Baby name consultation: First baby, a boy! Literary/Irish-y/saintly name needed

Lindsey and her husband are expecting their first baby, a boy!

Lindsey writes,

Help! My husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of June/beginning of July. We live in Boston and are having a ton of difficulty coming up with a name! We already had the name picked out if we were having a girl, so we are of course having a boy. We’re Catholic and would like to have a Catholic influence in the name, though we don’t necessarily require that it be the first name.

General criteria:

— We don’t want it to be a common or popular name, but we would like it to be a name that most people will have heard at some point. Ideally, we’d like it not to be in the top 100 or near that so that he won’t have to run into the issue of being “Matt LastInitial.”

— I tend to like old-fashioned/classic names and have somewhat of a preference for English/Irish/Gaelic/Celtic/Latin names, though my husband doesn’t want anything too Irish. We also, however, tend to like some more unique, trendy sounding names like Sloan, Bligh/Bly, &c.

— We’d like something that would have the possibility of a nickname if that’s something he’d like or could stand on its own.

Likes but Not Requirements:

–I’m a huge bookworm and like the idea of having a literary inspiration in the name, but I’d rather the perfect name than to force this.

Below is a list of names that we like and have been considering:

Ambrose
Edmund
Simon
Blaise
Frederick
Calvin
Byron
Ciaran
Charles (I like the nickname Charlie more than I like Charles, but I question whether Charlie is appropriate for an adult)
Baron
Fulton
Sebastian (though it’s a bit too common for us to use)
Nathaniel (I feel it may be a bit too common for us to use)
Damian (may be a bit too common for us to use)

Of the above list, Ambrose and Edmund top out as our favorite right now (and though they continue to volley back and forth for top seed, Ambrose seems to be the current preference), but we are struggling with those and with them all:

–If we went with Ambrose, we can’t think of any middle names that would flow well with our last name. [Some family names include] (Daniel, Thomas, Benjamin, Joseph, Robert, Gabriel, Calvin, Francis).
–If we were to have a daughter in the future, we would likely name her Rosemary after my grandmother, and I wonder whether the “rose” in Ambrose and Rosemary would be harmonious or tacky. That being said, there’s no guarantee that we will have other children or that we would have a girl even if we did.
–While we like Edmund, I cannot stand “Ed” or “Eddie” as a nickname, and while I could consistently reiterate that his name is Edmund, I know I would likely be fighting a losing battle of him being called Ed or Eddie.

We are 31 weeks along and have been struggling with this for months and thought it was finally time to reach out for help since we’re not getting anywhere ourselves. We’re hoping for feedback on our top picks as well as any other name suggestions you may have for us to consider. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

I love working with first-time parents! I’m so excited for Lindsey and her hubby that they’re expecting their first baby, I remember those days well. ❤

I totally understand not wanting a common/popular name. It is true though that the popular names of today aren’t even a fraction as popular as the popular names of the past. Also, it’s possible to live in a “name pocket” where a particular name, which might not be popular according to the national Social Security data, is actually really popular where you live. There’s more info here.

I’m with Lindsey on loving English/Irish/Gaelic/Celtic/Latin names, but I admit I’d never heard of Bligh/Bly before! So funny to me that she included it as an example of a “unique, trendy sounding name” — are any of you familiar with it? Maybe it’s a regional name?

Like Lindsey, I also love literary names, so I tried to keep that in mind as I was doing my research for her and her hubs.

Regarding the list of names they’re considering, a few thoughts:

