Middle names in English speaking countries go without saying. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t have one. But just like with given names, the trends have gone out of control. What middle name should you choose for your infant prodigy and should there be more than just one?
In English speaking countries, middle names have been in existence for over four centuries now. And of course, it all started among royalty. Not many people know that the famous Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has in fact four names in total: William Arthur Philip Louis. Other than the upper class, only ONE middle name has been a simple standard for a long time. Until recently.
In the United States, heaven forbid you have a baby these days and you name it in an un-unique, un-original way. For many, tradition turned into stereotype and middle names are no longer given to honor the grandparents or other relatives. They no longer show cultural heritage or support religious background. And sometimes, there’s no longer just one middle name either.
Multiple middle names, very often containing our ‘favorite’ apostrophes (http://babynames.net/blog/is-apostrophe-a-new-catastrophe/), have become the new normal and children who bear them are frequently exposed to complications they otherwise wouldn’t have to face. Almost a copy-cat of the ‘apostrophe problem’, some of our all-time favorite government databases and airline computer systems are not the best friends with more than two middle names. So I guess George Herbert Walker Bush did just fine flying to the Persian Gulf, but you, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, you’re in for a treat trying to get to a summer vacation in the Bahamas. Yes, that’s right, that’s the super weird pseudo-complex invention of Uma Thurman, of whom I actually thought she was charming until she named her baby girl that dreadful six-word sentence.
Naming their child whatever they want is every parent’s right, at least in the US. But unless you’re planning for your baby to live in the Buckingham Palace, and according to the latest Kate Middleton’s pregnancy news there might be a chance for a potential match in the future, try to keep it simple. Your child’s middle name should not be living proof of your indecision, it should just be a name. Preferably one.