Middle Name Generator
Are you looking for a change of identity? Whether you didn't get a middle name, or the one you got you don't really like, we can help you choose something new with our middle name generator!
About Middle Names
Middle names appear in a number of different cultures across the world, but the version that's most familiar in English-speaking countries is the 'given name/middle name/family name' structure, and this originally dates back to Roman times. A common Roman naming tradition was to have three names – a 'praenomen', or personal name; a 'nomen', or family name; and a 'cognomen', which would denote which particular branch or group of the family you hailed from. This would often be used as a measurement of a person's importance in Roman society – especially since women would generally only have two names, while slaves were only ever allowed a single name.
Versions of this naming tradition spread across Europe thanks to the centuries-long rule of the Roman Empire, but it wasn't until the Middle Ages that the naming traditions began to coalesce into a form closer to what we recognise today.
At that time when the Church played an integral role in people's lives, the population were often torn between naming their child a family-related name (often to honour a deceased parent or sibling) or naming their child after a saint. So, the tradition began that two names would be given – a given name, which would be the one largely used in everyday life, and a 'baptismal' name, which would generally only be recorded on Church documentation and used in religious ceremonies. This spread over a number of generations, especially once we reached the 1700s, although multiple names could often be also used by the aristocracy to show their family's high place in society (the longer the name, the more important they would seem.) It's only in the last two hundred years that traditions surrounding middle names have started to relax, and they can simply be creative choices rather than specifically religious.
There are now a number of different types of middle name that can be employed by people in everyday life. Firstly, there's the option of making it the second part of a two-part given name, such as Mary Anne or Sarah Jane (although many of these fell out of fashion in the nineteenth century due to double-names being viewed as only belonging to servants). Secondly, there is the option for a woman to utilise her maiden name as a middle name (as in the case of Hilary Rodham Clinton). Thirdly, there is the patronymic option, where the middle name is inherited from the surname of the child's father or grandfather. Fourthly, there is the traditional 'baptismal' name mentioned above – and lastly, there is also the option of using the mother's surname, and this is especially popular in Portugal, Brazil, and the Philippines.