for John. That would cause a lot of questions from others (“Why did you name him Fisher if you’re going to call him Jack?”) but maybe that doesn’t bother them. Interestingly, it seems Fulton Sheen was named Peter John but called Fulton (his mom’s maiden name), so they have a precedent to follow!

— Christina’s absolutely right that Austin is a medieval variant of Augustine, just like Bennett is a medieval variant of Benedict, so it does have impeccable credentials. I don’t think most people know that though, so I don’t think it comes across as obviously saintly. Which is fine, if they’re okay with that!

— I love Cooper for them, I think it’s my favorite of their ideas! I mean, I think the intention is the most important thing, and wrangling spellings to fit intentions doesn’t always work, so if they intend for Cooper to be for St. Joseph of Cupertino, then it is! I don’t suppose Christina’s hubs would go for the full Cupertino? I like it with Shepherd and Becket! And the Cooper as a nickname can be spelled whatever way. They could also look for another way to get to the nickname Coop — something like Colin Patrick or Conrad Pierce could make sense of it — but then you’d lose your Gray. Ooh! What about Joseph Gray — Joseph for St. Joseph Cupertino — nicknamed Coop? Sort of like my Fisher nicknamed Jack idea above? I’m kind of loving that!

— Fulton’s a great name! I think maybe a good nickname could make them feel better about it? I posted a bunch here (check the comments too); I think Fulton Xavier nicked Fox is my favorite! (They do lose their Gray, but maybe Christina’s husband would be okay with Xavier in the middle?)

— Ever since this reader shared with me that she knows a little Pierce named for Our Lady (her heart would be pierced with a sword), I’ve loved it! Yes, it’s a form of Peter, and as for using two family names — that’s totally up to them! I used two family names for most of my boys, but that kind of thing is important to my family. If Christina’s family would be upset, then they definitely shouldn’t!

— I’m laughing that Xavier is too strange for Christina’s hubs but Shepherd and Becket aren’t! in 2015, Shepherd wasn’t even in the top 1000 names given to boys in America, and Beckett (that spelling) was no. 218 (Becket wasn’t in the top 1000) … while Xavier was no. 90! It’s definitely not a strange name these days, Catholic or not, and I’m sorry to say it’s losing a bit of its Catholic-only cachet as it becomes more broadly popular. That said, I think it still has a lot of saintliness attached to it.

— I like Cade, James, Patrick, and Sawyer as well (and Sawyer is a style match for BOTH Becket and Shepherd, according to the Baby Name Wizard [which lists for each entry boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity]!! No wonder they like it!). I will say that using the more unusual Gray — which has more of the feel of Shepherd and Becket to me — as a middle name makes me really love the idea of a more traditional first name for the first name, so I’m interested to see James and Patrick on their list of names they like. James Gray and Patrick Gray are both really handsome, and mirror the style of Shepherd Gerald and Becket George, but flipped. I wonder if using a more unusual nickname for a common first name would help? James could be … Jay? Not that that’s all that unusual … hmm … I can’t think of any others! For Patrick, the surname Patton is derived from Patrick … which also sounds like paten … perhaps Patrick called Paten (for a Catholic feel) or Patton (if they just like the sound)! I’ve also seen Packy and Patch used as nicknames for Patrick — Pack is just like Jack, so I could see them liking that … but is it too similar to Beck? I also knew a Patrick called Trick. My idea above of Joseph Gray nicked Coop also fits in with this idea.

Additional ideas I had that I thought they might like are:

(1) Kolbe
Like Becket, this is a saintly surname (for St. Maximilian Kolbe), and both the last-name-as-first-name style and the natural nickname Kole seem perfect as a brother to Shepherd/Shep and Becket/Beck!

(2) Miles
I think Miles can have a surname-y feel, and I’ve talked a bit on the blog about its faith-y connections: it’s got traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary” — I love a masculine Marian name!

