Middle Names: The Strange, The Ordinary, and The Embarrassing

Bestselling novelist JACQUELYN MITCHARD, whose new book No Time To Wave Goodbye, a sequel to her Deep End of the Ocean, will be published this month, meditates on the middle name as payback, placeholder…..and downright embarrassment.

Middle names often are payback – a best friend, a deceased auntie, a family crest. My son Will‘s name is William Gordon Pendragon Brent, because of contributions from his brothers and godparents. Many, many people hate their middle names, especially if they’re names such as Miriam, Ursula or Von. Others adore them: Novelist Harper Lee‘s real first name was Nelle (pronounced “Nell“), Carson McCullers’ first name was Lula, and, in the modern era, the great Lorrie Moore‘s given first name is … well, Marie.

Some people don’t have middle names. My agent does not. Her name is Jane. Plain Jane, while her sister has a first and middle name. My husband doesn’t have a middle name. When he fills out documents, his middle name is “NMI,” or “No Middle Initial.” So the kids say his name is Christopher Nimmie.

Recently, I took a desktop poll. It was based on my old pal Tim Cuprisin’s contention that everyone we grew up with in Chicago had the middle name Marie.

Indeed, Marie was a favorite among our 50s or 60s-born contemporaries. Horsing around between fitful bouts of writing the news, Tim and I gave even our male co-workers the middle name Marie (James Marie, Tommy Marie). Years later, my 13-year-old and I play this same game, asking around to discover the hidden middle Maries. Kazart! Many young girls’ middle names are either Marie or that other ’50s-60s favorite, Ann, even if the person’s first name is Keihley or Phyllis, Maya or Serena.

What is it about Ann or Marie that makes those names such a great afterthought?

As a first name, Ann is stately, aristocratic and given to the adorable nickname “Annie.” Anne Boleyn, Anne Bancroft, Anne Hathaway.

Marie calls to mind the matrons of my youth – strong women who made good food and had permanent waves and could burst into song or a jitterbug at the drop of a fedora.

Interestingly, the first Female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is middle-named Patricia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s middle name is Diane and former Governor of Alaska and now Mouthpiece Around Town Sarah Palin‘s is Louise.

However, Katie Couric, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Garner and punk rock singer Shirley Manson, among many, many, many others, have the middle name “Ann” or “Anne.” First Daughter Malia Obama is Malia Ann even though mom’s is the more exotic Michelle LaVaughn Obama.

Diva Patti LuPone’s middle name is Ann, although her first name is really a last name: Her great-grand-aunt was the celebrated 19th century opera singer Adelina Patti.

Marie seems to require a bit more ethnic specificity. In German and Latin American countries, both men and women often have the middle name “Marie” or “Maria” (among them the famed writer of All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque), in part because of its sacred Catholic connotation.

Yet, in my desktop poll, conducted among my friends on Facebook, off Facebook and Down Under (which is to say, in cemeteries, not in Australia) the reigning middle name seems to be Ann, and its variations (An – yes, I have seen it – Ayn and Anne) seems to be, still and always the reigning middle name. It’s short, classy and goes with everything.

My own middle name?

It’s Gay. For a while I changed that pretty name to Grace. But now I love it again and use it happily.

For more on Jacquelyn Mitchard’s books and to read her blog, including this one in slightly different form, go to jackiemitchard.com.

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66 Responses to “Middle Names: The Strange, The Ordinary, and The Embarrassing”

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rachelmarie Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 12:25 am

My middle name is Marie, as seen from my username.
It’s really popular of the people I know. My best friend’s middle name is Marie, and so is her mom’s middle name. I know about 15 girls with the middle name Marie. I know about 9 with the middle name Anne.

Many people consider Marie to be a filler middle name. While I agree it does go well with just about anything, it does have meaning for some people. For example, I was given the middle name Marie because it was the name of my mother’s favorite grandmother.

