Baby name consultation: Looking for slightly more traditional than they’ve already used, but still uncommon

Hillary and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — a girl! This little lady joins big siblings (who are “ecstatic,” according to Hillary — so cute!):

Gideon Charles (“Gideon was born while [hubby] and I were living and working in Ethiopia as missionaries. Gideon is a popular name in Ethiopia. His middle name, Charles, was [hubby’s] father’s middle name who died just before we married.”)

Chiri Patricia (“Chiri (pronounced Cheery) was named after the town we lived in in Ethiopia. Her middle name, Patricia, is named after my paternal grandmother Patricia who was a wonderfully generous and beautiful person.”)

Jasper Harrison (“Jasper was named after a friend of [hubby’s] in Kenya who was a camel rancher, who died just before Jasper was born. Harrison was my maternal grandfather’s name, and in addition we lived in Harrisonburg, Virginia, at the time, so wanted to honor our town as we did for Chiri.”)

Aren’t these cool names?? I love them all! Not only do I love them just for themselves, but also all the meaning behind each one, such a great job!

Hillary writes,

For our little girl, we may be interested in a slightly more traditional, but still not too common, name. We have taken to calling her ‘Josie” short for Josephine, as we have a special love for St. Joseph, to whom we prayed a novena when we returned from Africa and Jeff was job hunting. St. Joseph has cared for our family in many ways. I am not crazy about another JJ name, however, as [their last name begins with J and Dad and Jasper’s names both begin with J], Josie J___ might be too much!

Jeff really likes Polly (Polly is a paternal aunt of mine) but I worry it will bring parrots to mind.

My middle name is Jane, and there are many generations of women before me on my father’s side with the middle name Jane, so that is a good possibility. Jane J___ is fraught with alliteration concerns, however! [Not only do they both begin with J, but Jane sounds quite similar to their last name.]

Some other names we have talked about: Grace, Susanna, Heidi, Marian, Polly; we also like the names Fern and Daisy

Other names with significant relatives in our family: Meredith, Ann, Dorothy, Joyce, Sandra, Elizabeth, Jennifer

I loved working on this! So many wonderful names! My first thought when reading Hillary’s email was to tackle the issue of Josie. I love that they’re already calling the baby Josie, and I love that it’s because of their love for St. Joseph and his care for their family! I had two idea of ways to work with this, if they were open to keeping St. Joseph in the baby’s name in some form (given name or nickname):

  • Since they’re already calling the baby Josie, I wondered if I could find names that Josie could possibly be a nickname for that don’t start with J. I know that doesn’t solve the Josie J___ dilemma, but it might help soften it. I searched for girl names that include “jo” somewhere in them on babynamewizard.com’s Name Finder, and was intrigued by Marjory/Marjorie and Marjolaine/Marjolein. I liked that Marjory/Marjorie is more of a “more traditional, but still not too common” kind of name, as Hillary mentioned they might prefer this time. It’s a variant of Margaret via Margaret’s medieval variant Margery, which was actually a style match for Marian from their list when I did research for this family in the Baby Name Wizard! (You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the BNW as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity.) Marjolaine/Marjolein are variants of “marjoram” (the herb), kind of a cool way to work in a flower-type/nature name without being too obvious. With Marjorie/Marjory/Marjolaine/Marjolein, they might like to pair it with an S-heavy middle name, to make sense of Josie as a nickname — Sandra from their list of family names might do perfectly!
  • If they didn’t like the idea of Josie being a non-conventional nickname for a different name as mentioned above, maybe they’d prefer to consider Josephine as a given name with a different nickname? Posie/Pos(e)y has traditional usage as a Josephine nickname, which is so sweet, and I’ve often thought Sophie could work as well, since all its letters are contained within Josephine.
  • Then I thought that Hillary and her hubs might like Posie/Pos(e)y as a given name on its own! It’s similar to Polly (in that Polly was a nickname in origin — a nickname for Mary) and rhymes with the Josie they’ve already been using; it’s a nickname for Josephine so the connection to St. Joseph is solid; and it doesn’t begin with J! Posie J___ is absolutely darling.