(3) Gilmore
Gilmore was actually inspired by one of the names the BNW said is a style match for Shepherd: Gibson. It means “son of Gilbert,” and I almost included it in my suggestions, but I was finding myself wishing the “Gil” part from Gilbert was included, and then I remembered Gilmore! Like Miles, it’s a Marian name — and it actually means the same thing! In this case, it’s an anglicization of Gillamhuire, and I love the nickname Gil! My only hesitation is Gilmore Gray — I don’t mind it objectively, but I do think it calls Gilmore Girls to mind pretty strongly.

(4) Hawthorn(e)
My last idea is Hawthorn (or Hawthorne), which can also be considered Marian —
one of Our Lady’s French titles is Notre Dame de l’Aubépine (Our Lady of the Hawthorn)! I think Hawthorn’s a really cool, unusual name for a boy, and I know of one family who used it and decided on Hawk as a nickname, and I also love the idea of Thorn(e).

And those are my ideas! What name(s) would you suggest for Shepherd/Shep and Becket/Beck’s little brother?

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

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

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

Alec Michael

Which I love. So handsome.

Nury writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both of which I looooove, totally my speed!

Erin writes,

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

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

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

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

Names Erin likes include:

Xavier
Ignatius
Clement
Sebastian

Names her husband likes include:

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

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

William/Liam
Jeremiah
John Paul
Leo
Phillip

Finally, Erin says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naming after women

I spent a few minutes in the Baby Name Wizard discussion forums this morning as I ate my breakfast, and saw a comment containing a sentiment that I see with some regularity over there and that kind of irks me every time I see it:

I think it’s totally lovely to honor a mother with a name for a change (I know lots of men who name their sons after themselves, either as juniors outright or using variant forms or middle names, but very few women who do so).”

I don’t even disagree with the comment! I know it’s more common for a dad to have a son named after himself than for a mom to have a daughter named after herself. And the commenter herself is one I highly respect, as her thoughts are *always* well balanced and fair. But I feel testy and defensive when I see things like “honor a mother with a name for a change” and “lots of men who name their sons after themselves” — probably because I feel like it’s a tentacle of a whole “down with the patriarchy!” thought process that usually includes the “old men in white hats in Rome.” Blah.

Anyway, my contrarian Rome-loving self immediately thought of lots of examples, old and new, of people (babies and olders) being named after women. My mom, for one example, was half named for her mom (I saw “half” because her mom’s name was Anne, and my grandfather wanted to name my mom Anne — imagine that! A man! Wanting to name his baby girl after his beloved wife! But my grandmother wanted to name her one of the names-of-the-day: Susan. So they compromised with Susanne). My sister has my mom’s name as one of her middle names. My paternal grandfather was given his mom’s maiden name as a first name. Before I had so many boys, I’d always planned to work one or more elements of my name into one or more of my daughters’ names.

Moving farther afield from moms naming daughters after themselves, my youngest son’s first name is for my mother-in-law and his middle name for my mom. Julianamama shared that she knows a dad with a great devotion to St. Margaret who named his son Garrett after her! (I died when I read that! Brilliant!)

I’ve done two posts (On my bookshelf: A Dictionary of English Surnames and Girl names turned surnames) highlighting how various surnames are originally metronymics (identifying a person by his or her mother), or diminutives of female first names that became surnames, or perhaps arising from religious devotion to a female saint — like Marriot (from Mary), Ebbetts (from Isabel), Scollas (from Scholastica, specifically for St. Scholastica, according to Reaney & Wilson), and Emmett (from Emma). All of these would be fine and interesting for a child to be named, and they’re all feminine in origin (even if the parents don’t realize it or it wasn’t their intent). And I did a couple posts on current men religious who took their Mother Mary’s name as part of their new religious names: Eleven new Dominican priests and Men Who Love Mary: MFVA (a whole Order of men who take Mary as part of their new name! And one had Therese as well!), never mind all the male saints with Mary in their names: St. Clement Mary/Maria Hofbauer (depending on what you’re reading), St. Maximilian Mary/Maria Kolbe, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Jean Marie Vianney, St. Josemaria Escriva … who else?

