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tetsabb
1389845.  Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:22 pm Reply with quote

My father was John and my Slightly Famous Brother is John Gerard known to the world as Gerry.


In other TV news, we watched the final episode of the latest series of Fargo, set in Kansas City in 1950.
Is it just us, or did it come over as quite rambling and disjointed? Some fabulous moments, particularly of dark humour, and some truly bizarre characters, such as Nurse Mayflower, who must have been a joy to play.
And some very cool outfits and cars.

 
Leith
1389852.  Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:23 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
suze wrote:
I can't find any proper statistics on the prevalence of people choosing to be known by their middle names - but it seems unlikely to be as high as the 44% (eight out of eighteen) exhibited by PMs from Ramsay MacDonald onwards. I can only immediately think of two such people in my own circle, although it is always possible that there are more and I don't know that the name they use is not their first.

In the US, using one's middle name is sometimes considered a Southern thing, perhaps because a lot of boys in the South get given the same name as their father. But of the 45 people who have been President, only four were known by their middle name (Hiram Grant, Stephen Cleveland, Thomas Wilson, and John Coolidge), and only one of these (Wilson) was a Southerner.

As for whether or not it's a fluke that so many PMs have been known by their middle names, I think it has to be. There is no obvious reason for it to be so.

Again I can only be anecdotal, but is choosing to use a middle name considerably more common among men than women?


Are men called after their father more often than women? I suspect so and those people are more likely to use their middle names more than anyone else.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


It was very common on the paternal side of my family - a tradition we brought with us from East Prussia. Normally one would be known by the last of their forenames, which would be preceded by one or two names in honour of a parent, close family member or a prominent royal or benefactor. That applied to both men and women of the family, though perhaps more prominently to the former.

Consequently the 19th century family in Prussia at times had approaching 50 percent of its male complement first-named 'Johannes', and most of the rest 'Friedrich', 'Wilhelm' or 'Friedrich Wilhelm', while the women's names were a bit more diverse.

The English branch of the family kept that up until a couple of generations ago, and the branch that went to the US and Australia kept the tradition for longer still.

As for PMs, I think the aristocratic class often like to bestow long lists of names on their offspring (making a show of the bloodlines, I suppose), so perhaps the mere presence of a disproportionate number of names to choose from is a factor.

 
Brock
1389853.  Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:46 pm Reply with quote

Leith wrote:

As for PMs, I think the aristocratic class often like to bestow long lists of names on their offspring (making a show of the bloodlines, I suppose), so perhaps the mere presence of a disproportionate number of names to choose from is a factor.


Except that the list given contained as many Labour PMs (MacDonald, Wilson, Callaghan, Brown) as Tory PMs (Chamberlain, Eden, Macmillan, Johnson). In fact it contained every Labour PM except Attlee and Blair!

Statistically, Labour PMs are twice as likely to be known by their middle name as by their first name. Now that's just weird.

 
suze
1389859.  Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:44 pm Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
Are men called after their father more often than women after their mother? I suspect so and those people are more likely to use their middle names more than anyone else.


This seems likely, certainly.

I'm struggling to find very many women at all who go by their middle names.

The Anglo-South African tennisist Sarah Virginia Wade is one of the few that I did find, and her mother was Joan Wade so she was not named after her.

The singist Olive Marie Osmond was her parents' eighth child but first daughter, and she is named after her mother. The first child was George Virl just like his father, and I think this is usual among Mormons.

The actor Reese Witherspoon seems properly to be Laura Reese-Witherspoon where Reese is her mother's maiden name. Whether she is Laura to her family I don't know, but it's vaguely comparable with James Ramsay MacDonald - and he was Jaimie to his family.

Precious few others, though. I'm reading conflicting claims about Rihanna. Her first given name is Robyn, and she is apparently Rob to her mother, Monica Braithwaite. She is estranged from her father, Ronald Fenty. But it's not entirely clear whether Rihanna is a middle name that she always had or whether it's a stage name.


Brock wrote:
Statistically, Labour PMs are twice as likely to be known by their middle name as by their first name. Now that's just weird.


Isn't it just!

The current Labour leader is Keir Rodney Starmer. He was named after James Keir Hardie - just like Ramsay MacDonald, the child of unmarried parents who was known by both his surnames - and his father Rodney Starmer, so he won't be an addition to the list should he ever become PM.

Incidentally, Keir Rodney Starmer went to school with the musician Quentin Leo Cook, who has by now adopted Norman as his legal name but did not have it from birth.

 
tetsabb
1389881.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:59 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Rodney

We should call him Dave....

