Baby name consultation: Brother for Twiggs!

I posted a consultation for Lily and her hubs for their first baby a few years ago, and then posted the birth announcement for their baby girl, who was given a name full of meaning for Lily’s family (especially Lily’s dad, for whom his granddaughter is named). I’m delighted that they’re back again for Baby no. 2, a boy!

Lily writes,

My husband is a Jr. and he is wanting to possibly make this little guy a III … [But] I don’t think Jeffery Lee goes with Twiggs! Twiggs is a pretty hard name to top! And man does she fit her name!

[W]e would possibly like to use his same initials. Also we would be good with using his grandfathers name Leland Boyd as middle name options or Lee.

I would like a name that goes with Twiggs. I also like names that sound more like last names and not common. I really like Whitt, Tate, Miller, Carter. My number one name is Whitt … I really like Whitt Leland or Whitt Boyd.

My husband wasn’t too sure about names he likes he said other than a name like his he wasn’t sure. So is there a common ground between Whitt and Jeffery?!?

I thought that last question — “Is there a common ground between Whitt and Jeffery?” — was perfect! It perfectly articulated the naming dilemma!

Lily provided a fuller list of names she likes:

Whitt
Sutton
Myers
Tate
Harris
Mack
Fitch
Finley
Asher
Jasper
Jensen
Johnson
Carter
Colt
Porter
Brick
Miller
Ward
Reade

As well as names they can’t use:

Josh (ua)
Joseph
Jefferson
Jacob
Jack
Jackson
Luke
Vincent
Robert
Henry
Owen
Andrew
Ross
William
Johnathan

This was definitely a challenge! Seeing that they’ve already named one child, normally I’d want to stick with names that are similar to it, but Twiggs isn’t an easy name to find style matches for, mostly because it’s a family name and one that was important to Lily, rather than necessarily being a “style” that they like. That said, though, it is clear that Lily prefers surnamey names! Whitt is very cool, and I also like both Whitt Leland and Whitt Boyd.

In trying to figure out what Lily’s hubby’s style is, just based on the fact that he’d like to consider Jeffery Lee III and isn’t sure what other names he likes other than “a name like his,” my sense is that he likes traditional boy names, preferably with a family tie. So I really wanted to try to find names that they would both like — “common ground between Whitt and Jeffery.”

One tactic would be to do something similar to what they did with Twiggs, whose given name is Lucy Twiggs — call their little boy by a name different from his given first name. They could have him go by his middle name, like Twiggs — maybe something like Jeffery Whitt would satisfy Lily’s husband’s desire to have his son named after him, while giving Lily an everyday call name that she loves. Lucy Twiggs and Jeffery Whitt sounds pretty great to my ear.

Another way to call him by a different name than his given name is with a nickname that he could go exclusively by. There are a few that are traditional for boys that are the Third, which might work nicely: Trip, Tripper, Trey, and Trace all have usage as nicknames that nod to the fact that the boy is a Third. I have a cousin who is a Third who has always and only gone by Trey; my sister had a classmate who is a Third and has always and only gone by Tripper. Trip and Trace are also great. So then Lily’s hubby could be happy with Jeffery Lee III on the birth certificate, and Lily could be happy with calling him Tripper all the time (or whichever she likes the best). Twiggs and Tripper/Twiggs and Trey/Twiggs and Trace/Twigs and Trip all sound great!

I like that they’re open to using Hubby’s initials, and I definitely looked for J names while I was doing my research because of it! I like the ones on Lily’s list — Jasper, Jensen, Johnson. I love the idea of Leland or Lee as the middle name, very meaningful for her husband!

Moving away from using Hubby’s actual name/initials, maybe he’d be happy with names from his family tree? Lily mentioned Boyd, and a good friend of mine recently named her son Boyd, so I wondered if that might appeal to the both of them, in honor of Lily’s hubby’s grandfather? Boyd Jeffery maybe? Boyd Lee?

From the list of names Lily likes, I thought names that have traditional usage as first names, rather than mostly last names, would be a good middle ground between her style and her hubby’s. Those include Mack, Asher, Jasper, Carter, and Colt. Does he dislike those?

I was bummed to see Jefferson on their “no” list! That’s definitely one I would have suggested!

