Names of note on British Baby Names

Happy Monday y’all!! It’s eclipse day! Are your kids as excited as mine?? Since we haven’t been able to snag any of the sold-out eclipse glasses, we’ll probably watch most of it on NASA’s site, but we’re also going to make these eclipse viewers (just waiting for my coffee to brew).

In similarly earth-shaking news, for the first time in a verrrry long time I’m all caught up on consultations and don’t have any scheduled to post! What! So if you’ve been wanting one, now’s a great time!

In lieu of our normal Monday consultation fun, I want to talk about the British Baby Names blog. Are you as hooked on it as I am?? I’ve been keeping it up on my computer all summer and browsing through the birth announcements when I have a few minutes here and there, and there have been so many amazing names that I’ve been keeping a running list to share with you all! Like these amazingly Catholicky Catholic sib sets:

Clemency Jane Frances “Clemmie,” baby sister of Edward Blaise “Ned,” Beatrice Mary “Bea,” Christopher Ambrose Richard “Kit,” Josephine Alice “Posy,” & Mary Assumpta (from this post)

Sebastian Francis Bertram (from this post)

Matilda Agnes, baby sister of Hubert James Raphael, Beatrice Elizabeth, Emilia, Leo John Bartholomew & Helena Adelaide (from this post)

Rufus Benedict, baby brother of Theodora Verity & Harriet Cecily (from this post)

Theresa Eleanor “Tess,” baby sister of Robert John “Bobby” & Francis William “Frankie” (from this post)

I’m fascinated by these Irish and Welsh and names!

Liusaidh Hannah Lesley, baby sister of Ruairidh Joseph Henry & Eilidh Margaret Catriona (from this post)

Gwenlli Fflur, baby sister of Ynyr Alun & Gwern Rhisiart (from this post)

Beca Grug, baby sister of Aron Huw, Erin Gwen & Math Owen (the woman behind the blog, Eleanor, noted that Grug = GREEG “heather”) (from this post)

Nedw Lleu, baby brother of Liwsi Glwys (from this post)

Guto Lloyd & Elen Mair, twin sibs of Awen Mair (from this post)

I liked seeing Evelyn as a boy’s middle (a la Evelyn Waugh): Humphrey Evelyn (from this post).

These were just amazing, for one reason or another:

Henrietta Zillah Iris, baby sister of Xanthippe Phyllis Elizabeth (from this post)

Primrose Ophelia “Posy,” baby sister of Theodora Kate “Teddy” (from this post)

Zinnia Indigo, baby sister of Azalea Primrose (from this post)

Zsa Zsa Hermione Christobel, baby sister of Cressida Lucy Florence, Rocco & Aubrey (twins) (from this post)

Molly Jessica & Pippa Josephine, twin sisters — I love how their first and middles have the same number of syllables, and I love Molly and Pippa together! (from this post)

Tatiana Mary Alexandra, baby sister of Maximillian Randal James, Jemima Honey Frances & Willa Charlotte Moore (from this post)

And speaking of Jemima, beloved of every name lover, I also spotted Jemimas in these posts: here, here.

I really liked the nickname here: John Patrick Carnegy “Jock” (from this post), and was so surprised to see both a Jack and a Johnny in this family: Jack Oliver, baby brother of Johnny Robert, Harry Anthony & Joseph James (from this post). I was also surprised at the number of Montys (two of them here and here) and Jontys (as is, as both a first and middle, here, here, here) — Jonty’s a traditional nickname for Jonathan, and you might remember that I suggested it to Rosie and Tim in this consultation.

I’m barely scratching the surface with all the amazing names listed in the birth announcement posts, and there are also consultation posts too. Such a fun site!

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Baby name consultation: Twin boys to join two big brothers with Old Testament names

My brother’s best childhood friend, Tim, who’s a former Major League baseball player, and his wife, Rosie, are expecting their third and fourth babies — twin boys! They join big brothers:

Noah James
Levi Patrick

I’m a huge fan of Old Testament names, so you know I love these brothers’ names!

Rosie writes,

Tim and I have been having a tough time agreeing on names so finding two boy names that work well together is going to be a challenge! … Info that I think will help: Our 5 year old is Noah James. Noah is a name that I instantly fell in love with at the start of my pregnancy with him. His gender was a surprise but I had a strong intuition that he was a boy and went to the hospital pretty set with that name, with Benjamin as a back up. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who loves the name as I just saw that it is still the most popular name in California. I would love to come up with names that are not as popular this time around. James is Tim’s middle name. He loves the name and wants to consider it as an option. While I love the name I feel like it has to be crossed off the list since it is Noah’s middle name.

Our 3 year old is Levi Patrick. We did find out the gender with him. We both agreed on his name early and didn’t have a back up. Patrick is my dad’s name.

If we were having a girl I had my heart set on Ruth Clementine or Ruby Clementine.

Boy names that I have always liked but Tim is not crazy about:
Ezra
Mattias — I’m not sure if the s ending works with our last name though?
Amos — ” “

Boy names that we both agree on:
Thomas — I like the combo of Thomas Everett, but again ends with an s
Nathan — my brother’s middle name
Luke — I feel like Luke may sound too similar to Levi?

The task of finding names that we both really love, plus having them work with our existing boy names, AND making a cute twin pairing that isn’t too matchy but works well together feels overwhelming to me!

I obviously have a Biblical theme going with our names but I’m not sure how strict I want to be with it. At the very least I want names that have a strong faith tie or meaning. I personally don’t have any emotional ties to Saint names as I was not raised Catholic.

