Baby name consultation: Bold Catholic names okay for Baby no. 2!

Rachel and her husband are expecting their second baby — a little green bean! (=gender unknown) 🌱 He or she joins big brother:

Albert Francis (Albie)

How cuuute is Albie??!! 😍

Rachel writes,

We always knew we wanted to have an Albert, as he is my husbands favorite saint, I am a nurse and my husband is a Physician Assistant so we spent most of undergrad and grad school praying that he would help us with tests as he is the Patron of the Sciences! St. Francis is also a favorite or ours and when our newest Pope took that name, we also felt called to use it when we were naming a baby someday. We love that Albie’s name is a mixture of a person so full of worldly knowledge and the sciences as well as a saint best known for his humility.  We didn’t know what we were having with our first (we also don’t know this time around) we were lucky that it was a Boy- as we had not really settled in on a girl name but had some options that we liked. However, settled in on Albie’s name right away- which I think is why it feels different this time around not being able to think of a name that we both agree on or have been able to feel connected to.

Naming babies is something that we have loved to do, we try and be really intentional in praying about it, as we really see as a making such an important decision for our kids- we celebrate Albie’s Feast day, have come across relics of St. Albert, visited the one St. Albert the Great church we could find- and have really looked to St. Albert as a protector for our son- trying to bridge the gap between the saints and us- even in a small way. For that reason I know that we would like the name to be a specific saint or blessed so that we can have that same connection for the next baby.

Currently the names that we like for girls are

Chiara Agnes (I really love that Agnes was Mother Theresa’s real name)
Zelie
Philomena
I like Faustina because I think she is a wonderful saint.
Being a working mom I probably ask St. Gianna for help 12 times a day 🙂

We do really love Blessed Chiara, I have been praying to her a lot during this pregnancy but for whatever reason just haven’t settled in on it for sure.

Names we have tossed around in no particular order for boys are:

Charles
Aloysius
Sebastian
Dominic
Jude (this is maybe my favorite?)
Maximilian

There are not many names that are definite “no’s” but we have a lot of Michaels in our family- so not really a name we would use- also our siblings names are Luke, Andrew, Joshua, Anna, Therese so would probably avoid these as well.

Nicknames are super important to us- so would love a name that we could shorten in a creative way. The most important thing is that we can feel connected to the saint that we are naming him or her after and that we are able to help blend the lessons we can learn from that person into the life of our child.

We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!) We love being able to evangelize through this process, even in a small way, by teaching others about the lives and stories of saints through explaining how we named our kids- which is a position the I really think God has put us in time and time again when being able to explain how we named Albert to people may not otherwise hear these stories. We have always been so passionate about the way that science and religion in many ways complement each other rather than go against each other- and being able to speak about a saint whose life mission was to blend the 2 has been so fun for us!

Did you all see that? >>> “We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!)” >>> Yessss!!! 😁

I love the names Rachel and her hubs are considering for their baby, and in fact I thought it was such a great and complete list that I had a hard time thinking of what I would add to it! Each one is heavy hitting and faith-y, and I love how St. Gianna and Bl. Chiara have been close to Rachel this pregnancy. I wonder if they would consider putting them both in one name? Chiara Gianna doesn’t have the best flow, but knowing that Chiara is the Italian variant of Clare/Claire/Clara and Gianna is a feminine form of John (so Joan, Jane, Joanna), they could do Chiara Jane or Clare Gianna or any of those combos, and though Clare/Claire/Clara/Joan/Jane/Joanna aren’t as obvious to others as Chiara and Gianna, they’re just as legitimate.

Also, re: Chiaria, I wanted to address how Rachel “for whatever reason just [hasn’t] settled in on it for sure” even though it seems clear to me that it’s her frontrunner. I wonder if maybe it’s because it’s such a different style from Albert? Certainly there’s no requirement to stick with the same style of name for every child—indeed, that’s one of the things I love about Catholic naming, that Archangela, Kateri, Joseph, and Bernadette can all be siblings under the umbrella theme of “Catholic saints”—so that might not be the hold up for Rachel and her hubs here. But Albert has a very distinct old-man feel to it (which is great! He’s a great saint and the names that peaked when his did [early 20th century] like Alice, Walter, and Helen are totally coming back right now) while Chiara feels more current and very Italian. So anyway, all that to say that Clare/Claire or Clara are much closer in feel to Albert. They can totally still honor Bl. Chiara, though I do understand that they might not feel close enough to her name.

So then I also wanted to suggest Mary Chiara. Adding Mary in front of any name makes that second name totally doable in my opinion, and can jazz up a second name (Mary Kate), sober a second name (Mary Willow), feminize a masculine name (Mary Charles), and Catholicize a more secular name (Mary Topanga). Or, in this case, it can pull Chiara a bit closer to Albert with its old-school Catholic feel. A Mary Chiara could still go by Chiara as a call name (most of my dad’s first girl cousins are Mary ___, and they all go by their middle names. One of them signs her name M. Kate, so that’s an option too, for signatures and school papers and that kind of thing), or she could go by the full Mary Chiara, or of course just Mary (or one of Mary’s many nicknames, like Molly, Mamie, Mimi, Mae/May).

If they liked the idea of Mary Chiara, they could still do Agnes as a middle name, thus considering “Mary Chiara” to be the first name. They could hyphenate it, if they wanted it even clearer: Mary-Chiara Agnes. Or maybe they’d like it to just be firstname Mary middlename Chiara, and save Agnes for a possible future daughter?

All that said however, they have such a good mix of older names and more current names on their list—and with Rachel’s favorite, Jude, being at an all-time high—that I’m guessing all this doesn’t fuss them a bit! I really do love the mix of styles.

So you all know that I start each consultation 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. I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be for this family, since their taste is more eclectic and harder to pin down in one area (which is awesome), but it did give me some good ideas that I thought might be helpful for them. I admit I was swayed by the fact that Albert is the name Rachel and her hubs have already used—every time I saw a name that I thought had the same feel as Albert I’d excitedly scribble it down! But I did also try to bring in some names that fit more of a Chiara/Zelie/Gianna/Sebastian/Jude sensibility:

Girl
(1) Edith
Like Albert and Agnes, Edith is an old-timey name that’s coming back around again. I think, for broader society, the amazing nickname Edie has a lot to do with it; for Catholics, St. Edith Stein, aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, is a major inspiration.