Jill Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 12:38 am

Jacquelyn Mitchard? Seriously? Wow! 🙂 “Deep End of the Ocean” is one of my favorite books (I loved the movie, too), and I had absolutely no idea that a sequel was coming out! (Memo to self: Must. Buy. Book.)

I, too, love Anne as a first name (with the “e”), but like you said, it’s overused as a middle name. The same goes for Rose: #1 in the world of middle names, but underused and charmingly elegant (at least to me) as a first name.

Thanks for the blog, and best wishes on your book!

Grace Conway Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 12:46 am

The most popular middle names at my high school are by far are Marie, Ann(e) and Rose. I do consider both Marie and Rose to be filler middle names because they sound good with almost all first names and are rarely used in the first name position.

For my entire life (15 years) I have absolutely hated my middle name. My parents decided to honor my Japanese great grandmother who died during my mother’s pregnancy. I do like that I was named after a family member, but I wish it was just less weird 🙁 My middle name is Kofuki, pronounced Koff-kee. It does not even register as an actual name on this website and most others.

Lauren Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 12:54 am

Thanks for the blog! I completely agree about “go to” middle names. I have always felt the same way about Ann, Marie, Rose, Michelle and especially Nicole. During high school, I cannot even tell you the number of girls whose mn was Nicole. I knew 2 or 3 Ashley Nicole’s–all unrelated with the same last name, as well!

lyndsayjenness Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 1:26 am

When I was little, I had five girl friends on my block. Christina Marie and Angela Michelle were sisters, Cameron Marie and Taylor Ann were sisters, and Natalie Marie. I was so jealous that my middle name wasn’t Marie, and I gave my dog Annalee and my cat Flower that as a middle name. My mom is Katherine Ann, and my grandma is Ann Rose, so there is a good chance I may use Ann some day.

Oh, I have two sister-in-laws (not sisters themselves): Shannon Marie and Julie Marie. I am destined to be surrounded by great women with the middle name Marie, feeling left out. Not really though, I completely love my middle name and wouldn’t change if for the world. It’s Jenness, the surname of my ancestors who immigrated here from France long ago. It’s been in use as a middle in my family for several generations.

teabee Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 2:26 am

I can’t think of anyone in my family with a common middle name off the top of my head; I need to double-check the middles of a couple relatives…

Barbara Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 2:39 am

Ah, middle names. We have a mix of the afterthoughts (Ann, May, Marie) and more unique ones (Lenore, Elise). I don’t think there’s a family system for girls. (For the boys, it’s fairly strict–one line all has the same first name, and they choose from a total of two middle names with the same initial. They’re on the sixth generation of this, though the current baby is going by his middle name.)

susan Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 3:49 am

We don’t have anybody with the middle name Marie in our family. Most women have the middle name Elizabeth. Mine was Sue, but I didn’t like Sue. So I lengthened it to Susan and made it my first name. I didn’t get the middle name Elizabeth because my sister already had it. My middle name would have probably been Ann, but my cousin’s first name was Ann. We were a very close family. I was pretty happy with Sue compared to other middle names I might have gotten such as Velma, my great grandmother’s name.
One of my best friends is Lissa Marie. Her mother was named Marie. My best friend from Colorado was Laura Marie and her daughter was Hailey Marie. Years ago I knew a young man named Steve who named his cat Candace Marie. She was very pretty.

redriding Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 6:01 am

I only know one woman with Marie as a middle name – Janette Marie, born in 1966. (I remember it well, a hot August day, I was 13 and England won the World Cup at football, but as usual I am rambling).

I LOATHE my middle name, (Joyce) as all Nameberries will know, but it is my 88 year old Mum’s name, so it causes her hurt to keep telling her that.

Over here, ROSE is very popular as a middle name, while it used to be Lynne or Anne.

Very interesting blog!

