Baby name consultation: Bold Catholic names okay for Baby no. 2!

Rachel and her husband are expecting their second baby — a little green bean! (=gender unknown) 🌱 He or she joins big brother:

Albert Francis (Albie)

How cuuute is Albie??!! 😍

Rachel writes,

We always knew we wanted to have an Albert, as he is my husbands favorite saint, I am a nurse and my husband is a Physician Assistant so we spent most of undergrad and grad school praying that he would help us with tests as he is the Patron of the Sciences! St. Francis is also a favorite or ours and when our newest Pope took that name, we also felt called to use it when we were naming a baby someday. We love that Albie’s name is a mixture of a person so full of worldly knowledge and the sciences as well as a saint best known for his humility.  We didn’t know what we were having with our first (we also don’t know this time around) we were lucky that it was a Boy- as we had not really settled in on a girl name but had some options that we liked. However, settled in on Albie’s name right away- which I think is why it feels different this time around not being able to think of a name that we both agree on or have been able to feel connected to.

Naming babies is something that we have loved to do, we try and be really intentional in praying about it, as we really see as a making such an important decision for our kids- we celebrate Albie’s Feast day, have come across relics of St. Albert, visited the one St. Albert the Great church we could find- and have really looked to St. Albert as a protector for our son- trying to bridge the gap between the saints and us- even in a small way. For that reason I know that we would like the name to be a specific saint or blessed so that we can have that same connection for the next baby.

Currently the names that we like for girls are

Chiara Agnes (I really love that Agnes was Mother Theresa’s real name)
Zelie
Philomena
I like Faustina because I think she is a wonderful saint.
Being a working mom I probably ask St. Gianna for help 12 times a day 🙂

We do really love Blessed Chiara, I have been praying to her a lot during this pregnancy but for whatever reason just haven’t settled in on it for sure.

Names we have tossed around in no particular order for boys are:

Charles
Aloysius
Sebastian
Dominic
Jude (this is maybe my favorite?)
Maximilian

There are not many names that are definite “no’s” but we have a lot of Michaels in our family- so not really a name we would use- also our siblings names are Luke, Andrew, Joshua, Anna, Therese so would probably avoid these as well.

Nicknames are super important to us- so would love a name that we could shorten in a creative way. The most important thing is that we can feel connected to the saint that we are naming him or her after and that we are able to help blend the lessons we can learn from that person into the life of our child.

We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!) We love being able to evangelize through this process, even in a small way, by teaching others about the lives and stories of saints through explaining how we named our kids- which is a position the I really think God has put us in time and time again when being able to explain how we named Albert to people may not otherwise hear these stories. We have always been so passionate about the way that science and religion in many ways complement each other rather than go against each other- and being able to speak about a saint whose life mission was to blend the 2 has been so fun for us!

Did you all see that? >>> “We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!)” >>> Yessss!!! 😁

I love the names Rachel and her hubs are considering for their baby, and in fact I thought it was such a great and complete list that I had a hard time thinking of what I would add to it! Each one is heavy hitting and faith-y, and I love how St. Gianna and Bl. Chiara have been close to Rachel this pregnancy. I wonder if they would consider putting them both in one name? Chiara Gianna doesn’t have the best flow, but knowing that Chiara is the Italian variant of Clare/Claire/Clara and Gianna is a feminine form of John (so Joan, Jane, Joanna), they could do Chiara Jane or Clare Gianna or any of those combos, and though Clare/Claire/Clara/Joan/Jane/Joanna aren’t as obvious to others as Chiara and Gianna, they’re just as legitimate.

Also, re: Chiaria, I wanted to address how Rachel “for whatever reason just [hasn’t] settled in on it for sure” even though it seems clear to me that it’s her frontrunner. I wonder if maybe it’s because it’s such a different style from Albert? Certainly there’s no requirement to stick with the same style of name for every child—indeed, that’s one of the things I love about Catholic naming, that Archangela, Kateri, Joseph, and Bernadette can all be siblings under the umbrella theme of “Catholic saints”—so that might not be the hold up for Rachel and her hubs here. But Albert has a very distinct old-man feel to it (which is great! He’s a great saint and the names that peaked when his did [early 20th century] like Alice, Walter, and Helen are totally coming back right now) while Chiara feels more current and very Italian. So anyway, all that to say that Clare/Claire or Clara are much closer in feel to Albert. They can totally still honor Bl. Chiara, though I do understand that they might not feel close enough to her name.