(2) Hildegard
Rachel said they’re not intimidated by bold names, and Hildegard is definitely bold! It’s Germanic like Edith and Aloysius and really heavy-duty Catholicky Catholic because of our new(ish) Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. And is Hildi the cutest nickname ever or what??

(3) Genevieve
I like that Genevieve is an older name with some good current use, and St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, which is pretty cool. It’s also got some great, popular nicknames: Evie, Vivi, Genny.

(4) Regina
Regina is one of the *most* Catholic names! I really can’t imagine anyone using it who isn’t Catholic, and I think everyone knows right away when they hear it that it refers to Mary. I’ve seen the combo Regina Caeli used recently as a first+middle combo, which I love.

(5) Veronica or Monica
Veronica is another Catholicky Catholic name—I know non-Catholics use it, but that always makes me chuckle! There are some really pretty nicknames for Veronica too—there’s the expected Ronni(e), but also Via, Vera, Vero, Vivi, Nica, and Nicky.

Monica has exactly the same sound as Veronica except the beginning V—which I think makes all the difference! V is hot right now, which makes Veronica a less surprising choice these days than the more mid-century Monica. But St. Monica’s an amazing saint, of course, and Mo, Mona, and Nica/Nicky could be nicknames for it. Or even Molly for something like Monica Zelie.

(6) Zita
Zelie always makes me think of Zita, and though there’s the Italian St. Zita, who is a great patron, it’s Servant of God Zita, Empress of Austria that I’ve been loving lately. What a woman she was!

(7) Gemma
Gemma was one of the names listed as a style match for Jude, and to me it’s 1000% St. Gemma Galgani. It’s such a pretty name with a Brit feel, due to its good use in England, that I think it fits in really nicely with Albert.

Boy
(1) Ambrose
Maybe following Albert with another A name won’t be their favorite idea? But since they have Aloysius on their list I thought Ambrose was a good one. It’s been on our list for a long time, and I’ve come up with a few nicknames that I love for it: Sam, Bram, and Brody (especially with a D middle name, like Ambrose Dominic).

(2) Leo
Leo has a similar feel to Jude—short, punchy, and totally Catholic, like Pope St. Leo the Great. There are a bunch of Leos in my family, and the older generations go by Lee.

(3) Stanislaus
I’m living a bit vicariously through this suggestion! I love St. John Paul II and one of my favorite stories had to do with how he defied the Communist government with the help of St. Stanislaus—I shared it here. I’ve wanted to get on board with Stanislaus for one of our boys, but so far no luck! Stan is a natural nickname and has that friendly, old-timey feel of Albie (and funny enough, my not-really-namey husband has been telling me recently he likes the nickname Stan!).

(4) Gerard
I love St. Gerard Majella—he’s an invaluable help to expectant mothers and those whose babies are already born! I was thinking about how important nicknames are to Rachel and her hubs, and the ones I’ve suggested in the past for Gerard are Ged and even Jedi for the Star Wars inclined! But I was thinking … what about Jude? As a nickname for Gerard? That way they’d have a given name that was a natural fit as a brother to Albert, and a cool, equally saintly nickname. It might also provide a really natural “bridge” into other naming styles—Jude would help make Chiara/Zelie/Gianna a little less jarring I think (not that it matters what others think, of course!).

(5) Benedict
Up until 1968 Benedict stayed in the top 1000 but never got higher than 447 (1914) and dropped off completely after that, so I can’t even say it’s got a similar popularity arc as Albert, but it definitely has an old-school feel while still being able to hang out with the 21st century kids because of Pope Benedict and Benedict Cumberbatch. The nickname Ben has always struck me as friendly and easy, and Benny is also really sweet. I’ve also heard Ned for it, and I’ve often thought Bede could work for it too (another twofer! Two saints in one!).

(6) Louis
Not only have Louis and Albert followed a similar popularity arc, but—like with Benedict—Louis has a modern Catholic feel because of St. Louis Martin, St. Zelie’s husband. Maybe the connection between them would knock Zelie off their list for the future? Or maybe, like with this mom, they would like it!

(7) Blaise
Finally, Blaise was included in the Saints list in the BNW—a list at the back of the book that focuses on more unusual/exotic/surprising names like Aloysius, Chiara, Philomena, and Faustina—and as soon as I saw it I wanted to suggest it for this family because of their science/medicine connection! St. Blaise of the throat blessings was a physician—described as a “Healer of men and animals” on CatholicSaints.info—and Blaise Pascal is familiar enough to people I think that he automatically adds a math and sciences feel to the name.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Albie’s little brother or sister?

Birth announcement: Maristella Rose!

I posted a consultation for Stephanie and her husband at the end of January — in which they were looking for help with a boy name for their green bean 🌱, as they’d already decided on a girl name — and Stephanie’s let me know her little Miss has been born and given a *different* name than planned! Instead of Hope, they went with the gorgeous … Maristella Rose!

Stephanie writes,

I gave birth to a beautiful daughter on March 2nd and her sex was a complete surprise to us! I was so convinced I was having a boy. We decided in the last few weeks of my pregnancy that the girl name we had chosen early on did not seem to suit us anymore – Hope. I wasn’t too concerned about coming up with another one though because, like I said, I was so convinced I was having a third boy. So you can imagine my surprise when I delivered a baby girl! My husband had suggested Maristella a few days before she was born and I thought the name was lovely. I actually have a friend named Sr. Maris Stella and I love the Ave Maris Stella hymn so I was familiar with the name/title for our Lady. My husband suggested the name again after she was born but I definitely needed to sit on it and pray about it for a few days. I love Marian and unique names but this one seemed a little out of my comfort zone. So I prayed on it and received a lot of grace and peace that this was the name for our daughter. Maristella seemed fitting too because I met my husband at a Maritime college and Mary our Mother has brought us on quite a journey over the last 6 years with 5 kids (two in heaven), 7 jobs, 6 houses in 3 states! But she’s always been our guiding light through all the ups and downs. We chose Rose as her middle name because we have a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the stars in her mantle tied into Star of the Sea.

Anyway I’d love your input on a nickname! Maristella seems so big and long for such a little baby. I sometimes call her Stella Rose but I’m not sure of myself! Do you have any other thoughts?!

Thanks again for your lovely boy suggestions! We’ll save them for next time!

Maristella Rose is such an amazingly beautiful name!! And all the layers of meaning Stephanie listed blew me away too, what a meaningful choice!!

