My November column is up at CatholicMom.com today! Religious Name Changes for Men.
(I *love* that picture!)
If any of you know more than what I shared in the article, please comment here or over on CatholicMom!
My November column is up at CatholicMom.com today! Religious Name Changes for Men.
(I *love* that picture!)
If any of you know more than what I shared in the article, please comment here or over on CatholicMom!
Sam and her husband are expecting their third baby, their second boy! This little guy joins big sibs:
Raleigh Justice (girl)
Dominic Valor (boy)
Aren’t the virtue middle names so cool? Sam and her hubs want to continue that for this baby too. She writes,
“We’re stuck. I never thought it would happen. I think that it’s because we both just KNEW we were having a girl, so girls names were easy. We’re having a boy though, so we need a name for him. I’m stuck on Becket, but my husband isn’t into it … I have been wanting something with a Marian type devotion but [my hubs] doesn’t have the same devotion or leanings. I’d like saintly names, but again, he doesn’t care. I like older, less common names. Nothing difficult or anything … I think we often love Irish names, even though we have no Irish connections as far as I know … We are thinking of the virtue middle of Prosper, because it’s a family name on [hubby’s] side. We’re open to other virtue middles, but I think we’re kind of really liking it. *I* would love to make it more of a family name because this little one is due about the same time [my hubby’s dad] passed away last year. His dad’s name was Lambert Richard, though [my hubs] doesn’t want to use either of those. Just figured I’d mention it.”
Names they’ve discussed include:
Becket (“best name ever to me“)
Conor (“we actually both like this one“)
And her Mister doesn’t like “sing songy or rhyme-y” names, nor John/James-type names, and Sam doesn’t care for Logan.
As I was reading Sam’s email, my very first idea before I got to the end was Ransom — and there it was on their list! So I hoped that was a good indication that I might be able to come up with some ideas they might like.
Okay, so first, I wanted to point out some things about the names they’ve used and like that helped me with coming up with ideas for them:
— Elliott and Becket both have that T ending, and Tyler and Tristan are T heavy
— Dominic, Beckett, and Conor all have a hard C
— Raleigh, Elliott, Becket, Logan, Blythe, Conor, and Tyler all have usage as surnames
— Logan and Blythe have decent use for girls as well (in fact, I only know Blythe for girls as a first name, though Gilbert Blythe is also a strong association) (Logan is still predominantly a boy’s name, at no. 18, but still top 500 for girls at no. 384)
I really latched onto the first three points (names with prominent T’s and C’s, and surnames) when coming up with ideas. I also took into account how they like Irish names and names that aren’t too popular.
Regarding popularity, I thought it would be good to rank their ideas by popularity, just to see where they all fall (these are the most recent stats—2016):
Tyler: 91 (pretty steep decline from no. 10 in 2000; also no. 877 for girls)
Elliott: 192 (Elliot is 180)
Conor: 323 (but Connor is 54)
Becket: Not in the top 1000 (but Beckett is 213)
Galen: Not in top 1000
Ransom: Not in top 1000
Blythe: Not in top 1000 for boys or girls
Raleigh: Not in top 1000
They clearly like the rare names! I’m going to guess the 100–300 range is a comfortable one for them though.
Regarding Sam’s FIL’s name — I know she said her husband didn’t want to use either Lambert or Richard, but since Sam included them in her email I thought she might like some ideas of how to honor him by name, so I looked them both up just in case some variant seemed like it could work, and I found two that I kind of like for them:
Rico: I know this could be too Rico, Suave or mob-like/criminal, but otherwise it’s such a cool variant of Richard.
Baer: This was listed on Behind the Name as a short variant of Lambert, stemming from the “bert” part, which derives from the Germanic “beraht” (meaning “bright”) and becomes “bert” in some names and “baer” in others. It’s pronounced like “Bear” (the animal), and I have a fondness for animal names like Bear and Wolf for boys — they seem so rugged and masculine. The Baer spelling is really cool and a subtle but explicit nod to Sam’s FIL. (Read more about Baer here.)
