Sunday Summary 3.19.17During a school event on Friday, we shared a table with two other families. Of the five adults at the table, three of us answered to our middle names.

My story is a little bit complicated, but the other two had family names. It was assumed from birth that they’d be known by their middles.

It reminded me of this week’s Name Help, of course. As an A. Abigail, I tend to notice others who are known by their middles. But it’s impossible to say just how common a naming practice this is; and, of course, what percentage of those are chosen at birth versus those that came later.

Overall, I’ve never found it terribly burdensome to be called by my middle rather than my first. But I’d be curious to know if others feel this way, or if you’ve considered using your child’s middle rather than first name for daily use. And, of course, how it’s worked out!

Elsewhere in naming news:

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

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. I named my daughter Meadow Victoria Grace, purposefully giving her classic middle names, so that as she gets older, if she ends up disliking her ‘hippie’ first name, she can always go by one of her middles. Over time we’ve nicknamed her Rosie lol, so she’s a girl with many names.

  2. I’ve never found it burdensome to go by my middle name either (which I chose to do aged 4). It only ever comes up in official situations, but hasn’t been a problem. At most, it’s a case of saying “I go by my middle name”, or adding “known as Clare” to a form field. It’s always fun meeting other middle-name users and having a little bondng moment. They’re not as rare as I once thought. I’ve met middle-namers of all ages, and I’d be interested to know if it’s more common for people of certain generations, but as you say, there’s no way of knowing.

    Thanks for the mention 🙂

  3. My brother-in-law really wanted to honor a beloved uncle who had passed away, but it just happened to be the same name as my sister’s highschool sweetheart. She vetoed it with the first son, and they picked a different honor name instead. But when they learned their second would also be a boy, she agreed to name him after the uncle.

    We deliberately choose very rare names for our kids (outside the top 1000 for at least 10 years). However, we also give them more common names as middles, so if the kid really hates having an unusual name there is a backup plan.

  4. Ha, I was in the opposite of the letter writer’s situation. I love a name that happens to also belong to my husband’s ex, and he vetoed it because, weird. I understand, but it’s still a beautiful name.