Reese Witherspoon, Garth Brooks, Dakota Fanning, and also Brad Pitt are just some of the celebrities that go by their middle names. And all were born in, you guessed it, the South.

If you, as well, go by your middle name, you"d probably love the opportunity to convince any paleas who are considering naming their son this method not to. As a middle-nameite myself, I"m all as well acquainted through the roll-speak to confusion eextremely initially day of college, the mail addressed to two different names, and downright tuning out your initially name when it"s referred to as at, say, a doctor"s office waiting room. (Oh wait, that"s me, you think.)

But how did this inconvenient practice acquire started in the first place? I remained in my early on 20s the initially time someone argued it was a "Southern point." I was out to dinner through a coworker once she spotted my initially name on my credit card, inevitably kicking off the same exadjust I"ve had actually 2,984 times in my life, which goes somepoint like:

Friend: Why did you decide to start going by your middle name?

Me: I didn"t. My paleas have actually always called me this.

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But this time, my colleague, that was from New York, indeveloped me that she believed calling youngsters by their middle names was a Southern legacy. I"d stayed in the South (Georgia and Texas, to be specific) my entirety life up till that allude and kbrand-new plenty of civilization that went by their middle names, so I wouldn"t have actually precisely known the difference. (In the South, they"re not Southern traditions, they"re simply...traditions.)

A cursory internet search does not return a definitive answer, and neither does there seem to be an professional on the topic, however there"s numerous anecdotal proof to assistance the theory. The best explacountry appears to stem from Southerners" penchant for keeping a name going down the line, especially for males. You end up through John Smith Jr., III, and also IV in one family, and calling a boy by his middle name is a straightforward means to differentiate between him and his father. In my family, my grandpa, father, and brvarious other all have the very same initially name, so my dad and also brvarious other are well-known by their middle names.

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It doesn"t help that, as reexhausted Center Tennessee State sociology professor Ben Austin defined, "So many type of generations of family members have lived in the exact same location."

But how does that define the substantial variety of Southern womales, who presumably weren"t named after their mothers, that go by their middle moniker? Psychologist Elisabeth Waugmale, Ph.D., writes that Southerners have actually a tradition of giving girls "double names" — Mary Ann, Katherine Leigh, Sarah Beth — which has its roots in the "mass migration of the Scots and also Irish into the South, via large concentrations in Appalachia." Both names provided together, Waugguy described, have actually a lyrical "three beat" high quality, which was "well-known in 19th-century lyric poeattempt once many type of European immigrants were coming to the U.S."

Garland Pollard, a Virginia aboriginal living south of Tampa, Florida, offers his middle name bereason he is the fourth in a line of guys through the exact same name. "At leastern in my household, the middle name was even more of an early 20th-century creation," states Pollard, the director of communications for the Diocese of Southwest Florida and also former editor of Virginia Living magazine. "Looking at ancestry charts, I seem to have many 19th-century ancestors with only a first and a last name."

Pollard points out that the use of a middle name, in basic, have the right to "keep a surname that has actually disshowed up from a bloodline." Reese Witherspoon, for example, is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon — Reese is her mother"s maiden name.

Pollard posits that, bereason the USA is not a monarchy, people dislike having a number attached to their name, so having the same initially name (but not the middle) proceed dvery own the household tree provides more sense. The tradition that started with boys more than likely carried over to girls as soon as it became renowned and embraced practice.

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