Anna Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 6:01 am

mine is Michelle, My sisters Loren and the other Nicole. My brothers Allan Weeber (dad’s and my mum’s maiden) and the other Scott. My hubby’s is James.

beccalynn Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 7:43 am

I was named Rebecca Lynn for the sole reason that it “sounded good together” and was “easy to spell” – so that’s my default definition for a filler middle name. My sister’s mn is Faye, which she’s always hated, but I’ve come to envy the charm and personality of it.

It’s interesting in the “grass is greener” sense, because my sister plans to give her children more common middle names, while my own daughter will receive a fairly unique one when she arrives in November.

Sylvia Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 7:55 am

Okay, Pendragon is a sweet middle name.

And Gay is a beautiful name that I mourn the passing of…

phaedra Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:08 am

My pet theory is that we favor French-derived middle names such as Marie, Michelle, Nicole, and Renee, because of the emphasis on the last syllable. That makes these names really flow well with a wide variety of first and last names.

I was so intrigued by this phenomenon that I started a thread about multisyllabic middle names … maybe it’s still in the forums somewhere?

My own middle, however, is not French- it’s Susan, after my aunt. 🙂

Andrea Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:15 am

A few years ago, when I was keeping track of birth announcements in the state, Ann, Marie, and Lee were still the most popular middle names for girls. They were by far the most popular middle names in my graduating class for girls as well. Those who didn’t have Ann, Marie or Lee were usually Lynn/Lynne/Lyn or Dee, May/Mae, or Kay/Kae or Renee/Renae or Beth. My middle name is Kay; my female cousins have the middle names Ruth (after our grandmother), Ann, Anne, Renae, and Devon (I think she was a character on some soap opera at the time and inspired my aunt). One has my aunt’s maiden name as a middle name. The male cousins had the male equivalents as middle names: Ray, Lee, Lynn or their father’s first names as their middles. When I cover graduation ceremonies for colleges or high schools or preschools, you see those same middle names repeated over and over, sometimes combined — AnnMarie, JoLynn, Raeleigh, LeeAnn, MaeLynn, etc., now with the addition of Rose or Grace for very little girls. The short, one-syllable, rhyming middle names seem to be pretty typical in the Midwestern United States. I remember comparing middle names with classmates and enjoying having the same middle names in common. The one or two girls who had longer middle names stuck out.

Andrea Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:19 am

I regard my confirmation name as a second middle name. One of the girls in my confirmation class selected her saint’s name so it would sound good with her middle name, Marie and asked the priest if the confirmation name could be placed ahead of her given middle name on the confirmation certificate. Her name was Monique Marie and she then became Monique Anne Marie. My confirmation name is Elizabeth, picked mainly because it is also my mother’s middle name and I disliked her first name, Margaret, when I was 13. I wonder how many Catholic kids enjoy being confirmed because they get to pick another middle name?

Em Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:44 am

I think phaedra has it right as to why these are popular- it’s the rhythm of them that makes them so popular.

My middle name is the same as my mom’s (Jean) and I plan to use it as a middle name if I have a daughter as well. For our son, we used my husband’s name (Michael) as his middle name. For first names, we pick names we like that aren’t in the immediate family, and then use a family name for the middle name. We like our child having his “own” name, as opposed to sharing it with a grandparent etc. but then we can honor family in the middle name.

I don’t understand why people just pick a “it just sounds good” name, that seems like a waste of an opportunity to pick a name to me!
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing for people to choose their names differently, that’s just our philosophy!

Abby Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 8:53 am

I recently discovered that a friend of mine has the middle name Rhunette.

The interesting thing is that many middle names that start out as filler – Anne, Marie, etc. – seem to be passed down as family names. Wasn’t it Jessica Alba who named her daughter Honor Marie because Marie is her middle name? That always strikes me as curious.

But then, I love Pendragon.

