Birth announcement: Peter Paul! (and a name question)

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the handsome, significant name … Peter Paul!

She writes,

As usual my babies end up naming themselves in the end with a name I never considered until the last minute. A couple days before Peter Paul was born I was still obsessing about names and probably had about 20 names on the list. It was all decided when I went to confession and the priest asked what the baby’s name was so he could pray for him by name and I just blurted out Peter Paul! I like to think that Jesus himself was asking the name and basically having me decide at that moment so I would stop obsessing. Ha! So that’s what made it official for me and a couple days later he was born.

Thank you so much for all your name suggestions and help. Hugh and Cormac which you suggested were big contenders, as was Francis which I never imagined using either until the last minute!

What a cool story!! I’ve never heard one like it! And Peter Paul is such a great combo! It is SO cool that they share a feast day — June 29 is the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul!

Mama also added,

I have a baby name question for you still though — when our baby was first born we were using Peter as the first name and Paul as the middle name. I’m starting to prefer Peter Paul as the double barrel first name. What is protocol for double barrel names? Do we add a new middle name? Do we hyphenate Peter-Paul? I’m trying to think of what will be easiest for him long term with social security cards, passports, etc. What do you think?

Such a great question! Fortunately we have John Paul as a frequent example of a double-barrel first name for a boy; unfortunately, even that doesn’t provide hard and fast rules. Certainly there has been Mary Kate and the like on the girl side for ages, and loads of people have hyphenated last names, and I think the way it’s handled on forms, etc., is to put both names whenever possible. So they can hyphenate, which will make more obvious that both names are part of the first name, or they can smoosh them together, a la Johnpaul/JohnPaul or Marykate/MaryKate. I don’t really know what will be easier in the long run! Whatever you put on the birth certificate should be exactly what goes on the Social Security card, and exactly what goes on the passport, but in terms of other forms — especially those ones with the boxes where one letter goes in each box — they might run into difficulty getting both Peter and Paul to fit, especially if they keep the space between or add a hyphen (as opposed to putting them together as PeterPaul). And I’ll bet that they’ll frequently find just Peter as his first name on various documents/in the doctor’s office, etc. But there are a lot of people who deal with issues with their names, and each person deals with it according to his/her personality (i.e., some people hate it and some people roll with it and are even really proud of it), you know?

I do know that some people find hyphens in boys’ names to be a bit fussy, if that’s at all helpful. But if they love it, they should do it! (And there’s Jean-Claude Van Damme as an example of a guy with a hyphen.)

As for middle names, probably the easiest of all the options would be to keep his first name Peter and his middle name Paul. I’ve known several people that go by their first+middle on a daily basis, as if it’s a double-barrel first name, so they could still call him Peter Paul in real life, and introduce him that way, and make sure that’s what he’s called at school, etc.

If they decide to add a middle name, they don’t have to do anything to Peter Paul (hyphenate etc.) unless they want to; they’d just add another name, which would go in the “middle name” spot on forms. Which means he might end up being Peter MiddleName sometimes, if whatever person or computer is dealing with his name can’t compute a double first name. Or Peter Paul with the middle name dropped, which often happens to second middle names.

I’ve often thought this mom handled the whole multiple-name thing well — it might inspire this family to come up with a creative idea as well.

Please share with this mom (and me!) what your thoughts are regarding her double-first-name question!

Congratulations to the whole family, including big siblings Niall Jude, Phoebe Rose, Linus Noel, and Johnny Blaise, and happy birthday Baby Peter Paul!!

Peter Paul

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12 thoughts on “Birth announcement: Peter Paul! (and a name question)

    • Congratulations! I love Peter Paul. My son has a double-barrel first name with no hyphen (John Henry.) We went with just John as a first name and Henry + a family surname as his two middle names. He is always, though, John Henry, and we always write his name on forms as John Henry B. LastName

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Congrats!!

    Ha! This reminds me of this story, about the oldest living twins on the planet. Their names are versions of Peter and Paul: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3194935/Glass-good-wine-daily-elixir-worlds-oldest-twin-brothers.html

    I love the idea of naming a baby after these 2 saints: it’s very Catholic, as the Church usually groups their names on most prayers. And having a feast day that matches exactly your first+middle combo is the icing on the liturgical living cake! I could go on an on about other ideas like this: Simon Jude, Philip James, Martha Mary are a few.

    Since all the siblings have short names (2 syllables first name + 1 syllable middle), I wouldn’t add a middle, the name seems complete just like that. Using his first+middle combo on a daily basis works fine. Nobody says middle names are meant to be hidden.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think that is also very cool for a person to have both names share a feast day. Love that Mary-Agnes thought of other possibilities where that could happen.

      I will add that this name makes me think immediately of Peter, Paul, and Mary (folk trio) so I would probably not be inclined to use both names as whole first – that probably dates me as I don’t think most people anymore would think of that.

      Liked by 1 person

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