Baby name consultation: “Light,” “mercy” good meanings for baby no. 5, plus some other rules

Happy New Year!! I hope you all saw my Year In Review post yesterday — so many thanks to all of you for a wonderful 2017!!

Erin and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — a little green bean! This little one joins big sibs:

Caleb Michael
David Joseph
Isaac Matthew
Lucilia Faustina

I really love these names! Old Testament names are some of my favorites, and brothers Caleb, David, and Isaac are just so pleasing! As for Lucilia — how pretty! How unusual! So unusual, in fact, that I’ve never heard it before!

Erin writes,

Names we have considered for this baby:
Eloise or Eloisa Josephine, Magdalene/Magdalena– We like Eloise right now but I’m starting to have second thoughts. Not really sure why. Maybe not girly enough? My husband likes Josephine because he wants to honor his sisters Jean and Steph and he thinks this name works. And I’m not opposed to it.

Jude, Francis, Blaise (Probably leaning towards Francis for middle name). We love the name Jude. However, I don’t like its only one syllable. I would prefer 2 or more for a first name. We both like Blaise but it feels a little too unique for us.

Names on our no list:
Margaret, James, Theresa, Rosemary, no direct family names (Francis is ok), Sara, Jenna, Alicia, Alana, Louisa (we think its too close to Lucy), Heather, Paula, Dianna

People to honor:
Girls maybe a something honoring both Ellen and Evelyn without using either name or Jean and Steph again without using their actual name. I also am growing closer to St. Therese but my husband works with many Terry’s so he says that is out as a possibility.

Any saints or biblical characters. I am particularly connected with Light in particular. I love to say let your light shine or be the light as it means a lot to me. Which is why we decided on Lucilia (Loo-seal-ya). We didn’t like Lucille because it seemed too old and not feminine enough. Also strong devotion to Divine Mercy.

Requirements: Prefer 2 or more syllables (more than 4 letters). Girl I want something very feminine. Either ending in -a, -lyn- ette preferred. I think.
Saint or bible related. We like vintage names. Unique but not too bold. We like Ignatius and Blaise but we are afraid they are too bold. Oh and pronounciation can’t be too difficult. My husband wants Blaise to be pronounced Blay-ce not Blaze. Oh and nicknames. We are big on nicknames. We have Ca, D, Ike/Ikie, and Lu or Lulu. So preferrably names that we can shorten the beginning of to have a nickname. (This is our issue with Magdalene because although tons of nickname possibilities we’d probably end up nicknaming Mags and I don’t like Maggie/Mag etc) We are leaning towards Josephine for girl middle name and Francis for a boy.

Family names:
Evelyn Gerada
David Lee
James
Jerry/Gerald
Scott Michael
Andy Thomas
Chad Garette
Valerie Nicole
MaryAnn Elizabeth
Lyle Francis
Pam
Jennifer
Steve
Ellen Jean
Michael Ralph
Jean Elizabeth
Stephanie Ann
Nataniel/Nat
Noah
Jenny
Grayson
Olivia
Owen
Zach
Tyler
Dennis
Molly
Brian
Amy
Ava
Maxwell
Adam
Lauren

I had fun working on this! Eloise, Eloisa, Magdalene, and Magdalena are all lovely. I’m also really interested in Josephine to honor Jean and Steph! That’s pretty clever! Because they used Joseph for David’s middle name, I thought I’d give some thought to some other possibilities to honor Jean and Steph (I assume Steph is Stephanie?), and came up with Jeanie (the “anie” from Stephanie), Phoebe (a stretch, visually, but I thought it could be for the “ph” in Steph plus the long E sound in Jean plus and ending all her own, resulting in a biblical name), and Fiona (similar to Phoebe with the “ph” sound from Steph and the long E sound from Jean; Fiona was a style match for Jude, which is what put it on my radar. But it’s not a saint’s name as far as I know). But I love Josephine too.

Ooh wait a minute, maybe Photine/Photini could be perfect! It’s the name traditionally given to the Samaritan woman (John 4:7), it means “light” (!!), and the “Ph” could be for Steph and the “ine/ini” (which I believe is said “eenie” in Greek) could be for Jean because of the long E? I know it’s unusual, but in the middle name spot anything goes!

Jude, Francis, and Blaise are great names for boys too! Regarding Jude being only one syllable, I had two ideas. One is that I’ve seen Jude used as a nickname for Julian, so that’s a possibility; the other is to use Judah, which is a great style match for Caleb, David, and Isaac. Or, I wonder what they would think of switching Jude to a girl and using it as a nickname for Judith?

Also, I know Erin said she prefers names with more than four letters, but since Blaise is only one syllable, I wonder what they’d think of Boaz? Blaise and Boaz are kind of similar in that they start with B and end with the Z sound (I do think Erin’s husband’s preference for “blayce” is an uphill battle, and I love the “blaze” pronunciation for them anyway because of the light connection!), and Boaz is Old Testament like their other boys. It was high on my list of suggestions for Erin and her hubs until I remembered they don’t want four-letter names! Also, Lucilia was given to only 11 girls in 2016, while Blaise was given to 236 boys and it was in the top 1000 (no. 903), so it’s definitely not too unique for them! AND — I was just researching St. Therese a little, specifically because Erin said she’s growing closer to her, and I discovered that she was born on Rue Saint-Blaise! Wow! That could be a really neat way to nod to St. Therese with a boy’s name!

I also really tried to think of a good way to honor Ellen and Evelyn — I kept feeling like the perfect answer was within reach, I just hadn’t found it yet, but I never did end up feeling like I’d found it. For what it’s worth, the ones I scribbled down were Evangeline, Elena, and Avila.

As for St. Therese, I was immediately like, “Tess is the perfect answer!” and then I remembered again the four letter thing. But a few thoughts here: One is, it’s strange to me that Terry would turn Erin’s husband off of Therese — these days, I’d be shocked if anyone defaulted to Terry upon meeting a Therese. Terry’s definitely a nickname of the past, and I don’t believe it’s ready for revival just yet — I think it still feels pretty dated to most of today’s parents. Today’s Therese/Teresa nickname is Tess, which would be so great for this family! Secondly, if Erin’s husband just won’t go for Therese but they like the Tess idea, maybe they could do something like Marie-Tess? Marie is actually Erin’s middle name, so it would be a really nice nod to her, and also — St. Therese was Marie-Therese! Thirdly, what about Tessa as a given name? It’s such a sweet name, it’s more than one syllable and more than four letters; this post gives a lot more great info.

Regarding nicknames for Magdalene/a, I do get it that if they prefer to just use the beginning sound of a name as a nickname and they don’t like Mags/Maggie, then Magdalene/a would be difficult for them. But there are other nicknames they could consider, like Mae, Maddie, Magda, or Lena (though that’s using the end of the name, which I’m guessing they don’t want to do). Or maybe Meg? Maybe it’s different enough from Mag that Erin and her hubs would be okay with it? If Margaret can be Meg, than I think Magdalene could too.

