Did you know these Presidents had no middle name

+7 votes

Did you know that Middle names were extremnely rare before the 1800’s and therefore that ancestor you have with that Middle name probably didnt exist in their lifetimes. Many of us have ancestors with supposed middle names. These names more often than not were added by a well-meaning family historian trying to discern from all the Henry, Mary’s or Johns in the line, but are probably not true. As Middle names really didnt gain much traction until the 19th century. 

So if that supposed middle name doesnt appear in a Will, death record, birth record, or marriage record, it probably did not exist save for an imaginative family geneologist romanticizing and fantacizing about their line, lol!

The use of Middle names was so unpopular that these president do have one:

Harry Truman had only an inital. 

Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, Zachary Taylor, John Tyler, Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, James Madison, John Adams, and George Washington

WikiTree profile: Mary Belcher
in Policy and Style by Yvonne Doñate G2G1 (1.9k points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

I guess it didn’t matter once one gets some notability, it doesn’t matter if someone like, say, Andrew Johnson, didn’t have a middle name, right? laugh

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
selected by Susan Laursen
0 votes
Martin Van Buren
by Glen Spurlock G2G Crew (780 points)

Ha ha, true! some people don't realize that his last name was Van Buren, not Buren.

Yep, I hadnt realized he wasnt on the list.
The original article said 28 presidents had no middle name, So I am sure they didnt list them all. Lol 28 out of 45 , whew, I thought it was truly interesting.
0 votes
Okay, so when did having multiple given names go out of style? I have ancestors who had five or more given names. In pretty much all my lines the names were at least two given names because they followed the tradition of naming their children after other family members and often used their first and last names as given names for their children. Was this not a hallmark of nobility and royalty to have many given names? My youngest brother had no middle name because my oldest brother got to name him and said that nobody needed a middle name; and I disagreed with that.
by Carolyn Murray G2G6 Mach 1 (11.1k points)
Multiple names were not common with commoners,lol . BTW, I come from a line of Royals also. so when you see a middle name for an ancestors who were just regular people, and they lived about 1600 and 1700 more than likely that middle name was given later probably to discern between multiple members with the same first name.  For example. Family trees have named several of my ancestors with middle names, that public records like their own wills and such dont support these middles. If his name was say Henry, and he had 5 kids and grandkid and great grands with Henry. Someone in the 1800’s then wrote a book and gave them middle names probably to discern from all the Henry’s. Now people are adding these middles to their trees as if it were fact. There are several articles about lack of use of Middle names until the 19th century, in fact 28 of our presidents had none. In Europe middle names were so so depending on country. But England and America not that popular unless you were royal. I will try to find the article and post it. So be wary when using middle names is all i am pointing out. It could be it was a name they never used in their lifetimes. If an ancestor signed a will which is a legal document and did not use it, not even an initial, it is surely a clue that the middle name is may be made up. It is certainly something to consider while researching.

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