  • Ambrose: Love it! We considered it for a couple of our boys, and I’ve spent some time thinking of nicknames as a result. Sam, Bram, and Brody are my favorites, and Bram would give them a literary tie-in. Brody would make extra sense if Ambrose was paired with a D middle name. I don’t hate Ambrose Daniel, and Ambrose David is another combo I quite like. Of the other family names that could possibly be used as a middle, in the interest of whittling down the list, I might cross off Gabriel (Ambrose Gabriel is a lot of “br,” though Gabriel is one of my very favorite names) and Calvin (all I think of is John Calvin, which is unfortunate, because it’s a cool name otherwise. With Ambrose being SO saintly and Catholic, if I were to see Ambrose Calvin it would make me scratch my head! But few people know others’ middle names, so it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker). I like some of the names on their list of first names as potential middles for Ambrose … Ambrose Ciaran is particularly appealing to me, because it’s got the Irish Lindsey likes but I’m assuming it’s not *too* Irish? I also love Ambrose Edmund, what a heavy hitting name! It might be a good way to work Edmund in if they can’t feel comfortable with it as a first name. As for Ambrose and Rosemary … I’m not sure! If Ambrose always went by a nickname that didn’t contain Rose, I’d say it’s fine. But if he was Ambrose or Brose all the time, then maybe that would be too much Rose? I do think Lindsey’s wise to remember that “there’s no guarantee that [they] will have other children or that [they] would have a girl.” I wrote more about the issue of whether to use a beloved name now or save it for later here.
  • Edmund: I think that if they called him Edmund all the time, it’s quite likely that he would eventually be shortened to Ed or Eddie by someone — maybe even himself! But if they picked a different nickname and enforced its use, they may be able to avoid Ed/Eddie. Ned and Ted are both traditional nicknames for the Ed- names, I wonder if either of those might appeal? Another idea, tapping into Lindsey’s love of Irish names, is Eamon — the Irish variant of Edmund. There would be no chance of Ed/Eddie with Eamon! But I also get that, while it’s technically the same name as Edmund, at the same time it isn’t (and likely too Irish for Lindsey’s hubby?).
  • Simon, Blaise, Frederick, Byron, Baron, Fulton: All pretty cool.
  • Calvin: See my comments in the Ambrose bullet point above. Although, since it’s a family name, I can see that it might just be too important to not use. I do love the nickname Cal.
  • Ciaran: Love it! So surprised it’s not too Irish for Lindsey’s hubby though!
  • Charles/Charlie: I think this is an excellent choice for a boy, specifically because Charles offers so many nickname possibilities to fit different personalities and stages in life. Charlie is adorable on a little boy, and I don’t think it’s inappropriate on an adult at all. In fact, I know a little boy whose given name is Charley, so he’s going to be Charley his whole life! But if Lindsey’s son feels like he’s not a Charlie when he grows up, he can be Cal or Chaz or Chuck or the full Charles. It’s a great name!
  • Sebastian, Nathaniel, Damian: The recently released 2017 name data might be helpful here. Sebastian rose two spots to no. 22, so I can see why Lindsey thinks it might be too popular for them. Nathaniel’s been steadily decreasing since 2000 though, and is currently at no. 112, and Damian has been going up and down but never more popular than no. 98 (in 2013) and is currently no. 119 (up five spots from 2016), so I don’t think either Nathaniel or Damian are too popular. I love them both!

So those are my thoughts on their current list — I think it’s a great list with loads of great contenders, and I’m not sure adding more ideas will be helpful! But I did do my usual research for them, in which I looked up all the names Lindsey and her hubs are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I looked up all the names on their boy list, as well as Rosemary, and have several ideas that might appeal to them (I hope they don’t muddy the waters rather than making things more clear!):

(1) Philip nicknamed Pip
I told Lindsey that I kept the idea of a literary name in mind while doing my research, and I was thrilled to see Philip as a result! It’s handsome and classic and not too popular at all — it’s currently no. 425 — and while it’s not popular, it is familiar. And isn’t Pip the cutest nickname for a little boy?? And literary! It’s probably not a nickname that can last his whole life, but the full Philip as well as Phil are Men’s Names. I even worked with a Philip who preferred to be called Flip, so not all men hate cute nicknames, and I like that Philip offers options.

(2) Atticus
Atticus was actually solely due to Lindsey’s liking of literary and Latin names, and wasn’t a result of my research at all, but I was looking up Atticus earlier for something different and it occurred to me that it might be perfect for this family. There’s a St. Atticus, and I’ve seen Atty, Gus, Kit, and Ace all used as nicknames for it. Atticus is no. 350.

(3) Bennett or Benedict
I’m actually kind of surprised they didn’t have Benedict on their list! It’s got good familiarity in England (Benedict Cumberbatch) and it’s Latin for “blessed” and super saintly — it fits right in with so many of the names on their list! Its medieval diminutive Bennett, though, was an actual style match for them — per the BNW it’s similar in style to Edmund and Calvin, and I consider it to be similar to Fulton (Fulton doesn’t have its own entry in the BNW, but it’s a surname-turned-first-name with strong Catholic roots, and while Bennett started as a first name I believe, it’s also a common surname). And its literary! The Bennet sisters! Bennett is no. 123 and Benedict is not in the top 1000.

