Baby name consultation: Saintly and/or Marian connection for Rory

I received such a fun consultation request recently from Carey (we follow each other on Twitter) (I follow her husband too!)! Carey and her hubs already have one son:

Rory Nathaniel

I looooove the name Rory!! And Rory Nathaniel is a perfect combo. Love love love it.

They’re expecting their second baby, but the consultation request actually had to do with Rory! Carey writes,

I have a kind of unusual request for you. I was wondering if you could do a consultation on a baby I’ve already named? I was confirmed in the church while I was pregnant and I feel like we chose his name before we were truly immersed in the beauty and saintliness that is Catholic naming culture!

So anyway, would you be willing to look at my son’s name and share some Catholic connections we may not have thought of? I love your ability to connect names and intentions in unusual ways.

His name is Rory Nathaniel, and here’s the story: my husband and I both felt very picky about boy names, and we felt like we couldn’t use the ones we did like because they all belonged to family members or friends that would feel weird to name a baby after, if that makes sense.

We chose Rory because we love the show Doctor Who, in which Rory is a great (male) character, but I also binged Gilmore Girls while pregnant so I can’t deny the influence of that show, either. 😉 We tossed around the name Rory almost as a joke, but realized we actually liked the name and none of our other ideas stuck. By the time we found out he was a boy, it had been on top for a while.

We decided that with a two-syllable first and last name, we wanted a middle name with more musicality and narrowed our search to three-syllable saint names, but we were picky about a lot of them for one reason or another (several were vetoed because they would leave him with the initials/nicknames RB or RJ which I don’t like) until we settled on Nathaniel as good enough, since it is a saint name and also comes from Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, which was a book about sea navigation we both loved in school.

Rory’s story might have hinted at some of our nerdiness (Doctor Who, navigation) so I like those connections in his name but since converting I’ve been wondering if there are more religious connections (even esoteric ones) that we can claim retroactively. I don’t know if it’s possible but I would love it to have a sort of connection to Our Lady!

P.S. we’re due with #2 in August and so far our top boy/girl contenders are Elanor Grace and Joseph Augustine, both of which I like in part because they echo Rory’s name. We call him Roso and that would be cute paired with ‘Joso’, but I could also see us nicknaming an Elanor ‘Nory’ so either way, they’d be a pair. 🙂 “

(Roso and Joso/Nory! I die!)

I have to say I’m pretty impressed they didn’t let Gilmore Girls interfere with their love of the name Rory! I’ve seen it happen! Gah! Anyway, I applaud them — Rory’s a great name, and a great name for a boy. I also love that they’d love a connection to Our Lady through his name!

So I have a few ideas for saintly connections for their little man — hopefully one of them will strike the right chord!

(1) Connections from its “kingly” meaning
As far as I can tell, there’s no St. Rory (or Ruari/Ruaidhri), but since it means “red king, great king,” according to babynamesofireland.com (I know the rí part means king; I love the idea of “great king” but I’m not sure how that fits here? Ruadh means red), I think Jesus makes an excellent patron! There are loads of Jesus names like Christopher/Christina, Salvatore, Emmanuel, so it’s not unheard of to name a baby after Jesus, and a nod to His kingship is pretty great. Or maybe another notable king, like King David? Here’s a list of saints who were kings. If they wanted to tie into the “red” meaning, I did a spotlight on Ruby, which offers some good possible connections — the Precious Blood and the Passion both come right to mind.

(2) Could possibly think of it as a nickname for a male saint: Gregory, Lawrence, Robert
I’ve suggested Rory as a possible nickname many times for Gregory, and I recently posted a birth announcement for a little Gregory whose parents intend to call him Rory! I was so excited! Pope St. Gregory the Great is a cool patron for a little boy. I also think it could work as a nickname for Lawrence and Robert — St. Lawrence Brindisi and St. Robert Bellarmine are the ones I’m familiar with, but there are a bunch more Sts. Gregory, Lawrence, and Robert — Carey and her hubs might like to look through the lists and see if they make a connection with any? Sts. Gregory, Sts. Lawrence, Sts. Robert.

(3) Could possible think of it as a nickname for a Marian name: Aurora
I’ve seen Rory as a nickname for Aurora (I saw one birth announcement years ago where the parents had twin girls and named them Aurora and Therese, and called them Rory and Reese!), so they could possibly consider their son’s name to be a nod to that name. And Aurora can be Marian! I spotlighted its Marian connections here; if they feel like it’s just a bit too far to consider their son’s name Marian because of its connection to a girl name, I also wrote in that post how it can refer to Jesus as well.

(4) Maybe a connection to Rose or Rosary
The “red” meaning of Rory could maybe nod to roses, which is a symbol of Mary, and then I thought maybe they’d like it to nod to the full “Rosary,” which would be really interesting. The connection to Rosary can happen through the rose connection (based on the color meaning of Rory), or sound — I could see Rory being a natural nickname for Rosary, and I could also see parents coming up with Rory if they wanted to name a boy after the rosary (I did a birth announcement for a little Rosary here).

