Today, I’ve decided to write about two of America’s best known large families: the Duggars and the Bates. It piqued my interest because it is not common to meet families having (almost) 20 children nowadays! I also would secretly love to have the chance to name that many children… I’m going to introduce the families, list the names, the differences and similarities and make some commentaries. Have yourself a good read!
Both families came to the spotlight because of their size and each have a tv-show to show us their daily lives (and struggles?): 19 Kids and Counting (previously named 17 Kids and Counting and then, 18 Kids and Counting) and United Bates of America (ended after one season back in 2012).
The two families are Christian and “quiverfull”, referring to a psalm in the Bible (Old Testament, psalm 127:3-5) :
On the Bates family site (http://thebatesfamily.com/), there is this reference: Children are such a reward from the Lord as it states in Psalm 127:3-5: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
A new international version states: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”
It means that they don’t use birth control and trust the Lord to decide how many children they will have. And they both had 19 of them!
Zachary « Zach » Gilvin (b.1988): Zach’s middle name is dad’s first.
Michael Christian (b.1990): She’s also nicknamed Michaella. Kelly Jo says herself (http://thebatesfamily.com/about-our-family/): “As a young Christian, I wanted to give her a Bible name. I read a list of women’s names in the Bible and saw David’s wife (spelled “Michal”). Unfortunately, when she was less than a year old, I read through my Bible for the first time and discovered Michal wasn’t a good role model. We legally could change her name for free if we only slightly changed the spelling while she was under a year old. We changed the spelling to Michael, which means “Who is like the Lord,” which she has certainly tried to live up to!!”.
I understand Kelly’s explanation but Michael’s first name is such an American male classic… Combined with a more feminine middle, I could like it but just reading this name, I would say “boy all the way”!
Erin Elise (b.1991): The alliteration works well in this case, even though Elise wins over Erin for me.
William Lawson “Lawson” (b.1992): I like it, it’s a real comboy name but for me, this will always be William Lawson!
Kenneth Nathaniel “Nathan” (b.1993)
Alyssa Joy (b.1994)
Tori Layne (b.1995)
Trace Whitfield (b.1997)
Carlin Brianne (b.1998)
Josie Kellyn (b.1999): I’m assuming the middle name Kellyn honors mom, it’s a nice twist.
Katie Grace (b.2000)
Jackson Ezekiel (b.2002): Ezekiel is a guilty pleasure of mine, the “k” in the first and middle name are quite flowy.
Warden Justice (b.2003)
Isaiah Courage (b.2004): Kelly says: “Having had several critical accidents as a child, he has earned his middle name “Courage”.”
Addallee Hope (b.2006): Kelly explains: “Addallee means “The Lord is my strength and refuge”. The double letters in her name remind us that God gave her a second chance in life when she was born with complications that caused her breathing and her heart to stop. She has been a blessing from the start and adds joy to our life.”
I like the fact that Alyssa has Joy, Katie has Grace, Warden has Justice, Isaiah has Courage and Addallee has Hope, yay to virtue middle names!
Ellie Bridget (b.2007): Kelly writes: “Ellie Bridget means “Strong light”. She’s a bubbly little ray of sunshine that loves to give hugs and loves to cuddle up in someone’s lap.”
Callie-Anna Rose (b.2009)
Judson Wyatt (b.2010): Wyatt means brave, maybe a nod to “Courage”.
Jeb Colton (b.2012): I think Judson and Jeb are really modern brothers, good combos!
I really like the fact that Kelly and Gil seem to have given much tought to their babies’ names, they are meaningful and distinctive, well done!
Zach is married to Whitney and they are having a son in October 2014, Bradley Bates.
UPDATES (September 2015 and July 2016):
The Bates currently star in the UP TV show Bringing Up Bates and now have 3 granchildren (and counting):
As announced earlier, Zach and Whitney have a son, Bradley Gilvin Bates (born October 29th, 2014). Baby sister Kaci Lynn joined the family on June 20th ,2016.
Alyssa and her husband John have a daughter, Allie Jane Webster (born April 11th, 2015). Allie is a spin on mom Alyssa’s name, I’ve heard it stand on its own quite some times, let’s just hope mom is not nicknamed “Allie”!
After some struggles and painful miscarriages, Erin and her husband Chad safely welcomed their baby son, Carson Paine on May 14th, 2015. Carson is actually a nickname for Charles Stephen Paine IV. I think Erin and Chad had a brilliant idea to give him a “name of his own” because being a Junior, a II, a III or even IV (etc.) can be hard. A name is chosen by parents for their child for its significance, sometimes its sound and their expectations for the child’s future. To bear the same name as your father (and ancestors) can be challenging for a child because he can feel pressured to live up to those role models, he also has to find his place and his individuality. In this case, Carson has his “own” name, his personal name without breaking from tradition and honor his ancestors with his formal one. Erin is now expecting a baby girl, Brooklyn Elise (mom’s middle name) in August 2016!