(4) Tristan
I’m interested to see what they think of Tristan! It’s a style match for Sebastian, it’s no. 121, and it’s literary — it’s got a lot going for it! It can also be considered a Marian name, as its meaning is related to “sorrow” and Our Lady of Sorrows is one of her titles.

(5) Pierce
Speaking of male Marian names, ever since one of my readers shared that she knew a little boy named Pierce after Simeon’s prophecy that Mary’s heart would be pierced by a sword, I’ve loved the idea of it (and included it in my book of Marian names!). It’s actually a style match for Blaise, and has an English feel. If they didn’t feel tied to the Marian connection, it’s a form of Peter, so St. Peter can be patron. Pierce is no. 522.

(6) Neil (or Niall?)
I wonder what they would think of Neil? It’s a style match for Calvin, and comes from the Gaelic Niall (which itself could be a good option?). Could be cool! Neil is no. 619 and Niall’s not in the top 1000.

(7) Cormac, Colman
Cormac was actually the style match here, being listed with Kieran (standing in for Ciaran, as Ciaran doesn’t have its own entry in the BNW), and I thought it was a great possibility for a couple who’s split between loving Irish/Gaelic/Celtic names and not wanting them to be too Irish. Mac is an awesome nickname possibility. Cormac made me think of Colman, which I think of the same way — it’s impeccably Irish, but isn’t hitting you in the face with it. Cole is an easy nickname. Neither Cormac nor Colman are in the top 1000.

(8) Conrad
Speaking of two-syllable C names, Conrad is a style match for Edmund and Frederick! We seriously considered Conrad for our youngest and intended to use the traditional nickname Cord (or Cordy). There are a couple Sts. Conrad, and it’s no. 577.

And those are my ideas for Lindsey and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for their little guy?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Birth announcement: Aesop Ambrose!

I posted a consultation back in September for Amina and her husband for their little green bean, and Amina’s let me know the baby has arrived — a boy! He’s been given the awesome, bold name … Aesop Ambrose!

Amina writes,

I wanted to let you know we welcomed our 5th baby (a boy!), Aesop Ambrose on March 24. He joined his sibs Casimir Wesley, Miette Faye, Errol Shepherd, and Petra Frances. He’s quite dreamy. We opted for the middle name Ambrose after Saint Ambrose, one of the 4 doctors of the Church, and love it’s meaning “immortal,” reminding us of the immortality of his sweet soul.”

I really love Aesop paired with Ambrose, such a cool combo and a perfect fit with his big siblings!

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

Aesop Ambrose with his brothers and sisters ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

 

Reading round-up (including a birth announcement!)

Happy Saturday! There a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you, so I’m putting them all here in this post!

First up, Blythe (whose consultation posted back in October and whose baby was born in March — check out her Instagram @blythefike! [which I can’t link to here for some reason, darn computer]), posted yesterday all about her little guy’s name! I loved the first+middle combo ever since I first saw her announcement on IG, and I love the story of how they chose it! It’s a great example of a great nickname being the tipping point in favor of a name.

This post on the Blessed Is She blog was fun to read: Not-So-Typical Unique Catholic Baby Names. I jumped right to the boy list (for obvious reasons) and was pleasantly surprised by Drexel — I don’t think I’ve ever once thought of Drexel as a first name for a boy or a girl! I also loved the idea of Sully as a nickname for Solanus (Sonny had been my previous go-to, and I’d thought of Solly, but I like Sully even better), and in the comments, someone shared that she knows a little Charlotte, named in honor of JP2, whose nickname is Lola as a nod to Lolek! LOVE IT!

I just read this morning that the Schwandt family, who had thirteen boys and was expecting again, had their baby — another boy!! Congratulations to them!! And the name story is pretty funny!

Adding to our posts on literary names, this article on famous novelists deeply influenced by their Catholic faith is a good resource.

I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did! Have a blessed day! (My 11yo has been saying that to everyone, every day, at home and at school, he’s the sweetest.)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

Baby name consultation: Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas!