As for nickname ideas, I actually really love that Stephanie’s calling her Stella Rose — I love nicknames that arise naturally, and since she’s been calling her that, it sounds like Stella Rose is a natural fit. If they wanted to consider others for Maristella though, I could see Mari, Molly, Missy, Milla, and Mia all working pretty well. Even something like Mo if they wanted to combine sounds from her first and middle names. Or Rosie, if they were open to a nickname of her middle name. So many pretty options! Do you have any to add?

Congratulations to Stephanie and her husband and big brothers Jude and Isaac, and happy birthday Baby Maristella!!

Maristella Rose with her big brothers

Baby name consultation: Patton Camper No. 6!

Happppppy Easter Monday y’all!!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!! Doesn’t the world look extra sunny now that Lent is over and the tomb is empty? He is risen! Hallelujah!

I’m thrilled/delighted/dancing with joy 💃💃💃 to post today’s consultation! Funny enough, it was Easter Monday of 2015 when I posted the first consultation I did for this family (for Baby No. 5) — pretty cool that I get to post one for their newest little one on Easter Monday 2017!

So yes, as you’ve surely gleaned from the title, today’s consultation is for Grace over at Camp Patton — she’s one of my favorite favorite bloggers, not least because she posts lots of pictures of her beautiful children, and she are her husband have the BEST taste in names! Lest you’ve forgotten, this wee green bean (=gender unknown)  🌱 will join big sibs:

Julia Grace
Sebastian Xavier (Bash)
Theodore Augustine (Theo)
Phoebe Annika
Bosco Ignatius

(In calling this baby No. 6, I mean their sixth baby on earth — I don’t at all mean to forget their little Felipe, who’s surely interceding for them all, like so many of our babies.)

I’m ridiculously in love with the names Grace and her hubby Simon have chosen, and there’s not really a whole lot I feel like I can add — no matter what they end up naming their babe, I know it will be ah-mazing.

That said, when I asked Grace if she would mind if I offered some new suggestions, she said:

Yes! We’d love that!

We are always so undecided until the last minute!

Thank you Kate!!!! SO excited!!!

I know, right?? SO EXCITED!! 😍😍😍

She continued,

For boys we’ve tossed around Dominic or Damian (I think we should avoid a name ending in “o” as we’ve got Theo, Bosco, and now Diego and I’m constantly confusing their names!) and for girls I kind of like Caroline or Felicity but I’m not sure if Felicity is too similar to Phoebe and if it’s too long a name not to have a nickname for? (I’m not a huge fan of “lissy”) — I suggested Simon for a boy but Simon said that ship has sailed since we didn’t name our first born Simon but I disagree — ha!!!

As I’m sure you’re not surprised by, I have thoughts about this whole paragraph. First, I LOVE Dominic and Damian. Love! Dominic’s one of my very favorites (I spotlighted the name here), and I’m over the moon every time I see anyone considering Damian! (Here’s a little Damien I did a recent birth announcement for.) It’s such a great name with such a great saintly pedigree, I can’t say enough good things about it. (I’m not even going to acknowledge that movie. And I really hope you don’t know what I’m referring to.)

I also love Caroline and Felicity, both of which I included in my ideas in my first consultation post 😊. So let’s talk about Felicity. (1) Do I think it’s too similar to Phoebe? I do not. I considered this last time and decided it was perfect enough, even following immediately after Phoebe, to include it in my list of ideas. In a family with a bunch of kids, two of them sharing the same initial sound isn’t that big a deal at all, especially with having different first initials. Add in that, this time, there’s a Bosco in between Phoebe and this new baby, and I think it’s totally and completely fine. (2) What about nicknames? Nicknames! The nickname issue so often seems to be a sticking point in regards to choosing Felicity! But fear not — I did a spotlight on Felicity recently, and I included nickname ideas! A lot of the readers left great ideas too, including what they call their real-life little Felicitys, so be sure to check it out; some that I think could work well for the Pattons include:

  • Fliss(y)
  • Flick, Flicka (actress Felicity Huffman has a web site for women in general and moms in particular called What the Flicka)
  • Lily
  • Fin (especially maybe for something like Felicity Nora)
  • Zita is a Hungarian diminutive of the name, and Zyta a Polish short form
  • Felly
  • Cissy
  • Flitzi, Fitzi, Fitz
  • Cece
  • Liddy

So I would definitely keep Felicity on their list, and I know one little Felicity in real life who is always Felicity, so that’s an option too.

And what about Simon, after Dad? I’m glad brother Theodore isn’t interfering with Grace’s love of this idea, because Simon is a great name. But what about naming a non-firstborn son after dad? This could be the topic of a whole other post — in fact, I’ll plan to do that soon — but I’ll offer that though perhaps it’s more traditional to name a firstborn son after dad, if you’re going to do that kind of thing, it’s not UNtraditional nor unheard of to give Dad’s name to a subsequent son. I’ve got loads of personal examples: we named our firstborn after our two dads, and our second boy got my husband’s name as a middle, my brother’s second son is a Junior, my two brothers were named after my grandfathers, and if there was ever a third boy he would have gotten my dad’s name as a middle. There’s something really nice about naming a non-firstborn after Dad, actually — there are a lot of traditional firstborn “perks,” so saving Dad’s name for a second/third/fourth son could help even the playing field a bit. But if Simon can’t come around to the idea of Simon as a first name, I think it would make an amazing middle (for a boy or a girl! More on that below).

Really, I think Dominic, Damian, Simon, Caroline, and Felicity would all be amazing additions to the amazingly named Patton children, and I’d be thrilled if they named their baby any of them.

Despite the fact that the Patton Parents are expert namers and have some tremendous ideas, of course I can always come up with some more! First I just have to say, I still love all the ideas I suggested last time (for a girl: various ideas for backing into the nickname Lola, Elisabeth, Felicity, Stella; for a boy: Maximilian nicked Miles, Francis nicked Finn, Gregory nicked Rory or Gus [Gregory Simon=Gus so perfectly!]). And the arrival of Mr. Bosco opened up another whole area of possibilities with the last-name-as-first name thing, which really had already been there a little bit with Bash’s middle name being Xavier (I think Xavier’s mostly lost its last-naminess, but when there’s also a Bosco in the family, it comes to the fore a little more), so I was tempted to offer some more along those lines — Kolbe, Bennett, Becket, Siena, Serra — but I fought against it because I was feeling like following Bosco with another surname name might feel like a little too much. Do you agree? I did make two exceptions though, which I’ll explain below.

