On middle names - has anyone given none, or three (or more)?

I’ve recently been wondering about numbers of middle names, and while I’ve heard, understood and appreciated both sides of the one versus two debate (I’m a two-er, by the way), I realised that I’ve heard very little reasoning from parents who chose to give none, or many.

None - when someone informs me that they have no middle name, my instinctive thought is that their parents must have been very decisive. I suppose, equally, they could have been very fussy. If your child has no middle name (or, equally, if you can tell me about someone else you know who didn’t give a middle name, and why they did it), is one of these true? Or was there another reason behind your decision?

Many - Equally, anyone who gave three or more middles, what was your thinking? Many traditions you had to keep going? Trying to represent all heritages?


On none- I worked with a guy without one, his name was [name]Virgil[/name]. His grandparents hated the name so they said they would call him by his middle, so his parents didn’t give him one. His daughter doesn’t have a middle name either, starting a tradition.

On three- Doubles is a big tradition on my mom’s side. Mostly with the girls, but my brothers have two also. My cousin gave her son three middles, her step-dad’s name and our grandpa’s name, both of whom were very important to her and his third is his dad’s father’s name. Its a mouthful but I always have fun yelling it at him. [name]Michael[/name] [name]Peter[/name] [name]Norman[/name] [name]Jerald[/name], see fun. :slight_smile:

My mom doesn’t have a middle name (her name is [name]Randi[/name]) The only reason was my grandmother just couldn’t think of a middle name for her.

On no middle: my father’s step-sister, my Aunt (or step-Aunt if you will) has two children, my cousins, named [name]Alexandra[/name] and [name]Lucas[/name]. No middles. According to my dad this decision was made because they have a hyphenated last name and they thought straddling their kids with a first name and two surnames was enough.

On three: My mom has two middles (one is her mom’s maiden name), and kept both middles and maiden name and took my Dad’s surname when she got married, so she has five names now. I’m in the same boat (two middles, one is my mom’s maiden) I’ll probably do the same when I get married, so I’ll be [name]Lisa[/name] [name]Paige[/name] [name]Polly[/name] Lastname NewLastname. Not the same thing as being given three middles, but it’s an interesting situation. I don’t know anyone personally who has more than two middles, but one of my very good friends’ name is [name]Katherine[/name] Annalyn [name]Joelle[/name], which I find interesting, because it could also be [name]Katherine[/name] [name]Anna[/name] [name]Lynn[/name] [name]Jo[/name] [name]Elle[/name]. Her middle names are mashups of her grandparents names- [name]Anna[/name] and [name]Evelyn[/name], [name]Joseph[/name] and [name]Elmer[/name]. [name]Even[/name] though I don’t love her middles sound wise, her parents were quite ahead of the curve (she was born in 1991) and as a kid I thought her middle names were so much cooler than mine ([name]Paige[/name] and [name]Polly[/name]).

I have two MNs (on a fluke. I was born on my uncle’s birthday and my om decided to honor that)

I have only met two people with three, siblings. The little girl was born when her mother was older so it was thought she’d be an only child. Thus she was given three MNs to honor both grand-mothers and her own mother ([name]Caroline[/name] [name]Mary[/name] [name]Edith[/name] [name]Patricia[/name]). Five years later…surprise twins. The little boy’s name follow the male format ([name]John[/name] [name]Francis[/name] [name]Martin[/name] [name]Craig[/name]) and the little girl has one MN for her godmother and one because her mother felt that giving her just one MN wasn’t fair ([name]Sarah[/name] [name]Jennifer[/name] [name]Rose[/name]).

I have met a few more people with no MN, but they are mostly imigrants or children of imigrants so I think that has more to do with culture than anything else.

My MN-lacking best friend at school had a first name and a surname that were both nine letters long. Under those circumstances I think her parents were right to drop the middle. It’s easy to say they should have just given her a shorter name, but I think I would find it hard to relinquish [name]Catherine[/name] or [name]Elizabeth[/name] if I happened to have a long surname.

That said, quite a few of the people I went to school with had no middle names, and this being [name]Britain[/name] I’ve always assumed it was a class thing (the more names you have, the posher you are). I didn’t meet anyone with two middle names until I went to university.

My goodness, I never realized people gave their children more than two mns.

