What Would You Pick For A New Last Name?

I’m needing something lighter to discuss today. Will you join me? I read this tweet last week and it made me chuckle.

At the same time I was laughing, I was also thinking: YES. This is so smart!!

I’ve said this for many, many years about married names: If the goal is equality and fairness, then choosing a new last name for the new family you are creating when you get married, is the option that makes the most sense.

In case it’s not clear, I’m saying it’s most fair and equal if you don’t choose the last name of one spouse, you don’t hyphenate, and you don’t keep separate names. Instead, you work together to choose a new last name that neither spouse has used before — the same way you’ll hopefully work together to choose a name for your child, should you ever choose to grow your family.

The reason I think it’s the most fair and equal is because you could choose a name that has no baggage for either of you and that doesn’t favor one family or another. You can think about what your hopes and dreams are for the new family you are creating and name it accordingly. You, your spouse, and your possible future kids can all share the same name as a unified team, without feeling forced to make what sometimes feels like a political statement. Well, at least until your kids get older and decide to choose a new name for the new family they want to create. : )

I’m aware this idea would make genealogy a total mess, and I’m not trying to stress you out my family history fans. I’m also aware that when I bring this idea up, very few people like it (hah!) — so you don’t need to fear it’s going to become popular. I’m just saying that if you’re trying to be objective about a family name, we would all avoid a lot of angst and drama if we worked with our spouse to choose a name we both love that doesn’t have an association with either of our birth families.

I should also note, this advice makes best sense if you and your spouse are both young and haven’t established professional names for yourself. Then again, I’ve seen professionals change their name mid-career with no ill-effects, so maybe it doesn’t really matter?

Tell me, Dear Readers. If you had to give your current immediate family a new name, right now, today, what would it be? What would you choose? And what about your kids? If they someday followed this idea and chose a new last name that had nothing to do with your last name or their spouse’s last name, would you be okay with that? Or does the idea make you uncomfortable?

P.S. — This idea for naming a family came to me not long after Olive (our 3rd child) was born, when we’d already been married for 6 years. Six years in I was still irritated at name-changing pressures and unquestioned social conventions and I wrote an essay about it. It was back before blogs and I had nowhere to share that essay. I wonder what became of it? I’m also wondering if I had thought of this idea before we married, would I have talked Ben Blair into it? Or at least tried to talk him into it?

57 thoughts on “What Would You Pick For A New Last Name?”

  1. We did this! Pro-tip (at least in California): have one of the spouses-to-be change their name prior to the marriage. (It takes a while, so do it well in advance.) Then the other spouse can get their name change for free with the marriage license! We did not do this, and got double $500 fees, court dates, and such :P

  2. Not related to this post, but do you plan on publishing a What to Wear edition this year? They are sooooo fun. Thanks!!

  3. I agree this is the most equal option but I do like the link to my origin family and my grandparents and wanted to keep my surname and didn’t change anything about it. My son got my partner’s last name but my initials (which in Hebrew spell the word sea) became his middle name.
    My friend and her partner both added a new last name to their existing surnames and their kids only got the new name they chose which is also a good option.

  4. I would have loved to change our last name together. Alas it is impossible in Germany. I kept my “maiden” name and many people still ask strange questions about my decision clearly irritated by it. I also need to bring my daughters birth certificates if I want to travel internationally with them by myself. There is no way of noting my motherhood in my passport.
    My father was very proud when my younger brother (finally) had a son just because now his name will exist in the coming generations. That’s something I find very irritating as a woman and mother of daughters. It’s just a name. But on the other hand I don’t have 600 year old family history so I am not that attached. I like that In Italy and Spain women historically keep their names or create interesting combos.

    1. Exactly, in Germany it’s either husband’s name or wife’s name. And children cannot get both, even if one parent is American. I originally kept mine, my husband his, the kids should have been given both, but it was not allowed, at least in 2001 it was not allowed. I ended up talking a hyphed name because international travel was a disaster. In the meantime my husband has passed away from cancer, do I think my kids are really happy to have his name, since it’s a tie to him. What is the French law?