You guys! I’m SO EXCITED to post today’s consultation! I know you’re all familiar with Haley Stewart from the blog Carrots for Michaelmas and podcast Fountains of Carrots — she and her hubby Daniel are expecting their fourth baby! Haley’s been struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum (please keep her in your prayers!), so I’m extra happy to provide this little fun little bright spot for her.

Their little green bean (=gender unknown) 🌱 joins big sibs:

Benjamin Daniel
Lucy Elanor
Gwen Stellamaris

Which are amazing names, all of them. I love the handsome Benjamin (who I understand is only and always Benjamin, not Ben), and Lucy and Gwen are the sweetest! And those middle names! The Tolkien Elanor and the Marian Stellamaris! 😍😍😍

Haley writes,

So we’ve been brainstorming baby names for baby #4 (I’m 14 weeks, so we’ve got another 5 weeks before we find out the gender).

We are pretty settled on a girl’s name, but not the middle name and not quite settled on a boy’s name.

We do tend toward names from the British Isles because of the Scottish last name.

For a girl we both really like Evangeline. (nickname Eva)

Other favorites have been Rosemary Catherine (after Our Lady and Catherine of Siena, shortened to Rosie Cate — which I like despite it’s sugary southern feel.)

Other favorites;
Marigold, Felicity, Genevieve, Mairwen, Dorothy, Margaret (shortened to Greta–and after my mom Margot), Magdalena (Lena), Marietta (Etta), Josephine, Imogen(e), and Beatrice (or Beatrix).

Middles we like are Catherine, Carole (after Daniel’s mom), Elizabeth, Anne, Jane, Alice, Miriam, Aurora, Ivy, Violet, Daisy, Helena/Helen, Rose, Mary

For Boys we aren’t in 100% agreement. While I’ve typically been the one that pushes for more “out there” names, this time Daniel is the one pushing for unusual names. I think I can get on board but … I’m not quite there yet.

Daniel likes: Beowulf, Cynewulf, and Merlin for first names. I could live with any of these and I do love the idea of calling a little guy “Wulfie.”

I like:

Sebastian Luke

St. John (Sinjin) — Daniel likes this one, too, but everyone thinks of St John Rivers from Jane Eyre and that’s probably not great and no one will pronounce it right. But … LOVE

Joseph Romero after St. Joseph and Bl. Oscar Romero

Arthur — This is probably my favorite. I think it sounds great with Benjamin and it’s a classic.

I also love Gilbert (Gil) but Daniel has vetoed this one — MAYBE I could sneak it in as a middle.

Middles we like: Solanus, Luke, Joseph, Anselm, Romero, Ignatius, Kolbe, Gawain, William, Seamus, Basil

Oh! And Daniel came up with a few more names he likes (that miraculously don’t have the syllable “wulf” lol):
Llywelyn, Beorn, Abel

I should preface my thoughts by saying Haley and her co-host Christy had invited me to be on their podcast two years ago, in which I offered name ideas for both of them for future babies, so I listened to it again as research for this post — I refer to it quite a bit below. (If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommended it! It was so fun to listen to again!) Also, Haley loves literature and frequently writes about Austen and Anne and so forth, so I loved including literary names as well.

So first off, I love Evangeline nicked Eva. When I was doing my standard research in the Baby Name Wizard for Haley (you all know that, for each entry, it offers boy and girl ideas that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), I looked up both Evangeline and Eva for inspiration, and loved seeing that Lucy is a style match for Eva, as is Lena (on Haley’s list as a nickname for Magdalena) and Clara (Haley mentioned in the podcast that Clara was a contender for Gwen’s middle name). And I love that Evangeline is long like Benjamin. I think Evangeline/Eva is great for this baby!

I also love Rosemary Catherine nicked Rosie Cate — Haley mentioned it in the podcast as well, and I loved it then and still do! It’s funny because I think Haley must be more sensitive to the southern influence, being that she lives close to it — for me, being from the northeast and living here my whole life, my first thought when hearing double names isn’t southern (though I know it’s certainly a thing down there) … maybe more like Irish? Like Mary Clare, Mary Kate … actually I guess the Mary doubles are what I’m mostly thinking of, which always make me think of Ireland. But for me other double names have that similar feel too, especially if they’re sweet names like Rosie and Cate. They also have a sophisticated feel to me — like country-club-pearls-and-cardigan. Which, comes to think of it, is kind of my idea of “southern” too! Anyway, all that to say, I love Rosemary Catherine/Rosie Cate and I wouldn’t not use it because it feels too southern (but Haley — and many of you — would know better whether that would be an issue or not).

