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Old 04-04-2016, 02:49 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 37,617
This is in part stuff that I've gathered on the issue from the Dope and other sources, in part taken from my left elbow.

Piece of data: in the US, that custom is almost if not completely restricted to Anglo names, where Anglo is in the meaning of "from places where the main language is English", not in that of "of English origin". That includes all of the British Isles, not just GB or England.

Piece of data whose source I don't recall: the origin of the custom seems to be that Scottish soldiers picked it up from the Portuguese own naming custom of using both a maternal and paternal lastname, in that order. Since Scottish name structures already included multiple personal names but did not include multiple family names, they used the maternal lastname as one of the personal names (i.e., as a middle name). According to the same source this happened at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, so c. 1810.

Piece of data: there was a lot of migration out and through Scotland in the 19th century, the "through" including many Irish.

So from Portugal to Scotland, from Scotland to all those places where Scots and people traveling through Scotland went in the 19th century, including the US. Other groups and other countries haven't picked up the custom. They may do it at some point, but as of this point in time have not.