Middle Names in Genealogy

Posted March 9, 2012 by Amanda | One Comment

Happy Middle Name Pride Day! Today everyone is encouraged to celebrate their middle names. Middle names are an interesting thing in genealogy. Some people may choose to hide their middle name, while others choose to embrace them. Either way, it’s likely that you have encountered a few unusual middle names in your genealogy research. As you find them, it might be fun to try to understand their origins.

Middle Names and Family Connections


Quincy Jones

Some of the most unusual middle names could involve family traditions. You’ve probably encountered a few middle names that made you go, “huh?” But, if you dig a little deeper, you might see that there’s a family connection related to the moniker. Check out where the middle names of a few celebrities came from:

Quincy Jones‘s middle name is Delightt. Jones was passed down his name from his father, Quincy Delightt Jones, Sr. and has continued with the tradition with his own son, Quincy Delightt Jones, III.

Diana Ross‘s middle name is Ernestine, after her mother Ernestine Ross. The name is a feminization of the name Ernest.

Matt Damon

Mel Gibson‘s middle name is Colm-Cille, which is the name of a fifth century Irish saint. It’s also the name of a parish in County Longford, Ireland, where Mel’s mother, Anne Patricia Reilly, was born and raised.

Matt Damon‘s middle name is Paige. The name might sound a little feminine, but it’s actually his mother’s maiden name.

Hilary Duff‘s middle name is Erhard. She shares the same middle name as her father, Robert Erhard Duff. Erhard is also the maiden name of her German paternal grandmother.

Use Middle Names While You Search

Knowing someone’s middle name can also significantly help your chances of finding your relatives in your search for records. Take for example, census records. Are you having trouble locating your relative in the census records? Try searching for the person’s middle name instead. You would be surprised by how many people actually go by their middle name instead of their first name. As a result, they may have entered their name in the census form with their middle name and omitted their first name.

Several celebrities also go by their middle names rather than their first names. Check out the Middle-Namers project to see what famous celebrities use their middle names!

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Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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