I love Haley and her hubby’s other favorite girl names too, there are so many great ones on their list! As for middles, I tried playing around with Evangeline with some of the middles on their list, just to see which ones I like the best (not that it matters what I like!). My favorite combos, based mostly on how they sound together, were:

Evangeline Elizabeth (long, but they sound so pretty together I think)
Evangeline Alice
Evangeline Aurora (wow)
Evangeline Rose

I also like the idea of double names with Evangeline … like Evangeline Rose –> Eva Rose; Evangeline Catherine –> Eva Cate; Evangeline Elizabeth –> Eva Tess (I think I saw Tess in a list of Elizabeth nicknames only once, but if Betty and Tetty are both traditional nns for Elizabeth [they are], and so is Bess, then it makes sense that Tess would be. Elizabeth/Tess is at the top of my own list).

For their boy ideas, I’m totally blown away by Daniel’s list! Beowulf, Cynewulf, Merlin, Llewelyn, Beorn, and Abel! Truly, it’s almost always the moms who have the more adventurous taste, I’m super impressed with Daniel’s outside-the-box thinking!

In fact, it was so outside the box that I wasn’t quite sure where to start with research for them. None of Daniel’s names are included in any of my name-matchmaking resources (I used Nymbler.com and the Name Matchmaker on babynamewizard.com in addition to the BNW book) except Merlin, Llewellyn (that spelling) and Abel (which I love as Benjamin’s brother). I did sub in Bjorn for Beorn, just to have some additional ideas, but of course most of them were Scandinavian, which didn’t turn out to be terrible — there were a couple that I thought really felt like their style, like Freya for a girl and Torin for a boy, but mostly I tried to stick to names that were at least Celtic/British, if not specifically Scottish, in my official suggestions below.

One of the things I was also surprised by with Daniel’s list is how not-Catholic the names are (besides the biblical Abel). Which is totally fine! But I did try to think of names with maybe a similar feel that had a faithy connection, and the only one I really came up with as sort of similar (in spelling anyway) to Beowulf is Boethius, aka St. Severinus Boethius — he was a philosopher some of my readers have mentioned from time to time, which prompted me to do this post. One of those readers had actually decided on Robert Boethius for her son, but she ended up having a girl (whose got an equally amazing name).

As for the names on Haley’s list, Sebastian Luke has been a longtime fave — she mentioned it in the podcast. Great combo. Haley’s right that St. John will never be said correctly, but I have to say that my primary association isn’t Jane Eyre but Four Weddings and a Funeral! I asked my husband too — he’s the one who introduced me to Brideshead Revisited and loves all those BBC productions like Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, etc., so he’d definitely have a sense of whether a name is too tied to a Bronte character, and he also didn’t remember St. John from Jane Eyre! So I’m thinking maybe the Jane Eyre association isn’t as bad as they think. But definitely yes to lots of pronunciation issues. If they can’t get past that, it would make a smashing middle name! Pronunciations don’t matter so much in the middle.

Joseph Romero’s awesome, and Benjamin and Joseph are great brother names, being that they were brothers in the bible!

Arthur’s great. Benjamin and Arthur together are great.

Haley raved about Gilbert/Gil in the podcast too, but she said her hubby disliked Gilbert and hated Gil even more! Gah! We also talked on the podcast about Gabriel, which Haley said she liked, but she didn’t care for Gabe — I’ve often liked the idea of Gil as a nickname for Gabriel, which I would totally push for Haley except that Daniel doesn’t like Gil!

I love all their ideas for boy middle names too!

I know Haley said they’re set on Evangeline/Eva, or possibly Rosemary Catherine, and if they decide not to do either of those they have an amazing list of other girl names they like, but there were some names that popped up in my research that, like Freya mentioned above, just felt like their style. I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on girl ideas, but I did just want to mention these few here before listing my boy ideas:

(1) Zelda
Zelda’s a style match for Merlin per the BNW, and it screams “literary” to me, never mind that it’s got the cool Z initial.

(2) Naomi
Biblical like Benjamin, it’s also a style match for Daniel’s Abel. Naomi’s gorgeous! And I love her story in the bible.