Okay! On to my suggestions! You all know that I always start a 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 did so for this family, looking up Caleb, David, Isaac, Lucia and Lucy as stand-ins for Lucilia (I thought the matches for Lucy and Lucia seemed closer to what I perceive their style to be than the matches for Lucille), Eloise, Jude, Francis, and Blaise, and since Magdalene/a doesn’t have its own entry, I looked it up in the Name Matchmaker. Based on the results of all that, and my own ideas, these are my ideas:

Girl
(1) Clara, Claret (Clarette? Clairvaux?)
When I read Erin’s email and saw that she has a connection with light, I immediately thought of the Clare family of names. Clare comes from the Latin for “clear, bright,” which, while not exactly “light,” is close enough! In fact, this mama named her daughter Claire (the French spelling) because of its connection to light. Because Erin doesn’t care for one-syllable names, I thought Clara was an easy fix. If they wanted to be a bit more unusual, I also thought of Claret, as in St. Anthony Mary Claret, which made me think of Clarette, which I think I like even better for this family. It has the -ette ending Erin said she might like. Or Clairvaux! We see it a bit here on the blog (Lindsay’s girl and Amy’s girl), and I wasn’t sure if it had the “light, bright” meaning, but the Wiki entry for Clairvaux Abbey in France said its Latin name is Clara Vallis, which translates as “clear valley,” so I do think the Clair part is synonymous with the Clare family of names. Clare and Clair(e) are easy nicknames for Claret(te) and Clairvaux, like their other kids’ nicknames.

(2) Clementine
I had scribbled Clementine down for Erin before I did any research, because of her love of Divine Mercy. “Clement” means “merciful,” and Clementine is a style match for both Eloise and Magdalene! Clem and Clemmie are cute nicknames too.

(3) Mercy, Mercedes
These were also inspired by Erin’s devotion to the Divine Mercy. During the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I saw both of these names considered by families, and I think they could both be beautiful for this family! And in fact, Mercedes is a style match for Magdalena.

(4) Faith
Mercy made me think of other virtue-type names, especially those with a Puritan-type feel, as I think the Old Testament names of their boys fit in well with that style and I could see Lucilia doing so as well. Faith is actually a style match for Caleb, so I thought it needed a spot on this list! (And this just made me think of an addition to the Clara entry above: Clarity!)

(5) Estelle, Estella
Estelle is a match for Magdalene and Estella for one of Eloise’s matches, and since it means “star,” I thought it was a nice tie-in to Erin’s love of light-meaning names. It can also be Marian, for Our Lady Star of the Sea!

Boy
(1) Gabriel
Erin’s due in March, so I love the idea of Gabriel for this baby because the feast of the Annunciation is March 25! Gabriel’s also a style match for Caleb and Isaac, and he’s mentioned in both the Old Testament (Daniel 8:16) and the New (Luke), so it would be a good pick if they didn’t want to feel locked in to Old Testament boy names going forward.

(2) John Paul (John-Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul)
John Paul is inspired mostly by Erin’s devotion to Divine Mercy — I went to a Catholic Women’s conference in October, and Fr. Gaitley was the keynote speaker (the 33 Days to Morning Glory guy), and he spoke all about how amazing Poland is in salvation history, and of course St. John Paul the Great is one of the reasons. He spoke about how, when JP2 was cardinal, he worked on getting a better translation of St. Faustina’s Diary (because the previous one was full of translational errors that caused it to be temporarily banned by the Vatican). Then of course he canonized St. Faustina, and instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, even dying the evening before it, after the Vigil Mass was celebrated. He is a huge Divine Mercy guy! And the fact that his papal name involves two biblical boy names, and that each one on its own would break Erin’s rules but together they’re okay, is pretty amazing.

(3) Jonas, Jonah
Jonas is simply the Greek form of Jonah, and it was listed as a style match for both Caleb and Lucia (standing in for Lucilia), so I definitely had to include it! I like what the BNW has to say about it: “Jonah is the form of this name that you’ll hear most often today, but the Greek Jonas has historically been the preferred English version. That gives Jonas a double punch: it’s less common and has a throwback pioneer style.” Although, I think Jonah Francis sounds better than Jonas Francis.

(4) Tobias, Tobiah, Tobit
Like Caleb and Isaac, Tobias has a heavy Old Testament feel (David has been so historically popular that I feel like it doesn’t come across as super biblical to many people), and like Jonas/Jonah, Tobias is the Greek form of Tobiah. I love that Tobias/Tobiah is a character in the Book of Tobit, which was removed from Protestant bibles after the Reformation, so it’s a rare bird: heavy-duty Old Testament as well as (within Christian circles) sort of specifically Catholic. I also like the name Tobit itself. Tobiah Francis and Tobit Francis both flow well.

(5) Abram, Abel
This last idea is mostly inspired by the nickname Abe, which I think is one of the best. I considered suggesting Abraham, but I like the shorter Abram better with Caleb, David, and Isaac — especially with Isaac. Or maybe Abram is even too much as a brother to Isaac? If so, I wonder what they would think of Abel? But it’s four letters! Gah! Maybe Abram *is* the better option?

And those are all my ideas for Erin and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Caleb, David, Isaac, and Lucilia?

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Birth announcement: Zelie Grace!

Our girl Jenny Uebbing had her baby!! I posted a consultation for her less than a month ago, and she’s let me know that her little green bean turned out to be a Little Miss whose been given the gorgeous name … Zelie Grace!

Jenny writes,

I know you probably saw on social media but wanted to tell you that Zelie Grace arrived yesterday at 5:10 am on the feast of St Thomas Becket and King David, a cool coincidence for her daddy, David, the chancellor.

We named her something else, called her that for the first few scary minutes of her life (very blue high altitude baby) and so I started praying for the intercession of St Zelie Martin who lost so many of her own babies. I didn’t think we were going to lose her, but I did think she was going to need to go to the NICU. Happily she perked up and has been doing great ever since. Her birth was so different and so much more peaceful than her older siblings’ were that at once point Dave leaned over and said ‘if she’s a girl, grace should be part of her name, because there’s so much if it here.’ So there you have it, Zelie (zay-lee) Grace Uebbing. 7 lbs 11 oz and sweet as can be.”

I’m so happy for Jenny!! I know the end of her pregnancy was tough (I just about died when I read her description on Instagram of her Christmas Eve, when she thought she might be in labor: “Santa may or may not be upstairs barfing and Mrs Claus is hunched over her contraction timer app”), so for her to say this birth was so much more peaceful than her others is such a gift. And the fact that, in the first consultation I did for her (for the baby before this one), she’d said about the name Zelie:

Dave will never let me get away with this one but I’ve loved it for years … And yes, I’m aware there is going to be a Catholic ghetto baby boom of little Z’s running around as a result [of St. Zelie’s canonization]. But I still love.”