Okay! On to my ideas. You all know that I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard in my consultations, as it offers, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker this time around as well. I used both the names they’ve already used (first names only, except I also included Xavier and Annika, both of which Grace has said in the past that she sort of wished they’d saved for first names), and those they’re considering in my research. A lot of names spoke to me that didn’t last time, and I also took some chances and ventured farther afield. This is what I came up with:

Girl

(1) Emmeline
I started out feeling like the Pattons had a Brideshead Revisisted feel going on with Julia, Sebastian, and Theodore, and while I initially felt a little bit like Phoebe threw me for a loop, all I had to do was remember that my own family tree on my dad’s side — which has a direct line back to 1600s England — has a bunch of girls named Phebe in it (that spelling), especially the closer you get to the family’s emigration from England, to make me think I wasn’t that far off with Brideshead Revisited. Add in Caroline and Felicity to the names they’re considering, and I’m feeling pretty good about suggesting the lovely Emmeline. Behind the Name says it’s a variant of Amelia, which is where patron saints can be found, or you could think of it as an elaboration of Emma, in which case these saints would suit. It can be said emma-LINE, emma-LYNN, and emma-LEEN, and can be spelled Emmaline and Emmalyn. Emma and Emmy are sweet nicknames.

(2) Magdalene
This is the first surname name I allowed myself to suggest, both because it’s a girl’s name rather than a boy’s, and because it doesn’t feel surnamey and has a long history of use as a first name. I also like that it’s long, like Sebastian and Theodore — until now the girls’ names have been short, and until Bosco the boys’ names were long, so it’s kind of cool to switch it up with a longer girl’s name. There are lots of nickname possibilities: Maggie, Maddie, Molly, and Magda are some that I’d consider (Magda has that Brit feel to me).

(3) Verity
Ever since watching Poldark (which I happen to know Grace is a little bit into), I’ve loved the name Verity. Not only is it uncommon but familiar, which is sort of a sweet spot with naming, it’s got great faith significance in the sense that it means “truth.” It also has a little of that Puritan feeling that I get from Phoebe and Felicity, which is a feel I love.

(4) Audrey
I was surprised to find Audrey listed as style match for Dominic, so I looked it up in the BNW and a good number of the names listed as similar to it are ones I could see fitting in really well at Camp Patton, like Claire, Evelyn, Charlotte, Elliott, and Luke. I thought about it for a bit, and since Audrey Hepburn is its overwhelming association for me, and she herself was British (not to keep harping on the British thing), I started to really feel it. It’s classy, and literary (Shakespearean, no less: As You Like It), and saintly (though it took me a few minutes to find a version of her story that was uplifting).

(5) Mary/Maria + _____
I mentioned the possibility of a Mary+ name in my last consultation, and it’s on the list again! I’m a big fan of balance in baby naming, which I realize works better on storybook families than those in the real world, and it’s so totally not a big deal whether sibling names have that aesthetic composition that makes me sigh with contentment, but as many of you know I do often find myself trying to come up with names that “bridge” different styles in the names of the already-born children. With Bosco’s name having a different feel than his big sibs, I wanted to offer an idea that might make sense of it beyond the [very real and awesome] “Catholic names all go together by virtue of them being Catholic names” idea (which I myself have happily employed in the naming of my own children). To that end, I thought a Mary+ double would be just the thing, as putting Mary in front of virtually any name makes it (1) totally doable for a girl and (2) gives it a Catholic oomph, and (3) there’s the added layer of a double first name being unusual enough that it can fit in with all sorts of unusual names. There were a few ideas I liked for this idea (and I liked Maria as much as or better than Mary in some examples):

  • Mary Simone or Maria Simone: I mentioned above that if Dad Patton can’t get on board with Simon for a boy’s first, maybe he wouldn’t mind it as a middle for a boy OR a girl. I really love the idea of Mary Simone or Maria Simone, *especially* if a nickname like Maisie is used! You know I’m a fan of those firstname+middlename mashup nicknames! I think Mary/Maria Simone nicked Maisie would be amazing. (And they could even go with the old English pronunciation of Maria if they wanted, which is like Mariah — I know a little girl who has Maria-pronounced-like-Mariah for a middle name.)
  • Mary Tess or Maria Tess: I like Tess for them anyway, but I don’t feel like Therese/T(h)eresa is exactly their style. But Mary Tess or Maria Tess are sweet! She could go by the double name, or just Tess on the day-to-day.
  • Mary Elliott, or Mary Emmett, or Mary Bennett: One of my favorite things to do with a Mary+ double is to pair it with a boy name or a surname (this is my second surname suggestion). It feminizes the second name without making it seem like a girl name, if that makes any sense, and gives the very Catholic & traditional Mary+ construction a little whimsy and unexpectedness while still staying grounded. Elliott, Emmett, and Bennett are all names I liked for them for a boy, but ultimately cut them from my final list — this would be a neat way to work them in in a different way. (Elliott is a variant of Elijah, Emmett is actually from a surname deriving from Emma, and Bennett is a medieval variant of Benedict, so lots of patron saint options here.)

A last note about girl names: There were several that I considered last time that didn’t make the cut then or now, including Penelope, Imogen(e), Genevieve, Iris or Ivy, Lydia, Corinne, and Liv. This time around, the ones that I considered but ultimately decided not to include on this girl list include Alice, Zara, Lydia (for the second time … hmmm), and Natalia.

Boy

(1) Oliver
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t suggest Oliver last time — I love it for the Pattons!! It did tremendously well in my research, being similar to Julia, Sebastian, Phoebe, Felicity, and Simon. Wow! In this consultation from a couple months ago, a family (who already has a Dominic and a Kolbe — like Dominic on the Pattons’ list and Kolbe has a similar feel to Bosco to me) who was considering Oliver explained, “We like Oliver Plunkett’s story because in today’s culture it is hard to be a faithful Catholic. We’d like any name-sake to be an example of how to live out the faith when facing persecution or other challenges” — I love that! Additionally, though it seems that Oliver is not etymologically related to “olive,” it’s close enough that it could be a nod to Our Lady of the Olives, and you all know what a sucker I am for a Marian boy name! A reader also pointed this out to me from Psalm 128:

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
around your table.”

Um, pretty accurate I’d say (in the very very best way!). 😉 In that same consultation, I also suggested middle names for Oliver and I thought some of the combos might appeal to the Pattons as well: Oliver Nathaniel, Oliver James, Oliver Matthias.

