Here's Why the Duggars Use 'J' Names

The reason for the Duggar children's famous "J" names is surprisingly simple. The hard part for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar was coming up with 19 different "J" names.

In a 2012 TLC blog post, the Duggars said the tradition began in 1988, when their eldest, Josh Duggar was born. They wanted to use the Bible name Joshua for their first-born.

"At the time we thought if we ever had another boy somewhere down the road, it would be fun to name him Caleb because Joshua and Caleb hung out together in the Bible, and they were great guys," Michelle wrote.

However, after Josh was born, Michelle went back to using birth control pills. She still got pregnant, and suffered a miscarriage. Soon after, they tried again and they welcomed twins - John-David and Jana.

Jana got her name from Ana, Michelle's grandmother. Ana was also in the Bible. "She was a prophet that recognized Jesus when he was an infant brought into the synagogue," Michelle wrote.

When Jill came along, they realized they had a tradition going.

"...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?'"

They said the "J" name tradition was not planned.

"It's not something we planned, thinking 'Let's name all of our kids with J's,'" Michelle wrote. "We just didn't want to leave anybody out after that, so the J names stuck."

Jim Bob and Michelle's children have not kept up the "J" name tradition. Instead, they started their own. Josh and Anna Duggar's five children all have names that start with "M," including their youngest, Mason.

Their other children are Mackynzie, Michael, Marcus and Meredith.

In 2009, after Mackynzie was born, PEOPLE Magazine asked Josh if he was planning on giving all his children "M" names.

"We won't decide that now," Josh said at the time. "We'll take one at a time."

The other Duggar children have no clear pattern. Jill and Derick Dillard's children are Israel and Samuel. Jessa and Ben Seewald named their children Spurgeon and Henry. Joy and Austin Forsyth named her son Gideon.


Joe and Kendra Duggar and Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo are both expecting their first children, so they can start traditions of their own soon.

The Duggars initially gained fame on 19 Kids & Counting. They now star in TLC's Counting On.