Baby name consultation: Help name Twin no. 2!

One of our longtime readers and her family have been devastated by the recent theft of the means of her husband’s livelihood — many high-end instruments and specialized equipment that he takes with him from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school to other venues in which he helps provide for his family through his musical training and talent. This was a loss of almost $11,000 worth of instruments and equipment, which the insurance company has only agreed to pay a third of, never mind the impact it has on his ability to teach. A friend has set up a Go Fund Me (which includes a video of Tom playing), and if any of you feel moved and are able to donate, I know the family would be so grateful. And please keep them in your prayers!

Mary and her husband are expecting twin boys! These little guys join big sister:

Juliette Marie (“Juliette is after a grandmother figure I had and Marie is of course after the Blessed Mother and is also the middle name of the first girl in every generation in my family so her name has a lot of meaning to us“)

I looove the name Juliette! Juliette Marie is so lovely!

Mary writes,

[M]y husband and I tried to conceive for several years, and eventually were blessed to be able to adopt our daughter who’s 2 now. We had quite the surprise this year after working with a great NaPro doctor and are so excited to welcome the twins in June (but probably May).”

Amazing!!

Baby Boy 1 will be Joseph McDaniel. We’ll call him ‘Mac’ as a nickname from his middle name. Joseph is after 2 St. Josephs I love, St. Joseph, husband of Mary, and the lesser known St Joseph of Cupertino, patron Saint of test takers and exams, who helped get me through some very difficult times while I was in law school. Joseph is also my husband’s middle name so another very meaningful name. McDaniel is my maiden name and my paternal grandfather was often called “Mac” so Mac is in his memory.

We’ve been tossing around Jude for Baby Boy 2 after St. Jude because so much of our story has just seemed impossible, but here we are. It just hasn’t stuck quite yet. Out of complete coincidence, Juliette and Mac will have the same initials so part of me wants to pick another JM name, but that’s not a “must.” I also like the idea of Baby Boy 2 going by a nickname like his brother, but again, not a “must”

Other Saint names we’ve considered and Saints we love are Michael (mostly as a middle name because my husband loves St. Michael and he was a major part in my husband converting to Catholicism), Sebastian (my husband’s confirmation Saint), St. Augustine (who we have a strong devotion to after visiting the Marian shrine in St. Augustine and then adopting our daughter shortly after) and St. John Paul II.  If we used Sebastian or Augustine, we’d want him to go by a nickname. We’re definitely pro-nicknames

Juliette and Mac are both named after a Saint who’s important to us and a family member, which I like. Other family names we’ve considered are Theodore, Warren, and Giles.

We like names that are classic but unique enough that you don’t hear them every day (so names like Peter, Matthew, and John are mostly out unless we could use a more unique nickname). The fact that Michael is very common makes me hesitant to use it as a middle name, but we do love St. Michael so much.”

Working on twin consultations is such fun! I love the names Mary and her husband have already chosen, and I love that they’re “definitely pro-nicknames” — you know how I feel about nicknames!

One of the things that really struck me about Joseph McDaniel’s (amazing, fantastic) name is how full of meaning it is, with Joseph having strong family and personal faith connections and McDaniel being both Mary’s maiden name and the source of her grandfather’s nickname. Also, both Mary and her husband are represented, with Joseph being Hubby’s middle name and McDaniel being from Mary’s side. No matter what names they choose for Twin 2, I would encourage them to try to make sure his name has just as much meaning — it doesn’t have to have the same kind of meaning, necessarily (i.e., it doesn’t have to be two family names), but there should be a feeling of balance and equal specialness between both names.

One thing that I immediately thought of was that Mary’s boys will be born in the Year of St. Joseph and also likely in the same month as the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1), and with one twin having St. Joseph’s actual name, I thought it would be nice for the other twin to also have a nod to St. Joseph in either his first or middle name. I did a post recently on names for St. Joseph, and of them, I thought these had possibility for this family:

  • Carpenter, as he was a carpenter and is represented by a carpenter’s square specifically and carpenter’s tools in general. I’ve never heard of Carpenter as a first name, but it’s not really different from other occupation names like Mason, Taylor, and Carter, right? Maybe with Cap as a nickname?
  • Cruz or Croix or other “cross” names, as the cross is one of his symbols
  • Foster, since we refer to him as Jesus’ foster father
  • Valiant, as he’s valiant (as noted in the Litany to St. Joseph) (what a cool, masculine virtue name!)
  • Surnames derived from Joseph, like Jessop/Jessup (if either of these names were in Mary’s or her husband’s family trees, I’d die of happiness!) (Jesse could be used as a nickname for Jessop/Jessup, which has additional connections to St. Joseph since St. Joseph is a descendant of King David, who was son of Jesse)

