Ann or Anne?

I posted some photos of a beautiful stained glass window depicting St. Ann(e) on Instagram earlier this evening (here and here), and found it notable that “St. Ann” was written beneath her image, and then “In memory of Mrs. Anne Quinn” — both spellings on one window.

So I asked how many prefer Ann or Anne and have gotten several responses (Anne by a landslide, which was my grandmother’s spelling, and the one Anne Shirley vastly preferred, and the spelling I always unconsciously default to, though I’m delighted that one follower let us know her middle name is Ann, which is the spelling of my best friend from growing up’s middle name, and she’s an amazing person, so — good company!). I also posted a poll to Twitter and so far everyone’s voted for Anne (three people).

I looked them up, and Anne is the “French form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann.” Indeed, Ann is described as the “English form of ANNE (1). In the English-speaking world, both this spelling and Anne have been used since the Middle Ages, though Ann became much more popular during the 19th century.” I checked out the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources to see if there was additional info, and discovered the name Tanneken! It’s a diminutive of Ann(e) — I’m loving it! It’s totally the kind of nickname/diminutive that I go nuts for.

Any of you who haven’t yet commented on IG or voted on Twitter — which spelling do you prefer and why?

Do you reserve names for later use?

The consultation I posted on November 23 was for a family that had picked out Felicity for a girl — a beloved name, full of meaning for them — only to discover they were having a boy.

Grace commented, “My suggestion is Felix! Since she was really excited about Felicity’s meaning and saintly pedigree, Felix really seems the perfect alternative to me! Popular in the UK, Spain, and Germany, it definitely has a hip, continental thing about it while not being unusual or hard to pronounce, and the x-ending makes it flow very well into middle names beginning with either a vowel or a consonant! I think it’s super awesome for them,” which several of us agreed was a great suggestion.

Sarah commented, “We did this with our first. We loved Natalia for a girl, but he was a boy. Naming him Nathaniel kind of nixes a future Natalia. That said, we loved Nathaniel enough to where there are no regrets. I think it just depends on how much they love Felix. If it hits all the right notes, great. If Felicity still makes their heart sing and Felix is just okay, then I say save Felicity,” which I loved, especially this bit: “If Felicity still makes their heart sing and Felix is just okay, then I say save Felicity.”

I’d commented, “My only worry with Felix is that it knocks out Felicity for the future … which brings up a whole other issue, which maybe I’ll do a post on sometime — what are all your thoughts on reserving names for possible future babies? Have you/would you and why or why not? Felix now at the expense of Felicity later (potentially) is a perfect example …”

I have a small example of that in the naming of my own kids: The first name we decided on for a girl has been the same through all my pregnancies — it’s an honor name for my mom and my grandmother and it won’t change. The middle name has changed several times though, most often in order to honor my mother-in-law in different ways; we’ve also discussed variants of her name as a first name possibility for a second daughter. Then we decided to give our youngest boy a first name that was a variant of my mother-in-law’s name, which knocks out of consideration the variants of her name we’d considered for a first name for a girl. I felt the tiniest of twinges at our decision but really. Six boys, no girls — holding a name in reserve for a second girl seems kind of silly when a first girl hasn’t happened and may never. Also, like Sarah said, I love the male variant we chose for my youngest, so I don’t really miss the possibility of using the feminine variants.

I’d love to know what the rest of you think! Do you/have you/would you save names for future use that knock possibilities out of consideration for this baby right here right now?

 

 

 

A birth story, and the importance of giving your baby a good name

Mandi at A Blog About Miscarriage has just posted the most wonderful birth story! Her little David is one of our own — I was honored to do a consultation for her while she was pregnant, and to offer nickname ideas for the little man once he arrived — and his birth story is amazing. Suffice it to say, I now know how the mess from a car birth is cleaned up! 😮 I’m also so moved by the healing God allowed Mandi to experience through David’s birth. He is so good, and knows exactly what we need. ❤

Speaking of births, I read Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts over the Thanksgiving weekend, and loved this bit about baby naming:

 

“Name’s important,” [Moses] said. “Keeps track of who you are.”

“I guess so.”

“That’s right. Name’s an important thing. You picked a name for your baby yet?”

“Not, but I got some I’m thinking about.”

“Well, take your time. Can’t rush a thing like that. Name’s too important to hurry.”

“You know,” she said as she popped the Life Saver into her mouth. “I’ve been thinking about Wendi, with an i, or maybe Candy, if it’s a girl.”