(2) Isaac
Isaac has been on my own list for a long time, I love it! I love that it’s biblical, which I’m sure it’s why it was listed as a style match for Julia and Phoebe, and I love that it’s saintly — St. Isaac Jogues is one of the North American Martyrs (their shrine is near me and a local church is named after him, so the name really has taken on more of a saintly feel than biblical for me). It’s got great nickname options in Ike and Zac.

(3) Gabriel
Gabriel is a fantastic name for a little boy. It’s biblical, saintly, angelic, and Marian, which covers all the bases! It’s a style match for Xavier, Simon, Dominic, and has great nickname options: Gabe is friendly and boyish; Gil is bookish and dreamy in a Gilbert Blythe sort of way.

(4) Alexander
Alexander is a long name name like Sebastian and Theodore; it’s papal and saintly and pan-European; but what really encouraged me to put it on the list was the nickname Xander. Grace lamented once that they didn’t save Xavier for a first name, and in my experience people who like Xavier often like Xander. BUT, if she and Simon don’t care for Xander but like Alexander, Sander’s my recent favorite nickname for it. There’s Alex too, of course, which is such a classic.

(5) Nathaniel
Finally, Nathaniel, a style match for Sebastian, Simon, Caroline, and Julia according to my research, but also having some of that Puritan/Pilgrim feel of Phoebe and Felicity. It’s such a handsome, serious name with the great nickname Nate.

The boy names that I considered but ultimately cut from my final list included Tobias (I really loved this one for them, but I just kept thinking that the long O and the B, especially if they used the nickname Toby, was too much with Bosco and Theo and Diego), Tristan (a name moms tend to like and dads tend to not, in my experience), Benedict/Bennett and Benjamin, Matthias (I’m trying to remember why I didn’t include it?), Samuel, Joseph, Henry, Elliott, Emmett, and Jude.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Julia, Sebastian, Theodore, Phoebe, and Bosco?

Baby name consultation: Short call name would be great for baby no. 4/boy no. 2

Meghan and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, and second boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Benjamin William
Mae Elizabeth
Rose Elizabeth

I really really love these names — classic and handsome for Benjamin, sweet and vintage-y with Mae and Rose, all so great together!

Meghan writes,

We are going to seem like the pickiest people! It took us 9 months to agree on my sons name. For some reason my husband and I can’t do boy names. We both also have a ton of male relatives we don’t want to duplicate. We want to avoid any name starting with S or ending with y or i. I think it sounds funny with our last name. For the middle name we want to use Paul (my father and brothers name) but we could also do William (shared middle name with brother Ben since the girls have shared middle names). It would be kind of nice if the name could have a shorter nickname like we have Ben, Mae, and Rose. No name that could be a boy or girl name like Cameron, Morgan etc. In general we don’t really want a top 25 name if we can avoid it (even though Benjamin is in the top 25, we were desperate) and nothing too trendy either.”

Names that they like but don’t love or agree on:

Aaron
Adam
Connor
Ian
Brian
Mitchell

And names they can’t use:

John
James
Leonard
Christopher
Matthew
Nicholas
Richard
Thomas
Andrew
Eric
Charles
Anthony
Joseph
Robert
Joshua
Daniel
Patrick
Dominic
Lucas
Vito
Ryan
Jackson
Walter
Carter
William
Mason
Paul
Michael
Alexander
Elijah
Everett

Whew! You all know I love a good name challenge, and having all those names off-limits is challenging!

To start, I really love their one-syllable “call name” theme — Ben, Mae, and Rose are fabulous together, and remind me of my own family growing up —
the three oldest (I’m the oldest, then my two brothers) are Katherine, Benjamin, and Jonathan, but we always went by Kate, Ben, and Jeb. So of course, not only did we all go by one-syllable nicknames, but Benjamin’s also in the mix, so one of my very first suggestions for Meghan and her hubs is Jonathan! I’ll explain more below.

I also really like the names they’re considering — in particular, Aaron, Adam, and Connor seemed most similar to the vibe I get from Benjamin/Ben, and Ian, Connor, and Brian add an interesting touch of Irish/Celtic that I found inspiring.

You all know that I usually start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here, and came up with the following ideas:

(1) Jonathan
Not only did I immediately think of Jonathan because of my brothers, but also because, according to the BNW, Jonathan is a true style match for Benjamin, as well as Adam and Aaron. It’s long like Benjamin, and has a couple of one-syllable nicknames they could consider: I assume Jon is not an option, since John was on their list of names they can’t use (and I should note that John and Jonathan are not actually linguistically related), but they could do Jack, or Nate (“Nathan” is the last part of Jonathan), or take a page from my parents’ creative nicknaming book and call him Jeb! Jonty’s also a traditional nickname for it, which is kicky and fun. And if they went with Paul for the middle name, they could do JP, which are pretty amazing initials! 😉 Jonathan fits their “no top 25” rule as well, being #48 in 2015.

(2) Nathaniel (or Nathan)
I love Nathaniel for this family — it’s another style match for Benjamin, and similar in length, and it’s got the great nickname Nate. Its popularity is perfect for Meghan and her hubs too, being #97 in 2015. Nathan is a trimmer Nate name, and also biblical, and a little bit higher on the popularity charts (#38).

(3) Thaddeus
Thaddeus didn’t show up as a style match for any of their kiddos’ names or those on their list, but it’s long and biblical like Benjamin and has a bit of an old-timey feel like Mae and Rose, and can take the one-syllable nicknames Ted and Tad, so I thought it was worth a mention.

(4) Charles or Caleb
Charles is a style match for William and Rose (and was #50 in 2015), and Caleb (#37) is a match for Aaron, and though they don’t seem related they can both take the nickname Cal, which I’m loving with the other kids!

(5) Patrick
Connor, Ian, and Brian on Meghan’s list inspired me to add Patrick to my ideas. It was listed as a style match for Brian, and I’ve heard some really cute nicknames for it that can fit in with Ben, Mae, and Rose: certainly there’s Pat, but also Patch (like in this family), and I’ve seen Packy also, which can trim down to just Pack (like Jack) or even Pax.

I also had just another couple quick thoughts: If they were open to backing into a given name from a nickname, Gus was one of the names listed as a style match for Mae, and I loved it for this family right away! There are a few ways they can get to it: There’s August (#195), Augustine (#820), and Augustus (#467), as well as Angus and Fergus (neither in the top 1000), which tap into the Irish/Celtic feel of some of the names on their list. Or they could get crazy and just use Gus no matter what the given name! I know that’s probably too crazy for most people, but it’s fun to know that nicknames don’t have to have obvious ties to given names. I knew a little Gus growing up whose given name was actually John, and I know a little Gregory who goes by Duke and a Gerard who goes by Sam. Lots of possibilities!