Last thing — forgot to mention two names that Tim and I both like that we can add to our running list: Jeremiah and Julian (only hesitation with that name is that it does feel a bit feminine to me probably because we know someone by the name Jillian).”

I totally get how overwhelming it must be to do exactly what Rosie articulated so well: “finding names that we both really love, plus having them work with our existing boy names, AND making a cute twin pairing that isn’t too matchy but works well together” — exactly! It was really fun to work on this.

I really love Noah and Levi as brothers—they’ve done a great job picking names that are similar in style, which helps mitigate the popularity of Noah, you know? If they’d named their boys Noah (no. 1) and Liam (no. 2), then it would be really obvious that they’re into super popular names (which even in itself isn’t the end of the world—I mean, names become popular because they’re great names!). But using Noah and Levi (no. 42) shows that they’re into biblical names more than popular names, and the biblical style is timeless and enduring. So I think they’ve done great!

I also love that Benjamin was the backup for Noah, and it perfectly fits the style they’ve got going so far. Unfortunately, it zoomed up from no. 10 to no. 6 on the national chart this year, which they probably won’t love, BUT it’s really important to keep in mind that popular names today aren’t nearly as popular as popular names in the past. That is, Noah, as the no. 1 name, isn’t given to nearly as many boys per year as Michael was during its longtime reign as no. 1. You can read more about that phenomenon here and here, it’s pretty interesting, and should soothe their worries about popularity a little bit.

I can understand not wanting to use Noah’s middle name as the first name for one of their twins. I know a lot of families who have done that kind of thing, and don’t mind it, and even like it (one example here), but there are so many great names that I’d love to try to find names that will be unique to each of their boys in their brother set. That said, I also know a family who used Catherine as the middle name for two of their three daughters — one was named after Grandma Catherine, the other after St. Catherine of Siena. So if Noah’s middle name was a nod to Tim, they could feasibly make the argument that naming one of their twins James is in honor of someone else. Is Tim’s dad’s middle name James maybe? If the same name is used for two different children, in order to honor two different people, it could start to feel like two different names, you know?

I also looooove Ruth Clementine and Ruby Clementine!! They have great taste in names!

As for the boy names Rosie said they like/are considering, Ezra was actually my first idea for them before I even got to that part of their email! It totally fits the feel of Noah and Levi, including the length of four letters! Mattias (and Matthias) is a favorite of mine, and Amos is another great four-letter name with Noah, Levi, and Ezra.

Thomas Everett is an amazing combo, but I totally get what Rosie means about its “s” ending (and that of Amos and Mattias) running into their last name. I have a similar sensitivity, but even still, because of family considerations and names we just love, half of our boys have first names ending in the same letter our last name starts with! It hasn’t been the end of the world — indeed, I love each one of their names — and honestly, I don’t even notice that same feature of other peoples’ names. I didn’t even really notice it about my own name—Kate Towne—til I was naming my own kids. So funny!

Nathan is also great, and I like that it has family significance for Rosie; it’s also nice that it’s a biblical name, but not as old-timey as Noah/Levi/Ezra/Amos, which allows them to move in a new direction while still sticking with their established theme. (Not that they have to stick with their established theme!) I think I agree with them regarding Luke … although, if they named twin no. 2 Luke, they’d have a child between Levi and Luke, which makes it a bit easier than if Luke followed Levi directly.

Jeremiah is very consistent with Noah/Levi/Amos/Ezra/Benjamin, a great name! And I can see their issue with Julian as well—a lot of people love it because it’s a “softer” boy name, but others don’t care for it specifically *because* it has a softer feel. Another name that’s similar, I think, is Micah—it’s a great Old Testament male name, but a lot of people have used it for their girls because it has that softer feel, which means less people are naming their boys Micah because they don’t want to give their boys girl names. (I still love it though.)

Anyway! All that said, I think Rosie and Tim have a lot of good ideas to work with, and I came up with a few more ideas that I think they might like (I’ll do ideas for twin combinations after I list my new ideas). You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/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. Based on that research, and my own ideas, this is what I came up with:

(1) Adam
I was really taken with the fact that Rosie and Tim gave both their older boys four-letter Old Testament names, so I admit I was on the lookout for others that would match. Adam is one such, and I like that it’s both less “whiskery” (meaning “old man,” and I say that in a good way—it’s so in style right now!) than Noah and Levi, but it’s also less popular than both of them, while still feeling current and familiar.

(2) Seth
I’m not sure they’ll love this with their S last name—some people love alliteration, and some don’t, and some don’t mind certain examples but not others. I love Peter Parker, for example—when done right, I love that an alliterative name can have a little superhero feel to it.

(3) Jude
After Ezra, this was my second idea for them, before I’d even really gotten into the meat of Rosie’s email. Not only do I love that it’s four letters and biblical, but I also like that it’s a New Testament name rather than an Old Testament name, just because it broadens their horizons a little bit (Levi has the cool distinction of being both Old Testament and New Testament, but I think it conveys more of an Old Testament feel). I also wondered if Jude might be helpful for them in their Julian discussions—the Beatles’ song Hey Jude was written for John Lennon’s son Julian, and I’ve seen parents use Jude as a nickname for Julian. Even if they don’t care for the idea of Jude as a nickname for Julian, maybe Jude mirrors the sounds of Julian enough to replace Julian on their list of possible names? It also has the extra bonus of being a nod to Tim’s mom (her first name is Judith, but she goes by her middle name) in a subtle way, if they wanted it to—only those who know her first name is Judith might get the connection!

If they like that idea, I wonder if there’s a way they could give the other twin a name that connects to Rosie’s mom’s name? Or they could also think of naming the other twin after Rosie herself, perhaps by using her maiden name as his middle name?

