It’s running a bit late, but here is this weeks post for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge and this week it is all about the power of names. I decided to reflect on the use of middle names.
I don’t have a middle name and I like to think that makes me a little bit special. It’s a bit sad really, but every-time someone asks me what my middle name is, I feel a small sense of smugness in telling them that I don’t have one – like I am set apart from the rest because of it. Just about everyone I know has a middle name, so when I meet a fellow ‘middle nameless’ soul they instantly become part of my elite club – a special something joining us together! I’m not sure why I don’t have a middle name – maybe my mum and dad just couldn’t be bothered to think of one. When I was a child, I used to pretend it was Georgina, but as I got older I started to like my lack of three names – it’s a little one up to my non-conformist side.
With 80% of the UK population having a middle name, I certainly am part of the minority. But their use is a relatively new concept here. Apparently the popularity of them soared after the two World Wars, as it became a way to commemorate lost loved ones. Nowadays, this notion is reaffirmed by the most popular middle names being very traditional in nature (e.g. James, John, Louise and Rose are top of the lists). People still continue to use it as a way to remember a dead family member or loved one, with 55% of middle names being chosen for this reason. Also, if you look at many families, there is often a ‘traditional’ name that appears through the generations. For the OH this is unmistakably Robert. For my family it is ‘George’.
I always thought I would follow in my ‘unique’ footsteps when it came to naming my children, but surprisingly when we had our son I found myself adamant that his middle name should be ‘George’. With my dad having it as a middle name and my uncle, cousin, grandfather and great-grandfather before him – all with the same forename, I felt an overwhelming need to continue it through to the next generation. Perhaps, being a woman, and knowing my family name would not be continued, this was my way of holding onto that little bit of tradition.
I am obviously no more ‘non-conformist’ than I am ‘traditional’ at the end of the day and I am proud of my son’s names. Though perhaps we should have given him two middle names, as then he would have been in the 11% ‘super-elite’ club who have at least two.