And those are all the ideas I came up with! What do you all think? Do you have any other ideas/suggestions for a saintly/Marian connection for Rory?

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Reader question: Is Patton too General?

A reader has asked an interesting question that I hope you’ll all weigh in on! She writes,

One name we’ve considered A LOT is Patton. I like the sound of it and it generally fits our criteria, but I have two concerns. One is that my husband picked it while thinking of General George Patton (history buff), but I’m a little concerned the connotation is too strong. Even if we’re not technically naming him after the General, there are so few Pattons that the link is obvious. And I don’t know how I feel about our son carrying the presumed namesake of a person not canonized or family. We agree Patton was a great General, but he was known to be harsh and vulgar, and though he was quite religious (protestant) he supposedly opposed the marriage of his daughter to a Catholic and believed in reincarnation. Those concerns aside, I read that Patton can be a diminutive of Patrick, which is awesome (we’re Irish).”

Interesting question, right?

I told her that I’m not really sure what I think about the General Patton connection. For me, General Patton wouldn’t have been my first connection at all! First, I would have thought of Patton being a diminutive of Patrick (I love that this mama knows that!); second, I would have thought of the paten at church. You can see where my head’s at! Haha! Names and faith all the time! A distant third would be the actor Patton Oswalt. But I did ask my husband what his gut reaction was when hearing the name Patton, and he thought about it for a minute (so much for gut reaction!) and said, “Well, there’s General Patton,” but he didn’t seem to think it was a negative or a dealbreaker.

As for her “son carrying the presumed namesake of a person not canonized or family,” if I named my son Patton and someone asked about his name, I would always start with, “It’s a variant of Patrick that we really like.” This would tie the name closely to St. Patrick, both in the parents’ minds and those who they talk to, and of course St. Patrick would be his patron. Then if they brought up the General they could also say, “Yeah, he’s pretty cool,” and move on. Do you all agree?

Another option is to use Patrick as the given name, and use Patton as the nickname, which I also quite like. Do you agree that’s a good option, or do you think Patton as the given name is a better idea?

Please let me know how you would advise this mom?

Baby name consultation: Short+sweet, easy to pronounce, Celtic feel

Caitlin and her husband are compiling name ideas for a future baby (they’re not currently expecting), which is a really fun kind of consultation to work on! Their current children are:

Liam Christopher (“I have loved the name Liam since I was 10 (and apparently so had every other woman that gave birth in 2014!) and always wanted to use it if I ever had a little boy. I almost balked because it had gotten so popular but in the end knew I would regret not using it. He is a Liam through and through! Christopher is my husband’s first name.”)

Clare McKenna Constance (“My husband and I happened to be married on St. Clare’s feast day and the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Poor Clares. We then honeymooned in Ireland where we thought how cool it would be to use a geographic, Irish name somehow, so our girl’s first name is for both St. Clare and County Clare. McKenna is my maiden name that I have long thought of using as a middle. My husband and I liked that our first boy has a name from him and our first girl has a name from me. Constance was a last minute addition. My Grandmother (first name Constance) passed away while I was pregnant with Clare. It is also a strong family name as I additionally have an aunt and cousin named Constance. Her 3 names suit her very well as she is full of personality and a red head to boot! We joke that 2 names would not have been enough to contain all that is Clare! We are not big on nicknames but we often use her full name as a sort of nickname.”)

You all know how I feel about Irish names!! I love Liam and Clare together, and I love their name stories!

Caitlin writes,

First of all, we are not currently expecting but if and when we do have more children we are pretty stumped. Our son and daughter have “the” boy and girl names so it’s been very hard to find other names that fit just as well … It has taken naming two children to see that we do have a bit of a naming style. We seem to like “short and sweet” (ideally 1-2 syllables and not too long letter wise), easy to pronounce names. We definitely prefer “softer”, not-harsh sounding names. We like nicknames in theory but in practice prefer to name our children what we plan on calling them. I go almost exclusively by Cait and my husband by Chris so we rarely hear the sound of our full first name! I am from 2 large Irish American families and definitely tend to be drawn to Gaelic/Celtic/Anglo style names but that is not a requirement. My husband is son to 2 first generation Italian immigrants but we are not drawn to most Italian/Latin/Spanish sounding names. We like to use the middle name as an honorific. We probably would not use a top 5 first name unless we LOVED it, like we did Liam.

