Imagine you have 19 kids. That's a mind-boggling amount of schedules to accommodate, lunches to make, and just plain people to keep track of. With that many children, you might opt to give them all very different names that don't all start with the same letter. But that's exactly what Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the mom and dad of TLC's now-cancelled reality hit 19 Kids & Counting did. Of course, there's a lot that can seem befuddling about the ways of the ultra-religious clan (like the insistence that their girls always wear knee-length skirts and that the grown kids are prohibited from holding hands until they get engaged) but the question of why the heck the Duggars all have "J" names is up there, too.
For anyone who's ever watched 19 Kids & Counting (or its current spinoff, Counting On) it will come as literally 0 percent surprising that the naming tradition started with the Bible. Still, the ultimate decision to give every Duggar offspring a name that starts with a "J" wasn't as purposeful as you might think... at least not in the beginning. In fact, Michelle Duggar revealed in a 2012 blog post that she and her husband opted to name their firstborn, now 29, Joshua because it was a "Bible name" that they "emotionally" loved.
And they actually had planned on naming their second son Caleb because "Joshua and Caleb hung out together in the Bible, and they were great guys," Michelle wrote. But then life threw them a curveball — twins.
As Michelle shared in the post, she actually started taking birth control pills after Josh was born, but got pregnant anyhow and had a miscarriage. Not long afterwards, though, she had twins. Despite loving the name Caleb, Jim Bob and Michelle decided to go with John-David for their son. For their daughter, they decided on Jana, adding a "J" before the name "Ana," which was the name of Michelle's grandmother. Michelle did not explain why they decided to nix Caleb or why they didn't simply name Jana Ana (besides to say that they "wanted to show honor.") But, before they knew it, a naming tradition had emerged.
Now, nearly three decades later, the 19 Duggar kids are Joshua, John-David, Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and Josie. The only member of the Duggar fam (besides Michelle herself) without a "J" name is 9-year-old Tyler Wayne Hutchins, a great-nephew whom they gained permanent custody last year, according to Entertainment Tonight.
And the Duggars may be worried that Tyler is feeling left out, because that's exactly what they were trying to avoid when they ultimately decided to give all their kids "J" names. Here's how Michelle explained it in her blog post:
When we had our fourth child, Jill, we thought, "Well, if this is the last baby that we have it would be terrible if we had Josh, Jana, John, and ... Marianne. Because they might say, "Why didn't you name me with a J?" It's not something we planned, thinking "Let's name all of our kids with J's." We just didn't want to leave anybody out after that, so the J names stuck.
None of the Duggar grandchildren so far have "J" names, though. Jill and her husband, Derick Dillard, have two boys named Israel and Samuel. Jessa and her husband also have two boys: Spurgeon and Henry. Oldest Duggar child Josh, though, is keeping the naming tradition up in his own way. Each of his five kids — from 8-year-old Mackynzie to 3-month-old Mason — has a name that starts with "M."
But with 19 kids, Jim Bob and Michelle may very well have some "J"-named grandchildren in the future.
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