Category: two middle names
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
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.
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:
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?
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.)
We all know, thanks to Princess Diana’s infamous wedding blunder, that British people like to use lots of middle names. But it’s not just about quantity: The multiple British names feel inventive and surprising, chosen less for any conventional notion of flow and more for individual considerations of style and family.
Thalia Violetta Carlisle? I would bet the nameberry farm that not a single child in America was given that combination of names last year….or maybe any year. It’s quintessentially British, and it works.
In the examples of recent British baby names below, you’ll notice that lovely antique first names are combined with surnames are mixed up with nicknames, and that once in a while a word name – Rabbit, Reckless – is stuck in, just in case things weren’t eccentric enough already.
Name aficionados will want to check out the Birth Announcements in the London Telegraph for hundreds more such goodies. WARNING: This makes highly addictive reading. Do not undertake too close to bedtime.