TLC personalities Michelle Duggar (née Ruark) and Jim Bob Duggar are known as the matriarch and patriarch of their big family of 19 children — but the Counting On stars also known for their affinity for names that start with the letter J. The couple named all of their children with J names, which means they had to get creative when coming up with nicknames for all of their children.
Michelle and Jim Bob met as teenagers in Arkansas and got married on July 21, 1984, when Michelle was 17 years old and Jim Bob was 19. They unknowingly started their family’s tradition of J first names when they welcomed their firstborn son, Joshua Duggar, in March 1988.
In a February 2012 post on her now-defunct TLC blog, Michelle reflected on their decision for the “J” motif, which started with their first child’s name that was inspired by the couple’s religious background.
“There’s no quick answer, but it started with our first child. Emotionally, we loved the Bible name Joshua,” Michelle wrote at the time, via Bustle. “So we named our first child Josh after him.”
She went on to explain that they had already picked out the name Caleb for their next son, because Joshua and Caleb are two figures in the Bible whose story teaches a lesson of faithfulness.
But a tragic incident would result in a change of plans. In a 2011 interview, Jim Bob explained his wife was on birth control for the first three years of their marriage, and it was when she stopped taking the pill that they conceived their first son.
“I went back on the pill, and I ended up getting pregnant while on the pill,” Michelle added. “We ended up losing that baby, and that was very difficult for us, because, here we were as parents, holding this one baby in our arms, enjoying being a mama and a daddy. And then realizing that, with our own lack of knowledge, just allowing one of our own babies to be destroyed.”
The former 19 Kids and Counting stars credited that experience with their decision to stop using birth control. After that, Michelle got pregnant with their first set of twins — and they had to come up with two new names for their second and third children.
“We loved the Bible name of John,” Michelle wrote in her blog post. “My grandmother’s name was Ana, and we put the J on the front.” That led to son John-David Duggar and daughter Jana Duggar’s names. Jim Bob and Michelle welcomed the twins in January 1990.
While they didn’t initially plan on a J-theme, Michelle and Jim Bob decided to keep the tradition going when they welcomed their fourth child in May 1991.
“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?'” Michelle wrote. Thus, they decided on the name Jill Duggar for their second daughter. And the rest is history.
Keep scrolling below to find out all of the Duggar children’s nicknames!
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