Category: two middle names

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How Many Baby Names is Too Many?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
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Rosanna writes:

We’re expecting a baby boy, due in May, and our name crisis is twofold.

First of all, my partner and I are having a confidence crisis over the name we were previously set on – Leonardo, or Leo. We like Leo as a given name, but we’re not keen on shortened/nickname versions of a full name being put on the birth certificate. Leonardo would be there if our child wanted to use his full name later in life, and I liked how distinguished it sounds – and its catalogue of interesting namesakes!

However, I’m getting cold feet as we get closer to our due date. I’m starting to think that Leonardo is a bit of a mouthful and that we’d just never use it. The other name I would have used in a heartbeat is Theo/Theodore, but a co-worker recently used it for her baby boy, and I just don’t think I could use it for that reason.

There are only a few other names I like at this point. Oscar is one that my partner and I both like, but I don’t love it. And Lorcan is one that I really like, even love, but my partner isn’t keen on it at all!

The other part of our problem relates to middle names. We aren’t yet married, but have agreed that our baby will have both our surnames. We’d like to use Berry as a middle name, as it was my partner’s mother’s maiden name, and honors his much loved and missed grandparents. But I would also like our boy to have a first middle name – John – to honor my grandfather.

My partner thinks this would make our baby’s full name far too long, but I’m not so sure.

What do you think?

The Name Sage replies:

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Babies with Three Names

3 sleeping babies

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Maybe if I’d ever gotten into watching one of those shows about the Housewives from any place other than my home state of New Jersey, I’d have something better to do on a weeknight.

But no.  After a long day of working on Nameberry, what do I do for relaxation but turn to the hallowed pages of The London Telegraph, where I peruse the birth announcements in search of….more baby names.

This time, what caught my eye were all the three-named babies.  Maybe the oh-so-British three-name arrangement struck me because of the young prince George Alexander Louis, whose own three names are a departure from the usual royal four.  Was that Will and Kate‘s way of signaling that they were just like us…or at least like other young upper class British parents?

A few things we noticed about the three names of the babies noted here:

— More surnames such as Kynaston and Constable in the middle which are not mothers’ maiden names but may well be family names

— Some staid middle names such as Mary and Charles that are probably honorifics

— A few unconventional middles such as Bear and Coco

In case you’re interested in finding three great names for your own baby, you might find some inspiration in these wonderful recent British choices.


Agnes Lily Jean

Arabella Elizabeth Mary

Ava Flora Kynaston

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British Baby Names: Two middle names

two middle names

If there’s one British baby names trend that Berries all over the world have embraced full-heartedly, it’s the old upper class practice of giving children two (or even more, ala Uma Thurman) middle names.

Rooted in royalty as a way to honor a raft of vaulted relatives, the multiple-middle-name practice was pegged by one visitor to our pages as being “very posh and a bit snobby.”

But it’s also a way for name lovers to indulge their enthusiasm by using more of their favorites on fewer children.  Americans who give their babies two middle names are often simply packing more name power into one extended appellation.  They may also (as my husband and I were, when we named our daughter Rory Elizabeth Margaret) be adding extra middle names to honor both sides of the family at the same time.

Judging from the birth announcements in the London Telegraph, the three-barreled British baby name is distinct in a couple of important ways:

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Middle Names 2012: The New Connectors


There are several hot trends in middle names 2012.

One is the Middle Name with Meaning — family surnames, place names, virtue names you might not use in first place but that make for distinctive middle names.

Another is using two middle names, often to honor family members.

And then there are The New Connectors.

These names don’t mean or stand for anything or anyone special.  They just sound good, bridging the first and last names with a euphonious single syllable.

How do they differ from the standard middle names of yore, the Anns and Lees and Johns that might be thought of as The Old Connectors?

They don’t, so much, except that they’re not Ann or Lee or John.

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Middle Names: Are two better than one?


It’s no longer just foreign royals who are using multiple middle names for their babies.  More and more parents–both celebrity and civilian– are doubling or even tripling up, seeing it as an opportunity to widen their naming options, both in terms of honoring a namesake, or just for the sheer pleasure of choosing and bestowing an extra name or two.

One appealing possibility is that of honoring both maternal or paternal grandparents, as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin did using all fourof their parents’ names for their children– Apple Blythe Alison and Moses Bruce Anthony. It’s also an opportunity for a Mom to use her maiden name –a venerable tradition–along with  another, hand-picked one.  This is among the positive points brought up by posters on our message boards—the fact that it allows you to use one of your favorite names along with either your maiden name or that of some other family member you might want to honor.

There are some minor downsides including possible future bureaucratic snafus down the road. Smitty wrote in a while back to say that she works in the medical field and that “When women marry and hyphenate their names or keep their maiden and middle names and add their married names, the computer system we have can freak out.” –and forms like Social Security limit you to one middle only,  in effect depriving a person of recording her full name (so you might want to consider the order of the middle names quite carefully.)   

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