The Queen family: from left, Durham, Rea, Kevin, Bolton, Raleigh and Camden have created a tradition of visiting the namesake towns of their children.
When it came time to name their children, Kevin and Rea Queen agreed on one thing -- they wanted unique. Something that would set the kids apart and give them "the stories to go with it."
When their oldest was born, they liked the name Riley, but as uniqueness goes, that just wasn't going to cut it. So they began searching for other names before coming up with Raleigh after seeing it on a map. And so a tradition was born as well as a daughter, with the ensuing three children also taking the names of cities in North Carolina.
In addition to Raleigh, who is 8, there is 6-year-old Camden, 5-year-old Durham and Bolton, who just turned 3. The Queens made good use of maps to find the names and have created a family tradition that includes celebrating the child's fifth birthday in the town for which they were named.
"It kind of feeds their narcissism -- we might pay for that later," joked Kevin, the campus pastor at 12Stone Church's Hamilton Mill campus. "But it's a lot of fun."
While Kevin says he comes from a family of boring names, his wife is quite the opposite. Rea has a twin named Zoe and younger sisters named Iara, Jessie and Rhain. She wanted that same individuality for her own kids.
"There aren't one or two Durhams in a class, so it's not like you're Durham A and Durham B," Rea said. "When I was a kid, if you said Rea you knew who they meant.
"And ... of course (you have) the stories that go with it."
The kids already have one story to tell. In February, the Hoschton family visited Durham for their oldest son's birthday. A woman at the bed and breakfast where they stayed thought their story was so interesting she called the local paper, which wrote a short story (including a picture) about the Queen kids.
"It was exciting," Rea said of the attention. "The kids were like: 'We're going to be famous.'"
Raleigh, a second-grader at Hebron Christian Academy, said she likes "that my name is unique and special. It's cool." Sister Camden says, "it's fun" and fondly recalls her trip to Camden the city: "I remember we went to this beach and there were jellyfish."
Durham got to see a baseball game and the Duke University campus during his visit to his namesake town. But Bolton -- the little brother -- might not be so lucky. He's named after a town with a population of less than 500 in the southeastern part of the state.
"It's a tiny town, so we might have to apologize to him; It won't be too exciting," Kevin said.
Kevin and Rea are both Central Gwinnett High School grads (Class of 1995) and their families live nearby in Gwinnett. But when it came to names, they had to go outside of the state.
"We love this area and we love this county, but (the name) Buford doesn't quite do it," Kevin said with a laugh.
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.