Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's in a (middle) name

One of my favorite parts of having my son was all the paperwork before I was allowed to take him home. (Hear me out on this one.) Mostly, it was the fact that I got to fill out all the paperwork - that there was nowhere for my husband to even sign. I hadn't thought about it before that moment, but obviously it made sense (clearly the baby was mine.) I don't know why this made me so happy (can we blame the drugs?), but I teased my husband that it was actually I who got to name our son, even though we had picked out his name together a long time ago.

Our son's first name was relatively easy for us to decide on. His middle name was a bit harder, and yet, it never occurred to me to not give him one. After all, I was pretty sure that everyone I knew had a middle name. Evidently, this is a recent thing. Only 37% of children were given a middle name in 1911, but today, 75% children are now given a middle name.

According to the U.K. report done by, bestowing a middle name began to increase after the second world war, as people commemorated lost loved ones. Even today, just over half of middle names are chosen to remember loved ones or are family names.

I've noticed another middle name trend in the last few years, which I am not sure I completely understand. I have met many parents who call their child by their middle name, instead of by their first name, making the middle name the preferred name. I can only imagine a lifetime of correcting other people throughout school and on forms for these children, so I am not sure why parents don't just switch the names around (making the preferred middle name the first name). I totally understand people not liking their first name and preferring to be called by their middle name when they are adults, but the "we call our child by their middle name from birth" trend, I don't get. (Am I missing something?) 

For what it's worth, when I was little the only time I heard my middle name was when I was in trouble (sorry, Mom).

What about you? Do you have a middle name with a special meaning? Do you not have a middle name and have to explain it to people?


  1. My mother gave me my middle name after her favorite nurse that helped her when she was pregnant for me. And for my daughter, I am named after a car, so it wasn't even a second thought that I wanted her to have a car name in her name also. which is how her middle name became Mercedes

    1. I love that middle name tradition! I hope that your daughter continues it with her daughter - what a wonderful and fun way to celebrate your family!