“Get your baby a name that means something. A sturdy name. Strong name. Name that’s gonna withstand a lot of bad times. A lot of hurt.”

I know we all totally get it. The names of our faith absolutely help us know who to turn to in the bad times.

I hope Advent has started in a wonderful and blessed way for you all!

Bonus (pseudo) consultation, and happy Thanksgiving!

Isn’t this just one of the very best times of the whole year? I love Thanksgiving — it’s the beginning of the holiday season; I get to see family that I don’t usually get to see; we get to eat a lot of really good food; and everyone says really wonderful things about how grateful they are for the blessings in their lives. What a good and holy way to spend our time and orient our thoughts!

I am full to bursting with gratitude for my life and the people in it and the wonderful ways I’ve been allowed to see God working in this beautiful world, and this blog and all of you dear readers are one of the very best things that’s happened for me this year. So many times I’ve sent up thank-you prayers because of our little community here! It’s such a blessing to have a wholesome little virtual cozy spot to curl up in with others who like to talk about our faith and the beauty of babies through the lens of names. St. Anne chose us this year too, and I’ve been loving my new relationship with her. We are a blessed bunch. ❤

I won’t be posting any more this week — I’ll be back on Monday with a new consultation — but I wanted to leave you all with this amazing little gift we’ve been given: I received an email a couple weeks ago from a reader who is very much like I was at her age — she loves names, especially the names of our faith, and wanted to share with me the names of her and her eight siblings. She also issued a name challenge for me, if God were to ever see fit to send them a #10.

Is there anything I love to do more than see a beautifully named family? And come up with new ideas for them? Not much comes to mind! 😀

My name is Pauline and I am a recent graduate of Benedictine College. And while I’m nowhere near expecting a baby, I read your blog every day for future name ideas (what girl doesn’t? Isn’t it like having a pinterest wedding board?). Oh, and so does my mom.

Speaking of my mom, I also happen to be the oldest of nine children. My mom’s name is Beatrice and she was born and raised in France until she met my American dad when he was studying abroad (so romantic, I know) and they got married and moved back to the states where they had nine children (it’s casual). My dad (Patrick) is very Irish and my mom is clearly as French as you can get, so they decided on a system for naming. My dad got to name all of the boys Irish names and my mom got to name all of the girls French names.

So these are the names we all ended up with. Our ages range from 21 to 5 years old.”

Pauline Helene Marie (“I am Pauline Helene Marie after my French Grandmother, Helene. Pauline is after St. Paul and St. Therese had a sister named Pauline“)

Florie-Ann Marie (“Florie Ann Marie is named after my American grandmother, Ann. Florie is a French girls’ name- I have seen other French variations of this name all having to do with the French word “fleur” which translates to “flower”“)

Faustine Marie (“Faustine is the French version of Faustina, after St. Faustina. (My mom was confirmed when she was expecting Faustine and also chose St. Faustina as her confirmation saint! 🙂 )”)

Liam Patrick (“My American Grandpa is named William Patrick, my dad’s name is Patrick William, so my parents loved the Irish variation of Liam Patrick to continue the tradition.”)

Domitille Marie (“Domitille was named after St. Domitilla. From what I’ve heard, St. Domitilla was a Roman martyr who used to have masses in her home for the first Christians! … I know a couple Domitilles in France … Domitille is always a hard one to pronounce! Most people think she is saying Dominique. It is pronounced Do-mee-teel, if that makes sense? Her friends and family sometimes call her Domi (Do-mee). I think it’s so cute!“)

Emeline Marie (“Emeline is another French name and we actually used to read a poem about a little girl named Emeline for school. St. Emeline was also a French saint. My parents were also considering the name Constance for Emeline. I have a little goddaughter in France with that name now 🙂 I love it!“)

Fintan Joseph (“Fintan Joseph is named after a St. Fintan who was a monk in Ireland. He probably has the most nicknames in our family- Finn, Finny, Fintan Joe. “)

Thomas More (“We gave British a chance 🙂 … Thomas More was named for amazing St. Thomas More. I remember my parents just admiring the Saint and liking the idea of his last name as a middle name. Thomas loves the story of his patron saint!“)

Callaghan John (“And Callaghan John is named after my great grandmother, whose maiden name was Callaghan. It was a last name that was in the family. John is after his godfather, a priest named Father John who has always been close with our family. We do call him Cal! And Calli and Cal-Pal and Shnookums, depending on which sibling is cuddling him ;)”)

All of the girls have the middle name Marie for Our Lady but it is also a French tradition- even my mom’s Grandfather had the middle name Marie! St. Therese’s family had five girls and they all had Marie in their names as well.

