Baby name consultation: Traditional name with cute nickname for baby no. 6 (boy)!

Ashley and John are expecting their fifth baby on earth (sixth overall) — a boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

George Charles
Caroline Renée
Joseph (in heaven)
Augustine David “Gus”
Madeline Mae

Such a classic, handsome set of names! Ashley writes,

Our girls are each named after their grandmothers and our boys are named after strong saints we liked, Charles is a nod to my husband’s mother (Carolyn) who died while I was expecting him. We love the idea of family names, but can’t quite find any relevant ones we like at this point. My husband has a decent extended family, some of which we don’t want to overlap, but I have a huge family (1 of 11) and have quite a few names we love but can’t use, I will list those below.”

(One of eleven!!)

We have realized that we love having a strong formal name for our Gus, with a planned nickname. I find it hard that we don’t have short nicknames that we like for Caroline and Madeline (not a fan of of the obvious Carrie, Lynn, Maddy), so I’d like to plan that in with this baby. For example, we recently met someone with a daughter named Bernadette Claire that they call Birdie Claire. We LOVE this, as the traditional name and cute newish nickname are a perfect combination. We would like to make sure it “fits” with all our others.”

Bernadette Claire nicknamed Birdie Claire is adorable!! I love that they want to try to find something with a similar feel for their little boy.

Lastly, I am an avid reader and re-reader of the Baby Name Wizard Book and would say (you probably already know this) but our favorite categories tend to be Antique Charm and Ladies and Gentlemen. We love French names like Jacque (we live in Cajun South Louisiana and they are very common here, but haven’t bitten the bullet on any and at #5 are uncertain they fit with the others).”

Names that they like but aren’t sure of:

Phillip (“don’t like Phil“)
Frederick (“my husband’s middle name and a family name but he likes Fritz, and I don’t really like Fred or Freddy… maybe I could come around on Fritz“)
Peter (“but don’t like Pete or Petey“)
Bernard (“don’t love but LOVE the idea of Bear for a nickname“)
John double names
Other double names
Raymond (“neither of us love Raymond, but it is John’s Dad’s middle name and we love St. Raymond Nonnatus… thought you may be able to come up with a creative way to use this“)
Blaise (“love this name, but aren’t sure it fits well with our others“)
Dominic (“maybe, again need a cute nickname“)
Benedict (“maybe, but don’t like Benny!“)
Jacque (“in Cajun French South Louisiana, these French names come up a lot and this is one we really like, but aren’t sure it fits with our others“)
Nicholas (“my middle name is Nicole, but again can’t find a good nickname we like… not a fan of Nick“)

Family names they could “maybe incorporate in a cute way”:

Richard
Donald
Raymond
James
Reginald
Wilbur
Daniel
John Henry

And names to avoid:

Anything ending in ‘ine’ as it was an accident that our middle 3 have that in common.”
Close family member names (“none of these are off limits for middle names!“):
Paul
Luke
Patrick
Christopher
Richard
Eric
Sean
Robert
Andrew
David
Michael
Benjamin
John Charles
Henry
Oliver
Jack
Isaac
Eli
William
Jules
Jonah
Charlie
Leo
Jude

Alrighty, before listing the ideas I have for Ashley and John, I wanted to offer some thoughts on the names that are currently on their list, especially with the “Birdie Claire” style of nickname that they like:

Phillip: I love Phil(l)ip, and tried to get my husband on board with it, to no avail! The nickname idea I loved for it was Finn. I especially liked the idea of Philip paired with an N middle name to make sense of Finn as a nickname (like Philip Neri … Philip Nicholas would also be quite nice), and there’s precedent for a Ph- name going by an F- nickname in that actress Julia Roberts named her son Phinnaeus and he goes by Finn. Otherwise, Pip is a traditional nickname for Philip that’s adorable, and they could even do Pippin. They don’t grow so well into manhood I suppose, but Flip’s another fairly traditional nickname for Philip — I worked with a Philip/Flip for a while who’s older than me and I always thought it was a pretty cool nickname.

Frederick: I love Frederick because of it being John’s middle name! I think Fritz is cute, and the fact that Ashley doesn’t like Fred/Freddy reminds me of my parents’ neighbor who named their baby Frederick and insisted on the full Frederick because they didn’t care for the Fred nicknames, but when one too many people called him Fred(dy) anyway, they decided to nickname him Erick. So that’s an option too, as is Rick/Ricky, which are cute and retro.

Peter: I thought this was a great opportunity to research some of the non-English nicknames and variants of Peter, to see if there’s any good nickname inspiration there. Pier, Piers, and Pierce are all variants … Pero is a Serbian/Croatian/Macedonian nickname for it … Pierrick is a Breton diminutive, which is cute on its own or could lead to Rick(y) as a nickname, which would be a really unusual way to nod to the Richard in their family! People would be so confused! Haha!

Bernard nicked Bear: I actually can’t believe Ashley said she loves the nickname Bear because I recently decided I love it myself! But for me — and this might solve their Bernard/Benedict conundrum — I like it as a nickname for Benedict! Something like Benedict Richard or Benedict Raymond would provide a B+R sound that would make sense of Bear as a nickname AND honor family/saint!