I’d love to know what stories you all have of moms naming their daughters or sons after themselves or similar family stories, and whether you know any Brothers or Priests with female saints’ names, or boys who have taken a female saint’s name for a Confirmation name. It’s not all oppression, people. (I’m done ranting now. 🙂 )

 

 

Bonus consultation: Baby girl for family with eclectic taste

One of the things I find really fun is when a family has several children with names covering a bunch of different styles — I love seeing parents who just use names they like! But even in such situations, it’s not usually too hard to find a thread of a theme (or themes) running through the kids’ names, and I find it so fun to look for it and see what I find.

The family whose consultation I’m posting today is one such, and the reason I wanted to post it. Sara and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, and third girl! Their older kiddos are:

Kolbe Conrad (boy)
Jameson Clare (girl)
Elsie Jo (girl)
Jude Francis (boy — in heaven)

Such a fun, interesting set! And each combo is full of meaning:

Kolbe is named after St. Maximillian Kolbe and his middle name is a family name, until recently I didn’t know there was a St. Conrad (thanks to your blog!). Jameson is named after my father in law who was diagnosed with brain cancer while I was pregnant with her. Elsie was my maternal grandmother’s name, and Jo is my husbands maternal grandmother’s name. We loved the name Jude because he is the patron saint of hope. With that being said, I want this baby’s name to have just as much meaning.”

I love how Sara and her hubs have honored their family members in the naming of their children — there are so many ways to do so! I was particularly interested to see Jameson, as I have a girl cousin named Jameson, and before her I hadn’t ever seen the name on a girl. She too has a very feminine middle name like Sara’s Jameson Clare, which I quite like.

Names that Sara and her hubs have considered for this baby girl include:

Finley (“my husband likes this, I’m not a fan“)
Philomena (“this is Kolbe’s pick…sisterly love!“)
Faustina
Hope
Rose
Ruth

And names on the no-go list:

Lucy
Grace
Emma
Rebecca

The names they’re considering are just as eclectic as the names they’ve already used — I love them! And I was really eager to see what names my research would yield! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I knew Kolbe, Jameson-for-a-girl, and Faustina wouldn’t be in there, but I thought/hoped that Conrad, Jameson-for-a-boy, Elsie, Jude, Finley, Philomena, Hope, Rose, and Ruth would give an accurate picture.

I also picked through my own mental files and looked back in my blog, and I came up with a few ideas as well.

So! All that said, these are my ideas:

(1) Greer or Grier
In trying to figure out if there was any thread(s) of a theme that ran through their taste in names (as evidenced by the names they’ve already used and the ones on their list), I thought surnames-as-first-names (Kolbe, Jameson) and unisex-ish names for girls (Jameson, Finley) were two themes that were apparent. Greer (or Grier) immediately came to mind—it’s one of my favorite names, a unisex-ish first name (though definitely skewing more female in recent years, a la actress Greer Garson, which makes it a nice bridge name between the more masculine Jameson and the very feminine Elsie) that’s also a surname, and it’s got saintly connections as well as it’s a variant of Gregory!

(2) Meike
Another thread that seemed to run through their name choices was a Germanic element, as seen in Kolbe, Conrad, Elsie, and Philomena, which led me to think of Meike right away, another of my favorites. It’s a German diminutive of Maria, said like Micah, so it has a boyish feel to it even though it’s a feminine name. And it’s Marian! I’m always swoony over Marian names!

(3) Ruby
I also thought there was a little bit of an “old lady” feel to some of their ideas, like Elsie, Philomena, Faustina, Rose, and Ruth. Ruby was listed in the BNW as a match for both Jude and Rose, and it also reminded me a bit of the feel of Greer—a little bit brassy and a lot old Hollywood starlet. I spotlighted Ruby here, offering some faithy connections.