(4) Cole
Cole is an interesting idea, and I’m not sure what they’ll think of it. On the one hand, it’s listed as a style match in the BNW for Luke, and because it’s four letters I jumped right on it. It’s also a traditional nickname or variant of Nicholas, which is a biblical name, so if it’s important to them to have that connection between their boys, they have it. But of course, it doesn’t come across as biblical, so maybe that makes it a great choice or maybe that makes it a worse choice?

(5) Caleb
Similar in appearance to Cole, but bringing it back to that Old Testament feel, Caleb is a sweet name that a lot of people love, but at no. 44 it’s not overly popular—in fact, it’s really similar in popularity to Levi.

(6) Ethan
I don’t think many people think “biblical” when they hear Ethan, but biblical it is, and the fact that it doesn’t scream “biblical” might make it a perfect choice for this family—in keeping with their theme but branching out a little too.

(7) Eli or Elias
In looking up names in the BNW, one of my favorite things is when I see the same name or family of names pop up over and over as a style match for a bunch of names on the parents’ list. Eli and Elias were those for this family! Eli’s a match for Noah, Levi, Ezra, and Luke, and the similar name Elias is a match for Mattias, Everett, and Julian! Wow! I love them both, though I can see Eli being a nice twin match for certain names, and Elias for others. Eli can also be a nickname for Elias, so they wouldn’t necessarily have to choose. (Elias is the Greek form of Elijah, and much less popular at no. 93 as compared to Elijah’s no. 9).

(8) Gabriel
One of my favorite name books — predating even my beloved BNW — is Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma by Joal Ryan, and in it she describes a lot of the kinds of names that I’m calling “whiskery” as “flannel shirts”—cozy, familiar, old timey. I remember distinctly that Gabriel was one of those, and that the nickname Gabe especially brought with it an “old immigrant” feel. I personally love that, and both Gabriel and Gabe, and I think they fit in really well with Noah and Levi.

(9) Samuel
Not only is Samuel itself a style match for Luke, but its nickname Sam is a style match for both Ruby and Ruth—I love that! I feel like it’s really consistent with the kinds of names Rosie and Tim like overall, and Sam is one of the friendliest nicknames (which I also think of Gabe as). I actually really love Sam with their S last name—it has that superhero alter ego feel, and it feels like a solid man’s name.

(10) Andrew
I really liked seeing that Andrew is a style match for both Patrick and Nathan—pretty cool that it fits in with two such different styles of name! Like Thomas, Nathan, James, and Luke, it’s a great New Testament name that retains their biblical theme while still breaking out of it a little bit.

So those were all the ideas I had that were mostly based on my research, but when I started trying to pair up names into twin combos, I had just a couple more ideas, which I’ll explain below. I should also say that different parents prefer different approaches when naming twins—some want something very matchy; some want them to go together nicely but not be too matchy; and some just want to name them as if they were naming non-twins, with no intentional connection at all. It sounds like Rosie and Tim are in the middle: I still love how Rosie articulated that they want to find names that they “both really love, plus having them work with our existing boy names, AND making a cute twin pairing that isn’t too matchy but works well together,” so I mostly tried to find pairs that fit that.

No matter which way a couple decides to go, I do think it’s important for the names to be fair. That is, I imagine that if one twin were named for dad and the other twin wasn’t given a name with any family significance, that second twin might feel hurt as he grows up. You know? Another thing that I personally like—which Rosie and Tim may or may not care about—is balance. That is, I find it really pleasing when both twins have short first names or long first names. Or one has a short first and a long middle and the other has a long first and a short middle. Or they have the same first initial, even if (especially if) the names are different lengths, or the first initial has a different sound in each name rather than the same. So a lot of my ideas here are inspired by my own preferences, and I apologize to Rosie and Tim in advance if they hate my approach!

Ezra and Jude: When I first started reading Rosie’s email, and I was so struck by the fact that Noah and Levi both have four-letter biblical names, I immediately started trying to think of others, and Ezra and Jude were the two I immediately came up with and love. Noah, Levi, Ezra, and Jude are such a pleasing set of brothers! I also really like that it makes them all sound less like two singletons and a set of twins, and more just like four brothers.

Benjamin and Jeremiah: I love that these names are both long, Old Testament names AND they have the same number of letters! I get a little overly excited about twins having names with the same number of letters! My only hangup is that I don’t have any great ideas for nicknames for Jeremiah. I’ve seen Jem, which is super cute, but I don’t think it’s to everyone’s taste. Similarly, I’ve seen Miah, but I suspect that’s too feminine for their taste. Jer and Jerry are natural nicknames, maybe they’d like that? Ben is one of those great friendly nicknames.

Benjamin and Gabriel: This pairing is less matchy in length, but I know a few Benjamin and Gabriel brothers, so the names seem to go together really well. Also, Ben and Gabe both have that same friendly feel.

Benjamin and Jonathan: This is perhaps a less serious idea than the others—Benjamin and Jonathan are my brothers’ names, which could be kind of weird for them, given my brother and Tim’s friendship. But otherwise, I’ve always thought these two are amazing names for brothers. Jonathan can be Jon or Jack or Nate, all of which go great with Ben I think. If they wanted to get a little crazy, Jonty is also a traditional nickname for Jonathan, and I’ve seen Jamie used for Benjamin, and I’m kind of dying over Jamie and Jonty, cuuute! Jamie might also be an interesting way to approach Tim’s love of the name James without actually naming their son James.