So then I also wanted to suggest Mary Chiara. Adding Mary in front of any name makes that second name totally doable in my opinion, and can jazz up a second name (Mary Kate), sober a second name (Mary Willow), feminize a masculine name (Mary Charles), and Catholicize a more secular name (Mary Topanga). Or, in this case, it can pull Chiara a bit closer to Albert with its old-school Catholic feel. A Mary Chiara could still go by Chiara as a call name (most of my dad’s first girl cousins are Mary ___, and they all go by their middle names. One of them signs her name M. Kate, so that’s an option too, for signatures and school papers and that kind of thing), or she could go by the full Mary Chiara, or of course just Mary (or one of Mary’s many nicknames, like Molly, Mamie, Mimi, Mae/May).

If they liked the idea of Mary Chiara, they could still do Agnes as a middle name, thus considering “Mary Chiara” to be the first name. They could hyphenate it, if they wanted it even clearer: Mary-Chiara Agnes. Or maybe they’d like it to just be firstname Mary middlename Chiara, and save Agnes for a possible future daughter?

All that said however, they have such a good mix of older names and more current names on their list—and with Rachel’s favorite, Jude, being at an all-time high—that I’m guessing all this doesn’t fuss them a bit! I really do love the mix of styles.

So you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering 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 wasn’t sure how helpful it would be for this family, since their taste is more eclectic and harder to pin down in one area (which is awesome), but it did give me some good ideas that I thought might be helpful for them. I admit I was swayed by the fact that Albert is the name Rachel and her hubs have already used—every time I saw a name that I thought had the same feel as Albert I’d excitedly scribble it down! But I did also try to bring in some names that fit more of a Chiara/Zelie/Gianna/Sebastian/Jude sensibility:

Girl
(1) Edith
Like Albert and Agnes, Edith is an old-timey name that’s coming back around again. I think, for broader society, the amazing nickname Edie has a lot to do with it; for Catholics, St. Edith Stein, aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, is a major inspiration.

(2) Hildegard
Rachel said they’re not intimidated by bold names, and Hildegard is definitely bold! It’s Germanic like Edith and Aloysius and really heavy-duty Catholicky Catholic because of our new(ish) Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. And is Hildi the cutest nickname ever or what??

(3) Genevieve
I like that Genevieve is an older name with some good current use, and St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, which is pretty cool. It’s also got some great, popular nicknames: Evie, Vivi, Genny.

(4) Regina
Regina is one of the *most* Catholic names! I really can’t imagine anyone using it who isn’t Catholic, and I think everyone knows right away when they hear it that it refers to Mary. I’ve seen the combo Regina Caeli used recently as a first+middle combo, which I love.

(5) Veronica or Monica
Veronica is another Catholicky Catholic name—I know non-Catholics use it, but that always makes me chuckle! There are some really pretty nicknames for Veronica too—there’s the expected Ronni(e), but also Via, Vera, Vero, Vivi, Nica, and Nicky.

Monica has exactly the same sound as Veronica except the beginning V—which I think makes all the difference! V is hot right now, which makes Veronica a less surprising choice these days than the more mid-century Monica. But St. Monica’s an amazing saint, of course, and Mo, Mona, and Nica/Nicky could be nicknames for it. Or even Molly for something like Monica Zelie.

(6) Zita
Zelie always makes me think of Zita, and though there’s the Italian St. Zita, who is a great patron, it’s Servant of God Zita, Empress of Austria that I’ve been loving lately. What a woman she was!

(7) Gemma
Gemma was one of the names listed as a style match for Jude, and to me it’s 1000% St. Gemma Galgani. It’s such a pretty name with a Brit feel, due to its good use in England, that I think it fits in really nicely with Albert.

Boy
(1) Ambrose
Maybe following Albert with another A name won’t be their favorite idea? But since they have Aloysius on their list I thought Ambrose was a good one. It’s been on our list for a long time, and I’ve come up with a few nicknames that I love for it: Sam, Bram, and Brody (especially with a D middle name, like Ambrose Dominic).