  5. “Her and her husband” should read “She and her husband.” The pronoun “her” NEVER begins a sentence as it is an objective pronoun and only follows a preposition – of, to, with, etc. “Her” can also be an adjective, as in “her research” or “her house.”

    1. You’re not incorrect about “her” technically being an object. But actually, this is just how native English speakers talk–the default seems to be the objective forms.

      Think about if you had an old picture of yourself and you were writing a caption–it would be something like, “me, age 4” (“me” is the object form.) What’s interesting is that a German or Spanish speaker, for example, would write the same caption (translated, of course) as “I, age 4” (“I” is the subject.”

      Or, if someone asks “Who wants to go to the movies once they reopen after quarantine?” The answer would be “Me!/”Us!/Her!”–all object forms. Even though, if you answered with a full sentence, you would definitely say “I do!” or “We want to!”, you would never answer with the single word subject form.

      Just a couple of examples. It’s interesting, because usage rules definitely do exist. But what the author of this tweet did is just a normal thing that English speakers do by default, and are actually pretty consistent/systematic about–it’s rule/principle-governed, even if the principles don’t match with the grammar books.

  6. My husband and I discussed this idea! We agreed that it is most equal. But we couldn’t come up with anything that was meaningful enough to both of us! We were probably overthinking it. And I think deep down we were a bit concerned with what people would think. In the end, I kept my maiden name. That alone has been met with plenty of scrutiny.
    We’re about to have our first child (in the middle of a pandemic!!) and she will have my last name as one of two middle names, and his last name. So: First Middle MyName HisName, but go mostly by First HisName. It’s not perfect, but marriage and child-rearing is full of compromises, right?

    1. I’m in a similar boat: my husband and I each kept our “maiden” names when we got married, and our kids are both First MyName HisName (no second middle name). We felt like hyphenation was too much because we both have long/frequently misspelled last names, but I like that my kids have that name connection to both sides of the family – they’re both “Browns” as well as “Smiths” (those aren’t the real names) and we call ourselves the “Brown Smiths,” almost like my last name is an adjective.

      P.S. I’m about to have a baby too (our third) – what a strange and memorable time to be pregnant! Best of luck to you.

  7. I really wanted to do this! We had a name picked out and were going to have my guy change his name first, before the wedding, but he chickened out. I ended up taking his name because it was important to me for us to have the same name. I also almost had him convinced to take my last name, but again, he chickened out of that, too. I changed my middle name to my original last name, though, and both our kids have a second middle name that is my original last name. The new name we would have used is Immer, which is Always in German.

    The annoying thing is one of the reasons he backed out of any name change is because he didn’t want to upset his father. That father has now not spoken to us in 3 years (we’ve been married for 7). So glad we tried to please him… /sarcasm.

  8. Our paternal surname tradition bugs the crap out of me. I begrudgingly hyphenated, and my kids have my husband’s surname only. It was a BFD to my husband when we got married. It is convenient to share at least part of my name with my kids. I like the idea of choosing a new one together (although my husband would never have gone for it). I don’t know what I’d choose. English last names have roots in trades or areas. Neither is appealing to me. This will give me something to ponder as I’m social distancing!

  9. Like the royals who decided the surname is Cambridge!
    I appreciated your family history aside there. From that perspective, I wish everyone had four last names from their four grandparents (so a biological Jolie-Pitt child, for instance, could be Shiloh Bertrand Voigt Neal Pitt), and then the next generation would adjust accordingly (John Voigt Pitt Doe Smith or whatever). However, that still favors the male name to carry down through the lines…

  10. I am a Single Mom by Choice so I did not have to deal with this and of course, my kids have my last name. I actually think that EACH adult should keep their own original last name to retain family links, however I also think that the kids should get the mothers last name, not the fathers. The mother is most typically the one who is writing the notes, checks or dealing with accounts and making the appointments and doing most of the kid stuff, so it is easier if their names match, instead of matching the dad (Face it – the moms do most of the kid related stuff!!!!). Also, given that approximately half of marriages will end in divorce, and also given the tendency for kids to spend more time with the divorced mother, it would be most logical if the kids had the mothers last name instead of the fathers! Thoughts?