I did do my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard for this family, looking up names that are similar in style to Lucy and Jeffery, as well as any of the names on Lily’s list that I could find in the book: Tate, Carter, Asher, Jasper, Porter, Reid (in place of Reade), Lee, and Leland. I also looked through a book I have called A Dictionary of English Surnames, which has some really cool ideas, as well as the listing of English Martyrs, as their last names seemed like a good place to find meaningful names they might like. And of course, I looked through my book of Marian names. My goal was to find names that appealed somehow, whether they were as first names, middle names, or ways to get to nicknames. This is what I came up with:

(1) Leo
I’ll start with one that I don’t *think* Lily will love, but maybe she will? Leo is a style match for Lucy, and it’s a big name in my own family, and all the Leos go by Lee. So I thought maybe Leo nicknamed Lee would be a nice nod to her husband while still giving their son his own first name. Leo Jeffery maybe, as a way of sort of reversing Hubby’s name? Or Leo Boyd?

(2) Caleb
Caleb is actually a style match for both Carter and Asher, which made me think it might be a great compromise name for them. The nickname Cal seems like it might be the kind of nickname Lily’s husband could get on board with. It’s a great name for a boy.

(3) Everett
Everett isn’t a surname as far as I know, but I’ve always thought it has a surname feel. Such a handsome name! It’s a style match for Jasper.

(4) Bennett
Moving more toward Lily’s preferred style, I thought maybe surnamey names with “normal” nicknames could be another compromise. Bennett has long usage as a last name (as well as a first name), while Ben is a solid first name/nickname. Bennett is a match for Cooper and Reid.

(5) Evans
This is another idea of surnamey names with a first name feel — Evan is a first name, of course, but even just adding an S on the end makes it a last name and gives it an unexpected twist.

(6) Cort
This is one that caught my eye from the list of English Martyrs — Venerable Thomas Cort, a Franciscan — and it reminded me of some of the shorter names Lily likes, like Whitt, Tate, Mack, Colt, Ward, and Reade.

(7) Leeson
Leeson is actually an entry in the book of Marian names that I wrote — I’d discovered it in that book of English surnames and loved that it’s derived from the Latin Laetitia, which means “joy,” by way of the common medieval female variant of it, Lettice, and its short form, Lece; they all connect to Our Lady through her title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae (“Cause of Our Joy”). For Lily, I particularly love that it’s a surname that has her hubby’s middle name right in it!

(7) Jebb, Jebson
Jebb and Jebson were listed in the book of English surnames, and were both said to have derived from Gepp, which derived from Geoffrey, which is where Jeffery comes from. So in that sense, Jebb and Jebson can be for her husband in the same way as Jefferson, but in a different way. Very cool!

I also looked through the surname book for more J names, in case they decide they want to stick with Hubby’s initials. I thought these might be appealing to them:

Jacoby (I know Lily said Jacob was on their No list, but maybe Jacoby would be ok? It’s derived from Jacob/James)
Judd, Judson (derived from Jordan)
Jerred (derived from Gerard or Gerald)
Jessop (derived from Joseph)
Jones (derived from John)
Jory (derived from George)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What other name(s) would you suggest for Twiggs’ little brother?


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

Birth announcement: Lucy Twiggs!

I posted a consultation for Lily and her husband last month, and Lily’s let me know their little girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Lucy Twiggs!

Lily writes,

Twiggs was born on July 11, she made her appearance before her due date which made her mama happy. Our southern hot summer was killing me and I was happy she came a few days early!

We are all smitten with her and adjusting to life as first time parents. She has a sweet little personality and I think she fits her name perfectly.  Thank you for all your help with the naming!

If you remember, Lily hoped to call her little girl Twiggs (even though it was most likely going to be in the middle name spot), and I’m excited that she chose one of the names I suggested as the first name! I’m also loving Twiggs as the “call name,” especially after reading the moving comment Lily’s mom left on the consultation post explaining how very moved Lily’s dad was that his granddaughter would be called after him. Just wonderful!!

Congratulations to the new parents and the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Twiggs!!