John double: I LOVE John doubles!! I think it’s such a handsome way to name a boy! I love that Ashley’s husband is John too, that makes it extra meaningful. I did a massive consultation a while ago for a dad who was angsting over whether to name his son John + like he and his dad, or to go with the name he and his wife actually loved. There are loads of good ideas in there, if I do say so myself. 😉 They could also come up with nicknames based on John +, like … John Raymond could be Jay, which isn’t that creative I guess but I do like the nickname Jay … John Peter could be JP, which could also nod to John Paul II (or they could just do John Paul, of course!). A John Richard or John Raymond could nickname to Jordy, which is so cute (though one potentially weird thing for them is that Geordie — said the same as Jordy — is a traditional nickname for George, which is their oldest son’s name). They could do the full John Frederick, Jr. and call him something like Jed.

Raymond: I’ve actually struggled with Raymond myself! The best I’ve come up with is that Redmond/Redmund is an Irish variant of it, which is cool — I like the surname vibe, and the nickname Red is adorable! Actually, I think they could totally do Raymond nicknamed Red if they wanted. If their little guy has red hair no one will bat an eyelash; if not, they’ll just have to explain, but that’s kind of cool — a nice little opportunity for evangelization!

Blaise: I love it too! I definitely think it fits in with their other kiddos’ names — it’s got that super saintly feel that Augustine especially has, but also their others. I just did a birth announcement for a Blaise whose mom was worried it didn’t fit with the other kids, but they used it anyway and they’re thrilled with it.

Dominic: I looooove Dominic!! My dad grew up with a Dominic that they called Dommy, which I think is really cute — like Tommy with a twist. Nico is another that’s not unusual for Dominic, I love Nico.

Benedict: Not only can Bear work as a nickname for Benedict as I mentioned above, but I’ve also thought Buddy and Bede (two-for-one! St. Benedict and St. Bede in one name!) could work (how cute is Buddy!), and I’ve also seen Ned. Also I think Beck could work, which could be fun.

Jacque: I’m not sure how to say this name — in my head I keep saying Jake, but when I looked it up on forvo.com it sounded more like Jack. Either way, my hearty recommendation for Jacque is to use it as a nickname. It’s a variant of James/Jacob (they’re the same name, just different languages), and Ashley and John have their James family member, so if I were in this situation I’d probably totally name the baby James ___ and call him Jacque. James Frederick is quite handsome, and is a really explicit nod to Ashley’s husband (same initials and everything!) without being a Junior.

Nicholas: We considered Nicholas nicknamed Cole, and just Cole as a given name, for our youngest, so I can definitely recommend Cole as a nickname. Nico can also work, and also Colin, which sometimes derives from Nicholas.

Family names: As for their family names, one of my favorite favorite Richard names is Dickon — he’s a character in The Secret Garden and I think it’s such a great sounding name. Alas, anything that has those first four letters in it is not going to fly these days. If Ashley and John are into Irish names, I quite like Donal and Donnell as nods to Donald. I already mentioned James; interestingly Reginald, Reynold, and Ronald are all variants of each other! Not sure if that’s helpful though … William could possibly work as an honor name for Wilbur except that it’s on their No list. Daniel’s great, and I love John Henry too as a combo, and I love that there’s already a precedent in their family with both John Henry and John Charles to do the John double. Love it!

I love both the “Antique Charm” names and “Ladies and Gentleman” names in the Baby Name Wizard as well! So I’m hopeful that my ideas might hit the mark. I’m not as strong on French names, but I was inspired by the list in the BNW.

Okay, on to my new ideas! As you all know, these were mostly inspired by my research in the Baby Name Wizard, but also a bit by my own namey head:

(1) Arthur
This “Ladies and Gentleman” name was a style match for both George and Frederick, but I’m not sure I would have taken notice if it wasn’t for the fact that Ashley loves the nickname Bear. Arthur’s generally considered to be related to the word “bear,” and I’ve seen other families use Bear as a nickname for Arthur. And I actually started thinking about the nickname Bear recently after re-reading one of the Regina Doman’s The Shadow of the Bear — a retelling of Snow White — in which the main male character’s name is Arthur but he goes by Bear. One hesitation is that Ashley and John’s last name is quite a bit like Andersen, so Arthur might not be the best first name. But if they liked it, they could do John Arthur, and call him Bear as a nickname of his middle name.

(2) An Ed- name
Edward was a match for George and Joseph, Edmond for Frederick, and Edmund for Benedict. Add in the fact that Ned can be nicknames for all the Ed- names, as well as Benedict, and I thought they definitely deserved a spot on this list. (Ted’s also a traditional nickname for the Ed names.) I can’t tell which I like better — St. Edward the Confessor’s pretty amazing, and Edward fits so well with the royal feel of their older kids; Edmund is Narnia and St. Edmund Campion, which are both great; Edmond is Edmond Dantes in Count of Monte Cristo and I just die over Jim Caviezel in that role. 😊 Also, it’s French!

(3) Sebastian
Sebastian is a natural on any list that includes names like Augustine, Dominic, and Benedict, and it’s also on the French list (as Sebastien). Grace Patton introduced me to the nickname Bash for Sebastian and I love it so much! I’ve also seen Baz, and Seb and Sebby are probably the first nicknames people would think of. Lots of great options there!