Nathan and Andrew: Speaking of Nate, I’m also dying over brothers nicknamed Nate and Drew. I love that pairing! I love that Nate and Drew are both four letters, which is fun with big brothers Noah and Levi, while their given names are New Testament and longer, which breaks them out of their short Old Testament style (if they want to do so). (Andy is also a great nickname, but for whatever reason I’m loving Drew for them.)

Andrew and Adam: If they like the idea of matching initials, this might be a nice way to go. Andrew can be Drew, if they like the idea of the formal names having the same initials but the everyday names be different. Adam and Drew make a nice pair.

Eli and Ezra: Speaking of same initials but still having a bit of a difference, I like that the E’s of Eli and Ezra have different sounds—the long E of Eli and the short E of Ezra.

Gabriel and Samuel: I like that these names end in the same two letters, and I love Gabe and Sam together.

Caleb and Ethan: Same number of letters, both Old Testament names, I love this pairing.

Ethan and Elias: There are those matching initials again! When I was a little girl I loved coming up with matching-initial names for twins, haha! So maybe that should tell me that this approach isn’t a good one. But I love how they sound together, and I love that they have the same number of letters.

Benjamin and Nathaniel: This is another great pairing because of similar lengths—they’re just one letter different, and Nathaniel might be a cool way to nod to Rosie’s brother without using his exact name (some people like that kind of thing—honoring without using the exact name). Ben and Nate are great!

Thomas and James: If they decided to go with James as a first name, it might be nice to pair it with Thomas, as then they’d both end in S, thus taking something kind of annoying (the S running into the S) and making it a twin thing that they could share, while still having really handsome names. Thomas and James both have that really classic feel that’s biblical without feeling too biblical, and it would be cool to try to find a middle name for James that’s as great and somewhat unexpected as Everett.

Thomas and Andrew: This is another great pairing—two NT names, same number of letters.

Thomas and Nathan: Ditto the same number of letters, and both NT names. My only hesitation with this one is that Nathan has family significance and neither Thomas nor Everett do (as far as I know).

Those are my favorite pairings based on the ideas I came up with for Rosie and Tim, but I couldn’t help thinking of a few other biblical names that might be interesting additions to the mix. Specifically, Jared, Gideon, David, Jacob, Joshua, and Asher. I also really loved the idea of Samuel and Eli, since they share the same beautiful story in the bible, but then I wondered if that was over the top? Abel’s another one that’s been on my radar recently, as has Abram, and Grace’s Abe has me all 😍😍😍. I also love Thaddeus … it ends in S, but it has that nice length that could pair nicely with Nathaniel or Jeremiah or Benjamin …

I feel like I could go on and on! And looking back on my ideas, even though Rosie said, “I obviously have a Biblical theme going with our names but I’m not sure how strict I want to be with it,” clearly I just couldn’t bring myself to move away from it. So sorry if they were hoping for non-biblical ideas!

I know Rosie and Tim would love to hear your ideas, as would I! What name(s) would you suggest for the twin brothers of Noah and Levi?

Birth announcement: Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

Be sure to enter the blogiversary giveaway I posted about yesterday!

A few weeks ago I posted a consultation for Sara and her husband to help name their twin baby girls. Sara’s let me know the little ladies have arrived! And they’ve been given the gorgeous, perfect names … Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

Sara had actually emailed me to let me know the girls had arrived, and Caroline Rose was easily given to one of them, but they still couldn’t decide on a name for the second. So we chatted about it a little more — turns out the Rosalind/Rosalie idea was one her brother and sister-in-law were hoping to use for their own daughter someday, so Sara and her husband decided not to use it. There were a few others that they were considering, like Elizabeth/Ella, Amelia (and I suggested Emilia too, for JP2’s mom), and Evelyn, and I offered that the only one I would recommend crossing off the list was Evelyn, because the name they would have chosen for a boy is Everett and I thought they might want to save Everett for a future boy — though I also said that if she loves it, she should use it anyway. Funny enough, my comments were actually helpful! Sara writes,

We’re so happy to welcome Caroline Rose and Evelyn Pearl!

It really helped me to see your comments on Evelyn because it made me realize just how much I do love that name and it’s been on my girl list forever … once you said if I love it, use it, I realized I really do love it. Especially because I loved the name Evie from Genevieve but felt it was too short to use alone with Caroline and Genevieve was too long and a different style to use with Caroline. So now I have my little Evie! Also, my MIL Linda said she was called Linney as nn by her brother which could also work with Evelyn if we wanted to use that instead. And because I’m 39 and most likely these are my last babies (so sad!) it didn’t seem like it was worth trying to save the name Everett if we probably aren’t having anymore.

Lastly, I looked into the meanings of many of the names you wrote back about and although I thought your idea of Emilia was absolutely wonderful, I didn’t like its meaning being “rival” for a twin. Amelia also had a less than desirable meaning of work, striving, industrious. When I saw the meaning of Evelyn a long time ago I melted a bit at “wished for child.” That just felt so true for me.”

What a great name story!! And when I was thinking back to how I thought the kinds of names they were looking for could be described as “pearl necklace names,” I really feel like both Caroline and Evelyn fit that perfectly. I also love how both grandmothers are represented in both names — Carol and Lyn for Sara’s mom (Carolyn), and Lin (the spelling) and Lyn (the sound) for her MIL (Linda) — so fantastic!!

Congratulations to Sara and her husband and big brothers Landon and Brooks, and happy birthday Baby Caroline and Baby Evelyn!!

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Evelyn Pearl (left) and Caroline Rose (right)

Baby name consultation: Twin sisters to Landon and Brooks

Sara and her husband are expecting twin baby girls! These little ladies are joining big brothers:

Landon Thomas
Brooks Grayson

I love the style they’ve got going on! Landon and Brooks are such handsome-boy names!