Lucy Twiggs

Baby name consultant: “Cute, pretty, creative, professional” name needed for a little Southern Belle

I hope all the dads in your lives had a great Father’s Day yesterday!! We had a great day here — got a lot of house cleaning done, which is seriously one of my hubs’ favorite things. 🙂 Also some good food and lots.of.golf. Also that basketball game. St. Joseph, you who understand husbands and dads so well, please pray for all the Sancta Nomina dads!

Today’s consultation is for Lily and her husband, who are expecting their first baby — a little Miss!

Lily writes,

I am expecting our first child and I am due in July … being from the south I love monograms and this little girl needs a name so I can start monogramming!

My Name is Lily Irene, and I love love love my name. I had a hard time dropping Irene when I got married and moving in my maiden name of Kelley. I want my child’s name to have a similar feel to mine, but my Husband has very different naming taste than me. However one thing we have agreed on is her middle name will be Twiggs after my father. I would like to call her Twiggs, and I am slowly working on that with my husband. His fear is she will be made fun of at school, and come home crying. But with today’s different names I doubt that will happen. I am open to moving Twiggs to her first name if we can come up with a more feminine name to accompany it.”

I was intrigued right away when I read about Twiggs and — to go back to the Southern names post of the other day — it immediately felt like a Southern name to me. Am I right? A family surnamey name for a girl?

Names that Lily loves but her husband hates (her words!) include:

Emmeline
Lucille
Adelaide (Lily’s favorite)
Mae
Annalee

Her husband’s favorites include:

Anna
Emily
Emma
Charlotte

And names they can’t use for various reasons:

Charlotte
Caroline
Carolyn
Gracie
Birdie (“love this name”)
Catherine

Alrighty, regarding Twiggs, and it sounds to me like Lily’s husband would really feel more comfortable with it in the middle rather than as a first name. It’s really pretty great of him to even agree to it in the middle! He makes a fair point of worrying that she’ll be teased for it, but Lily also make a good point that with today’s different names it’s less likely to happen than it used to. I also thought I should point out that there’s that singer FKA Twigs — I don’t think she’s hugely popular? But she’s currently dating (or engaged to?) Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, so there’s that. (Her birth name is Tahliah.)

If Lily and her hubs decide to keep Twiggs in the middle spot, I could definitely see Lily calling her Twiggs whenever she wants to, as parents do — all sorts of fun nicknames that are mostly used at home/with family. So if they were to ask my opinion, I’d say the middle spot is the best place for Twiggs, no matter whether they end up calling her that or not. And I think it would be great and fine for Lily to call her that! But with a different first name her husband would have a name to call his little girl that he feels most comfortable with, and she’d have her “normal” name for school, etc. Does that make sense?

I also feel like, since Lily’s husband’s already agreeing to Twiggs, which sounds like he’s not 100% thrilled about, it might be nice to weight the first name choice a little closer to his taste. Which I don’t think should be very hard, because they’re really close on a few names! Lily’s Emmeline and Mr.’s Emily and Emma are so close! Emily Twiggs and Emma Twiggs are both lovely combinations, and balance out the unusualness (and masculinity, since it’s Lily’s dad’s name) of Twiggs nicely. If Mr. could get on board with Emmeline, Emma and even Emily could be nicknames for it that he could call her if he wanted. I’m actually laughing at the idea of Emmeline Twiggs who goes by Emma with her dad and Twiggs with her mom and Emmeline at school — hilarious! And awesome!

Similarly, his Anna and Lily’s Annalee are really close as well. Mr.’s middle name is Lee, and if Lily thought of adding the Lee as a nod to her husband, because of his middle name, it’s such a lovely gesture! I could see it also being a nod to Lily as well, since Lily ends in the “Lee” sound as well. Anna Twiggs and Annalee Twiggs (called Anna by her dad) are both great.

It seems that though Mr. likes Charlotte, it’s not a possibility because of other considerations, but I’m glad Lily listed it as a name he likes, because it gives me a better sense of his taste in names, which was helpful in coming up with new ideas for them.