As for the other names they’re considering:

  • Polly is sweet! I can’t imagine the parrot connection being really problematic — I grew up with a Polly, and I don’t remember it ever being an issue with her, and names like Polly (sweet and vintage-y) are definitely back in style (though Polly itself hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 70’s). I wonder if they’ve considered Molly? Molly and Polly are both originally nicknames for Mary, arising about the same time, and Molly avoids the parrot association altogether.
  • If Jane is the middle name, which is an idea I love, I don’t think the alliteration is that big a deal — so few people know a person’s middle name as they go through life, you know? It’s not like they’d be saying her full name every time. And the middle spot is often where people put names that they want to use, or feel obligated to use, that don’t work as first names or that they don’t care for style-wise but want to fit in there anyway. Another possibility is to use a Jane variant — it won’t be quite as great as having Hillary’s exact middle name and that of her ancestors, but it could be pretty great nonetheless. If the long A of Jane and the surname is particularly problematic, maybe even switching to Joan or Jean would suffice? Otherwise, there are so many great options: Jane is a John variant, so any of the feminine John variants would work, like Gianna and Joanna, Hanne/Hanna, Yana and Siobhan. Another possibility is Ione, as some sites that argue that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan — so cool, right?
  • Grace: Lovely, simple and sweet.
  • Susanna: The girl name we’ve hung on to through all our six boys! I love it, such a great name.
  • Heidi: Another that I would classify as simple and sweet, like Polly and Grace.
  • Marian: Marian always strikes me as one of the stronger Mary names, probably because of Maid Marian — I love that association!
  • Fern and Daisy: Fantastic names!
  • Regarding their family names, I assumed Hillary and her hubs would probably pull from them for the middle name, and didn’t consider them as first-name contenders, I hope that’s correct!

Alrighty, so I already mentioned that I always do research in the Baby Name Wizard, and really enjoyed seeing what the results of it were for this family — I love seeing names emerge as matches for parents’ overall style. I also plugged Gideon, Jasper, Polly, Heidi, and Fern into the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com (it only lets you do three names at a time, so I tried to choose the girl names that I thought would give me the best results; I searched Gideon, Jasper, and Polly first; Gideon, Jasper, and Heidi second; and Heidi, Polly, and Fern third), which revealed some additional ideas. Based on all that, these are my suggestions:

(1) Naomi
The style matches for Gideon were really exciting to me, I felt like they nailed what I perceive to be Hillary and her hubs’ style pretty well. Naomi was one of them, and I love that Naomi is, in my mind, exactly the kind of name they’d be looking for with “slightly more traditional, but still not too common.” Although … when I looked it up I discovered it was actually no. 69 in 2017, which I’m so surprised by! But I still love it for this family, and I think it also matches up really well with the feel of Susanna (especially spelled Susannah).

(2) Lydia
If sisters are going to have names that seem different in style, I like for there to be some other thread that links them together. When I saw Lydia as a match for Gideon, Grace, and Susanna, I thought it might be perfect because, like Chiri, it’s a place name — the Lydia in the bible was so named because she was from Lydia.

(3) Eden
This, too, was influenced by Chiri’s name, as well as by the fact that it’s a match for Gideon — Eden is a place name, of course, and I think it goes really well with the other kiddos’ names. It was no. 139 in 2017, so I don’t think it’s too unusual (but not too common either). I also looove the nickname Edie!

(4) Mercy
As I said, I really felt like the style matches for Gideon were such great suggestions for this family, and Mercy was another one! Like Grace it’s a virtue-type name, and I saw quite a bit of it (and other names with the same meaning) during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I did think that it could also work as a nickname for Meredith, if Hillary liked the idea of using her family name Meredith as a first name … Meredith Joyce would even bring in the “cy” to add to the “Mer” of Meredith, making it all very pleasing!

(5) Violet, Rose, Lily, Poppy
None of these except for Poppy are unusual, being nos. 48, 141, and 33 for the first three in 2017 (though Rose’s no. 141 is pretty great!), and Poppy was no. 689 — a top 1000 name! I’m so surprised by that as well! They were all matches for this family’s style: Violet for Gideon, Jasper, and Daisy; Rose for Jane and Daisy, and Rosie for Polly; Lily for Grace; and Poppy for Polly and Daisy! And of course I mentioned Posie/Posey and Marjolaine/Marjolein above, which are floral (ish) as well. So I thought it made sense to offer a, ahem, bouquet of choices for Hillary and her hubs! Haha! And actually, Susanna means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew! I’m not sure how that ties in, but it’s too cool not to mention.

(6) Adelaide
This was one of the results of the search on the Name Matchmaker, and it caught my eye because it’s a place name like Chiri and it’s also a variant of Heidi! At no. 276, it’s a nice option for familiar but not too common.

(7) Felicity
My last idea for this family is Felicity, which, like Adelaide, was another of the results on the Name Matchmaker. It’s no. 347 and very much like Adelaide in terms of being familiar but not too common. I also like that its meaning is “happiness,” which is a great meaning for a baby whose siblings are “ecstatic” about her arrival! I also like that Chiri is pronounced like Cheery, which gives it a really happy, sunny feel to me, so that could be a subtle tie-in between the two girls’ names. I also recently did a post on “meaning” nicknames, and one of the ones I’d seen suggested elsewhere was Bliss for Felicity, because of Felicity’s meaning — sisters Chiri and Felicity nicknamed Bliss might be taking the happy connection too far, but on the other hand … it could be perfect! If they like the idea of Felicity, but would prefer more nickname options, I did a spotlight of the name here. One of the ideas is Lily, which is a nice connection to the floral names I suggested above; another is Liddy, which is like Lydia.