Sara writes,

We already have two little boys, Landon Thomas and Brooks Grayson. His middle name was supposed to be Alexander but my husband vetoed it after he was born and it ended up being Grayson, although I would have much preferred Alexander.

My name is Sara and my husband is Erich and our last name is very German, and long … Because my name was so very common growing up there were always lots of Sara(h)s in my classes and even now. Because of this name baggage I have, I would prefer our choices not be in the top 10 or even top 25 really. But many of the names I like such as Emma, Chloe, Avery, Ella and Lily are too popular.

Genevieve – My husband is really attached to the name Genevieve but my fear is that it’s way too long, especially with our last name, and too hard to spell. We could always have her go by a nickname all the time such as Eve, Genna, Viv or Neve, but then it seems weird to give her such a long name to begin with. Plus, it doesn’t really feel in keeping with the boy’s names (or ours) and that it would feel really out of place.

Caroline – I read that this was a combination of Carol and Linda which are our mother’s names so seemed like a nice way to honor both of them in one name. Again, it’s long with our last name but at least easier to say and spell and feels more like the boy’s names.

Everly – I love this name but my husband doesn’t. If we had another boy, he would have certainly been Everett and this feels like the girl version to me. I realize it is a bit trendy and doesn’t have much history making it somewhat less appealing.

Claire – A pretty name but maybe too plain or common with her twin?

Clara – Same as above and rhymes with my name which could be annoying.

Rosalie – Another one I love but my husband really does not.

Elise – Hard with our last name [which starts with S] since the ‘s’ ending blends together. We already have this issue with Brooks and I don’t want to repeat it!

For middles, we like Pearl and Rose. I like that Pearl is a family name, the birthstone for June, and associated with the ocean which we love. Rose is my favorite flower, the only scent I will wear and I like that it’s shorter with the long last name.

I should mention we don’t want the names to start with the same letter or be overly rhymey.”

Okay, so first, the feel I get from the boy names Sara and her hubs have already used and like (Landon, Brooks, Grayson, Alexander, and Everett) is, I think, best summed up by the Baby Name Wizard’s description of Brooks: “Brooks has always been the name you choose because you want your son to look good in pinstripes. It has a classic old-money style.” I love that! And while I love each of the names they’re considering for their girls for different reasons, some of them really seemed to fit that feel (I’m thinking of them as pearl necklace names, rather than pinstripe names), and some didn’t. Caroline Rose, for example, is stunning and fits perfectly with the feel I’m getting from their boys. Emma, Ella, Claire, Clara, Lily (or perhaps Lillian more so), and Elise all seem pretty well matched with it too. Chloe, Genevieve, and Rosalie, despite being gorgeous names with deep roots, somehow don’t so much — Genevieve and Rosalie feel too heavy maybe? And Chloe is biblical but also sort of spunky — perhaps a little too much of a fireball for the feel of Landon and Brooks? Avery and Everly tap into the surname-feel of Landon and Brooks, but I fear that Sara and her hubs would ultimately be unhappy with that, because it wouldn’t be totally clear at the outset that they have two boys and two girls, especially Avery, which still has good use among boys.

But perhaps I’m totally wrong and Sara and her hubs don’t mind any of the things I just said! Which is also totally valid — parents often have different taste in names for their boys vs. their girls, and eclectic naming — which I would define as basically just choosing names you like, style/theme/pattern be darned! — is totally a cool way to go. I do think the one rule that seems pretty important in naming twins is *fairness*, which you might also think of as *balance* — you wouldn’t want one twin to feel her name is less special than the other, you know? So I’m a teeny bit hesitant about Caroline for that reason — Sara and her hubs already seem to be thinking of it as a mashup of the two grandmothers’ names Carol and Linda (though, in case it’s helpful, it’s not actually so — it’s simply a French feminine form of Charles via its Latin form Carolus — but if they *wanted* it to mean “Carol+Linda” for their family, it totally works as that! And for a singleton girl, I agree it would be perfect!) — which makes me wonder what special family connection is left for Twin B? (And maybe there is!)

So my first idea was to separate Carol and Linda and try to come up with two first names, one for each twin, one for each grandma. (In this case I didn’t worry about matching their boys’ style as much, as it was enough of a challenge to come up with Carol+Linda names!) My favorite ideas for this were:

Caroline Rose and Rosalind Pearl: For this set, I kept Caroline, since it’s perfect for Grandma Carol without being a Carol+Linda name, and I love how Rosalind has the “Lind” of Linda. I also love how Caroline’s middle name would connect with Rosalind’s first name AND Caroline and Rosalind have the same number of letters — both of which are really nice, not overly matchy connections between the two! I do realize there’s a good chance Sara’s Mister won’t care for this idea, since he really doesn’t like Rosalie, but maybe the explanation of the connection to the grandmas would sway him?

Carrigan Rose and Linley Pearl: So I’m going back on everything I said in my first paragraph with this idea! Haha! Both Carrigan and Linley have that surname feel that Landon and Brooks have, but to me they’re exclusively feminine (more than Avery, for example) and I have no idea why! Carrigan has of course the Car- of Carol, and Linley the Lin- of Linda, and I considered the spelling Lindley, which makes it even closer to Linda, but I felt like Linley looked more feminine and this way both girls would have three letters of their grandmas’ names. Also, Finley was listed as a girl match for Brooks, and Linley is just one letter different. But if they went with Lindley, then “Carrigan Rose” and “Lindley Pearl” would have the same number of letters. Wow! But then again, Lindley and Landon seem extra close if they include that “d.” Otherwise though, I don’t mind two L names in the set Landon, Brooks, Carrigan, and Linley, since the two L’s would be separated by two other children, they have different endings, and they’re different gendered children (and one a twin, no less).