On Lily’s list, I was interested to see Mae, and while it’s sweet as it is, I wondered if her husband would be more interested in it if it was a bit longer? Mabel and Maybelle came up in my research, and I thought they might fit the bill. Mabel can be a Marian name in that it originally comes from the Latin amabilis, which means “lovable,” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable/Lovable). Maybelle is similar in sound to Mabel, and can also be Marian, but in a different way — Mae and May are sometimes considered nicknames/diminutives of Mary, and the month of May is Mary’s month, so Maybelle is a sweet nod to Mary. “Belle” means “beautiful,” which is just lovely for a little girl. When Lily said she wants her daughter’s “second name to be a happy joyful name,” I felt like Maybelle kind of fits that.

I was also interested to see that Lily said she loves the name Birdie, and also that she listed Gracie as a name they can’t use, which makes me think she might like to use it if it wasn’t off limits. So based on Birdie and Gracie, I came up with a list of similar names — sweet, girly, and nicknamey:

  • Sadie
  • Daisy
  • Bess/Bessie
  • Nellie
  • Mamie (which is a traditional nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Katie
  • Sophie (a full name in its own right, but it felt similar to these other nicknamey names)
  • Rosie
  • Molly (started as a nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
  • Ivy (ditto to Sophie)

All of these could be a really sweet, feminine first name before the middle name Twiggs. But, there’s also something to be said for preceding a name like Twiggs with a more formal first name, just so she’d have options (and Sophie, Lucy, Molly, and Ivy from the list above would fit that also), so I’ve come up with a few here that Lily and her husband might like:

(1) Josephine
You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names parents like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It can be uncannily accurate! And I especially like finding names that are listed as similar to more than one of the names Mom and Dad like, *especially* if it’s a name similar to a name both Mom AND Dad like. Josephine is such a name! It was listed as a style match for Adelaide, Charlotte, Caroline, and Catherine. Wow! St. Joseph is an awesome patron saint for a little one, and the nickname Josie is so darling—I would absolutely have included in the list above if I didn’t already have Josephine on the list to recommend.

(2) Lucy
Similar to Josie, I would have included Lucy in the nicknamey-type names above if I wasn’t planning to include it down here. It’s actually a style match for Emma, and since they have Lucille on their list already, I wonder if they’d be willing to go with Lucy instead. Lucy’s such a sweet name, and Lucy Twiggs is pretty adorable.

(3) A double name
My comment about Lucy Twiggs being pretty adorable made me think that maybe a really feminine first name plus Twiggs with the intention of using them together might also be a nice compromise for Lily and her hubs. I think Emma Twiggs and Lucy Twiggs are well suited for that, as are several of the nicknamey names above (my favorites for them include Sophie Twiggs and Molly Twiggs). Sara(h) is also great for that—Sarah Twiggs or Sara Twiggs—and Sarah was a style match for Anna and Emily, so I think there’s a good chance Lily’s husband will like it. Mary is also always great for a double name, and Mary Twiggs sounds like a lovely Southern belle to me.

(4) Leah
Leah is solely out of my own thoughts, based entirely on Lily’s husband’s middle name and the “lee” sound at the end of Lily. Leah would be a nice subtle nod to both of them, while also being very feminine and biblical, and it flows really nicely with Twiggs.

In an added twist, Lily’s initial response to my thoughts was that she loves Lucy, but her husband wasn’t sold, and she wrote again saying,

I finally got out of him some characteristics he wants in a name and his criteria are: Cute, Pretty, Creative and Professional. He says Lily fits those characteristics, but I don’t want her to be Lily Twiggs or Lillan Twiggs. He doesn’t like it that people have to ask him do you prefer [a traditional nickname for his given name] or [his given name] so he wants the name to also just be what she would be called (does that make sense) … when you have a free moment can you see if you can come up with Cute, Pretty, Creative and a Professional name.

Oh and No “S” names because the monogram looks awfully close to a not so nice four letter word!

As it happened, I did have a free moment, and spent a little time trying to come up with “Cute, Pretty, Creative, and Professional” names. A tough task! When I think of “Professional” names for women, I tend to think of names like Margaret, Katherine, Elizabeth, Victoria, Deborah — longer names with weight and history and, honestly, nothing too creative about them. If someone told me they wanted a name with Lily’s husband’s criteria, I’d probably suggest something like Elizabeth with a funkier nickname for everyday use, like Libby, or maybe Deborah nicknamed Dorah. But Mr. wants her given name to be the name she goes by all the time, so nothing longer with a short and spunky nickname. Gah! So hard!

