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Twice as nice: Folks with ‘reduplicated’ names enjoy their status

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Twice as nice: Folks with ‘reduplicated’ names enjoy their status

My my name name is is . . .

Ten notable people with reduplication in their names:

•Chris Christie,

governor of New Jersey

•Edward Edwards,

TV and movie actor

•Galileo Galilei,


•Joe Joseph, former defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins

•Kris Kristofferson, singer and actor

•Phillip Phillips, latest American Idol winner

•Richard Richards, space-shuttle astronaut

•Sirhan Sirhan, assassin of Robert F. Kennedy

•Thomas Thomas, science-fiction writer

•William December “Billy Dee”Williams, actor

By Joe Blundo

Dispatch, Monday January 28, 2013 6:14 AM

Like father, like son: Rick Rick III with 5-year-old Rick Rick IV

Imagine a party where Kelli Kelly is introduced to Kelley Kelley, Tom Thomas meets William Williams and Rick Rick III takes his son, Rick Rick IV.

The name tags alone would be entertaining.

A “reduplicated” name —a moniker with the first name identical or very similar to the last — makes for a lifetime of double takes and the occasional bureaucratic foul-up, according to people who have one.

And, for better or worse: The name is remembered.

“You don’t forget Rick Rick,” said Rick Rick III of Columbus, who works as a strength-and-conditioning coach and uses his name to his advantage. “I’m good with my name.”

Legally, he’s Richard Rick —like his grandfather, who went by Dick Rick, and his father, who goes by Richard.

Richard Rick, who lives in Marion, said people occasionally call him Rick Richard by mistake.Otherwise, the redundancy hasn’t been much of a bother.

Rick III, 37, said he named his son Richard Rick IV —or Rick Rick —to continue the tradition.

The prospect of another Rick Rick in the family didn’t thrill Rick III’s wife, Cari, but they eventually compromised by nicknaming Rick IV.

He goes by Bowen.

William “Bill” Williams, 61, said the circumstances of his birth might have played a role in his given name.

“My mother kept telling the doctor she was pregnant. The doctor said, ‘No, you’re not.’“She had me at seven months, and she was still being told she wasn’t pregnant. They hadn’t planned on what to name me.”

Because his father was Willie Williams, he said, he suspects that his parents went for an obvious choice.

The most confusion ever prompted by his name occurred a few years ago when he was hospitalized, said the retired truck driver, whose parents are both deceased.

The staff kept double-checking his ID bracelet because another patient on the same floor was also named William Williams.

“He was a black guy. I’m white,” he recalled. “I said, ‘You mean you can’t tell the difference?’”

Born Carol Carroll, Hilliard resident Carol McDaniel, 55, attributes the doubled name to the fact that she is the youngest of five girls.

“When they (her parents) were leaving for the hospital, my dad said, ‘What do I name another girl?’ My mom said she didn’t care.”

Although McDaniel shed her reduplicated name when she took a spouse, others do the opposite: They marry into such monikers.

Kelli Ahrns was studying dental hygiene at Ohio State University when she met future husband Scott Kelly.

She doesn’t regret taking his name, but it once made for an interesting airplane flight: Security agents had a reduplicated Middle Eastern name beginning with a “K” on the no-fly list.Because Kelli Kelly was the closest thing to it, they pulled her off the plane for questioning.

“My son was 4, and he was pounding on the plane windows: ‘Let my mommy go.’”

Kelly, 44, of Pickerington, is also occasionally confused with Kelley Kelley, 43, of Grove City — who also married into her name.

“I work in real estate, and so the name has certainly helped me in marketing purposes,” Kelley said. “It also works against me: People will also remember my name easier than others if they want to make a complaint about something.”

Kelly and Kelley have never met, but they know of each other.

At one time in at least one country, reduplicated names wouldn’t have prompted a second thought, said Cleveland Evans, a professor at Bellevue University in Nebraska who specializes in the study of names — called onomastics.

“I believe this used to be fairly common in Wales, where there were many men with names such as Evan Evans,” Evans said.

Tom Thomas, 60, of Westerville has some Welsh heritage but said he never got a satisfactory explanation from his parents about his name.

The name did require enough explaining and lead to enough teasing at school that he decided not to repeat the process with his sons.

They’re named Troy and Chet.

Dennis Dennison of Madison County suspects that his parents, after having two boys (Douglas and David), anticipated a girl the third time around.

When a boy arrived instead, he theorizes, his parents got as close as they could to the name they’d picked: Denise.

“They won’t confirm or deny it.”

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