Pam Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:00 am

Hmmm, interesting, Abby. Makes me think of your guest post on the secret meaning of names and how that might morph over time, so that a filler middle name like Ann or Marie chosen because it was bland as a hyphen might over time acquire a different more important meaning: A family name worth passing down through the generations.

robynkit Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:33 am

The way I see it is Ann, Marie or Lyn are so common as middle names that you may as well not bestow those on your child if you are just using them as fillers. It’s perfectly alright not to have a middle name or just to have an initial.

My father in law has the initial “R”. My mom and dad both have no middle names and none of us have common middle names. Try Kitrina, Roxanne, or Dare on for size! It’s best to choose a wonderful, distinctive middle name for your child.

Pam Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:41 am

OK, but can somebody please explain the initial as middle name phenomenon to me?? Talk about a placeholder!

diana Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 9:47 am

As a joke, I have always called my cats their names, plus Marie when I get mad at them. Hermione Marie! Abby Marie! I guess that’s how over-used the name is.

Definitely over-used and definitely dates someone. I’m so glad that nowadays people have more choices. I think you can name your kids just about anything now…..depending on the part of the country you live in….and get away with it. A lot of the names people use now, you wouldn’t have dared used them when I was younger. I don’t think that it was so much that our parents lacked imagination. I think it was that they knew the horrible fate that would be in store for their children if they crossed that boundary. Especially here in the mid west, where we are not known for our naming originality.

ADC Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:24 am

I have always loved my middle name (Dawn), mainly because it is my mom’s first name. When I was a kid I always thought that she must have really liked me to name me after herself. I plan on passing it to my daughter. Plus, I love the sound of a one syllable middle name with a longer first and last name, but I wouldn’t want the middle name to be “just a filler.”

ADC Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:26 am

Also, working with children, I get to see tons of names, and I have to say, Grace is BY FAR the most popular middle name in my area.

Millikate Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 10:28 am

All my friends from back in high school had a group of the same middle names. It was either Lynn, Anne, Nicole, or Elizabeth except for one Monique, who she absolutely hated her middle name. 🙂

http://names4real.wordpress.com/

msmoll Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 11:03 am

My fellow Gen Xers all seem to have Lyn as a middle name. Both my mother and my mother-in-law have Ann. I agree these classic and simple names can be great fillers, but I think people miss out on the opportunity to use the middle name as a tribute, or to use a name they love but wouldn’t necessarily use as a first name. My dad’s middle name is Downell, after his father’s friend who was shot down the day my dad was born. It honored a friend, and gave my dad a connection to someone important. I say with so many great names and people out there, why pick a filler?

lyndsay jenness Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 11:06 am

ADC- “I always though she must really like me to name me after herself.” That is so cute! I never thought about it that way before, makes me want to name a baby after myself.

Kerri Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I am the 8th (or 9th) Julia in a line on my mother’s side. Its my middle name, but can be first or middle. Sadly I have 2 sons (and no more are coming) so the tradition ends with me I guess. Maybe they will have daughters and pick it up again…. the name also comes with a spinning wheel! My mom STILL doesn’t have the spinning wheel, I’ll probably be 70 by the time I get it.

ScarlettsMom Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 2:19 pm

My best friend’s mn is Marie. In my family, two of us have “common” mns (but they were actually named for family members) and two of us don’t. I think all of our names flow well and match in style though – Amanda Jane, Megan Lori, Rachel Michelle, and Ashley Lynn.

Kathleen Says:

September 3rd, 2009 at 2:46 pm

My middle name is also Marie! After my mom, Mary. I considered it for my own daughter as a ‘family name’. so I agree with the PP!!

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

September 4th, 2009 at 11:23 am

My middle name, as you can ese, is Elizabeth, but a LOT of the girls i graduated with had Marie as a middle name. So much so that I used to call my friends _____ Marie (Amanda Marie, Alicia Marie, Kayla Marie) as a joke. Only two of my friends had “unusual” middle names, and they were June (after her mom, Jane, I think) and Laurel.

