Spotlight on: Matthias

A reader asked for a spotlight on Matthias, one of my favorite favorite names! Specifically, she wrote,

Biblically, I have only seen it as Matthias, but when I ask my family members who are not as familiar with the biblical spelling, they think it is spelled Mathias. When I read the name, I pronounce it as ma-THIGH-as, whereas, in Germany, for example, where the name seems to be more popular than in the US, it is pronounced Ma-TEE-us. It has the same meaning as Matthew (gift from God), but the spelling of Matthew is far more prevalent than the use of Mathew, although there are some of those. Matthias, on the other hand, is much more uncommon than Matthew, so it seems as if there is more room for variance and not an assumed way to spell it.”

Indeed! It’s just as she said: according to Behind the Name there are two traditional spellings with the “th” (Matthias and Mathias), though Matthias is the one used in the  English Bible (not sure about other translations?), and it seems that both spellings have usage in a bunch of languages as listed on Behind the Name, with Matthias having broader usage:

Matthias: Greek, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, French, Dutch, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek

Mathias:  French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

Pronunciation-wise, it seems that Mathias is only pronounced ma-TEE-as (and there’s also the variant Mat(t)ias, which makes that pronunciation more obvious), while Matthias can be either ma-THIGH-as or ma-TEE-as. I looked both Matthias and Mathias up on SSA and was interested by the results:

matthias

mathias

Matthias is slightly more popular BUT 2003 is the first year it made it into the top 1000, while Mathias has been on and off since 1900. Also, I found this very telling:

matias

Over the same time period, Matias — which of course has that ma-TEE-as pronunciation — has been like 100 spots more popular than either Matthias or Mathias, so just from these charts Americans might be more familiar with the ma-TEE-as pronunciation and/or might be baffled by having an “h” in the name, never mind two “t”s. (The spelling Mattias has never been in the top 1000.)

So it’s definitely one of those names that requires some decisions, and then firm consistency when sharing the name with others.

I think it’s a name that’s totally worth it though. I mean, it’s a Matthew variant, so it has the same great meaning (“gift of God”), and it can take the same friendly, accessible nicknames (Matt, Matty), but names that are a twist on the familiar are some of my favorites, and Matthias totally fits that. Never mind that I always think of Matthias as a Catholicky Catholic name because he was chosen by Peter and “the brothers” to replace Judas in, dare I call it, the first Church Council??  😉

During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said … ‘Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.’

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.’ Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:15,21-26)

(I also need to point out, because it can be confusing, that the Apostle Matthew, also known as Levi, who was one of the original twelve, is not the same person as Matthias. I’m guessing that we use Matthew and Matthias (and also Levi for Matthew) to distinguish between the two, because they’re both more recent variants of the original Hebrew Mattiyahu via the Greek variant Matthaios.)

Anyway, I’ve always loved Matthias’ story, and I’ve always loved his name. Not only are Matt and Matty possible nicknames, but I’ve seen Mitt/Mitty for Matthew, which can work for Matthias as well, and the Dutch nickname Thijs and its variant Ties I find so appealing — Matt Lauer has a son named Thijs, pronounced TICE. Love it! (But that would probably interfere with getting everyone on board with the ma-THIGH-as pronunciation, huh?)

What do you all think of Matthias? Which pronunciation do you prefer? Do you like the spelling Matthias or Mathias better? Do you know anyone named Mat(t)hias? Does he like his name? Does he go by a nickname? All of which is my way of saying the same thing as the reader who requested the spotlight: “I would be interested in hearing your opinions on it and the opinions of your readers.”

This Saint’s got some pretty cool names (and a cool title!)

One of you darling readers emailed me yesterday with this fabulous bit:

Today is the feast of Bl. Clemens August von Galen, “The Lion of Munster”. He might already be on your radar, but just in case, I thought I’d share it.

I’m thinking that there are lots of great naming possibilities here… Especially Galen. Sounds modern (short, long a sound, ends in a n) … If anyone is looking for a “fresh” Catholic name, this could be it. And imagine how fun it would be for a little boy to have a patron called “the lion of Munster”!!

First of all: Clemens. And August. And Galen! What amazing names this guy has! And to be called “The Lion of Munster”! Of course I had to look him up, and of course I loved what I found:

Born to one of the oldest German noble families. Ordained on 28 May 1904 at Münster, Germany. Chosen bishop of Münster on 5 September 1933. Fiercely anti-Communist, and an outspoken opponent of the Stalinist regime. A strong nationalist who loved his homeland, his was known for his opposition to the Nazis, their programs and policies. He was a key opponent in the fight to end the Nazi program of “euthanasia“, the murder of the old, the crippled, the ill. Created Cardinal–Priest of San Bernardo alle Terme on 18 February 1946.”

