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5 Tips for naming siblings

Having trouble naming siblings or multiple siblings in your large family? Visit any baby name blog on the internet, and you’ll see questions about “sib-sets.” Many parents-to-be consider not only what name to give their baby but also how it fits with the other children’s names. The larger the family, the more challenging the sib-set issue. Should we mix family and non-family names? What about traditional and trendy names? Get tips here on naming siblings.

Group of sisters

No discussion about large families would be complete without reference to 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.)

Naming siblings same letter

Name expert, Kerri Hopkins, has written books about the correlation between a person’s name and his or her personality traits. Hopkins believes that the Duggar family selected J names so their children will “exude confidence, take charge, and earn every their every accolade.” Others, however, believe the Duggars were simply going with the flow. After naming the first half-dozen with the same first initial, how could they stop?

Do you also love names starting with the letter J? Get our list with thousands of J baby names here. In fact, you can search for baby names starting with a specific letter by using our advanced baby name search here.

The girls against the boys

Some familes decide to name all the girls in the family with names starting with one specific letter, and the boys with names starting with a different 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.

You may also like gender-neutral names. Check out our list of the top Unisex baby names here.

Honoring one’s heritage

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).

Search for baby names by specific origin, such as Irish, French, American or Spanish, by using our advanced baby name search.

Matching middle names

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 more tips on choosing a middle name 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!

Get more traditional baby name ideas here!

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, every child should bear a name that suits him or her. Whether or not it goes with sibling names is far less important. Josh Duggar named his daughter – and Jim-Bob’s first grandchild – Mackynzie. That doesn’t start with J!

For more baby name ideas:


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