--- On Fri, 3/4/11, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > I had always assumed that French names worked like
> > English ones with one or
> > more given names followed by a single family name, but
> > a Romanian friend
> > insists that French names work like Romanian names
> > with the family preceding the given.
> > Your Romanian friend is simply wrong.
> No, he is not wrong: he just knows the formal way of doing
> things. Informally, the order is different.

The question then becomes, is this really a "naming custom" in France
(formal or otherwise), or simply an expedient of the burocracy in order to 
make it easier to keep records and file papers?

In the US, it is also common for a name to appear with the family name
preceding the given name(s), but only for matters of alphabetisation. For
example, on forms and computerised registries.

That way, all the "Grandires" end up in the same filing cabinet, rather
than all the "Christophes". I don't consider this alternative order a
naming custom, though, as much as a filing scheme.