I love him already. ❤ There’s more great stuff at that link, including homilies against the Nazis and euthanasia, if you want to read more.

What do you all think? Would you consider Clemens/Clement or August in his honor? And I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on Galen — like the reader said in her email, “If anyone is looking for a ‘fresh’ Catholic name, this could be it.”

Also, “the Lion of Munster”! 🦁😍

 

 

Spotlight on: Klaus

A reader is considering the name Klaus for her baby-on-the-way and asked me if I’d get your feedback on it. What an unexpected name!

Klaus is a German short form of Nicholas (and so can take any of the Sts. Nicholas as patron) and is said “klows,” which can be problematic for anyone who doesn’t know that — it might be annoying to have to correct people on a regular basis (though not a deal breaker imo), and said “klaws” would bring Santa to mind right away. But is that really a big deal? It strikes me as such a distinguished name and in fact, one of the comments on the entry for the name at Behind the Name said, “it has a sophisticated brevity.” I love that! Another commenter mentioned the Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer — you guys! Klaus Maria!!! 😍😍😍 So I had to dig a little deeper and I’m fascinated by this: Klaus Maria Brandauer was born Klaus Georg Steng but replaced his middle and last names with his mom’s first and maiden names — Maria Brandauer — to create his professional name. I love that so much!! What a guy!! And not really any different from a man taking a Mary name as his own (religious name, Confirmation name), no?

Klaus is such a short name that it doesn’t really need a nickname (though I did see in its entry on Namipedia the nickname Klausie, which could be cute), but it’s also got some baggage (pronunciation, Santa) that could be managed with an easier nickname. I think Nick/Nicky/Niko/Nico could work, as a nod to its Nicholas connection. Or perhaps KC, if the middle was a C name, like Klaus Christopher (I had a friend in college named Keith Christopher who went by KC). Or Kip if the middle had a P in it (Klaus Patrick), or Kit if the middle had a T (like GoT actor Kit Harington, whose given name is Christopher — Kit is a traditional nickname for Christopher, which makes an extra nice argument for Klaus Christopher nicknamed Kit). Or Kam, for something like Klaus Abraham/Amadeus or Klaus Matthew/Matthias — Kam fits in easily with the Cameron/Cam crowd.

What do you all think of Klaus? Do you know anyone named Klaus? Does he like his name? Does he go by a nickname?

 

Baby name consultation: Artistic, worldly, saintly names a plus for the third of three brothers

Carrie and her husband are expecting their third baby — a third boy! This little guy joins big brothers:

Owen Joseph
Julian Elias

I.Love.Those.Names! So sophisticated and handsome!

Carrie writes,

I love thinking and talking about baby names while my husband absolutely does not, and I desperately need some input! Hubby has actually said that he doesn’t think choosing baby names is that big of a deal, and that names in general aren’t that important (what!!!).”

What!!! 😲

We named our first son, Owen, after I made a list of my 5 favorite names, gave it to him, and he pointed to one and said “this one.” Our second son was basically named solely by me – Julian was my favorite name by far, and after a while I told my husband that I was going to just start considering the baby to be Julian unless he provided another suggestion. He never did, so Julian it was! The only real name suggestion my husband has given has been along the lines of “what about something like Bob?” Meaning – he thinks most of the names I like are too unusual for him.”

Um. He and my husband sound like brothers separated at birth.

So like I said, we currently have Owen Joseph and Julian Elias. Owen was actually born on the feast day of a St. Owen, which I did not realize until earlier this year. Owen is also a family name on my husband’s side. His middle name, Joseph, is after my dad and we consider St. Joseph to be his patron saint. I liked the name Julian for several reasons – I like the softer sound of it, and I think it sounds artistic and worldly. We do call him Jules a lot at home. We went back and forth about a family middle name for Julian but in the end nothing sounded right and we went with Elias (in part to give him cool initials [their last name begins with a T] – don’t judge! We were that desperate!) Julian’s birthday is in February which is also the month that St. Julian’s feast day is in. So I kind of like that both boys so far have birthdays in the same month as their saint’s feast day. (But not a requirement!)

… boy names are very challenging, since aside from Julian I had a hard time coming up with names I liked and could actually see us using the last time around. I am not sure how we will be able to name a third boy! When I try to think about boy names I like that are viable options, I come up with blanks. Nothing seems usable for us! I have even tried the Baby Name Wizard trick where I look at our current names or names I like and see if any of the brother names are possibilities, but so far that hasn’t helped me much. So as you can see, I feel that I need some fresh eyes on our boy naming situation.”