    1. Also the mother gives birth to the child and that event proves the child is hers … not necessarily his. Get my drift? 😊

  11. I’ve always wondered why we went with paternity over maternity as maternity has been, since the beginning of time, 100% provable… as in Nancy begat Roger, Lacy, and Steven, however, Roger was begat by Stewart, while Lacy’s and Steven’s father is Thomas. The mother’s line is never in dispute. I’d love this mystery solved.

    On a side, back in the day, (mid 70s) my husband preferred my name and wished for me to keep it (because I sounded like a Stan Lee character with alliterative initials) however I was actually living as alias, taking a stepfather’s last name. (mother dear was married 5 times, soooo, ya) In the end I just wanted something that had nothing to do with my family and would be eternally connected to my husband. But ya, he was pretty progressive.

  12. My husband I were just talking about all the things we got to be in charge of when we were young. We laughed a bit because they were such big choices and we were so very young. No guidance, no life lessons, we got married, had kids, and got to make choices that last forever. While we don’t have any real regrets in hindsight we might have changed a few things.

    When I married, at 22, I hyphened my name. I went by this until our children were in school and at some point I used my husband, and children’s last name. It was always a hassle to sign in with a different name than my children (was it under W or was it under S or was it W-S?) and that hyphen throws people off.
    Legally I am W-S but I go by S at work. I suppose it made sense to match my kids.

    My husband was quite proud of his name and was not interested in combining names and making a new one and I really had not thought to have us both be W-S. I just knew I wanted to keep the W.

    If we knew what we knew now I think we would have picked a new last name. My husband, at age 44, found out his dad was never his dad and it changed things. It change a lot of things. That last name and heritage do not have the same meaning anymore.

    Truth be told, if he wanted to change our name altogether I would in a heartbeat. I am a librarian and I have a sweet student that calls me by a different last name. She blended my name with my job and I wish we could be done with our last name and have one that is us.

    I think it about it often.

  13. Writer Crescent Dragonwagon and her first husband chose not only a new shared last name (Dragonwagon!!) but chose to start married life with new first names that were more meaningful to them. She writes about how the decision has impacted her life for the past fifty years here: http://dragonwagon.com/is-that-your-real-name/

    I went with the very 90’s choice of my husband and I both keeping our birth names; our children have my last name as their middle names with his as their last name. It’s been 25 years, and I don’t love it as the perfect solution, but I’m still glad I didn’t take his name.

  14. I once heard that in Spain, the naming convention is that my name would be: “Firstname MyFather’sLastName-MyMother’sLastName” when I was born, and when I got married, my new name would be “Firstname Husband’sFather’sLastName-MyMother’sLastName”. Everyone’s last name is hyphenated. In this way, the mother’s last name stays with daughters, and the father’s last name stays with sons, you always hang on to one of your family names and it would potentially be easier to trace everyone’s lineage. Also, an immediate family all has the same hyphenated last name, until one of the children gets married.
    I’m not sure that’s exactly how it really works in Spain. However, I still love the idea and think it seems fair. You could end up with only sons or daughters – but overall as a society its roughly 50/50 for whether you hang onto your mother or father’s family name.

  15. I remember floating the idea to my then-fiance of not changing my last name to his. His response was that I could do what I wanted, but our kids would have his last name. I was annoyed at his matter-of-fact stance on it and asked him to consider why he a) assumed our children would have his name, b) did not consider changing his name, and c) did not consider merging both of our names and left for the night. We picked up the discussion later and wanted to merge our names (all the options we came up with sounded like animals which was funny, but we didn’t actually want to sound like cartoon characters) but eventually decided that we would each keep our ‘maiden’ names and our kids would have his last name and my last name as a second middle name. Perhaps not a perfect middle ground (he offered swapping the last and second middle name for daughters), but it works well enough for us, even though both of our families think we’re weird.

