Baby name consultation: Perfect middle name for Roman?

Don’t you just love how Marian the month of September is?! We celebrated the Nativity of Our Lady on the 8th, the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, and Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th, and there are some lesser known ones like Our Lady of La Salette yesterday, Our Lady of Walsingham on the 24th, and Our Lady, Star of the Sea on the 25th. Such a great month!

Enjoy this week’s consultation from my co-baby name consultant Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kelle writes,

We have 6 biological children and have always dreamed of adopting. We have developed a super soft spot in our hearts for children with down Syndrome and have been pursuing special needs domestic adoption for more than a year. We have a girl name, but have always struggled with agreeing on boy names … We have semi agreed on the name Roman, but haven’t found any great middle names to go with it.”

What a wonderful thing this family is doing and the name Roman is just swoon-worthy!

Little Roman would join big siblings:

  • Hannah Claire
  • Genevieve “Genna” Marie
  • Isaac Thomas
  • Andrew “Drew” William
  • Benjamin Judah (He goes by both Benjamin and Judah)
  • Robert “Bob” or “Bobby” Cecil

What great names!

Kelle writes,

My husband likes plain, common, Catholic names.  He’d be all over John Paul, but everyone has a John Paul. Other names that have been on past lists but never been quite right are Paul, Jacob, Peter, Matthew. I never liked those enough because they are so common. My husband had a friend named Roman that died a few years ago and that made him a little more open to it. Although he is not sold 100 percent on it. I’m hoping that a good middle name might solidify it for him … Names I like that he’s rejected are Duncan, Wesley, Matthias, Winceslas, Thaddeus. I mentioned using Joseph as a middle name since it’s the year of St. Joseph and he is a foster father. Don’t know how that sounds though with Roman. Any name following Roman sounds like Roman is an adjective.”

First, some thoughts on their shortlist.

Paul– Pretty common in Catholic circles, I agree. It is a great, solid name, though, but I don’t think it has the pizzazz of some of their other kids’ names.

Jacob– Lots of nickname potential here, which might make it more palatable for Kelle, because it is pretty “run of the mill” otherwise. Besides Jake, you can do Jack, or Jay. You could even do Coby! Or, stretching it just a bit, Kolbe. A nickname is probably what would sell this name for Kelle and help it fit in with the other kids better.

Peter– Personally, I love Peter. It’s a strong name (literally means “rock”!) and you can’t go wrong with all the patronages. It also has lots of pop culture ties, making it a name that can cross all boundaries. However, it is popular in Catholic circles, although not as popular as Paul.

Matthew– Another fairly vanilla name that’s still popular over every demographic. I saw this and was going to suggest Matthias as a variant, but then saw that Kelle likes Matthias but Brian (husband) does not! Oh well. There’s a better name out there for them that combines their styles and desires for a name.

Kelle mentioned Joseph as a possibility but that she didn’t want the child to be called Joseph and worried that he would. What about a different name that has the Jo- beginning to honor St. Joseph but is a little less popular? Names I thought of were Josiah, Joshua, Jonah, and Jonathan. There are lots of others!

Or maybe even an international version of Joseph? Jozef, Giuseppe, Jose, etc. The nice thing about Joseph is that it’s so flexible and can literally go with anything and take so many different forms and nicknames. I know a Joseph who goes by Seph, for example! Lots to think about with this name

On to new suggestions!

(1) Charles/Karl

There are lots of saints to go with these names and either would be a nice nod to John Paul II, whose birth name was Karol, another variant! It means “man” or “army/warrior” and wouldn’t that just be a fantastic name for a little Down syndrome warrior? Roman Charles and Roman Karl both sound so strong, too.

(2) Silas

A name I think Kelle may like more than Brian, but I’m hoping maybe to sell Brian on this. St. Silas (also known by the variant name Silvanus) was a companion of St. Paul and helped write a couple of the epistles. It’s a great, underused name that is uncommon but not weird. It means “wood, forest”, if that appeals to them at all. Roman Silas has a strong but unexpected feel.

(3) Gabriel

There are so many saints to go along with this name and it is fairly popular in Catholic circles, but Roman Gabriel just sounded so nice to me that I couldn’t not include it. Its meaning really sold me for them, “God is my strong man”. What a fantastic meaning for anyone! And something I know they want their children to be. This might be the best combining of styles for them.

(4) Oliver

Okay, this one is super popular but for good reason! It’s such a lovely name with several meanings (“olive tree”- I like the tie to peace and the faith with this meaning; “elf army”- meh lol; “ancestor’s descendent”- nice to think about the long line of people this little man would join). There’s also phenomenal saint, Oliver Plunkett to go with! Roman Oliver just rolls off the tongue nicely, too.