And those are my ideas for Hillary and her hubs’ new baby girl! ! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Gideon, Chiri, and Jasper?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Birth announcement: Bridget Rose!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her baby has arrived — a little girl given the beautiful name … Bridget Rose!

She joins five big siblings with the fantastic names:

John Paul
Adelaide
Elizabeth
Mary Grace
James

What a wonderful family!! Congratulations to all of them, and happy birthday Baby Bridget!!

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Bridget Rose


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

 

Baby name consultation: Baby My Love’s new baby!

Don’t miss my earlier post about the new prince’s name!

I’ve posted about Sharon’s beautiful family before, and her beautiful shop, Baby My Love (if we have a baby girl, I would totally want her to be outfitted in Baby My Love every single day), and I’m SO EXCITED to post this consultation for her sweet baby girl who’s due just a couple weeks before my little one!

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Sharon and her husband Zeb have the most incredible taste in names — check out their older kiddos:

Gemma Agnes
Felicity Anne
Nicodemus Joseph
+ Miriam Rose
Maximus Michael Patrick
Quintus Edmund
Francis Fulton
Evangeline Marie

Including their unborn babies that are with Jesus:

+ Nic
+ Joy
+ Carmyn

What I love about Sharon and Zeb’s taste is that they just go for it! They just choose names that they love! They’ve done an amazing job!

For their sweet Little Miss, they’re feeling stuck! Sharon and I have talked about names a bit the last few months, and she posted on Instagram the other day listing all the names they’re considering and the ones they can’t use (A LOT of names can’t be used!):

On their current list:

Lydia
Pauline
Madeleine
Gabriella nn Bella (Gabriel is Zeb’s middle name)
Charlotte
Olivia
Cassandra

Others they’ve considered/talked about/like:

Mercedes nn Mercy
Genevieve
Camille
Hope

And the names they can’t use (because of having SIXTY nieces and nephews!!):

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As well as (as mentioned by Sharon in other comments):

Tamara
Magdalena
Maggie
Lourdes (Zeb prefers no place names)
Beatrice
Zelie
Siena

Whew!! There were a lot of great suggestions on the Instagram post, and I read through them all and tried not to duplicate suggestions here.

One thing that really struck me about Sharon and Zeb’s taste is that they seem to really love very feminine names, so I definitely took that into account when I was compiling my list. Of course I used my trusty Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names with similar style/feel/popularity—I looked up only their girl names and ideas (Gemma, Felicity, Bernadette [it was almost Felicity’s name], Miriam, Gwendolyn [considered for Miriam], Joy, Evangeline, Eden [considered for Evangeline], Clare, Lydia, Pauline, Madeleine, Gabriella, Bella, Charlotte, Olivia, Cassandra, Mercedes, Mercy, Genevieve, Camille, and Hope), since their boys follow an ends-in-the-“us”-sound theme, which wouldn’t necessarily reflect their taste in girl names. And I stayed away from all forms of Mary and Rose, as they’d prefer to have those be associated with their Miriam Rose.

So based on all that, and trying not to duplicate any of the ideas offered in the comments on Instagram, these are my ideas:

(1) Annabelle, Annabella
Anastasia, Anne Marie, Julianna, Hannah, and Marianna are all on the list of names that can’t be used, but Annabelle was listed as a style match for Evangeline, Madeleine, and Olivia and they’re already considering Bella (as a nickname for Gabriella), so I thought it deserved a mention! Annabel is said to be, in origin, a variant of Amabel, which stems from the Latin for “beloved,” and of course it can be connected to our girl St. Anne. Belle/Bella means “beautiful” in French/Italian, so Annabelle and Annabella can be all kinds of meaningful, and so feminine!

(2) Juliette
The Julia names actually did quite well for this family in my research—Juliet is a match for Felicity, Madeleine, Camille, and Hope; Julia for Lydia; and Juliana for Gabriella. But Julia and Julianna are on their can’t-use list, and I thought the French Juliette was more their style anyway, as the extra “te” adds such a feminine frill. Jenny from Mama Needs Coffee considered Juliette in honor of Servant of God Julia Greeley, and there are loads of other holy Julias and a Ven. Juliette who can serve as patron.

