Reduplicated names: Asher Asher, Owen Owen

oystercatcher birds

I find it interesting that some people are given forenames that exactly match their surnames. A few historically significant examples include:

(Ford Madox Ford and Horst P. Horst don’t count. They were born Ford Hermann Hueffer and Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann.)

There are also many forename/surname sets out there that are partially reduplicated, such as:

Have you ever met someone whose first name and last name were identical (or nearly so)? Do you like these sorts of names?

P.S. The name Thomas McKean Thompson McKennan (which belonged to a guy who served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior for a few weeks in 1850) is as close to a double double as I’ve ever seen!

Image: Adapted from Two Variable Oystercatchers standing close to each other (public domain)

[Last update: October 2023]

28 thoughts on “Reduplicated names: Asher Asher, Owen Owen

  1. There was a guy at my university named Hussein Hussein. (Unfortunate choice considering world events, I guess.)

  2. In my high school there was a girl named McKenzie S who dated C MacKenzie…
    Also where I work there is a lady named Wendy Endy and this is her married name.

    Not quite the same but along the lines.

  3. I know a female Kelly who married a man named Christopher Kelly, so she “became” Kelly Kelly.

    I also know a young boy named George Papageorgio.

  4. two, actually. a professor in grad school named Thom Thomson and a friend from college named John Johnson. I think they were both younger children from big families, but still …. not very creative on the part of the parents.

    Cathy, your friend is good example of why women shouldn’t necessarily change their names upon marriage.

  5. LisaS, agreed, but like me, Kelly wanted to share the same surname as her children, and because she was doing the traditional “American-thing” her kids got her husband’s surname. Prior to having children, while she still worked outside of the home, she hyphenated her maiden name with the Kelly married surname. She thinks it’s fun & funny, though (she’s got a great sense of humor), so it doesn’t bother her. Plus, she says she never messes up on forms, putting her surname where her first name belongs or vice versa, haha!

    My first name and my surname are nothing alike, but like Kelly Kelly, I kept my maiden name until I had children (7 years after marriage), at which time, I really wanted all of us to have the same surname, so I legally changed mine (without any pressure from my husband at all) to match his.

  6. A partially reduplicated name in the news: Johanna Johannsdottir, wife of Jon Gnarr, Icelandic comedian who was recently elected mayor of Reykjavik.

  7. Newspapers are reporting that three Tokelauan boys, adrift in the South Pacific for 50 days and given up for dead, were just found alive. One of the boys was a 15-year-old named Filo Filo.

  8. Kirk Kerkorian doesn’t count, but…almost.

    UPDATE, 6/17/15: Yes he does! Kirk is short for Kerkor, which is related to the name Gregory. So his full name Kerkor Kerkorian. I’m looking this up now, years later, b/c Kirk passed away a few days ago. A quote from the NYT:

    Kerkor Kerkorian — he Americanized his name to Kirk as a boy — was born in Fresno, Calif., on June 6, 1917, one of four children of Armenian immigrants.

    Kirk’s investment company, Tracinda Corp., was founded in the mid-1970s and named after his two daughters, Tracy and Linda.

  9. Essaff Essaff – a name I saw mentioned in an old newspaper (mid-1940s). I confirmed it via the Social Security Death Index.

    Jonathan Jonathan – a name I spotted in an article. Here’s more:

    His own unusual moniker was inspired by Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

    “My dad loved ‘Major Major’ from Catch-22, that’s where the idea came from,” says Jonathan of the fictional character in the novel.

  10. A family of partially reduplicated names:

    Arthur MacArthur, Sr. (b. 1815) – Scottish-born lawyer, judge, and politician
    Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (b. 1845) – United States Army General
    Arthur MacArthur III (b. 1876 ) – United States Navy officer

    There was a fourth Arthur as well, but he died young.

    Arthur MacArthur, Jr., was also the father of famed five-star general Douglas MacArthur.

  11. A quote from British philologist Ernest Weekley:

    A rare, but curious, practice is that of simply duplicating the family name. Readers of Tennyson will remember ‘Sir Aylmer Aylmer, that almighty man, The county God, etc.’, and Sir Creswell Creswell (+ 1853) was a famous English judge. In Wales such combinations as Edward Edwards, Owen Owens, etc. are common. Cf. also the It. Galileo Galilei and Browning’s Fra Lippo Lippi.

    Found it on page 11 of Weekley’s Jack and Jill: A Study in our Christian Names (1939).

  12. I once saw a contestant on The Price is Right whose name was Nicole Nicole. I’ve never heard of Nicole as a surname before or since then.

  13. I know a Fernando Fernandez and Bob Roberts.

    Honestly, it makes me think the parents are too lazy to look for a name.

  14. In Russian, you can have triples together with the father’s name, e.g.,
    Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov (which is a bit like John Doe in anglophone countries)

  15. A singer named Phillip Phillips is currently a Top 2 finalist on American Idol. The winner will be chosen a few days from now.

  16. Found this on my phone:


    I visited the Byers-Evans House Museum in Denver a while back. They have a family tree on display there, and one of the men in the family was named Evan Evans.

  17. My favorite teacher in junior high was Mr Marcy. He married a woman whose first name was Marcy. No idea if Marcy Marcy used a middle initial or middle name or not, but I recall him saying they thought it was funny that her first & last names were the same.

  18. I went to school with a boy named James James James III. Truly. He let me see his driver’s license!

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