As a child it was always very hard explaining to people why I had two hyphenated first names and no middle name. I always felt a bit left out, not having an “Anne”, “Elizabeth”, or “Marie” to fill in, and I always felt cheated when the form would not accept my hyphen, or worse yet, I had to use the second of the first names as my middle name. This eased somewhat when got married and could slide my maiden name into the middle name slot on forms. When I had my own children, they all got middle names, although Thing 3, whose first name is also hyphenated, nearly did not get one; Mood Ring Momma and my mother convinced me it was necessary. Since the latter two children were born in Mexico, my maiden name became the second part of their last name, complicating matters. My maiden name which is Thing 1’s middle name appeared on her Mexican visa twice: once as her American middle name and then again as her second last name.
This week I have had to re-order new birth certificates for everyone in my family in order to obtain our visas. All documents have to be “fresh”. Spain, apparently, does not accept illegal aliens and wants to make sure that you are not pulling a fast one on them. Only new documents will do. In Massachusetts, this is no problem; they have outsourced the entire procedure. In Florida, it’s a tad easier – just send in a fax with your identification. In Podunk, California, where I was born, raised, and married, I have to have a notarized affidavit which requires a trip to the consulate to obtain the seal. And then there is the horror of retrieving birth certificates from Mexico, which just might tank the whole deal. For both Things 2 & 3 we ordered thirty copies of their birth certificates when they were born so as to avoid this problem. It never occurred to us we would ever need old certificates with new dates on them.
Thankfully, there is a handy service called VitalChek which obtains records for you, with the proper documentation, for a low, low fee. VitalChek does have a few glitches, however. They can’t obtain records in Mexico if were not American military personnel, for starters. Middle nameless, I have had to fill in a slot with the initials “NMN” – No Middle Name – or the website will not process my form. Do you think the record searchers will be able to find me? The NMN won’t match up with the blank on my birth certificate.
Back to the Question of the Day: what is your middle name and do you like it?