As for no middle names - my eldest grandfather and his family were/are from [name]Italy[/name]. None of them have middle names or birth certificates, so I’m guessing my great grandparents just gave birth and gave their baby a name they liked or wanted to pass down. They had no use for middle names. The two (out of four) that had children, gave their children one middle name each.

Personally, I am happy with my single middle name. No hassle with paperwork and it sounds just fine. I only know one person with two middle names and he’s 5. [name]Jacob[/name] [name]Andrew[/name] [name]John[/name]. His sister has one middle name. I think his parents just couldn’t decide between a few names. For the baby shower, they sent out a questionaire, asking which combo of names sounded the best (there were more options than [name]Andrew[/name] and [name]John[/name]) and JAJ won out. He just started school so I’m not sure how his mom filled out the forms.

I guess alot of people other than the [name]Royal[/name] Family give their children more than one middle name. Take that [name]Charles[/name] [name]Philip[/name] [name]Arthur[/name] [name]George[/name] and [name]William[/name] [name]Arthur[/name] [name]Philip[/name] [name]Louis[/name]!!! The [name]Royal[/name] Family are not very imaginative and are so fond of switching names around!!!

Outside of royalty (as mentioned before) I’ve never heard of anyone with three middle names. Some of my nephews have two. There’s [name]Nathan[/name] [name]Christian[/name] [name]Alexander[/name] and [name]Noah[/name] [name]Isaac[/name] [name]David[/name], and I think their brothers also have two middle names but I’m not sure what they are.

My boyfriend has two middle names: [name]David[/name] and [name]Robert[/name]. He started life as [name]Michael[/name] [name]Robert[/name] [name]David[/name]. When he turned 18, just for the heck of it, he went to court and legally changed his name to [name]Michael[/name] [name]David[/name] [name]Robert[/name]. The judge asked him why and he said, “Because I can.”

I know quite a few people with no middle name, and they all seem to think it’s a little silly to have a middle name at all. Their parents are originally from Mexico, so I guess maybe middle names aren’t the norm there. My great-grandmother didn’t have a middle name, she was born in [name]America[/name] but her parents were [name]German[/name].

I think I have the name to beat them all. My cousin is:
P@ul [name]Al[/name]@n Anth0ny D@v!d W!ll!am [name]Luke[/name] Lastname

They named the poor kid after pretty much everyone they knew, Anth0ny is the father, W!ll!am is my grampa, D@v!d is the other grampa, One of the names is after the father’s boss (how terrible), and I don’t know the story of the other two. They wanted to give him more names, but in [name]California[/name] you can only have three first names and three middles, so they maxed it out! I think using THAT many names kinda negates the honoring, ya know? Much less special. I mean, the grandfathers come after the dads boss? Really? His older brother is Anth0ny (so the stupid dad who I hate had to honor himself twice). [name]Anthony[/name] has 3 middles, but I don’t know what they are.

It wasn’t common, but I knew a few girls without middle names. Their parents assumed that when they married, they would take their maiden name in the MN spot. Most women I know end up dropping their middle upon marriage anyway, so I guess it kind of makes sense. (If you aren’t a name lover, that is!)

Is that in the south? On the internet I hear about women dropping their middles names as if it’s totally normal. I never met anyone who did it until my cousin got married last year. She’s from the south, but I think the main reason she did it was because she hates her middle name.

Is that in the south? On the internet I hear about women dropping their middles names as if it’s totally normal. I never met anyone who did it until my cousin got married last year. She’s from the south, but I think the main reason she did it was because she hates her middle name.[/quote]

It is in the South. (Well, [name]Texas[/name], but I live on the Southern side!) I was always under the impression that this was the most traditional practice. I don’t know, I kind of want to research it now! Anyway, it makes sense because it allows a woman to keep her maiden name officially while still taking her husband’s name and retaining the practical 3 name format. Around here, everyone I seems to do this, and people assume you will. I got tons of monogrammed napkins and things with fLm on them when we got married. (First, Last, Maiden)
It is then common to give your first daughter your original middle name to keep the tradition going, but not everyone does this. (Esp if you never really liked your middle name!)

My mom doesn’t have a middle name because my grandmother figured she would make her maiden name her middle name and drop it anyway.

She wishes she had a middle name because she wanted to keep her maiden name, but didn’t like that on monogramed things she only had the two letters. SS and now it is SSK

Interesting topic. Whilst I don’t know anyone with more than two middle names (even that seems rare) I think it’s fairly common with royalty, oh and [name]Bob[/name] Geldof’s kids.