(3) Dahlia
Sharon mentioned to me a while ago that her older girls would love for this baby to have a D name, to go along with the alpha-sister set Evangeline, Felicity, and Gemma, but Dorothy, Deborah, Diane, and Damaris either couldn’t be used or didn’t feel quite right. I thought of that immediately when I saw Dahlia listed as a style match for both Gemma and Felicity! Wow! It’s a flower name, and according to this, dahlias signify “elegance and dignity,” which is so lovely. I’ve seen DAH-lia, DAL-ia, and DAY-lia given as pronunciations (apparently the latter is that used in the UK), all of which have their merits, but I’m loving the first pronunciation because I think Dolly is the cutest nickname! How perfect for a baby sister!

(4) Helena
An H name would work in the alpha set as well, and I chuckled when I saw Sharon start her IG post with “Oh Nelly!” since Nell(y) can be a nickname for Helen(a)! Nella can also be used, which of course calls to mind the Bella they’re already considering.

(5) Calla (given or nickname)
Speaking of flower names, and inspired as much by Bella and Dahlia (and Nella) as by the fact that it’s a style match for Mercy, Calla is one of the loveliest flower names. It’s the name of the Calla lily, and it’s also related to the Greek word for “beauty.” I do love it on its own as a given name, but I’ve also seen it as a nickname for Caroline—Sharon and Zeb already have Charlotte on their list, which is a feminine variant of Charles as is Caroline (which is on their can’t-use list), so maybe they’d like to consider Calla as a nickname for Charlotte?

(6) Verity
My last idea is Verity, which means “truth.” It’s a virtue-esque name like Felicity, Joy, Mercy, and Hope, but I think it’s more unexpected. I love the character of Verity on Poldark, and I love how full of faith significance it is.

I also originally considered suggesting Avila, Junia, and Juniper, but place names are out (so no Avila), and I wasn’t sure enough about the biblical Junia (I thought Juliette was a closer fit) or the plant-y Juniper (Dahlia and Calla seemed better). But I wanted to put them here just in case.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Sharon and Zeb’s little lady?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

Birth announcement: Marigold Thérèse!

Our dear reader Grace, for whom I posted a prayer-intention post a month ago as she was enduring a difficult end to her pregnancy, has had her fifth baby — a beautiful little girl with the gorgeous name … Marigold Thérèse!

Grace writes,

Our baby girl Marigold Thérèse was born on November 27. Baby turned head down just in time for my induction and we were able to have a successful VBAC and entirely avoid anesthesia, which was my big concern with having another c-section (I had a serious reaction to the anesthesia with my last c-section). Thank you to all your readers who prayed for us during the week before her birth! We had so many people praying for us over the 9 weeks that I was on bedrest and also right before her birth, and those prayers were deeply felt and appreciated!

Now onto her naming story! When you posted my make-believe consultation, long before I was pregnant, I mentioned that our last baby (now 4 1/2 years old) was to be named Iris Maria Thérèse had he been a girl, and that I thought we’d keep that name if we ever did have another girl. (I also mentioned that I was very set on the name Xavier for a middle name if we had another boy, and the doctor who ended up delivering Marigold was named Javier, which I think is a cool connection.)

Shortly before I found out I was pregnant last March, I had started to have second thoughts about the name Iris. I still really love it, but I don’t care for the initial “I” with our surname, and ultimately felt like, as much as I love the name, it just wasn’t the right choice for us. I also started to think a lot about the name Marigold during that time. It has been one of my two favorite Marian names for years (the other is Maria), and with the floral element and a more English feel than Maria, I started to think it would be a great replacement for Iris. Soon after this, I learned I was pregnant, a miracle after several years of trying, so much prayer (so many St. Thérèse and St. Gerard and St. Andrew Christmas novenas and Our Lady’s Impossible novenas…), and some help from a wonderful Catholic NaPro physician.

I was pretty certain that I had been “led” to the name Marigold during that time, and although my husband was at first a little hesitant to change direction from Iris, he quickly came on board. The middle name would, of course, be Thérèse. St. Thérèse has been a companion and friend to me for years and I really wanted to honor her by using her name.

In May, I had some genetic testing done for the pregnancy (because I’m old😬), which allowed us to find out the sex of the baby. During the time we were awaiting those results, the beloved grandmother of one of my dear friends died. Her name was Marilynn, and as my friend shared stories about her grandmother in the days and weeks that followed her death, I felt a strong sense of connection to her, though I had never met her, and I started to feel even more strongly that the name Marigold was the right choice for our baby (if it was a girl). I felt that I wanted to honor my friend’s grandmother through her name, as well, because I had been so moved by the stories my friend had been sharing. When we got the results of the genetic testing in June and learned that we were expecting a healthy baby girl, I let my friend know that we had chosen the name Marigold and that what she had shared about her grandmother in the previous weeks had confirmed the choice. She told me then that her grandmother had the habit of saving marigold seeds every fall to plant in the spring and that this was a special memory shared by her grandchildren. I’d had no idea there was a connection to marigold flowers, only the similarity of the name Marilynn to Marigold. This was so moving to me and really confirmed that this name was in some way “meant” for this baby.