(4) Landry
Landry was also a suggestion I got from the BNW, a style match for Finley and the English & French variant of the Germanic name Landric. Behindthename.com, which I always go to for name meanings/origin/history, says it’s a masculine name (there are a few Sts. Landry, all male), but it’s listed in the BNW as feminine, which made me think Sara and her hubs might find it appealing (the Social Security Administration says it was #858 for boys in 2015 and #918 for girls, so pretty even matched). It’s got a really pretty sound!

(5) Mercy (or Mercedes?)
Mercy was inspired by Hope, of which it’s a style match per the BNW, but also this Jubilee Year of Mercy, which they are so lucky to be having a baby born in! I do worry that maybe Elsie and Mercy share too many sounds? Especially with their birth order being next to each other? In which case, I think Mercedes could work—it means “mercies” and also points to Our Lady of Mercy (as does Mercy, of course, Marian names for the win!), and has a more international feel than Mercy, which fits in nicely with their other kids. I discussed Mercedes more here.

(6) Saintly surnames
Finally, I couldn’t help but think of the saintly surnames that I think would be great matches for Kolbe, so I thought I’d list a bunch of them here:
— Avila (for St. Teresa of Avila and/or St. John of Avila)
— Cabrini (for Mother Cabrini/St. Frances Xavier Cabrini)
— Goretti (for St. Maria Goretti)
— Siena (for St. Catherine of Siena and/or St. Bernardine of Siena)
— Talbot (for Bl. Matt Talbot, read more here from a mom who considered Talbot for her daughter)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Sara and her husband, based on the names they’ve already used and those they like?

Celebrity guest: Lindsay from My Child I Love You

Happy feast of St. Edith Stein, aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross! The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist posted about her today on FB, and I thought this bit from their post was so beautiful:

Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one … Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering.”

Evil will. not. win.

It’s also my second boy’s tenth birthday! He’s so excited about his birthday — he’s only been waiting for it for the last eleven months and three weeks — so we’re in full-on celebration mode here! 🎉🎈🎆 So it’s just the perfect day for this post, which I’m so excited about. First, an introduction:

Lindsay blogs at My Child I Love You about life with her husband and their beautiful children. Many many times my the-world-is-getting-me-down moments have been soothed by the sweetness and simplicity of her posts and photos, and I followed with desperate prayerfulness her youngest born baby’s pre-birth omphalocele diagnosis (here and here) and post-birth struggles (here and here), and Lindsay’s beloved mother’s battle with cancer (and her doctors-say-it’s-not-but-for-her-and-her-family-it-is miraculous healing!) and a recent (but not only) miscarriage.

Lindsay’s faith shines through every post and photo and word I’ve ever seen come from her, and it does so in another way as well: her children’s names. Oh her children’s names!! I admit they’re what caught my attention in the first place, when I first happened upon her blog when her No. 7 was a baby, and I eagerly awaited the revelation of the names of Nos. 8 and 9. I’ve learned from her so much more of what’s possible in bestowing names of our faith. I love how eclectic and outside-the-box her children’s names are while still being firmly and explicitly rooted in our faith, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I were to try to come up with ideas for her for her Baby No. 10 because, yes, she’s expecting a new little one this winter!! How wonderful!!

Despite the fact that I don’t know her in real life, I really craved a good name conversation with Lindsay, and so I was delighted when she agreed to do a guest post about “names” — just that! — I didn’t even want to narrow it down any further than that, because I wanted to hear everything! But of course a question-and-answer format is easier, so I asked all the questions I could think of, and she graciously and patiently answered each one. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I did!

💐💐💐

boever_family-2016

Kate: Where do you look for name inspiration? (I don’t want to confuse the question and I’d love your gut-reaction answer, but this also might help: Do you draw exclusively from saints to whom you already have a devotion, or do you sometimes happen upon a name you like and then seek to cultivate a devotion to that saint?)

