----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Henry" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Saturday, March 5, 2011 7:00:27 PM 
Subject: Re: Romance naming practices 

On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 4:43 PM, Douglas Koller <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> And the custom you've described is the same here. My middle name is after John Dryden, of the 15th century, whose blood, it would seem, courses through my veins. Meanwhile, my college roommate's middle name was his father's given name and that was the tradition in his family. 

I'm not sure how consistent or widespread that is; of my friends and 
relations whose full names and the provenance of whose names I know, 
in most cases both personal names (first and middle) are from family 
sources, e.g. a friend's son and several of my cousins have first and 
middle names taken from two different grandparents (mixing and 
matching so they don't have the exact same full name as any particular 
grandparent). I know of some whose first name was chosen at the 
parents' whim and whose middle name is from a grandparent or aunt or 
uncle -- my brother, for instance, but they seem to be the minority as 
compared to those both or neither of whose names are from family 

I did not intend to suggest consistency or widespreadedness of the custom. You can confer on your child a middle name of "Artichoke", "Mitten", or "Lunar Module" (hell, you can do that with first names, too). But Christophe mentioned that middle names in French often reflect ancestry or some beloved (my word, not his) familial connection. I concurred, saying that my middle name hails from (supposed) ancestry while my college roommate's was from his father. It's a capricious process.