The final two connections for the name Marigold came from you, Kate, in discussing how marigold flowers can represent the crown of Our Lady (we have selected the Queenship of Mary to be Marigold’s feast day — with a Marian name, there are many choices and the marigold flower/crown connection seemed a good one), as well as the fact that this year was the centennial of Our Lady of Fatima, who is portrayed wearing a golden crown. It’s very exciting to have a Marian-named baby during the centennial year for one of her major titles!

I will also add that I really wanted to do a double middle name for this baby because it seems to be fairly popular in the U.K. (according to the Baby Names of Britain site), and I’m a pretty obsessive Anglophile. One of your readers suggested the name Rosamund as an alternative to one of my old favorites, Rosalind, in a comment on my consultation. Rosamund means “rose of the world” and quickly surpassed Rosalind on my list of favorites. My husband and I went back and forth on adding the second middle name literally up to the evening I was filling out the birth certificate information in the hospital. Ultimately we decided against it, mainly because for it to flow well, it seemed Rosamund would have to come before Thérèse, and I really wanted to honor St. Thérèse in the #1 middle name spot. I’m glad now that we didn’t give her too big a mouthful of a name because she’s such a tiny little thing, though I’ll admit to having the tiniest bit of regret about not getting to do a double middle name on what I expect is my last baby to name.

I am so excited that this lovely little lady has joined our family, and also that we were able to use a name that is both meaningful and also matches our daughter Fiona’s name well in terms of “sparkle”. I feel that the addition of Marigold to our set balances it and also helps solidify the theme of their names (at least in my view).”

I love this explanation so much! I just love it when there are layers of meaning, and you know how I am about Marian names!! All the heart eyes!! Marigold Thérèse is such a perfect combination for this family!

And thank you all for your prayers for Grace! I’m so glad we can ask each other to pray!

Marigold joins her big sisters and brothers:

Elisabeth Grace
James Julian
Fiona Catherine
John Peter

I love them all together — amazing names, all!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Marigold!!

Grace had professional photos taken of her children after Marigold’s birth by Alzbeta Volk — I know you’ll want to check out her web site after seeing these beautiful photos! The print of the M and the T with Our Lady of Fatima surrounded by marigolds and St. Thérèse surrounded by roses was done by Studio Senn and given as a gift for Grace and Marigold by a friend (I did a giveaway of one of the amazing Studio Senn prints last spring).

Marigold Thérèse and her big siblings and Studio Senn print of her initials and patrons ❤

Birth announcement: Jane Marigold!

One of my longest-time readers has let me know that her fourth baby on earth has arrived — a little girl with the amazing and meaningful name … Jane Marigold!

Jen shared,

[Jane is] named for St. John Chrysostom. We also wanted a Marian name, so she’s ‘Mary’s Gold’ as well as the ‘gold’ reference to Chrysostom (‘golden-mouthed’ so called on account of his eloquence) … I’ve always preferred Día de los Muertos to Halloween. Another reason for using the name Marigold. It’s known as Flor de Muerto and since she was born after the loss of Felix [the baby Jen miscarried last year], it’s a connection to her brother. And Marigold in Spanish is ‘Maravilla’, which also translates to ‘wonder’. After a miscarriage, surgery, constant shots/blood tests, I now have my 🌟Wonder Baby🌟 … Her full name in Spanish is Juanita Maravilla, which my family in Argentina just adore … Also, my husband and I only recently realized after we picked Jane’s name, that we were confirmed at St. John Chyrostom parish in Los Angeles.”

Each name so carefully chosen, and with so many layers of meaning! Such a stunning combo!

Jane joins her equally amazingly named big sibs:

Polly Bloom (named for St. Polycarp!)
Linus Theodore
Augustine Basil “Gus”

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Jane!!

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Jane Marigold

Birth announcement: Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

Be sure to enter the blogiversary giveaway I posted about yesterday!

