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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My new ideas are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby name consultation: non-M Marian middle name for a baby girl

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:

Caroline Mary
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?

Baby name consultation: Middle name for Molly

Kate and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and third girl! This little lady joins big sibs:

McKenna Veronica (“Her name is the one most rife with meaning. McKenna is my MIL’s maiden name and my husband always wanted to name his daughter McKenna. Veronica is my confirmation name, my nana’s confirmation name and my nana’s mother’s middle name. Plus, I love St. Veronica. We call her Kenna/Kens/Kenny, her grandpa calls her McV.”)

Emily Grace (“We both liked Emily. And Grace is a nod to my husband’s uncle who passed away the year she was born. His first name started with “G”, plus she was born at time when our family needed (and received) some graces. She is most often called Emmy or Emmy Grace.”)

Benjamin Patrick (“We both liked Benjamin, and McKenna, who has speech delays, could say “Ben” perfectly. Patrick is my husband’s first name, and it’s also my Godfather’s middle name. Ben and my Godfather share a birthday, and, as it turns out, were born at the exact same time of day. My husband and I had a deal that if Ben was born on my Godfather’s birthday he’d be Benjamin Patrick (Pat wasn’t too keen on using his own name in any of the naming process), if he was born any other day he would’ve been Benjamin Daniel. He is most often called Ben or Benny, sometimes I call him Benji.”)

I love these names! I also would absolutely use McKenna as a first name if it was my MIL’s maiden name! McKenna Veronica is a stunning combination, and the nicknames they have for her (McV!) are super cute. Emily Grace and Benjamin Patrick are just wonderful.

Kate writes,

[We] have decided on the name, Molly, but we are stumped for a middle name. … [regarding] Molly, we have both always liked it, Pat was flipping through a name book this time around and saw it on the list we had jotted down for when we were expecting Emily. We both have Irish roots (my nana was mostly Irish and would have LOVED to know that one of her grandkids traded in the Polish family surname for a nice Irish name), and I like the “M” letter/sound connection she will share with her sisters.

As for middle names, I’ve been throwing around Anne and Amelia as middle name ideas.

I like Anne because I have an Aunt Ann(e) on either side of my family (one of whom is a favorite aunt), and I like the connection between the Blessed Mother and her mother – St. Anne being her mother and Molly being an Irish form of Mary (if I’m not mistaken). I’m not entirely sold because it’s also the middle name of one of our nieces, and while I think there’s less stigma about “stealing” a middle name, I’m not sure I want to stick with it. I also feel like the name as a whole is missing a little something.

Amelia is my great grandmother’s name, and also the middle name of a very dear cousin from that same side of the family, who is also my Aunt Ann’s daughter. Pat did not like Amelia when I suggested it, but sometimes he needs time to let a name soak in. The other problem is that I have taken to sometimes calling Emily “Emilia” as sort of a weird nickname, so it might make it not work. Still, I think Amelia is a front runner for me as it’s a nice way to honor that side of my family and my cousin – unfortunately my cousin’s first name would not go with Molly at all.

I’ve been stumped for other ideas though, it seems that every time I try and research it, the same list of middle names comes up and they all feel a little flat to me. I find that I feel like with a simpler name like “Molly” the middle name should be a little “bigger” or “heavier” – especially because sometimes I think there’s a stigma about Molly being a little girl’s name.

We don’t really have any real naming trends, I think we tend to go for the more classic, middle of the road (popularity-wise) names. We are kind of bummed that “McKenna” has turned out to be so popular and trendy, as for us it was a meaningful rather than trendy name. Although, honestly, I think McKenna is as “weird” as I would get!

What else? Molly’s due date is my Godmother’s birthday (she is married to my Godfather and has joked about me having Molly at the same time of day that she was born). Her name is Mary Ellen (and she is VERY Irish, so she is thrilled with the name Molly – plus, again with the Molly/Mary connection). Molly’s also due near Pat’s grandmother’s birthday. Her name is Barbara Sandra … Maybe there’s a “B” or “S” name I haven’t thought of as a way to honor her.