For other ideas, you all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — it often gives me good direction. I also had some ideas of my own. Based on all that, I wondered what they would think of:
I’m starting with one of my most out-there ideas! It was the first idea that came to me, and it was based on the softness of Raleigh and the masculinity of Dominic … I was trying to think of any names that I might consider both soft and muscular, and Santino came right to mind. It’s Italian for “little saint,” which is a sweet and faith-y meaning, but most guys (maybe most people in general?) will remember it as Sonny’s given name in The Godfather, which is where it gets its manly oomph from. Because of the movie association, I don’t think I would ever think of this name as possible for a little guy, except that one of my boys went to school with a Sonny, which I fell in love with as a name for a boy after seeing how adorable he was, and all year I was under the impression his given name was Sonny itself, and then when I saw his name on the school roster at the end of the year and saw it was actually Santino I just about died with happiness. Haha! (I totally get it if this is too much though 😉)
In addition to the characteristics of the names Sam and her hubs like that I listed above, I also noticed that she said she’d love a Marian component — you all know I LOVE when parents want to use Marian names for boys! That definitely needs to happen more often! So based on their liking of names with a hard C, and surnames, I thought of Campion — it’s probably best known as the last name of St. Edmund Campion (and as a surname it actually means “champion”), which is an amazing connection in and of itself, but it also has a Marian connection: The rose campion flower was known in medieval times as Our Lady’s Rose! I love the nickname Cam for a boy.
One of the things I love to do when I look up names in the BNW is see if there are any names listed as similar to more than one of the names on the parents’ list — I feel like it gives a really good sense of names that are likely to be on point, if they’re listed in more than one name’s list of similar boy/girl names. Roman is one such — it’s a style match for both Dominic and Elliott! I love that it’s connected to a place, which makes it go well with Raleigh in my opinion, and it’s got a heavy faith-y feel, like Dominic.
Noticing the end of Elliott and Becket (which can also be spelled Beckett), and also Galen and their affinity for Irish names and surnames, I wonder what they’d think of Garrett? It’s ranked at no. 308, which is such a sweet spot for names. It’s from a surname that derived from either Gerard or Gerald, and St. Gerard Majella is patron of pregnant mamas and childbirth, such a great patron. And I’ve heard of it used in honor of St. Margaret, which is so cool (and can also be for St. Rita, since Rita is a diminutive of Margaret, and in fact St. Rita’s given name was Margherita).
(5) Dermot or Declan
Again with the Irish names, and the T and C sounds that they seem to like, I wonder if they’ve considered either Dermot or Declan? Declan’s at no. 109, and Dermot’s not the in top 1000, so both seem to fall in their comfort zone popularity-wise.
Kolbe feels similar to Raleigh to me — a softer surname — but it’s also for the amazing St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is one of the best patrons for a boy AND he had such a devotion to Our Lady that I think it could be considered Marian as well! Kole is a great nickname in my opinion, and Kolbe’s not in the top 1000 (the same-sounding Colby is at no. 530).
(7) Case or Casey or Cashel
Bl. Solanus Casey is an amazing guy — his beatification was just recently announced, and I believe he’s the first Irish-American blessed — and I know of a little boy named Case in his honor, which is really cool. The full Casey is an even closer option, and has that unisex usage that some of the names on their list have, and of course it’s also a surname. And both Case and Casey make me think of the place name Cashel — the Rock of Cashel in Ireland is where it’s said St. Patrick converted the King of Munster, and it allows for the awesome nickname Cash.
(8) Kyler or Cuyler
Kyler/Cuyler (pronounced the same) were inspired by Tyler on their boy list and the fact that Sam told me they considered Skye and Skylar for a girl. Cuyler is a Dutch surname that Ancestry.com says is likely a variant of Nicholas, which is pretty cool, and Kyler gives it a more Celtic feel a la Kyle, which is from a Scottish surname.
My last idea is, like Santino, kind of a crazy out-there idea, but it has both the T and C sounds Sam and her hubs seem to like (pronounced TY-ko), and it’s a saint’s name too! I think it’s most known as the name of scientist Tycho Brahe, and it has the same sound as the Tyco Toy company, which always makes me think of toy trucks, which is a fun association for a little boy.
— Brave/Bravery (a la actor Benjamin Bratt’s son Mateo Bravery)
— Clement (which is also Marian!)
And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Raleigh and Dominic’s little brother? Any first name + middle (virtue) name combos jump out at you?
Happy Memorial Day everyone! It’s so fitting that we have a day to remember and pray for all those who have died in service to our country. Today has also been declared a Day of Prayer for Permanent Peace — imagine what all our rosaries could do for this intention! I was so struck by the realization that this year — the 100th anniversary of Fatima — is also the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI. What a century it’s been. God bless and protect our troops, and God bless and protect America! 🦅🗽🙏
I had the great pleasure of posting a birth announcement for Shannon and her husband’s first baby, and I’m delighted now to post a consultation for their second baby on earth — a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins:
Therese (with Jesus)
I remember being so blown away by the simple elegance of Caroline Mary’s name when Shannon shared her birth announcement, just lovely!