Dreams do come true! ❤

Congratulations to Jenny and Dave and big sibs Joseph, John Paul, Genevieve, and Luke, and happy birthday Baby Zelie!!

Zelie Grace with Mom, Dad, and big brother

(Be sure to check out Jenny’s Instagram for more yummy baby pics!)

Baby name consultation: Help needed to continue the French+family theme

Lisa and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and second boy! Little Mister joins big sibs:

Eliette Clare nn Elie or E Clare (“after my French maternal grandmother Eliette, and Clare because my husband proposed on St. Clare’s feast day“)

Margot Kateri nn Maggie (“after my husband’s paternal grandmother and St. Kateri“)

Quentin Louis nn Q (“for the “fifth” member of our family, and Louis for my husband’s maternal grandfather and St. Louis de Monfort“)

I LOVE THESE NAMES! How pretty is Eliette?? The boy name Elliott has been getting some recent play for girls, but Eliette is so lovely and feminine! And the fact that it’s Lisa’s grandmother’s name is amazing! I had to look it up to see what its derivation is, and behindthename has it basically as a feminization of Elijah (which Elliott is derived from as well) — SO cool! Eliette has officially become one of my new favorite names!

Margot Kateri and Quentin Louis are also both amazing! Lisa and her hubby did an amazing job!

Lisa writes,

We’ve tried to include names honoring our family and/or saints. We tend towards a French theme (my French grandmother was the matriarch of my maternal family until her passing). We also like unique names, and with this one, I’m all about fun nicknames. But, with this babe, we’ve struggled finding a name that grabs us. We were trying to find a family name on my dad’s side, but there aren’t any that we like. We’re at such a loss for a name this time, we’re willing to break from our French/family theme.”

Names they’re considering for this baby include:

Oscar (“hat tip to Bl. Oscar Romero”)
Samuel
Simeon
Henry
Milo (“likely as a middle name; I adore this name, after seeing one of your consultations, plus it was the name of one of my husband’s favorite bands. The huz isn’t sure we can pull it off as a first name“)
Xavier
Sebastian (“as a middle name, it sounds too heavy as a first name with our last name“)
Becket (“as a middle name, too similar to Bennett [see below] for a first name“)

Names that they can’t use include:

Bennett
Lucas
Anthony
Alexander
Declan
Paul
John
Phillip
Christopher
Dennis
Max
Wendell
Brannon
Isaac
Charles
Jude
Matthew
Raymond
Richard

And names they don’t like or don’t agree on include:

Bruno (“husband likes, but I don’t“)
Bernard (“husband likes, but I don’t“)
Dominic (“I like but my husband doesn’t“)
Jasper (“I like but my husband doesn’t“)
James, Gregory, Gilbert (“my paternal family names, but we’re not fans“)
Ian
Brian/Ryan
Stephen
Blaise
Francis
Martin
Peter
Thomas
Edward
Oliver
Daniel
David
Jack

Alrighty, so not only do I love all the names they’ve given to their older kiddos, but I love all the names on their list too. Oscar, Samuel, Simeon, Henry, Milo, Xavier, Sebastian, and Becket have each been on my own list at one time or another. I’m surprised that Lisa’s husband isn’t sure they can pull off Milo as a first name? I’m trying to figure out why, and I can’t! It’s been in the top 1000 almost every year since 1900, and is currently at no. 248 — a really great place to be in that it’s familiar but not overly common. Even then, it’s currently more popular than all of their other kiddos’ names: Eliette has never been in the top 1000, Margot is no. 433, and Quentin is no. 486. Popularity-wise, Milo is one of the best fits of all those on their list. Henry, Samuel, and Sebastian are top 25 names (though I think Sebastian specifically — maybe with the French spelling Sebastien? — would be great for them). Oscar’s a bit more popular than Milo, Xavier’s top 100, and Simeon and Becket aren’t in the top 1000. Not that any of this matters — if they like/don’t like a name, then they like/don’t like a name — but I often find it’s helpful to see where in the U.S. naming landscape the names parents are considering land, and also how they match up to the names they’ve already chosen.

Also, you all know that I always use the Baby Name Wizard when doing consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity; for Lisa and her hubs I also used the Name Matchmaker, and interestingly, Milo kept showing up as a style match for them! Not that I’m pushing Milo on them at all, I just want to reassure them that, as far as I can see, there isn’t any reason they can’t pull it off.

I was interested by their list of names they don’t like or don’t agree on —
Dominic and Blaise specifically were names I had on my final list of suggestions for them until I double checked it against Lisa’s email. Dominic because it’s a style match for them per my research and because they could use the nickname Nico, which I thought might fit their openness to fun nicknames for this baby; Blaise because it’s also a match for their style and it’s specifically French. But again, if Lisa and/or her husband don’t like them, they don’t like them! I was surprised by Bruno and Bernard on Mister’s list — those are some pretty old school names! I did try to take that sensibility into account when coming up with ideas, as well as Lisa’s taste of course.

I’m also sorry that their family names are problematic for them! Of James, Gregory, and Gilbert, I think James is the easiest one to figure out an acceptable way to use. Jacob is the Hebrew variant of James, and names like Jacoby and Jacobson could also be cool ways to work that in in a way they might like. Diego is a Spanish form of James, which actually showed up a lot in my research! I could see it being too much for a first name, but maybe as a middle? Jameson/Jamison, Jamie, Iago, and Seamus are all James variants as well, but I thought for Lisa and Paul the French variant would be best: Jacques. You can say it like ZHOCK, which is the authentic French pronunciation, but I’ve seen it said like JACKS and JAKES by Americans who have it as a surname. I probably wouldn’t recommend Jacques as a first name to them, but putting it in the middle would satisfy their desire for family + French names, and might hopefully also circumvent whatever it is about James that they don’t care for.

