#atozchallenge: Initial

One of thoe redundancies that can drive you crazy if you spend too much time thinking about it (which, as you might have guessed, I have) is "first initial." After all, "initial" means "first." The only thing that keeps me patially sane is knowing that, when a form asks for the first initial, they mean "initial of your given name," and they’re not trying to get you tied up in doubletalk.

Most forms ask for your last name, first name, and middle initial (that is, the first letter of your middle name). Your middle name is a second name given to you by your parents, and might honor someone else in the family. My middle name is Connelly, after my grandfather, who was John Connelly. My brother Jim’s middle name is Doyle, after my great-grandfather, James Doyle. With Kip (real name Christopher), Mom gave him the middle name Gerard, just because she liked the name. One day, Kip asked her "who’s Mr. Gerard?" figuring it was someone’s last name. She explained why, hopefully to Kip’s satisfaction. Patrick’s is John, after one of the many Johns in the family (his father, his grandfather, his oldest brother…)

My father’s middle name was Krieger. We have no Kriegers in the family, but Grandma had some dear friends in Cincinnati named Krieger. Mr. Krieger, whose first name was Oscar, passed away while Grandma was expecting Dad, and Mrs. K asked Grandma if the new baby was a boy, could she name him Oscar? Grandma compromised with her and said she’d give the baby the middle name Krieger. Dad didn’t like it, and his high school yearbook lists his name as "William Joseph Holton." Grandma was none too happy about that.

One of the more famous episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show is the one where their son Richie is upset to learn that his middle name is "Rosebud." Rather than ruin the episode for you, here it is, if you have 25 minutes to spare.

23 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Initial

  1. Nice, my middle name is Laura, but only a few bunch of peeps know it, many usually call me Hannie, or by my pen name, Hannelore.
    Now, that I´ve been working on my family tree, I´ve seen that many of my greatgrandparents had several middle names. Of course, we latinos love long soap-opera names. That´s the way my kids know they are in trouble, hihihi.

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  2. My middle name is Frewin, my Grandmother on my father’s side was very bossy and warned me called Arthur after my Grandfather who had recently died but my parents had decided on Andrew and the two names didn’t sound right together so my middle name is for where I was born – in the gatehouse of Frewin Hall in Oxford. There is a Frewin family but as far as I know, I am the only person who has it as a middle name..

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  3. I neither thought about the redundancy of “first initial”, but now that you’ve mentioned it…

    My name is just a replay of my father’s name. I was a junior, but I dropped that years ago after my father died. Not that I ever used “Jr” that much, but to eliminate confusion I kept it when applying for credit and whatever. Even now, some 30+ years after his passing, some of my father’s credit info appears on my credit report. Since it probably helps my credit I don’t do anything to change that.

    I was past 60 when I discovered that my mother’s real middle name was Katherine when all my life I’d known it as “Kaye”. I don’t know when she started using Kaye, but she did use “Lois Kaye” as her stage name when she did her dance act and she used it everywhere else as well. None of my siblings knew about the real name until I discovered it on some legal documents when I was organizing the stuff in her house. My mother was very upset at my discovery. She said she hated the name Katherine and for me not to tell anyone about it. Actually I think Katherine is a very nice name. I could never figure why that name upset her so. I think one of her cousins or some relative who was very nice might have also been named Katherine, but we always called her Kitty so I’m just guessing.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  4. My eldest brother was given the middle name Ernest but not sure what prompted that choice. My other brother and I don’t have middle names. My Dad was William John but always known as Jack and my Mum used her middle name Gladys as her first name Ada was also her mother’s name.

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  5. My middle name is my grandmother’s name on my mother’s side. My father didn’t have a middle name. My Spanish friends on beBee have several names. I like the idea of family names being kept through generations.

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  6. Since I have no hookup st my office and am stuck, I watched this episode which is quite funny. At first my mind went to Citizen Kane:). My niece..oops, my brother’s child had no middle name but she legally changed her name a couple of years back and now her previous first name is now her middle name. I get confused when I gavexa Spanish person in my office as they have several names.

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  7. I like names and how they come about. Also nicknames are fun and interesting. My mom didn’t have a middle name at all, and my dad just had two letters for his whole name (besides the last name) N R. I also knew a guy who’s name was just the initials A Z. 🙂 haha that would work fine for this challenge wouldn’t it!

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      1. Yes, but no periods after the letters. He wasn’t named after anyone and the letters weren’t short for anything. Never knew why his parents chose that for his name. 🙂

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  8. My father’s middle name was a mystery for years. He hated it and when I discovered the familiar ‘S.’ in his signature stood for ‘Sylvester’ I understood. He must have been teased a lot.

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    1. Names go through cycles: they’re really popular for a while, then they fall out of favor and practically disappear. Carol, for example, was real popular in the ’50’s and ’60’s, now practically no one names their daughter Carol. For the record, my great-grandfather and his oldest son were both John Sylvester Welch. My grandfather’s second wife’s parents were Edith and Horace. When they were born at the turn of the 20th century, those were fairly popular names. Now they’ll practically arrest you for child abuse if you name your kid Edith or Horace.

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      1. I had a grandmother named Leita and one named Bertha Rose – she went by Rose. It is interesting Sylvester showed up in your family, too.

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