Lindsay: I look everywhere for name inspiration. Of course, saints are my surest go-to, but I also enjoy researching countries that have Catholic beginnings, Catholic places of worship, towns that the great and maybe hidden saints came from as to honor that wonderful place this saintly person walked in. It is wonderful to explain the origins of the name Clairvaux or Lourdes. I love how our faith infiltrates every piece of God’s wonderful land. California couldn’t scream CATHOLIC loud enough. San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino. We could go on an on. San Antonio, Texas. St. Augustine, Florida. St. Louis, Missouri. I love that God leaves His handprint everywhere.

Europe is separate story all by itself. The vastness of Catholicism is overwhelming to me when I think of Europe and its historical beauty. There are so many stories to be told. I love dissecting the French towns to discover their origins and what wonderful person once lived there.

I also love the “little” spiritual guys. I love their massive stories that God has not yet revealed in their fullness to the world quite yet because his timing is ALWAYS perfect and each story is destined for a specific point in history. I think of St. Thomas More. The grandness of his story didn’t surface until 500 years after his death. His virtue was actually forgotten for centuries. God wasn’t ready for him yet!

I love the stories of Titus Brandsma, Emil Kapaun, Frank Quinn, Marthe Robin, Luisa Piccaretta, Bl. Matt Talbot, Fr. Gereon Goldmann and Bl. Andre Bessette. The stories of these holy and brave men and women who lived their lives for Christ motivate me to constantly focus on why we were even created.

I take their names and take them apart like a scientist. I look up French versions of their names. I look up different nationalities and check to see how they pronounce certain names. I read about the towns they come from and how those towns or cities were established. This is where Catholicism is often discovered in the deepest crevices of our lives.

Biographies have always been my favorite genre of literature. I read about their devotions and try to fit that into the name. For example, Matt Talbot had a huge devotion to Our Lady. I was trying to work that into Lourdes’ name. He also loved St. Louis de Montfort. At one point, her name was going to be Talbotts Marie-Monfort. We went a different direction due to a small stirring of events, but I still love it. It fit everyone in the name we wanted to honor. St. Louis de Montfort’s 30-day consecration played a very pivotal role in John and I’s relationship. At one point, we were discerning if God was calling us not to the married vocation, but to the religious life. We prayed the consecration with open hearts and on one of the final days, a priest friend, Fr. John Heisler, visited unexpectedly and pointed us to marriage after much discussion. We promised to pray a Hail Mary for him everyday the rest of my life.

Kate: I’d love to hear your name story for each of your children, if you don’t mind sharing!

Lindsay: Here is the name story of each of our children:

Each of our children have some version of the name Mary in their name.

1. Dominic Savio Joseph Mary George Boever
Topping the charts of my favorite saints is St. John Bosco. He is the patron of our homeschool. As I child, I was so touched by his love of children and his desire that each child know they were wanted. I read anything I could find on him. One of his holiest students was St. Dominic Savio. We didn’t even hesitate to name our first son after this saintly little boy. He had such God-given wisdom at such a young age. Ironically, our Dominic is so much like his patron. St. Dominic Savio’s story has made an impression upon our Dominic’s soul. My mother described our Dominic so perfectly, “It is as if God has taken a hold of his soul.” Our sons have a a version of Mary and the name Joseph in their middle name. Dominic chose George as his Confirmation name.

2. Lillie Maria Goretti John Paul Boever
It is always funny to me how names come and go. Our girl name when I was pregnant with Dominic was Vianney. We had offered our marriage for an increase in priestly vocations and being that St. John Vianney is the patron of priests, we wanted to honor him in this way. PLUS, St. John Vianney is also one of my very favorite stories. He modeled the motto “Do small things well” so perfectly in the little town of Ars. He is a model for all those who think that their little hidden lives are not enough. During my pregnancy with Lillie, John mentioned the name of Lillie. I had carried 14 white lilies in my wedding bouquet to honor St. Maria Goretti and her willingness to die for the virtue of purity and chastity. For those not familiar with St. Maria Goretti’s story, she was stabbed 14 times by young Alessandro Serenelli who wanted her to do impure acts. What a wonderful patron for a young woman. She chose St. John Paul II for her Confirmation name.