(3) Edith
St. Edith Stein is one of the best, and her name’s a match for Arthur. How sweet is the nickname Edie??

(4) Annabel
Given that Haley specifically mentioned their Scottish last name, and Annabelle’s a style match for Evangeline, I thought it was worth pointing out that Annabel is actually a Scottish name! A variant of Amabel, which points to Our Lady!

(5) Iona, Isla
Iona’s a match for Llewellyn, and like Annabelle I thought it was worth a mention because of its specifically Celtic feel (St. Columba founded a monastery on the Isle of Iona). Ditto for Isla.

As for boy’s names, I basically just tried to find names that I thought would bridge the names on Haley’s list with those on Daniel’s, hopefully coming up with ideas that they both might like. This is what I came up with:

(1) Wilfrid
It was Haley’s love of the idea of calling a little guy “Wulfie” that make me think of Wilfrid. There’s a mom on a name discussion board I follow who has a little Wilfrid, and Wolf is his occasional nickname, so I thought Wilfrid could combine the “wulf” aspects of the names Daniel loves with the St. John/Arthur/Gilbert names on Haley’s list — I think Wilfrid could fit in well with them, and in fact the similar sounding Willis was also listed as a style match for Gilbert. AND there are a few Sts. Wilfrid!

(2) Malcolm
I had planned to listen to the podcast again anyway, to see if there were any ideas in it I’d missed, but I was particularly compelled to do so when I was doing my research (I did all of it except the podcast first) and saw Malcolm in a list of Celtic names I was looking through. It felt so familiar, like I’d already suggested it to Haley, but it wasn’t in the podcast so I wonder where I got that feeling? Anyway, as soon as I saw it I thought it felt like a really good suggestion. Not only is it a good Celtic name — Scottish, in fact — but it’s got a great meaning: “disciple of St. Columba.” (Compare this to a name I reference on the blog quite a bit: Miles, an anglicization of the old Irish name Maelmhuire, meaning “disciple/servant of the Virgin Mary.” Malcolm is from the Scottish Mael Colium.) Mac would make a great nickname for a Malcolm!

(3) Roald
Roald is a style match for Bjorn, but despite being a Norwegian name of course we know it as the British author Roald Dahl. I don’t know if Haley and her hubs like Dahl as an author or not, but with Cynewulf in play I didn’t think anything was out of bounds to suggest! And Roald is a bit more Arthur than Cynewulf.

(4) Tavish
This was in the same list of Celtic names as Malcolm, and I totally had Scottish names on the brain, so I thought it was a fun suggestion. It’s the Scottish form of Thomas!

(5) Giles
What’s more British than Giles? Though it sounds different than Gil, Gil was my inspiration for it. On the podcast Haley had said, in response to my suggestion of Henry, that she and Daniel had been talking about George, and that Henry and George have such a Brit feel, especially with the last name Stewart. Giles fits that to a T! There are a few Sts. Giles.

(6) Magnus
Also on the podcast, Haley said that at that time John Paul Ignatius was Daniel’s favorite name, which added to my surprise at his current list. But Magnus — a style match for Bjorn and a name on the Celtic list as well — might be a way to nod to St. John Paul the Great (and other Greats: St. Gregory and St. Leo, as well as even St. Maximilian Kolbe if they want, since Maximilian and Magnus share meanings) in a new way, and in a style closer to the names they both have on their lists. Since they have Carole on their girl middle name list for Daniel’s mom, they could consider using a male variant like Karol/Karl/Carl as a middle name for Magnus and have it refer even closer to St. John Paul the Great (since his birth name was Karol — the Polish form of Charles). (Magnus Karol/Karl/Carl is also Charlemagne’s name reversed, which may or may not appeal to them.)

(7) Sinclair
Of course you have to know this was almost 100% inspired by St. John. It’s got a similar sound and also refers to a saint (St. Clare), but in a much easier way spelling- and pronunciation-wise. It’s also a style match for Llewellyn, and Haley said in the podcast that she loves the name Clara. So maybe?

(8) Felix
I was pretty aware of the fact that several names I thought they might like are also the names of children of fairly well known mamas in the Catholic world (e.g., Naomi — Ana Hahn; Edith — Rosie Hill), and Felix is one such (Jenna Wilber and Arwen Mosher, to name two), so I know that might reduce its appeal, but there weren’t too many names that were style matches for more than one name on Haley’s and Daniel’s lists (except for the Leo/Henry/Oliver names, which is where their girl style tends to lean), but Felix was a match for both Eva and Merlin. So I thought I had to mention it!

