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How to name a large family

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There was a time when big families were common and naming the children was easy: kids were named after family members or important religious figures. Today you have many options when naming large families. From naming siblings with names beginning with the same letter, like the Duggars or the Kardashians, to matching initials to identical middle names, check out our tips on naming large families.

large familyToday, it seems the only place you’ll see a really large family is on TV, like the Duggars of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting. Each of the home-schooled, violin-playing children was given a name that begins with the letter J: Joshua, Jana, John, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn and Josie. (Dad’s name is Jim-Bob.)

Here’s a look at how some other uncommonly big families selected names for their big broods:

Names Starting with the Same Letter

Kirstin Bellman’s mom was the eldest of seven children, five girls and two boys. The girls’ names all began with P: Patricia, Peggy, Phyllis, Paulette and Pam. The boys’ names began with J: John and James.

Jube Dankworth remembers a family with the last name McKim. They had 14 children and all paid tribute to their surname: one gender had M names and the other had K names.

Get more tips here on naming siblings starting with the same letter.

Baby Names from the Same Origin

Brenda C.’s best childhood friend, Renee, was one of eight. Renee’s family used a gender-specific pattern like the Bellmans and McKims, but they used their family tree as well. Renee and her four sisters – Michelle, Sherry, Jeanette and Monique – each bore a French name like Mom, while her brothers – Emmett, Frederick and Richard, were given German names like Dad.

The famous Pitt-Jolie kids are a worldly bunch, and their names reflect a global presence. There’s Maddox Chivan (adopted from Cambodia), Zahara (adopted from Ethiopia), Shiloh Nouvel (born in Namibia), Pax Thien (adopted from Vietnam), and twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline (born in France).

Get more exotic baby names here.

Same Initials

Linsey Knerl has four children and is expecting her fifth. Her three boys – Micah Joseph, Matthias James and Moses Jacob – all bear the same initials: MJK. If baby number five is a boy, he will be named Marcus Josiah. “I’m not sure why we went this route,” said Knerl, “but after naming our first boy we fell in love with the second boy’s name and then couldn’t leave the third out… it wouldn’t seem fair!” The Knerls’ only daughter (so far) does not follow her brothers’ MJK pattern.

Instead of giving their kids matching initials, Joe and Rose H. gave matching names to their four offspring: son Joe, Jr. and daughters Sarah Jo, Shelly Jo, and Stacy Jo.

Get ideas for the trendiest middle names here.

Mixing It Up

Pekka Paavonpera grew up in a small town in New Zealand. One of the prominent families in her community, the Savage family, had 12 children. The first 11 had simple, conventional names – Jim, Tom, Jane – but the twelfth child was named Egavas. It took the neighbors awhile to figure it out, but eventually all realized that Egavas was Savage spelled backwards!

There were 11 kids in the Stodart family. Their names were Dave, Tim, Brian, Ann, Paul, Jim, Mary, Bob, Bill, Mark and Patrick. Just a few blocks away lived the Reifer family with 18 children. They, too, were given simple unrelated names.

Ultimately, whether or not sibling names go well together is secondary. Every child is unique and should bear a name that suits his or her individual characteristics.

More Baby Name Ideas:

How to Name Siblings

How to Combine Baby Names

Short and Sweet Baby Names


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