Middle names as primary names

Ahaha… here I am with another topic. :wink:

I was just curious what the lot of you thought about giving a child a first and middle name on their birth certificate, and then having them go by their middle name on a day-to-day basis. My father, for instance, has a name like [name]James[/name] [name]Earl[/name] (always goes by [name]Jim[/name]), and my brother has a name like [name]James[/name] [name]Robert[/name] (always goes by [name]Bobby[/name]). [name]Don[/name]'t ask me why, 'cause I couldn’t tell you. But I’m really curious what you all think about middle names effectively being “first” names, with the first name spot as the placeholder. (This could get really confusing in surname-first countries, ha.) What if it flows better, or you want to draw less attention to an unusual name by sticking it in the mn spot, even if you plan to use it in day-to-day life? [name]William[/name] [name]Otis[/name] is a good example, I think, since it looks and sounds nicer to me than [name]Otis[/name] [name]William[/name].

This is sort of like the “Why call her/him [name]Katherine[/name]/[name]John[/name] if (s)he’s always going to go by [name]Kate[/name]/[name]Jack[/name]?” debate, and I know there are some pretty strong opinions regarding that, so I’m curious to hear from Nameberryites on this topic.

1 of my sisters and 2 of my brothers go by there middle names. One brother’s middle name is [name]Edwin[/name] and he goes by [name]Eddie[/name]. I also have 2 aunts that go by their middles names. 1 aunt is because my grandparents liked the first name but had a bad association with it and the other aunt is because thethe name she goes by sounded better as a middle name than the other way around.

I don’t like it. It makes forms very confusing. [name]Just[/name] the other day I was getting contacts and another lady was having to look up her sons name 2 different ways because he usually goes by his middle name. And then if s/he goes by a nickname there could be 3 different names to look up.

I like the idea of being able to change to one’s middle name if one’s first name just didn’t fit. For example, imagine someone was named [name]Calliope[/name] [name]Helen[/name], and she thought [name]Calliope[/name] was too exotic. So she decided to go by [name]Helen[/name] at college or when she moved to a new town. Everyone there knows her as [name]Helen[/name] and it works out.

However, when she goes home, she might have to readjust to being called [name]Calliope[/name], and going between two names could be very confusing. Her best bet would probably be to try to make all her new acquaintances call her [name]Helen[/name]. Then, by the time she was forty, she would have at least half her friends calling her [name]Helen[/name].

The trouble comes for people who cannot decide what they want to be called: [name]Calliope[/name], [name]Helen[/name], [name]Calliope[/name] . . . her friends and family would probably find this extremely annoying.

I don’t think it’s as confusing as some would make it out to be, but I also don’t get naming all of your kids one name, then calling them by their middle, but I guess if it’s a matter of tradtion. My brother’s name is [name]Robert[/name] [name]Daniel[/name] and he goes by [name]Danny[/name]. He was named after his father with the stipulation that he would go by his middle because there were already two Bobs and a [name]Robby[/name] in the family and it would have been too confusing that way.
Realistically, the only time there’s real confusion is the roll call on the first day of school, and generally most teachers say, “Tell me if you want to be called something else.” In fact a few years ago, my mother attended a parent-teacher conference and the teacher referred to [name]Danny[/name] as [name]Bert[/name]. My mother was sooo confused, but I guess he just wanted to try it out. It didn’t stick.


I don’t find it at all weird. I actually tend to think “Oh, cool” on encountering someone who does this. I’d never do it myself, because I guess I think this should be something someone chooses to do with their own name, not when naming children.

I kind of like the idea of choosing two names and letting one prevail. It’s not really the order of the names that’s important if you like both names. Perhaps some people have a really good reason, like they are named after someone like [name]Anthony[/name] [name]David[/name] Fusserhauser (I made up that name, if it is a name), and not being another [name]Anthony[/name] or [name]Tony[/name] Fusserhauser like his great-great-uncle, and going by [name]David[/name] instead. Maybe he just looked more like a [name]David[/name] after a few months. Maybe one parent likes [name]Anthony[/name] and the other [name]David[/name], and flipped a coin, after which the winning parent was softened to or persuaded (or had no choice but to give in) that the middle name was really better/what the child will be called. Maybe they like his initials ADF better in print than DAF, and they just wanted to call him [name]David[/name]!