(5) Dominic

Again, a name fairly popular in Catholic circles but not overly popular. There are, of course, lots of saints for patronage, too. Roman Dominic just sounds so strong and good. The name also means “of the Lord” which is so cool!

(6) Jerome

I initially was going to leave this name off of the list but then thought how nice Roman Jerome sounds and put it back on. Tons of saints but a very underused name. It also means “sacred name” which is what they’re hoping to give this little fellow!

(7) Jude

Finally, a last minute addition. This name is fairly popular across the board, but especially in Catholic circles. However, it’s still just off the beaten path enough to not feel “plain”.  I think this one may be a good mixing of their styles, too.

What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, 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.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Establishing style with first baby’s name!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I read the U.S Bishops’ “Labor Day Statement 2021” this morning and really loved the way Pope Francis has called for “all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, [to become] islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” — how beautiful! I’m also happy to post today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — please leave your ideas in the comments!

Also, I know I’m behind on replying to emails — I’m hoping to sit down and get through them all very soon! Thank you for your patience!

Today’s couple, Chris and Nina, gave me a wealth of information on themselves and what they’d like in a baby name. This is their first child, a little boy due in September, so they’re establishing their style for the first time! Among things they wanted to consider in a baby name was the following:

  • Somewhat important that a name isn’t too popular
  • Neutral for me about having a name connected with a particular ethnic/racial/religious background, somewhat important for Nina that it’s an American name or a Jewish name
  • Prefer a name that is male-specific
  • Somewhat important that the name is easy to spell and pronounce
  • Neutral about it having a particular linguistic meaning
  • Somewhat important that it’s unique in our social circle
  • Bonus if the name feels like a grounded masculine name

First, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the names on their shortlist.

Emmet– It means “whole” or “universal”, though I know meanings don’t necessarily factor in for them. It has an up-and-coming yet grounded vibe.

Everett– This gives off the same kind of vibe as Emmet.

Emerson– This has a real cool vibe and it’s starting to climb in popularity. It seems they like names that begin Es and that have a warm, grounded feeling. I love this name for them, actually, and would have suggested it if it wasn’t already on their list.

James– A very grounded, everyman type name. I know this is probably on their list due to it being passed down on Chris’s side (many men in his family, including him, bear this name!) but, other than that, it didn’t strike me as “them”. It would be great in the middle spot, though!

Lincoln– This has the surname vibe that they seem to like and also reminds me of Emerson.

Leo– It means “lion” which, while not one of Chris’s favorite animals, is an animal name like some of his interests! (I told you they gave me a ton of information!) I like that it’s short and snappy but with a really friendly vibe. This name feels very much in their wheelhouse.

Eli– This name has some great Hebrew roots, which is important to Nina, and is short and snappy like Leo but less common. I love this for them!

Malakai (Kai)– Another name with great Hebrew roots and is not very common but isn’t weird. An unofficial suggestion, perhaps they’d also like Macaiah/Micaiah. This is the full name of the prophet Micah and the name of several other Old Testament players. They can still get to the super cool nickname Kai with this and it’s more unusual (while still not being weird!).

Samson– Another cool name with a surname vibe. This name actually means “sun” which brings in their love of nature.

Wilder– Another surname name! It means exactly what it says, too, and that’s a great name for a little boy. I love this. I’m seeing it ever so slightly more often these days (my new nephew was just named Wylder). I think this is a great name for them except that it might be too many -er’s with their last name (which ends in -er).

Theodore– I love that they love this longer form and not just Theo. It’s a great name climbing in popularity but still relatively uncommon. Great name.

Jay– You can’t get anymore short, sweet, and to the point than Jay!

Rafael– I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see this on their list! It’s such a great underused name and I’d love to see it get more love.

Wesley– This name reminds me of the 80s and 90s even though it’s seeing an uptick in popularity again. The feel of this name is very cool, calm, and grounded but it doesn’t feel quite like them.

Okay, on to new suggestions!

(1) Pax/Paxton

This has the cool, grounded vibe they seem to like a lot. It’s outside the top 100 names in the US, meaning it’s uncommon but not unfamiliar. Paxton has the surname vibe they tend towards and nickname Pax keeps it short and powerful. I really love this name for them, it feels like them.

(2) Fletcher

That surname vibe rises again! This one is even outside the top 500 names in the US meaning they probably won’t run into another one but it’s still familiar. The only drawback I see here is that it ends in -er like their last name.

(3) Bastian

I thought they’d prefer this short form over the full Sebastian and it has fun nickname Bash to go with it. Sebastian is in the top 20 names but Bastian moves away from that popularity. It’s very masculine and strong without being over the top, too common, or in your face.

(4) Ezekiel

I thought this was a great marriage of Hebrew roots, their affinity for names that begin with “E”, and the cool but grounded vibes they tend to like. It is in the top 100 but a nickname like cool Zeke might help with that, too. It also means, “God will strengthen”, and a sort of strength is what they want for their child. This might be a really great way to bring most of their personalities and affinities together in a name. This might be a home run.