(9) Tristan
Tristan is a style match for Sebastian and Gavin (in place of Gawain), it’s literary, and it can be bestowed it in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows. I love it!

(10) Oisin/Ossian
Interestingly, Ossian was listed as match for Bjorn, which is a variant of Oisín — which was included in the list of Celtic names. It’s definitely out there and has some pronunciation issues (o-SHEEN is, I believe, the correct way to say Oisín, and O-see-en for Ossian, and Forvo concurs [here and here], as does babynamesofireland.com, but I’m sure some people would come up with “Ocean”). I see the evolution of the O names happening thusly: Oliver was a big hit for a while, then became overly popular for some people’s tastes; then Owen; I’m currently seeing Otis and Oscar more and more; so using Oisin/Ossian might be getting in on the ground floor of The Next Big Name.

(11) Gareth/Garrett
This is my last idea, and it’s inspired both by Haley’s mom and grandmother’s names (Margot and Margaret), as well as the fact that Gareth and Garrett have a Celtic feel. One of you shared about a family with a devotion to St. Margaret of Antioch, so they named a son Garrett in her honor (so similar to Greta on Haley’s list). I love that! And Gareth was on the Celtic list, and Margarethe is a German and Danish form of Margaret, so Gareth definitely still works for Margaret and Margot.

I think I’ll stop at eleven ideas! But I thought these posts might have some additional ideas that are similar to those Haley and Daniel might like:

https://sanctanomina.net/2016/11/14/baby-name-consultant-geek-catholics-need-help-naming-no-3/

https://sanctanomina.net/2017/03/09/birth-announcement-winifred-esme/

https://sanctanomina.net/2017/10/30/celebrity-guest-meghan-literarycatholic-namer/

And I’m assuming it wasn’t their favorite, but my idea of Jonathan with the traditional Brit nickname Jonty from the podcast is still one of the ones I love for them!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What do you think about Haley and Daniel’s ideas for girl names? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Benjamin, Lucy, and Gwen?

Name story: Caspian and Eliot

Today’s Name Story is about Shaina’s little guys! She writes,

Our first son we named Caspian Isaiah. I told my husband while we were dating that I loved the name Caspian and wanted to use it for a son someday! We are both big Lewis fans, and he played an important role in my grandfather’s faith walk when he went through a period of agnosticism. Well.. about nine months after our wedding, Caspian made his debut! We picked Isaiah because we wanted a Bible name and we loved the way it sounded with the first and last name. Our girl name (we haven’t found out gender before birth so far) was Melanie Rowena. I felt a little silly naming our baby Caspian…because really, who does that? But the slight weirdness wore off quickly and it fits him perfectly.

During my second pregnancy, my husband and I went back and forth on a boy name. I love the name Eliot and he didn’t. But I kept coming back to it and eventually he said we could use it as long as we spelled it his way. Agreed! We chose the middle name James. Our girl name for him was Aida Christine. We both love the sound of Aida and were having a really hard time finding a saint name we liked to go with it, but apparently there are several St Christinas and Christine is a family name on my husband’s side. When our son was born, he reminded us both so much of my side of the family and my father specifically that we gave him my dad’s name too, so he ended up Lane Eliot James. We mainly call him Eliot still. And Ee-ot! haha.”

Caspian and Eliot!! Looooovvvveeeeeee!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Shaina said that “finding a name that does go with Caspian without being total geeks is a difficult balance,” but I think they did an amazing job with Eliot!

Shaina wrote, “We became Catholic shortly after Eliot was born, so I’ve been enjoying diving into your blog and discovering a different motivation behind naming,” which makes me so so happy that I can help in this small way! And also — she shared her list of names for future babies! (She was very clear though that these aren’t necessarily husband-approved! 😀 ) Check these out:

John Michael Loren. (call name Loren. I love the name John but we have four of them in the family already. And love that Loren is less common.) John for our both our mentor and my husband’s confirmation names. And so many St Johns. Michael after my husband, and St Michael. And Loren after my husband’s grandfather.