The only suggestion I have for Gregory is Gregor, which isn’t that different but is maybe different enough? (If they thought they might have more children in the future, Greer is a feminine variant of Gregory that I love, that I could see fitting in with their kiddos’ names!) And re: Gilbert, I love the nickname Gil, and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time over the years figuring out ways (besides Gilbert) of getting to Gil. If Lisa and her hubs like that idea (they seem to be open to crazy suggestions, which is fun for me!), my two main ideas are Gabriel with the nickname Gil, and Gideon + a middle name with a heavy L sound to lead to the nickname Gil. (Gilead also works, but I’m not sure that’s their style.) Both Gabriel and Gideon showed up in my research as matches for this family, but not as much as the names I’ve included on my final list below, so I’m happy to mention them here as possibilities. I especially like Gideon for them — maybe Gideon Samuel would make sense of Gil as a nickname? I like Milo too much as a first name idea for them to suggest Gideon Milo, though that could work too. Gideon Luke? Gideon Leo? This is assuming of course that the nickname Gil would be sufficient as a nod to their family member Gilbert …

Alright, based on all my research and my own namey mind, these are my ideas for Lisa and her hubs’ little guy:

(1) Tristan
I love Tristan for them! It’s actually an Old French name, and when I saw it in my research for them, I knew I had to include it. I’ve actually been loving it recently as a nod to Our Lady of Sorrows, since Tristan has a connection to the Latin for “sad.” That might not sound like a great meaning for a little guy, but Dolores is from the Spanish for Our Lady of Sorrows, so the idea is quite traditional. And Tristan is just such a cool name! I was trying to think of cool nicknames for it (Tris isn’t great, since there’s that girl character in Divergent named Beatrice/Tris), and I just recently got an email from a mama who wanted to share with me that one of her favorite names, which had been vetoed by her husband, was Tristan Peter, and that she’d intended the nickname Tripp! She loved it so much that she wanted me to know about it specifically so I could pass it on to any other family that might love the idea. So funny that I was in the middle of working on this for Lisa and already had Tristan on my list! Tripp is often used as a nickname for a Third (James III, that kind of thing), and I know another Third who has only ever been known as Tripper, which is also super cute. Since Lisa and her hubs used Quentin for the “fifth” member of their family, I thought they could think of Trip(per) as perfect for the “third” boy in their family! (Husband, Quentin, and new baby.) Any middle name with a strong P could work: Tristan Patrick, Tristan Jasper, Tristan Rupert.

(2) Tobias
Continuing with the T names, I really like Tobias for them as well. It doesn’t seem to have much French usage unfortunately, according to behindthename, but it was a style match for them nonetheless. I love that it comes from the book of Tobit in the bible, which isn’t included in Protestant bibles, so it has a little extra Catholic cred I think.

(3) Porter
Porter’s a name that I’ve never given much thought to until recently — our newly blessed Solanus Casey was a porter (the doorman at his monastery), and I suggested it here as a possibility for honoring him, so when I saw it in my research as a style match for this family, I was happy to include it! I looked it up on behindthename.com to find out more about it, and get this: it’s “ultimately from Old French porte ‘door’”!

(4) Roman, Remy
I love the name Roman, and I love it for this family. The French variant Romain is cool too, if they prefer. Cate Blanchett has a Roman, and so does blogger Kate Rhodes, both of whom are great examples of great naming. Roman also made me think of the name/nickname Remy, which I thought could be great for them too. Remy is a great French name! Such a cool name for a little guy! It’s a variant of Remigius, which is the name of several saints. One caveat is that I’ve seen some girls named Remy, but the Social Security stats show it’s almost twice as popular for boys as it is for girls.

remy

I recommended it to this family, who seems like they might have some overlap with Lisa and her hubs style-wise, and this family has a Remy, and Lisa might also like their style.

(5) Damien
Damian and Damien are both good matches for this family, but I love the French Damien for them, and also because it’s the spelling of St. Damien of Molokai, who’s awesome.

(6) Felix
Felix is a cool, saintly name that’s been getting increased usage among Catholic families recently (here and here, for two examples), and it’s a French name! I love the story of Felix and Elisabeth Leseur, and there are a bunch of Sts. Felix, including popes!

(7) Rocco
Finally, Rocco is a great connection between Lisa’s husband’s Bruno and Lisa’s Dominic, as it’s a style match for them both. There’s a St. Rocco who was a Frenchman — he’s also known as Roch and Rock — so that provides a cool connection for them and some fun nicknames.

And those are all my ideas for Lisa and her husband! What do all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Eliette, Margot, and Quentin?

Baby name consultation: Uebbing Baby Cinque/Cinq

I’m super excited to post today’s consultation!! Our girl Jenny Uebbing — so called because I had the privilege of doing a consultation for her when she was expecting her fourth baby, and then posting his birth announcement, and she interviewed me for this post on her blog Mama Needs Coffee over at the Catholic News Agency last spring — is expecting her fifth baby in only a few weeks, a little green bean (=gender unknown)!

This little bebe will join big sibs:

Joseph Kolbe
John Paul Francis
Genevieve Therese nicked Evie
Luke Maximilian

Which, I love, of course. So many great names! So many amazing saints represented!

An interesting development between last time, when I really focused on Italian-ish names, because I know Jenny loves all things Italian (and Francesca Rose was a serious contender if Luke had been a girl), is this:

[W]e’ve refined our naming style to be ‘super manly traditional saint names’ for boys and over the top girly, exotic French names (bonus points if it’s a saint we have a devotion to).”

I love the Italian vibe, but I love the French vibe too! Not a problem at all! And it’s very common for parents to have a different taste in names for boys vs. girls, so “super manly traditional saint names” for boys and “over the top girly, exotic French names” for girls is awesome. I love both of those styles!

Jenny continues,

This baby is sex unknown, so for a boy we’ve tossed around Anthony, Benedict, Nicholas, for first names and Blaise, Reid, or Augustine for middles.

For a girl it’s harder. Yesterday I was dead set on Cosette (a feminized diminutive for Nicholas, swoon) Marie-Azelie, but it was a bridge too far for Dave. He suggested Colette as a compromise, but I don’t love it. Other girl possibilities: Isobel/Isabel/Isabelle, Elizabeth/Elisabeth, Zelie, Azelie, Caroline, Grace, Emilia/Emiliana, or some form of Julia/na/ette (for Denver’s own Servant of God, Julia Greeley).

Here are our remaining favorite saints we’ve either yet to use, or whose names we just aren’t crazy about: Mother Angelica, Rose of Lima, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Calcutta, Augustine, Scanlan (some kind of nod to Fr. Mike), and Patrick. oh, and Our Lady, of course!

Names we can’t use:

Gianna
Josephine
Margaret
Mary
Philomena
anything that starts with an F, last name probs 🙂
Gabriel
Veronica
Stephen
Mark
James
Leah
Anne

I LOVE Cosette, and Cosette Marie-Azelie is amazing! Oh what names we’d all use if we didn’t have to deal with husbands!! Haha! 😀 My very first thought was, “What about Colette?” as it’s also a feminine diminutive of Nicholas, but then of course Jenny addressed it in the next sentence! I wanted to make an argument in favor of Colette anyway, though. A friend of mine named her daughter Maria Colette a while ago because she had a devotion to St. Colette — it was the first time I’d heard of her, so I had to look her up, and I was really taken with her story. Here are a couple that are good: here and here, but neither mention what I really love about her (and why my friend has the devotion to her), which is that she’s the patron of stillbirth, women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers, and sick children, due to her role in stories related here. Anyway, if Jenny doesn’t care for it, then she doesn’t care for it! But it does check off her boxes of “over the top girly” and “French.”