We both really like the name Lucy, but know too many Lucy’s in our friend’s circles. Pat also really likes the name Riley, but that’s the name of a friend’s (male) dog, so I couldn’t do it. :-)”

This was fun to work on! I chuckled when I saw Anne on their list—my sister is Molly Anne, and I’ve always thought that combo sounds so natural and lovely together. Kate is absolutely right that Molly is a Mary variant—it started as a nickname for Mary—and Molly Anne is a beautiful Marian+St. Anne combo with a nice Irish feel. I’m interested that she’s worried about using her niece’s middle name—I’ve never heard this perspective! Certainly I’ve heard horror stories about “stealing” a first name (though I vehemently disagree that anyone can own a name!), but I’ve never known anyone to be upset about sharing middle names, especially as middle names are most often used to honor family members, and multiple family members might want to honor a beloved grandparent, for example. My grandfather had an unusual first name (it was his mother’s maiden name), and there are loads of boys in the family that have it as part of their names (first or middle), including one of my sons, my uncle, two of my cousins, and my brother. All of them have different first names, so it works, and it’s so fun and family-ish to see so many with the same middle name, honoring the same beloved man.

However, feeling like “the name as a whole is missing a little something” is a totally different issue! From that perspective, I wonder if using a longer Ann name might help? Molly Annabelle, Molly Annabeth, Molly Anastasia, and Molly Anneliese are all ideas that might fit the bill. Or, putting Ann(e) on the end, maybe Molly Julianne or Molly Susanne (or Susanna(h))?

Amelia is a lovely name, and with such nice family connections! I can see how Kate might not like having one daughter sometimes called Emilia and one with the middle name Amelia, but families do that kind of thing all the time. I posted a birth announcement recently for a little Claire Marie-Therese whose big sister is Julianne Clare. The mom did have a hard time with it for a while, but came to think it was pretty cool (especially after finding out her husband’s family had a bit of a tradition doing that kind of thing). If Kate and her hubs can’t get past it though, I wonder what they might think of Adelia? My cousin has a little Adelia — she says it to rhyme with Amelia, and calls her Delia for short (which would also be a cute middle for Molly).

I love that Molly’s due date is Mary Ellen’s birthday, with the Mary-Molly connection, so wonderful! As for Barbara Sandra, Sandra is, in origin, a nickname for Alexandra and the Italian variant Alessandra, both of which would be gorgeous as middles for Molly. I would just advise finding out ahead of time if Barbara Sandra be honored by that, or if she would feel like it’s too different from her name — different people have different feelings about things like that.

I wonder if, given how they like the name Lucy, they might be interested in something like Molly Lucille? Or, combining with Anne, Molly Lucianne? Or are they too L heavy? And they would probably knock Lucy out for the future, which would be a bummer—it’s a great name, and Kate and her hubs might find that they don’t care so much about all the Lucys in their circle.

Riley’s a sweet name, and I actually know a Molly Reilly (first+middle), but given that Kate’s already sensitive to some people’s opinions about Molly being a little girl name, it might be too singsongy for them.

In which case, I think going for something longer, with gravitas, is a good idea. I think all the ideas I’ve suggested already can fit into this, and these are some others:

(1) Katherine
Maybe it’s because Katherine’s my name, but I’ve always loved Katherine (or Catherine) as a middle name for a shorter first name. A Molly Katherine could also go by Molly Kate sometimes, which is adorable, and such a nice nod to Kate herself.

(2) Elizabeth
Molly Elizabeth has a really classic feel to it, I love it! There’s also the nice Mary+St. Elizabeth connection, which calls to mind The Visitation.

(3) Caroline or Karoline
Molly C/Karoline has a lovely rhythm to it as well. Caroline has long been one of my favorite names, and I’ve seen Karoline used with some frequently recently for St. John Paul II, as his pre-papal name was Karol. (Caroline can also honor him, as Karol is the Polish for Charles, and Caroline is a female variant of Charles.)

(4) Rebecca
I have no idea where the idea for Rebecca came from—it just flew into my head while I was writing this, and I’m digging it! Molly Rebecca is really pretty!

(5) Victoria
I also really like the idea of Molly Victoria. Victoria is so elegant and regal sounding, and flows so nicely with Molly. I love its connection to Our Lady of Victory, and Molly Victoria makes it doubly meaningful.

(6) Seraphina
This one is a little more out there, but Seraphina’s a gorgeous, feminine name, and it also can point to Our Lady in her title Queen of Angels, so Molly Seraphina has that double Marian oomph. This could also serve as a nod to Barbara Sandra, because of being an S name.

(7) Bernadette
Speaking of using initials to honor Barbara Sandra, Molly Bernadette is gorgeous and saintly and Marian AND a B name! For Barbara!

