Baby name consultation: First baby (girl) needs a classic, saintly, not-unusual name

Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve! (Or Christmas Adam, if that’s the way you roll. 😂) I hope your house is as full of joy and anticipation as mine is! A very happy and holy Christmas to you all! ❤ ❤ ❤

Today’s consultation is for a dad! Chris and his wife are expecting their first baby — a girl! He writes,

[W]e’re having a really hard time coming up with girls names that we love. We like classic names, and would like a strong saint connection. So no Kateri or Perpetua or Felicity or anything like that (too unusual). Also, no place names, no objects, no common nouns. Ana, Alexandria, Catherine, Lynn, Jennifer, and Madeleine are out due to them being in use by cousins already. The nickname is just as important since that’s going to be what we hear every day!

We had a boys name that we love, Nicholas Anthony, but that will have to wait for a future child, God willing.

For a girl, we’re toying with Victoria Nicole, nickname would be Tori because neither one of us likes Vickie, but just can’t seem to pull the trigger and say that’s definitely the one.”

Expecting your first baby is such a wonderful, exciting time! From a name perspective, I always think it’s fun to work with first-time parents because they have a blank slate –they can choose any kind of name they want, without any worries about it “going with” older children’s names. That said, it can be daunting to have so many options in front of you, and I do encourage parents in this position to give some thought to their future children’s names so that they don’t make a decision with their first baby’s name, style-wise, that they might regret with later children. For example, if Galaxy is your very favorite name, but other names on your list are Kate, Jane, and Mark, Galaxy probably isn’t the best name to choose.

I only explain this in case it’s helpful to any of you, but Chris and his wife actually seem to have a great handle on this already! Nicholas Anthony and Victoria Nicole are well-matched style-wise, and they give me a good idea of what other kinds of names they might like.

Before discussing my additional ideas for them, I want to talk about Victoria Nicole for a minute. There are a bunch of Saints and Blesseds named Victoria, so they have a lot of options for a patron saint if they name their daughter Victoria, and it’s also a Marian name by virtue of the fact that one of Our Lady’s title is Our Lady of Victory. Chris said he and his wife are thinking of Tori for the nickname since neither of them likes Vickie, which makes me think that they might like to consider some of the other nicknames I’ve seen considered for Victoria: Vee, Via, Vicka, Cora, Tia, Ria, and Ree (like the Pioneer Woman! Though Ree for her is a nickname for Ann Marie). As for Nicole, while I quite like how it sounds with Victoria, I wonder if they want to have a daughter with the middle name Nicole and a son with the first name Nicholas? It doesn’t have to be a big deal and I know a lot of families who have done similar things, but I thought I should point it out, just in case they hadn’t realized that they’re basically the same name (Nicole being a feminine variant of Nicholas).

You all know that I start my consultations by looking up the names the parents 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 then look for overlap among those results — a Venn diagram of names — to find names that the parents are most likely to like. It’s uncannily accurate most of the time! I also poke around in my own mind for ideas that feel like the parents’ style, and I’m a big fan of nicknames, so I liked that Chris said, “The nickname is just as important since that’s going to be what we hear every day” — you know I love coming up with nickname ideas!

Based on my research and my own ideas, these are names that seem like they would be a good fit for Chris and his wife:

(1) Elizabeth, Isabella
Chris said they like classic names with a strong saint connection, and since Victoria also has such a strong royal vibe, I thought Elizabeth was a great suggestion, as it’s similarly classic, saintly, and royal. It’s a great name on its own, but one of the best things about Elizabeth is that it has so many nickname options! Liz/Lizzy, Beth, Betsy, Eliza, Ellie, Elsie, Libby, Libbet, Lily, and a whole bunch more all have traditional usage as nicknames for Elizabeth. Another Elizabeth variant that I thought Chris and his wife might like is Isabella. It’s currently popular, but it’s got a long history of usage, including several queens. Izzy, Isa, and Bella are sweet nicknames for it. Both Elizabeth and Isabella can have Our Lady’s cousin Elizabeth as patron, or any of a whole bunch of holy Elizabeths/Isabellas.

(2) Margaret
Like Victoria and Elizabeth (and Catherine, which is on their no list), Margaret is a classic, saintly, royal name. There are quite a few holy Margarets, and there are quite a few traditional Margaret nicknames, including Maggie, Meg, Maisie, Peg/Peggy, Rita, and Daisy. I’ve also seen Molly used as a nickname for Margaret, though they’re technically not linguistically related (Molly is a variant of Mary). That said, Margaret nicknamed Molly is a great way to have a Marian connection without naming your daughter a Mary variant.

(3) NatalieNatalia
Elizabeth, Isabella, and Margaret were my gut-reaction ideas before doing any research for Chris and his wife, but the rest of my ideas here are all based on the results I got from the BNW. Natalie is listed as a style match for Nicholas, Anthony, and Nicole! It’s a beautiful, traditional name that literally refers to Christmas (it comes from the Latin natale domini, which means “birth of the Lord”), but of course it’s suitable for a baby girl born any time of year! Nat and Natty are sweet nicknames, and if they wanted to get a little creative, I could see Nolly working too. Natalie’s a variant of Natalia, which is also a lovely option, and opens up the nicknames Talia and Lia. Natalia is where a patron saint would come: there are two Saints and two Blesseds named Natalia.