I also love her and her hubs’ ideas of Isobel/Isabel/Isabelle and Elizabeth/Elisabeth (I’m a huge fan of the Elisabeth spelling, both because it’s just a little more unusual than Elizabeth and more French, and also because of Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur), Zelie and Azelie, Caroline (more JP2 love!), Grace, Emilia/Emiliana (for JP2 also, I believe, as his mom’s name was Emilia), and Julia/na/ette (Juliet is one of my all-time faves, and Juliette is so French and lovely! I did a Juliet(te) spotlight here). I’m also still loving the idea we discussed last time of Zelie as a nickname for Elizabeth! And they also might like to consider Elise (a French short form of Elizabeth) or Lisette, which is basically “little Elisabeth,” which is so sweet — really, all the -ette names are just so darling, and so French!

Their boy ideas are great too! Anthony, Benedict, and Nicholas are all wonderful and fit their “super manly traditional saint names” criteria perfectly, and I like the more unusual Blaise, Reid, and Augustine for middles.

As for their saints whose names they maybe aren’t crazy about, some ideas I had include:

  • Though Anthony is on their list is because of St. Anthony of Padua, I thought they could possibly think of it nodding to Mother Angelica as well, since her birth name was Rita Antoinette. Additionally, her Order is a branch of the Poor Clares, founded by Marie Claire Bouillevaux, so Clare/Claire could possibly be used in Mother’s honor as well?
  • You all probably already know that St. Rose of Lima’s birth name was Isabel, so that would of course be a great way to nod to her! She also had a great devotion to St. Catherine of Siena, so maybe a name in honor of her could also be considered in honor of St. Catherine?
  • This could be considered a really huge stretch for Cosette, or it might be just perfect to convince Jenny’s hubby: Cosette in Les Miserables’ name was actually Euphrasie (Cosette was a nickname, meaning “little thing,” separate from its use as a variant of Nicholas; Euphrasie is the French form of the Greek name meaning “joyful”), and St. Catherine of Siena was nicknamed Euphrosyne because she was so joyful, sooo … maybe Cosette could be for St. Catherine of Siena?? (It’s this kind of convoluted thinking that makes husbands nervous to hear my ideas I think! Haha!) As a bonus, I actually included Catherine in a list of Advent names I put together last year because of the “joy” connection, so using this same crazy train of thought, Cosette could be good for an Advent baby?
  • I know Therese usually makes people think of St. Therese, but since it’s simply the French form of T(h)eresa, maybe Jenny could think of Evie’s middle name as already nodding to Mother Teresa? And so be able to cross her off the list? Otherwise, her birth name was Agnes, which doesn’t strike me as Jenny’s style for a first name, but would make a smashing middle name
  • Patrick is interesting — it’s definitely a “super manly traditional saint name”! I wonder if Jenny and her hubs would consider it for a first name?
  • Re: Fr. Mike Scanlan and Our Lady, I wonder if they would ever consider something like Marie-Scanlan for a girl? Jenny said they can’t use Mary as a first name (otherwise I would have suggested Mary Scanlan, which really skews very Irish, so probably not a great suggestion anyway), but Marie-Scanlan retains the French tradition of hyphenating, and using Scanlan as the second part of it is so unexpected! If I were to do Marie-Scanlan, I’d consider something like Maisie as a nickname, looove!!

And speaking of hyphenating names, an additional thought about girl’s names before getting into my suggestions: in my opinion, it’s so easy to come up with “over the top girly, exotic French names” by hyphenating one’s favorites! It’s such a French thing to do! Something like Grace-Azelie, for example, would be amazing, and Grace or Gracie could be the everyday call name. It’s fun to come up with different combinations! (Some included below.) And specifically using Marie- as the first part just cements the Frenchiness. Marie-Grace, Marie-Caroline, Marie-Emilia, Marie-Juliette are so beautiful, AND they could consider doing so as a way of nodding to St. Zelie since she herself was Marie-Azelie and she named all her daughters Marie-[something]. Oh, and Marie-Elise could be for St. Elizabeth+SOG Elisabeth Leseur+St. Rose of Lima (Isabel)! I’ve also seen it rendered Marielise, which is beautiful and unusual and maybe easier to deal with than a hyphenated name?

Okay! These are the ideas I came up with (making a point not to duplicate ideas I offered last time, which meant I had to cross Bernadette off my list, which otherwise would have been my no. 1 idea for them this time! Or maybe, in light of the previous paragraph, Marie-Bernarde? Which, as I understand it, was St. Bernadette’s actual given name? Bernadette could be a nickname, or a different nickname altogether); also I did my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard, but for the girl’s names I found myself going through the list of French names at the back of it rather than sticking to actual style matches for the names Jenny and Dave have used so far:

Girl
(1) Madeleine and/or Sophie
I have these names together in one idea because of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (also called St. Sophie). I have always loved “Madeleine Sophie” (first + middle) or “Madeleine-Sophie” (double first name) because of her, and like with my idea of Marie-Scanlan above, I would have so much fun coming up with nicknames for it, like Maisie. Evie and Maisie! I also love both Madeleine and Sophie on their own for the Uebbings — they’re both gorgeous, girly, saintly French names (though admittedly not very exotic). Madeleine Azelie, Madeleine Grace, Madeleine Isabel, Madeleine Julia, Sophie Eliz/sabeth, Sophie Emilia(na), Sophie Caroline are all just so lovely. And Sophie lends itself so easily to the hyphenated idea! Sophie-Grace (for Grace on their list, which is Marian, as is Sophie — Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom!) or Sophie-Claire (Mother Mary and Mother Angelica together in one!) are amazing! Also, fun fact: the Sophie the Giraffe teether was named for St. Madeleine Sophie!!

(2) Nat(h)alie (or Noelle or Emmanuelle)
How about Natalie (or the extra-French-spelling-but-same-pronunciation Nathalie)? So perfect for a Christmas baby, since Natalie literally refers to Christmas! (Latin natale domini: birth of the Lord.) I also thought maybe they’d like to consider Noelle for the same reason. The Maria Colette I mentioned above has a sister named Noelle, and she’s the sweetest. I also really like the idea of Marie-Noelle or even Marie-Emmanuelle — both so feminine, French, Marian, and Christmasy!

(3) Corinne
Corinne doesn’t come across as super saintly as some other names, but it’s the French form of Corinna, which comes from the Greek for “maiden,” which is kore, which to me screams “Marian”! Also, we’ve seen families using Cora in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and/or the Sacred Heart of Jesus (like this little lady, whose middle name and sisters’ names are right up Jenny’s alley! Also this sweet girl, who also has three big brothers on earth and whose French middle name is also amazing and a great idea for Jenny), so Corinne can be for that as well.

(4) Elodie
Maybe Evie and Elodie is too much E+ee? But I love the name Elodie, it’s so beautiful! It’s the French form of Alodia, and St. Alodia is a pretty great saint for our times.

