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Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 6:58PM GMT
Classification: Lookup
I have noticed that around the 1930's to 1940's some people have switched from being known by their first and last names to using their middle and last names, not only on the census and in articles, but also on legal documents.

Does anyone know why?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Re: Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 9:29PM GMT
Classification: Query
The only way to know why is to ask them! (I realize they may be dead now)
Sometimes they liked the middle name better, or didn't want to be confused with someone with a similar name.
I don't think there is any one societal reason why someone would do that.

Re: Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Posted: 28 Jan 2013 8:40AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 28 Jan 2013 8:42AM GMT
Think about the merciless teasing at school & then also sometimes later in the work place,
If you were called "DUDLEY" & it was shortened to "DUD" you might get fed up at always being the dud or useless one!!.
When you moved house or changed job you might swop names around or even use another one already in the family, to avoid a repetition. It wouldnt worry me, as I have had many different variation used on my name when changing locations. But some could get very upset, and, & some people can be very irritating in this respect.
Another example is if your called "DONALD" & people started singing/humming "Old McDonald had a Farm" every time they saw you.
Or even if there was a local infamous person with the same or similar name, you might want to change.
Besides I expect that by the 1940-50s the Victorian ethics were begining to loose their grip on people

Re: Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Posted: 29 Jan 2013 11:53AM GMT
Classification: Query
You mention the 1930's and 40's. Did the people you're wondering about become young adults at that time? Did they belong to the same ethnic or religious groups? If so, that might narrow things down. Perhaps they felt comfortable reject the naming traditions their culture or religion imposed but didn't want to go to the trouble of legally changing their name. Some cultures name their children after grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Others name their children according to the saint's day nearest to their child's birthday.
Some of my ancestors are Scottish and they named their children in a very predictable way until the latter part of the 19th century.

Re: Change from being identifed by first name to middle name

Posted: 16 Feb 2013 6:35PM GMT
Classification: Query
My father was born John, during the war he became Johnny and when he went to university - his story was that there were too many Johns so he switched to using his middle name of Erwin. On official documents he signed J. Erwin, in everyday use he simply went by Erwin. When we chose middle names for our children we thought about the impact of switching to a shortened or middle name rather than the first name
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