There were also a few names I really wanted to suggest, but they didn’t make the cut for one reason or another, but just in case they’re helpful I wanted to list them here:

Gabriel (SO great as a brother to Benjamin imo, and the nickname Gabe is great! But at #22 it was just past their “no top 25 rule”)

Samuel (very similar in popularity to Gabriel, at #23, but I love it with Benjamin and I adore the nickname Sam! But it begins with S, boo)

Henry (it’s #29 and the nickname Hank was making me swoony with the other kids, but Henry breaks their “no ending in y or i” rule)

Timothy (I thought this was an amazing “bridge name” between their biblical style and Irishy style — it’s a style match for Patrick and Brian, and it’s biblical as well, and Tim is such a great nickname. Also, it’s #147! Alas, it ends with a y)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Ben(jamin), Mae, and Rose?

Nickname as given name?

A mama who I did a consultation for recently had a great question:

I was wondering if you are willing to share your opinion on choosing a nickname for baby’s full name? I am starting to lean towards the name Alexander- but it’s so long! 4 syllables! I prefer shorter names, especially with our longer last name. I like the idea of naming baby just Alex, but am looking for other opinions. If you are willing to share your thoughts, I would love to hear them!

It was so funny for me to receive this email because I had JUST been thinking about this (bestowing a nickname instead of a full formal name)!

So since she asked for my opinion, I’ll give it, but just know that I’m in NO WAY saying that parents who disagree are wrong!

In general, I prefer the full formal name — I like the idea of the child having options — if he decides he’s just not an Alex later in life, having the full name Alexander would allow him to change to Xander or Sander or Sandy or Zan/Xan and though I think all of you (and me!), as parents and namers, might feel disappointed if one of your children decided he didn’t like the name you intended him to go by (Alex), the fact that he could choose a wide array of nicknames stemming from the full name that *you* chose might soften the blow. I also like how a full name looks on a diploma and a wedding invitation — traditional nicknames as given names (or even just choosing to have a nickname put on a diploma or a wedding invitation) always feels incomplete or even (depending on the name) a bit irreverent to me. I like for a person to have a name appropriate for use in formal and solemn occasions, even if he or she always goes by something different in every other area of life.

However, there are some traditional nicknames that aren’t cutesy and do still provide options and I would put Alex in that category. An Alex can be a lawyer or a doctor or a writer or an athlete, no problem, and he could still shorten it to Al if he felt more like an Al, or AJ if his middle name was James, or Ace if he wanted to be a little more offbeat. I’ve always felt like Kate is similar — a Kate could still go by Katie or Kat or Kay or Key if she wanted, and I think it works fine across an array of professions. Then there are the traditional nicknames that have been used as given names for so long that they’ve lost their nicknaminess — Molly, Nancy, Jack, and Harry come to mind immediately.

I’ve also been liking the idea that a child given a nickname as a given name could still embrace the traditionally associated long name as their own — so given-name Alex could choose to go by Alexander, given-name Maggie could choose to go by Margaret or Magdalene, given-name Katie could choose to go by Katherine or Kathleen, given-name Gracie could choose to go by Grace or Graciela. It’s no different, really, than Margaret choosing to go by Maggie, right? It’s sort of like “reverse nicknaming” or “the opposite of nicknaming.”

And sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts to give all the options and avoid any future professional embarrassment, the child hates the name anyway and legally changes to Buttercup! Or insists on Slugger going on his diploma or wedding invitation. There’s just no predicting something like that! I read a while ago about a guy who was given a nickname in college — I think it was something like Maverick, something that could conceivably be a given name — and he came to identify with it so strongly that he goes by it exclusively now with everyone but his family, and even put Maverick on his wedding invitation, partly because it felt more like him, and partly because he was worried his friends wouldn’t know whose wedding they were being invited to!

So anyway, back to the question! I think Alexander’s a great name — papal, saintly, and pan-European — every language seems to have a variant of Alexander, and I’ve seen it used with long last names with no problem. But “just Alex” isn’t terrible (not that it matters whether I think it’s terrible or not!). Alex has a long history of use as a given name on its own for boys, and though I initially worried about its use among girls — I know some girls named “just Alex” — I looked it up in the SSA stats and Alex is clearly much more predominantly male:

alex&alex

And of course an Alex can take any of the Sts. Alexander for patron.

What do you all think? Do you prefer formal names as given names, or are you okay with nicknames as given names? Are there any exceptions to your rule? That is, do you prefer formal names in general, but there’s one nickname that you love so much you could see yourself bestowing it as is? Do you have any thoughts regarding Alexander vs. Alex specifically? I’d love to hear any stories you have, either about yourself or people you know!

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 3/baby no. 4 needs great first name with friendly nickname

Kim and her husband are expecting their fourth baby and third boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Charles Patrick (Charlie)
Peter Augustine (Pete)
Magdalene Lucy (Maggie)

What a great set! I absolutely love how sophisticated each full first name is, and how friendly all the nicknames are!

Kim writes,

I love Henry and the cheerful ring of it, but that name is out for my husband. The following names have already been used in our family: Francis, James, John, Andrew, Thomas, Joseph, Dominic, Stephen, Matthew, Patrick, Nicholas, Anthony, Samuel … [also] we have the Baby Name Wizard and don’t like any of the sibling suggestions for the kids’ names.”

So you all had to know how excited I got to see that Kim and her hubs had already looked through the Baby Name Wizard — my go-to when starting a consultation, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — and didn’t like any of the ideas! The more challenging the name challenge, the more fun I have with it!

I also want to say that I really love the combo Magdalene Lucy … Lucy’s so unexpected to me in the middle spot, and it just flows really really well with Magdalene. Lovely! (Their boys’ names are great too! Magdalene Lucy just particularly struck me.)

So I took a couple of different routes when coming up with ideas for this baby boy. I actually did start with the BNW, as usual, in order to see what names Kim and her hubs don’t care for, and also to do some extended research, by which I mean I started looking up names that I thought felt like their style, and then looking up their style matches, etc. I also used Nymbler and the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site, plugging in both their kiddos’ full names and nicknames, as well as looking at matches for just the boys’ names and for the sib set as a whole. There were definitely a few names that kept popping up over and over again, in all the different sites/sources I used, two of which were also listed as style matches for their kids’ names in the BNW (i.e., names Kim and her hubs don’t like), but I included them below anyway—sometimes a discussion about a name can sway parents one way or another. It’s worth a try!