People are

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

September 4th, 2009 at 11:27 am

getting more creative about middle names though. My best friend named her two daughters Natalie Eowyn and Aspen Phoenix. My cousins did prettygood, as well. I have little ones named Hunter Ray, Creighton Jason Dean, Jude Adam, Millie Claire, and Brooklynn MacKenzie.

(sorry, this is a contination of my earlier post. I accidently hit submit before I was done typing.)

Ann(TobysMommy) Says:

September 6th, 2009 at 12:58 am

My mother’s middle name is Ann, and my father’s mother’s name is Anne. As a result, my first name is Ann. I have lost count of the number of times I have I heard “Oh! That’s my sister’s/cousin’s/aunt’s/mother’s/dog’s middle name!” I’ve always resented Ann for being so plain and boring. Oddly enough, I could never stand being called Annie, so I was always just Ann. I would have liked to be Anna, but it never caught on. People insisted that I just “was an Ann”

Stacy Says:

September 8th, 2009 at 6:36 am

My middle name is Claire, but my mom’s middle name is Ann. It’s definitely common. Meanwhile, my mother–in-law’s middle name was Lynn, although she actually legally changed her name to reverse first and middle names since she goes by Lynn anyway.

I do have to agree that it seems like Grace is the current used-everywhere middle name for girls. I know so many babies with that middle name!

Catherine Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 8:23 am

My middle name is Elizabeth, after my mom (who goes by Betty) and when it came time to name my daughter, I gave her a name that was “hers” and had no family connotations for a first name and Elizabeth for a middle name after me and my mom (coincidentally I see another Stephanie Elizabeth posting in this thread – too funny!)

Karen Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

You know what, I think there is a lot of emphasis on “how it will sound”, the flow, I guess we call it. I don’t really think my name flows. It’s ok, I guess, but since I just about never hear it all together, it has its own lyrical sound when it is spoken. People don’t seem to favor short first names, especially monosyllabic ones, but the short names and 2-syllable names with the emphasis on the second syllable get that “flow”. It’s kind of garanimals for naming your child. I do like names like Claire and Rose and Marie for first names lately, not so much Ann or Lynn. I definitely favor a variety of rhythms when hearing people’s names instead of a formula. My sister and brother both have 2-2-2 names that sound not at all predictable, no need to mix it up or inject assymetry. My middle name has 3 syllables. Since it never really comes up, it doesn’t really matter if they hit some sort of favorable rhythm, but with a multi-syllabic first name and who knows what for a last name, the short middle name almost always sounds “just right.”

When I am looking at suggestions discouraging certain combinations for sounds that run together or two similar in rhythm, I think we are complying with some ideal that a full name hits a certain lyrical, asymmetrical rhythm, and parents who are going for it without any type of research (to books or sites like this) or willingness or interest in churning up an extra set of decisions, are probably going by that habit.

Another thought that just comes to mind is that people (the ones who aren’t obsessed in life about names) tend to have their list of favorite names to choose from for a first name – unless something comes to them that means something, I may hazard to guess that aside from using their own predictable middle name that’s passed down the line, people may tend not to look for their second favorite name off the list they just whittled down for a middle name. They might want to use it in the future and pick a more ordinary name for the middle that’s sort of ok and inoffensive, does the job, is not totally heinous or embarrassing to their child. I prefer something really interesting or meaningful or daring in that spot, but just the same, it almost never comes up, so I can see why people choose not to bother.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NAMEBERRY! – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

October 11th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

[…] including the man who started the Social Security list Michael Shackleford and bestselling novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard, along with many parents who’ve shared the stories of naming their own […]

Breeze-Louise Says:

December 13th, 2009 at 12:33 am

mmk..just to say I dont think I would b pleased to have the middle name marie because its just so “normal” or ordinary if most oppl have it it just becomes boring..me I love my middle name its Breeze..I have yet to meet som1 who has the same middle name as me and I love it I feel so orginal

LilacaRose Says:

December 23rd, 2009 at 11:44 am

Lynn was a favorite in the 70s-80s, was it not?