There are a couple of things we like in theory but not so far in reality, like nicknames. We also like the idea of flower names for a girl but don’t actually like a lot of the shorter flower names and/or they are too popular. We would also like to use a girl’s name that would honor Our Lady but are not big fans of most Mary/Mari/Maria names. Despite that, the idea of using a name like “Marigold” (as it means “Mary’s Gold”) in the middle spot is actually growing on me. It feels a little indulgent for our style but I think it could be anchored by a more familiar first name. One thing I would like to hear your thoughts on, if anything comes to you: we as a family have a devotion to Our Lady under the title “Star of the Sea” or Maris Stella and would like to somehow use a name that is a nod to that. As I mentioned we don’t love most “Mari” names (there are also just sooo many “Mary-Something”/Marias between my Irish family and his Italian family) and don’t like the name Stella very much. I wouldn’t be opposed to using “Maristella” as a middle but again, it just seems a little too extravagant for us. Is there any way you can think of that could reference this title of Our Lady without actually using either word?

On to some lists!

Names we do like, for inspiration:
Girls: Lucy, Chloe, Ruby, Zelie, Gemma, Nora, Isla
Boys: Eamon, Ephraim, Finn (probably my favorite but my husband has a hopeless association with a very silly golden retriever named Finn), Jude, Theo, Oliver

Names we do like but can’t use:
Girls: Brigid, Lily(we just know too many!), Alice
Boys: Asher, Milo, Colm (just a little to clunky to say, I wish it wasn’t!), Calum, Leo (too close to Liam)

Names we dislike OR Family names we can’t repeat:
Girls: Joanna, Sophia, Audrey, Catherine or any variant, Anne, Lauren/Laura, Theresa/Therese, Julie , -ianna names (Gianna, Lillianna, etc etc)
Boys: Samuel, Connor, Matthew, Patrick, Andrew, Noah, Jonah, Ryan, Neil, Nathan, Juian, Stephen

Past and Present Pet’s names we obviously can’t use 😉
Reily, Lacey, Fiona, Bailey

Saints we would honor, likely in the middle spot somehow:
Joseph( also a big family name/my husbands middle name and I love Josephine as a girl middle), Nicholas, Anthony, Bernadette, Raphael, Pius, St. Therese, Rocco, Benedict, Bruno, Therese of Lisieux, Francis, Laurence, Our Lady

My problem with all of the Saints we would like to honor is that I don’t actually like any of their names! My husband doesn’t share this problem and would probably be fine with using any of these for a middle name as is, but I would like to try to find creative homages if possible.”

Alrighty, so I really like that Cait feels they’ve been able to whittle their style down to “short and sweet,” easy to pronounce, “softer” names, and that nicknames aren’t as big for them as they might have thought — I relied heavily on these guidelines when coming up with ideas for them.

I also like that they’re considering Marigold and Maristella for the middle name spot! They’re great names, but if they feel uncomfortable as first names, the middle spot would be a great place for them.

I gave some thought to their “Star of the Sea” question and had a few ideas:

  • Marina: Marina means “of the sea” AND it’s sometimes used in Scotland as an anglicization of the Scottish form of Mary, Màiri. So you can get the sea + Mary + Gaelic/Celtic/Anglo all in one name!
  • Another “star” name: There are several girl names besides Stella that mean “star” or similar, including Estelle (the French form of Stella), Esther (Persian), Seren (Welsh), Steren (Cornish), and the literary name Elanor (from Lord of the Rings – it means “star sun” in Sindarin, and it was also the name of a flower in the LOTR universe, and Samwise’s first daughter). Of those, I particularly like Elanor for them, since they already have Nora on their list of names they’re considering, and Nora can be a nickname for Eleanor/Elanor. Something like Elanor Marina could mean “star + of the sea,” if they felt the connection was strong enough to honor their devotion
  • Another “sea” name: There are other girl names that mean “sea,” as well, including Meri (Finnish), Mira (Indian, Hindi), Muirenn (sea+white/fair in Irish). I’m intrigued by Muirenn, because of their Irish sensibility … Forvo says it’s pronounced like “MUR-in”, as does Baby Names of Ireland I’m quite taken with Elanor Muirenn!

Before I get to my new suggestions to add to their (awesome) list of names, I had a few thoughts about them, and about the saints they’d like to honor (but t they don’t like their names):

