Traditionally, whenever a couple has three or more children, they are labelled as a “large family” but there are many others who take the challenge or trust God to have eight or more children (I’m not talking about the Duggars and the Bates, you can read my post about their family here). I’m always fascinated by big families and, of course, the fun of naming that many children it implies. The families I picked are from the U.S.A., England, Ireland, Australia but also France and Belgium.
- In the US, Christi and David Cason are at the head of an 18-children brood! The Casons (family blog) are: Jessica, Chad, Dalton, Austin, Bailey (g), Gage, Kaylee, Harper, Emma, Rebekah, Trevor, Walker, Morgan (b), Laura Mae, Sawyer (b), Nathaniel Frost (born on September 1st, 2010), Vaughn Robert Dallas (born on October 15th, 2013) and Farryn J. (g) born on November 12th, 2015 (x)
Oldest daughter Jessica is a mommy of her own with husband Cameron, she has two daughters born around the same time as her youngest siblings: Jaedyn Rae Tyler (born in February 2013) and Charlie (born in November 2015) and a new addition: Melody.
Christi explained that she and her husband David try to look for unusual names because he hated being one of five Daves in his class. The names feel like they belong to the same family, there are “cowboy names” (Dalton, Austin, Gage, Walker, Sawyer) and unisex names (on boys – Morgan – or girls – Farryn !). The sibset is flowy and I like most names.
- The Willis family is an artistically-gifted family of 12: every child either dances or sings or plays one or more instruments (or juggles the three!). The Tenesseans even appeared on America’s Got Talent to showcase their talent.
Like the Duggars, all of Toby and Brenda’s children names start with the letter -J:
Jessica “Jess” Jane (b.1992), Jeremiah “Jair” Scott (b.1993), Jennifer “Jenny” Elizabeth (b.1995), Jeanette “Jet” Lynn (b.1996), Jackson “Jack” Scott (b.1998), Jedidiah “Jedi” Scott (b.1999), Jasmine Katarina “Jazz Kat” (b.2001), Juliette “Julie” Rose (b.2003), Jamie Christine (b.2005), Joy Anna (b.2006), Jaeger Scott (b.2009) and Jada Marie nicknamed “Dancer” (b.2010)
I’m not a huge fan of the same initials for all 12 children but I think the nicknames are great, especially “Jedi” and “Jet”. All boys share the middle name “Scott” which is nice since they are “only” four of them, it ties them in a subtle way.
- The Arndt family lives in Illinois (here is a video of the bunch). Mom Cathy and dad Rick have 14 children, thirteen boys and one girl:
Paul–Matthew Joseph (b.1980), John–Andrew Michael (b.1982), Mark–David Timothy (b.1983), Luke–Joseph Peter (b.1985), James–Michael Philip (b.1988), Philip–Thomas Luke (b.1990), Seth–Benjamin Mark (b.1991) Jacob–Timothy John (b.1993), Nathan–Stephen Paul (b.1995), after 17 years of boys, Mary–Elizabeth Anne was born in 1997, Caleb–Nicholas David (b.1998), Peter–John Benjamin (b.2000) and the youngest Arndt member David–Paul Andrew was born in 2003.
All siblings have hyphenated first names, they’re all Bible characters. I noticed some names are repeated like Luke, Philip and Michael. For instance, Joseph is Paul‘s second middle name and Luke‘s first!
- Miriam and DuWayne Heppner live in Minnesota with their 17 children (family FB): Jemima, Benjamin, Samuel, Josiah, Joseph, Abraham, Micah, Moses, Solomon, Joanna, Susanna, Abigael, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Rebecca, Rachael and Avianna.
Biblical and Hebrew names are some of my favorite because they are so diverse (although widespread) and timeless. Jemima, Abraham, Micah, Moses, Solomon, Susanna and Avianna are the ones that stand out for me due to the fact that they are less used.
