What's the Point of a middle Name?

May 15, 2009 1:40pm CST
I often wonder why its a must to have a middle name when most times nobody calls you by that name. We only use our middle names if we're filling in some kind of form so I wonder why people bother to have two names.. I personally sometimes never remember that I have a middle name. How often do you use your middle name apart from filing in some kind of information form? Do your friends even know your middle name? Most of my friends dont know my middle name as they've never asked.. so am just curious as to why we bother having a middle name?
3 people like this
14 responses
@mac1946 (1602)
• Calgary, Alberta
15 May 09
In my family,each generation has at least 2 John's,so a middle name is one of the only ways for the government or hospitals and such know which one they have. Having the middle name came also stop many family fights over which individual is listed in a will.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 09
that's pretty much how my family is too-they repeat names,so you have to go by the middle to tell which person is wanted. ..and we have a bunch of johns as well..
@TLChimes (4842)
• United States
15 May 09
I use my kids' middle names all the time. "Betty Sue Lynn O'Connor!!!!!! Stop yanking little bob's hair out!" *names changed to protect the young from their friends knowing how mean their mom is*
15 May 09
lol I like that when you guys use all the names to emphasis a point.. I have my friend's mum who always goes "Rita Louise Claire Watson get your behind in here now!" hehehe.. I guess there is a use to a middle name
• United States
15 May 09
I actually have 5 names. A first, middle and 2 last names. My friends and I always joke about my middle name that I never use. I don't hate having it. But some people do use their middle name. When I fill out paper work I usually just put my first and last. When I am in school they have my middle inital listed.
15 May 09
yes apparently I have about six names too.. I looked at my birth certificate the other day and I was like I didnt know I had all them names.. but my nickname is Jelly and thats whats I've been called since I was born.. and that's not in my birth certificate
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
18 Jun 09
Actually a middle name helps when your first name and last name is like someone else's. It also helps if you live somewhere where there are a lot of Mary Smiths or James Stewarts and when we were looking up our ancestry, there were quite a number of men with the same name as my grandfather in the county he lived in because either most of the population was related and when you are named after your grandfather or great grand father, pretty soon there are so many with the same name that the easier thing is to add an R in the middle or if the parents are only going to have one or two children because of health issues, they would name their child John Arthur Smith or Mary Ellen Smith because the child's great aunt or great uncle want to be remembered as well. It is not the idea of conceit or thinking one is high class when they are not, but to avoid confusion. You would not want to be sued and have to pay a lawyer to prove that you were not that person with the same name as yours who was a con artist, would you?
@tundeemma (896)
• South Africa
16 May 09
There is nothing wrong with having a middle name, it really helps in some situations, though it may not mean anything to you but there are some instances when there are mistaken identities and when names are the same, that's when your middle name saves you from trouble
• United States
16 May 09
I don't think that a middle name is an actual legal requirement as many people do not have them. Therefore, the middle name is more of a custom, and some cultures/societies will give their child more that a single middle name. It appears that the main reason for a middle name (either single or multiple) is to honor a relative - usually an ancestor. I have also noticed in my genealogical work, that within a family, a middle name will be used to distinguish membors having the same first and last names, and are from different generations. Thus the grandfather may be "John Robert Smith" and the grandson would be "John Thomas Smith".
@Glow1971 (354)
• Spain
15 May 09
I honestly don't know why we are given middle names but I really don't like mine! I only use it when I need to fill out any formal papers otherwise I skip it. Only my family knows my middle name but they call me by my first name.
15 May 09
It sometimes is a way of acknowledging some family history I think. My middle name is William, which was my grandfather's name, and my oldest son's name is William, which is an acknowledgement that he is my oldest. My daughter's middle name is Margaret, the same as her grandmother, so there is family history there.
@redhotpogo (4398)
• United States
15 May 09
A middle name helps tell you apart from the others. There are so many people out there with the same last and first names. What are the chances of someone being in the same area as you with all three of the same names?
@cher913 (25891)
• Canada
15 May 09
oh i use my kids middle name a lot! ha, just kidding. i only use them when i am mad at them! hubby and i picked their middle names because they flowed well with their first names.
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
15 May 09
I believe, jellymonty, that the purpose of a middle name is to differentiate people from the many others who might have the same first name. Many people share a common first and last name, but if their middle names are different it sets them apart. Never having a middle name myself has always caused me to feel somewhat shortchanged in that department, however, my uncommon first name seems to be my saving grace.
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
15 May 09
Middle names are also used it cases when as a child you are in trouble. I remember always knowing when I was because I was called by my full name. I'm not sure why parents do this but I do think it's an effective way to get the child's attention. Also some people do not like their first name and are called by their middle. Sometimes people have more than one middle name, which is very unique, but I am somewhat curious as to why they do have more.
• United States
15 May 09
My brother-in-law goes by his middle name! We even sometimes call my sister by her first and middle name. I think the middle name started to help differentiate between people. There are so many John Smiths in the US, that if they didnt have middle names it would be even harder! I do know the middle names of my good friends. I also like the idea of having a middle name to pass down family names. My husband's middle name is his grandmother's maiden name. That will be the middle name of our first child. Our second child will have my maiden name as their middle name. In the US, not having a middle name can be a pain! Everything is set up for you to have a first, middle, and last name. So even if you just give your child a middle initial rather than a middle name, it will make their life much easier! Many times paperwork can be rejected if a person doesnt put down a middle name, even if they dont have one!
@katprice (807)
• United States
15 May 09
Some cultures assing multiple middle names, which is even more confusing. And there are some southern states that issue first names like Peggy-Sue, Bobbie-Jean, etc. Makes me wonder what their middle names are. My mom does not have a middle name, she was never given one.