Another way to look at this is that Mary described Joseph as representing two special Josephs — what about breaking that honor up and naming one son after St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus, and the other after St. Joseph of Cupertino? I’ve seen the latter honored in ways that I think might appeal to this family: Cupertino as a given name with Coop and Cooper as nicknames, and Cooper as the given name in honor of Cupertino. Something like Michael Cupertino nicknamed Coop or Cooper could be really nice — two names with very meaningful faith connections for Mary and her hubby and a middle name that’s similar to McDaniel in the sense that I always think of saintly place names as in the same category as surnames. Joseph McDaniel and Michael Cupertino have a nice symmetry, and Mac and Coop have a nice sound together! It would be even better if a family connection could be figured out for Twin 2 as well, but that might be asking too much. Maybe some of my other ideas can get all the elements in there …

I do love their idea of Jude, since he’s the patron of impossible causes, and Jude Michael would be a nice JM combo — Juliette Marie, Joseph McDaniel, and Jude Michael. Two worries I have are that they’ll feel locked into a JM combo in case they have more children (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, there are lots of great J and M names!), and also that Jude and Juliette are so similar in sound. That can easily be remedied by having Jude Michael go by a nickname of his middle name, like Mac will, and since I think Mary prefers more offbeat suggestions, they might like one of my favorite ideas for an unexpected Michael nickname: Miles/Milo. I’ve often thought Miles or Milo can work for Michael, since their first three letters encompass Michael’s first two letters and its last letter — they’re almost like a contraction of Michael, plus “es” or “o” added on the end. Miles/Milo has an added neat connection to Michael in the sense that St. Michael the Archangel is a warrior, and, as the entry for Miles on Behind the Name says, “From an early date it was associated with Latin miles ‘soldier.’”

Further, I included Miles/Milo in my book of Marian names because they have a history of usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary,” which, for this family, can represent a connection to the Marian shrine in St. Augustine. So many connections! Mac and Miles/Mac and Milo sound great together!

Once again, though, Jude Michael doesn’t include a family connection, and I’d really love for both boys’ names to represent both a Saint who’s important to them and a family member, just like Juliette’s and Mac’s names do. Of the ones Mary mentioned — Theodore, Warren, and Giles — Theodore immediately jumped out as a nice idea because of its meaning: “gift of God.” It’s the kind of significance that can amp up the specialness of the name and bring Joseph McDaniel and his brother’s name into balance. I really like the idea of Twin 2 going by a nickname of his middle name, like Mac, so maybe Theodore Michael nicknamed Miles or Milo would be perfect? Joseph McDaniel and Theodore Michael? Or Theodore Cupertino? I also like the nicknames Theo and Ted(dy) — Mac and Theo, Mac and Ted, Mac and Teddy all sound really great. I also like Theodore Jude.

I’m also loving the idea of Michael Augustine nicknamed Gus — Mac and Gus have that same good-guy feel to me, and Michael Augustine is certainly full of personal faith meaning!

I also love Sebastian — Seb, Sebbie, Bash (like Grace Patton’s son) and Baz are great options for nicknames.

So they have a lot of good ideas and names to work with and play around with! If they went with some combination of names they’re already considering, I’d be thrilled! But of course, I can always come up with more ideas, haha!

You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Though this strategy doesn’t always work well for parents in Mary’s situation, where the chosen names are as much about personal meaning and connection as they are about style, I was pleased to have a few ideas jump out at me that I thought had merit. I also had a few ideas of my own that I thought would fit in with the personal meaning part and also an attempt to balance both boys’ names meaning-wise. Based on all that, these are my additional ideas for Mary’s second twin:

(1) Benjamin or Benedict nicknamed Ben, Banks, Boon

I really liked seeing that Benjamin is a style match for Joseph per the BNW — not only are they stylistically similar, but I also love that Joseph and Benjamin are the two youngest sons of Jacob in the Old Testament. Bennett is a match for Juliette and Benedict for John Paul, so a Ben- name seemed a good bet here. While Ben is certainly the traditional nickname — and I love Mac and Ben together — I also know of a little Benjamin that goes by Banks as a nickname, which is fun. I’d also considered the nickname Boon for Benedict for one of my own boys, both because it has a B and N, like Benedict, but also because a boon is a blessing or a favor, which is such a great meaning and mirrors the meaning of Benedict (“blessed”). I like that meaning for this family! They could also certainly do Benjamin with the nickname Boon.