 
Brock
1389886.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:11 am Reply with quote

The last PM who said "Call me Dave" didn't do too well :-)

 
Efros
1389890.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:39 am Reply with quote

I don't think history is going to be too kind to "Dave".

 
RLDavies
1389918.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:35 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm struggling to find very many women at all who go by their middle names.

Not that you knew her, but my mother always went by her middle name. Her first name was Emma, and she hated it. (Won't reveal the name she actually used, as it's in play as a security question here and there.)

 
AlmondFacialBar
1389921.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:40 am Reply with quote

My cousin went by her middle name until she started uni because her first name was at the time regarded as dreadfully old-fashioned. By her late teens it had become trendy, however, and so she reinvented herself as [FIRST NAME]. In the family she still uses the diminutive of her middle name, but I doubt the friends she's made in adulthood know of its existence.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
cornixt
1389939.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:07 am Reply with quote

I knew a guy called Chris Evans who switched to his middle name when the radio DJ became too famous. He was a bit label happy before the switch, so everything in his room now had the wrong name on it. I'd never seen anyone label so much stuff with their name, so it was all the funnier that he changed his name.

I figured that PMs used their middle names because of some kind of cultural pressure. Aren't most of them from public schools?

 
Brock
1389941.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:28 am Reply with quote

cornixt wrote:

I figured that PMs used their middle names because of some kind of cultural pressure. Aren't most of them from public schools?


The four Tory PMs mentioned (Chamberlain, Macmillan, Eden and Johnson) did indeed all to go public schools; Chamberlain went to Rugby, the rest to Eton.

But none of the four Labour PMs mentioned (MacDonald, Wilson, Callaghan and Brown) went to a public school. Funnily enough, the two Labour PMs who used their first name (Attlee and Blair) did go to public schools. Work that one out!

 
suze
1389958.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:42 am Reply with quote

cornixt wrote:
I knew a guy called Chris Evans who switched to his middle name when the radio DJ became too famous.


That actually reminds me of another woman I have known who used her middle name.

Her first name and surname were precisely those of a woman who had been convicted of a heinous crime and was for a while a tabloid hate figure. Her name wasn't Myra Hindley, but that sort of thing. So she switched to her middle name, and the surname is common enough not to stand out.

I am then reminded of the singist Emeli Sandé, who switched to a version of her middle name - which is actually Emily - because she didn't think her first name sounded right for a pop star. Her first name is Adele ...

 
CB27
1389969.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:27 pm Reply with quote

In many countries middle names have disappeared some time ago, but I knew my dad had a middle name as he came from England, and he was unusual among British Jews in that he used his first name anyway because most British Jews up till quite recently would use their middle name in public, while their first name was their "Hebrew" name. This was for both men and women.

I think over the last couple of generations people have started embracing their more ethnic and unusual names so you see it less.

I also only learned after a few years from my aunt that my dad's family was outraged by the choice of names for my sister and myself because he didn't follow the convention of naming after a member of the family. The reason was because my mum's family had certain conditions to allow him to marry my mum, which included using their tradition of using names that relate either to the conception or birth of the child, so my sister's name means "with me" because she "helped" bring the marriage forward quickly, and mine means "life" because I wasn't expected to be born so soon.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1389971.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:40 pm Reply with quote

Meanwhile my paternal granny's family had the tradition of first naming their kids after an aunt or uncle and second and third naming them after their godparents (which, in line with German protestant tradition, were both of the same gender as the child). That means that not only didn't I know the actual first names of my auntie and some grand aunties until I learned them by pure co-incidence or their death because they were all known by various diminutives to distinguish them from the other Louises, Margarethes, and Emilies that came before and after them, but also that Auntie Lizzie was Louise twice, first named after her aunt and third named after her godmother. That side of the family has always had a strong sense of justice, so I guess they wanted to make sure everyone was acknowledged good and proper.

Also, my uncle on the maternal side goes by his second of four names because that's the only one unique to him in the family. His first is after his uncle and the third and fourth after his grandads.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Pyriform
1389985.  Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:44 pm Reply with quote

My aunt didn't much like either of her given names (Mabel Doreen), so called herself 'Doh' as an abbreviated form of her middle name.

There is also a certain Rachel Markle to add to the list. I only found out that Meghan was her middle name from Brain of Britain yesterday (and now that I know shall do my best to forget it).

 

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