  • I wonder if they’d consider Flynn instead of Finn? It’s so similar to Finn, but might be different enough that the dog association would be lost
  • I was so surprised to see Ephraim on their list! It’s almost completely unfamiliar to me! It doesn’t seem easy to say and spell to me, but I love seeing wildcard names on a couple’s list, so I loved seeing it here! Funny enough, Laura Wattenberg (author of the Baby Name Wizard, which I rely heavily on in my consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity) wrote in her latest blog post about “55 Biblical Names Reaching New Heights” and Ephraim is one (it’s currently at no. 884; it entered the top 1000 in 2013 after not having been in the top 1000 since 1914). It didn’t inform any of my suggestions below, as I felt it was so different from their other ideas, which tended to be more similar to each other than not. But it did make me think of one name that I thought I’d mention here, in case it strikes their fancy: Malachy. There’s the Old Testament prophet Malachi, which gives Malachy the same biblical feel as Ephraim, but
  • Malachy is an Irish saint’s name and an anglicized form of some heavy-duty old Irish names
  • Cait said they can’t use Milo — I wonder if Miles would be different enough? I’m a huge fan of Miles! Both it and Milo have traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the Old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary”! Irish, Mary, and male, all in one name! Also easy to say and spell, short and sweet
  • Josephine for a girl’s middle seems a great way to honor St. Joseph, if they don’t care for Joseph for a boy
  • I have an idea for Nicholas in my official suggestions below
  • For Anthony, I wonder if they would like any of the variants like Antonio or Anton? Or maybe Padua as a middle name?
  • I believe St. Bernadette’s given name was Marie-Bernarde, so maybe just Marie could sufficiently nod to her? (And Our Lady of course, a two-for-one!)
  • Pio and Pia are variants of Pius, maybe they’d like to consider one of them?
  • St. Therese was Marie-Therese, so Marie could be for her too (and Bernadette and Our Lady, whew!). I see Rose names given in her honor frequently as well — I quite like Rose or Rosa for this family, though I know Cait said they don’t care for a lot of the shorter flower names. I have another idea below for honoring St. Therese
  • Bennett is a medieval form of Benedict that I see pop up fairly frequently on lists of names parents are considering
  • Unfortunately I can’t think of anything great for Raphael, Rocco, Bruno, Francis, or Laurence! But I do have some ideas for Our Lady below

Okay, so I looked up the names Cait and her hubs have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard, and added some ideas of my own. Based on all that, these are my ideas:

Girl

(1) Maura, Moira, Molly
This is one of my Marian ideas — an Irish form of the name itself! I think Maura might be the best option for them, as it’s easy to say and spell. Moira is a pretty option too, though I know pronunciation varies depending on who you’re talking to. And I love Molly for them — it’s a style match for Lucy, Ruby, and Nora. (Using Maura or Moira would knock Nora off for the future, unfortunately.)

(2) Eva
Eva is a style match for Theo, and funny enough, I already had it on my list for Cait and her hubs for three reasons: first, I was trying to think of Irish names that could be easily anglicized, and Aoife was one of the first I thought of; second, Eva can be considered Marian in that Our Lady is considered the New Eve; and thirdly, because in the traditional hymn Ave Maris Stella there’s this stanza:

O! By Gabriel’s Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva’s name reversing,
Established peace below

Since the name Eva is used in the hymn, I thought maybe they could consider Eva to be a nod to Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

(3) Maisie
Maisie is a traditional nickname for Margaret, as it’s a diminutive of Mairead (the Irish Margaret). Though it’s often used as a nickname, it’s also bestowed as a given name — it was no. 574 in 2016 on the SSA chart.

(4) Tess(a)
This is my other idea for honoring St. Therese. Tess is a common nickname for the Teresa/Therese names, and like Maisie it can also stand on its own (it was a top 1000 name from 1983 to 2013). Tessa is also lovely, and feels more complete to some parents — it was no. 229 in 2016. (They could also consider the Irish Treasa!)

(5) Grace
Grace was a big style match for this family, being similar to Clare and the Lucy/Ruby/Nora/Molly names. It’s easy to say and spell; there’s the darling Gracie as a nickname if they’d like; and it honors Our Lady as well! It could go really well with heavy hitting, offbeat middles like Marigold and Maristella, though maybe that would be too many Marian names? I also like Grace Bernadette and Grace Josephine (Mary and Joseph in one! Beautiful!).

Boy

(1) Jack, Sean, Shane
These were my first ideas for them before I finished reading Cait’s email! I know they have John, Ian, Owen, and Evan on their list of names they don’t like/can’t repeat, so maybe they meant to add Jack, Sean, and Shane as well … but I had to suggest them just in case! All of them are easy to say and spell and nod to Cait’s Irish heritage.

(2) Henry
Henry is a style match for Clara (standing in for Clare, since Clare doesn’t have its own entry), Lucy, and Theo. I think it definitely has a British Isles feel, and there are loads of great Sts. Henry to choose from! I did a spotlight of the name here.

(3) Colin
This is my idea for Nicholas, and I had it on my list for them before I went back and re-read Cait’s email and remembered that Nicholas is one of the saints they love but don’t love his name. It’s easier than Colm and similar to Calum, but I didn’t see it on any of their “can’t/won’t use” lists. It’s got usage as an anglicized form of some Gaelic names, but for this family I prefer the separate usage derived from a medieval diminutive of Nicholas.

(4) Rowan, Rowen (Rohan?)
I’ll be interested to see what they think of Rowan/Rowen! Rowan did surprisingly well for them in my research, being similar in style to Gemma, Isla, and Finn. It’s more unisex than some parents of boys like — in 2016 it was no. 182 for boys and no. 239 for girls — but the spelling Rowen might help (visually anyway, even though it’s said the same as Rowan), as it’s no. 658 for boys and not in the top 1000 for girls. Another option that’s similar is Rohan, which can be said like Rowan, or it could be said RO-han, like the Riders of Rohan in LOTR. It’s got exclusively masculine use as far as I can tell — it was no. 742 in 2016, given to 327 boys and less than five girls (if any; the SSA only lists names given to five children or more in a given year).

