This post may be controversial but I decided to tackle this subject because polygamy is a topic that intrigues me. I sat in History class circa 2008 and we opened the textbook to a picture of Tom Green and his 5 wives. I had never heard of polygamy (I didn’t even know it was a possible lifestyle and family configuration!). Once I got home, I decided to inform myself and discovered what most people relate polygamy to: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compounds with lots of children and especially the “Prophet” Warren Jeffs, his abuse, him marrying child brides and his conviction.
Polygamy is a teaching of Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon but, in 1890, the Church split in two: the mainstream LDS decided polygamy didn’t fit modern society and their beliefs’ anymore and the FLDS who – among others things – decided to carry on with the practice of plural marriage.
In 2011, I stumbled upon Sister Wives which features a polygamist family: the Browns lead by dad Kody and his three (and courting his 4th) wives. I was surprised of how normal and modern they were, I didn’t see women with long braided hair wearing long old-fashioned dresses that seemed overpowered by their controlling husband. The show was entertaining and showed me that families can take all sorts of forms. Sure, they practize polygamy, which isn’t our usual one-man-for-one-wife (heterosexual and within wedlock) way of thinking and have their own religious values but they seem happy and their children seem well taken care of and loved (plus, they are adorable). I know it’s not the case for every polygamist family but I don’t want to enter that debate.
I hope you take an interest in the subject too and see for yourself but, for now, let’s talk about names!
Polygamist families usually live in secrecy because they can be charged of bigamy (contracting a second marriage while still married) even though they usually are married legally with one wife and spiritually (or celestially) with the following (the wives are then called, sister wives). They believe children are a blessing (and usually have many), that their family’s bond is eternal and that they will remain together in the afterlife.
Nowadays, quite some families have gone public, they’re all polygynists (a man who takes multiple wives). They are – among others – the Browns, the Dargers and the Williams.
The names are super interesting because the families work and consider themselves as a unit but you can definitely see the disparities between wives in terms of naming. Each wife and her husband, as a couple, have an individual style. If the middle names are available, I’ll write the full name, if not, I’ll put the name they go by. [I’m always curious to find out more names so, if you have more information, don’t hesitate to contact me]
The Browns (Sister wives FB)
The Browns are on the TLC’s tv show Sister Wives. Dad is named Kody Brown and has 4 wives: Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn. They currently have 17 kids (including Robyn’s three children from a previous marriage).
Meri has one daughter, Mariah Lian (b.1995).
Meri is a really nice person, she’s pragmatic and seems to really care about the whole family. I think “Meri” and “Mariah” combined are a bit too similar. The name Mariah is cute, I like the -ariah sound (but I hope she didn’t get teased for the Mariah Carey connection). I can’t figure Meri’s name style from that one choice and I really wonder what she would have named several children…
Janelle has 6 children: Logan Taylor (b.1994), Madison Rose (b.1995), Hunter Elias (b.1997), Robert Garrison (b.1998) – he goes by Garrison at home but by Robert at school -, Gabriel (b.2001) and Savanah (b.2004).
Janelle has the most laid-back style, she used “boy/girl-next-door” names: Biblical names (Elias, Gabriel), place names (Savannah in Georgia, Logan located in Utah and Madison is a town in multiple states) and nature names (Hunter, Rose, Savanah). I think the names are cohesive, I really like the middle names and I think they are meaningful.
Christine is a mom of five girls and one boy: Aspyn (b.1995), Mykelti Ann (b.1996), Paedon (b.1998), Gwendlyn (b.2001), Ysabel Paige (b.2003) and Ms. Truely Grace (b.2010).
Christine is a more “unique” namer, she was quite young when she first became a mother and she maybe wanted to be creative: in fact, she mostly used established names with a twist in the spelling. For instance, she replaced “I” or “E” with “Y” i.e. Isabel became Ysabel, Aspen became Aspyn or Gwendolyn is spelled Gwendlyn. I would have thought “Peyton” would fit her style more than “Paedon” but I guess she wanted to distinguish him, since he’s a boy. I watch the show since episode 1 and for me, Christine is a really sweet and playful person, she’s a girls’ mom and likes to be princessy (British accent, tea parties with Truely and musicals) and I think names like Charlotte, Eleanor, Alice, Amelia, Henry and James would fit her personality well but maybe they are too common and traditional. As siblings, I think the names are cute and distinctive.
Robyn has four children: David Preston “Dayton” (b.2000), Aurora (b.2002), Breanna (b.2004) from a previous marriage. Solomon was born in 2011 and a new baby is on the way for 2016.
Dayton is named David Preston after his dad, Robyn’s ex. Aurora as in The Sleeping Beauty is really princessy and romantic and Breanna is one of the many -anna/-ana possibilities: Dianna, Tiana, Johannah, Mariana, etc. I like Solomon, he’s nicknamed “Sol”, it’s a strong Biblical reference to King Solomon. I’m really curious about the future baby’s name due in 2016!
In birth order: Logan, Aspyn, Mariah, Madison, Mykelti, Hunter, Paedon, Garrison, Dayton, Gabriel, Gwendlyn, Aurora, Ysabel, Savanah, Breanna, Truely, Solomon.
The Dargers (Family FB)
Dad Joseph has three wives: he married Alina and Vicki on the same day and ten years later, Valerie (Vicki’s twin sister) joined the family. They have 25 children (including deceased Kyra).