- Jay and Kateri Schwandt live in Michigan with their 13 sons (you can take a look at this video): Tyler, Zach, Drew, Brandon, Tommy, Vinnie, Calvin, Gabe, Wesley, Charlie, Luke, Tucker Ray and Francisco Matthew. The bunch is not homogenously named (nicknames and -ee sound as in “Charlie” “Tommy” and “Vinnie”, last names as first “Tucker”, Biblical “Matthew” and a Saint in its Latin form “Francisco”) but it’s not all over the place either, as a unit, it remains cohesive!
- The Colorado-based Jeub family has 16 children: Alicia, Alissa, Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, Noah, Tabitha, Keilah, Hannah, Josiah, Havilah, Joshua, Priscilla, Zechariah and Elijah Luke. In this little video, we can take a look into the Jeub family from Lydia to Zech.
Chris & Wendy children’s names are mostly Biblical and Hebrew although Priscilla and Cynthia have Latin and Greek roots. Havilah and Keilah are little gems, Biblical place-names that are spot on for religious and avant-garde parents. Boys and girls alike bear an -a or -ah ending name, it’s a nice way to bond the siblings’ names.
- The Lairs (Apex, North Carolina) are a “smaller” family of seven children: mom made headlines in this gender reveal video in which she discovers while cutting a cake that, after six boys and assuming baby #7 would probably be another boy, she sees pink and almost faints! She’s finally having a little girl! ! Reporters rushed to the hospital to cover the story and the baby’s brothers names are really cool : Jackson, Campbell, Sawyer, Houston, Shepherd, Knox and Ruby (b.2015). I love occupational and last-as-first names. Mom and dad were torn between Ruby Sabra (meaning “prickly pear”) and Ruby Jane and decided on the latter. It’s cute that, even though, they were rooting for a little girl, they didn’t give her an overly girly moniker!
- In Australia, the Bonell family welcomed a sixteenth member in 2014: Jesse, Brooke, Claire, Natalie, Karl, Samuel, Cameron, Sabrina, Timothy, Brandon, Eve, Nate, Rachel, Eric, Damian and Katelyn Vera (b.2014).
I like their choices, they are simple and down-to-earth.
- In Ireland, the Maher family completed a baker’s dozen (i.e. 13 children) with Irish names (and traditional spelling):
Eoin “owen”, Cian “kee-an”, Darragh “daa-raa”, Cathal “ka-hil”, Conor, twins Odhran “oh-rahn” & Oisin “uh-sheen”, Fionn “fi-hin”, Aisling “ash-ling”, Cillian “killian”, Sadhbh “sayv” Bernie (born in June 2011), Caiomhe “k(w)ee-vah” Mary (born on September 28, 2012) and the youngest, Daithi “da-hee” Stephen (born on October 28th, 2013).
I love Paul & Edel’s choices as well as Irish names in general, the combination of the vowels just amazes me and oddly, the fact that the pronouciation isn’t obvious (to some at least) is another appeal. Besides Sadhbh and Caiomhe, Aoife “ee-fa”, Saoirse “sur-sha”, Siobhan “shu-von”, Roísin “ro-sheen” and Tadhgh “tyg” are my current crushes.
- In England, Sue and Noel Radford have 18 children (and revealed in January 2016 they are expecting baby #19!):
Chris (b.1989), Sophie Rose (b.1993), Chloe Anne (b.1995), Jack Richard (b.1997), Daniel Leon (b.1999), Luke James (b.2000), Millie Jo (b.2001), Katie Louise (b.2002), James Edward (b.2003), Ellie May (b.2005), Aimee Elizabeth (b.2006), Josh Benjamin (b.2007), Max Joseph (b.2008), Tillie May (b.2010), Oscar Will (b.2011), Casper Theo (born on October 3rd, 2012), Alfie Thomas (stillborn in September 2014) and Hallie Alphia Beau, the rainbow baby (she was born after a baby loss) joined the family on June 3rd, 2015.
Twenty-two year old Sophie is a mom of three. She has two daughters: Daisy Mae and Ayprill Louise (born in October 2014) and newborn baby boy, Leo Thomas (born on December 24th, 2015)
I really like the Radfords’ names, they are traditional and timeless for the boys and the girls’ are all linked because all their names end in a -ee sound (either spelled -ie, -e or -ee). I suggest Ruby, Rosie, Carly, Bonnie, Phoebe, Penelope (Penny), Maggie and Billie (too close to Millie perhaps?) for another lady!