A few weeks ago I posted a consultation for Sara and her husband to help name their twin baby girls. Sara’s let me know the little ladies have arrived! And they’ve been given the gorgeous, perfect names … Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

Sara had actually emailed me to let me know the girls had arrived, and Caroline Rose was easily given to one of them, but they still couldn’t decide on a name for the second. So we chatted about it a little more — turns out the Rosalind/Rosalie idea was one her brother and sister-in-law were hoping to use for their own daughter someday, so Sara and her husband decided not to use it. There were a few others that they were considering, like Elizabeth/Ella, Amelia (and I suggested Emilia too, for JP2’s mom), and Evelyn, and I offered that the only one I would recommend crossing off the list was Evelyn, because the name they would have chosen for a boy is Everett and I thought they might want to save Everett for a future boy — though I also said that if she loves it, she should use it anyway. Funny enough, my comments were actually helpful! Sara writes,

We’re so happy to welcome Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

It really helped me to see your comments on Evelyn because it made me realize just how much I do love that name and it’s been on my girl list forever … once you said if I love it, use it, I realized I really do love it. Especially because I loved the name Evie from Genevieve but felt it was too short to use alone with Caroline and Genevieve was too long and a different style to use with Caroline. So now I have my little Evie! Also, my MIL Linda said she was called Linney as nn by her brother which could also work with Evelyn if we wanted to use that instead. And because I’m 39 and most likely these are my last babies (so sad!) it didn’t seem like it was worth trying to save the name Everett if we probably aren’t having anymore.

Lastly, I looked into the meanings of many of the names you wrote back about and although I thought your idea of Emilia was absolutely wonderful, I didn’t like its meaning being “rival” for a twin. Amelia also had a less than desirable meaning of work, striving, industrious. When I saw the meaning of Evelyn a long time ago I melted a bit at “wished for child.” That just felt so true for me.”

What a great name story!! And when I was thinking back to how I thought the kinds of names they were looking for could be described as “pearl necklace names,” I really feel like both Caroline and Evelyn fit that perfectly. I also love how both grandmothers are represented in both names — Carol and Lyn for Sara’s mom (Carolyn), and Lin (the spelling) and Lyn (the sound) for her MIL (Linda) — so fantastic!!

Congratulations to Sara and her husband and big brothers Landon and Brooks, and happy birthday Baby Caroline and Baby Evelyn!!

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Evelyn Pearl (left) and Caroline Rose (right)

Baby name consultation: Twin sisters to Landon and Brooks

Sara and her husband are expecting twin baby girls! These little ladies are joining big brothers:

Landon Thomas
Brooks Grayson

I love the style they’ve got going on! Landon and Brooks are such handsome-boy names!

Sara writes,

We already have two little boys, Landon Thomas and Brooks Grayson. His middle name was supposed to be Alexander but my husband vetoed it after he was born and it ended up being Grayson, although I would have much preferred Alexander.

My name is Sara and my husband is Erich and our last name is very German, and long … Because my name was so very common growing up there were always lots of Sara(h)s in my classes and even now. Because of this name baggage I have, I would prefer our choices not be in the top 10 or even top 25 really. But many of the names I like such as Emma, Chloe, Avery, Ella and Lily are too popular.

Genevieve – My husband is really attached to the name Genevieve but my fear is that it’s way too long, especially with our last name, and too hard to spell. We could always have her go by a nickname all the time such as Eve, Genna, Viv or Neve, but then it seems weird to give her such a long name to begin with. Plus, it doesn’t really feel in keeping with the boy’s names (or ours) and that it would feel really out of place.

Caroline – I read that this was a combination of Carol and Linda which are our mother’s names so seemed like a nice way to honor both of them in one name. Again, it’s long with our last name but at least easier to say and spell and feels more like the boy’s names.

Everly – I love this name but my husband doesn’t. If we had another boy, he would have certainly been Everett and this feels like the girl version to me. I realize it is a bit trendy and doesn’t have much history making it somewhat less appealing.

Claire – A pretty name but maybe too plain or common with her twin?

Clara – Same as above and rhymes with my name which could be annoying.

Rosalie – Another one I love but my husband really does not.

Elise – Hard with our last name [which starts with S] since the ‘s’ ending blends together. We already have this issue with Brooks and I don’t want to repeat it!

For middles, we like Pearl and Rose. I like that Pearl is a family name, the birthstone for June, and associated with the ocean which we love. Rose is my favorite flower, the only scent I will wear and I like that it’s shorter with the long last name.

I should mention we don’t want the names to start with the same letter or be overly rhymey.”