    I have friends who, when they married, merged their two names together and even though I knew both of them before they got married, I can barely remember their original last names. I think merging or coming up with a new family name is such a special and intentional act in starting a new family.

  16. I got married at 20 and took my husbands all ready hyphenated name. His brother got married a few years later and they chose to both take only on half of the hyphenated name. We would have chosen the other half.

    If I had to pick today, I’m very tempted by one of my great grandmothers last names, short, sweet, easy to spell, and for someone on the phone to get right.


    1. Interesting. My great grandmother’s last name (not her maiden name) was Crow. I have never heard of just Bird! I say GO FOR IT.

  17. Fascinating topic. I use my maiden name and my husband’s surname for all professional things. I’m proud of my heritage and don’t want to lose that part of me, but I’m happily married and want to share his name.

    On a slightly different note, I always wonder why people with suggestive or embarrassing last names don’t change them. Wiener comes to mind and also Balls. What about my grandma’s friend Patsy Butts? And last weekend I saw a boy at a basketball tourney with the last name Sweetwood. :)

  18. If I had to do this today, I’d pick Jones. For some reason when I was a kid I LOVED the name Jones. Even today I use it as sort of a term of endearment (e.g., I call our dog Mr. Jones although that’s not his name).

    I know a couple families who created new smoosh surnames for their kids, but I don’t know anyone who’s taken a new surname for the whole family. It’s an interesting idea.

  19. This gets even trickier when blending families. After my divorce, I went back to my maiden name, which is different from my children’s last name. When I remarried, I chose to keep my maiden name so we have three different last names in our family: my kids’ last name which begins with R, my husband’s last name which begins with A, and my last name which begins with D. So we just made an acronym out of our first initials and call ourselves the RAD family :) We aren’t change it legally, but it makes it easier for people who don’t know what to call us.

  20. My maiden name had 12 letters in it and I had no connection to it (and no relationship with my bio father). When I was dating I’d always joked I’d only marry a man with 4 letters in his last name. And so when I met Mr. Duck and eventually married him – for many many other reasons than his 4 letters (that was a hilarious bonus) – I had no problem taking his name. I should also note that his sister and I had the same first name… which made some confusing moments at family get together but some incredibly amusing moments getting carded on our way into clubs and bars together.

  21. I hated my maiden name, so I took my husband’s last name. Our children were given the same last name. Then he abandoned the family, but I kept the last name because it was easier to share with my kids. I am deeply ambivalent about it and have since remarried. My new husband HATES his last name! It is a foreign name that absolutely no one can pronounce. He feels like he’s constantly having to “prove” he belongs in the United States (though he was born here) as a result of his last name. So he didn’t want me taking it—and I am ambivalent about that name too. My kids are teens/reaching adulthood so I’m also feeling less need to “match”. I’m thinking of changing my last name to the maiden name of my beloved grandmother. He name “died” with her since her children carried her husband’s name and they only had girls who subsequently all took their married names. I haven’t fully decided yet, but these comments make me think I should just do it.

    1. When I got divorced in 2015, I kept his last name so that it was the same as my kids’. Fast forward 6 years- both kids are over 18 and have basically no love for their father. My daughter plans to take her fiancee’s last name when they get married and my son, as an artist/author wants to change both his first and last name to something more interesting.
      After years of legal harrassment from my ex, I want nothing to do with his last name! However, I was never fond of my maiden name. So, I’m currently thinking of what I want to choose as a new last name! It’s kind of fun and liberating! Just go for it!

  22. My parents never married and myself and my siblings have my fathers last name. There are definitely cons: issues travelling internationally in recent years, my mum constantly being called Mrs. fathers-name-that-was-never-her-name and annoying explanations on school forms etc. However there are pros too: biggest one, I can use her as my job reference without lying about her name! I worked for her straight out of highschool ten years ago and she has been one of my references at every job since. :)

  23. I would love to have a new family name! I seriously considered it but was talked out of it. As an interesting side note, some South Indians take their father’s first name as the family name. So my last name.is.my father’s first name,my husband’s last name is his dad’s name and my kids last name is now my husband’s first name! Even though this really confuses everyone (we have three different last names in our family) but we decided to stick to this tradition !