*We lost our 3rd child Benedict Joseph Labre Mary Boever to miscarriage at 8 weeks.

4. Rose Marie-Therese Boever
John loved the name Rose. St. Therese is known for her love of roses. So going along with the theme of lilies corresponding with St. Maria Goretti, we gave Rose her name with the same intention. Rose was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and with the sweetest temperament to match. As she has gotten older, Rose has developed such fondness for St. Rose of Lima. She is going to pick Ven. Solanus Casey for her Confirmation name.

*We lost our 5th child Margaret Mary Alacoque Boever to miscarriage at 6 weeks.

6. Zellie Marie-Guerin Boever
(pronounced Zellie like jelly with a Z)
We were slowly leaning into a French naming trend. We joked that the girls would love being known as their father’s beautiful bouquet as we had a Lillie, Rose, and now Zellie.

(St. Zelie Guerin’s real name is Azelie or Azalia after the flower azalea.) I read a few books about then Bl. Zelie Martin and admired her tender mothering ways. It is really cute as our Zellie LOVES her name.

*We lost our 7th child Francis Mary Xavier to miscarriage at 6 weeks.

8. Vianney Jean-Marie Boever
(pronounced Vee-on-ee)
Vianney has such an amazing story name to me. Like I mentioned above, we loved the name Vianney with our first pregnancy and then it faded to the background. During my pregnancy with her, God had not shown us a girl name. We had actually forgotten all about the name Vianney. I was driving home from bible study and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I called John, “If we have a girl, her name should be Vianney.” He couldn’t have agreed more. We didn’t know she was a girl until delivery, but I knew she was going to be a girl because her name was written on my heart. At her baptism, Monsignor Nemec asked us if we knew that Pope Benedict had just declared this coming year “The Year of Priests and St. John Vianney.” NO! We had no idea. He was a bit confused and asked again if we had any idea. We had no idea and it was so interesting to us that her name was revealed to us at that specific time for that year. I love her story so much.

9. Clairvaux Marie-Frances Boever
(pronounced Clare-vough: like hairbow)
We have mutual friends who have a daughter named Clairvaux. Keeping with my love of French sounding names, I knew we would have a Clairvaux. My uncle is a monk at the Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma. We lived in Oklahoma for four years while John was in medical school. We visited the monastery often and one monk stood out to me. His name was Fr. Francis Defeydo. Before entering the monastery in France, he was an accomplished and decorated French navy pilot. His parents were very upset with his decision to give his life to Christ. He was so handsome and given so many worldly gifts, yet he gave it all up for Christ. He had such a humble way about him that really intrigued us.

The year our Clairvaux was born, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died a very holy death. My mother and I visited his grave a couple months before Clairvaux was born so we knew we wanted to honor his heroic life in our new baby’s name. Hence, the Frances in her name.

10. Damaris Catherine-Mary Boever
(pronounced Duh-Mare-iss)
We were stumped with naming Damaris. She was nameless until the last few hours of our stay in the hospital. She was such a beautiful baby and we couldn’t find a name to match the face we were staring into. My mother’s name is Damaris which means “of Mary” and John’s mother’s name is Catherine. The name Damaris is mentioned by St. Paul in Acts and there is also a St. Damaris of Athens. After debating several names, her name came to us to honor all three of our mothers.