Scarlett Rose and Linnea Pearl: I did a search on babynamewizard.com’s NameFinder tool for girl names that contained “car” and “lin” and was so intrigued with Scarlett, especially because a “famous” Brooks is the son of actress Molly Sims, and her daughter is Scarlett! (Her style actually really makes me think of Sara’s family — her kids are Brooks Alan, Scarlett May, and Grey Douglas. Amazing, right?) Finding a first name match for Scarlett was hard, but both Scarlett and Linnea are on the BNW’s list of “Exotic Traditional” names, and Linnea has that “lin” I was looking for. I’m not sure I love Scarlett Rose together — is it overly descriptive? — but Scarlett Pearl is descriptive and doesn’t make sense, so Scarlett and Rose should go together (and the idea of a scarlet rose is quite lovely). Linnea is a flower name, and comes from a last name (the botanist who gave his name to the flower, Carl Linnaeus) AND — how cool is this?? — I just looked it up and it’s also known as the “twinflower”!! I’ve seen its color described as white and pale pink, both of which can be colors of pearls, so I feel like Linnea Pearl is a fine, not-inappropriate combo. As with Landon and Linley, I don’t mind Landon and Linnea as siblings.

If Sara and her hubs don’t care for any of these combos, however, I think Caroline can work great for both grandmas, as was their original idea, and I’d strongly encourage them to come up with something equally significant for their other girl. I have some ideas below, as well as other ideas of names that might make good matches for Caroline and pair well with Pearl (you all know that I usually start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the BNW, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity):

(1) Caroline Rose and Margaret Sara
I think Margaret has that same long, feminine, classic feel as Caroline, and it’s fun that they both have the same number of letters! Another amazing feature of Margaret is that it actually means “pearl”! So they can have all the meaning of Pearl while using a name that I think is a better first name match for Caroline. In the interest of balancing out the significance of both grandma’s names in Caroline, I wondered if they’d consider Sara’s own name as a middle? I really like how Margaret Sara sounds, and I love that Sara and Rose have the same number of letters too — it’s just a nice, subtle connection between twin sisters. Both Caroline Rose and Margaret Sara would share a flower theme as well, as not only does Margaret mean “pearl,” but its French form, Marguerite, is the name of the daisy flower in French — hence Daisy’s traditional use as a nickname for Margaret! Roses for Caroline and daisies for Margaret, love it! (And both roses and daisies are Marian symbols, as are pearls, so Mother Mary’s in both girls’ names too!)

(2) Caroline Rose and Elizabeth Pearl
All the Sara(h)s I know have Elizabeth as their middle name, so while I didn’t know if Elizabeth was Sara’s middle name, I thought if it was, it would be a perfect complement to Caroline I think, being that it would have family significance like Caroline and be similarly long and classic. Elizabeth also has a trillion traditional nickname options, one of which is Lily! So they could call her that — thus working in Sara’s love of Lily — and it would also be cool that, like with Margaret, both girls would have a floral connection with their name. Ella could also be used as a nickname for Elizabeth, as Ella is another name Sara said she likes (but in light of George and Amal’s new baby Ella, is it too soon? My personal feeling is no, not at all, especially if Ella is used as a nickname for Elizabeth).

(3) Caroline Rose and Isabel Pearl
Isabel is actually listed as a style match for Caroline in the BNW, and it’s an Elizabeth variant (see above), and I really like it with Landon and Brooks too. Caroline and Isabel are a classy pair.

(4) Isabel Rose and Juliet Pearl
So for these last few ideas I’m moving away from the Caroline idea and just offering names that I think fit their style and go together in pleasing ways. Juliet is a style match for Claire, and Julia for Caroline, and Juliet’s the same number of letters as Isabel, and they’re both so pretty and feminine. In this case, I’m relying on the middle names to provide the significance and not worrying whether the first names connect to anything.

(5) Audrey Pearl and Camille Rose
I love it when I see a name pop up over and over again in my BNW research as similar to more than one name on the parents’ list — Camille was one such! It’s a match for Brooks, Claire, and Elise, which I thought was so great. Then Aubrey (with a B) is a match for Greyson and Avery, and Audrey for Claire, and I thought between Aubrey and Audrey that Audrey was more their speed. I really like Audrey and Camille together.

(6) Ava Pearl and Zoe Rose, OR Ava Elizabeth and Zoe Caroline OR Ava Rosalind and Zoe Caroline
This last one is just a fun, spunky idea, inspired by Chloe and some of the shorter names Sara likes, like Ella, Emma, and Lily. Ava’s a style match for Chloe, Avery, Ella, and Zoe! And Zoe’s a match for Chloe and Ava. I love that they’re the same number of letters; I love that one’s an A name and one’s a Z name; I love how they sound with both the middle names they’ve already basically decided on, but I also love them with the longer Elizabeth and Caroline, or Rosalind and Caroline for the two grandmas. Ava is certainly popular (no. 3), but of course it’s because it’s a gorgeous name! Zoe isn’t all that far behind either, at no. 35, so while the popularity is probably more than what Sara would like, the difference in popularity between Ava and Zoe is similar to that between Elizabeth and Caroline, so it’s really pleasing to match up each combo with one more popular name and one less.