(4) Theodore, Thaddeus
I find that people like Theodore, or they like Thaddeus, with a clear preference for one or the other. Theodore is a style match for August (which I used as a stand-in for Augustine, since there’s no entry for Augustine in the BNW) and Frederick, and Thaddeus is a match for Benedict. Both of them can take the nickname Ted; Theodore can also be Theo, which is kind of hot right now, and Thaddeus can be Tad and Taddy, which I think is adorable.

(5) Nickname Abe, or Ambrose as a given name
I looked up Gus to see what other nicknames were listed as similar to it, and Abe was the first one listed — I’ve been dying over Abe for a while, what a fabulous nickname!! There was a little towhead named Abram at our pediatrician’s recently, which I found pleasantly surprising, and Grace just named her youngest Abraham James with the nickname Abe. SO CUTE! I also really like Abel, and I think Abe can work as a nickname for Ambrose, which also makes me think maybe they’d like to consider Ambrose? It might be too much for Augustine’s little brother, but it’s been on our list for a while and I think that in addition to Abe, other nicknames that could totally work include Sam, Bram, and Brody (especially with a D middle … Ambrose Daniel? Or even a middle with a strong D, like Ambrose Frederick?). And I think Ace can work too!

(6) Maximilian nicked Miles or Milo
I used to suggest this one all the time on here! I haven’t in a while, but I wonder if Ashley and John might be interested in it. Like Augustine, Dominic, Benedict, and Sebastian, Maximilian is heavy-duty Catholicky Catholic. Max is a great nickname, but if they want something a little different, I definitely think Miles and Milo can work as nicknames for it. An added bonus is that Miles and Milo have traditional usage in Ireland as anglicizations of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — an actual Marian name for a boy! So they’d get St. Maximilian Kolbe and Our Lady in one name! And Milo was actually a style match for Gus!

(7) Damien
My last idea for this family is Damien, and it’s solely because it was in the French list in the BNW and I love St. Damien of Molokai and I’d love to see more baby Damiens. But also, since I’ve had it on my own list I’ve thought of nickname possibilities and I think Denny is my favorite for Damien. It totally works, right? And Danny for Damian.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of George, Caroline, Joseph, Augustine (Gus), and Madeline?

Birth announcement: Miriam Therese!

I did a private consultation for Liz and her husband a few months ago, and I’m delighted to share that her little girl has arrived and been given the beeaaauuutiful name … Miriam Therese!

Regarding Miriam, Liz wrote,

I really would love a Marian reference without going with just Mary and this feels like a good option. One of my great aunts (who was a professor of both mathematics and English at Seton Hill College) took the name Sr. Miriam Joseph … I feel like a good nickname is important and I LOVE Mimi.”

And Therese was chosen for wonderful reasons as well:

[St. Therese of Lisieux] was my parish and my grade school as a child and now it is our family parish again. My grandfather, dad, and uncles helped to build it in the 50’s. That church and the Saint shaped my faith life from a very early age.”

I just love the combination Miriam Therese! It’s just so lovely!

Congratulations to Liz and her husband and big sister Catherine Josephine/Catie (aren’t Catie and Mimi the sweetest names for sisters?!), and happy birthday Baby Miriam!!

Miriam Therese (Mimi) at birth (bottom), at 2.5 months (top left), and with big sister Catie (Catherine Josephine)

Baby name consultation: “Unique, foreign, vintage” name needed for no. 5 green bean

Amina and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown). 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Casimir Wesley “Cas”
Miette Faye “Mimi”
Errol Shepherd
Petra Frances

Aren’t these great names?! Casimir is one my husband and I considered for one of our boys, and I still have a soft spot for it. Miette is such a sweet, affectionate name! And Errol and Petra are both amazing as well … in fact, with Miette and Errol they’ve chosen two names I’ve never once seen any parent use or even consider. Well done!

Amina writes,

I would categorize our names as… unique, foreign, vintage.😬🤷🏽‍♀️

We weren’t Catholic when we named our oldest son, Casimir, but it happens to be a unique saint name, so hey hey! We actually got the name from a song and we loved it. We were dabbling into our conversion around the time and when we discovered it was a saint (and a famous polish general), that was cool too. It set the tone for the rest of the siblings. His middle name, Wesley, is after my husband.

Our second child, Miette, was not named after a saint, despite us being confirmed into the church during her pregnancy. We always loved the name, which is French for “little crumb.” A bit too endearing for some, but it works well for her. Her middle name, Faye, is also a family name. We figured there would be a Saint Faye, but alas, there isn’t, unless you count the Saint of Santa Fe, Saint Faith. We feel she has a strong connection to Saint Therese of Lisieux, French, and known as “the little flower”. Little crumb/ little flower, almost the same right? Her personality is spot on with what we’ve read about young Saint Therese.

Our third child, second son, Errol, just kinda got a name we agreed on. We love the soft but strong sound to it. His birthday falls near Christmas, so we decided on Shepherd as a middle name. We figured he doesn’t need a saint name with this duo as his name pays homage to Jesus.

Our fourth child, second girl, is Petra Frances. She was due around the feast of the assumption, and we almost named her Petra Remedios (I just love this Marian name, for our lady of Good Remedy), but I actually chickened out. Yep. I was eager to use Frances to pay homage to Pope Francis as well, and noticed she was due around a few Saint Francis/ Frances feast days. So, she didn’t get a Marian name, and she was born the 16th instead of the 15th.