11. Kapaun Joseph Mary Boever
(pronounced K-pen)
We are still getting over the thrill of having another little boy. We love our girls so much and after six in a row, we pretty much knew we were going to have girls from here on out! When I heard the words, “It’s a BOY”, they might have well said, “It’s a unicorn!” What??? Let me see this mythical creature I heard of named “boys” yet have not seen for many years. It was so fun. I had read about Fr. Emil Kapaun during his pregnancy. His heroism and devotion to others had me at hello. I admired how he spent his hidden days in the camp scurrying from tent to tent tending to the wounded while HE HIMSELF was wounded. The prisoners were given one rice patty a day. They were starving. One day, four men were fighting over a rice patty and Fr. Kapaun stepped in and said, “Here! Have mine! I don’t want it.” Then, proceeded to cut his small rice patty into fourths. The men were taken aback by his humbleness. Although he is well-known for his selfless ways, he was fearless in his defense of the faith. He was such a meek and mild fellow, but if the guards mocked Our Lord, he called them out every time often taking terrible punishments for doing so. We loved him. I mentioned to John that if we would ever have another boy, we should name him Kapaun. Also, Fr. Emil Kapaun’s confirmation name is Joseph so that fit perfectly with putting Mary and Joseph in our son’s name. There is a shrine in Pilsen, Kansas to Fr. Emil Kapaun. We have not been, but someday we will take our Kapaun there to show him that wonderful man who loved Christ so much.

12. Lourdes Marie-Talbot Boever
(pronounced Loo-ahrds, not Loor-dees like the Spanish pronunciation)
Lourdes has a very long story. You can read about her story HERE. To sum up her name, she was going to be named many things during her pregnancy. About a month before delivery, the doctors decided to induce on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes due to her health concerns. My mom texted me later that week and said, “Lindsay, I know her name. Lourdes Marie-Talbot Boever. She is supposed to tell the world about Our Lady of Lourdes.” I called John and he, too, was convinced of her name.

Fast forward a few weeks, I was visiting my grandmother and she was casually telling me about her visit to Ireland several years back. We were discussing back and forth about Matt Talbot and his Irish ways and devotions. She loves Matt Talbot and I mentioned he was my confirmation name. My grandmother told me about finding his shrine in Ireland by mistake and it was at this one church, “Ummm, let me see. Our Lady of Lourdes. Matt had a huge devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.” NO WAY!!! I had no idea. I screeched, “That is what we are naming this baby!! ” How did God do that? He tied everything together so perfectly.

The date she was being induced. The saint we had been praying to and HIS favorite devotion. All into one name! Crazy to us!

13. We lost our 13th child to miscarriage in early 2016. We have not named this baby yet. We are still waiting to discover the name.

14. I am due December 5th with our 14th child. We have a smashing boy’s name that we love. We have narrowed the girl’s name down to three possibilities.

Kate: What role does John play in naming our children? Do you each come up with ideas, or is it more like you suggest names and he says yes or no?

Lindsay: John and I share the exact same naming desires. He loves the deep meanings as much as I do. He loves the heroism of the saints like Fr. Emil Kapaun. I am probably the Sherlock Holmes and he is the Watson. I am constantly looking, reading, investigating, and telling him about someone new I read about. I would be lost without his Captain Obvious skills in pointing out the nicknames that might arise if certain names are given to our children. (i.e. Ben Boever [bend over] — probably shouldn’t name a child Ben. Although, we did name the baby we miscarried Benedict)

Kate: Do you take nicknames into account when you’re choosing first names? Like, maybe you like a nickname and back-fit into a first name from there (you like Beth so you choose Elizabeth)? Or you hate the nickname Sam so you cross off Samuel/Samson/Samantha from your list of considerations? Or do you just choose names you love and don’t mind the nicknames that arise naturally?

Lindsay: Nothing is off limits. Like I mentioned above, I feel like a scientist to the degree that I take apart names and dissect them like no other. I love discovering the deeper meaning and origins to each particular name all the way back to Greek and Latin roots. I love discovering who which saints had devotions to. I love knowing the saints’ confirmation name, their parents’ names, where they were born, which parish they attended, which convent or monastery they were apart of, which symbols are associated with them. I love discovering what they loved and honoring them in that way.