EDIT: Little Phoebe Willow Radford (baby #19) arrived on Sunday 24th of July, 2016. I love her name (and… I called it!)
- In France, the Blanchiers have 13 children! At first, Mariëlle and Pierre didn’t imagine having such a big family because they both studied in college and assumed they would pursue a career while having 2 or 3 children. France is one of the only European countries where the 2.1 children per family quota is reached still, that large of a family is regarded as highly unusual! You can read about Mariëlle day-to-day life in her book, co-written by Pascale Krémer, Et ils eurent beaucoup d’enfants. This family is fuller on the boys side (10 boys vs. 3 girls), they are: Victor & Paul, Edouard, Clémentine, Henri, Louis, Théophane, Félix, Pierre–Eloi, Augustin, Espérance, Charles and baby Eugénie (born on September 13th, 2014).
The boys names are either NT, Saint or regal names. “Clémentine” was supposed to be “Constance” which I adore, “Espérance”‘s arrival was quite scary for Mariëlle and the baby’s health and her name means “hope”. Lastly, the name of baby “Eugénie” is a feminization of “Eugène”, a name Mom mentioned Dad liked in her book.
The following families appeared in an episode from Tellement Vrai dedicated to large families “Familles nombreuses: Un quotidien pas comme les autres” (the subjects covered in the show range from large families/twins/teen moms to beauty queens to unusual jobs including weird themes like obsessions to Britney Spears…). They come from different backgrounds: the traditional French “bourgeois” catholic family, the socialites, the high-school sweethearts who had a a baby as teens and a single mom of 15.
- Jean-Marin & Emmanuelle had 8 children at the time of the filming and welcomed two more babies since then: Aubin (who got married in 2015), Charles, Pierre, Isaure, Marin, Paul, Jacques, Antoine (b.2010), Louis (b.2013) and Marie (b.2014).
The couple chose well-established “aristocratic” names for their children. I love those because they never go out of style but there can be a stigma around certain names like “Jacques” that sounds posh to some…. The majority also comes from the New Testament, more common in France whereas in the US, people tend to lean towards the Old Testament’s. I like the nod to dad with “Marin” since the patriarch is a fregata captain and the fact that there are only two girls and imagining Isaure’s reaction to Marie’s arrival is super endearing.
- The young Baudouin family lived in Chartres but Perrine and her (then) six children moved to Russia to follow dad Antoine and his new career projects : Alexis, Clémence, Charles, Aymeric, Côme and Maëlys are their children and a little boy joined the family since filming ended (his name remains a mystery to me).
My favorite names out of the bunch are Clémence, Côme and Maëlys. Alexis is an all-boy name in French-speaking countries unlike English-speaking ones were the majority of Alexis are girls! The names follow the “well-established” pattern with an edge: newcomer “Côme” and Britton “Maëlys”.
- In the Gömöri family from Switzerland, Laszlo and Sonia (who wanted to have a clan “like the Kennedys”) are the proud parents of eight children: Sandor “shan-dor”, Istvan, Stella, Géza, Siena, Savannah, Arpad and Nevis.
I like the girls names, they are common but not overused. Maybe Nevis – which is a Caribbean island actually – feels left out – in fact, she’s the only girl out of the four without an -S starting name… The boys names’ origin is Hungarian, my knowledge is close to none, the only names I know thanks to an Hungarian fellow college student are Zsombor “jom-bor” and Bálint. All names feel modern and cosmopolitan.
EDIT: Sonia Gömöri came across this post in December 2016 and kindly explained her name choices in the comment section:
For the girls, Nevis was named after the Carribean island and a variation of the Latin word for “snow”, nix (and its niv- derivatives) similarly to Spanish “Neve”. Sonia added that Stella Maris is the “star sea”, one of my favorite name combination considering my love for all-things “stars and universe” (Nova, Stella and Luna are on my top choices) and Siena was a tribute to Saint Catherine of Siena, a patron saint of Italy.