Finally, despite the fact that I agree with Sara’s reservations about Elise running into the S of their last name, and I can see what she means about Claire, I just wanted to offer that Claire and Elise are an amazing pair! They’re both French variants, they’re both five letters, they’re both lovely and feminine. I don’t care for them with Rose and Pearl though, as the one syllable + one syllable feels too abrupt. I would love them paired with longer middles, like Claire Margaret and Elise Caroline. Or Claire Elizabeth and Elise Caroline, where Elise and Elizabeth are a nice connection between the two, as are Claire and Caroline with starting the same initial letter. Or Elise Genevieve and Claire Evangeline.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) and combos would you suggest for the twin sisters of Landon and Brooks?

Baby name consultation: Rose’s twin sister!

Happy May everyone!! It’s Mary’s month, and it starts off with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker!! Love love love!!

Emily and her husband are expecting twin girls! These little ladies join big sisters:

Ellen Marie
Lila Gayle

Beautiful names!!

Emily writes,

We are fairly set on one twin being named Rose Elizabeth, but we are having a hard time finding a good match. My husband likes Ruby, but I think that sounds too twinnish 😬 I like Fiona and Lucia but husband isn’t in love with either. We both like Sylvia, and for a short stint we both like Matilda, but I don’t like the nickname Maddie.

I am a recent convert so I would also love your opinion on connecting their names to a Saint or Marian reference or something of the like. Also, could you look into any saintly connection I could do for my Lila Gayle? Thank you for everything!

Isn’t this all just wonderful?! So first off, I love her older girls’ names! Ellen is a form of Helen(a), and St. Helena’s a great patron saint! Of course Ellen’s middle name is a Marian name, which you know is always a win for me! And Lila Gayle is beautiful! I really really wanted to find a connection to Lily for Lila, and though I didn’t (it’s derived from the Arabic for “night,” which I’m not sure how to connect, faith-wise), I do think Emily could consider it to be related to Lily if she wanted it to, based on appearance. There’s precedence for doing so — like those who have considered Oliver because of olive-related meanings (Our Lady of Olives, or olive branches meaning “peace,” etc.), even though it’s not linguistically connected to olives — so if Emily wanted Lila to be related to Lily, then she could have a Marian connection, as lilies are a symbol of Our Lady. If that’s too distant for her though, then I’d look to Gayle — in origin, it’s a short form of Abigail, and Abigail the Matriarch in the Bible, wife of King David, is revered as a saint (feast day September 1); there’s also the Irish St. Gobnat, whose name is sometimes anglicized as Abigail.

As for the names Emily and her hubs are considering for their twin girls (so fun!!), I love Rose Elizabeth! Classy and classic and really faith-y. Rose is a Marian name, and there are so many great Sts. Elizabeth!

I’m not surprised Emily’s hubs likes Ruby, as it’s pretty consistent with their style! You all know I usually start consultations by looking up the names the parents have used and like/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, and Ruby is a style match for Rose and Ella (which I’m counting as close enough to Ellen!). Rose and Ruby would be amazing twin names for parents who like matchy names, but if Emily and her hubs don’t, then I agree—it’s too much. It made me think of Scarlett right away though—the color connection between Rose and Scarlett is pretty great and not overly obvious or matchy I don’t think, and I thought Scarlett might be approaching their style, as its length and obvious T’s remind me of Matilda. And it’s got a little southern flare, which Lila on its own and Lila Gayle as a combo also strike me as having. I actually spotlighted Ruby a while ago in order to make some faith connections, and I’d say some of the same ones can work for Scarlett. I also included Scarlett in my lists of names for the Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

If they went with Scarlett as a first name, they might like to balance it with a super-faithy middle, maybe a Marian one? Then Rose would have a Marian first name and her sister would have a Marian middle, which is a nice balance.

As for the other names on their list:
— Fiona: I love. It’s classic but a little offbeat, and totally feminine. Like with Scarlett, I’d look to balance it with a super-faithy middle, which is easy to do.
— Lucia: Also love. And it’s very saintly!
— Sylvia: I’m a big fan of going with any name that both parents can agree on! I love Sylvia, as well as its French form Sylvie. This mom named her daughter Sylvie Regina, because of its similarity in sound to the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen” in Latin), which is such a cool idea.
— Matilda: Another great name, and also saintly. If they don’t care for Maddie/Mattie, other traditional nicknames for it are Tilda and Tilly/Tillie, or they could do something like Molly (based on the M and L in Matilda), which is a Mary variant—a neat way to work in a Marian name, and Molly was actually a style match for Ruby! And speaking of Ruby … I kind of love the combo Matilda Ruby!

Okay, I looked up all the names Emily mentioned in the BNW when looking for more ideas, and came up with quite a few that I thought had potential:

(1) Eva
Eva was a style match for Lila, Rose, and Lucia, so I thought it was a great suggestion for this family! It can be considered a Marian name, as it’s a variant of Eve and Mary is the New Eve. But maybe they don’t care for repeating initials?

(2) Ivy
If Emily and her husband don’t like repeating initials but Eva appeals to them, maybe they’d like Ivy? It’s a match for Lila and Ruby, and is a plant name like Rose, but I don’t *think* Rose and Ivy are too theme-y. Maybe I’m wrong?

(3) Nora
I do like the idea of twins having some connection name-wise (not required of course! Just that I find it pleasant to see), and having the same number of letters in the first name is a cool and not-too-obvious one. Rose and Nora seemed like a good pairing (Nora’s a match for Fiona)—different sounds, different number of syllables, but visually sort of similar.

