The name "Minor"

People react differently to learning my name, Minor Gordon. Some think they’ve misheard. Some assume “Gordon” is my first name. Some make jokes – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked if my dad was named “Major”.

“Minor” is my first name and “Gordon” is my last name.

“Minor” is pronounced like “my-nor”. Non-native English speakers often pronounce it like “me-nor”.

“Minor” is a family name. I am Minor E. Gordon. My father was Minor W. Gordon. My grandfather was Minor E. Gordon. My great-grandfather was Minor H. Gordon. My son is Minor K. Gordon.

“Minor” was originally a last name among my father’s ancestors, then became a middle name after a marriage. (It’s common practice in the U.S. for women to adopt their original/maiden last name as a middle name when they get married.)

I don’t know where the last name originated.

Outside my family I’ve never met anyone with the first name “Minor”. Apparently “Mynor” (with a y) is a relatively common first name in Guatamala; I learned that when I met a Guatamalan mechanic named Mynor in New Jersey.

I only know of one other “Minor” from the past: one of my favorite photographers, Minor White. According to Wikipedia, “his first name was the same as his paternal great, great-grandfather.”