I also gave good weight to names with “friendly” nicknames — when Kim said she loves the “cheerful” feel of Henry, I think it’s similar to the vibe I get from the nicknames of her kids. I definitely think of Charlie, Pete, and Maggie as having a real friendliness to them, and I thought it revealed the kinds of names Kim and her hubs would gravitate toward.

Okay, without further ado, here are my ideas:

(1) Long and heavy hitting, like Augustine and Magdalene
I had so many ideas that I decided to group them into categories! I was struck by Peter’s middle name Augustine and Maggie’s full name Magdalene—I often see those names pop up in lists by families who love longer, heavy-hitting names (“heavy hitting”=catacombs + incense kinds of names), and I wondered if that might be a category Kim and her hubs would like to consider for their next baby. In particular, I thought of:

  • Sebastian—Sebastian’s actually a style match for Dominic, which is on Kim’s list of names they can’t use. But Dominic also goes along with the heavy-hitting feel of Augustine and Magdalene, so I was interested in its style matches, and Sebastian struck me as a good possibility. There are some really cute nickname possibilities: Seb and Sebbie are pretty traditional, and Bash is one I only heard of a few years ago (Grace Patton has a Sebastian nn Bash) and fell in love with. I’ve also heard Bas/Baz and even Ian!
  • Theodore—Theodore’s one of those names that kept showing up over and over in my research. According to the BNW it’s a style match for August (since the BNW doesn’t have an entry for Augustine, I’ve had pretty good luck with substituting August in the past), and the Name Matchmaker offered it as a match for all Kim’s kids’ names. The nicknames Ted/Teddy and Theo struck me as really great matches for Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Nathaniel—Nathaniel has that really biblical feel of Magdalene, and it’s also the name of one of the Twelve Apostles, so it’s really saintly as well. But what really sold me is the nickname: Nate is a great, friendly nickname, similar in my mind to Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Benedict—Ben is also a nickname that I think this family might like, based on the feel of Charlie, Pete, and Maggie, as well as Lucy and Henry. Benedict is a great way to get to it if they wanted to channel the “long and heavy hitting” vibe of Augustine and Magdalene.

(2) Long and normal-ish
Augustine and Magdalene definitely have a different feel to me than Charles, Peter, Lucy, and Henry, though of course they do all go together by virtue of their saintliness, which is one of the things I love about Catholic naming. If this family didn’t want to go 100% the Augustine/Magdalene route for this little boy, a sort of compromise option might be a name that’s longer, like A and M, but not as weighty, if that makes any sense. In that vein, I thought of:

  • Alexander—Sebastian had a few style matches that I thought were swirling around the right area, like Nathaniel (suggested above) and also Alexander. Charles, Peter, and Alexander have a really royal feel to them, as brothers, and Alexander has loads of fun nickname options, like Xander/Zander/Xan/Zan, Sandy, Sander, and of course Alex. Given that their other kids go by Charlie, Pete, and Maggie, I’m guessing Alex is probably mostly their speed, though I think Sandy would fit in really well—a friend of mine named her son Sandy, which surprised me so much at first, but the more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more it’s grown up me. Certainly it used to be used a lot more for boys and I’d love to see it come back again.
  • Benjamin—I listed Benedict above, as it has that monastery feel of Dominic and Augustine, but Benjamin comes across as a bit friendlier I’d say. And again, I’d say Ben is a great fit for this family, and I also love Benny and Benji.
  • William—William is absolutely a name I would have thought was spot-on for this little boy! When I saw it listed as a style match for Charles I thought Nooooo! I’m so worried that means Kim and her hubs don’t like it! But I’m just going ahead and listing it here anyway! I think William is such a great match as a brother to Charles and Peter, and the nickname Will seems perfect as a brother to Charlie, Peter, and Maggie, and a great match for the feel of Henry as well.

(3) Middling
Despite the fact that Augustine and Magdalene are so long, two-thirds of Kim’s kids’ first names as well as her favorite name for this little boy (Henry) are actually much shorter, so it would be silly to not include some names like that. A few rose to the top for me, including:

  • Oliver—I’m guessing they hate Oliver, since they surely saw it listed in the BNW as a match for Lucy and Henry, but in the off chance that they might come around, I had to include it! Oliver is such a great name, and St. Oliver Plunkett such a great saint. I also love the nickname Ollie—it has that same friendly feel to me as Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Bennett—Each of my categories here has contained a formal name for the nickname Ben! I really do love Ben for this family, and Bennet(t) is yet another name that they might like. It’s a medieval variant of Benedict, which gives it great saintliness, and it has long use as a last name (a la the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice).
  • Martin—Martin was strongly recommended by the Name Matchmaker as a good match for all their kids’ names as a set. I love Martin as a brother to Charles and Peter, and I love Marty as a brother to Charlie, Pete, and Maggie.
  • Nathan—I suggested Nathaniel in the first category, and I want to include Nathan here — they’re both driven by the nickname Nate, which I love with the other kids, and Nathan’s biblical too.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Charlie, Pete, and Maggie’s little brother, remembering that they have Augustine and Magdalene in the mix as well?

Baby name consultation: “Nursing home,” Spanish, and saint/New Testament boy names for born baby no. 3

Mandi, who blogs at A Blog About Miscarriage and sells Lilla Rose hair accessories, is one of our longest, most devoted readers! I posted a consultation for her when she was expecting her second born baby, and then a birth announcement when the baby was born, and I frequently look to her for resources for families who have lost a baby to miscarriage and input on naming miscarried babies (here and here). I loved her pregnancy announcement and her coining of the term “golden baby” for a baby born after a rainbow baby. She, who lost four babies of her own, is such a great resource for anyone mourning a little one, and I’m thrilled she’s part of our community.

I’m also thrilled to post another consultation for her today!! She and her husband are expecting their third born baby, who joins big sibs on earth:

Lucia Rose
David Newton, Jr. (Davey)

And in heaven:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

Though they don’t know the baby’s gender, they’re all set with a girl’s name, so they’re just hoping for help with a boy’s. Mandi writes,

In terms of boy baby names, I feel like we are starting from scratch. I knew before I even met David that I wanted my eldest son to be a Junior. It worked out perfectly that David was a family name already. His name was kind of the obvious choice and we didn’t think about any others.