So, the reason I am writing is that I am coming back to Remedios for a girl. After full on chickening out, we’d like to use it in the first name place. I think it just needs a super wear-able nickname. I’m not fond of Remy, which is the most obvious nickname. I have thought of Edie, Edda, Romy. Do you see any others?? We think she will be Remedios Inez, if that helps.

On our ongoing girl list we have names like Opal and Fig, as well as Phillipa, Perpetua, Simone, and Belen. (We probably won’t ever use Perpetua, as it’s too close to Petra.)

If we have a boy, we plan on naming him Aesop Junipero. I am finally letting my husband take the reigns on this one, as he’s been pushing Aesop for awhile. Junipero, we both love, after Junipero Serra. We were very moved by his canonization. My other contender is Ambrose, but my husband really wants Aesop.

I have Peregrine and Bonaventure on my boy list too, though I don’t think they will ever win my husband over. I love Arthur as well, to tone any names combos down.”

How cool is Aesop Junipero? I love it. So bold and offbeat but faithy and literary and familiar. I also love the categorization of their name taste as “unique, foreign, vintage.”

Re: nicknames for Remedios (awesome Marian name), I think the nicknames Amina has come up with (Edie, Edda, Romy) are pretty great. I did a quick search online for other ideas, and found this blog post, which explains that in Chamorro, the language of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands (including Guam), nicknames are usually taken from the end of the name, and it specifically gave the example of Remedios nicknaming to Medo. I like that! And I think Medi works too. But maybe they’re too similar to Miette? Other ideas I had were:

  • Rio or Rios
  • Ria
  • Rida
  • Dee or Didi
  • Emmy

And if Amina and her hubs were open to looking at nicknames using a mashup of first and middle names, Remedios Inez can result in:

  • Rina
  • Riz

As for additional girl names, it was fun to try to come up with some new ideas! Since their style encompasses names from various languages, as well as word names and literary nods, I felt almost like the sky’s the limit! I also didn’t limit myself to saints’ names, as I agree with Amina that as long as the middle name is a saint, or either of the names has a tie to the faith, they’re covered.

These were my favorites for them:

(1) Hero
Hero is the kind of name only a certain kind of family can pull off, but I love it, and I think this family would be up to it! It was mostly influenced by Aesop on their list, and those who aren’t aware that the literary Heros were female might be confused, but otherwise it’s such a great name. There was a family on the BabyCenter name boards back when I was pregnant with my first (thirteen years ago!) who had a daughter named Hero, and I always thought that was so cool.

(2) Iona or Ione
These names are so similar in appearance, but totally different in background/meaning! Iona is Scottish, the name of the island where St. Columba founded a monastery, which provides a good saint connection. Ione is Greek and has the amazing meaning “violet flower,” which they could possibly consider to be Marian since violets are a symbol of Our Lady. They were particularly exciting because, as you all know, I usually use the Baby Name Wizard as my primary resource when doing consultations, but Petra, Simone, Ambrose, and Arthur were the only names from their list that it contained, so I didn’t think it was going to be too helpful BUT Iona was listed as a style match for Petra, and then when I took their names over to the NameMatchmaker, Ione was a match for Casimir!

Not only can Ione be possibly connected to Our Lady through its meaning, but there were also some sites that argued that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan! You can read that here —  bottom of p. 156 and top of p. 157, the link takes you right to it. So St. Joan of Arc or Bl. Jane of Aza or any of the Sts. John could be patron for a little Ione!

(3) Annick
Annick was another result from my research on the NameMatchmaker—a match for Miette. I love that it’s a form of Anna, so St. Anne is an easy patron, and it’s certainly unique and I think it goes really well as a sister to Miette and Petra. I also love that it would give each girl her own name-ending (not that that matters at all! It’s just kind of cool).

Those were my top three suggestions—I tried to make them a mix of languages and inspiration—but there were a bunch of other names that I scribbled down for this family as I was doing my research as possibilities, like Zara, Stasia, Lorna, Aranza/Aranxa, Sonrisa, Annunziata, Immaculata, Jacinta, Iolanthe, Flora/Fleur, Cressida, Clio, and Greer, and Ines/Inez totally would have been on this list if they weren’t already planning to use it for a middle name.

Amina also said she was open to hearing ideas for boys, even though they’re pretty set on Aesop Juniper, so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on it, but the ones that caught my eye when doing my research as similar to names they’ve used and like were: Bertram, Cajetan, Nunzio, Pascal, Tycho, Bram, Homer, and Archimedes.

And those are my ideas for this little one! What do you all think? Do you have any other nickname ideas for Remedios, or other ideas for girl names in general? If any boy names come to mind, feel free to list those as well!

Baby name consultation: Brit/Italian(/French?) name for no. 4 green bean

Please keep the Cronin family in your prayers, and if you can donate to their post-Harvey rebuilding efforts, they would be so grateful!

Francine and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins big siblings:

Grace Christine
Sophia Rose (frequently called Sophie)
Gemma Catherine

I love these names! Grace and Sophia are gorgeous, feminine names that everyone’s currently loving, so I might have expected their third girl to be something like Ava or Emma, and really loved being surprised by Gemma! Such a beautiful sibling set!

