Be sure to read my update, which I posted just a few minutes ago! Then enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!
Mama Mandy writes in needing help with a girl name for their 6th child, 5th on earth:
“We are team green but really need help with a girl name. We have always had a hard time coming up with girl names whereas boy names seem to be endless for us!”
This child will join big siblings:
Francis Emmanuel (in heaven)
They have some rules for naming their children! She writes,
“Must be a saint or have a clear saint connection for the first name. We chose St. Anne for Anna’s patron saint but otherwise the patron saints are obvious. This is important because we ask for our patron saints’ intercession every night during bedtime prayers! Must be clearly a boy or girl name (nothing gender neutral), must be spelled correctly when I tell you their name (Catherine has been mostly ok, surprisingly!), and must be correctly pronounced when you see it on a piece of paper. I was a teacher before I had kids and these rules are 99% because of my experiences there. Must have a family name either in the first or middle name spot.”
Family names they have to work with are Marie, Mary, Elizabeth, and Marian. I love these names. With the exception of Elizabeth, they’re all Mary-related names, which makes choosing a first name to go with them easier.
Mama Mandy writes about their naming style,
“Obviously, we like pretty traditional, classic, some would even say boring names! And all of our kids go by their given names; we don’t do nicknames. One thing we didn’t do on purpose is, with the first three kids, we used 2 syllable first and middle names. I felt like we had to continue that with Anna since we thought, at the time, she might be the last one. I still like the cadence of 2 syllables, but it’s not a hard and fast rule with this baby since most people don’t even notice. Another bonus for this baby (but not a deal breaker) is if we could use a different first initial. It’s just so handy to be able to label things with one letter!”
Some names they can’t use include: Claire, Bridget, Theresa, Lucy, Grace, Sophia, and Cecilia (which they had previously loved for one of their other children but was then used by a family member).
Names they like include Elizabeth, Marie, Monica, and Felicity. Mama Mandy wanted to know if Felicity is too “fluffy” next to her other kids.
Some thoughts on names they like:
Elizabeth– Mama Mandy is right that Elizabeth is popular and always has been. It has consistently been in the top 20 since the 1880s. It is the most enduringly classic girls’ name there is. She’s probably hearing it a lot because it is being used a lot! It is significantly more popular than their other children’s names (Robert is #79, Catherine #325, Patrick #213, and Anna #84) but stylistically, it fits perfectly. They said their style is traditional, classic, and kind of boring — Elizabeth fits that all to a T! That’s a really good thing! However, if they’re really not feeling Elizabeth, try Lillian instead. Lillian started out as a diminutive of Elizabeth (so they can still get all those good St. Elizabeth patrons in or she could take St. Lillian of Cordoba as her patron) but is now more often used as an embellishment of Lily. Lillian currently ranks at #51 and was in the top 40 or higher throughout the 1920s. Lillian might be the perfect way to honor the Elizabeths in their life while giving this child her own identity and a less popular name. Lillian Marie is gorgeous! So is Lillian Mary. For what it’s worth, Elizabeth Marie, Elizabeth Mary, and Elizabeth Marian are all beautiful, too.
Marie– Beautiful name but if they both aren’t excited about it, I’d keep this for the middle spot. Marie pairs beautifully with literally any name out there except other Mary variants. It’s so wonderfully versatile. I love this in the middle spot. In terms of popularity, it’s currently at #598 and was a top 20 name in the 1920s.
Monica– I like this name a lot and it’s popularity has stayed fairly steady. It was a top 500 name in the 1920s and is currently at #693. Not overused, not weird. I don’t know how “classic” this name is, though. It sounds good with their other kids and Monica Marie is swoon-worthy. I love the cadence of that! Great name and great patroness.
Felicity– Mama Mandy asked if I thought this name was too “fluffy” next to their other kids and my answer is, not really. It is more embellished than the others but not overly so. She’s a little more modern than their other children (although we know she’s actually pretty ancient because of St. Felicity) but Felicity didn’t enter the top 1000 names (so, she didn’t even enter the charts) until 1998. Currently, she sits at #441. Felicity Marie and Felicity Elizabeth are both so beautiful. I don’t mind the alliteration [with their last name], either, but maybe we can do better.
Of these, I actually really love Lillian for them. I think it bridges the gap between their other kids and Felicity and also takes out the anxiety of popularity.
On to new names!
This name means “gift of God” and was a top 5 name in the 1920s. Currently, she sits at #483, which I think they’ll like. Besides Servant of God Dorothy Day, there are St. Dorothy of Caesarea, St. Dorothy of Montau, and St. Dorothy of Aquileia. I love this name for them because it hits the traditional, classic, and popular in the 1920s notes without being popular today, is two syllables, and fits nicely with their other kids. She’s a little less “boring” (I don’t think their kids’ names are boring) than the others, too, which gives her just enough pep to stand out but not enough to not be part of the crowd. Dorothy Mary, Dorothy Marie, and Dorothy Elizabeth are gorgeous! I love the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Dorothy. Modern but classic, traditional but fun.
It’s currently #81 and was in the top 200 in the 1920s. This name strikes me the same way Patrick does: a little more popular now rather than then but not mismatched. It’s traditional but not so much classic. That’s fine! Especially since they have Patrick in the mix. It’s a form of the name Charles meaning not only is there Bl. Caroline Gerhardinger for a patron (which I totally count Blesseds and Venerables and Servants of God for patrons!) but they could also count any of the multiple Blessed Charlottes, as Charlotte is just a different form of the same name. In that vein, they could count any St. Charles or Karl as her patron or, if they wanted to stretch it a bit, they could count St. John Paul II as her patron, since his birth name was Karol, another form of Charles. Caroline Elizabeth is beautiful and I like the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Caroline. They would be repeating an initial, though, which shouldn’t necessarily bother them but they did bring it up as a concern.
This was inspired, in part, by Monica and Felicity, who strayed ever so slightly from their normal tastes. This name means “peace” and I like that it has a one word meaning like their other girls (Catherine means “pure” and Anna means “grace”). It currently sits at #674 but was a top 30 name in the 1920s. I think it’s criminally underused these days! There are a bunch of Sts. Irene but the most known are St. Irene of Rome, St. Irene of Thessalonica (who had two sisters!) and St. Irene of Macedonia (in the Orthodox Church, she’s known as St. Irene the Great Martyr or St. Irene of Thessaloniki, just so you don’t get confused it you look them up). I love Irene Marie, Irene Elizabeth, and Irene Felicity. Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Irene sound like characters out of a black and white movie. I love them together! Bonus, Irene is two syllables, just like the rest of them. If they named this daughter Irene, no one would say that their children have “boring” names (this is just patently untrue anyway, but this name would really cement that).
One unofficial suggestion that just won’t stop bugging me: Josephine. I didn’t include her in the official suggestions because Patrick’s middle name is Joseph and I didn’t know how they’d feel about almost repeating a name that way. She’s currently #72 and was a top 50 or higher name in the 1920s, meaning she really hasn’t changed in popularity and is a steady classic. I love the way Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Josephine sound.
Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?
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!