(5) Silas

This name feels so much like them to me. It’s at 100 in the US and is rising in popularity. It’s short, snappy, and grounded, and actually has the nature meaning of “wood, forest”. For a family that prefers the outdoors and would like to show it but subtly, this name might just be a hit.

(6) Jonah

This has the cool, grounded vibes I get from them, has Hebrew roots, and means “dove” which technically makes it a nature name. It also begins with “J” which I saw plays a large part in their family life.

(7) Shepherd

Finally, another surname name. David was a shepherd and so were several other Old Testament characters, which made me think they might like this name. It has a soft feel but is definitely masculine and grounded. It sits at number 602 in the US and is slowly rising in popularity. This name says to me a person who will be the master of his own peace and strength, someone who is independent, and someone who is a gentle leader.

Those are my suggestions! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 6 needs a classic name (maybe with a twist?)

I hope you all had a wonderful Feast of the Assumption! My story (not) about the name Assumpta continues to be one of my favorites. 😂 Enjoy this consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams, and offer your ideas for this family!

Mary writes in asking for help naming green bean baby #6! Baby will join older siblings:

Anthony Raphael

Kathryn Rose, who goes by Katie Rose

Daniel Louis

Martha Claire Therese

Christopher Karl Benedict

Agnes (in heaven)

Joseph Martin (in heaven)

She writes that they have some names on their shortlist, too, but just don’t feel like “the one”:

  • Sarah
  • Felicity
  • Alice
  • Nathan
  • Benjamin
  • Peter
  • Isaac

Names one of them likes but the other doesn’t or they can’t use for various reasons include:

  • Samwise
  • Mary Magdalen
  • Arthur
  • Amy
  • Mercy
  • Gwenfair/Mairwen
  • Gregory
  • Patrick

First, a few thoughts on their shortlist.

Sarah– Great name! So classic, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a style match for literally every one of their other children’s names, including their babies in heaven. Being honest, I think they’ve found The One.

Felicity– I love the femininity of this name and that it means “happy”.

Alice– That they love this was a little unexpected to me! It’s such a great name–– short, snappy, down to earth.

I love the combo Sarah Felicity Alice! It has such a great flow on its own and with their last name.

Nathan– I don’t agree that he’d get called Nathaniel (something Mary was worried about with her other kids’ names) but I guess anything is possible. This is a great name with their other kids.

Benjamin– If they’re only worried about him being nicknamed, have no fear. I know several Benjamins who are not Ben or Benny or Benji or anything else. Plus, they’ve kept all their other boys from having nicknames, especially Christopher! So I don’t think they’d have anything to fear here. Also, Benjamin Joseph is such a strong name and then could be nicknamed, if this tickles their fancy or funny bone, Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. Always good to have a laugh!

Peter– Great name that I actually don’t hear get nicknamed to Pete very often. My Peter is just Peter, if that’s helpful. With their other kids, I don’t think they could go wrong with this name.

Isaac– Another one that surprised me in the best of ways! Isaac is such a happy name, to me, and I think he’s so sweet with their other children’s names.

A note on double middles. Mary wrote wondering if three kids in a row with double middle names would be too much. To that I say, love them! I and all of my children have them. If they gave this child two middle names, half of their children would have double middles and half would have single middles.

On to new suggestions! I’ll start with the girls first.

(1) Veronica

This reminded me of one of the other names on their list, Victoria. It’s got the punchy V and more feminine feel. It’s frilly but still down to earth, which I thought might bridge Mary’s and her husband’s styles. It’s also a style match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel. It means “true image” which is such a great reminder to be an image of Christ in the world! There is, of course, the St. Veronica who wiped Jesus’s face, but there’s also Sts. Veronica Giuliani, Veronica of Binasco, and so many more.

(2) Anna

Anna, rather than Ann(e) is a little frillier but still, short, spunky, and down to earth. I love that for these guys. There’s also tons of saints to take a patronage from and means “grace”. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and also Sarah, so it’s right in their wheelhouse.

(3) Helena

I thought of this name almost immediately for them. Mary’s love of the name Mercy made me think of this as it’s St. Faustina’s birth name and that ties it into the Divine Mercy. It also means “torch” or “moon” giving it lots of different faith tie-ins. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes, too.

(4) Flora

This is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and means “flower” giving it the tie-in to St. Therese. I like that this is a little more unexpected, like Martha, and is short but still feminine. I had no idea until I looked it up but there are several saints with this name! Sts. Flora of Cordoba and Flora of Rome, Bl. Flora of Beaulieu, and Ven. Flora Bracaval.