(4) Caroline
Caroline is a style match for both Nicholas and Victoria per the BNW. I love the name Caroline — it’s so classy and elegant, and has some pretty great patron saints. It has a lot of nickname options too, like Callie, Carrie, Caro, and Carly. Carly’s actually a style match for Tori!

(5) Veronica
I often think of Victoria and Veronica as being similar, since they’re both long, feminine names starting with V and ending with A. But they have very different feels to me — Victoria has that royal English feel I mentioned before, while Veronica has a biblical feel (though she’s never named in the bible). I think many parents would think daughters Victoria and Veronica in the same family are too much, so if Chris and his wife like Veronica I could see them thinking Victoria is off their list — which will be a good litmus test for them. If it makes him and his wife really unhappy to cross Victoria off their list, then they should definitely forget Veronica! But if they like it, some nicknames include Nic/Nica/Nicky (like Nicole and Nicholas, so maybe not?), Ronnie, Vera, Evie, Nona, Ricki, and there are some that are shared with Victoria, like Vee, Via, and Vicka. Maybe even Nora? I spotlighted Veronica here.

(6) Julia
Julia is a match for Victoria and is biblical like Nicholas, and has that same classiness and loveliness that all of these names have, in my opinion. Julie and Jules are the nicknames for Julia that most people are familiar with I think, but Juliet is actually a diminutive of Julia and used to be used as a nickname for Julia so they could do that if they wanted. Other nickname possibilities for Julia include Lia, Lula/Lulu, and Jilly. I spotlighted Juliet here, which included a conversation about Julia patron saints.

(7) Rebecca
I’m not convinced that they’ll love Rebecca, but it’s a style match for Nicholas, and I liked that it’s classic and lovely in a different way than Victoria, Elizabeth, Isabella, Margaret, Natalie, Caroline, Veronica, and Julia, even though two of those are biblical like Rebecca. I think it’s because it’s such an Old Testament name — its echoes of the ancient past are inspiring and royal in their own way. Of course Becky is a very modern nickname, which, it occurs to me, might strike Chris and his wife as overly similar to Vickie, which they don’t like. I saw a birth announcement once for a baby Rebecca whose parents were calling Ruby as a nickname — I loved that! Because of that story, I was inspired to do a spotlight of Ruby (here). Other Rebecca nicknames include Becca, Bex, and Reba, and there are two saints to choose from as patron.

(8) Tessa
I feel like I have a good sense of Chris and his wife’s taste in given names based on Nicholas, Anthony, Victoria, and Nicole, but I don’t feel like I have a great sense of their  taste in nicknames. That they prefer Tori to Vickie says to me they like more modern nicknames, but I don’t know if they like (or at least don’t mind) creative nicknames (like some of the ones I mentioned above, that aren’t traditional for the given name) or if they prefer to stick with a formal name’s established nicknames and find creative nicknames to be irritating. But Tessa is a style match for Tori, per the BNW, and I immediately thought they might like it. It can work on its own as a given name, but as such I don’t think it has the “classic names” cachet Chris said he and his wife prefer. It originated as a diminutive of Teresa/Theresa/Therese, and I think it could also work as a nickname for Thomasina, so any of those can work as a given name, but I’m not convinced they’d like them (though Theresa is a style match for Anthony). So if they like Tessa, maybe they wouldn’t mind getting creative? I once saw Tess listed as a nickname for Elizabeth — Tess has a slightly different feel than Tessa, but this at least is one idea; the spellings Elisabeth and Elisabetta make the connection even stronger. Another way I like to come up with nicknames is by combining elements of the first and middle names — so maybe a first name with a strong T sound and a middle name with a strong S sound that ends in A? Like … Tara Susanna, Trinity Vanessa, Tegan Jessica, and Talia Marissa (or Natalia Marissa, because of how the T is stressed in Natalia …. OR, for that matter, Victoria! I could see something like Victoria Jessamine taking the nickname Tessa quite well!). (I know those combos aren’t Chris and his wife’s style, I’m just using them as examples.) (Don’t worry if you think I’m crazy! My poor husband has been tormented by my outside-the-box thinking through each of my pregnancies. 😂 😂 😂 I just like to make sure parents have lots of options.)

And those are my ideas for Chris and his wife’s baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for parents whose list consists of Nicholas Anthony and Victoria Nicole?


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

Name announcement: Prince Louis Arthur Charles!

The little prince’s name has been revealed! Is everyone else as surprised as I am?? I don’t remember seeing Louis listed as a possibility in any of the articles I read, and the French pronunciation is yet another unexpected bit! (Though adorable! I love the French pronunciation!) Edited to add: Turns out this pronunciation is not only French, but also an accepted English pronunciation and distinct from the French for those with discerning ears. According to Behind the Name, LWEE is the French pronunciation (I’ve also see loo-EE), and LOO-ee is one of the English pronunciations.