(5) Casey
My last idea for Cait and her hubs is Casey. Like Rowan, it has unisex usage; unlike Rowan, the gap between the boy and girl usage is much larger: it was no. 560 for boys in 2016 and no. 857 for girls. The recent beatification of Bl. Solanus Casey has put it on the radar of quite a few parents, and he’s the first Irish American Blessed, which is awesome for Cait’s heritage. I think it’s short and sweet, and easy to say and spell.

There were a few other ideas I considered adding to the list, which I ultimately decided not to for various reasons, but I thought I’d include them here just in case: Greer, Maeve, and Julia for girls; Rhys, Alec, and Blaine for boys.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Liam and Clare?

Birth announcement: Finn Douglas!

I received such a fun email the other day! Cheri is a reader who wanted to let me know about the birth of her baby, and to tell me a little about the names she and her husband have chosen for all their kiddos! I fell in love with all of the names and the stories behind them, and of course I was all, “Can I post this on the blog??” and I’m so delighted Cheri said yes!

She and her hubs recently welcomed their sixth baby — and sixth boy! (My mom-of-six-boys heart always sings upon meeting another!) They gave their littlest guy the swoon-worthy name … Finn Douglas!

Cheri writes,

I just wanted to say thank you for your website!! I was SO close to getting a consultation. I even started typing up an email to send. I think the process of writing it all out in an email helped us narrow down our choices. And reading through consultations was incredibly insightful. It helped us look at the names we had given our children with fresh eyes and helped us articulate why we’ve chosen the ones we did. You helped without even knowing you were doing so!

We had our 6th baby at the end of September. We did not find out the gender at the ultrasound. Probability said that would be a boy since we had already been blessed with 5! Ha! But it was still exciting not finding out until the birth.

We were very happy to welcome Finn Douglas into our family! As soon as the doctor said, “It’s a boy!”, the first thing that I though was, “well of course it is!”

We had a really hard time coming up with a name that fit our criteria, wasn’t used by someone close to us, and fit with our other sons’ names.

I think your website was where I first saw the name Finn. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every consultation where you’ve mentioned it.

[Re: Finn Douglas] Our last name is Irish and we like the stories of Saint Finnian and Saint Finbar. Douglas is both my brother’s middle name and the first name of my grandpa. I was very close to him. He passed away 16 years ago. He LOVED babies! I wish he could have met mine. There is also a Blessed George Douglas who has a very interesting story.”

I’m a HUGE fan of the name Finn, and Finn Douglas is such a great combo! And isn’t this such a great email? I’m so so so happy that the blog helped this beautiful family choose a name! You all have helped me create such a great resource!!

Before sharing Cheri’s older boys’ names, I’ll share the criteria she and her hubs have used:

So our naming philosophy: we like names that are easy to spell, familiar, masculine, and have some Christian/ Old Testament/ Saint connection, with no obvious nicknames (so maybe we’re a little boring? Ha!). We also did not want any first initial duplicates (I’m a homeschooler & list lover and usually label & list things by each kid’s first initial). We kind of have an Irish/Old-Fashioned thing going on. We also seem to have a knack for picking names that rise dramatically in popularity 2-3 years after we use them. Ha!! Oh well…”

I don’t think their taste is boring at all! I love it! These are the names of their older five boys:

Isaac James (“We love the story of Abraham and Isaac, and that Isaac means God laughs. James is both his grandfather and godfather’s name“)

Aidan Xavier (“We were hesitant to use this name because it was fairly popular. But we kept coming back to it. Someone told us at the time, “God names our children, we just have to listen.” Once he was born, we KNEW God had named him. Aidan means “little fire” and he was born with a full head of beautiful auburn hair. We love the stories of Saint Aidan & his generosity. During college, my husband lived with 5 amazing Catholic men in a house named after St. Francis Xavier. This is a nod to them and to Saint Francis Xavier“)

Owen Dean (“Owen was born at 33 weeks & was tiny. It is fitting that he was named after St. Nicholas Owen I read that he was a very small man, under 5 feet – it seemed perfect for preemie. He was such an amazing & heroic Saint! Dean is his Grandpa’s middle name“)

Liam John (“We loved the name and unfortunately the only Saint Liam we could find is a race horse. Ha! But it’s a variation of William so Saint William works. We found out that he was a boy on the feast of Saint John Vianney and his great grandpa’s name is John“)

Eli Anthony (“We like the OT story of Eli and Samuel and how Eli told Samuel to respond to the Lord, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!” We chose Anthony after our family prayed a Novena to Saint Anthony when this son was in utero and diagnosed with some serious growth problems. He was born perfectly healthy so we chose this middle name in thanksgiving to Saint Anthony“)

Amazing, right?? I love each one, and I love them all together!

