The Vietnamese are fiercely family centered, an aspect that has been the glue of their existence. This is reflected in the way that names are given. There are three parts to a name: the Family name is always introduced first, then the “Middle” name, finally the Personal name. Tradition and teaching dictate that the family comes before the individual.
The Middle name serves to identify of which “house” of the Family (name) the person belongs. It also serves to prevent intermarriage within the same house in the future.
Thus, despite being two complete strangers—e.g. the son of Mr. Tran Quang Ban and the daughter of Mr. Tran Quang La, who may have met for the first time in their lives—they should not marry one another. They are offspring of the same house.