(2) Charles nicknamed Cal or ?

I was interested to see what nicknames would be listed as similar to Mac, and one of them was Cal, which is a nickname I’ve loved forever. So great for both a boy and a man! There are a couple ways to get to Cal, but Charles is one of my favorites, and it can honor St. John Paul II, since his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles! If they like the idea of Charles but Cal isn’t feeling quite right, one of my favorite posts from Abby at Appellation Mountain is her post on nicknames for Charles — there are so many! I would also add Hutch to her list. I also love the combo Charles Augustine nicknamed Gus!

(3) Henry nicknamed Hank

As with Cal, Hank is what inspired this idea. Hank is a traditional nickname for Henry and was listed as a style match for Mac! I’m really loving how Henry Sebastian sounds — Joseph McDaniel and Henry Sebastian (Mac and Hank) are a very handsome pair! There are lots of great Sts. Henry too, and St. Henry Morse has a particularly nice depiction of himself with Our Lady and the Child Jesus.

(4) Maximilian nicknamed Miles or Milo, or Kolbe?

Maximilian is a style match for Sebastian, Augustine, and John Paul, and I actually really love that McDaniel nicknames to Mac and Maximilian’s usual nickname is Max! But don’t worry — I’m not at all suggesting that they call their boys Mac and Max, only that McDaniel and Maximilian can sort of be like mirror images in their boys’ names. In fact, I really like Miles or Milo as nicknames for Maximilian — something like Joseph McDaniel and Jude Maximilian (Mac and Miles/Milo) could be really pleasing. But then, I also noticed that Cole is a style match for Jude, which made me think of Kolbe, and while I wasn’t thinking of pairing Maximilian and Kolbe together (though I’m not opposed to it if they want to!), would it be crazy to suggest that Kolbe could be a nickname for Maximilian?? Probably, right! Totally crazy! But intriguing!

(5) Fitz something

I was thinking about how Mac means “son of,” and how Fitz also does, and thought maybe Mac and Fitz would be great brother names? I don’t actually know what Mary’s husband’s name is, but if it’s William, Gerald, or Patrick, any of those with Fitz in front would be kind of amazing! Fitzwilliam is actually Darcy’s first name in Pride and Prejudice, and Fitzgerald and Fitzpatrick can both certainly serve as first or middle names.

(6) Isaac

My last two ideas are inspired by their meanings. Isaac means “he will laugh, he will rejoice,” and he was so named because Abraham laughed when God told him that Sarah would become pregnant. Mary’s story reminds me of Abraham’s, because of how they tried for several years to conceive, and then when they do, they’re given twin boys! What a surprise! And what joy! Isaac seems a perfect name for one of their boys! Zac is a nickname often used for Isaac, which wouldn’t work with Mac, but its other nickname Ike might. Or maybe they’d rather keep Isaac as the name that isn’t nicknamed? Isaac Theodore nicked Theo?

(7) Samuel

Like Isaac, Samuel is inspired by his story in the bible — he was the result of Hannah’s many years-long and tearful prayers, and was so named “Because I asked the Lord for him” (Samuel 1:20, which fits one of the two meanings of Samuel given on Behind the Name: “God has heard”). Also a fantastic meaning for this family! And Sam is so great with Mac. Samuel Warren? Samuel Augustine?

And those are my ideas for Mary’s second twin boy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Juliette and the twin of Joseph McDaniel nn Mac?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Felicity Colette!

A mama and I had messaged each other a bit last year about her baby girl on the way, and she’s let me know that her sweet baby has been given the so-beautiful name … Felicity Colette!

She writes,

I just wanted to let you know that we named our rainbow baby Felicity Colette. Felicity because one of our quints was named Felix, and Colette just because I liked the name and I knew it was a Saint’s name. After her birth, we learned that both Saints Felicity and Colette are patron Saints of expectant mothers 💕🥰 She’s a very happy and sweet baby, so the name fits her well.”

What a gorgeous combo!! Both Felicity and Colette are fantastic names!! Also, you might have caught that she said “one of our quints” — this mama lost quintuplets late in pregnancy before this baby, so little Felicity is certainly as much of a happy blessing as her name suggests. ❤ ❤ ❤ The quints were named Felix Joseph, Damien Anthony, Dominic Alfonso, Sophia Therese, and Gabriel Francis.

Congratulations to the parents and big sister Cecilia Giselle, and happy birthday Baby Felicity!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!