Congratulations to Cheri and her husband and big brothers Isaac, Aidan, Owen, Liam, and Eli, and happy birthday Baby Finn!!

Finn Douglas with his big brothers ❤

Birth announcement: Gregory Conrad!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her hubs a couple of months ago, and she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazingly perfect name … Gregory Conrad!

Amanda writes,

Gregory Conrad was born yesterday, the feast of St Cecilia (patron saint of musicians) and the anniversary of when this sweet little guy’s daddy asked me to marry him 13 years ago.

Our Little “Rory” is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who was also a wonderful musician and created the Gregorian Chant, and his daddy, Vincent Conrad, who was named after a grandfather Conrad as well. 🙂

I thought you would also like to know that on the way to the hospital, we looked up male patron saints of musicians and Gregory was at the top of the list. That kind of made up our minds, even before we saw his face, because Gregory and Sylvester were our top two at that point!! If that’s not a sign from Heaven, I don’t know what is 🙂

We let [daughter] Ellie pick his middle name when the kiddos met him, giving her the choices of Lucas, Conrad, or Jonah (because it means stubborn!). She was pretty tickled to get to help. We will also shorten it to “Rory” or even ‘Gregor’ … but not ‘Greg,’ as I’m just not crazy about one syllable. Please keep baby and I in your prayers, as it was a very long and difficult labor and delivery. So thankful he is here and healthy!

Gregory with the nickname Rory was on Amanda’s initial list this time around, and it’s an option I’ve long loved and suggested on the blog! I love it! There’s so much meaning in this little guy’s name and birth, from the connection to music (Amanda’s a musician), to his birthday being the anniversary of the day Amanda and her hubs got engaged, to his name being a five-syllable combo, just like his big brothers and sister, wow!

Please do keep Amanda and her baby boy in your prayers! Congratulations to the whole family, including big sibs Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian, and happy birthday Baby Gregory!!

Gregory Conrad with his mama and big brothers and sister

Celebrity guest: Meghan, literary+Catholic namer

The consultation I had scheduled for today had to be postponed, so I’m excited to bump up this post I had scheduled for later this week!

When I worked on that post on Catholic literary names the week before last, and saw all of your great comments and suggestions, I immediately thought of a beautiful family who I follow on Instagram whose daughters have the most amazing Catholic+literary names and I’d been meaning for ages to ask the mama if I could share them on here! So I asked and she said yes and I’m delighted to share their name stories with you all today!

Meghan is a FertilityCare Practitioner teaching the Creighton Mode of NFP, and her husband is “in the editing phases of his first book (!!!) and frequently freelances for the Catholic Beer Club and Aleteia.” What a cool couple!

They have three daughters, and Meghan writes,

The source of our inspiration for our first names thus far has largely been from literature, so far authors have been the namesake of our three girls. But as we’ve created lists before each birth they’ve spanned all aspects of literature. Aside from that, we like them all to have a little nod to our Catholic faith, but in a unique/eclectic not-so-traditional way. I’ve been told my names are Catholic hipster, but trust me — least. hipster. girl. ever. over here, full blown SAHM stuff of your childhood happening, so I don’t know how I’m doing it.”

😂😂😂

My husband and I are both avid readers (at least we try!) and big literature fans. Neither of us got degrees relating to the subject, but both love to write! … We never find out the gender of our babies before they are born, so while we await their arrival, we typically have a short running list of names for both a boy and a girl.

We always S T R U G G L E to think of boy names that fit in with our style … or should I say we struggle to agree on boy names, we both can come up with boy names for days, but none that the other is on board with. But the Lord has been merciful to us in that and we have only girls so far!

With this last pregnancy I was very near considering contacting you for a consult when it came to boy name ideas just in case we had one because I was panicking! Thankfully we came to an agreement — one so oddly obvious we couldn’t believe it hadn’t been decided on earlier!

As a Meghan (a very popular name at its prime) it was important to me that we tried for more unique names! …. We are both QUITE Irish and so we often find ways to hint toward our ancestry in a lot of our name choices.”

Are you all ready to see these beautiful names?! (( drumroll ))

Flannery Ellen: “She’s named after Flannery O’Connor. The name accomplished just what we wanted. Something unique, with a Catholic flavor to it — something subtle that only the most Catholic and well-read among us usually pick up on. We tend to make fast friends with priests and scholars when we introduce Flannery! Now her middle name is a little bit of a different story. First of all, I’m picky about how the first name and middle name sound together. But when it gets down to it, her middle name is after my youngest sister Ellie. But we also have some other women from my side of the family that it subtly alludes too — I have a grandma and a great-grandma both named Helen, so its kind of a nice marrying of all those lovely ladies. I always assume that Flannery may take St. Helen as a patron one day if she so chooses!