(5) Marina

This is maybe my most unusual girl name suggestion. I was thinking of Maria for them but then this name came up as a match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel and it struck me as a good name for them. It has the down to earth, classic feeling of Sarah with the longer femininity of Felicity. It means “of the sea” so it can be a reference to Mary as star of the sea. In the Eastern Church, St. Margaret of Antioch is known as Marina and there are several other saints Marina, too.

On to boys!

(1) Henry

A good strong name with very few natural nicknaming possibilities. This name is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and thought it brought Mary’s more classic tastes and her husband’s strong tastes together really well. There are a couple saints to go with the name, too, if they need that.

(2) Rufus

Initially, I didn’t think this name was a great fit for them, but as I continued researching, it grew on me. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and there are several saints, including a companion of St. Paul to go along with it. That surprised me, too! There’s not too much info on any of them, but St. Polycarp called one of them a “very happy man”, which I thought would be sweet for a son.

(3) Paul

Speaking of Paul, what about his name? It’s a match for most of their children’s names and is a good, strong name with no nickname potential. I was thinking that if they love Peter but are worried about nicknames, maybe they’d like Paul instead.

(4) John

It doesn’t get anymore classic and strong with little nickname potential than John! It’s a style match for all of their other children’s names, too. Their love of the name Sarah actually made me think of John and then he matched all of their kids. They cannot go wrong with this name. The only drawback might be that it’s still pretty common.

(5) Samuel

I know they’d worry about him getting called Sam or Sammy, but they’ve done such a great job with making sure their other boys don’t get called by nicknames that I think they could handle this one, too. Samuel is a style match for all of their other children’s names and Sarah and it means “God has heard”. I couldn’t not include this name as I really think it’s a home run for them!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Pop culture + unique for him, super Saintly for her

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Allison writes in asking for help with names for the little green bean (gender unknown) they are expecting. Baby joins big siblings:

William Michael (in heaven)

Emilia Grace (in heaven)

Autumn Kateri

First, what great names!

Allison writes:

Christopher [husband] prefers very unique names (think – things found in Star Wars or your favorite video game), and I tend towards different saints – Felicity, Philomena, etc.

I have a strong devotion to St. John the Apostle, but Christopher doesn’t love the name John.”

Pop culture references are my jam! I love unique names that tie together both secular interests and the faith.

Names they won’t use:

  • Tristan
  • Renee
  • Nicole
  • Erin

Names on their shortlist:

  • Zoe
  • Isla
  • Aubrey
  • Jade
  • Estelle
  • Judah
  • Daire
  • Griffin
  • Ze’ev
  • Beo

First, I wanted to give some thoughts on their shortlist. They have some awesome names on there!

Zoe: I love this name and yes, I’m a little biased. You can’t beat its short and snappiness and its meaning, “life.” But this isn’t just the biological life but the spiritual life! It’s like asking to be filled with God’s life. There are also two fantastic saints, Zoe of Rome and Zoe of Pamphylia (my patroness). I just love this name and don’t think you could go wrong with it.

Isla: This struck me as so you guys. I love this as a sister for Autumn, too. I like that, with this name, all your girls would have names that begin with vowels. I think that’s cool!

Aubrey: Again, such a lovely name that struck me as so you two. The only drawback with this one is that she and her sister would have names that start with the same sound and letters Au-. It might feel like starting a pattern and I’m not sure you’d want to set that precedent with child number 2. Maybe for a child down the line.

Jade: I love that they like this name! You don’t see it very often and I think that’s a shame. I love that Jade and Autumn both have rich, warm feelings.

Estelle: I was truly surprised by this one! To me it still says “grandma” but that usually means that it’s time for a renewal! I love the thought of a little Estelle. It’s meaning, “star”, can also point to Our Lady to give her a bit of a faith tie-in.

Judah: Such a great name and a great way to honor Jesus.

Daire: I’d never heard this name before, so I had to look it up. What a cool name! I love its meaning of “oak tree.” You want your son to be good, strong, and faithful and this name would convey that.

Griffin: I love that they love slightly more unusual boys’ names. There’s such a wealth out there that many people don’t dig into. Again, this is a great, strong name. You couldn’t go wrong with this one at all.

Ze’ev: Another name I had to look up. This one strikes me as super cool, especially with its meaning of “wolf,” but it would definitely set a precedent for future children. Maybe in the middle spot? It’s short and snappy and has the zippy Z that’s totally in right now. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’d be sad if they didn’t find some way to tie this name in. I love cool, unusual names! I wish more people were as adventurous as this couple!

Beo: Another one I had to look up! I’m loving all that I’m learning from this couple! So this Irish name bears a similar meaning to Zoe, which is cool. I’d never come across a male name that did this before. It’s short and snappy, which seems to be a theme for them. This does make me think of Beowulf, which maybe isn’t something anyone else would think of or even anything that would bother them.