  24. Before we married, my husband and I joked about combining our last names phonetically to make a new one. We would have been the Weapons!

    As it is, I kept my name and our children are First Middle MyLast (technically, their second middle name) HisLast. They can wade through the name soup however they choose in the future.

    It was hard enough to commit to first and middle names for our kids. Picking a new family name would have paralyzed me permanently!

  25. Oh – I love this question! I’m going to discuss this with my husband. Do you think it is too late to change after 36 years? We had lots of angst naming our 4 children. He’s serious. I’m whimsical. I told the kids if they want to change their names it’s fine with me.

  26. I really loved taking my husband’s name. Never did and I doubt I ever will question it. I like that our family all has one name. I like saying he and I are connected. I wouldn’t have liked to keep my name and have two seperate names. It feels less committed to me. (Not to say that’s why people would opt for keeping their own name, but that’s how it would feel to me-half hearted, saying we’re in this together but not quite completely.)

    We do have someone in the family who made a new surname with half of his and half of hers. They’re lucky that the words gel really well together, and I think if I weren’t happy to have his name, that would be my next option. But I also would feel sad to lose some genealogy links in doing so.

    And I did have an Asian friend with a name that doesn’t sound so good in English who wanted to change it, way back before he met his now wife. His dad was seriously against it. The friend was still pretty young/ crazy/ immature and impulsive back then so I don’t know if he’d consider it now that he’s married with kids, but he never did change it, and his wife took his name.

    All that said, it’s each to their own really. One family’s choice in this doesn’t really affect anyone else, aside from maybe not being able to call them all “the Smiths” etc. I’m kind of surprised people who’ve gone with different names have been given grief over it!

  27. My husband and I almost changed our names to a unique name when we got married but ended up being too lazy to do the additional paperwork. So we kept our names and our children have my last name. Every once in a while he thinks about changing his name to match ours but I doubt he’ll ever actually go through with it (he’s also never going to get that tattoo he’s been thinking about for the last 20 years . . . )
    I find it convenient to have the same name as the kids (travel, school etc) and my husband goes by my name in certain social situations to avoid confusion.

  28. We met in high school and married 7 years later. Even as a small child I knew I wanted to keep my name. It seemed so strange to me that someone would change a name. Fast forward to the engagement when “keeping my name” became a HUGE topic of conversation. My family was against me keeping it and so was my soon to be husband. So “i’ll hyphenate” became the answer. Well sort of. I only got around to changing my name to the hyphenated one for the 1 credit card I had and my Social Security Card. Within months it became apparent that people just could not figure out a hyphenated name- so, I just stopped hyphenating it and went back to my my maiden name. My parents love to say that for our 1st anniversary I gave my husband back his last name- not true. Well, maybe a little true. Today almost 30 years married our 3 children have 4 names, 2 middle names- one of which is my last name. When they are in big trouble it takes a bit longer to scold them- but just the other week my husband said he’s glad that I kept my name. Proud of this fact. Well, wish he wouldn’t have put up such a fuss 30 years ago! I sometimes get called by my husbands last name but also think “well, i’ve been called a LOT worse!”. And on a positive note his sister, for the very first time last month, wrote both our names out on a thank you note instead of “Mr & Mrs” on the envelope. /big sigh.

  29. We did this too! Only our kiddo was born before all the court paperwork went through so technically he was the first official member of our new family. The hospital was a little freaked out that we were giving our son a last name was was different than either of ours but it worked out in the end.

  30. When we were dating, my husband’s last name was different than everyone else in his family due to his father’s early death and his mom remarriage. So I took his name because it was now only our name, nobody else in any of our families had it–his mom & step-dad have the step-dad’s last name, my parents have my maiden name, and we have our name, which I love!