(8) Roisin, Rosheen, Rosaleen
If they wanted to make Molly’s name super Irish, they could do like this family and name her Molly Róisín (Roisin is Irish for “little rose”). Róisín can be spelled without the accents, and is pronounced like Rosheen, which is a spelling they could use instead, if they liked the idea. It also made me think of Rosaleen, which has such a pretty Irish feel without the spelling issues of Róisín/Roisin.

Finally, just for all of you readers in case it’s helpful, I normally would have suggested perhaps finding another family surname that could work in the middle, especially since they already used one for McKenna, but Kate said the other family names are too hard to work with pronunciation/spelling-wise.

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What middle name would you pair with Molly?

Baby name consultant: Middle name for Lucia’s sister

Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage and her husband are expecting their sixth (second born) baby! Their older daughter on earth is:

Lucia Rose

And their babies in heaven are:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

(Mandi blogged about all her babies’ names here, including explanations, which is helpful when coming up with suggestions.)

She writes,

I’m looking for some help with a middle name … We aren’t going to find out whether we are having a boy or girl, but we have a boy’s name already chosen … We also have chosen the first name for a little girl, Cecilia, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a middle name I like with it. Our daughter’s name is Lucia Rose … I love her middle name for a few reasons — it’s a family name, a Saint name, very traditional and I like that it’s short coming after a several syllable first name. I’d love to find something similar for Cecilia (and in fact, I’ve thought quite a bit about just using Rose again), particularly a one syllable name, but I haven’t found anything I particularly like. Cecilia is a family name, so I don’t necessarily need the middle name to have a family link but I can’t seem to find any one syllable girls names that I like even remotely as well as I love Rose. Anne doesn’t seem to work because Cecilia ends in an A, I’m not a fan of Ruth or May or Jane or virtue names like Grace, Faith, or Hope. And I really don’t like more modern or trendy names like Elle. (So maybe I just don’t like anything?) I’d love if I found a Marian name or a name with a significant meaning, but I’m not sure that there is one that will fit our needs. Just for reference, two of the middle names we do like are Paloma and Miriam (we LOVE Miriam because it means “wished-for child” and this little one is coming after four miscarriages in a row) but they both seem too lengthy coming after the already lengthy Cecilia.”

I just sigh and swoon over sisters Lucia and Cecilia, so lovely!

This was an interesting dilemma, because so many of the names I thought of as I was reading Mandi’s email turned out to be unusable per the end of her email!

First off, I don’t hate the idea of possibly using Rose again as the middle. As I posted about recently here and here, it’s a common (or not uncommon) tradition for all the girls in a family to have Mary as part of their name, for example, or for all the girls to have Mom’s maiden name as a middle, that kind of thing — sisters having the same middle is totally normal and not that unusual. It’s kind of a nice link between them, and Rose is like an updated Mary — still Marian, but not Mary. Cecilia Rose is beautiful.

I did come up with a bunch of other ideas though, in case Mandi and her husband really don’t want to repeat Rose:

(1) Pearl
This is hands down my favorite option for them. I feel like Pearl used to have a really old lady feel, but I’ve been seeing it more and more recently on little girls, as both firsts and middles (I mean, not so much that one needs to shy away because of trendiness! Just that it’s losing its old lady image), and I wrote a while ago about how it can be Marian, so I love it for this family! Lucia Rose and Cecilia Pearl. Really beautiful!

(2) Normal one-syllable names
I’m calling them “normal” because they’re just that:

  • Kate — I often love just Kate in the middle
  • Beth — Beth could also honor any Elizabeths Mandi may know/love
  • Claire — I like that Cecilia Claire would have the initials C.C.!
  • Joan — Mandi said she didn’t like Jane, I wondered if Joan would be different enough?
  • Jude — A super feminine first name like Cecilia would pair well with the usually more masculine Jude

(3) More offbeat one-syllable names
Here are the ideas that might seem a little crazy, or a little cool (some may be too modern/trendy feeling for Mandi and her husband’s taste?):