Okay, so on to new suggestions! We’ll start with girls

Girls

(1) Lydia

Lydia is a match for Autumn and reminds me of it, too. Both Autumn and Lydia are names that remind me of the 1990s and popular culture of that time. There’s the saint Lydia Purpuraria, patron saint of the color purple, to go with this name, and she’s super cool! She helped St. Paul a lot. There are also characters named Lydia in the video games Skyrim, Dishonored, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and in lots of television shows and movies. If you want a good faith and pop culture crossover, Lydia is their girl!

(2) Anastasia nn Stella

Anastasia means “Resurrection” which is a fantastic meaning for a child you want to be able to grow with the changes life will throw at her. Anastasia is also a saint named in the canon at mass, which would be super cool for a child to hear! I like that she would share a first initial with her big sister. If that bothers them, though, there are nicknames besides Ana or Anya to go with this name. There’s the classic Stasia or Stacey and then there’s Stella. Stella is an Old Slavic nickname for Anastasia. I can’t find any reason why, but it is! This would also nicely tie in their love of Estelle.

(3) Luna

This name meaning “moon” really struck me as their style. It’s short, snappy, a little unusual, but totally cool. There’s no saint to go with it but it can be a nod to Mary as she is described as the moon. Also, fun fact, the lunette or luna is the part of the monstrance that actually holds the Eucharist. What a cool connection for a girl! There are so many Lunas in pop culture: Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Marvel comics, and plenty of video games, including Final Fantasy XV and Super Mario Bros.

(4) Ivy

This is another name that really struck me as their style. I love that with this one, the sisters would both have vowel names. This can also be a nod to Mary under the title Our Lady of Sorrows as the ivy plant is sometimes called Mary’s tears. There is an Ivy in the Batman comics and in video games Pokemon and Soul Caliber.

(5) Felicity

They had mentioned this name in their email as the type of name she tend towards but that her husband doesn’t. It fits them so well that I couldn’t leave it off. It is also a match for Autumn, Emilia, and William! It means “good luck” or “happiness” and I just love that for a younger child. There are tons of saints Felicity and also a character in the Green Arrow comics named Felicity. The actress who starred as Jyn in Rogue One is named Felicity, too. I really feel like this is a can’t miss name for them.

Okay, on to boys!

Boys

(1) Hugo

This was one of the first names that came to mind for them. It’s short, a little off-beat, but still familiar. It means “heart, mind, spirit” which, wow! Could you get anymore all-encompassing? There are all kinds of saints named Hugo or Hugh (its English form) including St. Hugh of Novara, Bl. Hugh of Canefro, Bl. Hugh of Sassoferato, and Bl. Hugo of Haarlem. There are also characters named Hugo in Batman, Harry Potter, Lost, and the Skylander video game.

(2) Dimitri

This one struck me as just off-beat enough for them. Its meaning is meh but there are several saints Demetrius (maybe they’d like that form of the name, too?) that tie it into the faith and there are characters named Dimitri in the Castlevania video games and the movie Anastasia.

(3) Jude

This was inspired by their love of Judah, so maybe they’ve considered this name before. It is fairly popular in Catholic circles, so maybe that’s a turn off for them. This is actually a form of the name Judah, which made me think that they’d like it. There are obviously tons of pop culture references to Jude and the saint of impossible causes. Come to think of it, a saint like that might be great for a little boy 😉

(4) Cassian

There are several saints named Cassian and Cassian is one of the main characters in Rogue One. Honestly, I think this name might be a hit for them because it’s unusual but not weird, can carry the nickname Cash to make it more digestible, and has ties to all the things they love.

(5) Lando/Landon

Believe it or not, there are several popes names Lando! I thought that was so cool to learn while I was researching. Of course, Lando is also the name of beloved Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. That name is actually a form of Lance, meaning “spear.” If Lando is a little too much on its own, I thought Landon was a great longer form. They’re not technically related, but who cares. Landon means “long hill”. I really love the sound of Autumn and Landon together and Landon is a style match for Autumn and William.

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Uncommon but not unheard of name to go with John for baby no. 6

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Adrienne writes in asking for help naming baby #6, a boy, due in October. Baby boy will be joining older siblings:

Constance Jane

Veronica Joy

Mark Ross “Ross”

Ambrose James

Silas Augustine

Adrienne says:

I don’t really want to repeat first letters, mainly just because it’s an easy shorthand, but I would do so for a really special name. I also don’t love alliteration with our last name (so that probably rules out “M” first names)…I also do not want the first name to rhyme with the last name. For example, I wouldn’t use Asher because the ending sounds too similar to [our last name that sounds like Heather]”.