Vivienne Cypress. just love it. the end. (well, and there’s a hymn written by a friend dear to our hearts from the scripture “how like a cypress evergreen”

William Wise

Lewis Martin. Lewis and Martin are both family names. And L M is my MIL’s initials.

Illa Anne-Marie. Illa is my husband’s grandmother’s name. And I dunno, I just like the way Anne-Marie goes with it.

Sebastian Philip. After Bach! And St Sebastian. And Philip after my husband’s friend.”

So many unexpected names! I LOVE unexpected names! I love that they’d call John Michael Loren by his second middle, WOW! Vivienne Cypress! Cypress! What a cool middle name! Same with Wise! I love William Wise! And Illa! Can you tell I’m all heart eyes over these interesting picks?! I love Lewis Martin and Sebastian Philip as well. Such a cool list!

Thank you to Shaina for sharing all of this with us! Here are her handsome little guys:

Caspian and Eliot

Name story: Owen, Violet, Eliza, Edmund

Leslie emailed me to share the stories behind the names of her kiddos, and I’m so glad she did! This is the latest in the Name Stories series, where I share families’ name stories, whether they’ve had a consultation done or not. (This one also fits nicely in with our recent conversations about literary names!)

Leslie writes,

I discovered your blog while my husband and I were going through RCIA (we were received at Easter 2016) and have enjoyed it so much! We just had our fourth baby (well, on 10/27 — it’s gone fast) and our first since joining the Church, and I was hoping it would be ok for me to say hello, and thank you for your awesome site, and tell you a bit about our kids’ names.

We were Protestant when we named our first three kids, but it’s been so cool to discover ways that their names connect to the Catholic faith, without our planning it. Our first child is Owen David. Owen we just picked because we really liked it but we have loved learning about the awesome St. Nicholas Owen, who used his carpentry skills to build priest holes in 16th century England. David is a family name for both me and my husband.

Next we had Violet Irene. I actually learned from you that Violet can be considered a Marian name! That’s another one that we just picked because we loved it. There is a St Irene, although not much is known about her — I love that the name means “peace” and is the name of the main character in George MacDonald’s book “The Princess and the Goblin.”

Our third child is Eliza Lark. My husband’s grandmother was named Elisabeth and my sister is Elizabeth so using Eliza was a nod to both of them. We picked her name out before she was born, but by the time I gave birth we were starting to think pretty seriously about converting and St. Elizabeth and the story of the Visitation became really important to me as we were going through all that. I believe her intercession played a significant role in my labor and delivery, and God gave me a lot of peace through that experience that we were indeed supposed to pursue joining the Church.

As for the middle name Lark, my husband suggested we try to use a nature-themed middle name for Eliza, since big sister is Violet, and Lark immediately felt right as it’s the name of one of my favorite children’s books, by Sally Watson. The main character is named Lark and she’s strong and spunky. So both our girls have middle names inspired by strong characters in wonderful children’s books!

We were team green for the first time ever with our fourth baby. I was POSITIVE we were having another girl, but luckily we did have a boy name picked out because that’s what we had!

It was a very easy choice — once we learned about St. Edmund Campion we knew we wanted to name another son after him, if we had one. We loved the sound, loved how it went with our other kids’ names, and loved how it connects us to our beautiful Catholic faith. We somehow made it to Mass on All Saint’s Day, even with the new baby, and it really hit me as I listened to the litany of saints what a precious gift it is to give our child a name that connects him from his first moments to an intercessor in Heaven! Wow, I love being Catholic.

Thank you for letting me share and thank you again for a great blog! God bless you!

What awesome names!! And such great name stories!! As I told Leslie, it’s so cool that they were able to discover saintly connections in their older three’s names after their conversion! And Edmund Campion (yes, that’s his full given name — love it!!) is an amazing addition. About his name, Leslie writes,

I thought we might use Camp as a nickname but so far we mostly just call him Edmund, although his sisters do love to call him “Campion ” or “Edmund Campion”, which is really cute. And something I forgot to mention is that it was very cool to make the connection that Edmund Campion and Nicholas Owen are both English martyrs, it’s a neat link for our boys to share (and Owen, age six, likes to hypothesize that maybe they were friends!).”

(Be still my heart! So sweet! 😍)

Thank you to Leslie for sharing these wonderful stories, and this photo of her beautiful family!

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