Okay, so first, the feel I get from the boy names Sara and her hubs have already used and like (Landon, Brooks, Grayson, Alexander, and Everett) is, I think, best summed up by the Baby Name Wizard’s description of Brooks: “Brooks has always been the name you choose because you want your son to look good in pinstripes. It has a classic old-money style.” I love that! And while I love each of the names they’re considering for their girls for different reasons, some of them really seemed to fit that feel (I’m thinking of them as pearl necklace names, rather than pinstripe names), and some didn’t. Caroline Rose, for example, is stunning and fits perfectly with the feel I’m getting from their boys. Emma, Ella, Claire, Clara, Lily (or perhaps Lillian more so), and Elise all seem pretty well matched with it too. Chloe, Genevieve, and Rosalie, despite being gorgeous names with deep roots, somehow don’t so much — Genevieve and Rosalie feel too heavy maybe? And Chloe is biblical but also sort of spunky — perhaps a little too much of a fireball for the feel of Landon and Brooks? Avery and Everly tap into the surname-feel of Landon and Brooks, but I fear that Sara and her hubs would ultimately be unhappy with that, because it wouldn’t be totally clear at the outset that they have two boys and two girls, especially Avery, which still has good use among boys.

But perhaps I’m totally wrong and Sara and her hubs don’t mind any of the things I just said! Which is also totally valid — parents often have different taste in names for their boys vs. their girls, and eclectic naming — which I would define as basically just choosing names you like, style/theme/pattern be darned! — is totally a cool way to go. I do think the one rule that seems pretty important in naming twins is *fairness*, which you might also think of as *balance* — you wouldn’t want one twin to feel her name is less special than the other, you know? So I’m a teeny bit hesitant about Caroline for that reason — Sara and her hubs already seem to be thinking of it as a mashup of the two grandmothers’ names Carol and Linda (though, in case it’s helpful, it’s not actually so — it’s simply a French feminine form of Charles via its Latin form Carolus — but if they *wanted* it to mean “Carol+Linda” for their family, it totally works as that! And for a singleton girl, I agree it would be perfect!) — which makes me wonder what special family connection is left for Twin B? (And maybe there is!)

So my first idea was to separate Carol and Linda and try to come up with two first names, one for each twin, one for each grandma. (In this case I didn’t worry about matching their boys’ style as much, as it was enough of a challenge to come up with Carol+Linda names!) My favorite ideas for this were:

Caroline Rose and Rosalind Pearl: For this set, I kept Caroline, since it’s perfect for Grandma Carol without being a Carol+Linda name, and I love how Rosalind has the “Lind” of Linda. I also love how Caroline’s middle name would connect with Rosalind’s first name AND Caroline and Rosalind have the same number of letters — both of which are really nice, not overly matchy connections between the two! I do realize there’s a good chance Sara’s Mister won’t care for this idea, since he really doesn’t like Rosalie, but maybe the explanation of the connection to the grandmas would sway him?

Carrigan Rose and Linley Pearl: So I’m going back on everything I said in my first paragraph with this idea! Haha! Both Carrigan and Linley have that surname feel that Landon and Brooks have, but to me they’re exclusively feminine (more than Avery, for example) and I have no idea why! Carrigan has of course the Car- of Carol, and Linley the Lin- of Linda, and I considered the spelling Lindley, which makes it even closer to Linda, but I felt like Linley looked more feminine and this way both girls would have three letters of their grandmas’ names. Also, Finley was listed as a girl match for Brooks, and Linley is just one letter different. But if they went with Lindley, then “Carrigan Rose” and “Lindley Pearl” would have the same number of letters. Wow! But then again, Lindley and Landon seem extra close if they include that “d.” Otherwise though, I don’t mind two L names in the set Landon, Brooks, Carrigan, and Linley, since the two L’s would be separated by two other children, they have different endings, and they’re different gendered children (and one a twin, no less).

Scarlett Rose and Linnea Pearl: I did a search on babynamewizard.com’s NameFinder tool for girl names that contained “car” and “lin” and was so intrigued with Scarlett, especially because a “famous” Brooks is the son of actress Molly Sims, and her daughter is Scarlett! (Her style actually really makes me think of Sara’s family — her kids are Brooks Alan, Scarlett May, and Grey Douglas. Amazing, right?) Finding a first name match for Scarlett was hard, but both Scarlett and Linnea are on the BNW’s list of “Exotic Traditional” names, and Linnea has that “lin” I was looking for. I’m not sure I love Scarlett Rose together — is it overly descriptive? — but Scarlett Pearl is descriptive and doesn’t make sense, so Scarlett and Rose should go together (and the idea of a scarlet rose is quite lovely). Linnea is a flower name, and comes from a last name (the botanist who gave his name to the flower, Carl Linnaeus) AND — how cool is this?? — I just looked it up and it’s also known as the “twinflower”!! I’ve seen its color described as white and pale pink, both of which can be colors of pearls, so I feel like Linnea Pearl is a fine, not-inappropriate combo. As with Landon and Linley, I don’t mind Landon and Linnea as siblings.