(2) Leo
Leo has a similar feel to Jude—short, punchy, and totally Catholic, like Pope St. Leo the Great. There are a bunch of Leos in my family, and the older generations go by Lee.

(3) Stanislaus
I’m living a bit vicariously through this suggestion! I love St. John Paul II and one of my favorite stories had to do with how he defied the Communist government with the help of St. Stanislaus—I shared it here. I’ve wanted to get on board with Stanislaus for one of our boys, but so far no luck! Stan is a natural nickname and has that friendly, old-timey feel of Albie (and funny enough, my not-really-namey husband has been telling me recently he likes the nickname Stan!).

(4) Gerard
I love St. Gerard Majella—he’s an invaluable help to expectant mothers and those whose babies are already born! I was thinking about how important nicknames are to Rachel and her hubs, and the ones I’ve suggested in the past for Gerard are Ged and even Jedi for the Star Wars inclined! But I was thinking … what about Jude? As a nickname for Gerard? That way they’d have a given name that was a natural fit as a brother to Albert, and a cool, equally saintly nickname. It might also provide a really natural “bridge” into other naming styles—Jude would help make Chiara/Zelie/Gianna a little less jarring I think (not that it matters what others think, of course!).

(5) Benedict
Up until 1968 Benedict stayed in the top 1000 but never got higher than 447 (1914) and dropped off completely after that, so I can’t even say it’s got a similar popularity arc as Albert, but it definitely has an old-school feel while still being able to hang out with the 21st century kids because of Pope Benedict and Benedict Cumberbatch. The nickname Ben has always struck me as friendly and easy, and Benny is also really sweet. I’ve also heard Ned for it, and I’ve often thought Bede could work for it too (another twofer! Two saints in one!).

(6) Louis
Not only have Louis and Albert followed a similar popularity arc, but—like with Benedict—Louis has a modern Catholic feel because of St. Louis Martin, St. Zelie’s husband. Maybe the connection between them would knock Zelie off their list for the future? Or maybe, like with this mom, they would like it!

(7) Blaise
Finally, Blaise was included in the Saints list in the BNW—a list at the back of the book that focuses on more unusual/exotic/surprising names like Aloysius, Chiara, Philomena, and Faustina—and as soon as I saw it I wanted to suggest it for this family because of their science/medicine connection! St. Blaise of the throat blessings was a physician—described as a “Healer of men and animals” on CatholicSaints.info—and Blaise Pascal is familiar enough to people I think that he automatically adds a math and sciences feel to the name.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Albie’s little brother or sister?

Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby name consultation: Twin baby miracle girls!

I have such a fun consultation to share with you all today! Kristin and her husband are expecting twin girls!

Kristin writes,

After 9 years of marriage, infertility, and countless prayers & tears, my husband and I are finally expecting! Not just expecting, it’s twin girls! They will be here shortly after our 10th anniversary March. God is so good!!!!

You guys! What a story! 😍😍😍

Throughout our infertility and this pregnancy, we pray to St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I was convinced I was having a boy, so we thought to name him Elliott Gerard. Now that it’s two girls, we just don’t know what to do.

We don’t want our twins to have matching names, but rather names that go together well. We’d prefer not to have the same initials or rhyming. We both like more traditional names that are less common. Old fashioned names are great.

Our last name is Pelletier (Pell-let-ee-ay) and my husband is half French, half Italian. His first name is Olivier (Olive-ee-ay) so from growing up with his name he has two criteria: shorter names & nothing that rhymes.

We’d like to pull in his heritage with international names, but don’t want anything that is too difficult for American speakers. We considered Amelie, but after mentioning it to a number of people there were a lot of mispronunciations, usually Amelia. It’s somewhat on the table, but simple is best.

Names that work well in both English & French are nice to have, but not a hard requirement. From that we really like the name Alice. I like Alice Elizabeth, but her monogram would be APE so that’s out 🙂

On the Catholic side, we’d love to have a saint for each girl either in her first or middle name. We have lots of saints that have been a part of our prayers, but aren’t sure how to incorporate them [the above named St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as well as] St. Andrew and St. Faustina.

We currently love St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Clare of Assisi as such strong women that fiercely followed their faith. We also like St. Francis (although it’s not my favorite name) and St. Clare, representing the strong bond that they shared. St. Cecelia has also been popping up in discussions – she is my grandmother’s namesake … We’re open to nicknames/shortened versions of saints if you know of any!