EvanescenceDolly Says:

January 22nd, 2010 at 3:47 pm

My middle name is Eryn. Bree Eryn. I’m used to hearing it all together because my grandmother often scolds me and yells “Bree Eryn!”

sydnielynn Says:

February 16th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

My middle name is Lynn, quite traditional compared to my oddly spelled first name, Sydnie- more commonly Sidney or Sydney. I like my middle name mostly because people know how to spell it, something that constantly goes wrong with my first name. But I go by Syd, so it’s not too bad.

Of course, Lynn is a really popular middle name. I know quite a few and I would tend to put it right up there with Grace, Rose, Marie, and Ann(e). They’re super-filler names and will probably be that way for a lot of time to come.

I like traditional but I know that when I have kids I’ll be spicing things up (though I’ll try to make sure they don’t have to spell out their name to everyone like I do).

Nice article!

CassieCake Says:

May 28th, 2010 at 1:25 am

I’ve heard the middle name Kathrine a lot. But Ann and Rose and Marie top them all I think.

My middle name is Leanne it’s a mix of Lee, my father’s middle name and Anne my great grandmother’s first name. My sister’s is just Lee after my dad. My mom’s middle name is Kim, my grandma said she named her after a woman she worked with that “was just the nicest girl [she] every knew.”

My dad’s mother’s middle name was Ruth, I think it would make a great filler name, but you don’t see it too often.

Cailin Marie Says:

October 23rd, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I happen to have one of those “filler” Marie names. My brothers have the first names of our Grandfathers as middle names. Donald and Richard. My mother considered giving me her sisters middle name; Lou but that sounded weird, so finally they fell upon Marie. When I was little I was allowed to believed it was in honor of my Grandmother, Mary. Nope. Not so much. Just a filler.I love the sound of my name even though it has no real meaning.

Another thing about Middle names that I love is that they tell family stories, gives signs of decades and location. My moms name is Lisa Rae (mid-60’s baby!) and my aunt is Terri Lou (a late 50’s baby). Or you have the southern names with the Ann and Jane stuck onto the first name.

Personally, I will use a middle name to use other names that I love and can’t give up, maybe to honor others, but mostly just so I can use as many names as I want. Oh Boy!

Idan Says:

November 3rd, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I like my middle name: Samuel. Strange middle names: Robert Strange McNamara. James Riddle Hoffa. John Constantine Unitas & Dan Constantine Marino.

Ann Says:

November 24th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I have the strangest middle name. My paternal grandmother had the same middle name. I know of no other women that have or had it. It’s Unora. Her name was Ellen Unora, and I am Ann Unora. Pronounce like Nora with a Long U in front. Anyone else ever hear of this name?

chakrateeze Says:

January 19th, 2011 at 6:54 am

Ann~~~ It’s Irish! LIke Anora or Oona.

Mnless Says:

February 26th, 2011 at 12:33 am

*sigh* I’m sooooo jealous here! I don’t even have a middle name. My parents’ excuse? I have two last names and I don’t need four names. Three, apparently is just better somehow. Unfortunately, my first last name sounds like Maddison, so everyone thinks that that is my middle name and my name is I— Maddison H—-. Not so. I also have issues with hyphenation… Oh well. That’s another story.

Elizabeth Says:

May 23rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm

My middle name is Lora (Sounds like Laura) because I was named after a Norse goddess. 🙂

I also know a girl named Ann Marie (No hyphen) who is never known as just ‘Ann’ because the names sound good together (Ann Marie or Marianne both sound good)

My sister, Stephanie, is an Anne.

My mother’s family has a southern background, so they all go by their middle names. My mother’s name at birth was Joan Katharine and she went by Katie. (Note, she now has changed her name to Katie J, and the middle name is JUST the letter J, because she didn’t like the name Joan and did’t want to ever be called Joan)

mjeezy13 Says:

July 12th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I am yet another Ann. My name is Megan Ann, which I never thought flowed very well, but I did always like being named after my grandmother who I was very close to, Mary Ann. That is why I chose the middle name Ryann for my daughter. I didn’t want her to have the cliche Ann, but at least it’s still in her name.