From their original lists, I really think Anna, Emmeline, and Adelaide fit this criteria. I think those three names could be seen as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. Of course, this is all very subjective as well, so what I think fits those criteria might not be at all what someone else thinks of as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. You know?

Regarding Lucy, I think I can see what Lily’s husband means. Lucy has a long history of use across cultures and ethnicities, so it should work as pretty and professional, but the –y ending can come across as nicknamey (even though it’s not), and that is really what I think kills it for her hubs’ criteria, because cute and professional just do not go together, generally. But if they were to change it to Lucia, that might work better? It loses the cutesy/nicknamey feel that Lucy’s –y ending can project, and it feels a bit more sophisticated, but it’s still pretty and I think it could come across as creative (unlike Lucille from Lily’s original list, which I think feels a little more staid). If Lily wanted to continue trying to win over her husband, however, the women listed here might help; I think Lucy Liu particularly comes across as a very strong woman.

Here are some other names I thought could work for “cute, pretty, creative, and professional” — I basically just went through one of my name books and wrote down any name that struck me as having the right feel, so it’s very very subjective! I like each of these paired with Twiggs:

(1) Cora
This is probably my #1 suggestion for them. It reminds me a lot of Lucy in length and sweetness, but it’s also got sort of an Old World, “Great Lady” feel to it.

(2) Margo
Actually, Margo might be tied for #1 for me — this Margaret variant is a bit cuter and funkier — definitely has more of a creative feel to me than Margaret — but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(3) Livia
Wait! I love Livia too. Okay, that makes three names tied for #1 in my opinion! Livia is really similar to Olivia in sound and appearance, but it’s actually a totally different name — an old Roman name, the name of the wife of one of the Roman emperors (Augustus). It’s also got a separate use as a personification of the River Liffey in Dublin — it’s been used in Irish literature as the name of a woman who represents the River and Mother Ireland.

(4) Lydia
Lydia’s a biblical name, the name of a women who sold purple cloth and was converted by St. Paul. I’ve always loved that a little Lydia can have purple as her very own color!

(5) Maren
Maren is on the more creative end I think, and maybe not as cute, but I actually do think it’s creative and professional at the same time.

(6) Cecily
Even though it ends in a –y, I think Cecily’s longer length makes it not cutesy/nicknamey. It’s a sweet name, but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.

(7) Corinna
Corinna is lovely and feminine, but also kind of weighty and sophisticated, a beautiful name.

(8) Junia or Julia
Junia might be a bit too out there? But it’s a biblical name, which automatically gives it gravitas, and it’s unexpected and pretty rare, which I think often comes across as creative. (Read about a real-life Junia here.)

Julia is so similar to Junia, but more familiar. It’s absolutely a name that gives a woman respect and it’s a really pretty name at the same time.

(9) Laurel
In the family of Laura names, I think Laura feels the most old-fashioned, and Lauren feels modern and youthful (which can come across as not professional). But I think maybe Laurel has the right feel — creative but sophisticated.

(10) Claudia
Finally, Claudia. It was actually the first name I thought of for Lily and her hubs as creative and professional! I don’t think it’s as cute or pretty as some of the others, but it’s a substantial name and pretty uncommon. Like Livia, it’s an old Roman name.

Whew! There’s a lot here to think about! What suggestions do you all have for Lily and her husband for their little Southern Belle, based on all this?

Baby name consultant: No. 3 green bean needs Southern Catholic/biblical name

It’s such a sad Monday morning after the shooting in Orlando this past weekend. So many people are grieving, what a tragedy — the loss of human life is always a devastation. I read through the list of the victims of the shooting and was struck by the amazing collection of patron saints represented by the names of the deceased — so many holy ones to implore for intercession. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace, and please bring peace to our country. 🙏❤

As I felt in the wake of Paris, it seems almost inappropriate to continue on with this fun, joyful work of naming babies in the wake of death, but at the same time, it’s important work, and this wee one on the way might be the very person that brings the begged-for peace to our hearts, our country, and our world. Babies=hope, thank you Jesus. ❤ ❤ ❤

Babies=hope, and such joy! With gratitude for the gift of new life, I’m happy to post today’s consultation: Katie and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean! 🌱 He or she will join big sibs:

Asher Henry
Margaret Elizabeth (Margo)

Such cool names, right? Asher and Margo is such an awesome sibset!

Katie writes,

I have always loved names, but I’m at a loss with this one. We are team green for this baby … Asher was chosen because I liked that it was biblical, unique (in 2008), yet a “real” name. It also means “happy” which I love. Henry is in honor of my grandfather, Patrick Henry.

Margo was named in honor of my great aunt Margaret (Margie for short) who was an all-around awesome lady. I went back and forth between Greta and Margo, for the nickname to choose but eventually settled on Margo. Elizabeth is my middle name, my mom’s middle name, and in honor of my grandmother Betty.

I definitely struggle more with boy names than girl names …”

Katie and her hubs have some guidelines they’d like to follow:

-“I would prefer a name that can make a nickname especially for a girl. I’m just Katie. Not Katherine or Kathleen. I always kind of wished I had a “real” name.
-Bonus points for Southern
-Bonus points for Catholic/Biblical
-I’m not sure if it’s just me but I worry about names that end in the –en sound with our last name [which ends in -ins]. It feels too sing songy. Am I being neurotic?
-It has to pass the senator rule. If it doesn’t sound good with Senator in front of it, it doesn’t pass muster.”

Names that they’re considering include:

Girl
Camilla (Millie)
Cora
Eloise
Cecily
Blanche
Greer
Estella (Stella)

Boy
Edward (Teddy)
Grant
Lawson
Reid
Hayes
Joel
Seth
Sean
Blaise (“Not sure if I’m ‘brave’ enough for this one!“)

Great list of names! I love the names on their girl list—Greer and Stella are personal faves of mine, and the others are beautiful and feminine, and I can’t believe Blanche is on there! I’ve never seen it on anyone’s list ever! (Though this past winter I heard Fr. Gaitley talk about his book 33 Days to Morning Glory, and he told quite a bit of his personal story, which involved a former girlfriend from France named Blanche, except he pronounced it the French way, not rhyming with ranch (which is how I would say it) but like blah+sh with that almost unheard French between blah and sh. It was the first time I could picture Blanche on a young person!)

Anyway! They gave me a good sense of Katie and her hubs’ taste in girl’s names, and when I did a little research into Southern naming traditions, it all made sense, because I found Blanche and Greer on one particular list I found from Southern Living.

Their boy names are also very consistent with the Southern theme, and they’ve also got some good biblical names in there. By far my favorite name on the list is Blaise! I think it’s ah-MAZ-ing with Asher and Margo! I personally would consider Blanche to be the most daring name of them all, so if they’re good with Blanche they should totally be brave enough for Blaise!

Okay! On to my ideas. You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Using that research, as well as my own mental files, and the research I did on Southern-type names, these are my suggestions:

Girl
(1) Annabel(le)
I didn’t do the research on Southern names until after I’d looked through the BNW and picked through my mind, so I was delighted to see that one of my top ideas for Katie and her hubs was listed in that same link to southern baby names! Annabel is a recent favorite of mine, as it can be considered a Marian name! It’s actually a form of Amabel, which comes from the Latin amabilis, meaning amiable/lovable, and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis. How cool is that! It’s got the great nickname option of Annie, which I love; the Annabelle spelling is particularly southern; it’s got the Catholic angle covered; it doesn’t end in –en; and I think it passes the Senator Rule just fine. All their requirements!

(2) Eve, Eva, Ava, Evelyn
Eve is a totally biblical name, obviously, but it strikes me as also having a really sophisticated, distinguished feel, kind of sparse and chic, very Senator-like. I like that it fits with Asher’s biblical-ness and Margo’s coolness; Evie is one of the sweetest nicknames ever imo; it can also be considered Marian because of Mary being the New Eve (I’m a sucker for a Marian name!); and while I don’t know if Eve comes across as particularly Southern, every time I see Evelyn I hear Jessica Tandy saying it in a Southern accent in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, which was set in Georgia, so I feel like Evelyn could be a good option that retains a lot of Eve’s charm. Eva and Ava were also variants that showed up in my BNW as being similar to names this family likes.

(3) Caroline
Caroline is a great style match for Margaret, and it’s got some great nickname options like Carrie, Caro, Lina, Lola, Callie. It passes the Senator Rule, and a lot of people have been using it recently in honor of St. John Paul II. And it’s on that list of Southern names!

(4) Mary+
I don’t know a huge amount about Southern names, but I do know that double names are pretty common, and that double names for girls often involve a normal-ish first name with a family lastname as a middle, and that going by both names together, or just the middle name, is a tradition. That fits in exactly with the Catholic tradition of naming girls with the first name Mary, to be used in conjunction with the middle, like Mary Kate, Mary Grace, Mary Ann, etc., or to go just by the middle. Those kinds of names—Mary Grace etc.—have a really Catholic feel, but I think putting Mary in front of any name makes the middle name very do-able for a girl, no matter what, and casts a Catholic shadow as well. I might encourage Katie and her hubs to look through their family tree and find some last names that might work, for a really southern feel. Looking through the BNW, one of the girl names that was similar in style to some of their boys’ lastname ideas was Tate—Mary Tate is sweet!

Boy
(1) Brooks
I kind of love the name Brooks! Asher and Margo have kind of a preppy feel to me—in the best way! I love them together!—and Brooks so much fits in with that. It’s similar in style to Grant, Lawson, Reid, and Hayes, and reminds me of Blaise as well because of being one syllable and starting with a B. It doesn’t have a Catholic or biblical feel, unfortunately, but I feel like a great middle name could fix that. Like Brooks Nathaniel or Brooks Benedict.

(2) Beau
Beau is such a Southern gentleman to me. I think immediately of Melanie Wilkes’ little Beau from Gone With the Wind, which is a sweet and obviously very Southern reference—and it’s on that list of southern names I linked to above! I did a consultation for my sister-in-law last year, and one of her favorite combos was Francis Beau called Beau—that combo also seems to have a particularly Southern flair to me! And Francis is so Catholic.

(3) Elliott or Emmett or Everett
I had both Elliott and Emmett on my list for this family before I read that southern-names article, and was excited to see they’re both on there! Elliott was originally an English last name derived from a medieval diminutive of Elias, which is the Greek form of Elijah, so it’s technically biblical. And Emmett was originally an English last name derived from a medieval diminutive of Emma! I love that they were both originally last names, which I assume is one of the reasons they were on the list of southern names, and I love that Elliott is biblical, as it ties in so nicely with Asher (though not obviously). If they didn’t care for either of these for a son, I would totally suggest considering them for a daughter! Especially as Mary Elliott or Mary Emmett, even if they called her Elliott or Emmett on a daily basis (and Ellie and Emmy are great nicknames) — doing so seems more in keeping with the Southern tradition of putting last names or masculine names in the middle spot, rather than the boys-names-for-girls trend. (I’d be interested to hear what Katie’s husband thinks of this line of thinking—in my experience, most men don’t care to consider names for their sons that might also be do-able for their daughters.)

I’m including Everett in this group because it’s got a similar sound and rhythm to Elliott and Emmett, though it wasn’t on the list of southern names. It was, however, listed in the BNW as similar to Cora and Estella. I also wouldn’t be as inclined to suggest it for a daughter, which Katie’s husband might like better.

(4) Ethan
I thought getting at least one explicitly biblical name on the list was important, and Ethan seemed like a great fit. At first I was thinking it had a specifically southern feel as well, but when I looked it up to see why I felt that way, I realized I’d been thinking of Ethan Allen, who was from Connecticut. Oops. But then the BNW said that Ethan’s been particularly popular in the heartland in recent years, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, so I guess I was right in feeling that it’s popular in the south. This is the only name that ends in the –en sound that I included in my suggestions for Katie and her hubs, but I’ve said Ethan out loud a bunch of times with their last name (Ethan Jenkins is a good stand-in) and I think it sounds pretty fab. I actually tried a bunch of –en names out loud with their last name, to see which ones might not work, but honestly I thought they all sounded fine!

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little brother or sister for Asher and Margo?