What is a middle name?

I need some help: can anyone tell me what is a “middle name”, at least in the way it is used by Geni?
As a Portuguese-speaking user, it seems that there is a lot of confusion about what should be considered the “middle name”. According to U.S. usage, it seems that “middle name” is a second given name, i.e., a name by which someone is called in informal situations. In Portuguese-speaking countries that is more than common, almost everyone has two given names (José António, Maria Lúcia, etc.). Therefore, one should expect that the field called “first name” should contain “José” or “Maria” and that the field called “middle name” should contain “António” or “Lúcia”. However, that has not been the usage among Portuguese-speaking users. What I have seen is that Portuguese-speaking users put all the given names in the “first name” field and use the “middle name” field for all the family names that are not the last.
Therefore, I’d like to ask:

  1. What name should I put in the “first name” field? All the given names or only the one that comes first?
  2. What name should I put in the “middle name” field? It is said that that field is reserved for patronymics but Portuguese language does not use patronymics for centuries.
  3. What name should I put in the “last name” field?
    a) In Portuguese language family names can be long. Should I put all the family names in the “last name” field? That will cause incompatibilities with software which accept only one last name.
    b) Should I put only the last family name in the “last name” field? If the “middle name” field is used for given names, where is the field for the other family names?
    c) What if the last name is not the most important family name, like, for instance, in Spanish-speaking countries generally the father’s family name comes first and the mother’s family name comes after?
    d) What about languages in which the family name is first and the given name is the last?
  4. How should I solve a hypothetical situation like this:
    a) Mrs. Maria da Conceição Simões da Silva was born “Maria da Conceição Pereira Fanhões Leitão da Graça” (“Pereira Fanhões” from her mother, “Leitão da Graça” from her father).
    b) At home she is known by “São”, “Sãozinha” or “Zinha” (that’s easy — Also Known As field: São, Sãozinha, Zinha).
    c) She married Mr. António José Simões da Silva. She changed her name to “Maria da Conceição Fanhões da Graça Simões da Silva” (that’s easy — Birth Surname field: Pereira Fanhões Leitão da Graça).
    d) She signs her documents and she is known professionally as “Conceição Simões da Silva” (that’s easy — Display Name field: Conceição Simões da Silva).
    e) But how should I fill the other fields?

Thank you to the Geni team for your help.

Cláudio Alexandre Duarte

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