For this baby, they’re set with a boy’s name, but wanted help with a middle name for a girl. Shannon writes,
“For girl names, we’re really thinking of Catherine (after Catherine of Siena of course), and our first choice for middle name right now is Marie. But we wanted to see if you had any other middle name suggestions that go with Catherine. You may remember we have Caroline Mary, who you helped us name (we LOVE her name and its significance). One potential hesitation with Catherine Marie is that it is somewhat similar (and shares the same initials) as Caroline Mary. We named our second baby, who I miscarried in August, Therese (I was so comforted thinking about the baby going straight into Jesus’ arms, like St. Therese wanting to go straight up to Jesus on an elevator). We would consider using Therese as a middle name.
If we go with Catherine Marie, it seems like we’re setting a precedent with Marian middle names (or perhaps we can just have a Marian influence in each name a la John Paul, etc.) — we’re definitely okay with this! As you may recall from our earlier emails, we like classic, traditional names. (Catholic, obviously!) We are trying to avoid nicknames, as much as we can, but for a middle name, that’s not really an issue. Our last name is Lynch, so we’re also a little wary of “L” names.”
So you all have to know how much I loved working on this! I’m always excited to come up with Marian names! Like Shannon, I love the idea of a Marian name being part of her daughters’ names—it’s a great precedent to set! And a very traditional one! In my own family, my parents made a point to give each of their daughters (four of us) a Marian name (we each have a different one). It’s also very traditional for all the girls in a family to have the *same* Marian name—we see this in St. Therese’s family, where her and all of her sisters’ first names were Marie. I love too that Shannon and her hubs have a sense of including a Marian connection in their boy names as well!
When I was coming up with new middle name ideas for them, I focused a lot on trying to come up with non-M Marian names (especially shorter ones, since Catherine is so long, so I didn’t include Immaculata, for example), and I also came up with a couple others that they might find intriguing:
(1) Catherine Rose
I think this is my favorite idea for this little lady. Rose is a Marian name for lots of different reasons: she’s the Mystical Rose (Rosa Mystica); the rosary is so named because it’s meant to represent a crown of roses for Our Lady; and she’s appeared with roses, as at Lourdes and Guadalupe. But—and I was so excited to realize this!—it can also be a nod to St. Therese and therefore their little one in heaven! Double whammy! And Catherine Rose is a really lovely name, with a similar elegant simplicity as Caroline Mary.
(2) Catherine Grace
Catherine Grace also has that elegance and simplicity I get from Caroline Mary and Catherine Rose. Our Lady of Grace would be the Marian reference of course.
(3) Catherine Eve (or Eva, Ava, or Ave)
Mary is the New Eve, so Eve can be considered a Marian name, and Catherine Eve is really pretty. Eva and Ava are both variants of Eve, and I quite like how Catherine Eva/Ava sound (I say them the same, but you could also say EE-va for Eva). A more unusual choice that’s similar is Ave, said AH-vay, like Ave Maria (Hail Mary). Catherine Ave would be really unusual but still simple and sweet. There’s a stanza in the Ave Stella Maris (Hail Star of the Sea) hymn that says, “O! By Gabriel’s Ave, Uttered long ago, Eva’s name reversing, Established peace below.” So that’s a cool connection too between Ave, Eve, and Mary (and Stella Maris, for a bonus Marian connection).
(4) Catherine Pieta
This would certainly be an unusual choice, but the image of the Pieta seems a fitting one for a mom who’s suffered the loss of a child, and could make an intriguing middle name, especially since they’re already thinking of perhaps using their miscarried baby’s name for this baby’s middle.
(5) Catherine Dolores
Along that same way of thinking, Dolores is from Our Lady’s title Our Lady of Sorrows (Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Spanish)—Catherine Dolores sounds sort of retro and chic, and I don’t think the L of Dolores sounds problematic with Lynch.
(6) Catherine Zelie (or Catherine Azelie) (or Catherine Tess)
This was inspired by their little Therese. Another way of linking to her in Catherine’s name could be by using her mom’s name. They could use the name she goes by—Zelie—or the longer version that was part of her given name, Azelie. Either way, I think Catherine Zelie and Catherine Azelie are lovely.
