Names by the Letter: The Duggar Example
It’s hard for me to write this post about The Duggars— the subject of that TLC show about a family that expects to soon have 20 children—without getting into sticky subjects like values, religion and overpopulation. But my thoughts about the Duggar family’s choices are not what this blog is about: the names they have chosen are.
Few parents have the opportunity to name 20 children, and many a name enthusiast has hypothesized as to what they’d call their kids if they had to name so many. One of my favorite name web sites has put forth several posts about how each name choice restricts further choices for most parents. For instance: If I name my daughter Grace, I probably wouldn’t name my son Chase, if I named a son Daniel, I might not feel comfortable naming another child the similar-sounding Samuel. (The Duggars, unlike many parents, appear unbothered by similar sounding names; they have sons Joseph and Josiah, to cite one example). The Duggars gave themselves an extra restriction: They have named every child with the same beginning letter.
What does such a choice mean and is it a choice that appeals to other parents?
Many parents elect to name children with the same beginning letter as a symbol of family unity. The most popular names for twins last year were Ella & Emma for two girls, Jacob & Joshua for two boys, and Madison & Mason for twins of each gender. Depending on the pronunciation, the link can be subtle or pronounced. Madison and Mason might be a choice for parents who want it to be obvious they chose similar names for their babies, Maci and Milo's strikingly different sounds makes the first-letter connection a less blatant link.
The downside of choosing to name by letter is the constricting nature of that choice: you aren’t picking just names you love, you’re choosing only names that fit into the pre-set first-letter parameters. This can get tricky. If you name your first two kids Charlie and Cecilia are you married to following the pattern for a third baby? What if you don’t love any other C names? The Duggars appeared to run into that problem when they got to baby number six- who they named Jinger (it is pronounced Ginger, suggesting they would have preferred a G name for this daughter…I always thought if they were sticking to J names, Jinjer would be more accurate.) These are all things parents should consider as they name baby #2 (or any other kids).
And just for fun, lets go back to the Duggar names. Assuming they continue with the ‘J’ names, and the choices they’ve already used, what options exist for their 20th child?
For girls, Julia seems the most obvious choice— it’s the most popular girl’s ‘J’ name on the 2010 chart at #55. But the Duggars have overlooked that one before, Jasmine, Jocelyn & Jacqueline could also be winners.
For boys names, #4 Jayden seems a front runner, but Julian, Jude or Jayce could also be the perfect names.