Another French tradition is to have your grandmother’s name in your middle name. It is not uncommon for people to have two or more middle names!

Being named after a saint is beautiful and important, but my mom is also firm believer that even if you aren’t directly named after a saint, you have the opportunity to be the first saint with that name! I love it and totally agree.

I don’t see my parents having more but they always joke that they would have absolutely no more name ideas if God were to send us a #10. If you want a project, even though there truly is no baby coming (that I know of!) I thought it might be fun to see some name suggestions that you might come up with! Otherwise, enjoy this list of incredibly strange but kind of intriguing names.”

I just can’t even tell you all (though I know you probably feel similarly), I walked around for days after getting Pauline’s email with a big goofy smile on my face, just thinking and thinking about their names. They are, each one, so beautiful!

And to be given the opportunity to come up with ideas for another little one? Especially when Pauline’s parents said they “would have absolutely no more name ideas”? So amazing! It kind of feels like we’re all sitting around the kitchen table with our coffee and tea and having a good chat about babies and names, two of my very favorite things. How wonderful! ❤

It was really fun thinking of names for this family because French and Irish are two of my favorite favorite name styles. And especially with all the girls having French names, and all the boys having Irish names, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed at first. This is what I came up with for the girls:

(1) Marie-[something]
I claim a small bit of French ancestry but I don’t really know much about their naming traditions or practices — most of what I know I learned from Pauline! But I’ve always loved that the French seem much more comfortable with hyphenated double names than we do (see Florie-Ann), and I’ve always loved the ones starting with Marie. Marie-Bernarde was one of my first thoughts — it’s St. Bernadette’s birth name, and I love that Bernadette can be a nickname for it. But then I was thinking about Marie-Azelie too (the birth name of our new St. Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s mom). Which made me think about St. Therese, who was born Marie Francoise-Therese, which I love, or maybe just Marie-Francoise or Marie-Therese. Or maybe Marie-Beatrice, for Mom? Really, I would be happy preceding any of my other ideas for girls with Marie-. It would also be a different way of continuing the tradition of having Marie in all the girls’ names.

(2) Any of my other favorite French girl names
I know, I know, this is a cop-out category. But there are so many GORGEOUS French names, I was having such a hard time narrowing down the list! So I just thought I’d put them all together:
— Aurore
— Aurelie
— Christiane
— Clementine
— Colette
— Elisabeth
— Elodie
— Emmanuelle
— Genevieve
— Juliette
— Leonie
— Madeleine
— Mathilde
— Seraphine

(3) Currently popular in France
I also took a look at some names that are currently popular in France, since I don’t really have any idea — there’s a good chance that all of my ideas above are considered outdated or unattractive by the current French population. Even though it was written in December 2013 (so not totally current), I really liked this article: French Baby Names: Trends and Predictions 2014. Of the author’s top twenty list, I really liked Lilou, Maëlys, Juliette (yay! One of the ones I listed above!), Romane, and Louise, and then the author mentioned “retro first names like Louise and Suzanne,” which made me want to add Suzanne to the list as well. I also love Lola from the list, though it doesn’t feel right for this family, and I love Manon too, but it’s a diminutive for Marie right? So if they were to use it, I would imagine they’d prefer it as a nickname for a Marie-[something] name instead of a given name on its own.

The boys I found a bit easier to narrow down my ideas, so I have a neat five-name list:

(1) Dermot
I love Dermot. It’s got a cool sound and rhythm, and some blesseds and saints too. I also had the opportunity to hear author and donkeyman Kevin O’Hara speak recently, dear friend of my mom’s (that’s him on Mom’s blog with Finney the Leprechaun — the eleventh photo, to the right of Fr. Bede‘s pic!) and he said he has three brothers — Jimmy (I think), Mickey, and Dermot — which is one of the things I love about Irish naming, that names like Dermot can reside happily in a family with names like  James, Kevin, and Michael. Or Liam, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan, as it were.

(2) Declan
Lots of people are loving Declan these days, me included. Like Dermot, I just love its sound and rhythm, and it has the possibility of the cool nickname Deck. St. Declan was a pretty great guy too.