(5) Rosalie
I offered some other Rose ideas last time (Rosa, Rosanna) as a nod to St. Rose of Lima, but I didn’t suggest Rosalie and I’m thinking it might be a great idea! It’s the French form of Rosalia, which of course is derived from Rose, and it’s one of my current favorite Rose names.

I also thought these posts, which focus on or discuss really French girl names, might be helpful: here, here, here, here.

Boy
(1) Michael
So Michael was specifically listed as a style match for Anthony and Joseph, but I also know a ton of Nicholas and Michael brothers, so I’d say it’s definitely a match for Nicholas too. I know it was the no. 1 boy name every year but one from 1954 to 1998, and it’s still in the top ten and has been since 1943, but it’s certainly a “super manly traditional saint” name, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because of St. Michael and how very powerful he is and how very needed his protection is needed these days. In fact, even though I prefer less popular names, I’ve added Michael to my own list specifically for that reason. Though I don’t think Jenny and her hubs are into unusual nicknames for boys, since I am I’ve been thinking of options for Michael, and Miles and Milo are my favorites. This post by Abby at Appellation Mountain acknowledges a possible connection between Miles and an Old French form of Michael (Mihel), as well as possible connections to words meaning “soldier” and “gracious,” which add some great layers of meaning. In addition, as I’ve mentioned a bunch of times here on the blog, Miles (and Myles and Milo) has traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of Maolmhuire, which means, “servant of the Virgin Mary,” which I think is amazing. So! Lots to think about it, much of which may not be appealing to the Uebbings, but I can see them liking Michael.

(2) Vincent
Vincent’s a style match for Anthony AND it was Fr. Mike’s real first name! It’s super manly, traditional, and saintly, and thought it’s not necessarily explicitly Italian, it has that feel (like Anthony and Nicholas can also have), which is kind of cool since Jenny likes the Italian vibe.

(3) Thomas
Thomas is a natural brother to Jenny’s older boys! Sts. Thomas More, Aquinas, a Becket, and the Apostle are all amazing, and it’s because of them (and the scads of other holy Thomases) that the name is so traditional and saintly.

(4) Nathan
I really liked the idea of tying in the baby’s name with the fact that he or she is due during the Christmas season. They already have Nicholas on their list, and I would have suggested Andrew (I saw on Facebook that Jenny’s a fan of his novena, which started Nov. 30 and goes until Christmas Eve, the first Sunday of Advent is set according to his feast day) except that sound-wise it’s just not different enough from Anthony (who I know her family has a special devotion to), so I went and scoured my posts on Advent and Christmas names for ideas and while most of them were no good (not their style, or already used by them, or on their “no list”), Nathan jumped out at me from this post I’d done on Jesus’ genealogy as presented in the Gospel of Luke (different than that presented in Matthew, and it’s suggested that Matthew’s might be Joseph’s lineage while Luke’s is Mary’s!). Nathan is one of the ancestors of Jesus who’s not included in Matthew’s list, and the reason it jumped out at me is because Nathaniel was listed as a style match for Nicholas in the BNW and Nathan was listed as a match for Luke. So I definitely thought Nathan was a good idea! It’s certainly manly and traditional and biblical, and it’s SO cool to be able to say he was an ancestor of Jesus, as well as the possible Marian connection.

(5) Miscellaneous
I had a hard time coming up with a fifth boy idea for this little one! I considered Peter, Martin, and Robert, but they all seemed to lack … *something.* I’m not sure what and maybe I’m way off — maybe Jenny and Dave would love one of those names! So I thought I’d put them together as my fifth idea.

And those are all my ideas for Jenny’s fifth baby! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Joseph, John Paul, Genevieve/Evie, and Luke, taking into account their criteria?

Baby name consultation: Our Family Fiat’s number 3!

Do you all follow Amy at Our Family Fiat (web site and Instagram)? She and her husband Ryan have the CUTEST twin girls with the gorgeous names:

Adelaide Ryan
Clairvaux Elizabeth

Amazing right? As Amy explained, “both names are long, french in origin, honor saints and are names of places (Adelaide, Australia and Clairvaux, France).” They did such an amazing job choosing names that share characteristics without being matchy!

Now they’re expecting their third baby girl!! I was so excited when Amy emailed me for a consultation — I love her taste and couldn’t wait to come up with some ideas for Adelaide’s and Clairvaux’s little sister!

Amy wrote,

I’d love for this little girls’ name to follow suit [meaning: “long, French in origin, honor saints and are names of places”] …

Some other girl names we love are Gemma and Isla but I have some reservations being that they are short and not at all french sounding. I may feel more excited about them, especially Gemma if I had a long, french feeling middle name and bonus points if it’s also a place.

If we found a perfect first name that fits well with Clairvaux & Adelaide I’d be open to a more masculine middle name like Adelaide’s (more than likely “James”)

We clearly don’t mind if a name is unique and we love if they have nickname options. (We often call Clairvaux “Vauxie” but love that she can go by Claire one day if she desires a less out-there name, etc)

The only name my husband has ever liked (without my prompting) is Kyla but I can’t bring myself to agree.

Names I proposed but he has declined: Hawthorne, Genevieve, Hildegard, Xavia, Vivienne, Juniper

Names ending in x are no longer an option.”

So exciting!!

Alright, so though Amy said she’d like this little girl’s name to follow suit, and I certainly went on a hunt for the unicorn name that would check all those boxes (and had a blast doing so!), I wondered if finding a name that exactly fit all that criteria would be too limiting for them in the future? That is, I think they can easily find several long French saint names … or long place names … or French place names … or long saint names … but “long French saint place names” is, I think, hard to keep up in the long run! So when I was researching ideas for Amy and Ryan, I tried to include a mix of all those, even if they weren’t exactly perfect.

Before I get into my ideas though, I want to address their other ideas. I love Gemma and Isla too, and I thought Isla was a great way to nod to the sounds of Kyla while still finding a name they can both agree on. I kept Amy’s idea of long French middles in mind when I was coming up with ideas — I think several of my ideas could work as middles for Gemma and Isla. I also love the idea of James (or other male name) in the middle like they did with Adelaide’s middle name—I can see that being a nice complement to the perfect first name.

I used all the names Amy mentioned that they both like (Adelaide, Clairvaux, Gemma, Isla) as inspiration in my research, as well as Kyla, Genevieve, Vivienne, and Juniper (my trusty Baby Name Wizard [which, as you all know, is my right-hand man in baby name consultations, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity] doesn’t have an entry for Hawthorn, Hildegard, or Xavia, and I actually used Claire as a stand-in for Clairvaux, and I think the results were helpful!). Okay, so based on all that, these were my ideas for Amy and Ryan’s littlest girl:

(1) Juliette
I totally understand if you’re all tired of me suggesting Juliet(te) a lot in other consultations, I just love it! And it seemed like such a good fit here—using the “ette” ending totally makes the name obviously French and lengthens it out as well. And it’s so feminine that it can easily take a masculine middle—I love Juliette James. I thought it would also go great as a middle—Gemma Juliette sounds pretty great to me (I love alliteration). I did a spotlight on it a while ago, which offers some good faith connections too. AND on a whim I googled “place name juliette,” just in case, and discovered there’s a Juliette in Georgia!!