As for names and combos they’re considering:

We’ve been tossing around Alice Frances and Eloise Claire, but they don’t feel ‘perfect’.

Other names we like are Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, and Felicity.”

There are so many things about all this that I love! Two girls to name! French and Italian names! Saints’ names! Less common+traditional, old fashioned, short versions of saints’ names or nicknames! A great list of ideas!

Alright, so for my own mental organization I first condensed all Kristin and Olivier’s thoughts/criteria thusly:

  • Shorter, simple names (but with meaning) and no rhyming, different initials (and none that spell something like APE), no matching (but want names that go together), old fashioned is great
  • Elliott Gerard was their boy pick (so awesome)
  • French and/or Italian names would be nice (hubs’ heritage), but nothing too difficult (e.g., Amelie)
  • Names that work in both English and French would be nice
  • Current list includes Alice Frances and Eloise Claire as well as Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, Felicity
  • Saint for either first or middle (St. Andrew, St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi [and her friendship with St. Francis], St. Cecilia)
  • Open to nicknames/variants of saints’ names

Alright! I also just have to start by saying that I love Amelie! I know not everyone gets it, but I’ve long loved it, and we know a family at church with an Amelie—I love hearing it! I also think that if they end up going with Alice Frances and Eloise Claire—or any of the names on their list, really—I wouldn’t be at all disappointed and I can’t imagine Kristin and her hubs would be either. Such a great list!

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It was really fun to do so for these babies, since Kristin and her hubs’taste is really consistent! I also combed my own mental files for ideas, and based on all that, I came up with these:

(1) Elise
This is the first of several ideas I have regarding variants of saints’ names. Elise is so similar to Alice, but it’s a French short form of Elizabeth, so it gets the St. Elizabeth connection in there, as well as being a short, French name that I think is pretty easy to work with/pronounce. Elise Frances would be a lovely alternative to Alice Frances.

(2) Cate
Like Elise instead of Elizabeth, Cate instead of Catherine could be the answer to naming a baby after St. Catherine of Siena without using the long Catherine.

(2) Louise
I had thought that Eloise was a variant of Louise, but I looked it up and it seems that’s not correct (though Louise is sometimes thought to be related). But I love Louise on its own because it’s (1) French, and (2) a variant of Louis, which could be a nice nod to any of the Sts. Louis, but I was specifically thinking of St. Louis Martin because he’s French! Haha! There are certainly other Sts. Louis, and Bl. Louise de Marillac is a great option as well.

(3) Lucy or Lucie
How sweet is Lucy?! It’s a style match for Alice and Nora, and I posted a birth announcement not too long ago for a little one named Lucie—that spelling, because it’s the French spelling.

(4) Rosalie
This was another name inspired by one of the names on their list (Rose). I think it’s my current favorite Rose name, but for I love it for this family because it’s the French form of Rosalia! It’s a bit longer than Rose, maybe a bit too long for their taste, but it’s so pretty I had to include it.

(5) Sophie
I think Sophie hits so many of their requirements: short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning (wisdom), and Sophie’s the French form of Sophia. There’s also the French saint, Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was known as Sophie (St. Sophie’s Day in France is in her honor) and—so fun!—the Sophie the Giraffe teether was named after that same saint!  Sophie can also be considered Marian since one of Our Lady’s titles is “Seat of Wisdom.”

(6) Grace
Along the same lines as Sophie (short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning) is Grace, which is a style match for Alice, Rose, and Claire. Also, like Sophie, Grace can be a Marian name, after Our Lady of Grace.

(7) Annabel(le)
Speaking of Marian names, I know Annabelle is long, but it was such a great match for them per the BNW and one of my very favorites that I had to suggest it! I’ve recently become aware of the fact that Annabel is considered to be a variant of Amabel, which arose in Scotland in the Middle Ages. Amabel is a variant of Amabilis, which means “lovable” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (“Mother Most Amiable,” where amiable=lovable). What a beautiful and unexpected Marian name! For this family, I thought the Annabelle spelling was best, since it makes it more French.

