When searching through social security death records I noticed something peculiar. Many of my Portuguese Hawaiian male relatives born between 1880 and 1910 had middle initials. I found this peculiar because the Portuguese didn’t use middle names.
What was even stranger was when I asked their close relatives about the middle initial. It seemed they had an initial but no middle name.
I was speaking to my Mom’s cousin one day and asked him about his stepfather, Anthony V. Correia. What did that V stand for? It isn’t as if there are many names that begin with V.
This is what my Mom’s cousin told me. Most of the men born during that period in the family did not have middle names. When WWI came around, many were drafted or signed up for the military. According to my Mom’s cousin, they had to put down a middle initial for their official records.
Anthony had no middle name. Like the others, he filled out his paperwork and was then told to supply a middle initial. So, he made one up on the spot because V. V didn’t stand for Victorine or any other V name (not like their are many!) It stood for victory.
This is Anthony draft registration card. I don’t see the V anywhere, so he most have adopted once he was drafted.
If you have a male Portuguese relative, or a male relative born of a similar culture that didn’t use middle names, you might find that the middle initial in their official records stands for nothing or it may have been something they made up on the spot–like V for victory.
I wonder how many males from this period had V for victory or F for freedom or some other similar patriotic sounding middle name?
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com