Just read the Tolkien post, and this question popped into my mind. Does the government actually recognize all those middle names that some people have? Or is just one the legal one and all the rest just for fun?
I would imagine that in most places, theoretically there would be no limit.
I remember reading about a guy in England who named his child after every player in his local football team.
I also read a few years ago about a German woman who was trying to give her kid an obscene amount of middle names… the courts there stopped here and impossed a limit. I forget exactly how many.
I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that Kieffer Sutherlands real name was actually Kieffer William Fredrick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland.
Quebec courts are not fond of this sort of thing, and the civil code provides for negating the name choices of parents who decide to make a statement at the expense of the poor kid. My comment on a particular aspect of this law was printed in the following Cecil column:
Oh, and if you think Kiefer Sutherland is impressive, try Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispín Crispiano de la Santissima Trinidad Ruíz y Picasso.
George Bush Sr.'s full name is George Herbert Walker Bush. Whenever his middle names or initials are mentioned, they always seem to mention both, so I’m guessing they’re both part of his legal name. The US government doesn’t seem to be too picky as to what you call yourself - this guy changed his name to davedavidson.com. I’m guessing you can have as many names as you want, as long as the full thing fits in the computers.
Don’t know the answer to the OP (I suspect there is no limit) but, IIRC, last names (hyphening etc.) do seem to have some rules on a state-by-state basis.
I wonder about Confirmation names? This would be a second or third name taken at around middle to high school as part of the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s obviuosly not part of the given name but I consider mine part of my name. What would be the legal “standing” of that name?
I seem to recall from other posts on names and the laws that govern them that you can call yourself anything you want as long as you don’t do so with the intent to defraud. At least in most places. In Quebec, and perhaps other places with a legal system based on the Code of Napoleon rather than Common Law, names actually have to get approved by someone. Didn’t Cecil mention this all in the column about whether you can take a kid home from the hospital before naming it?
I have a friend who has five middle names. For official purposes, she only uses the first of those names. In most cases (e.g. driver’s license, registration documents, etc.) there simply isn’t room (or it’s very impracticle) to use more than one.
Just to add to the ‘lots of names’ list, the Roman Emperor Claudius was actually Gaius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (Ceasar)
Just to add to the ‘lots of names list’, IIRC the Roman Emperor Claudius’ full name was Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (Ceasar)