(8) Juliet(te)
Speaking of great matches for them—Juliet is a grand slam! It’s a style match for Elliott, Claire, Camille, and Felicity (as well as Annabelle, which is how I was able to determine that Annabelle would be great for them). Can you believe it?! I love the name Juliet, and spotlighted it recently to pull out the faith connections. The Juliet spelling can fit into their “short, simple” requirement I think, but the Juliette spelling is more French.

(9) Maylis
This is also based on a name from Kristin’s list: Mae. Maylis is a French name with a pretty straightforward spelling and pronunciation; it’s the name of a town in southern France that behindthename says is possibly derived from “mother” + “lys” (French for lily) and is also sometimes considered a contraction of Marie + lys, both of which point to Our Lady, so beautiful!

(10) Ruby, Pearl
Ruby’s a style match for Rose, Violet, and Alice; Pearl’s a match for Rose and Mae. They’re both short, simple, and old fashioned, and they can both have great faith connections—I spotlighted Ruby here and Pearl here with a follow up here. I like them each on their own, and I *might* even like them as names for twin sisters, but that’s probably too matchy for Kristin and her hubs. No worries—I have a few ideas of how to pair up some of the names I suggested (below)!

So I had a lot of fun trying to come up with name pairs that I thought were great names for twin sisters that fit the criteria and tie in the saints Kristin and her hubs love! I was toying around with middle names, but they were really my secondary concern—I just wanted to give an idea of how I could see the first names pairing up with middle names that include all the criteria.

Elise Majella/Maiella and Rosalie Chiara—I focused a lot on coming up with French names in my suggestions above, since Kristin said they’d really like names that work in both English and French, but I didn’t forget that her husband is also Italian. It could be really fun to do Italian middle names that nod to their saints … Majella is for St. Gerard of course, or they could do Maiella, which was St. Gerard’s actual last name (given that he was Italian; Majella is the Anglicization of it). Chiara is for St. Clare of Assisi—since she too was Italian, her actual name was Chiara (Clare is an Anglicization of it). I love Elise and Rosalie together—they’re both elegant and French; they both point to important saints for this family (St. Elizabeth, and the Rose names always point to Our Lady in my mind); and they could even take the sweet nicknames Ellie and Rose/Rosie. I like the shorter Elise paired with the longer Majella/Maiella and the longer Rosalie paired with the shorter Chiara.

Sophie Majella/Maiella and Grace Perpetua—I like Sophie and Grace together a lot, since they’re both virtue names and can both refer to Our Lady. Majella/Maiella for St. Gerard, and Perpetua can be specifically for Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Clara/Clare and Lucy; Claire and Lucie … Claire Majella and Lucie Frances—I think the Clare names pair well with Lucy. I like the French-ness of the spellings Claire and Lucie, but the other spellings are great too. I also like the idea of Claire’s twin having Frances as a middle name (or even Francesca? To get some Italian in there?).

Elise Majella and Louise Perpetua—this is closest to their Alice and Eloise idea, just sort of with a twist. I might normally think that they’re a little too matchy because of having the same ending spelling-wise, but since they’re said differently (at least the way I say them: eh-LEES and loo-EEZ) I think they’re okay. I’m a big nicknamer and could see Elise and Louise going by Ellie and Lucy, cute!

Cate Cecilia and Lucy Faustina … or Cate Amelie and Lucy Faustine—I know that Catherine is too long for the, but they could totally bestow Cate as a full name (I chose the C spelling to specifically refer to St. Catherine of Siena; they could be even more specific with the first+middle combo Cate Siena … Lucy Majella could be a nice match for that), and I love Cate and Lucy as sisters. So sweet! In my second set there, I changed Faustina to Faustine to match the French Amelie.

Juliet and Annabel; Juliette and Annabelle … maybe Juliet(te) Frances and Annabel(le) Claire?—I know they’re too long, but I just love seeing them written out. 🙂

Lucy and Nora

Nora and Cate

Cate and Rose

Camille and Juliette

Amelie and Maylis

Felicity and Rosalie

Violet and Juliet (too matchy?)

Catherine and Elisabeth (I couldn’t resist! Catherine is the French spelling of the name, and Elisabeth is a French spelling … I know they’re too long for them, but I love seeing them together! Nicknames could be Cate and Ellie … Cate and Lily [Lily is a nickname for Elisabeth/Elizabeth] … Cat and Bess … so many options!)

