Research Forum

Methodists/Wesleyans - Known by their middle name
published by gricharduk on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 17:38


I have come across many Methodists/Wesleyans known by their middle names rather than their first given name. This seems especially true for reverends and devout Methodists. Does anyone know if there is anything in their faith that might suggest why they do this? I have found very little and I would really appreciate some advice/help.

Thanks very much,



Comments ..

Submitted by Albert Wm Gosnall on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 11:29

Hi Richard,

My mother and father were devout members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Grays Thurrock married in 1934. Dad never had a middle name and my mother who was Hilda Hanna was always called by her first name. I, my brother and sister all had middle names but were always called by our first name. There are instances where at least one member of the family was known by his middle name that was my Uncle John William. My paternal grandfather only had one name at his christening in 1844 but on moving from Poplar after the 1881 UK census he chose to add a middle name which appeared in the 1891 census but so far as I know he was never called by the name he added.

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Submitted by gricharduk on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 14:58

Hi Albert,

That's fascinating - thank you very much for replying. I am obviously reading too much into what they called each other! In the case I am looking it, perhaps it was a mid-Victorian fashion to use their middle name rather than anything that was faith-based.

Thanks again and best regards,


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Submitted by Sylvia on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 18:46

Hi, Richard. Maybe a stringof,, let,s say, George in family.second name would differentiate from anyone else?

In our family, John was first name used by wife. Richard second, string of them in family. Then "Handfield" (any ideas, anyone?), used by family in Cornwall, after local Rev. Finally, called Jack by workmates. Depending who he was with, and where! First name could be biblical? Sorry not to be more help! Sylvia

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Submitted by gricharduk on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 7:31

Hi Sylvia,

Ah ha! I think you might be on to something with both the biblical connection (I did not think of that) and the second name differentiating them from another member in the family. I am going to take a look at both ideas - Thank you very much.


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