Names they can’t use:

  • Jackson
  • Joseph
  • McCord
  • Cohen
  • Garner
  • James
  • Thomas
  • Jeremy
  • Jacob
  • Jordan
  • Alasdair
  • Names they like:
  • Benedict
  • Titus
  • Elias
  • Theodore
  • Atticus

Adrienne also adds:

If Baby had been a girl, we were considering Hazel, Felicity, and Aurelia.

My husband only has eyes for John (to honor St. John the Evangelist). He won’t consider Jonathan, which I have offered as a compromise, but might be willing to consider John as a middle name

We have also discussed forms of John (like Ewan or Ian) and double names like John Paul, but so far, he is resistant to those suggestions. To add a little bit of a wrinkle to the consultation, we are actually an Orthodox family. But, we are also Western Rite, so we love saints that are recognized by both East and West, like Ambrose and Augustine. We like our names to have at least one patron saint in the name. It can be a saint name from the Bible or more recent times.  Since St. John would be the patron saint though, I’m open to a not-yet-a-saint first name ideas as well (like our son Ross). My husband prefers names for boys that are strong/traditional. He’s not worried about whether a name is popular. I really prefer names that are more uncommon, but not unheard of! We do not care for gender-neutral names. We don’t want to use surnames or place names. We don’t care for unusual spellings. The cadence of the name is important to me. I like it to have a nice flow with our last name. My hesitation with giving in on “John” as a first name is mainly that it sounds plain next to our other kids’ names, like Ambrose and Veronica.”

Wow!! What great information for naming their child. I definitely kept everything in mind when doing their consultation. I agree that John sounds a little plain next to the other kids’ names but it’s also one of those names that goes with literally every other name out there. You honestly can’t go wrong with John! But I’ve got plenty of suggestions anyway.

First, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the names they said they like already but just aren’t clicking as “the one”.

Benedict: Great name, great saint! Fits well with your other kids and has the cute nicknames Ben and Benny. If you wanted to get a little unusual with this one (and maybe bridge the gap between Ross and the others), you could call him Ned.

Titus: Again, another great name and saint that fits in well with your others. I really like this one for you guys, actually.

Elias: This is a form of Elijah and I think this form does really well with your others. It’s unusual but not weird.

Theodore: Such a cute and handsome name! One that really would grow well on a child. So many nickname options, too! Theo, Teddy, Ted, T+middle initial. It’s so versatile!

Atticus: I adore this name and truly wish it was used more often. The name itself doesn’t have a standout meaning (It means “from Attica” which is the region in Greece where Athens is located) but it conjures images of a strong man, a father. I’d push you to go for this name but it repeats the A like your son Ambrose!

Adrienne’s husband loves John but she doesn’t so much (it is still very common) and, so far, he hasn’t gone for any variation of it. I hate to see a name and saint you love go unused because you can’t agree on a form of it! Here are some other variations of the name John:

Ivan– Russian

Johannes/Johan/Hans– German and Germanic languages (I knew a Hans growing up and he was so cool! I associate Hans with being really friendly, creative, and cool)

Jean– French

Giovanni/Gianni/Gian– Italian

Jonas– I love this more unusual, surname form of John. I also think this sounds so good as a brother for Ross, Ambrose, and Silas!

Zane– this is an American form of John. It’s unusual and got that punchy Z and is a great brother name to all your others, sort of bridging all the gaps and bringing them all together.

Evan– This is a Welsh form of John but I also thought this would be a cool way to honor St. John the Evangelist because it matches the first four letters of Evangelist!

Now for new suggestions! I kept all your rules and your faith in mind and here’s what I thought:

(1) Peter

It’s a match for all of your other kids’ names and has many many saints to go along with it, but of course, chief among them is St. Peter the Apostle. It’s a great name on a little kid and a great name on an adult. Short form, Pete gives is grounding and likability, too. And there are other nicknames I’ve heard, too, like Petey, Peep, PT, and Pepe (even though that’s actually a nickname for Jose!). Peter John is an incredible combo that I don’t think could be topped, also!

(2) Philip

Another Apostle and another match for all of your kids’ names! There are actually two Philips in the New Testament, too–– the Apostle and also, St. Philip the Deacon whom St. Paul talks about in his letters. Philip is an up-and-coming name ranking at 451 and it’s been dropping in recent years, meaning the only place you’d ever hear it is probably in Orthodox and Catholic circles. It’s got all kinds of nicknames to go with it like Phil, Philly, Pip, and Pippin, which makes it versatile.

(3) Bartholomew

This name is a match for your sons’ names and he was an Apostle (also sometimes known as Nathanael). I thought bringing in another heavy-hitting name would balance out Constance and Ambrose from their siblings Ross, Veronica, and Silas. Bartholomew does that! There are the traditional nicknames Bart, Barty, and Barth but you could get creative here and do Barto, Bam, Bolo, Art, Artie, Arth, or even Tolo. Personally, I love the nickname Bam but that could be because I associate that sound so strongly with little boys!