Alina has 7 children: Joseph (b.1991), Laura Ashley (b.1993), Shad (b.1996), Ashton (b.1998), Kyra Laine (b.2000, deceased in 2001), Allie (b.2003) and Vanessa (b.2006).
I think Alina’s children are nicely named, the names are not “show-off” and go well together. Being the first-born son, Joseph is named after dad and Allie is a cute spin on mom’s name. Joseph, Laura and Kyra Laine are my favorites.
Vicki has 9 kids: Caleb (b.1991), Jedidiah (b.1993), Liesl “lee-zul” Kirsten (b.1995), Logan (b.1998), Tavish (b.2000), Sabrina (b.2002), Boston (b.2007), Victoria “Tori” Berlynn (b.2010), Alexandra Tess “Tess” (b.2013).
I like Vicki’s choices, she mixed Biblical names and more creative names: Tavish is a variation of more popular Thomas and I think it’s lovely! Liesl is different too, it reminds me of The Sound of Music. Boston, Tori and Tess’s (full) names are three of my favorites from the Dargers.
Valerie has 9 children: Samuel (b.1990), Amanda (b.1992), Grayson (b.1995), Louis (b.1997), Madison (b.1999) with her ex-husband. With Joe, she has: Kyley (b.2002), Kadence (b.2003), Angelina Charisse (b.2006) and Krista (b.2009).
A funny thing I noticed is that Valerie had 5 girls in a row and that, within the four daughters she had with Joe, three of their names start with “K”. I think the names are a bit “trendier” than her sisterwives’, still the names fit their bearer. I love Kadence (or the “Cadence” spelling) and Samuel.
Listed in birth order: Samuel, Joseph, Caleb, Amanda, Laura, Jed, Grayson, Liesl, Shad, Louis, Logan, Ashton, Madison, Tavish, Kyra, Kyley, Sabrina, Kadence, Allie, Vanessa, Angelina, Boston, Krista, Victoria and Tess.
Laura has three children of her own with her husband Taylor: Asher Levi (b.2011), Scarlett Grace (b.2013) and Shilo(h) (girl, b.2014). I adore all three of her name choices, they are Biblical but fit right in with today’s trends. Joseph and Whitney have a daughter named Sienna Lynn (b.2014). Amanda became a mom in 2015, she welcomed Piper Grace with her husband Robert.
The Williams (Family FB)
The Williams were on TLC’s show My Five Wives but it got canceled. Dad Brady has 5 wives: Paulie, Robyn, Rosemary, Nonie and Rhonda. They have 25 children.
Paulie has 6 children (and 5 girls!): Calistia Karlie “Karlie”, Brady Joshua “Joshua”, Madeline Tamar, September Marcine “Peppi”, Maura Elizabeth and Camry Hope.
Paulie comes across as quiet and loving. I love all of her children’s first and middle names combinations (i.e. September Marcine, Calistia Karlie). September is great: if April, May, June and August are usable (and beautiful), why not September? Calistia, Madeline, Marcine, Maura and Camry are amazing, however, they are underused! As for her son, Joshua is always a good choice.
Karlie had a baby in late 2014, Jacob “Huck” Jessop, named after her husband. His nickname, Huck, is adorable!
Robyn is a mom of five: Hannah Louise, Lauren Rose, Brady Dane “Dane”, Thomas Garrett, Trey Mason.
I enjoyed watching Robyn, she seems really sweet, sensitive and compassionate (plus, she’s super crafty!). I like her name choices, they are traditional and modern at the same time (Hannah, Louise, Garrett, Mason and Rose especially) and they flow really well. I love all of her names choices and Thomas and Trey’s full names are great!
Rosemary has 2 boys and 2 girls: Kimberly Beth, Taylor Elaine, Brady James “James” and Brandon Elijah.
Rosemary is a sweetheart and she’s a really talented musician. Her choices are low-key but really nice. Taylor is spunky for a girl (even if we’re used to Taylor Swift’s first name by now) and you can’t go wrong with James and Elijah (that I favor slightly over Brandon).
Nonie has 6 children (she had a new baby a few months ago): Brady Paul “Paul”, Rachel Noelle, Marissa Darleen, Aeyden Frank, Tailee Mae and baby girl Addisen Jai (b. 2015).
Nonie loves her children and is a really involved mom. I like all of her children’s first names, they go well together. Aeyden, Tailee and Addisen are more popular, Aiden (#14), Taylor (#77) and Addison (#24) all being in the top 100 in the U.S. The combination “Tailee Mae” is cute and Tailee follows the trend of -ley, -leigh or -lee names (like Hadley, Addalee and Analeigh).
Rhonda has four kids: Eden Christina, Brady Lake “Lake”, Arwen Estelle, Nikolas Frank.
Rhonda is really cute, she’s a positive person (always smiling) and seems to genuinely love her family. I love her choices, they’re related to nature (Eden and Lake, which I adore) and I’m in love with “Arwen Estelle”, it’s a killer name!
I also noticed as a family pattern that each wife’s firstborn son is named “Brady Something” but goes by his middle!
Polygamists families can be functional families. It’s their choice and, as long as everyone is consenting and happy, I’m okay with it. Even though it’s not a common subject (and maybe not P.C.) I hope you learned something and that you enjoyed reading my post.