Honest to goodness, sometimes fresh eyes are all that are needed! It can be so helpful to just bounce ideas off of someone else.

Names they’ve considered that Carrie likes but aren’t sold on, or have been vetoed by her husband include:

Ames
Ansel
August
Arthur
Conrad
Dominic
Ezra
Felix
Frederick
Harry/Harris
Miles
Solomon

I have always like the name Blaise and feel connected to St. Blaise as my grandmother’s birthday was on St. Blaise day and I always loved the story behind the blessing of the throats, but not sure if its too “out there” for us. I also have always liked Silas but my husband has said it sounds evil (I think because the villain in the book the Da Vinci code was named Silas).

Middle name possibilities so far are Thomas (my husband’s confirmation name, he just converted to Catholicism at Easter), Henry after my grandfather (but could not use as a first because I have a cousin with that name already), or perhaps Blaise in the middle spot.”

Names that Carrie likes but they can’t use include:

Leo
Theo/Theodore
James
Asher
Leland
most names ending in T (Elliot) as our last name is very T heavy
Francis/Frank
Samuel
Ben
Jude (“it can be a nickname for Julian and its also just too close“)
Xavier

Girl names they like, for inspiration:

Isla
Beatrice
Vivian
Ada
Willa

Finally,

Aside from no names that end with T’s, and including a saint’s name in either first or middle spot, the only other rules I have is no top 20 names and no strong Irish names (I know Irish names are currently very popular) as my family has very strong German roots and it would just feel weird to me. I don’t mind repeating initials, and although I prefer 3 syllables or less I am open to a longer name.”

So first off, I think it’s amazing that Carrie’s successfully named two little boys with little help from her hubby—that would be some moms’ dream come true! But I totally get why it’s frustrating.

Second, I was really interested in trying to fit with the connection with Owen and Julian’s feast days both falling in the month they were born—I kept that in mind as I looked for ideas for this baby (due in early March, so I looked quickly through the feast days on CatholicSaints.info for both February and March).

Carrie and her hubs have a great list of names I think! I think Blaise is an awesome option—Feb feast day, great name, great saint, and Carrie has a connection to him as well! I personally don’t think it’s too out there for them, but of course they need to be comfortable with the name they choose.

As for Silas, if her husband can’t shake the negative association, I wonder what they’d think of Cyrus? It has a totally different feel to me; they could still use the sound-alike nickname Cy; and it’s a saint’s name. Or Cyril? There are several, with feast days Feb. 14 and March 18, 20, and 28.

Even though she said she’s already looked through the Baby Name Wizard, I did so as well, looking up the names she and her husband have used and those they like, as you know it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that, and some ideas of my own, these are my ideas:

(1) Gabriel
I love when I see what seems to be a preference by parents for a certain sound—like, in this case, vowel couplets (Julian, Elias, Blaise, Leo, Theo/Theodore, Xavier). Gabriel barely makes the cut for Carrie’s preference for no top 20 names, being No. 22 in 2015, but otherwise it seems such a good match for them in my opinion. It’s kind of sophisticated and gentlemanly, which I get from Owen and Julian, and it totally fits Carrie’s description of why she likes Julian: “I like the softer sound of it, and I think it sounds artistic and worldly.” One of my favorite name books, Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma by Joal Ryan, described Gabriel as “acceptably musical for a boy,” which always stuck with me! Gabe and Gil are both possible nicknames, I like them both! Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows’ feast day is Feb. 27; Gabriel Lalemant is March 17; the Annunciation (not St. Gabriel the Archangel’s feast day but associated with him) is March 25.

(2) Matthias, Tobias, Gideon
Here are some more vowel-couplet names that I thought were slam dunks until I realized that Matthias and Tobias rhyme with Elias, and Gideon has the same ending sound as Julian. I don’t think any of the potential negatives are necessarily deal-breakers though—with Elias being a middle name, I don’t think it’s a huge deal to use a rhyming name for another child’s first name. And Owen and Julian also have the same ending sound, so adding in a third boy with the same ending sound in Gideon could actually be really cool. I knew three brothers growing up named Cam3ron, J0nathan, and G!deon, and I always loved those names together. Tobias Francisco Borras Roman’s feast is Feb. 11.

(3) Pierce, Simon, Henry
Pierce has been on my mind ever since one of you readers left a comment saying she knows someone who named her son Pierce after Mary’s Heart being pierced with a sword. Wow! It’s a form of Peter and I would definitely put it in the “sophisticated and gentlemanly” category, as I would also do with Simon. Kind of bookish and smart, just like Owen and Julian. Ditto for Henry, and St. Henry Morse’s feast day is Feb. 1! There are a bunch of holy Peters with feasts in Feb and March: Peter Cambiano is Feb. 2, Peter Igneus is Feb. 8, Pierre Fremond is Feb. 10, Peter Damian is Feb. 21, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter is Feb. 22. Additionally Simon of Saint Bertin is Feb. 24 and Henry of Austria is March 7.