Harper Edel: “First, I have to clarify that we have chosen a different pronunciation for ‘Edel’, we say it like it rhymes with ‘pedal’. We thought it added to the uniqueness of her name to have a different pronunciation, which was important to us since as it turned out Harper had a bit of a rise in popularity around the time she was born. But as you can guess, her first name is after Harper Lee the well loved author of To Kill a Mockingbird. And Ven. Edel Quinn for her middle name. I had to be on bed rest for three months while pregnant with Harper and I was reading a lot about this incredible Irish Missionary during that time. One day when Zach came home I just told him, “if we have a girl we have to name her after this powerhouse Irish missionary!” Seriously, she is so legit. Fearless, disciplined, selfless, and zealous! All traits I hope my girls will embody in some way!

Willa Margaret: “She is named after Willa Cather who famously penned O Pioneers and Death Comes for an Archbishop. I also have a great great Aunt Willa who was known to be stunning and strong. My great grandmother is still living (91!) and loves when we bring little Willa to visit her — you can see the rush of nostalgia just at the mention of her name! She has a hard time remembering who everyone is, but she always remembers that there is a baby named Willa! Now the Margaret part … So, our girls were on a big Daniel Tiger kick while I was pregnant and they do a fantastic job in that show explaining how it will be when mom has a new baby and so naturally, my girls related very well to this. Maybe a little too well … Daniel Tiger’s baby sister is named Margaret in the cartoon, “Baby Margaret”. Just kind of became how the girls referred to the baby in my belly — even though we didn’t know the gender! This went on for so long and no matter what I said to try and explain that if the baby was a boy it wouldn’t be named Margaret, etc. etc. I started to just say, “If it’s a girl, maybe that can be her middle name”. Well, then while I was pregnant we drew patron saints for the year and the patron we drew for the baby was St. Margaret of Cortona … so finally after a few months of ‘maybe that will be her middle name’ I had to ask my husband if that was in fact going to be our potential daughter’s middle name!? We both just decided … Why not!? So that one just sort of happened haha! But I love it!

Aren’t these ah-MAZ-ing names??!! Can you see why I was so taken with them, and why I wanted to share them here?? I love each one!!

I asked Meghan if she would feel comfortable sharing some of the names on their list for the future, and this is what she said:

-Emerson, for either boy or girl. We were kind of leaning toward boy even though I kind of preferred it as a girl name (but then my cousin had a baby girl and named her Emerson, so I decided to nix it for now)

– Louis, Zach LOVES Louis Lamore, but I just wasn’t so sure if it fit with the style…

– Jack Clement (I love all the hard ‘k ‘ sounds especially with our last name), After Jack London and then Clement after St. Clement but its also a family name of Zach’s. He had a cousin a few generations back who died very young from tuberculosis while working as a doctor, it just sounds so romantically like the story of many of the great saints we know and love, I often dream up what he may have been like!

– Gilbert, because G.K. Chesterton and also Anne of Green Gables

– J.D.- One of my husband’s favorite books is the Catcher in the Rye, so he was really trying to talk me into Jerome David, but I just can’t get on board with initials … or Jerome for that matter.

– Quinn and Sully, okay okay — these are more inspired by my mild obsession with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, but I love Quinn for a girl and Sully for a boy and I think stylistically they work with our current names. So help me find a literary tie so I can get them on the list for next time! 😉 I tried suggesting Solanus Casey, nicknamed Sully … hubby LOVES Solanus Casey — we’ll see if we ever have a boy haha!

Authors/ books we love and would love to use as inspiration:
Some of these are our most favorite books/ authors but we struggle to find a way to utilize them in a way that matches our naming style and is unique …
John Steinbeck
Ernest Hemingway
Little House on the Prairie (we recently just moved back to SD and are reading them with the girls)
C.S. Lewis
East of Eden
Anne of Green Gables
Charles Dickens
I know there are more, but my brain and memory are failing me …

I love all of this!! I personally think Gilbert is a slam dunk for them — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think “Gilbert Blythe” upon hearing the name, so to me it fits in perfectly with the obviously literary first names their girls have, and that tie-in with G.K. Chesterton is so great! Sully for Solanus is amazing too, I love that! I don’t know of any literary connections though?

Other ideas off the top of my head include:
Wilder (b) for Little House on the Prairie (but too much “er” with Harper?)
Eden (g) for East of Eden (similar in appearance to Edel, but okay since one is a middle name and one might be a first name?)
Blythe (g) for Anne of Green Gables (but this would knock Gilbert out of contention)
Caspian (b) for C.S. Lewis, loooove!