  • Fleur — I really like this option. It’s literally “flower,” which is a cool connection with Rose, and the fleur-de-lys is a Marian symbol too!
  • Nan — Mandi mentioned Anne not working because of Cecilia ending in -a … if she really wanted Anne, Nan is a variant
  • Quinn — Ven. Edel Quinn has been showing up kind of a lot recently (I wrote a bit about her here), and I know another Catholic family that used Quinn as a middle in her honor
  • Belle — it means “beautiful,” and is so much less common than its sister Bella, especially in the middle. Lovely!
  • Reine — French for “queen,” which makes it Marian! I would say “rain,” but behindthename says it’s pronounced “ren,” which I also quite like …
  • Wren — … so I thought I’d suggest Wren as well, in the off chance wrens are meaningful to Mandi and/or her husband. I like the sound of it with Cecilia
  • Tess — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Tess as a middle name, which makes it kind of a cool spunky choice. It would be great for any Theresa they might want to honor
  • Sage — maybe too much “s” with Cecilia? But I read that the herb sage has been referred to as “Mary’s shawl.” The meaning of “wise” is also pretty great
  • Mair — a Welsh form of Mary. I would say it like it’s spelled, like “mare,” but behindthename says “mier,” which could also be cool
  • Mim — I know a Miriam who goes by Mimsey, so I thought — maybe Mim? One syllable for Miriam?

(4) A couple two-syllable options
Wait! Don’t disregard my two-syllable ideas just yet! Two came to mind that I thought sounded really nice with Cecilia and had great meaning and weren’t overly long (as far as two syllable names go):

  • Mercy — the Year of Mercy is starting soon, and the Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Mercy are amazing connections. Cecilia Mercy?
  • Caeli/Coeli — this is definitely one of those put-it-in-the-middle names that no one would know what to do with otherwise, but it’s so lovely and Catholic and Marian. I say CHAY-lee, but I know of a girl from a super Catholic family named this and they say KAY-lee. And again, I love the C.C. initials! Cecilia Caeli?

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What preferably one-syllable middle names would you suggest for Mandi and her husband to pair with Cecilia?

Repeating names

Yesterday’s post about the Campos-Duffy family prompted me to look more into what people think about repeating names among siblings. If you remember, they used Pilar (one of my fave Marian names!) as a middle name for three of their girls, and Margarita as a middle for one girl and a first name for another. I’m just noticing too that they used Jack as a middle and John-Paul as a first (it’s the John connection that I’m finding interesting between them).

I think the majority opinion is that names shouldn’t be repeated? Grace (Camp Patton) once said, “Simon came up with Xavier as the middle name and I wish we’d saved that for a first name because I love that name as well.” In the Name Lady’s Can I Recycle a Middle Name post she describes it as “not an ideal situation,” though she also acknowledges that it’s not “totally out of bounds,” and “In fact, quite a few parents give in and reuse older kids’ middle names. You never know it, because they carefully avoid mentioning their children’s middle names at all.” (I would find that so hard! I love each firstname-middlename combo my hubs and I came up with for our boys — I’d hate to feel like I had to “carefully avoid mentioning their … middle names at all”!)

I know a few people who gave multiple children the same middle name — one family gave all the girls the middle name Marie, and two other families I know gave two daughters the middle name Catherine (but not all the daughters). There does seem to be a difference between giving all your children, or all your children of the same gender, the same middle name vs. only giving some children the same name and not the others.

The mumsnet thread Would you reuse a middle name as a subsequent childs first name? brought up several potential issues with reusing names — both using one child’s first name as another’s middle, and even repeating first names:

  • “many people have said to me that in the future DD1 may resent the fact that DD2 “took” part of her name. Or DD2 may resent being “named after” DD1″
  • “I personally wouldn’t do it, although the middle name we’re about to use is gorgeous and I would love to use it as first name, but I don’t want to hold it in reserve in case I don’t end up having another child to use it on!”
  • “I know a guy who is named (first name, middle name, surname) after his older brother who died from SIDS! That’s V weird!” and “I do know a boy who has the same name as his brother, who was stillborn sad and I know somebody who is pg who already have a DD but they are expecting a DS, and they are going to give him the same middle name as their DD’s middle name!”

I was particularly intrigued by the second bulletpoint — I think a lot of people might load up all their fave names at the front end of their family because of not knowing how many they’ll have of one gender — or how many kids they’ll be blessed with overall — and not wanting to miss out on using a beloved name.

Regarding the third bulletpoint, in the old days reuse of names from older deceased child to younger sibling seems to have been somewhat common. Genealogy.com says that,

Up until this century, parents could usually count on one third of their children not surviving. If a child died, the name was often used again. If a baby died, the next child of the same sex would often be given the same name. When checking birth records, you should never stop when you find the name you are looking for. You should continue for a few more years, because the first child could have died and your ancestor could have been the second child in the family with that name. If an older child died, a younger one would often be named for him or her. If you see George in the 1850 census as a six year old and then in the 1860 census as an eight year old, it may mean the first one died shortly after the 1850 census was taken.”