(2) Immaculée
Juliette and Immaculée were tied for me as coming immediately to mind as I was reading Amy’s email. I love that Immaculée’s a Marian name, and a French name, and though I didn’t find it as a place name, I think it’s so tied with Immaculée Ilibagiza that Rwanda comes right to mind when I hear it. I like that Adelaide has Australia, and Clairvaux has France, so they could think of a little Immaculée as having Rwanda. Maybe? Immaculée James works really nicely, and I like it as a middle too—Gemma Immaculée and Isla Immaculée both sound fine to me. It would certainly be easier in the middle spot, especially with the accent, but if they used it as a first name, Imma is so similar to Emma that it’s quite do-able as a nickname; others that might work include the boyish Mac and Max, and maybe even Molly.

(3) Vienna or Vienne
One idea I had was to suggest Amy and Ryan pick a place name they like and use the French form of it. Vivienne on their list made me think of Vienna, which I think is one of the best examples—it’s gorgeous and very namey, and changing it to the French form Vienne is really lovely. Though it’s short, I had the thought several times while working on this that they could lengthen (and “Frenchify” even more) certain names by adding Marie and making it a hyphenated first name, as is so common. Marie-Vienna or Marie-Vienne are lovely examples. (But would Ryan still decline it, because it’s basically Vivienne with the “Vi” cut off?)

(4) Maylis
Though this isn’t a long name, it was one of my favorite ideas for Amy and Ryan. Maylis is a town in France, and though I couldn’t find a definitive source that said so, most places I consulted say it’s a combination of “Mary” and “lily,” from the French title “Marie à la fleur de lys” (Mary of the Lily). I also found three acceptable pronunciations: may-LEES, may-LIS, and MAY-lis, all of which I think are workable within America, and I’ve seen Maëlys and Mailys connected to it as possible variants. Such a pretty name!

(5) Salette
Salette is for La Salette, which you all probably know is a Marian apparition site in France, and I think it’s such a gorgeous, delicate name. I’d never thought of it as a given name until I saw it on this family’s short list, and I loved it right away.

(6) Lourdes
Since Lourdes is such an obvious one for their criteria, I assume they considered it and decided against it? But just in case, I couldn’t not include it! Lindsay’s little Lourdes is a perfect recommendation for this beautiful name (and she also has a Clairvaux!). Also, Mia Farrow’s given name is Maria de Lourdes, gorgeous!

(7) Liesse
This is a Marian name that I’ve fallen in love with. Liesse means “joy” in French, which is an amazing meaning, and refers to Our Lady of Liesse/Our Lady of Joy, AND there’s a town named after her in France! The only criteria this one is missing is length! And again, I think adding Marie can fix that easily. Marie-Liesse is beautiful!

(8) Landry
So I had a lot of L names for them! Haha! Landry’s another that I’ve long loved—it’s an old French surname, and as a first name there are a few Sts. Landry—all male and it’s currently no. 805 for boys, probably because of former Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry (which I realize may be a deal breaker for Amy and Ryan, depending on their football loyalties)—but the BNW lists it as a girl’s name, and it’s a place name—there are towns in France, Canada, and the U.S. with the name. Because it’s mostly used for boys, I wouldn’t pair it with a male middle name, but Landry Immaculée or Marie-Landry sound lovely I think.

(9) Madeleine or Magali
So, we have basic perfection here: a long, French, saintly, place name! Madeleine is the French for Magdalene, which of course refers to the place Mary Magdalene came from (Mary of Magdala). Magali is the Occitan form (Occitan is a language spoken in southern France, as well as parts of Italy and Spain; I believe “Provençal” refers to the dialect of Occitan spoken in France). Madeleine is likely more popular than they’d prefer, especially when you add in all the other forms: Madeleine is 350, Madeline is 91, Madelyn is 62, and there are other spellings as well (Madalynn etc.). But having a more common first name makes an unusual middle name more possible; Madeleine James is beautiful. Magali’s certainly more uncommon—it’s not in the top 1000. I met a Magali once and loved her name. However, I hope I’m overthinking this, but I keep feeling like both Madeleine and Magali are too similar in rhythm to Adelaide—do you all agree? I do love Isla Madeleine though …

Those were all my official suggestions, but I also wanted to list several place names of French origin that might have appealed to Amy and Ryan for first names or middle names: Lorraine, Laramie, Marietta, and Normandy.

Also, along with the idea of adding Marie, I also thought they could Frenchify some non-French place names in the same way, like Marie-Avila or Marie-Siena. And though this gets away from the place name idea, they could incorporate their affinity for boy names in this way as well, like Marie-James and Marie-Becket — so feminine and unexpected!

Finally, I was struck by the fact that there was a name that was listed as similar to both Gemma and Isla: Zara! I had to list it here, just because of that.

And those were all my ideas for Amy and Ryan! I’d love to know what other names you all would have recommend for this family, but only in order to help other families who might have similar sensibilities because … in the time between when I did this consultation and today, Amy and Ryan have chosen their girl’s name!! Go check it out on their Instagram announcement — I looooove it!!

Birth announcement: Claire Rose!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! It’s live until midnight tomorrow night!

Many of you might know that Katrina, whose shop formerly known as HatchPrints (I know so many of you are fans!) is now Rose Harrington (Instagramweb site and Etsy), had her fourth baby last month (do you remember the epic May the Fourth be with you post??), a sweet little girl given the gorgeous name … Claire Rose!

Katrina posted Claire’s name story over on her blog, and it’s amazing. Just amazing! Goose-bump inducing! Such a meaningful name, with such great patrons!

Congratulations to Katrina and her hubs and big sibs Ryan, Conor, and Elise (I love that Katrina posts name stories!!), and happy birthday Baby Claire!! (Check out this beautiful mama with her beautiful babies!)

Baby name consultation: Sophisticated and saintly for baby no. 3

Allison and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean! (=gender unknown) This little one joins big sibs:

Caroline Constance, called Cece (“We loved the name Caroline and it happened to be my great great grandmother’s name. Constance was my husband’s grandmother”)

Gerard Patrick (“My husband calls him Jerry, but pretty much everyone just uses Gerard. Patrick is my husband’s middle name and we liked how they sounded together”)

I love these names! Sophisticated and homey at the same time, if that makes any sense.

Allison writes,

I feel like we have a French sounding first name thing going on, but aren’t tied to it. Matt would really like an easy to pronounce and recognize name. Gerard gets a lot of ‘Jarod’ and ‘Gerald’ and it can be frustrating … We do like the names that have some type of meaning or family tie. We also like heritage. Matt is Irish. I’m mostly Greek and Italian. We also like some family last names as middle names. Also nice to have at least one saint in there! All that said—we are open to new names, too!

