Sunday Summary 11.5.23How many names is too many names?

By now you’ve probably heard about the Spanish aristocrat who piled on the names for his newborn daughter, until the government said “no, no, no, this is madness” and told the well-heeled parents they’ve have to narrow it down.

If you’re curious, the name they chose was as follows: Sofía Fernanda Dolores Cayetana Teresa Ángela de la Cruz Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santísima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos.


Anyway, most of us would never contemplate such a long name. But many of us have debated: one middle name or two? One last name, both in some order, hyphenate?

Names evolve. Naming customs change with the times. Middle names didn’t become standard in the US until the early 1900s.

A century later, more kids have four names total: either a first + two middles + a last, or a first + a middle + two lasts. But lots of parents hesitate. Will four names be a hassle? Is it worth using the extra name? Will anyone ever know that they used the bonus name anyhow?

There’s no right answer, but I’m always curious to hear how parents are thinking this through. And I do get a little sad when parents decide to use both surnames, but then lose the opportunity to choose a middle name they just plain love because, well, five names would be kind of a lot of names.

Have you struggled with the number of names to use? How did you resolve the issue?


Excellent advice in this Swistle update. (They named her Phoebe!) In particular: stop holding the name up against all the names that, for various reasons, we couldn’t use. SO hard to do, but yes – necessary!

78 names for boys you might not have considered. Calder, Ike, Penn, Quest, and Shaw are among my favorites.

A fun look back at How I Named My Baby. Particularly interesting to read that 11% of parents gave their children names they’d loved since childhood.

What’s big in Austria. Their boys’ list is especially amazing – Maximilian, Felix, and Paul = what a great Top Three!

Do you struggle to remember names? This list of tips might come in handy.

That’s all for now. As always, thank you for reading and have a great week!

boy names 11.5.23 girl names 11.5.23

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Our kids have both our last names and two kids have one middle each (so four names total) and two kids have two first names plus a middle (so five names total). Honestly, we love how much meaning and heritage their names package in. The kids love their names, and we’ve never had an issue. They are also dual citizens, living in two counties, so double the passports, documents, doctors, school systems, etc. One country is the US and the other is a country that doesn’t even technically use middle names. Yet, no problems! So far, so good (and the oldest is almost 18, so I think if there were issues to hit, we’d have hit them by now!).

  2. This feels like a missed opportunity, somehow. A hero named Octavia with 7 names? I think in this instance an extra name would make sense.

  3. In the opera Der Rosenkavalier, the hero’s name is Octavia Maria Ehrenreich Bonaventura Fernand Hyacinth Rofrano!