(4) Beau
I did a consultation for my brother and sister-in-law a year ago, and they were so on my mind when I was working on this for Carrie and her hubs, as they have two boys named Leo and Owen and several of the other names Carrie likes are ones my SIL and I discussed. Beau is one of my SIL’s favorite names for a boy, and I think it has that “soft, artistic” feel Carrie likes (I think so much of Beau Wilkes in Gone With the Wind). So I was delighted to see it’s a style match for Blaise and Xavier!

(5) Hugo, Oscar
Carrie and her hubs have kind of a Germanic contingent on their list—Frederick, Conrad, Felix—all of which made me think of Hugo, which is a name we considered for our youngest. Can’t you just picture a toddler Hugo? Ohmygoodness! So cute! There is the literary connection to be aware of in regards to Julian’s name—Jules Verne and Victor Hugo—but I also think that could be really cool. Hugh of Fosse’s feast is Feb. 10, Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni is Feb. 17.

I normally wouldn’t suggest another O name for a family that’s already used an O name, since O is a somewhat distinctive and rarely used letter, but since Carrie specifically said she didn’t mind repeating initials and since I thought Oscar would be awesome, I decided to go for it. I spotlighted it here.

(6) Isaac, Micah
Isaac and Micah kind of remind me of each other—both have a long I and a hard C; they’re short-to-medium in length; they’re both Old Testament. Isaac falls right in that “sophisticated, gentlemanly, bookish” category that I think really fits Carrie’s taste, and is saintly as well (St. Isaac Jogues). Micah is more in the “soft, artistic” category I think, maybe even too much so, as it’s in the top 1000 for girls (#108 for boys, #834 for girls), but it’s a name I love and I’d be thrilled for it to see even more use among boys. Isaac the Patriarch’s feast is March 25.

(7) Kolbe
Finally, I was thinking how Carrie said her family has strong German roots, and I always always think of St. Nicholas Owen when I see the name Owen, so I had in mind German-ish surnames and Kolbe immediately came to mind. Owen, Julian, and Kolbe strike me as quite a cool set of brothers!

And those are my idea for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Owen and Julian’s little brother?

Namespotting: Diego Klattenhoff

Do you know this actor?

1024px-the_blacklist_-_diego_klattenhoff
By Thibault (Flickr: The Blacklist — Panel) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I loved him in Homeland (though I haven’t watched it in ages), and I’m currently watching The Blacklist, and he’s great in that as well. So I looked him up to find out more about him, googling “who plays Ressler in Blacklist” since I didn’t know his name, and was so surprised to find out that his name is Diego Klattenhoff.

Diego Klattenhoff!

Diego! And Klattenhoff! I’ve been rolling his name over in my head for days, I’m so intrigued by that combination! I’m dying to know his name story, or some hint as to why he was named Diego (of course you have to know Diego is all St. Juan Diego to me 😂) … Alas, there’s not much to find — I know he’s Canadian (from Nova Scotia), and that Klattenhoff is German, but I can’t find any info on his parents/heritage/religion. Or maybe it’s a pseudonym? Whether real or not, what an awesome name for an actor — so memorable in its unexpectedness!

Do any of you know anything more about him and how/why he was so named?  Do you find that combo as fascinating as I do?

UPDATE: Despite my sort of obsessive googling trying to find out more about Diego’s first name, I totally did not see at all this old article a friend just sent me after reading this post. It explains that Diego’s dad’s from Germany and his mom’s of Irish/Welsh descent — which explains his look and his last name — but as for Diego, it’s just a name his dad liked, maybe after a painter (his dad’s an artist). Mystery solved!

Birth announcement: Margaret Thérèse!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her little girl has arrived and been given the beeeauutiful name … Margaret Thérèse!

She writes,

Thank you so much for your help! I just wanted to let you know our little girl arrived on November 7th and we named her Margaret ‘Greta’ Thérèse!

Greta!! I love love love Greta as a nickname for Margaret!! And the full Margaret Thérèse is just gorgeous! This little lady joins her beautifully named big sisters:

Clara Grace
Annelise Rose

What an amazing set of sisters! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Greta!!

image1-11

Margaret Thérèse

Bonus consultation: Baby girl for family with eclectic taste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And names on the no-go list:

Lucy
Grace
Emma
Rebecca

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

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

So! All that said, these are my ideas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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