It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject, so I’ll mostly just tell you my thought process and likes and then he’ll just have to approve or veto ideas. He did at one point say he liked men’s names like “Ralph” – kind of old fashioned, I guess? I am not a fan of Ralph specifically but not opposed to names you would generally associate with the nursing home crowd (if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell).

We would want familiar, traditional boys names, along the lines of David. A few names we like but wouldn’t use (at least at this time) are John, Michael, Robert, and Francis. Other names I like are Joseph, Peter, and Thomas. I have always loved the name Guillermo but it’s a no-go for my husband as are other more strongly ethnic names (I generally love Spanish names, hence Lucia) though he at one point mentioned liking Joaquin.

Another important consideration is that we would want the name to be directly connected to a well known Saint (or biblical figure, though despite my son named David, I am more strongly drawn to New Testament names). Added bonus if we have a strong connection to the Saint, but obviously you would have no way of knowing that and it’s not necessary – we can always develop a devotion after the fact. We would most likely use a family name for the middle – probably Alan or Milo after my grandfather or David’s.”

Can I just say that what Mandi said about her husband (“It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject” and “if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell”) is so familiar! In my own marriage and many of yours, husbands’ name tastes can be so mysterious, no matter what ideas they offer!

Anyway, this was a really interesting consultation to work on—between Mandi’s husband maybe liking names like “Ralph” and her loving Spanish names, and having a desire for “familiar, traditional boys names” + “directly connected to a well known Saint/biblical figure” I was interested to see what I’d come up with! I’m kind of digging my list of suggestions—I’m eager to see what you all think!

First though, I wondered what Mandi and her hubs would think of considering Alan as a first name? She said it’s a middle name contender, in honor of her grandfather, but it totally has the feeling of Ralph to me … although, looking at the SSA stats, I can see that Ralph was far more popular in the early part of the twentieth century, dropping out of the top 100 in the early 60s while Alan peaked in the 50s/60s before settling into the top 200 and staying there even til today. Ralph and Alan were similar in popularity in the 50s though, and that mid-century overlap is actually really similar to David’s popularity arc (top ten from 1937 to 1991, peaking at no. 1 in 1960—right around when my three Uncle Davids were born! Remarkably, from 1957 to 1971, it was one of the top three names). Anyway, I think Alan would be an interesting name for them to consider for a first name, given that Ralph is already sort of in the mix, and I know that I’m totally being influenced by the fact that I’m currently reading Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary and Bl. Alan de la Roche was a total rockstar (also a Dominican, and I’m a lay Dominican, woot!). Alan Milo has a really cool ring to it.

As for other ideas, as always I started by looking up Lucia and David in the Baby Name Wizard, as well as Cecilia, Ralph, John, Michael, Robert, Francis, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, and Joseph. (And, for what it’s worth, Peter and Thomas are my favorites for them from the list of those they’re considering—I even had Peter on my own list of ideas for them until I remembered it was already on their list!) I also took a look through the list of Latino names in the back of the book for inspiration. Based on all that, and my own thoughts as well, these are my ideas for Mandi’s baby (if a boy):

(1) Stephen
This was my very first idea, before even cracking open the BNW. It’s the name of a well known saint AND a New Testament figure, and also one of my boys’ best friends is Stephen, and his brother is David, and there’s a pair of brothers in my family named Stephen and David! So to me, David and Stephen go together like peas and carrots. 😁 I like Stephen Milo a lot.

(2) William
This is totally inspired by Mandi’s love of Guillermo, and is the first of several ideas I have connected to her love of Spanish names. I was thinking that she could totally just call her son by the Spanish equivalent of his name—even if it’s just a fun, home-only nickname, maybe even just something she calls him from time to time. It may help satisfy her Spanish-name love without being too foreign for her husband, you know? So William is the English equivalent of Guillermo, and it’s also a style match for John, Joseph, and Thomas. William Alan and William Milo are both fine, imo.

(3) Henry
Henry is another that I liked for this family in part because it has a Spanish equivalent that would be easy enough for Mandi to whisper to her boy from time to time (Enrique), and also because it’s a match for Lucy (similar to Lucia) and Joseph. I quite like it as a brother for David/Davey! Henry Alan and Henry Milo are great.

(4) Gerard
When I was looking through the list of Latino names, Gerardo jumped out at me and I thought, “Huh. Gerard would be great.” It has a similar old-man feel to me as Ralph, and in fact peaked in 1956, so it fits in well with the mid-century peak of Alan and David. St. Gerard Majella is such a great patron for all oms, and especially for moms who have previously lost babies, as he’s the patron of pregnant women, unborn children, childbirth, mothers, and motherhood! Gerard Alan and Gerard Milo are equally fine I think.

(5) Charles
Charles matched up with Lucia (via the Spanish variant Carlo), Cecilia, John, and Joseph, and there are so many great patrons associated with the name—St. Charles Borromeo, Bl. Karl of Austria, and St. JP2 are the three that I always think of first. Charles Alan and Charles Milo both sound fine, and Charles Alan has a particularly nice feel to me.

(6) Edward
Edward is similar in style to Robert and Joseph and has even more of the nursing home feel, just based on its popularity arc—it was a top ten name until 1931 and has slowly decreased ever since. It’s a lovely, gentlemanly name, and I love St. Edward the Confessor. Like with Charles, Edward Alan and Edward Milo are fine, with the former having a particular sparkle to me.

(7) Martin
Martin was only listed as a style match for Peter, but as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great suggestion for Mandi and her Mister. St. Martin de Porres’ father was Spanish, and I love that Martin can have that Spanish connection without being strongly ethnic. Brothers Davey and Marty are super cute too! Martin Alan doesn’t flow as well, and I don’t mind the alliteration of Martin Milo, though I know some people don’t care for that kind of thing.

(8) Victor
Finally, Victor, which was a last-minute addition to my list! I was thumbing through the BNW recently, just for fun, and was reading the Victor entry where I was reminded that, as it says in the BNW, “Like Hector, Victor is currently most popular with Latino parents,” which of course made me think of Mandi! It’s papal and saintly, a great name! I did a post about nicknames for Victor, which continues to be one of the posts that draws the most people here from internet searches (a lot of people are searching for good nicknames for Victor!), and an article at CatholicMom, and I’m particularly loving the Spanish nicknames Vicho and Victo for them. Victor Alan and Victor Milo are both great.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other ideas can you offer Mandi and her husband for a boy baby?