(4) Stella
Another nice idea between girl twins, as I’ve already mentioned, is for both to have a Marian name. I really like the idea of Rose and Stella—Rose is connected to Our Lady through the rosary and the various times she appeared with roses (Guadalupe, Lourdes, etc.); Stella is connected to Our Lady through her title Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”). Stella’s a style match for both Sylvia and Ruby.

(5) Hazel
Hazel was a style match for Ruby, and I thought it struck the same vibe I’m getting from their name taste as a whole—a little different, a touch of vintage. I like that it’s a nature name too, which has that nice connection to Rose without being too matchy.

(6) Sadie
Sadie was another match for Ruby, and like with Hazel, it just really seemed to strike the right note. It’s a traditional nickname for Sarah, which is where a patron saint could be found (like with Abigail, Sarah the Matriarch, wife of Abraham, is revered as a saint, feast day August 19); there’s also a St. Sara of Antioch.

(7) Adelaide
Adelaide is a match for Matilda, and as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great idea for Rose’s sister. It’s not matchy with Rose at all, but it’s feminine and pretty like Rose is. It’s a long name, so I like the idea of a short middle name—then Rose would have a short first name and long middle, and her sister would have a long first name and a short middle. Very pleasing! (But not necessary, of course!) (This mama, who’s a reader of the blog, named one of her twins Adelaide).

(8) Mae
So what short middle name might I suggest for a longer first name? Mae is a style match for Rose and I LOVE the idea of it as a middle for some of their longer options: Scarlett Mae, Matilda Mae, Adelaide Mae. Not only does it seem to be their style, but it’s Marian! It’s a variant of May, which has long been used as a short variant of Mary, and the month of May—in which the girls are due—is the month dedicated to Our Lady. I love all the connections! I also love Mae as a first name idea—it’s one syllable like Rose, but not matchy. They both evoke springtime and flowers to me, but not in an over-the-top way.

And those are my ideas for Rose’s twin sister! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Twin B, little sister of Ellen and Lila?

Birth announcement: Alice Catherine and Clare Elizabeth!

You guys! Remember the consultation I posted for Kristin and her husband back in January for their miracle twin girls? A bunch of you told me that it was one of your favorite consultations ever — I loved working on it! Go back and read their story if you haven’t yet, and then come back here because they’ve arrived! And you’ll die over their names: the perfectly perfect … Alice Catherine and Clare Elizabeth!

Kristin writes,

On March 28th, we were proud to welcome Alice Catherine (6lb 2oz. – born at 7:57am) and Clare Elizabeth (7lb 4 oz. – born at 7:58am).

I was extremely blessed to carry the twins to full term (37 weeks + 5!) You’d think we would have been able to pick names by delivery time, but we hadn’t. We knew that one twin would be Alice, but Twin B’s name and both middle names were not selected until after we arrived at the hospital for delivery! We loved so many names that you suggested, especially the classic pair – Catherine and Elizabeth. My husband loved the name Claire/Clare, but I was on the fence because it is so popular! Yet as I prayed about their names, St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Clare of Assisi continually came up in reading or in passing. It was obvious these Saints would be patrons for the girls.

Thank you so much for helping us sort through names for our little miracle babies!

I can’t think of a better pair of names for twin girls!! I love that Alice and Clare have the same number of letters, and are a similar style but not too twinny/matchy, and I love that their middle names are the well matched Catherine and Elizabeth … I love that Alice and Elizabeth sort of echo each other, and Catherine and Clare begin with the same letter … so many great connections between these sweet girls’ names — Kristin and her husband did a fantastic job!!

Congratulations Mom and Dad, and happy birthday Alice and Clare!!

IMG_8350

Alice Catherine (left) and Clare Elizabeth (right) with their patron saint dolls St. Catherine of Siena and St. Clare of Assisi from the Saintly Silver Etsy shop

Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

I know (or I hope) you all know how much I love your contributions to our wonderful little community here, right? 💕💕💕 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received notes from several of you sharing birth and name announcements you’d come across that you thought I’d like to see, and of course you’re so right — I loved them all! And I wanted to post them here for all of you lovers of the names of our faith.

First up, I hope you all know Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director-turned-amazing advocate for the unborn, as well as for those who work at abortion clinics and who want to get out of the industry (she provides all kinds of resources and support, including finding jobs for them and helping them financially, through her wonderful organization And Then There Were None). She’s absolutely tireless in her efforts, even with being mama to five beautiful little ones AND expecting twins!! She and her husband recently solicited name ideas for their twin baby girls (and shared their older kiddos’ names), and her husband shared on FB last week that they’ve decided! Go check out the beeaauutiful names they chose! 👯 (Thanks to Mary and Jen for sharing this info!)

I always love hearing about the European royal names and how Catholic they often are, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the names of a British politician’s children! Check out Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his fifth child an amazing name and North Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomes fifth child but his name causes a stir. (Thanks to Jilana!)

Check out this little guy’s name! And Clive makes five: a birth story. I really loved reading how perfectly his name fit the naming rules his parents had — like, perfectly! And of course C.S. Lewis. Great naming story. (He’s also got some gorgeously named big sisters!) (Thanks to proud auntie Francine!)

Finally, Amy tagged me on a photo of her twin girls she’d posted on IG to illustrate her announcement that she’d posted about how she’d chosen their names and said, “@santanomina how did I do? They’re both French, places and saints!” I’m still so tickled that anyone cares what I think! Haha! Of course I 🏃 (or more like 💃) over to her blog to read all about these sweet girls’ names in “Are They Family Names?” – Behind the Names Special and can say with authority that she and her husband did a marvelous job. Beautiful times two! 👯 (Thanks also to Mary, who also shared the link with me!)

What a fun round-up! I hope you all have as much fun reading about these babies as I did!