I know in most english speaking countries, there's no such a thing like a "second" last name. But for example in spanish it's quite common (we are fond of long a complicated names lol), our full names consist on usually two names (even more!) and almost [always][1] two "last names". For instance:

Pedro Arturo Rodríguez Loyola
^ first name ^ last name
      ^ middle name    ^ ????

"first last name" it's the father last name and the "second last name", it's the mother's maiden name (women doesn't lose their last name when they get married). This is giving me some headaches when trying to model data for patients name, since I want to pick something that will make sense to developers of countries different from mine.

[1]: rarely some people have only one.

  • 1
    I suggest you post this on the programmers stack if you're more interested in the data modeling aspect, also how do you parse "Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso" again? Mar 26, 2014 at 3:30
  • Do you mean to move it to stack overflow? Since my main concern it's about that, I think it's quite logic to move it there. I'll look about how it can be done. Thanks for your suggestion :). Btw, that name acutally exists or you made it up? Mar 26, 2014 at 13:50
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    Actually the programmers stack is for theory and conceptual questions (like yours). That is the real (and full) baptismal name of the artist Pablo Picasso. Mar 26, 2014 at 14:04
  • Thanks @ElliottFrisch, following your suggestion I created a question on programmers stack. Hopefully I can get some insights about this issue. Thanks :). Mar 26, 2014 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


Dr. Manuel A. Pérez Quiñones (archived version), a computer science professor at Virginia Tech, seems to have some personal experience with this. He calls it simply the second surname.

He also writes at length about the incompatibility of the human and computer handling of the Hispanic culture's two last names.

After looking over what he has to say on the subject, it suggests to me that there is no accepted or typical way for handling two last names, at least in the U.S. He also doesn't indicate that there is a common way for referring to the second last name.

  • Thanks for your answer, the article is quite interesting. And at least give an idea on how to confront this issue. Mar 26, 2014 at 13:53

Some people also have multiple given names that you may need to consider, for example

George Alexander Louis Windsor

So I suggest

  • first given name

  • other given names

  • family name

  • other names

  • I don't know in english. But at least in spanish, in most cases the second name, or more given names are not used at all to "differentiate" between two different people. For example, if you want to avoid confusion between two "Pedro Pérez", you usually use the "second last name", "Pedro Pérez González" and "Pedro Pérez Valenzuela", and not "Pedro Pablo Pérez..." nor "Pedro Felipe Pérez...". So, in most cases it's not that necessary to have a lot of fields/columns of "given names", but they are actually useful for last name. Mar 26, 2014 at 3:01
  • @pablox You might want to consider this source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_name#Spain_and_Hispanic_America
    – Elian
    Mar 26, 2014 at 3:24

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