(4) Ignatius

St. Ignatius of Antioch is regarded as a Father of the Church in Catholicism and I think he holds a similar place in Orthodoxy? He’s a match for Ambrose and I thought how cool it would be for brothers to share that.

(5) Clement

Another early, heavy-hitting saint, Clement, with nicknames Clem, Clemmy, Lem, and Lemmy, balances out Constance and Ambrose against Veronica, Ross, and Silas. A great name meaning “clemency” or “mercy”, it reminds us of God’s greatest attribute.

(6) Basil

This is a name I’ve been begging my husband to let me use but he won’t go for it! It sounds too British to him and maybe to you, too? But St. Basil the Great is, well, great, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this name for you guys. He’s an early saint like Veronica and Ambrose, but he’s short and spunky like Silas and Ross. The name means “little king” and isn’t that just so fitting for child #6? This is also a name in Arabic and means “brave, valiant” which super cool!! This is, I think, a can’t miss name for you guys and Basil John is just so strong and swoony.

(7) Gregory

Finally, Gregory. I like this name for you guys as is connects and bridges all of the other kids’ names together; is familiar but not too popular (it currently ranks at 432); and has three amazing saints: the Great, Nazianzen, and of Nyssa! Greg is the obvious nickname but if that’s too old man for you there’s also Gregor and the incredibly cute and unexpected Rory!

Those are my thoughts! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: A name that works in both Spanish and English for baby boy

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July! I’m happy to share with you the first consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Lucy and husband are expecting their 6th child, 2nd boy, on Oct. 22, the feast day of one of their favorites saints, St. John Paull II. She writes:

My name is Lucia (after Saint Lucy and Sister Lucia), I go by Lucy, and my husband is Arturo, he goes by Art.”

Super fun already! I love Lucy for Lucia and that they both go by nicknames.

This baby will join big siblings:

Eva Elyssa

Samuel Benjamin

Bianca Pilar

Sienna Claire

Annie Elizabeth

Sienna and Annie are twins.

They need a name that works in both Spanish and English and would like a saint name to be prominent. They cannot use the names Lukas, Oliver, Mathias, or Fernando. And some of their favorite saints are St. Philip Neri, St. John Paul II (their favorite), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Bl. Carlo Acutis. Such great saints!

I kept these things in mind when looking up names and kept at the forefront that they love St. John Paul II and are due on his feast day. Here are my suggestions!

(1) Charles/Carlos/Carlo

St. John Paul II’s given name was Karol which is the Polish form of Charles. I thought Charles fit in with your other kids nicely! But I kept having the thought that it’s not very easy to pronounce in Spanish. That led me to Carlos, the Spanish variant. Maybe you would like that better? It also looks closer to JPII’s native Karol than Charles does. But I couldn’t shake Carlo and how cool it is that Bl. Carlo Acutis is newly in everyone’s minds. Then you told me you love Bl. Carlo Acutis! I feel like Carlo for St. John Paul II and Bl. Carlo Acutis is a home run name for you guys.

(2) Thomas/Tomás

I included the Spanish version here just for the sake of keeping that at the forefront, however, I think any Spanish speaker would pronounce it the Spanish way no matter which way it’s spelled. I like this name for you because it is a strong saint name, it’s a name match for all the children, and has similar nicknames to Samuel, Tom and Tommy, like Samuel has Sam and Sammy. It would be a neat way to connect the brothers, especially since the girls all have more Spanish/Latin sounding names.

(3) Oscar

St. Oscar Romero is a great patron and the name is a match for all the children’s names. It’s easily pronounced in English and Spanish and is a little unusual while still being accessible.

(4) Gabriel

This was actually the second name to come to mind for you. It fits the English-Spanish rule, has super cute and accessible nickname Gabe, and goes well with your other children. It also bridges the gap a bit between Samuel and Annie to Eva, Bianca, and Sienna. There’s a number of Saints Gabriel, including the Archangel and Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(5) Francis/Francisco

Because St. Francis is one of your favorite saints, I’m sure you’ve already considered this name but I couldn’t leave it out. Francis sounds much more English, but that would be good beside Samuel and Annie while not ostracizing the others. Francisco bridges the gaps between all the other names and really brings them into coherence. Both can take the adorable nickname Frankie which helps ground it.

(6) Augustine/Agustin/August

A friend of mine once told me her Mexican grandfather’s name was Augustine nicknamed Auggie and since then, I have thought of it as being easily pronounced in both English and Spanish. There’s the Spanish spelling Agustin or the short form August. It’s a strong saint name, which adds to its appeal. It also carries the nickname Gus which is super cute, especially with brother Sam/Samuel! Bonus: Bl. Miguel Pro’s middle name was Agustin!