(3) Colman
I can’t tell if I think this is too close to Callaghan or not, especially since it would immediately follow Callaghan and not have the benefit of a few kids in between, but it’s a name I love, so I’ll throw it out there anyway. My grandfather was born in Cobh, Co. Cork, and the church there is St. Colman’s Cathedral — he was baptized there, and was an altar boy there, and I imagine I have family members who were married and buried there as well. And Cole is a fabulous nickname!

(4) Tadhg (or Thaddeus)
I was inspired to include Tadhg because of boy #3 Thomas: I have a devotion to Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, OP, a Dominican priest who is one of the Irish Martyrs (for being a priest), who was beatified by JP2, who was also known as Tadhg, because Tadhg is sometimes anglicized as Thaddeus. The Thomas connection is that Bl. Tadhg had a brother who was also a Dominican priest, named Thomas. How cool! (Read more about him here, here, and here.) I could also see Thaddeus with a “nickname” of Tadhg working as well. Or just Thaddeus with no Tadhg at all (I know a little Thaddeus nicked Taddy, so cute!).

(5) Myles
One of my name books, Oxford Dictionary of First Names, says that Maolra is a “[m]odern spelling, common particularly in the west of Ireland, of earlier Maoil-Mhuire ‘devotee of Mary.’ It has been anglicized as Myles.” It’s an Irish Marian boy’s name! Love it!

Those are my ideas for a hypothetical ninth sibling for Pauline — what do you all think? Do any names come to mind as being perfect for this French-girls/Irish-boys family?

Pauline added, “I’ve also attached our awkward family photo just so you know we’re real people.” Haha! Thanks so much to Pauline and her mom and their beautiful family for all this great info, and happy Thanksgiving to you all!

paulines_fam

Patrick and Beatrice and their children Pauline, Florie-Ann,
Faustine, Liam, Domitille, Emeline, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan

Repeating Mary

I loved reading all your comments yesterday!! One of the things that rose to the top for me is how many of you know of families, or are such families, who have used Mary or one of its forms for more than one daughter:

  • “The obstetrician that delivered me had a very large, very Catholic family, and had six or seven daughters all named Mary. Of course, they weren’t JUST named Mary, they were Mary X, but one of them was Mary Mary!”
  • “my stepsis’s were named after Mary (THE Mary) whereas I am named after my mother (who was also named after Mary) … My mom (Mary)’s only sister’s name is.. Rosemary”
  • “One of my sets of girl cousins in the same nuclear family all have the middle name Marie”
  • “all of my sisters and I have Marie/Mary in our names”
  • “I have two cousins who are sisters, and one is named Danielle Marie and the other is Rosemarie Elizabeth”
  • Another family with seven daughters that have among them Mary twice and Marie once
  • “a friend explained to me that it’s a tradition in the Philippines to name all of your daughters Mary and have them all go by their middles instead”
  • “each of our sweet baby girls have a “form” of Mary in their name”

Woo! Mother Mary FTW!

It reminded me the family one of you readers introduced me to the other day from the Five Marys Farms in California, which is so named because, yes, Mom and all four daughters are named Mary:

Mary Regan (Mom)
MaryFrances
MaryMarjorie
MaryJane
MaryTeresa

The daughters all go by nicknames, which are adorable!

I know I’ve said it a million times before, but my paternal grandmother and her sister were both Mary ____ and went by their middle names; all six of my dad’s female first cousins on his mom’s side (from two different families) are Mary ____ and go by their middle names; and my three sisters and I all have a Marian name as either our first or middle.

I never tire of hearing about Marian names, or different ways of working Mary into a name, or families with lots of Mary names … I love them all!

Repeating names

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth announcement: Mary Jane!

Do you all know the blog Catholic All Year? Kendra’s the blogger and she’s got a lot of good stuff to say, but I didn’t even realize until recently that she was nearly due with her eighth baby (I didn’t even know she’d had a seventh!) so clearly I haven’t been as faithful a reader as I thought I was.

I did a little digging and found some posts that discuss her kids’ names (they’re awesome — totally retro. Like Betty and Anita retro): the first six, number seven, and number eight — Mary Jane, who was born twelve days ago, and WOW what a birth story. (I first found out the good news on Kendra’s Instagram, where she’s graciously been posting daily baby pics because whooooo doesn’t love that?!)

Congratulations to the Tierney Family, and happy birthday Baby Mary Jane!!