I do know people who don’t have a middle name though. I have a friend [name]Lucy[/name] who doesn’t have one, neither does her sister [name]Milly[/name]. They don’t have a long last name (only one syllable) but their parents have said they just didn’t think it was necessary and if [name]Lucy[/name] or [name]Milly[/name] really wanted one they could name themselves when they’re older. I personally, wouldn’t give my children just a first name but I think no middle name and the option to chose one themselves when they’re adults is better than not knowing what to give for a middle and just going with the fillers to bridge the gap.

  • [name]Charlie[/name]

Thought it was about time I replied to my own thread!

Firstly, it’s really interesting to see that some places restrict the amount of names allowed - it would seem like in the Southern US you’re only allowed one middle name, hence the dilemma about maiden names? Amounts of names aren’t restricted here in [name]Britain[/name], and probably around 75% of people I know have two middles, most others have one.

All but one of the people I have met with no middle name are [name]Asian[/name]; I get the impression that it is a general cultural leaning towards sleeker names. Some do have their English name as an unofficial middle name, though.

I agree wholeheartedly with what [name]Charlie[/name] just said - I would much rather have no middle name, and be allowed the opportunity to choose my own, than having a middle picked just to fill that slot.

As for three middle names, most of the people I know with three don’t really count - in most cases they are Catholic, and already had two middles before they added their Confirmation name. I have three middles, too, but that is because I changed my first name, but kept my original first as a middle; it didn’t seem right to let go of it completely. The one person who was given three middle names at birth says that her parents just liked all of those names … I find her name quite amusing to look at, as it just reads like a list of nice but very popular names!

And [name]Lyndsay[/name], all I can say is your poor cousin! I laughed so hard that the dad had to name both sons after himself. And after his boss? Was he hankering after a promotion? :lol:

Thank you for all of your responses, everyone - it’s been very interesting to read through,

There aren’t any restrictions in any part of the US (including the south), on how many names you can be given. In general I think parents in the US tend to favor giving only one middle name. I know plenty of women in the Northeast (where I’m from) who once they get married legally drop their middle name and take their maiden name as the middle name. Two of my aunts and a number of family friends and women I’ve worked with have done this.

I think my Dad beats them all. His full name is:

[name]John[/name] [name]Edward[/name] [name]Francis[/name] [name]Alexander[/name] Bartholemew [name]Henry[/name] [name]Richard[/name] [name]George[/name] Lastname

He is named after his father but to differentiate they added an extra MN ([name]Edward[/name]). It was the tradition on that side of the family to name the eldest boy [name]John[/name] and then add in your own MN. This stopped when my brother was born (yhankfully all three brothers have only one MN)

The amount of names is not restricted, but as another baby name book says, personally I think of the US as “a three-name max society.” Forms usually have spots for first and last names, and middle name or middle initial. I really don’t know what you do if you have more than one. Also, places like social security cards restrict the length of your name. And finally, monograms. They look best in the aAa format, so having another name is not really practical for that, either. I can appreciate the style and panache of multiple middles, but one is enough for my kids!
As for droppping the middle and keeping the maiden, it is just the more traditional practice, and Southern states tend to follow tradition more. [name]Hence[/name] more Jrs, more kids with family surnames in the fn spot, etc.

I think the regional differences in opinion are really interesting. For instance, where I’m from monogramming is not popular, I only own one monorgrammed item and that’s only because it was a gift for being a bridesmaid. So the practicallity of monogramming things never once crossed my mind.

I don’t know what made me decide to use two middle names. It never occurred to me until I came on nameberry and I guess i just fell in love with it. Eveyone in my family thinks his middle name is too long, even though the two names combined are only three syllables. I don’t care, i love it. I also love one middle name.

As for forms, if there is only a spot for the middle initial I just put the first one. OR for first name I write [name]Dashiell[/name] D, and then put R in the middle initial spot. I really don’t anticipate any issues with it.

About dropping the middle name and taking the maiden. It does make sense that they do that in the south if that’s the traditional way… I am very curious about the history of that tradition, being that i never even heard of it until recently. I know i would find it really strange if one of my friends did that.

Oh and about restrictions on number of names. It seems you can have as many as you can fit on the line of the birth certificate. That’s what i was able to find, anyway, it might not be correct.