Another thought that might be helpful in trying to work in as many of their special saints as possible is that St. Gerard was a Redemptorist, and the Redemptorists were instructed by Pope Pius IX to “make [Our Lady of Perpetual Help] known” (the Redemptorists actually just celebrated their 150th anniversary of being given that task) … so I could see a name connected to St. Gerard also sort of being a nod to OL of Perpetual Help and vice versa.

Other ideas that might be helpful for middle names (or even first names) are: Franca and Francesca are both Italian forms of Frances; Cecile, Cecily, and Cicely are all variants of Cecilia; Siena and Assisi could both make interesting middle names that nod specifically to saints that are special to Kristin and her hubs.

Whew! Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these sweet little baby girls?

Birth announcement: Genevieve Guadalupe!

Back on the Advent names post, reader Mary commented,

I am due on the 10th and while we have names on our mind, I LOOOOVE the idea of incorporating Advent traditional themes into their names.🙂 So I will have to keep brainstorming, I guess.😉

I always get so excited to hear of an upcoming birth! I told Mary I’d love to know what she ended up naming her baby, if she didn’t mind sharing. She didn’t mind! 🙌 She emailed me the other day to let me know her little one has arrived — a little girl who’s been given the gorgeous name … Genevieve Guadalupe!

Mary writes,

Happy New Year! I hope this message finds you and your family well and blessed! A few weeks ago you shared a post on the blog on Advent Baby Names. I commented on the post that I was due December 10 with baby #2 (at the time gender was unknown) and that I loved the idea of an Advent-inspired name. We were blessed with the safe and quick(!) delivery of a baby girl on Tuesday, December 13th and chose to name her Genevieve Guadalupe. Genevieve after my husband’s late grandmother. We were already set on Genevieve as a first name for a girl, but were pretty unsure about middle names. During the last part of our pregnancy we did a 54 day rosary novena which just so happened to end on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and one of our intentions was for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. We believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe definitely interceded for us (many blessings have been revealed during and after praying it) and wanted us to finish the novena before the baby was born! 🙂

What’s interesting is that the name was suggested by a couple family members, as a joke (we also joked that our baby’s name would depend on which saints’ feast day he/she was born on since there were so many that week!), but it really grew on us. Also, considering that we live in Texas, we felt that it was a perfect fit for our family and daughter!

Genevieve, nicknamed Gigi, joins big brother James Peter! 🙂 “

I looove Genevieve Guadalupe!! What a beautiful, meaningful combo!! I love how present Our Lady of Guadalupe was to Mary and her husband, and it’s so wonderful to memorialize her intercession in the very name of their baby girl. ❤ Also, I know Gigi can be a nickname for Genevieve anyway, but have G.G. initials makes it really fun!

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

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Genevieve Guadalupe

Baby name consultant: Rainbow baby needs a meaningful name

Today’s consultation is for a bilingual family living in Canada who are expecting their fifth baby — a little boy. The mama writes,

I am Belgian (francophone) and my husband is American (anglophone) and we live in Montreal, a very bilingual city. We might very well come back to the US eventually, but we need to consider that our kids could live in a French speaking society as well. We want our kids’ names to be written the same in both languages as much as possible (at least their first names), but we don’t mind if the pronunciation differs (so no Luc/Luke, but Colin was ok). We want them to have a clear patron saint.

[Because of our last name] I have a little problem with names ending in “elle” because of the repetition.

Our fourth baby died of SIDS last August and I have been toying with the idea of honoring him in our “rainbow” baby’s name. Maybe by including St.Gerard who allowed us to baptise Thomas 3 days before his unexpected death? Our 5th child is expected for early December.”

What a sadness this family has been through! I really like the idea of using a Saint’s name who had a special connection with the baby in heaven, and I have some other ideas how to connect to their little Thomas as well (below).

Their older kiddos’ names are:

Claire Marie-Therese
Vincent Nathaniel
Colin Matthew
Thomas Francis

I love each one! Such a handsome set of names!

The mama continues,

We’re not really excited by anything we’ve thought up yet, and I admit I actually have a hard time bonding with this new little one and spending time thinking about it. Maybe an awesome name will help! I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas!

I’m so happy we can help this mama by coming up with name ideas!