Francine writes,

[For girls we] tend to like names that are somewhat traditional, obviously feminine names (no Taylors or Jordans), and something that could be tied to saint names. You’ll see from our older girls we tend toward British or Italian-sounding names. I do have Italian heritage, but with our family name and the fact that we’re now living in the Midwest it’s not very common around here, so I’m less likely to lean toward those since I don’t want our kid having to explain the spelling/pronunciation of her name to everyone for the rest of her life! We don’t mind nicknames, but prefer to keep them pretty close to the original name, and to call them by their first name. When we were deciding on our oldest’s name, we had a hard time coming up with a middle name that worked well — it seemed like everything sounded better with Grace as the middle name, but we knew we wanted to call her Grace. We also prefer names that will wear well over time … I hear so many names that sound cute for a little girl, but it’s hard to think of it when she’s 40 or 80, you know?

I’m sure you’ll notice that we ended up repeating initials with our first and third… it was coincidence only, and we’re not looking to repeat the pattern. We just liked Gemma’s name enough to not change it. We also don’t mind very much if the name tends to be popular (like Sophia’s), because we figured that if we loved the name our kid can be unique enough on her own!

I love that! I totally agree with Francine that “if we loved the name our kid can be unique on her own” — perfect!! That’s the best mindset!!

[For boys we] do have a front-runner from our last time around, but it’s not set in stone and we thought it would be fun to see what you come up with. 🙂

I have a really big extended family that tends to not reuse names, which also complicates things slightly. This isn’t exhaustive, but here are a few that we’ve ruled out:
Charlotte
Celine
Monica
Magdalene
Theresa/Therese
Victoria
Ava
Bridget
Isabelle
Lucia/Lucy
Marian
Cora

Joseph
Jacob
Michael
Leo
Gregory
Clive
Benjamin
David
Joel
Thomas
John
Caleb
Samuel
Lucas
Joshua
Matthew

This was fun to work on! In particular, Gemma adds a twist that was fun to include when I was trying to think of names that I thought might work for this family. I also don’t mind the repeated initials of Grace and Gemma at all, since they have different sounds.

So first I’m going to mention the two girl names that I decided not to suggest (but I think they’re helpful to mention, just in case). This is based on my research (you all know that I look up the names the parents have used and 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) and my own ideas. They are: Tessa (too close to Theresa/Therese? But such a cool way to nod to either saint without repeating a family name) and Charlotte (on their No list, but it was listed as a style match for both Grace and Sophia!). I would love Grace, Sophia, Gemma, and Tessa, and I would love Grace, Sophia, Gemma, and Charlotte! But I can see why they’d say no to both. And Leo and Lucas both made my final cut for boys before I went back and realized that they were on the No list.

Now on to the names that I actually am suggesting!

Girl
(1) Clare
I really like how Francine said they like British or Italian sounding names — I really kept that in mind when I was thinking of names for them. When I saw Claire listed as a style match for Grace, and Clare for Gemma, I thought it was a winner! It’s a similar length to their other girls’ names, and doesn’t repeat an ending, which isn’t the end of the world if it did, but it’s kind of cool it doesn’t (I mean, yes, it ends in E like Grace, but has a totally different ending sound). It’s the variant traditionally used for St. Clare of Assisi, which is where the Italian comes in (her actual name was Chiara, which would be so gorgeous too! And in fact, both Gemma and Chiara are styles matches for each other in that they’re both listed as matches for Gianna), and it’s the English variant (as opposed to Claire, which is the French. Also gorgeous! But if they want English or Italian, I think Clare’s their best best. Although, Grace’s middle name, Christine is also a French variant, and and so is Gemma’s middle name, Catherine, and even though they use Sophie as a nickname, it too is French, which is a nice nod to Francine’s name and a nice theme to carry throughout). (I also love Clara, if they wanted to go with an A ending.)

(2) Anna (or -anna) or Annabel
This was actually my first idea, before I’d started doing any research for them. Anna is one of those beautiful pan-European names that can be Italian as well as having good usage in English-speaking countries, and it’s got that lovely vintagey feel that Grace and Sophia have. I’m just not entirely sure it’s a great match with Gemma — maybe they sound too similar? If so, I wonder if any of the -anna names would be more appealing? Susanna and Julianna come to mind — both beautiful! Or perhaps Annabel?

(3) Felicity
I took special notice of the names that were similar to Gemma, since her style is a little bit different than her sisters’ — not in a bad way at all! They go together so well! Just a little less popular. One that jumped out to me was Felicity — I love Felicity with Francine’s older girls! I did a spotlight of it, including nickname ideas, here.

(4) Juliet(te)
This is another one that’s a style match for Gemma, and I love it because like Clare it’s an anglicization of an Italian name, so it combines Italian and English pretty well I think. If they liked the idea of continuing the French theme, Juliette’s a beautiful spelling too. I did a spotlight of it and its faith connections here.

(5) A Lily name, or Violet
I loved seeing Lily as a style match for Grace, Lillian for Sophia, Lillie for Sophie, and Lilia for Sofia (I looked up Sophia, Sophie, and Sofia, because I thought it gave me the most complete view of its style and similar names). All those variants are amazing! I was really feeling like a flower name would fit in well with the older girls — a Rose name probably would have been my first thought, except that Sophia’s middle name is Rose — but a Lily name is perfect too, and actually Violet was a style match for Gemma, and I love that too.