I’m very surprised by the re-use of Louis, as well as (though less so) a name in the Charles family. A straight copy of Prince George’s second middle as the new prince’s first name is so unexpected! Regarding the use of Charles after big sister Charlotte, I know several families who have this specific example in the first name spot — a Charles first name for a boy and a feminine Charles variant for his sister’s first name — and few people ever seem to really notice after a while (if ever, except us namiacs!), so really,  one child’s first name and one child’s second middle being the same isn’t that big a deal.

It’s kind of neat, really, that the new prince has one name shared by his brother (and dad) and one name shared by his sister — it’s a nice little connection between them all.

All in all, I love it! I love love love being surprised by names, so this was a really fun announcement the day after it seemed the name had accidentally been leaked (was the palace being cheeky, messing with those reporters? If so, I’m actually really impressed!).

Congratulations to Will (Prince William Arthur Philip Louis) and Kate (Catherine Elizabeth) and big sibs Prince George Alexander Louis and Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and happy birthday Prince Louis Arthur Charles!

Great reads from the name world if you want to know more:

PRINCE LOUIS ARTHUR CHARLES OF CAMBRIDGE: A ROYAL NAME ANALYSIS by Elea at British Baby Names

Welcome Prince Louis Arthur Charles by Abby at Appellation Mountain

Royal Baby Name: It’s Louis Arthur Charles! by Linda at Nameberry

Prince Louis, and the Subtle Art of Traditional Naming by Laura at Baby Name Wizard

(Also, stay tuned — I’ll be posting a really fun baby name consultation later today! You won’t want to miss it!)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!

A prince is born!

I haven’t been able to connect with the mama of the consultation scheduled to post today, so instead I’m going to blog about the baby prince!

Several people texted and messaged me today wondering what my prediction of his name is, so I felt I had to put a stake in the ground:

Albert.

This was decided upon after discussing with those much more in the know than I (including Abby at Appellation Mountain). We’ll see!

If you’re interested, here is my post predicting the name of baby no. 2 (who turned out to be Princess Charlotte), and the birth announcement post I did for her.

Birth announcement: Luke David!

One of you dear readers emailed me recently asking if I ever post birth announcements for babies who haven’t had a consultation done and I told her YES! I’m delighted to post a birth announcement for any of your babies! So she wonderfully shared the recent birth of her son, was has been given the so handsome (and so seasonally appropriate) name … Luke David!

He joins his gorgeously named big sister:

Miryam Isabel

The mama, Elizabeth, writes,

I’m thrilled to share the news of the birth of our son, Luke David! He was born Saturday 12/10/16 at 2:37am. Everyone is healthy.

Luke is after the Evangelist. David is my husband’s middle name. And as a reference to King David we like the possible whole-name-meaning “king of light.”

Also, your posts about Christmas and Advent names helped us settle with determination on Luke for our Advent baby. We had Luke picked out if Miryam had been a boy, but tossed around a few other first names this pregnancy. You called the due date’s timing to my attention, and we agreed that Luke was still the right name. So thanks for that! (:

Big sister is Miryam Isabel. Miryam is the Aramaic spelling of Miriam, my husband’s favorite/”most beautiful”/”the original” (his words) variation of Mary. Isabel is the Spanish for Elizabeth after me.”

Isn’t that a wonderful name story?! I just love how appropriate Luke David is for an Advent baby! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Luke!!

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Luke David

Catholic royals

LOOK at these goooooorgeous (!!!!!!) names from Bree over at The Beauty of Names:

Maria Josepha, of Saxony, Dauphine of France, also known as Marie Josèphe, was born Maria Josepha Karolina Eleonore Franziska Xaveria to Augustus III of Poland and Maria Josepha of Austria. She married Louis, Dauphin of France, who was born Louis Ferdinand.
Their children were:

Marie Zéphyrine, “Marie Zéphyrine of France“, “Madame Royale”, or “la Petite Madame” (Died at age 5)

Louis Joseph Xavier, “Louis, Duke of Burgundy” (Died at age 9)

Xavier Marie Joseph, “Xavier, Duke of Aquitaine” (Died at 6 months)

Louis-Auguste, “Louis-Auguste, Duke of Berry“, later “Louis XVI of France

Louis Stanislas Xavier, “Louis, Count of Provence“, later “Louis XVIII of France

Charles Philippe, “Charles, Count of Artois“, later “Charles X

Marie Adélaïde Clotilde Xavière, “Marie Clotilde of France“, “Gros-Madame”, or “Madame Clotilde”

Élisabeth Philippine Marie Hélène, “Princess Élisabeth of France“, or “Madame Élisabeth”

I’m in love! They’re so beautiful! And so very very Catholic! THREE Xaviers! And one Xavière! And the first name-middle name(s) combinations! I think I would be completely content if someone told me I had to name my children using only these names.

I looked up Maria Josepha/Marie Josèphe on Wikipedia, and loved this: “Politically reserved, she exerted herself only once, in 1762, in vain, for the preservation of the Society of Jesus in France. The Society had been dissolved by order of the Parlement of Paris, inspired by Jansenist magistrates, against the will of the King.”

What do you think of these names? Any that jump out at you as particularly appealing? Or are they too over-the-top for your taste?