Kate Says:

July 29th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

It seems that almost everyone I know has the middle name Elizabeth. I love the names Anne, Marie, and Elizabeth but would never use them as middle names just because they’re overused. My first name is Katherine, which also seems to be a popular middle name.

BrittanyNoelle Says:

August 2nd, 2011 at 4:22 am

I’m an ’80’s baby, but my parents swear they’d never heard of a Brittany before they chose the name for me. I was born 2 weeks before Christmas so my middle name is Noelle. My sisters are Renee, DeAnne(after my Grandma, Martha Dean and my Aunt, Victoria Ann), and Michelle. My mom is Elaine. And my nieces are Catherine and Elaine(after my mom). Growing up my group of girlfriends were Marie, Lynn, Lynne, Anne, Amber, Ann, Renee, Marie, Lynn, Marie, Nicole, Kimberly and Kristin. I think Anne is a beautiful classic name, but because of it’s over popularity and filler status I’d never use it. It sure does look nice though.

mamaPrincess Says:

September 20th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I know three sisters whose names are Ann Elizabeth Marie (she goes by Liz), Margaret Ann Elizabeth (Maggie), and Heather Ann Margaret…I guess their parents liked clean, classic names…but not too many of them!! Seeing the names written fully like that, “Heather” seems a little out of place, but Heather, Liz and Maggie have always sounded cute together to me.

LizMac Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 12:01 am

My name is Elizabeth D’Aun (pronounced dee-AWN). I used to hate it when I was young and everyone else had “normal” middle names, but I was named after my mom and I’m going to pass the middle name on if I have a girl. I love it now and I think it has a good tempo/flow that works with many names.

Cclb119 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:31 pm

My middle name is Laurence – after my grandfather Laurence
My niece’s middle name is hope- may sound like a filler but she was born soon after 9/11
my cousin’s mid name is Lily – after my gramma Lillian

Regan Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 5:18 am

Some interesting middle names:
Melvon
Connor
Brianne
Christina
Maurine
Gilbert
Kayleen
Carlos
Kenneth
Paul
I can name a few Jades and Maes and even an Agnes, too! Actually, I don’t think I’ve met someone with an Ann or Marie yet… Though I still do think of them as overused, haha!

El Veeb Says:

November 26th, 2011 at 5:22 am

I adore Pendragon as a middle name! Not sure if that’s a passing phase or a long-term love, but it’s different just the same. 🙂

Using grandparents’ names as middles is quite common in my family- my sister Brittany’s MN is Ruth, after my paternal grandmother; Dad is Wilson Douglas-John, after his grandfather and father (respectively), and my younger brother Harrison (Mom’s maiden name) also has D-J as his middle. Several of my cousins also fit the bill perfectly, with either a (grand)parent’s name or surname in second place.

Continuing this pattern is my sister, Cat(herine Elizabeth)- she is is pregnant with baby #2 and has chosen Isabella (for my grandmother, Isabel) as her daughter’s middle name; my nephew’s MN is Octavio, after my bro-in-law’s grandfather, and his first name, Joshua, is the English variant of my bro-in-law’s middle, Josue (pronounced hoh-ZWEH). As for me, my own middle name is Alexandra, quite possibly the only exception to this rule.

My mom is Lorna Ann (no e), and one of my best friends is Amanda Jean (another common one that was left off the list); Marie is also a staple around here- hey, it’s New Brunswick: 90 percent of our population is French. 🙂

Have a nice day, everyone!

ferntailwp Says:

December 16th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I have a friend who’s middle name is Marie, but I also have one with the mn is pronounced Nah-mah-boo-mah-kaw and said really fast. No clue how to spell it because it’s not even a real word! Her parents are both of indian decent so they wanted to give her an ethnic middle name to balence out her american first name, but they couldn’t decide between two words and so they smooshed them into one. Yeah, my friend’s not too happy.