Boy
(1) Maxwell
I always love seeing names that are listed as similar to more than one name on the parents’ list. Maxwell is one such, being a match for Grace and Sophia. Max is such a great nickname too!

(2) Henry (or John Henry?) (or Jack?)
Henry’s another that’s a match for more than one name — in this case, Grace and Sophie. It’s definitely got that British feel, and there are lots of holy Henrys. When I looked up the spotlight that that link brings you to, I was reminded of John Henry, which is such a darling combo! I know John is on their No list, but maybe a double name would be okay? And all this makes me think of Jack, which I think would also fit in nicely with their girls, either as a given name or as a nickname for John or a John+ double.

(3) Owen or Oliver
Owen is a match for Grace and Sophie, and you know I love it because of St. Nicholas Owen! Oliver is a match for Sophie and Felicity from my suggestions above, and St. Oliver Plunket is awesome. Both Owen and Oliver are great names that I think would go really well with all the girls, including Gemma, since her name has that British vibe as well.

(4) Nicholas or Colin
Nicholas is a match for Sophia and Colin for Gemma and since Colin can be a variant of (or even a nickname for!) Nicholas, I thought they were both swirling around the right area. I especially liked finding a name that was a match for Gemma — I really like Colin. Using the nickname Nico can also skew Nicholas more Italian-ish, if they’d like to do so.

(5) Tobias
I was so interested to see Tobias as a match for their Gemma’s name, and also for Juliet on my list of suggestions for them. I love it! I feel like it’s kind of unexpected, and the nickname Toby is amazing.

Bonus: Timothy
Timothy didn’t show up in any of my research, but it was my first thought for this family for a boy’s name, before cracking open the BNW. It isn’t Italian or French — in fact, it always strikes me as having an Irish feel, as well as of course biblical — but it seemed to have the boy equivalent of the sweetness I get from Francine’s girls’ names. The full Timothy is so handsome; Timmy and Tim are great, traditional nicknames; and I like the idea of Ty as a nickname for it as well.

And those are my ideas for Francine and her hubs! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Grace, Sophia, and Gemma?

Birth announcement: Niamh Émilie!

Do you remember the spotlight I did recently on Niamh and Naomh? The mama who asked for the spotlight has let me know her little girl has arrived, and has been given the gorgeous combo … Niamh Émilie!

She writes,

Our daughter was born just before midnight on her due date, July 1st (Canada Day, and Canada’s 150th, which was fun as we are Canadian), and we did name her Niamh Émilie as planned. My husband and I both loved the connection you drew between the meaning of Niamh (radiance, brightness) and the feast of the Transfiguration, so we’ve made that (which is today!) her sort of name day. Maybe next year we’ll even get around to celebrating it, but this year we’re still adjusting to the noisy chaos that is three kids under four and didn’t manage anything beyond Sunday Mass as usual.

Several comments on the Niamh post mentioned concerns over the difficult traditional spelling of Niamh, and I agree that will be somewhat annoying for her as she grows, but I have an unusual name myself and it was never that big a deal; plus we just love the name so much, and dislike its phonetic spellings, so Niamh it is. Also, it turns out that Niamh is her uncle and Godfather’s favourite girl name, and what he would have liked to name a daughter of his own. Her whole name written out looks beautiful, as well; we feel it is something she can wear proudly throughout her life. Just at the moment though, she’s going by Niamhlet (pronounced Neavlet) or, as her big brother likes to call her, “Niamh the Beev”.”

Niamh the Beev!! Niamhlet!! SO CUTE!! I’m so thrilled that they went with Niamh after all, and I’m so happy that the Feast of the Transfiguration is her feast day — so cool! Her mama also let me know that Émilie is in honor of Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun. Such a beautiful, meaningful pair of names!

Niamh joins big sibs:

George Benedict
Mara Lucie

What wonderful taste!! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Niamh!!

Niamh Émilie and big sibs George and Mara

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 9 needs a name that’s not generally popular nor Catholic popular (and a few other rules!)

I hope all the dads had a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday!!

Kym and her husband are expecting their ninth baby — their fifth girl! She joins big sibs:

Alexandra Ruthmarie
Cassian William
Killian Michael
Bennett Jameson
Anneliese Francesca
Marigold Camillus
Miles Jonas
Sylvie Regina

Aren’t these amazing names?? I’ve actually referenced Kym’s little Sylvie Regina many times in posts and conversations because of how clever I think it is that it sounds like Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen”) — I love that!! And another really cool thing is that each first name has the same number of letters as its middle name. Didn’t they do a great job?!

Kym has a bunch of naming rules, and you know me — the more the merrier! I love a good challege! 😁 She writes,

First names that we cannot use:
Anything that infringes upon their middles or their nicknames. Examples:
No variations on Anne or Elizabeth since we already have Anneliese (Anne-Elizabeth).
Nothing Marian-that-starts-with-M since we already have a child often called Mary, etc.

No common first names or names often heard in Catholic circles:
Rose, Therese, Mary-Agnes, Bernadette, Zelie — all would be out.