  31. I never married my partner, and I kept my last name the way it was. I created a new name for my child that combined his last name and mine; the result was a four letter name that was easy to spell and pronounce. It’s too much of a hassle to change a the surname of a person who already has one. Plus it would have to change again if you ever divorce.
    If either partner should change their surname to the other’s, it should be the man, and the woman’s surname should be the one to be passed down to the kids because they came from her body. Kids tend to stay with their mother after divorces. Sometimes paternity is unknown but maternity is almost always known. Mothers also tend to take care of their kids more than fathers even when the fathers stay living with the family.

  32. I changed to my husband’s last name, but it was very similar (same first syllable), but his is more common and easier to pronounce and spell. I changed my middle name to my maiden name to my maiden name to hold onto it.
    I’m part of a tradition where the mother gives her daughter her (first) name as a middle name, but when she gets married, she changes her middle name to her maiden name. My mom and grandmother both did it, so I did it too!
    Mary Jane Smith -> Mary Smith Jones
    Rita Mary Jones -> Rita Jones Baker
    Kate Rita Baker -> Kate Baker Johnson

    I went on to have three more kids, two girls, two boys. The other three all have their grandparent’s names as middle names, and my mom’s name is the only one that we didn’t use. I feel kind of bad she has my name instead of my mom’s, but then I remember I use the tradition my mom kept and it’s okay.

  33. We batted around this idea – basically combining our names to create the new name “Schale” but then he wanted to keep his, and of course I kept mine. Changing my name to his was just not an option for me. And our kids have my last name, with his “maiden name” (omg, with this term that people are still saying!) as their penultimate name.

  34. I think I’m one of the only women I know who is…. really unattached to her surname? My surname isn’t particularly interesting, or noteworthy, and while I adore my father and am very close to him, I am not close to his side of the family and feel little affinity with them. I also have two brothers, who both have sons, so my dad’s surname is continuing for at least another generation. He’s also a real traditionalist, who wouldn’t care at all if I changed my name- he’d probably think it was weirder if I didn’t!

    On the flipside, my boyfriend has a REALLY interesting, wonderful, unique surname that really emphasises his mum’s side of the family. He’s the only grandson/ son, so if he changed his name, it would likely be lost. He’s actually very neutral about his surname, but I’d be delighted to take it and horrified if he changed it. To be honest, unless his surname was something that rhymed with my first name, I’m sure I’d be happy to take it!

    I’m so supportive of friends who want to keep their names, though- I certainly don’t believe that anyone SHOULD change their name. I’m just so not fussed about my own that I’d be happy to, haha!

  35. I have my mother’s maiden name, which is a nice link to her, but I’ve always liked the idea of creating a new family name. I’ve thought about Weaver. It shares an initial and sounds with my current last name, but is easier to spell and pronounce. And I like the symbolic idea of “weaving together” two families and lives.

  36. Only after it was too late I heard of a family that did this: they first picked a new last name for the family (say Jones.) Then the parents hyphenated their own names with Jones. So say they now are Sarah Patel-Jones and Tyrone O’Neill-Jones, but their kid is Kai Jones.

    That way they all share the same name (Jones) but the parents get to keep some of their own identity (and sometimes ethnic identity — in their case Indian and Irish), but it’s the parents, not the kids, who bear the brunt of hyphenated names. I think it’s an amazing solution.

    I have a 5 and 3 year old — wonder if it’s too late to do this now they know their last names?!?!? My husband is kind of game (he too is worried about what his dad would think) but perhaps it would be too weird.

  37. We talked about hyphenating, but our respective last names were ridiculous together. Our favorite option was both changing to my husband’s easy to spell and pronounce middle name, but were pretty sure his dad would never forgive us. We didn’t want the confusion of having different names from future kids, so we went traditional and I took his name, which is tricky to spell and pronounce. If I could time travel I’d tell 20 year old me to eff the patriarchy and use the name we like.

  38. I told my husband that either both of us could change our names or neither of us could, but if we had kids they couldn’t have his last name. (I am sorry, but all the kids running around with their dad’s last name while mom is the odd one out has always bugged me.)