I actually had another idea when I was writing out the explanation for Catherine Zelie/Azelie, which was Tess—it’s a diminutive of the Therese/T(h)eresa names, but it can also stand on its own, so though Shannon said they’re trying to avoid nicknames, I thought maybe Tess squeaked in just under the wire. Really though, I was just so taken with the sweetness of Catherine Tess that I had to include it!
(7) Names from their last consultation
Finally, I looked back at Shannon’s first email to me for Caroline’s consultation, and found several names in there that she’d said she liked, that I thought could make great middle names for Catherine, specifically Catherine Joan and Catherine Sophia/Sophie. Joan also made me think of its variant Jane, and I like how Catherine Jane sounds as well. And I like that Sophie/Sophie can be Marian names, since they can refer to Our Lady’s title Seat of Wisdom.
And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What Marian name(s) would you suggest for Catherine’s middle?
Haaaaaappy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!! This is one of my very favorite days of the year!! 😁☘😁☘
Before I get into today’s post, a couple fun things to mention:
First, my mom (whose dad was born in Ireland and who is herself an Irish citizen) has written a book for families about a wee little God-loving leprechaun named Finney, which I can’t recommend enough — my boys love hearing me read it to them out loud (it’s all in rhyme, which makes for fun reading and fun listening). Additionally, Mom’s daily Instagram posts with Finney are sweet and wholesome, and she has a year’s worth of posts about Finney and Irish-y info on her web site. Be sure to check them out! Also, Finney has a little house of his very own on my parents’ front yard, which all the local children looooove (especially my boys!).
Secondly, I had the great privilege of having been named to the forty “Best Baby Name Blogs on the planet“! All my favorite name sites are on the list, so I’m feeling pretty cool that I was included! 😎
Thirdly, my post for today! I was looking at a map of Ireland yesterday and it got me to thinking about how many place names in Ireland would make (or do make, if they’re already in use) smashing first names for an Irish-loving family. Some of these I’ve never seen used — let me know if you’ve seen them! Or any of the others on this list, or any that you love that I didn’t include!
Adare: Adare, Co. Limerick is “renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns.” The existing given name Adair is a traditional boy name, a variant of Edgar, but I think these days its sound and rhythm fit more into girl-name territory. (Do you agree?)
Clare and Clara: There’s Co. Clare and the town of Clara in Co. Offaly. Pretty cool to have the name of a saint AND the name of an Irish locale all tied up together!
Glin: Another Co. Limerick town, Glin sounds just like the name Glynn and is similar to Glenn and has a whiff of Gwen as well.
Laragh, Nenagh: Laragh is a town in Co. Wicklow, said just like Lara, but that silent Irishy Irish “gh” on the end gives it a nice green sheen. Similarly, Nenagh — a town in Co. Tipperary — has a familiar pronunciation (just like Nina) and an Irish spelling.
Livia: Though not a place name in that form, Livia, which has a separate life as an old Roman name (the name of the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus), has also been used in art and literature as the personification of the River Liffey in Dublin (especially in the combo Anna Livia, which was high on my list of names for girls early in my motherhood — isn’t it gorgeous??).
Shannon: Perhaps the most well-known Irish place name, Shannon is, of course, after the River Shannon.
Tralee: Tralee is a town in Co. Kerry where the hugely popular Rose of Tralee festival is held every year. I could see it being a great given name, but this is one that I’m the iffiest on — what do you think? If not, but you wanted to name your child after Tralee, there’s Rose for the girls and Denny Street and the Brandon Hotel for the boys.
Tulla: This Co. Clare town is said TULL-ah, I think. Or maybe TOO-la? Like Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral? Does anyone know? (TOO-la is like Toula on My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)
Callan, Collon: Callan is a Co. Kilkenny town and Collon is a town in Co. Louth, and both very similar (or, in Callan’s case, exactly like) existing names.
Cashel: I’ve mentioned Cashel as a name idea before, and it’s one of the only names on these lists that has a faith connection — the Rock of Cashel was “the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.” So great! And that nickname Cash!
Cavan: Cavan is the name of a county in Ireland, and it’s also an existing given name.
Clane: Clane, Co. Kildare sounds like a mash-up of existing names Clay and Kane. Could be cool?
Ennis: Though Ennis is a town in Co. Clare, I wonder if it’s even more well known as the name of Bill Cosby’s son, who was killed in a failed robbery attempt?