Family and close friend names we cannot use include:
Gabriela, Sophia, Bridget, Rebekah, Anna, Felicity, Genevieve, Anastasia, Abigail, Azelie, Clare, Bernadette, Gianna, Emilia, Eleanor

I’d rather not have any more names that start with an A, M, S, or a hard C/K sound.

See how picky I am? And I haven’t even gotten to the rules yet! 🙂

Rules are:
First name must be a saint, or version of a saint’s name, or a holy association (like Marigold: Mary’s gold).
Middle name should be a family name.
Both first and middle should have the same number of letters. I noticed we had been doing this accidentally with kids 1-4, and when kids 5 and 6 also followed the pattern without intending it, we decided that’s just what we’d keep doing. Kids 7&8 worked out perfectly, too. We’ve never had to force a middle name we didn’t want just to make it work.

Potential family names we can use (feminize them or change them a bit to fit the same-number-of-letters rule) are: Luke, Rosa, DeeLane, Marcella …

First names that hubby really, really likes are Vianney and Juniper. So, Vianney Rosalie or Juniper Rosalie. Vianney is one of my favorite saints and has been on the list since our first child was conceived 13 years ago, but the name doesn’t suit me this time for some reason. And, while I really am drawn to Juniper Rosalie, I’m not sure if it’s too unisex of a name. I’m not thrilled with giving a daughter a name that isn’t easily recognized as being a female name. Alexandra, Anneliese, Marigold, and Sylvie just scream GIRL and Juniper ….doesn’t. Also, sometimes the “nipper” at the end bothers me. But the potential NN of Juni is pretty darn cute.

I really, really, REALLY like (but don’t love) the name Gemma and keep coming back to it. It’s delicate, girly, and sweet. Hubby proposed Gemma Lucia. We’ve wanted to name a baby after hubby’s godfather, Brother Luke, for a long time. Lucia works very well but I’m just not sold on it – Lucia to me right now seems so Catholic on-trend because of this being the year of the anniversary of Fatima, and Gemma sounds almost sounds too worldly/trendy. Maybe I’m being too picky. Argh! This is so tough!!!

A name that keeps popping into my head over and over is Goretti. I don’t even know where it came from since I’ve never before considered that to be a name, but it’s growing on me. I don’t know what would possibly work for a NN, though, and Retti and Retta are not something I’d like. Greta/Gretta could be used as a NN – and Greta it was a runner up with the last baby. But I’ve somewhat grown away from it.

I think Zoe(y) is precious but it’s so short and I don’t think it ages well. Hubby and I also like Savina but we aren’t convinced we want an S girl following another S girl. We’ve always liked the name Benedicta but we already have a Bennett. I like Isadora but hubby says no. I don’t think we can do any old lady names, as much as I like some of them. So no Imelda or Edith or Agatha or Leona/Leonie or Millicent. Gosh, I think Millicent is adorable though.”

Alright, I spent a lot of time on this, and I’m still not sure of my ideas! I actually had the privilege of doing a private consultation for Kym when Sylvie was on the way and, looking back at it, I had to cross three names off the list of ones I was going to recommend here because I’d suggested them before! I also found the rules about not wanting common names difficult because the names I’d usually go to for parents who don’t want top ten are the ones that are Catholic-common, which are also out per Kym’s rules! Amazing! I’m not being critical at all, it’ll be so satisfying if I can actually come up with something they might like!

I love both Vianney Rosalie and Juniper Rosalie, gorgeous! I see what Kym means though about Juniper feeling a bit too unisex next to her other girls’ names. Unfortunately, feel similarly about Vianney — though my major association with it as a current first name is Lindsay’s daughter from My Child I Love You, so it feels mostly feminine to me, a bunch of you have suggested it for boys on past posts, and one who said that because it’s exclusively male where she lives (France) using it for a girl would be akin to “a girl called John or Andrew.” I’m not campaigning against it! Just, if obviously feminine is their goal, neither Vianney nor Juniper might be quite right. On the other hand though … I so totally agree with Kym about Juni!!

Gemma Lucia is a fantastic combo! I definitely wouldn’t characterize Gemma as “too worldly/trendy” — sure, it has use outside of Catholic circles, and it has increased in popularity fairly rapidly since it entered the top 1000 in 2008 (it’s currently at no. 247), but I don’t see it as any different than their other kids’ names, all of which fit nicely into certain non-Catholic trends and popular sounds. I think it’s a great fit! As for Lucia being “Catholic on-trend,” I mean yes, it certainly is because of the Year of Fatima, but if you’re going to use it, using it during its big year is so great! But perhaps a different five-letter middle would be a better fit for them for Gemma? Tapping into the family names they want to use as middles, maybe Gemma Roser? Roser is a Catalan feminine form of Rosario, which points back to Rose (rosaries are so named because they’re meant to be thought of as a crown or bouquet of roses for Our Lady). Or Gemma Zella, where Zella is the German diminutive for Marcella?

I really like Goretti! And I do think Gret(t)a could work nicely as a nickname for it, or maybe Greer, especially as both Greer and Goretti come from Gregory. Etti (Eddy) could be cute too. I think there’s a chance that people they meet outside their Catholic circle might not be familiar, and so it might come across like Vianney and Juniper in the sense of not being very girly, but certainly Catholics should know it refers to a female saint. It reminds me of Cabrini, which I would have suggested to them if Kym hadn’t said no C/K names.