Michelle explained she had a miscarriage a little while after her first child, Joshua, was born and that she named the baby Caleb. For John-David and Jana, she just liked the names and having named her three first children with a name starting with “J”, by the time she had her fourth, she named her Jill because she didn’t know if she was her last (!) and she didn’t want the child to feel left out if she named her Mary for example.
Joshua James (b.1988)
Jana Marie and John-David (b.1990)
Jill Michelle (b.1991): Jill bears mom’s first name, Michelle, as her middle one.
Jessa Lauren (b.1992)
Jinger Nicole (b.1993): I like Ginger but I’m surprised they didn’t find another “J” name they liked instead of “misspelling” this one…
Joseph Garrett (b.1995): This name has a cowboy feel to me (like Lawson Bates)
Josiah Matthew (b.1996)
Jedidiah Robert and Jeremiah Robert (b.1998): They share the same middle name, Robert (which also is dad’s middle) but their first is too close in sound in my opinion.
Jason Michael (b.2000)
James Andrew (b.2001): Joshua’s middle is used as James’ first, it’s dad’s first name (Jim Bob or James Robert) and an all-time American favorite for a good reason.
Justin Samuel (b.2002)
Jackson Levi (b.2004): I love Justin and Jackson’s full names, so cute!
Johannah Faith (b.2005): Joy-Anna and Johannah are far too similar for me but I know Joy-Anna is called Joy and Johannah goes by Hannie/Annie so, it helps.
Jennifer Danielle (b.2007): I was surprised with this choice because Jennifer was at his high in the 80’s. Still, it reamins a beautiful name (no wonder so many people liked it 30 years ago!) and I think this name is fitting for that little girl.
Jordyn-Grace Makiya (b.2008): Jim Bob said she was the first with three names and I think it’s cool. Jordyn-Grace is a fun combo!
Josie Brooklyn (b.2009): This nickname for Josephine can stand on its own and Brooklyn give it an extra edge, I like it.
Little Jubilee Shalom was stillborn on December 2011 (x). I like Jubilee, it’s different and Shalom gives it peace.
Josh is married to Anna since 2008 and they currently have 3 children:
Mackynzie Renée (b.2009)
Michael James (b.2011)
Marcus Anthony (b.2013)
UPDATE: Anna announces she is expecting her fourth child in late 2014.
Meredith Grace was born on July 16th, 2015.
When Anna had Michael, people commented about him and Mackynzie sharing the same first initial (“M”) and Anna replied they just liked the name. Now with Marcus, I’m guessing she’s following her MIL’s footsteps… Fun fact, the name “Meredith” was once suggested to Anna for a future baby by host Meredith Vieira from the Today Show.
Jill recently married (in June 2014) and she is expecting her first child with Derick Dillard, I can’t wait to find out the name! Will it be a boy or a girl? Will the name start with “D”, like dad Derick?! [His younger brother is named Daniel, so…]
UPDATE (September 2015): Jill and Derick had a little boy, Israel David Dillard on April 6, 2015. I really like his name, Israel has an edge and the middle name David compliments it well (and it starts with “D”!) Even though “Israel” conveys a lot of history (both past and present) and is a subject which often arouses mixed feelings, the Holy Land’s name can stand as as given name and means “prevails with God” or “wrestles with God”. Jill travelled to Israel back in 2011.
UPDATE: Jessa and her husband Ben Seewald are expecting a baby in November 2015! They welcomed a boy, Spurgeon Elliot who was nicknamed “Quincy” throughout Jessa’s pregnancy. Spurgeon is named after Charles Spurgeon, a 19th century preacher. It’s a contested choice that is meaningful to the parents. Although unusual for most, in their “circles” of family and friends Biblical names are overused. The reference to this religious figure is most likely to be well-received and it won’t feel like a stretch.
Fun facts and Comparison
Gil and Kelly Jo have 9 boys and 10 girls and Jim Bob and Michelle have 10 boys and 9 girls!
All of the latter couple’s children have a name beginning with the letter “J“, like their dad James.
Another difference is that Michelle has two sets of twins and all of Kelly’s babies where born as singletons!
After six boys in a row, Michelle’s four youngest are girls. Jackson, Warden and Isaiah Bates are close in age and referred to as “the three Stooges” in an Instagram picture.
The families share a Josie and a Jackson.
What do you think? Do you like their name choices?
Would you have named them something different? You can do it in the comment box!
See you soon,