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

February 25th, 2012 at 12:14 am

Mine is Anne with an E

HopeC Says:

May 21st, 2012 at 3:32 pm

My middle name is Cicely, pronounced like the island. I’ve never heard anyone with it as a first or middle name, I’m named after my gran and her mum. Admittedly it’s grown on me I used to dislike it but I love it dearly now.

mlbrooks Says:

July 3rd, 2012 at 9:37 am

My family uses nice stereotypical Southern names where the middle name is part of the name (i.e. Willie Mae, Tommie Jean, Brenda Sue, Bonnie Fay). While these are usually laughed at, they are quite fun to say with perky yet lilting quality. I won’t be following that particular family tradition, but I do find it interesting.

HerMajesty Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Wow, aurond here the popular middle names are Belle/Bell, Dawn, and Lee. I only know one person with Ann and non with Marie. My own is a bit exotic(as in mother made up the spelling) and its a varient of the overly popular MacKenzie(McKinzi), and my siblings are Jeannett, Wayne, Gregory, and Thomas.

HerMajesty Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

My moms friend and his brothers only have middle inicials; Stephen D, Anthony P, and Jeremy C. Their parents didn’t know they where having mutiples(they were born well on seventy years ago) panicked and gave em the first three names and letters thet coukd think of.

KylaMarieRich Says:

November 29th, 2012 at 2:49 am

My middle name is Marie. I didn’t care much not too long ago, but recently I have come to love it. Now I use it in my writer name. So anything I writer says `by Kyla Marie Rich’.

When I was in 5th grade, two of my friends’ middle names were Marie. Samantha Marie and Hannah Marie, but they never used them.

~Kyla Marie Rich : )

blueberry1215 Says:

December 6th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I think Pendragon’s a really interesting choice for a middle name. 🙂

My middle name is Ford, a family name that sounds better than Marie or Anne would with my first name, Katherine, and last name. I know it’s a tad masculine, but I love it because it has real meaning, and it feels tougher than the common Marie’s and Anne’s.

Vickster Says:

February 8th, 2013 at 7:35 am

My middle name is Marie after Aunt Mary (she’s an awesome aunt) and it sounds great with my first name.

My sister’s middle name is Lynn after Dad’s middle name, which is Lindsay. Mom didn’t even think about the fact that Dad’s older sister’s name was Lynn and that Grandpa’s middle initial was also an L.

Dad hates his middle name because his dad and sister kept spelling it wrong.

MarijaMagdalena Says:

June 20th, 2013 at 10:45 am

My mum never had a mn, so ours aren’t filler at all. Boys middle names are often family related too, with my Granddad, Dad and Brother sharing Ignatius as a mn.

As an earlier poster was talking of confirmation, I picked the name Rose when i was 10, because i wanted a short simple confirmation name which i didn’t have. That changes my initials to MMRS, from MMS. With my brothers confirmation name his initials spell VIKS. None of my name has any relation to any family members, even though Maria is common, I’m the first in our family to use any variation. The only family connection is that the Lithuanian catholic spelling, Marija is used.

Because of this, I want my first daughter’s middle name to also be Magdalena. Which is certainly not common or filler.

The most used middle names when i was in school were Marie and Louise. There were even three Charlie Louise’s in my year at school.

GingerCat Says:

November 26th, 2013 at 11:10 am

I agree its about the sound and how the name flows. My first name is just one syllable and my mum purposely picked a 3 syllable middle. My sister has a 3 syllable first and a 1 syllable middle.
Our middles are extremely common and i think pretty boring fillers even though Mum didnt have a middle, she used to pretend that she did..
But ours firsts are not at all common, Faye and Felicity, far too matchy matchy though

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