Alrighty, so jumping right in, you all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have 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 (according to the American naming landscape, which may not be so accurate for this family, but hopefully it’s helpful!), and I was somewhat surprised when I looked up Claire, Vincent, Colin, and Thomas, as there was more overlap than I expected! These parents have very consistent taste!

Okay! Between my research in the BNW and my own mental files, these are my ideas for this family’s new little guy:

(1) Blaise
My first few ideas are based on style matches for the other kids as listed in the BNW. Blaise is similar in style to Claire and Vincent, and it gets a good amount of love from families I hear from/talk to. And it’s a French name! I assume it’s pronounced the same in French and English?

(2) Julien
Julian did quite well for this family as well, being similar to Claire and Vincent. It’s a great name for a boy, and I think it would fit in well with the other kids. I assume they’d prefer the French spelling Julien?

(3) Grant
I was surprised by Grant! It’s a match for Claire and Vincent, and I was thinking that, if Mom and Dad liked it, they could attach a meaning to it that would be quite appropriate for them, and could be a nod to their Thomas. One possibility might be in Job 6:8, when he says, “Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant what I long for” (which is consolation in knowing he never disobeyed or disrespected God, even though he went through “unremitting pain”). Another is the beginning of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I think both speak in a gentle and wonderful way to the sadness of losing their Thomas.

(4) Tristan
Tristan was another match for them (Vincent, Claire) that I thought might be nice as a nod to Thomas because of starting with the same first letter—some families honor others this way. Then I remembered that its meaning is often associated with sadness, which could be perfect, or maybe falls too much into the “burdensome for the new baby to bear” category. I am loving Tristan Gerard.

(5) Bennett
My last idea for this family is Bennett. It’s a variant of Benedict (Benedict seemed a bit too heavy for them I thought), which means “blessed” — a lovely meaning for a rainbow baby. It’s also a style match for Claire!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? Given these parents’ older kiddos’ great names, and the loss of their little Thomas, what would you suggest for their little boy?

Baby name consultant: French-ish for girls, classic for boys, no ending in long E

Lauren and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! Their older kiddos are:

Michael Douglas (“my husband is Michael and my father is Douglas“)
Annabelle Grace (“after my great grandmother“)
John Walter (“goes by Jack, my grandfather’s name is Walter“)

I loooove these names!! The boys are so strong and handsome, and Annabelle is a huge favorite of mine!

Lauren writes,

So I guess our trend has been strong(ish) family Catholic names? Jack is a bit of an outlier in terms of the length of his name because we still call Michael and Annabelle by their full names.

In terms of restrictions … names that end in a long E are pretty much out [because of having a last name that ends in the same sound]. For example, Betty or the like 🙂 I’m still a little torn on nicknames that end in that sound, because once in awhile a family member will call Michael Mikey or Annabelle Annie and they don’t say them with their last name, and it’s fine.  Otherwise we are pretty open!

Names they’ve considered for a girl include:

Mary Christine (“I’d like to use Christine, my mother’s name as a middle name — and I think I would consistently call her Mary Christine and not shorten it“)
Bernadette Christine

And for a boy:

Peter Charles (“Peter is my great-grandfather’s name“)
Benedict Something (“my husband likes Benedict but I’m not sure it fits with our current names“)
Francis (“I like — but would most likely call him Frankie, and there is the long E again. And my husband is not a huge fan“)

Additionally:

Other family names for consideration include: George, William, Joseph, Fredrick, Agnes, Rose, Katherine, Patricia, Evelyn

As far as heritage, we are mainly German and Polish but my husband’s grandfather is from Syria

I actually found this to be really challenging consultation because Lauren and her hubs have such great ideas already! 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 that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, so when I looked up the names Lauren and her hubs like I focused only on Michael, Annabelle, John, Jack, Christine, Bernadette, Peter, Benedict, and Francis and didn’t look up the other family names they listed for consideration (George, William, etc.) … but then when I was making my list of ideas for them, I had Katherine and Patricia as two of my girl suggestions—and then I saw they were already on their family names list! So I found it a challenge to come up with *new* ideas!

Before I get to the ideas I did end up with, I first want to say how much I like Mary Christine, and I wondered if they’d considered using just Christine as the first name? I would be excited to see it as a first name, as it’s really unusual these days and it’s one of my favorite of the Christ- names, so elegant and lovely.