I love Zoe(y) too, and Savina’s cute too … Benedicta’s great, but Bennett … Isadora, Imelda, Edith, Agatha, Leona/Leonie, and Millicent are all a great bunch of names! And I actually don’t think of Leonie and Millicent as old lady names anymore — I have a cousin who’s 14 named Millicent/Millie, so it stopped being an old lady name to me ages ago, and while I know an old lady named Leona, I’ve only heard Leonie on more recent families wanting to honor St. Therese’s sister, so it too has a more youthful feel. And Edith’s coming back! I know a bunch of families who have considered it, and at least two who have named their babies Edith (here and here).

So those are my thoughts on the names Kym and her hubs have discussed/are considering; now on to my own ideas! I was mostly influenced by their seeming desire to have this baby girl have a name that’s as girly as their older girls’ names. I did use the Baby Name Wizard for inspiration, but I went more by my gut than anything. The names that I had on my final list that I crossed off because I’d suggested them last time were Verity, Juliet(te), and Elodie, all of which are consistent with this family’s style per the BNW, and all of which I still like for them in case they want to reconsider them. And I also really wanted to suggest Klaudia to them, as they were considering Klaus if the baby had been a boy, so if they wanted to reconsider their C/K rule I think it would be great! (Or Colette, if they like the idea of a Nicholas name for a girl. I love Colette.)

My new ideas are:

(1) Vesper
I think this name is unmistakably feminine, unlike Vianney and Juniper, and in sound it’s almost like a mashup of Vianney and Juniper. Its Catholic connection comes from “vespers” being the name for Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, but others might also know it as one of the Bond girls! I like the idea of Vesper Roisin (Roisin is an Irish Rose name, pronounced ro-SHEEN, and spelled in Irish as Róisín), and there’s actually a variety of rose called the Vesper Rose!

(2) Junia
This was actually the first idea I had for this baby, after seeing that Kym loves Juni but was uncertain about Juniper. Junia’s the name of a woman in the bible (some believe it was meant to be the man’s name Junius, others translated it as Julia, but the bible as presented by the U.S. bishops on their web site says Junia). One of the Hanson brothers (MMMBop) has a daughter named Junia Rosa Ruth, which is gorgeous. Junia Lucia would work, but maybe too matchy? Maybe Junia Lucie would work better? Junia Roser and Junia Zella are also fine.

(3) Delia
This was one of those gut-feeling names. It’s pretty and feminine and can be a short form of Adelia, which is a variant of Adela (several saints and blesseds so named), or Bedelia, which is an Irish diminutive of Bridget (but Kym said no to Bridget, not sure if this would count?) (there’s also Cordelia, which has no saint connections as far as I can tell). Like with Junia, Delia Lucia/Lucie, Delia Roser, and Delia Zella can all work. It also feels really close to DeeLane (from their list of potential middles) sound-wise, but I’m not sure what to do with that. (I also wondered if Delaney would make a do-able DeeLane tweak?)

(4) Edessa
Our Lady of Edessa is one of Mary’s titles — Edessa is the old name for modern-day Urfa in Turkey, and the title refers to an old miraculous image. It’s a lovely, feminine, non-M Marian name! I like Edessa Roisin.

(5) Natalia
This was suggested by my research in the BNW and I love it for this family! It’s feminine and gorgeous and really saintly — there are two that I know of — and fun nickname options like Natty, Tally, Talia, Lia, and Nolly. Natalia Rosalie is so beautiful! Natalia Lucille can also work for their Br. Luke, and Natalia DeeLane (or Natalia Delaney) also works, letter-wise.

(6) Zara
I loooove this idea because of what I discovered about it recently! First off, it’s a style match for both Gemma and Zoe, which I thought was so interesting, and it’s definitely uncommon in all circles. I wasn’t sure about saintly connections though, and when I went looking I discovered that it’s a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, which is the Bulgarian and Macedonian feminine form of Zechariah! Wow!! (Hence the spotlight I put up here.) Zara Rose is pretty, but maybe too R heavy? Zara Lucy maybe, or Zara Luce (not only a nod to Br. Luke and Fatima but also Bl. Chiara Luce Badano)? Would Zara Lane work as a nod to their DeeLane?

(7) Esme
Esme’s a style match for Sylvie, and I’ve always thought it’s sweet and feminine. Being that it means “esteemed” or “loved” in Old French, they could make a holy association to Mater Amata (“Beloved Mother”). Esme Rose is gorgeous! It can also be spelled Esmee (Esmée), which could open up Lucia, Lucie, and Zella as middles.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister for this well-named crew?

Birth announcement: Zelie Gianna!

I posted a consultation for Rachel and her husband back in April, and Rachel’s let me know her little green bean has arrived — a little GIRL named … Zelie Gianna!

Rachel writes,

I wrote you a few months ago for a baby name consultation, on June 5th we welcomed our little girl, and we named her Zelie Gianna. Her brother, Albie is loving his new sister!

In the end, I felt like I had been praying for these 2 saintly mommas in heaven so much during my pregnancy (and continue to even more now!), when we found out the baby was a girl after she was born, it just seemed like we couldn’t name her anything else!

Zelie Gianna! What a great name!! And I love it with big brother Albert Francis (Albie) — what a great, saintly pair!

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

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Zelie Gianna