Middle Names

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 7, 2009



Last year, PG heard a lot of fuss about the middle name of Barack Hussein Obama. This led to a post on the subject of Presidential middle names. That post is still getting google hits, and PG appreciates any traffic he can get.

While researching this feature, PG noticed that many of the early presidents did not have middle names. Apparently, before the American Revolution, middle names were seldom given. For some reason the custom caught on during the 19th century. When America started to draft men for World War I, the draft papers included a space for the middle name.

One possible reason for middle names was population density and increased family size. Many people began to have the same first name ( or Christian name) and last name ( Surname). Middle names were a way to distinguish between Jimmy Bob Jones and Jimmy Joe Jones. There was possibly a bit of status involved in having more than one name.

Women have long used the maiden name as a middle name after marriage. Girls were often not given middle names for this reason. The hyphenated Maiden-Married name is a fairly recent custom (Which this author hopes is a fad that will go away).

While middle names were originally a decoration, many are now used as a primary identification. PG is referred to as a diminutive of his middle name, which can be confusing when authorities insist on using his first name. The middle name is also a handy alternative for someone who gets tired of the name they are called by. There is also this thought…”I think parents give kids middle names so the kids will know when they are really p****d at them.” For some reason, people on trial for spectacular felonies are always referred to by all three names.




3 Responses

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  1. mercerd said, on July 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  2. People Middle Names « Chamblee54 said, on September 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    […] is a double repost, about the custom of middle names. The part about Presidential middle names was written during the 2008 campaign. Pictures are from […]

  3. Middle Names | Chamblee54 said, on July 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

    […] is a double repost, about the custom of middle names. It was published in this format in 2011. Today, a middle name is like a body part or an excuse.. […]

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