The names they’re currently considering for this baby include:

Maria Elisa (“too many vowels?”)
Marie Elisa
Mary Elisa (“Mariel nickname?”)
Teresa
Mary Teresa (“Tess?”)

John Finelli (“Finn?”)

Family names that might be inspiring include:

Linda
Leta
John (“My dad is John George, and his dad was George John, and his dad was John George. We’ve heavily considered both John and George over the years. I’m one of 2 girls, so no boys got to carry it on”)
Kevin (“Kevin definitely could be a strong contender in the middle name spot”)
Megan
Kathleen
Brendan
Sean
Mary
Colin
Molly
Ella
Thelma
Elisa
Margaret
Marian
George
Roger
Brian
Thomas
Stephen
Maria
Carrie (Calliope)
Severino (Sam)
Deserina (Des)
Rosemarie
Virgie

So! Many! Great! Names!

I love the names Allison and her hubs are considering for this baby—you all know I’m a huge fan of the Mary+ names, so Maria Elisa, Marie Elisa, Mary Elisa, and Mary Teresa are all up my alley! I do love Allison’s idea of Mariel as a nickname for Mary Elisa—really, it can work for any of those combos. Those combos also remind me of an idea reader skimac left in a comment once: Marielise, as a mashup of Mary/Marie/Maria and Elise. Or Marielisa/Marelisa, to use Allison’s family member Elisa’s name. So pretty! The Marelisa idea might especially help with Allison’s worry that Maria Elisa is too many vowels.

Teresa and Mary Teresa are both great, and I love the nickname Tess. Really, I think all of these ideas are great for a little sister of Caroline/Cece and Gerard. I wonder, though, what they’d think of Therese? You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names that 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, and Therese is a style match for Gerard! St. Therese’s given name was Marie-Therese, so pairing Therese with a Mary name can be a pretty great nod to her as well.

And just like I love the Mary+ names, I love John+ names! Using a family surname in the middle, with John as the first name, and an everyday nickname from the middle name is SO my style! John Finelli is so handsome, and I love the nickname Finn!

That said, though, I do have to make a case for John George! I don’t think I’d suggest George John, since Gerard and George share so many of the same sounds AND letters, but John George would be so meaningful to Allison’s dad, I’m sure! They could even consider something like John George Finelli with the nickname Finn, if they didn’t want to lose that.

Going through their family names, there were a few others that I thought might do well for them as well, including:
Margaret: Margaret seems like a slam dunk with big sibs Caroline and Gerard! Not only did Margaret show up as a strong style match for them in the BNW, but so did Margo(t), which would be a great nickname. I love nicknames Maggie, Meg, Maisie, and Daisy as well.
Marian: Marianne was another strong style match for this family, per the BNW, and since Marian’s a family name, I wondered if they might consider either Marian itself or tweak it to be Marianne?
Kathleen: Caroline always makes me think of Catherine, like these sisters, and my sister-in-law’s nieces are Kathleen and Caroline, so I thought Kathleen might be a good name to consider! Kate is also a style match for Tess, so Kathleen called Kate seems extra perfect here.
Rosemarie: I totally had Rosemary on my list for this family before I even saw that they have a Rosemarie family member! I love Rosemarie, I think it’s a great option.
Virgi(nia): Virgie’s such a sweet name—I assume it’s a nickname for Virginia? I rolled Virginia around in my mind a few times and thought it might work here nicely.
Thomas: Thomas is solid, saintly, and serious, just like Gerard. It would definitely be a good fit for this sib set.
Stephen: Stephen was another style match according to my research, and having it also be a family name is such a bonus!
(Sam): Samuel showed up a few times for them in the BNW as well, and I could totally see a little Samuel/Sam being a nod to Severino (Sam) … or even Severino nicknamed Sam itself? So cool!

I really don’t think Allison and her hubs have to look any farther than their family tree, with all those amazing names! But of course I came up with a bunch of other ideas that I thought might appeal to them. 😊 Based on my research and my own namey head, perhaps they’d like:

Girl
(1) Bernadette
Bernadette was actually the first name I scribbled down for them while reading Allison’s email (Rosemary second)! I absolutely love it with Caroline and Gerard, and it’s got some fun nicknames like Benny, Betty, Netty, and Birdie, all of which are great sisters to Cece imo.

(2) Julia
This is 100% based on the BNW—it has Julia listed as a style match for Caroline, Maria, and John, which I thought was pretty solid! I did a spotlight on Juliet(te) a while ago, which included all the saintly connections for Julia—there are loads!

(3) Victoria
Victoria was a style match for both Caroline and Maria, and I feel like it has the same sophistication I get from Caroline and Gerard. Certainly Vicky/i and Tori are well-known nicknames, but they could also get creative like they did with Caroline Constance/Cece and consider nicknames like Cora, Via, and Ria.

(4) Holly
Holly surprised me! It’s a style match for Rosemary and Margo, which I’d already thought would be a good fit for Allison and her hubs, and then I was thinking that since this baby is due in January, maybe they’d like the Christmas connection?

(5) Monica
Finally, what about Monica? The more I think about it, the more I think it’s spot-on for this family! Caroline, Gerard, and Monica are such a smart, saintly bunch!

Boy
(1) Lawrence
I actually felt like I had a bit of a hard time with girl names, but there were so many boy names that jumped out at me that I thought would hit the right notes! Lawrence is one—it’s a style match for Gerard and Therese as well as Constance (Cece’s middle name) and Marianne (which I mentioned above). My 7yo had a Lawrence in his preschool class—he was always and only Lawrence, and it was so unexpected, I loved it.

(2) Paul
Paul was a pretty great match for them, being listed as similar to Mary, Teresa, John, and Carolyn (similar enough to Caroline for this purpose, I thought). It certainly fits Allison’s hubs’ desire for “an easy to pronounce and recognize name”!

(3) Russell
Russell was another name that surprised me—it’s a style match for Carolyn, Theresa, Constance, Rosemary, and Lawrence (and by extension Gerard and Therese)—wow! Russell is such a solid name, and I love the nickname Russ. I’ve also seen Sully considered as a nickname for it!

(4) Louis
I’m listing Louis here simply because it *feels* like it would be a good fit imo. Do you agree? Easy to spell/pronounce, solid and saintly—love it!

(5) Martin
Finally, Martin has just the same feel to me as Gerard. They seem like perfectly matched brothers to me! And Marty is such a cute nickname!

There were a bunch of other boy names I considered including that didn’t make the final cut for one reason or another, but I thought I’d list them here just in case they’re helpful: William/Liam, Robert, Oliver, Leo, Jasper (could be great for a baby born on the Epiphany!), Francis, Gregory, and Raymond.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Caroline/Cece and Gerard?