And we’ve seen how at least one Catholic royal family reused names with abandon, and not necessarily because of infant/child death.

I’m not sure what I think about the first bulletpoint. Probably that kids (big and little, adult and not) get in a huff about a million things that parents don’t think they will, and don’t get upset about things parents were sure they would … if I’d chosen to do this with names, my approach would probably just be to be sure to always positively talk about the choice we’d made — make a big deal about how wonderfully meaningful it was meant to be and a choice given in love — so at least if the kids hated it later, they would know it wasn’t done to upset them. And then pray for the best!

I’m also thinking that sometimes, as with one of the families I know that used Catherine as a middle name for two of their daughters, the reasons for using it were different each time — which then sort of makes it like two different names being used: one daughter was named after St. Catherine of Siena, and the other was named after Grandma Catherine. I myself would have used the name once and been pleased with the double honor, but that’s just my personal preference — I can definitely see it seeming like two different names in this scenario, even though it looks and sounds the same. It kind of ties into what Abby wrote in one of my favorite of her posts, The Secret Meaning of Names:

Some of the best names have backstories that are unique to the family in question. Mallory doesn’t mean sorrowful if your parents met in Mallory, Indiana. Then it means “small town where my parents met.” And if your parents happened to meet there because it was a dark and stormy night, and your mom had a flat tire and the repair shop was closed and your dad just happened to be in town for a meeting and suddenly, there they were nursing coffee at the Mallory Diner just one seat apart … well, then your name means “serendipity, twist of fate.””

And it ties into what I wrote in my Nameberry post Good-Intention Baby Naming: “The intention behind the bestowing of the name can be as important—or more so—than the name’s actual origin or meaning or other specifics.”

In the case of the Campos-Duffys, their repeating of names is so exuberant — one of you used the word “confident,” which was so great — that it really strikes me as not that strange at all. And the gorgeousness and saintliness of the names they chose makes me think of that royal names post — each one is sort of decadent and fabulous, really beautiful choices.

What do you all think? Would you (have you?) use one child’s middle name for another’s first name? What about other types of repeating — using the same middle name for all the children, or all one gender, or the names of lost babies (miscarried/stillborn/died when they were older) being given to younger siblings?

A few things before we *gasp* leave on vacation

I’m terribly sorry for neglecting you all yesterday! I meant to post and the day just got away from me. If you can believe it, especially after my St. Anne’s Shrine post in which I emphatically declared that traveling with little ones is very low on my list of things that I’m willing to do, I am getting us all ready to go away for a week with my parents, siblings, their spouses, and their kiddos. We leave tomorrow. I know.

We’ve never done anything like this before, but the opportunity to be all together for a whole week — which hasn’t happened in at least … seven years? I think? Maybe longer? was certainly not something to be passed up. My boys will be seeing the ocean for the first time, which we’re all excited about, and hanging out with their cousins (also all boys), which we’re all excited about too. We’re staying in one big house (all twenty of us) that has a washer and dryer and kitchen, so I’m actually not stressing too much about it at all. I feel like I really don’t have to do much more than I had to do for the overnight we did at my mother-in-law’s house last weekend. Maybe a few more clothes? I’ll let you know next week if I was right. 😉

In the meantime, I wanted to assure you that I will have a consultation posted on Monday — WordPress has the handy feature of deciding when posts post, so I’ll write it up before I leave and schedule it to post Monday morning. I don’t know if I’ll have internet access or not — I’m assuming I will, at least occasionally — which only means that I might not be able to approve comments from people who have never commented before, and that I’m not planning any posts for next week.

But I’ll be back with a vengeance after that! Hopefully I’ll have spotted some great names or had some great name conversations (my sisters and sisters-in-law are good like that) that I can tell you about, and there are some upcoming births I’m excited about (Jenny Uebbing I’m looking at you!), and a couple other things I want to blog about, so August will be fun.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! And I’ll leave you with this, which is exactly the kind of thing I thought I’d find when I was writing my middle names article for CatholicMom.com (I didn’t find it though, and Barb only tweeted this to me after my article posted). I’m fascinated by this — have any of you had this experience or know someone who has?

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