Bernadette I love as well, but I wondered if they would agree with me that using Bernadette or Benedict now would knock the other out for the future? They seem similar enough to me in sound and appearance that brother and sister Benedict and Bernadette seem a bit much. But I do love Benedict as well, both the name and especially our Pope Emeritus. I find it’s a bit tricky to find middle names for it, as most parents find they want to avoid initials BJ, BM, and BF, but Benedict Charles would be quite handsome, as would Benedict George (and George could be a nod to Pope Francis, as his birth name is Jorge [=George] — two popes in one!), and I think something like Benedict Leo and Benedict Henry would be great as well.

Peter Charles is wonderful, just a great combination. And Francis is great, and Frankie is so cute.

Okay! Onto my new ideas/suggestions:

Girl
(1) Rosemary, Rosemarie, Rosalie, Rosamond
Rosemary is a style match for Bernadette and Rosamond for Benedict, and with Rose already on their list of family names for consideration, I thought names like these made sense to suggest. I know Rosemary, Rosemarie, and Rosalie all end in the long E sound, but I’ve said them all over and over again with their last name, and I don’t mind them at all. Maybe because they’re longer than a nickname? Rosie LastName has the sound they don’t care for I think, but the longer versions are lovely. And Rosamond gets away from that altogether. Rose can easily be the nickname for each of these, which also avoids the rhymey endings.

(2) Juliet
Annabelle seems to be a bit of an outlier style-wise—all the other names they’ve got on their list are basically swirling around the same area, but Annabelle has a little pop of color that I just love. Juliet is a style match for it, which is one of my favorite names, and when I saw that Julia is a style match for John, I thought that gave me enough permission to suggest Juliet to Lauren and her hubs. I spotlighted Juliet here.

(3) Teresa, Theresa, Therese
Teresa’s a style match for Christine, Theresa’s a match for Peter, and Therese is a match for Bernadette! Each has its merits (how great for a little girl to be named after Mother Teresa during the very autumn that she was canonized! And of course St. Therese — all the roses! And Theresa can be for either of them); all can take the nicknames Tess or Tessa, which I think would be really great for this family, especially for a sister for John-who-always-goes-by-Jack. (For more on T(h)erese see my Sibling Project page.)

(4) Evangeline or Genevieve
These two were actually style matches for both Annabelle and Benedict! They’re both gorgeous names, and I’m listing them together because they’re sort of a one-or-the-other proposition, since they both have strong E and V sounds. They both can take the nicknames Evie and Vivi, which I assume they wouldn’t like with their last name, but Genevieve could also be Gen, Genna, or Vieve.

Boy
(1) Bennett
I was really excited about Bennett for this family! I’d scribbled it down for them when I first read Lauren’s email and saw that she’s not sure about Benedict, because Bennett’s a medieval diminutive of Benedict and it can be a bit easier to deal with than Benedict for many—not quite as heavy, but retaining the same holy connections (though not as obviously). And then I discovered it’s a style match for Annabelle! Woo!

(2) Thomas
Thomas is just a solid, classic name, and though all those solid, classic boys’ names can be considered similar to each other, Thomas was particularly listed as similar to Michael, John, and Peter. And not that they asked for middle name ideas, but I’m loving the idea of Thomas Benedict. 🙂

(3) Stephen
Stephen is a style match for Michael, Peter, and Christine, and I’ve been hearing it here and there on little boys recently, and I’m always pleasantly surprised. Both my 8yo and 4yo have best friends named Stephen, and both go by the full Stephen. Danielle Bean, editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest, has a son named Stephen Matthias, which is such a swoony combo!

(4) Philip
My last idea is Philip—it’s a style match for both Bernadette and Peter, and the full Philip is one of my favorites. I know some people have trouble with nicknames, because Phil is hard to picture on a little guy, but I’ve been suggesting Finn as a possible nickname for Philip recently, which I love, especially paired with an N middle name (I love the idea of the first+middle combo Philip Neri with the nickname Finn!). If they’re worried about a P given name with an F nickname, there’s precedence in Julia Roberts’ son Phinnaeus going by Finn. (I’ve also been suggesting Finn as a nickname for Francis, if they want to consider that.)

And those are my ideas for Lauren and her husband! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Michael, Annabelle, and Jack?

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?