I can think of many good reasons this comes from the parents and not the child just “falling back on” which name he prefers a lot later in life when everyone else is used to calling him [name]Anthony[/name] and he finds it an impossible hurdle to start answering to and insisting everyone call him [name]David[/name], although that’s something else to consider. I can think of no good reason not to do this if you wanted to. I would probably hate a massive “trend” of it though. [name]How[/name] weird to culturally go along with this practice just because it’s the cool thing to do… I mean it’s cool that you can do this, but I’d probably dislike people doing it just for the sport of it.

we were considering doing this. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think people, especially men, of the past two generations commonly did this. For instance, my Grandfather. No problem there. Today – I think it adds unecessary confusion. I have heard that it means correction at the Doctors and on the first day of school every year. Maybe not a big deal, but why add the confusion in the first place? That being said, we did consider doing this because of name flow.

Well, I personally find it a little unusual when people do that, but two friends I’ve known since first grade do that. [name]Christian[/name] [name]Clay[/name], who goes by [name]Clay[/name], and [name]John[/name] [name]Colton[/name], who goes by [name]Colton[/name]. I’ve never really asked them why they go by their middles, but I guess it’s because that’s what they’ve been called since I first met them.
I would never do that to my child, give them a first name I like only to call them their middle name. If the person wants to, that’s fine, I just find it a little strange myself.

I don’t have strong feelings about this either way. I don’t think it causes as much confusion as you’d think, though. My grandfather went exclusively by his middle name, and I’ve known quite a few people who did. I went to elementary school with a girl named [name]Allison[/name], I didn’t go to middle school with her, but I did go to high school with her, by then she was introducing herself as [name]Sara[/name]. I thought that was ridiculous the time, but it turned out [name]Sara[/name] was really her first name. [name]Even[/name] people like me who knew her as [name]Allison[/name] eventually called her [name]Sara[/name]. And I grew up with a [name]Corey[/name], but when he switched to an arts high school he started going by his middle name, [name]Jackson[/name]. One of my favorite names is [name]Dodge[/name], but I think it would be better as a middle name and just call him that… I guess because it would look better on resumes and such.

For those of you who think “it’s not that much confusion.” It may or may not be. I remember my friend stressed out desperately running around when applying to college trying to sort out the mess of her transcripts, recommendations, and applications being in different names. Not many places are going to know that “[name]Helen[/name] [name]Johnson[/name]” and “[name]Elizabeth[/name] [name]Johnson[/name]” are the same person.

I had a boyfriend who went by his middle name as a child because he was named after his father. When he got older, he decided that he had a right to his own name and switched to his first. His family still sometimes calls him by his middle and my mom thought he had a brother for a long time because his mother called him by a different name.

So maybe it won’t cause that much confusion sometimes… but life is hard enough already!

I think if you put your names in the right spaces when you fill out forms, nobody will be too much confused, like people who bill you or have files with your information in them will still send these to you and pull the correct file when they need to. That’s part of the point of having a formal name.

When you apply for a job, for example, you should put your full name on the application, and your W-4 etc. If you go by your middle name, don’t put your first name on top of the resume. If you think it helps, use your first initial. L. [name]Elizabeth[/name] [name]Young[/name], rather than Ladybug E. [name]Young[/name] and then having to explain to your boss and co-workers to call you [name]Beth[/name] for no apparent reason. All the cross-references of dire importance that they not be mixed up will be addressed to Ladybug [name]Young[/name], and then you just have to hope there aren’t two of you.

My youngest brother, [name]Raymond[/name] [name]Maxwell[/name], goes by [name]Max[/name] exclusively. It was the compromise of my parents because they had very strong and opposing feelings about [name]Raymond[/name].

It hasn’t been confusing. Most of his correspondence is to R. [name]Maxwell[/name] Lastname. Most of his friends didn’t find out his first name until he got his driver’s license, and was only called [name]Raymond[/name] on the first day of school once.