I looked through the comments you all left on the Catholic lit post and thought these might be good (though I haven’t read the books they’re from yet):

Brede (for In This House of Brede, which wasn’t on Meghan’s list but I like Brede! Reminds me of Bridey from Brideshead Revisited, and it’s said like the Irish name Bríd)
Ransom (from C.S. Lewis’ The Space Trilogy)

And I did a quick search on the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site for names that have a similar style to Flannery, Harper, and Willa, and I really liked these (though they’re not all related to the books/authors Meghan said they like):

Darcy (Mr. Darcy! But I like it better for a girl)
Scarlett (she’s got that Irish thing going on too!)
Jules (Jules Verne)
Atticus (too much with Harper?)
Barrett (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Bennet (the Bennet sisters)
Tennyson (such a cool name!)
Gulliver (I always thought Gulliver and Tennyson would make a cool pair of brothers)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this family spotlight! Thank you to Meghan for sharing all of this with us! If you have any name ideas for this family, please leave them in the comments, and be sure to hop on over to Meghan’s Instagram to catch a peek of her little lovelies!

📚💐🌷🌻🌹🌺📚💐🌷🌻🌹🌺📚💐🌷🌻🌹🌺📚

Baby name consultation: Five-syllable, not-“harsh” name needed for boy no. 5

Two years ago I had the privilege of doing a consultation for Amanda and her husband, and then announcing the birth of her baby boy, and today I’m thrilled to post this new consultation for her new baby-on-the-way, another boy! This little guy joins lots of big brothers and one big sister:

Oliver Lawrence
Elizabeth Joan
Theodore William
Henry John Vincent
Adrian Leo

I’ve always loved their style, and also the precision with which Amanda and her husband have named their kiddos — each one has a five-syllable first+middle combo! This is something Amanda would love to continue if possible. She writes,

Vince really likes Conrad … I like Rodrick (or Roderick, but does that spelling make it three syllables?), Walter and Gregor. Trying to keep with the 5 syllables with middle name, and I realized after the last one that ALL of the boys have an “R”in their first name, which happens to be my maiden name initial, and I love that, so I’d like to continue it. And he needs his own first letter… O, E, T, H and A are out.

Conrad has still not grown on me. I’m ok with it for a middle name, but it is just too harsh sounding compared to the rest of our names (they all start with a vowel or very soft consonant).

Vince nixed Roderick, and he isn’t crazy about Walter or Gregor. However, he does like Gregory, and then I could always call him Gregor, or Rory. 😉

Sylvester has come back in… If you remember, my grandpa’s name was Sylvester Leo, and we named the last one Adrian Leo after him. Well, he passed away last year (about 8 months after Adrian was born). I asked Vince the other day, if I had no say, what he would name this baby. His answer was Sylvester Conrad. Lol! … He would want to call him Sly… My grandpa went by Slivy… And would want to call him Sully … I love it!

We both like Finnian, which is awesome because it’s so Irish, but it sounds a lot like Adrian to me….. What do you think? Finnian Conrad?

I kind of think there’s still something out there that I haven’t seen or thought of yet. And maybe it won’t come to me until I see his face. We’ll see, I guess!

 

I think they’ve done such a great job of finding fairly uncommon names that are still familiar! I love Rory for Gregory—Amanda and her hubs have some Irish interest in their names, and using this classic Irish name as a nickname for a heavy duty Catholic name is great. Finnian is a great name too—I’m a huge fan of the Finn names, and Finn as a nickname—and I do love Finnian Conrad—so handsome! But it does have the same ending as Adrian, and it doesn’t have an R in it, which Amanda had said was important to her. I wonder what they would think of Finbar instead? Finbar Sylvester works. Another idea I had is Francis with the nickname Finn—I suggested it quite a bit on the here for a while, I just love it—Francis has that same classic, saintly, old-man feel as so many of the names Amanda and her husband like, and it has an R, and Finn as a nickname for it makes it a bit easier to handle on a day-to-day basis.

And of course I came up with a few more ideas for them that I thought might be useful conversation starters for Amanda and her hubby! I started from scratch—I looked up all the names they’ve used and Amanda has mentioned liking (in recent emails and two years ago) in the Baby Name Wizard without looking at the names I suggested last time until after I’d formulated my list of ideas (when I checked I saw I don’t have any overlap between last time’s ideas and this time, interesting!). I then crossed off any names that didn’t have R’s in them (Simon, Sebastian, Bennett), or that sound weird with their last name (Jasper, Victor), or that I’d forgotten they considered previously (Raphael, which I still love for them—perhaps they’d reconsider?), and was left with these:

(1) Brennan
Last time I suggested Brendan and Brannock, but this time Brennan is inspired by Sullivan, which I looked up because of Sully, just to see if there might be any inspiration there. I like Brennan! It’s softer than Brendan, and it has an R in it.

(2) Roman
Roman’s a match for some of the names they considered last time (Ivan, Raphael, and Dominic), it’s got an R in it, and I love it with Sylvester.

(3) Frederick
Frederick’s a match for Conrad and Theodore; it’s long like Theodore, Sylvester, and Elizabeth; it’s got the same ending as Dominic and Aidric from their previous list and it has the cutest nickname options: Fred, Freddy, Fritz, Erick. Frederick Conrad could work, as could Frederick Gregor, Frederick Walter, and Frederick Ivan.

What do you all think? What other name(s) can you suggest for the little brother of Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian?