Baby name consultation: “Easily recognizable but not common name” needed for Felicity’s baby brother or sister

Happy Monday, everyone! There are some great feast days today: St. Marianne Cope, who was from Syracuse, NY, which is just a couple hours from me; the Espousal of the Virgin Mary (how beautiful!); and Abel the Patriarch (at least one Sancta Nomina family as an Abel!), among others. We also have a snow day here — my boys are outside building snowmen and forts as I type this and my mom sent over some brownies, which we’ll have when the boys come in. And now I’m sharing a baby name consultation with you! What a nice day! 🙂

Elise and her husband are expecting baby number two — a little green bean 🌱 (gender unknown)! This wee babe joins big sister:

Felicity Hope

Isn’t that just so beautiful??

Elise writes,

We aren’t finding out the baby’s gender until birth (we did the same with my daughter). Our daughter’s name is Felicity Hope. She was born screaming and sputtering and I remember distinctly saying to my husband ‘but she’s so mad — Felicity means happiness!’ when he suggested Felicity. But it is 100% perfect for her as she has been the sweetest and most happy-go-lucky girl since. We can’t imagine her with any other name. We like that it is a recognizable name but not common. I also love that she gets to hear her name in mass on occasion 🙂

We feel like we hit the jackpot on her name and are in a bit of a conundrum with this next baby. We are hoping for a name that again is easily recognizable but not common. One of my pet peeves growing up was getting called ‘Elsie’ so hopefully we can avoid a name that would be easily mispronounced as well. We both come from large families (I’m one of 5 with a close extended family and my husband is one of 12) so that makes it tricky for repeat names

Whatever first name we go with we are certain 100% that if we have a boy his middle name will be Wayne (after my father). My due date is 3/22 — which is right around 3/19 St Joseph’s feast day which will be the 9th anniversary of my father’s death

It’s funny because the top boy names we had while pregnant with Felicity are still on our list but our new frontrunner is Gilbert. It seems to fit with our recognizable yet not common name. (funny fact which we noticed when hanging stockings is that thus far our family members, including our dogs, have the beginning initials of B (bear), C (Copper), D (Daniel), E (Elise) and F (Felicity) and our last name [begins with an H] — so G (Gilbert) would be the next letter in the sequence) 

Here’s a list of names we considered for Felicity if she had been a boy/ names we have been considering:

Arthur — we have since had a nephew named Archer born so maybe too close 

Ephram 

Edmund — I still really like this one Edward is a family name on my side and Edsko is a family name on my husband’s so this is like a compromised variation 

Dominic 

Ambrose — my husband isn’t a fan so likely not

Our girl list (some are names we considered for Felicity others are newer ones) 

Florence — right now this seems to be our favorite. But we didn’t know if having two F girls would be too much/ too similar. We call Felicity Flissy and I’m thinking we would likely nn Florence to something like Flora (though I think Wren would be cute too). 

Ester

Lucy — this is also a favorite and almost was Felicity’s name however it’s a little too popular we feel. I think it’s a cute name (also part of the canon) so maybe a variation? Had considered something like Lucinda but not sure. I liked the nn Lulu so could work with Lucy or a name similar

Lillian — Lily would fit with St Joseph’s feast day but again maybe too common of a name 

Iris — a new one my husband likes but I’m not 100% on board yet 

Middle name likely Rose (same as mine) or Ann (family name on both sides) 

Names we like but probably wouldn’t use: 

James — though not really loving this like we had 

Gideon — my husband doesn’t care for this much

Rilian — from Chronicles of Narnia though may be too out there

I liked Josephine — a nod to St Joseph if baby was born on 3/19 — though it is a middle name of a niece and I’m not sure the parents would be fans of us using it as a first name 

Camille — my husband isn’t a fan of this anymore

Eloise — I liked it bc it’s similar to my name but it’s been pretty popular lately and my husband has a nickname mental block

Cora — love this name but my husband not so much

Vera — I like this one but same as above

I love all this! I, too, love that Felicity is “a recognizable name but not common” and I totally get that Elise and her hubby feel like they “hit the jackpot on her name”! I also love Felicity paired with Hope — unexpected and beautiful! Great, great job!!

As for the names they’ve discussed/are considering, here are my thoughts, in case they’re helpful:

  • How meaningful that Elise is due right near St. Joseph’s feast day, which is also the anniversary of her dad’s passing! I’m guessing Joseph Wayne isn’t their favorite idea, but I love all the significance that combo would hold … If they like that idea but it’s not feeling sparkly enough for them, maybe an unusual nickname for Joseph? OR — even better — I found some cool, unusual variants that I’m including in my list of official suggestions below!
  • Gilbert: Ahhh I love that this is their top boy name!! Of course I love Gilbert Blythe and G.K. Chesterton, and it’s definitely a “recognizable yet not common” name. It also swings their whole vibe to a distinctly British one in my mind, which I love! I also love that a G name would be the next in their sequence — those kinds of patterns are so fun if they can work out!
  • Arthur: This feels very similar to Gilbert to me, nice.
  • Ephram: This is one of those names I have a hard time pinning down … it has kind of a sophisticated feel to me, which goes along with the British vibe.
  • Edmund: I like the idea of trying to come up with a compromise name between Edward from Elise’s side and Edsko from hubby’s, and Edmund seems great.
  • Dominic: Elise didn’t comment on it, so I’m thinking it’s not a favorite? I do love it though! Felicity and Dominic are a pretty amazing pair.
  • Ambrose: I love that Ambrose fits with their British-y feel and also with the Catholicky Catholic side! And really, Edmund and Dominic do too.
  • Florence: I was surprised that Florence is their top name! It’s a great name, but I would have thought of it as having a different feel than Felicity. That doesn’t have to be a problem though! I’d much rather they choose names they love! I like Flora a lot — in fact, I would have thought of Flora as Felicity’s sister quicker than Florence. Wren is cute too! As for the two F’s, I wouldn’t worry about that — I would say three in a row makes a pattern that might be weird to break, but otherwise no big deal.
  • Ester: Est(h)er reminds me of Ephram with its Old Testament-ness, and I’ve always loved that Esther was a queen — so nice for a little girl!
  • Lucy: Ohh yes, I love Lucy for this family! I wonder if they’ve considered Lucia as a longer name? Or, since Elise mentioned Eloise, one of my favorite offbeat ideas to get to Lucy is Louisa with the nickname Lucy — maybe that? Felicity and Louisa, Flissy and Lucy?
  • Lillian: The Lily names were what my mind went to as well when Elise mentioned being due near the feast of St. Joseph, but they certainly are popular. Lilia is a variant I don’t see too much, if that helps. Also, any of the Lucy names could work as a nod to St. Joseph because of his title Light of the Patriarchs!
  • Iris: I’m so interested that Elise’s husband likes this but that she isn’t sure yet! In my experience, husbands don’t tend to be the ones that like fresher, less expected options! Grace Patton has an Iris, if that helps.
  • Middle names of Rose and Ann: Lovely.
  • James: For some reason, James feels very British to me! I can totally see them liking it.
  • Gideon: Gideon has long been a favorite of mine! Funny, though, that they have both Gilbert and Gideon on their list — when the actor who played Gilbert Blythe died in 2015, I posted about the nickname Gil and since Gilbert isn’t my personal style, I’d come up with other ideas to get to Gil — Gideon Louis was a combo I liked!
  • Rilian: Gilbert, Gideon, Rilian, and Lillian are kind of all swirling around a similar sound family, so it makes sense to me that Elise and her hubby like them all. If William wasn’t so very familiar, I wonder if they would like it? What about Maximilian? I have another idea below in my list of official suggestions that’s inspired by these three as well.
  • Camille: I’d love for both parents to love the name they choose, so if either of them aren’t on board with a name, I’d definitely shelve it for now.
  • Eloise: See my comments above re: Lucy.
  • Cora, Vera: These are great names, and since Elise likes them but hubby doesn’t, I included some ideas below inspired by them that might do the trick instead.

So I think they have a lot of great ideas!! But of course I can always come up with more. 😉

You might have seen from other recent consultations I posted that my trusty Baby Name Wizard is seeming increasingly out of date, but I did look up the names Elise and her hubs like in it to be sure I was on the right path. I also took a look at a few posts I’d done and one that was done for me that I thought might have some good ideas for this family:

This post I did on names to honor St. Joseph

This spotlight on a family who has Gilbert on their list for a boy

This birth announcement for a British-American family who has similar taste in names to this family I think

This consultation Abby from Appellation Mountain did for me when I was pregnant with my youngest, as I myself love boy names with vowel clusters like Gideon and Rilian.

Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Felicity’s new baby:

Girl

(1) Gemma

My hands-down number-one idea for this baby if a girl is Gemma! It’s saintly (St. Gemma Galgani), with a very British feel (there are a bunch of British actresses named Gemma, weirdly!), and it starts with G! I mean, come on!! And with its G being a soft G, they can easily follow it with Gilbert in the future without it feeling like too many G’s. I absolutely love Gemma for Felicity’s sister, and Gemma Rose is to die for.

(2) Clara, Claire, Corinna

These are all names that I thought might scratch the “Cora” itch in a way that Elise’s husband will like better! Clara and Claire came to mind immediately because of their shortness and beginning with C; Clara especially seems like a good fit since it also ends in -a like Cora. But then I thought maybe Corinna would be even better, even though it’s longer, as Cora can be a nickname for it! I like all of these as Felicity’s sister.

(3) Verity

Like Corinna for Cora, this the name that I thought might be a good substitute for Vera! I think Verity is such a cool name — it’s got an old fashioned feel while also holding new interest for today’s parents (one inspiration I’ve seen is the character of Verity in “Poldark,” which also gives it a nice U.K. feel). It means “truth,” which is fantastic. One possible negative is that it has the same ending as Felicity … but is that any different than Florence have the same beginning? Only Elise and her husband know how comfortable they’d feel with that!

(4) Juliet

I almost always suggest Juliet as a sister for Felicity! They’re style matches per the BNW, and additionally for this family, Juliet has that vowel-cluster-thing that they seem to like! I did a spotlight on Juliet here, including nickname ideas and saintly connections.

(5) Adelaide

Adelaide struck me as having the same description Elise gave for Felicity and Gilbert: recognizable but not common. It’s such a pretty name — I think it has a similarly feminine feel as Felicity, and its possible nickname Ada gives me an old timey feel, a little like Florence, Ester, and Gilbert.

Boy

(1) Gabriel, Gareth (or Garrett), Grant

I wanted to start my boy name ideas with some G options, like I did for girl names. Gabriel is one of my very favorites, so I had to suggest it! Gareth is probably a closer fit for this family’s style, as I think it feels particularly British; Garrett sounds similar to Gareth and has the added connection of deriving from Gerard (saintly connection alert!). Finally, I’ve seen Grant considered by several families who like/have used the name Felicity. One family considered it a nod to the “grant us peace” part of the Mass, which I thought was so cool.

(2) Jessop

This is the idea I had for St. Joseph that I mentioned above! In my post on names for St. Joseph, I included an entry from A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) for Jessop, Jessopp, Jessope, Jessup, Jessep, all of which reflect a pronunciation of Joseph from mid-sixteenth century England. I LOVE discovering that kind of info!! I know that Jessop (or whatever spelling) might not be quite right for this family, but then again — maybe it hits exactly the right note!

(3) Simon

When I think of British-feeling names for boys, Simon is almost always my first thought. I actually really love it for this family! It’s bookish and handsome and biblical, so great. I considered suggesting Simeon as well, since it has that vowel cluster, but I’m feeling like Simon is more their speed.

(4) Benedict

I was inspired to add Benedict to this list for two reasons: Dominic on their list of names they’re considering, and Benedict Cumberbatch for the British connection! Benedict is such a fantastic option for anyone loving a saintly + British vibe, and its medieval short form Bennett, which can also serve as a nickname, seems very similar in feel to Felicity in my opinion.

(5) Julian

If only Julian started with a G, I’d feel like this might be the perfect boy name for Elise and her hubby! It’s got a vowel cluster and it can have a British vibe — the only downfall is that if they use Julian for a boy, they can’t use Juliet for a girl, and I like Juliet for them more than I like Julian for them (but their opinion is the one that matters!).

(Bonus) Caspian, Tobias, Mathias

Finally, I wanted to add these names as a bonus, because I wasn’t sure they were exactly right, but maybe they are, and they’re all awesome. Caspian is so cool and has the Rilian feel while being a little more mainstream I think, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to make it one of my five main suggestions. And Tobias and Mathias I think could both be exactly right! But I suggested them both to Elise’s sister-in-law in a consultation I did for her a while ago, and I didn’t want Elise to think I was just repeating info! I also wanted to offer some other vowel-cluster names that I had on my own list, as noted in my consultation by Abby from Appellation Mountain: Joachim, Campion, Jeremiah, Elliott, and Damien.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Felicity Hope?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, 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 (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

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Birth announcement: Eloise Josephine!

Becca’s consultation was the first of the five I opened up for January, and when I posted it, she was expecting the baby any day — her first girl after four boys! I was so excited to hear from her that she and her husband had given their daughter the long-loved and beautiful name … Eloise Josephine!

As Becca had said in the consultation, “I swore if I would have a girl I would name her Eloise. So this whole pregnancy I’ve pretty much been trying to find a middle name that I like with Eloise but I can’t seem to find ‘the one’” — I’m so happy that she did! Eloise Josephine is absolutely gorgeous!

Congratulations to Becca and her husband and big brothers Henry, Theodore, Everett, and Oliver, and happy birthday Baby Eloise!!


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, 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 (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

New CatholicMom article, and info on Chinese and Japanese names

Happy Thursday everyone! A few things of interest today:

My January CatholicMom article is up! “Naming Your Baby After St. Joseph” was informed by a couple of blog posts I did recently to help expectant parents (and Confirmation candidates?) work St. Joseph into their babies’ names (or their own) during this year devoted to him.

Please share with anyone who think might be interested!

And I read two interesting articles recently:

Why 1.2 billion people share the same 100 surnames in China” on CNN.com. I was surprised to find that, though language and limited racial diversity play a role, technology is actually a huge reason why there are, currently, as few surnames in China as there are:

“… people with rare characters in their names, which aren’t compatible with existing computer systems, can get left behind — pushing many to change their names for the sake of convenience, even if it means abandoning centuries of heritage and language.”

“Abandoning centuries of heritage and language” is such a painful thing to read!

And there was this, which I found shocking:

Japan asked the international media to change how we write their names. No one listened” (also on CNN). I’m amazed that in this day and age, when there is more sensitivity than ever to one’s personal preferences about his or her name (whether it’s one’s given name, or a new name chosen later on), and that aside from names, cultural insensitivity is completely unacceptable, English-language media sources are refusing to switch to writing Japanese names with the surname first, as is their local custom and request.

For now, most media outlets are unwilling to make a change if no one else is, creating an inertia loop whereby inaction begets inaction. CNN Business could not find any major publication which refers to the Japanese prime minister as “Abe Shinzo,” and no outlet which responded to a request for comment suggested such a switch was imminent.”

There are some other factors at play — like the fact that Japan itself switched to the Western style of “family name (surname) last” in the late 19th century when communicating in English — but even still, wow.


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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Names for St. Joseph

A few people have asked for help in coming up with ways to honor St. Joseph (beyond the obvious), which is a fun topic to pursue! I’ve spent quite a bit of time brainstorming and researching, and yet I feel like there must be more ideas out there, so please add yours in the comments! This is what I came up with:

In an article I wrote for CatholicMom a few Christmases ago entitled “Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies,” I wrote:

Names in [St. Joseph’s] honor for boys include, of course, Joseph, and its variants in other languages, such as Josef and Jozef, Giuseppe, José, and Joosep. Several of the non-English diminutives and short forms are intriguing as well, including Pepe, Seppel, and Zef.

The feminine Josephine is currently popular, but other options for girls include Josephina, Josepha or Josefa, Josée, and Giuseppa, with the sweet diminutives and nicknames Josie, Posy, Josette, Josiane, Pina, and even Fifi.

In Matthew 1:19, we’re told that Joseph was a ‘just man,’ so Justin, Justus, and Justine or Justina could also work as honor names for him.”

There are a whole bunch of other variants listed at Behind the Name that you might like to peruse. Beyond the names related to Joseph itself or to his reputation as a “just man” are names related to the symbols associated with him, like:

  • The Lily names, since St. Joseph is often portrayed with a lily because of his chastity
  • Branch, as one of his symbols is a branch (see my post on Longmire for an example of Branch as a given name)
  • Carpenter, as he was a carpenter and is represented by a carpenter’s square specifically and carpenter’s tools in general. I’ve never heard of Carpenter as a first name, but it’s not really different from other occupation names like Mason, Taylor, and Carter, right? Maybe with Cap as a nickname?
  • Callixtus, which is a Callistus variant that may have been influenced by calix, which is Latin for “wine cup” and is where our “chalice” comes from — one of St. Joseph’s symbols is a chalice. (My spotlight on Callixtus here)
  • Cruz or Croix or other “cross” names, as the cross is one of his symbols.
  • Agnes, as a lamb is one of his symbols and agnus — Latin for “lamb” — is visually similar to Agnes
  • Rod (Roderick, Rodney, or any name that could nickname to Rod, or maybe ROD initials), as a rod is one of St. Joseph’s symbols

Aside from his symbols, perhaps also:

  • Stone, as CatholicSaints.info noted that he was a “Builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker”
  • David, since he’s a descendant of the house of David
  • Foster, since we refer to him as Jesus’ foster father

And the lovely Litany to St. Joseph offers these ideas:

  • Lucy, Lucia, Luz, Lux for his title Light of the Patriarchs
  • Chastity, for his chastity and his title Chaste Guardian of the Virgin
  • Prudence, as he’s prudent
  • Valiant, as he’s valiant
  • Faith, because he’s faithful
  • Patience, for his title Mirror of Patience
  • Glory, Gloria for his title Glory of Family Life
  • Pilar, for his title Pillar of Families
  • Consolata, for his title Consolation of the Afflicted
  • Hope, for his title Hope of the Sick

I also looked through A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) and found this:

Pretty cool!

I’ve been too-long delayed in getting this posted, so I haven’t gone through these prayers listed on CatholicSaints.info, but they may have some good ideas as well:

What ideas can you all add to the wonderful desire to honor our good St. Joseph in a baby’s name?


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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Peter Joseph!

Be sure to read the previous post — some fun things brewing in this month of Our Lady!

I’ve done a bunch of posts for Dwija from House Unseen, Life Unscripted, including a consultation for baby no. 8, then another consultation for baby no. 8 (so fun!), then a prayer request for that baby, then a name announcement, and a birth announcement. Baby no. 8 had lots of Sancta Nomina love! I’m delighted to now share that Dwija’s had baby no. 9 — a little boy, given the so-handsome (and feastday-appropriate for today’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker!) name … Peter Joseph!

Dwija writes,

We actually broke one of my naming ‘rules’ because we already have a P name (Paul). But when we saw his ultrasound photo, I had to agree with my husband that he was a Peter 😅. Peter is also a family name and fits well with our other kids. His middle name, Joseph, is not a family name, but my husband has developed a special devotion to St. Joseph recently. Also, he was born on the Feast of the Presentation, we liked the connection to Joseph and Mary presenting Jesus in the temple.”

I love all of this! It’s so fun hearing about someone breaking their name rules upon encountering the perfect name — only a very special name can do that! And of course I love the connection to St. Joseph, both through Dwija’s hubby’s devotion and through the feast day Peter was born on. Well done!

Congratulations to Dwija and her hubs and big sibs Kathryn Marisol (Katie), Elizabeth Anne (Lizzie), Paul Anthony, Cecilia Jean (Ceci), Mary Isabel, Nicholas Robert (with Jesus), John Charles (Charlie), and Helen Margaret, and happy birthday Baby Peter!! (Check out his sweet face on Dwija’s Instagram!)


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 the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

It’s May! (Baby name consultations are now open!)

Happy May! Month of Our Lady! Feast of St. Joseph the Worker! (Which was instituted as a counter to the Communists’ “May Day,” as my historian friend shared with me today. Did you know that? I didn’t! How cool!)

Being that this is the month of Our Lady, I have a few goodies for you all! First up: I’m reopening baby name consultations! Details, including cost info, are here.

I’m also dedicating my site and its associated social media to Our Lady. We’ve been under the patroness of good St. Anne for so long, which is so wonderful and isn’t changing, but Mother Mary needs an official shout-out! (I mean, beyond alllll the Marian posts and of course my book of Marian names!) I’m adding wording to this effect under my roses (under my menu, to the right).

Be sure to check in frequently during the month for other fun things I have planned! (I’ll also be posting a birth announcement later this evening!)


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 the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!