    In the end we went for both – by adding his late mother’s last name (otherwise extinct in the family now) to each of ours, so I’m now Mylast-Ourlast and he’s Hislast-Ourlast. If we have kids they’ll just be Ourlast. I liked that it was a matrilianal name, honored his late mother, and had the added benefit of being easy to say and spell in both of our native languages, something not true for either of our original last names. It’s NOT as equal as making up a new one, but was a close enough fit for me to work. And FWIW, I’m pretty religious about using both of my last names and have yet to find it to be particularly inconvenient!

  39. I was happy to lose my maiden name as it is a term of endearment and I was tired of the jokes. So I traded it for my husbands last name which is a last name from a child’s nursery rhyme! Frankly not much better as far as the jokes go!

  40. My husband and I did this and it was actually his idea and we did it with his insistence. We took the first two letters of my maiden name and the last two letters from his surname to make our new name. His dad took it pretty hard. There’s so much tied to the “family name” that is still hard to shake. We are obviously still family and nowadays you have digital records so it’s not like you’ll be lost because your name changed.

    Sadly it is such a pain! I naively thought that it would be easy to change after marriage just like after a divorce but it’s not at all. You basically have to go through the court to do it (at least you do in our state) and pay a ton in fees. Still, I wouldn’t change our decision for the world. It does help me to feel like my husband and I are equal in the marriage and that is something that all couples should be able to feel.

  41. I’ve been researching Patrice Emery Lumumba, who chose his name. It means something like “uncontainable fire” in his native language. He was given the name Elias Okitosombo when he was born–and Okitosombo means “born under a curse.” Talk about baggage! We have discovered multiple nicknames for him, which were used frequently in his home village. One translates to Visionary, another to Powerfully Scented Flower. In the film we’re working on, his changing name is significant in its various settings.
    One advantage to changing the marriage renaming customs is that a child wouldn’t be known by the name used in a failed marriage–and which could bring back bad memories to the mother.

  42. I have thought a lot about this lately. Long story short, My husband and I took DNA tests and my husband found out (at the age of 46) that the man that raised him was not his biological father. It was a surprise to both of them. In time, my husband has met his biological father and it went well. We no longer identify with his given last name. It’s a constant reminder of who he isn’t. It’s a reminder of a lie. We’d love to change our last name now.

  43. Lindsey Meservey

    My husband’s uncle is a judge and approves name changes. One couple got married and changed their last names both to “osourus”. And the name of their son, Tyran.

  44. Growing up, my mother kept her last name and gave it to me and my sister; my brother has my dad’s last name. Our middle names are the other last name. My kids have it the same way. It’s never been complicated in my opinion. My husband and I are both the only ones with children in our families. I think it’s nice that both names are continuing…at least for now.

  45. I had a former coworker who wasn’t keen on her future husband’s surname but didn’t like hers either, and her future husband wasn’t keen on his own. But she liked that her last name began with a Z so she was alphabetically always last, and he liked the “berg” part of his surname. So they combined the bits they liked and became the Zeebergs – both of them, and all their children have that surname.

    Personally I’m not married but I wouldn’t take my husband’s surname. I come from a family that can trace its lineage back to 900 AD through our clan book, and I’m very proud of that unbroken line even if up until the last 100 years, the family didn’t bother writing down the daughters’ names because the dads figured they’d marry off and take their husbands’ names instead. In the history of my family, my immediate family has been a bit nomadic so its nice to hold onto a part of family history when you’re far from home.

  46. Well as a Spanish woman I have not this problem. Here in Spain people do have the same name their entire lives, It is not posible to change it but under excepcional circumstances. Not women neither men. We have two surnames, one is our father’s first surname and another is our mother’s first surname. We don’t feel any pressure in order to have the same surnames as our sons because the rule is woman give a surname, man another so my sons and I only share one surname and of couse I don’t share any surnames with my husband as we are not geneticaly related. Only siblins have exacly the same surnames never husband and wife. For us is very strange to see that in another parts of the world women change their surnames, or men!!!

  47. We are in the process of doing this right now, we have actually been married for ten years but hadn’t realised we could have picked a new name. We are considering the name Winterswolfe or Wynterswolfe but I am unsure if it’s too different.

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