Knock: This is another explicitly faith-y name, for Our Lady’s apparition at Knock, Co. Mayo (known in Irish as Cnoc Mhuire, “Hill of (the Virgin) Mary”), but I’m not totally sure it works as a given name– what do you think? Maybe better as a middle? Reader Amy, from Our Family Fiat, had this awesome idea, which she posted in a comment on one of my IG pics: “a friend loved the name “knox” but wanted a patron so I suggested “our Lady of Knock”” — how cool is that?
Ross: There are a few inspirations for including Ross on this list — there’s New Ross and Rosslare (Strand), both towns in Co. Wexford, and Rosses Point, Co. Sligo.
Slane: Similar in sound to Clane (above) and Shane, Slane is a town in Co. Meath, and Slane Castle is an amazing venue for weddings and concerts for some pretty big names (U2, Madonna, nbd), which gives it a rock-and-roll edge (if you like that kind of thing).
Ardee: Ardee, Co. Louth makes me think “boy” because of its similarity to “Artie,” but “girl” because of the “ee” ending.
Athenry: This might be *too* place-namey? But I love the soft sound, which strikes me as feminine, while Athan is an existing boy’s name (and so similar to Ethan as well).
Carrick: Carrick-on-Shannon is a town in Co. Leitrim — I could see it working well for either a boy or a girl.
Kells: Though Kells is a town in Co. Meath, I think the Book of Kells would be the first thing people would think of, which gives it a nice faithy significance.
Quin: Certainly Quinn is a common enough given name for both boys and girls, but Quin (that spelling) is also a town in Co. Clare.
What do you think of these names? Are there any that you love, or any that you think are totally awful as given-name ideas? Are there any you would add to the list?
I hope you all have a wonderful wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! And for a laugh, don’t forget to check out the video in this post from last year. 🤣☘🤣☘🤣☘
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?
I posted a consultation for Carrie and her husband back in January, and Carrie’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the swoony name … Milo Thomas!
“Hello Kate! You did a consult for us in January for baby boy #3, and he was born yesterday! We actually ended up waiting until he was born to make the final name decision. Up until birth we were fairly sure we were going with Hugo Thomas, and had a couple other names we also liked just in case. Well, when we met him, we decided he just wasn’t a Hugo, and went with Milo Thomas instead! I am a little sad to not have used Hugo because it’s a great name that I love, but this baby is a Milo for sure 🙂
Thank you (and all who commented on my consult!) for all your help!!“
I LOVE the name Milo!! I absolutely think it fulfills Carrie’s hope for an “artistic and worldly” name, and as for saintly connections — you all know how I go on and on about Miles’ Marian connection, and Milo shares it too! Congrats to worriedshoe who suggested Milo in the comments!
This little guy joins his handsomely named big brothers:
A simply fantastic trio of brothers!
Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Milo!!
Do you remember Kelli’s consultation from last week? She sent me all the birth+naming details! Her little man’s been given the amazing and meaningful name … Jacob Miles!
“Just wanted to drop you an email and introduce our newest little guy, and to thank you for the name consultation and wonderful comments and ideas! It gave us a lot to think about and really helped us narrow things down.
By the time we got to the hospital we were fairly certain about Jacob, but still not sure about a middle name. What was supposed to be a fast and easy labor, turned into the most difficult one I have ever had. By the time Jacob was born, we had friends, family, church family, priests, and nuns praying the Divine Mercy chaplet for him. He entered the world to my husband praying the chaplet over us in the delivery room. After learning about the name Miles, which you had suggested, and its connections to Mary and the Slavonic root word for Merciful, we knew we had to honor all those prayers by giving him this name.
He gave us a bit of a scare in the hospital. He had dangerously low blood sugar and ended up in the NICU, but thanks to a wonderful doctor and a fantastic nurse we were able to come home earlier today with a happy and healthy new one.
The entire family is thrilled and I am so glad we did the consult and discovered more about this name. It seems meant to be!“
What an amazing story!! I didn’t know of the connection between Miles and mercy when I suggested it, but how amazing that it ended up being just the name for this little boy and his particular circumstances! I also love that they ended up going with Jacob for a first name, which, if you remember, was the name their son Will was “desperate” to use — Jacob Miles is just the perfect name all around! It’s such a nice feeling to know the name chosen feels “meant to be.”
Congratulations to Kelli and her husband and big sibs Abby, Will, Aaron, and Jessa, and happy birthday Baby Jacob!!