As for the boys, Sandor is a variation of Alexander, just like Sasha. Andrea Casiraghi, of Monaco’s royalty, son of Caroline of Hanover, has a son nicknamed Sacha whose official name is Alexandre Andrea Stefano! Same goes for Istvan‘s equivalent in English, Steven/Stephen. Géza and Arpad are traditional Hungarian names who relate to royalty and the Arpad dynasty in the ninth and tenth centuries. Istvan I of Hungary was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians and the first King of Hungary and Géza I of Hungary was his predecessor. Most names have ties to the Roman Catholic Church’s history (including Siena’s).
- Soukdavone and Olivier Gayat also have eight children: Mathieu (b.1994), Olivia (b.1995), Téo (b.1997), Chloé (b.1999), Elsa (b.2003), Alicia (b.2004), Rudy (b.2006) and Nolan (b.2011). Without frills, the couple managed to name eight children in a well-matched way.
- Muriel is a single mommy of fifteen children (she explained that she loved being a mom and that every single one of her children brought her an added joy. Whenever her relationship with her partner was crumbling, she made up for it by making more babies…): Elodie, Amandine, Célian, Timothée, Noémie, Angéline, Elie, Océane, Flavien, Jessy, Candice, Ophélie, Ondine, Opaline and Jérémie. Muriel’s choices are pretty, she mixed litterary and romantic names (Ophélie, Elodie, Amandine), with more unusual ones (Célian, Jessy). It’s also cute that four of the girls share the -O initial and for some the “water” theme.
- In another show called Baby Boom (adapted from UK’s Channel 4 One Born Every Minute), we can follow families in the labor ward of an hospital as they discover parenthood or relive it again. We watch them from their arrival at the hospital, the labor, the baby’s introduction through the family’s home departure. In the Season 1 episode 2 “Devenir père”, Sarah and Jean-François welcome twins, their fourth and fifth child. Théophile (b.2000), Enguerrand (b.2002), Marguerite (b.2004) are joined by Madeleine & Tancrède (b.2011).
The nurses made fun of the couple’s name choices, especially “Tancrède” (behind their back still, I think it’s sad and inappropriate) and in an excerpt of the show, big brother Théophile says a name is important, he doesn’t want his brother to be denied a job because of his name! The children’s names are, once again, traditional, I like them all even though Tancrède stands out the most in the sibset. His full name is Tancrède Jean Côme – Mom explains it’s the name of a Saint who fought in the first Crusades, significance plays a huge part in the naming process and this seems well-thought.
- In Belgium (Marcinelle, Charleroi) lives the unconventional Reignier family of 31 children between one dad and 3 moms (Christine, Serge’s wife is a mom of 16, Carine, Christine’s sister has 6 children and Judith is Serge’s concubine and has 9 kids). You can watch a snippet of the family here.
Christine: Jonathan, Christel, Jérôme, Benoît, Cathy, Carmen, Julie, Brigitte, Serge Junior, Valène, Judith, John Ross, Brandon, Bruce Lee, Madison and Angélique (b. 2007)
Carine: Michaël, Linda, Roseline, Olivier, Alex & Anaïs (I’m guessing they are twins)
Judith: Didier, Muriel, Ludovic, Laurence, Benoit, Marguerite, Joseph, Magali, Anémone.
And Charlotte was born in November 2008.
At first, the names chosen by Christine were on trend (Jonathan and Jérôme fits right in the 1980’s era since the oldest is about 30 years old) but John Ross, Brandon, Bruce Lee and Madison are a bit much, especially in a French speaking were most anglo-saxon names are depreciated (Kelly, Kevin, Jessica are popular but generally tied to a negative connotation)… Carine and Judith’s range from popular, quite uninteresting or even has been to classic and elegant (Charlotte, Marguerite, Anémone, Joseph). The children say they are sometimes bullied because of their parents’ lifestyle but I hope they are all well taken care of.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post! What’s your favorite megafamily and why? Do you know others?