The only time we get to use our middle names is when we’re filling up official documents, getting a new email address, when we write our initials on paper, and that’s pretty much it. We don’t use our middle names daily, so why do we even have them?
It all started in ancient Rome. A typical roman named is divided into three groups, a praenomen, meaning personal name, a nomen, meaning family name, and a cognomen, which indicates the branch of the family you came from. Back then, the more names a roman had, the more respected he would be. A great example would be the famous Gaius Julius Caesar. Women only had two names, while slaves just had one.
This tradition continued to spread to Western culture in the 1700s, when Aristocrats would give long names to show their social status. Arabic and Spanish cultures started giving their children paternal or maternal names to keep track of their family tree. But the format that we are using today originated from the Europeans in the Middle Ages. They named their children with a given name first, second is the baptismal name, and last is the surname. It continued to spread across America and into different parts of the world. People eventually started using the maiden name of the mother instead of holy middle names for their children.