If Sara and her hubs don’t care for any of these combos, however, I think Caroline can work great for both grandmas, as was their original idea, and I’d strongly encourage them to come up with something equally significant for their other girl. I have some ideas below, as well as other ideas of names that might make good matches for Caroline and pair well with Pearl (you all know that I usually start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and 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):

(1) Caroline Rose and Margaret Sara
I think Margaret has that same long, feminine, classic feel as Caroline, and it’s fun that they both have the same number of letters! Another amazing feature of Margaret is that it actually means “pearl”! So they can have all the meaning of Pearl while using a name that I think is a better first name match for Caroline. In the interest of balancing out the significance of both grandma’s names in Caroline, I wondered if they’d consider Sara’s own name as a middle? I really like how Margaret Sara sounds, and I love that Sara and Rose have the same number of letters too — it’s just a nice, subtle connection between twin sisters. Both Caroline Rose and Margaret Sara would share a flower theme as well, as not only does Margaret mean “pearl,” but its French form, Marguerite, is the name of the daisy flower in French — hence Daisy’s traditional use as a nickname for Margaret! Roses for Caroline and daisies for Margaret, love it! (And both roses and daisies are Marian symbols, as are pearls, so Mother Mary’s in both girls’ names too!)

(2) Caroline Rose and Elizabeth Pearl
All the Sara(h)s I know have Elizabeth as their middle name, so while I didn’t know if Elizabeth was Sara’s middle name, I thought if it was, it would be a perfect complement to Caroline I think, being that it would have family significance like Caroline and be similarly long and classic. Elizabeth also has a trillion traditional nickname options, one of which is Lily! So they could call her that — thus working in Sara’s love of Lily — and it would also be cool that, like with Margaret, both girls would have a floral connection with their name. Ella could also be used as a nickname for Elizabeth, as Ella is another name Sara said she likes (but in light of George and Amal’s new baby Ella, is it too soon? My personal feeling is no, not at all, especially if Ella is used as a nickname for Elizabeth).

(3) Caroline Rose and Isabel Pearl
Isabel is actually listed as a style match for Caroline in the BNW, and it’s an Elizabeth variant (see above), and I really like it with Landon and Brooks too. Caroline and Isabel are a classy pair.

(4) Isabel Rose and Juliet Pearl
So for these last few ideas I’m moving away from the Caroline idea and just offering names that I think fit their style and go together in pleasing ways. Juliet is a style match for Claire, and Julia for Caroline, and Juliet’s the same number of letters as Isabel, and they’re both so pretty and feminine. In this case, I’m relying on the middle names to provide the significance and not worrying whether the first names connect to anything.

(5) Audrey Pearl and Camille Rose
I love it when I see a name pop up over and over again in my BNW research as similar to more than one name on the parents’ list — Camille was one such! It’s a match for Brooks, Claire, and Elise, which I thought was so great. Then Aubrey (with a B) is a match for Greyson and Avery, and Audrey for Claire, and I thought between Aubrey and Audrey that Audrey was more their speed. I really like Audrey and Camille together.

(6) Ava Pearl and Zoe Rose, OR Ava Elizabeth and Zoe Caroline OR Ava Rosalind and Zoe Caroline
This last one is just a fun, spunky idea, inspired by Chloe and some of the shorter names Sara likes, like Ella, Emma, and Lily. Ava’s a style match for Chloe, Avery, Ella, and Zoe! And Zoe’s a match for Chloe and Ava. I love that they’re the same number of letters; I love that one’s an A name and one’s a Z name; I love how they sound with both the middle names they’ve already basically decided on, but I also love them with the longer Elizabeth and Caroline, or Rosalind and Caroline for the two grandmas. Ava is certainly popular (no. 3), but of course it’s because it’s a gorgeous name! Zoe isn’t all that far behind either, at no. 35, so while the popularity is probably more than what Sara would like, the difference in popularity between Ava and Zoe is similar to that between Elizabeth and Caroline, so it’s really pleasing to match up each combo with one more popular name and one less.

Finally, despite the fact that I agree with Sara’s reservations about Elise running into the S of their last name, and I can see what she means about Claire, I just wanted to offer that Claire and Elise are an amazing pair! They’re both French variants, they’re both five letters, they’re both lovely and feminine. I don’t care for them with Rose and Pearl though, as the one syllable + one syllable feels too abrupt. I would love them paired with longer middles, like Claire Margaret and Elise Caroline. Or Claire Elizabeth and Elise Caroline, where Elise and Elizabeth are a nice connection between the two, as are Claire and Caroline with starting the same initial letter. Or Elise Genevieve and Claire Evangeline.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) and combos would you suggest for the twin sisters of Landon and Brooks?