We have a terrible case of the nicknames. Our poor children. I don’t know how to break the habit. Everyone has so many nicknames that it really should bring into question why we spend so much time giving them their legal name. I love it though!

Kate: What are some of your ideas that you never got to use? Or that you’d love to see others use that might not be quite right for you?

Lindsay: My sister, Kristin, is married to man that immigrated from the Ukraine when he was 8-years-old. There are 16 children in his family. Their culture, families, and food are so fascinating. I LOVE all their names, but they certainly have a Russian tone. We aren’t Russian so they just don’t quite work. A few that stick out are Reuvum, Edict, Slavic, and Milana. I love so many Russian names, but they just don’t fit our Irish/German/French heritage.

I also love the idea of Irish names with their unique spellings and pronunciations.

Kate: I think I remember that you’re from a big family, is that right? And your husband as well? So you probably have a bunch of nieces and nephews—what do you think about cousins sharing names? Or even the children of a close circle of friends?

Lindsay: Yes! I am the second of ten children. John is the second of eight children. God has given our children many cousins on both sides which is so very wonderful. John’s parents have 40 grandchildren so far and my parents have 31 grandchildren so far. We both have siblings that are newly married and several unmarried. We look forward to each new birth like it is the first. There is no greater joy than baby days in our families. It truly is wonderful and celebrated each time.

Amongst our families, everybody is so wonderful about sharing names and actually, I think most would deem it an honor if someone used the name that you have already used. Ironically, we don’t have any doubles yet. I love the names everyone has chosen and some that stick out are Scholastica, Athanasius, Magnus, Avila, Abraham, Rome, Edith, and Marian. Although, I love all the names our siblings have picked out. Everyone is so thoughtful and intentional with their names.

Now amongst our friends, it is a different story in regards to repeating names. We live in Lincoln, Nebraska and Catholicism is certainly alive and well in this wonderful place. There are many repeats and it certainly seems that everyone just knows that LIFE is certainly in abundance in our parishes so names are going to be repeated. It truly is a wonderful problem to have. I love gatherings especially when there are 7 Georges present, 5 Peters and 3 Marias.

Kate: You told me you’ve helped some of your friends with their baby naming—would you mind sharing some of your favorite final results?

Lindsay: Oh Yes! I think my close friends know my love for beautiful names. I had a few friends ask what names I had discovered during their pregnancies.

1. My friend Kristi has five children. She loves traditional and family rooted names. With their 4th child (baby girl), they were stuck on what to name her. I woke up one morning, called her and said, “Her name should be Evelyn.” Kristi immediately went, “YES! That’s it!” Come to find out, it was a family name and worked out so perfect.

2. My friend Leah was pregnant with their 4th child. They had three boys and asked what baby girl names I had been cooking up. They specifically wanted a biblical name. They liked unique, yet shorter names. I suggested, “Lael.” She immediately said, “YES! That’s it.” ‘Lael’ means ‘one who belongs to God.’

3. My friend Emily and I were sitting one afternoon watching our girls during ballet practice. We were both due about the same time with our 8th babies. I was due a few weeks before her. We were talking names and mentioned they were stuck on what to name their baby boy. I said, “Here! Name him this! I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote ‘Campion’ for St. Edmund Campion.” I told her if we had a boy, which we probably won’t, but if we do, we will name him either Kapaun or Campion. She loved it and said her husband was just reading about St. Edmund Campion. Well, I DID have a boy and we named him Kapaun. When Kapaun was born, she texted me and asked if she could really use the name Campion. OF COURSE!!! Do it! So now we have Kapaun Boever and Campion Villa a few weeks apart. She told me she kept that piece of paper I wrote his name on and put it in his baby box. I love that story!

Wasn’t that just the most wonderful interview?! Aren’t you just as a-swoon with Lindsay’s naming sensibilities as I am? So very many thanks to Lindsay for giving us a peek inside the Boever Family Naming Process, and please all remember to pray for her and her baby and family!

💐💐💐