I have a middle name and proud of it. Some people use their middle name as given name, many just as an initial, others not at all or a wee bit changed. The Dutch middle name Van is the same as the German Von and in some cases mutually reversed used by themselves or others. Ludwig van Beethoven is e.g. in the film “Clockwork Orange” referred to as “Ludwig von”. The husbands of two former queens changed “von” to “van”
One of the inconveniences is alphabet order. Some countries one has to choose a waiting line for the V, otherwise the main last name, reason why in above example the famous composer, originally Flemish is often listed as Beethoven, Ludwig van. The princes Bernhard and Claus are basically known just like that, their original family names are of lesser interest.
When companies store my full name in a database it depends on schema and policy how they address you, forgetting the middle name completely if you spell it officially That’s to say in my case depends on how the local government officials spelled it or your father told them how to do it.
I started to write it with a capital V years ago at work to see which mail server I sent from. Since that moment for unofficial documents I use this spelling. The main name exists without Van as well.
Some people have more than one given name and pick just one they like best. An example is Barack Obama, whose second name is known, but very rarely used.
Shakespeare, William asked yet: “What’s in a name?”. The answer is: More than you might think. Given names have a meaning, pseudonyms often even more since you give them to yourself. Then there are nicknames by others: Friends (of friends), relatives, class mates, colleagues, clients, suppliers etcetera.
The Romans had a rhyming answer for the poet: “Nomen est omen”. Do we believe it? Some do, some don’t. It’s a matter of want to believe, just like what they say about your western or eastern zodiac sign, as if there are 12 or 144 different groups of people. Who knows?
A philosophical attempt to divide, share and think about, my point of view here, being not a philosopher with enough knowledge, just an amateur.
- < Believers in less than three groups of people
- > Believers in more than three groups
- = Other
For curiosity I’d love to know what group you feel to belong to. My thought =
I mean really essentially different groups, forget details like hair color, shoe size…