(7) James/Jaime/Santiago

My last thought was James with the nickname Jaime to make it easy to pronounce in Spanish and English. It’s such a good, strong name and was carried by two apostles! I didn’t think you’d like Diego here, even though that’s the standard Spanish version, but I did include Santiago just in case you wanted to get a little wild with this baby! Plus, the nickname Santi, which means “holy”, is adorable!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Out with the old (temporarily), in with the new

Happy Thursday everyone! There are some changes happening here at Sancta Nomina, which I’m excited about!

First: Starting today I’m going on hiatus from baby name consultations until probably around Christmas — some things are happening in my family (all good!) that I need to be able to focus on for the rest of the summer and through the fall, but I think things should even out by Christmas. That said, I won’t be off the blog entirely — I hope to use these next few months to clean up the blog a little (update old links and other housekeeping) and finally get some posts written from my list of topics that keeps growing and growing, and I’m always happy and eager to receive your birth announcements! I’ll still be posting those on the blog with parents’ permission (and as always, if you prefer to keep our email correspondences private, that’s totally fine!).

Second: Those of you who would like baby naming help will still be able to receive it! I’m happy to announce that longtime reader, Catholic mama, and baby namer extraordinaire Theresa Zoe Williams will be offering baby name consultations through Sancta Nomina! Theresa has told us about herself and her naming sensibility in the guest posts she’s written here over the last few months, and here she introduces herself as a our new baby name consultant:

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The New Baby Namer In Town

I have been naming things since the moment I could speak –– stuffed animals, pets, cars, characters in my stories, and even three children of my own (you can read about their names here and here). All of my children and pets have two middle names (the dog is Jackson Coakley Francis and goes by Jack) because I have two middle names (my parents wanted to honor both sides of their family while still using their favorite saint’s name). As part of a family tradition, I also took on my Confirmation name as part of my legal name, which is where the Zoe comes from. I have always been interested in finding creative ways to honor the people in my life, like my oldest daughter’s name being both my and my mother’s birthstone, giving each child a unique name but one grounded in their history. Kate has even called my style of naming spunky but grounded! Naming, for me, has always carried the weight of the sacred and it is a unique way to enter into the life of the Creator. I am pleased to announce that I will now also be offering baby name consultations to the public.

Just as I have experience naming things and people in my own life, I do come with experience of helping to name other people, too. The first time occurred almost four years ago. A woman I was acquainted with asked a group of Catholic moms that I was a part of for help in naming her third child, a boy. She set out all of her parameters and offered a gift card to the person who suggested the name they ended up choosing. The most important criterion was that the name had to be connected to the Passion in some way. We all had at it. I rattled off a couple suggestions but then one name hit me like a ton of bricks. I researched the name to make sure my perceptions of it were correct and then suggested it. Tristan means “sorrowful”, was not on their “couldn’t use” list, went well with another name they liked for a good first-middle combo, and wasn’t too popular nor weird. The woman and her husband loved it! They named their baby Tristan Oliver and I was awarded a $15 Starbucks gift card.

As far as naming goes, I tend to go off of my gut instinct and do research to back that up. I also look for creative and out of the box ways to meet criteria given by the parents. To practice, I asked a group of women if they would allow me to try to guess their naming styles. They gave me sibling names and maybe another detail or two about what they look for in a name and I would rattle off six to twelve guesses or suggestions. Many of them exclaimed that I had correctly guessed some names on their lists and many of those women also said that I’d given them more names to add to their lists!

Helping families find meaningful names they love for their children is a passion of mine and I’m so honored to help anyone I can. To kick off my tenure as the new baby naming consultant in town, I’m offering my first three consultations for free, provided you are okay with me posting the consultation on the blog. This offer is good for regular and mini consultations. Logistically, I will be offering the same two types of consultations Kate does and for the same prices. To get a consultation from me, you can email me directly at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com. Thank you for welcoming me into the family!

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“Naming, for me, has always carried the weight of the sacred and it is a unique way to enter into the life of the Creator” — isn’t that beautiful?! Theresa has such a great understanding of the awesome responsibility that parents have in naming — I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for you and your babies! As she noted, you can email her directly to request a consultation, and any requests that come to me will be forwarded on to her as well. Hurry to secure your place as one of her first three FREE consultations! The free consultations will be posted on the blog in order that you can get a feel for Theresa’s style and expertise. (I still have a few to post, so Theresa’s won’t post until July.)

If you’re not one of the first three free clients, you can use the Sancta Nomina PayPal buttons to pay for your consultation — the Mini is still $25 and the Ordinary is still $50, however the buy-my-book-and-get-a-discounted-consultation deal that I’ve been offering will be suspended until I return to consultations.

I know you will all be as gracious and lovely to Theresa as you have been with me all these years! And even though I have put an automatic away message on my email, I’ll still be checking email regularly and will reply to your non-consultation emails when I can.

Have a great rest of the week!


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!