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Monday, November 28, 2011

Motherhood Mondays: Would you hyphenate your baby's last name?

Want to hear Toby's full name?

...Tobias Paul Goddard-Williams. Yup, a big name for a little dude. :)

When Alex and I got married, I kept my last name (Goddard), and Alex's last name is Williams. So, when I was pregnant, we talked it over and decided we would give our baby both of our last names: Goddard-Williams.

We had three reasons: a) We wanted Toby to feel like an official part of both our extended families, b) We wanted him to be clearly connected to both of us, which would be helpful when I picked him up from school or we're introduced to people as a family, and c) It sounded sound sort of cool! :)

Alex also laments that his full name--Alex Williams--is very common. Did you know that Williams is the third most common last name in America, behind Smith and Johnson? (Alex googled it!) He always wishes he had a more unforgettable name, since, as a writer, you want a splashy name that people will remember. (Think: Roald Dahl, Virginia Woolf, Jennifer 8. Lee!) So, he figured, Toby Goddard-Williams might be more memorable than Toby Williams.

As we were signing the birth certificate at the hospital, I suddenly got cold feet and wondered if the name was too long. But Alex convinced me to try it out for a year and see what I thought--and now that Toby is a year and a half, I love it and I'm glad we did.

Many of our friends and relatives still give us sideways looks: Really? Goddard-Williams? What a mouthful! Hyphenating a child's last name is still a pretty rare thing to do. I just hope Toby likes it. :)

This past Thursday, the New York Times featured a fascinating article about hyphenated names. Here are a few fun facts:
1. Some couples combine their last names into a brand new name. In fact, my high school friend Geoff combined his last name (Werner-Allen) with his fiance's last name (Chapman), so now they both have the new name Challen!
2. Experts predict that "the importance of a family name could begin to decline. Thanks to more divorce, re-marriage, same-sex unions and retention of maiden names, it's far from unusual for members of the same nuclear family to bear different surnames."
3. According to a recent study, "only 6 percent of native-born American married women have unconventional last names (meaning they kept their maiden names, hyphenated with their husbands' names or pulled a Hillary Rodham Clinton)." That seemed surprisingly low to me!
4. If you're American, hyphenated names can "say something extra about your parents' egalitarian values. Unless you are British; then it means you're posh." (Well, la di da! :) I didn't know until reading this article...and then seeing this English comedy skit.)

I'm dying to know what you think: Would you (or did you) change your last name when you get married? Would you keep your maiden name? What's your full name? Would you ever consider hyphenating your baby's last name--or no way? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear!

P.S. More Motherhood Monday posts, including an addictive baby name website.
(Photos by J. Crew and René Maltête)

509 comments:

1 – 200 of 509   Newer›   Newest»
Camille said...

I love the idea of combining last names! My boyfriend's last name is Hernandez and my last name is Brown, creating a new last name for our future kids is more fun than picking baby names! Thanks for pointing me in this direction! :D

Ash said...

I dropped my middle name (Elizabeth) since it had no meaningful ties to my family.. so rather than being Ashley Elizabeth Glass (my husbands name) I pulled a Hillary and went with Ashley McAdams Glass (my maiden with my new(... and I love it. I love it so much! Now i'm still connected to my family, but obviously married to my new family (: I didn't realize I'm in the coveted 6%! yahoo!

Charlotte said...

I'd definitely combine my name with his if I was to get married.. I love my surname too much to get rid completely, but also love the romance of taking the guys last name as your own.. so its the perfect solution!

Your bby name is too cute! The double barrel surname is very sweet, I'd definitely have both names if I had a baby xx

kimalli1 said...

I took my husband's name when I got married, but I kept my maiden name as my middle name. No hyphens though. Not that I see anything wrong with hyphens per se, it is just not something I wanted to do.

Mersey said...

My parents hyphenated their last names to Fulper-Smith when they married. Now that they are divorced, my brother and I are the only Fulper-Smiths left. I love my last name! It feels like an exclusive club. The only problem is, I have no idea what I will do when I get married or have children. I have even considered naming my future child Fulper!

moseyblog said...

I plan on doing the exact same thing. My husband and I kept our own last names when we married, but for all the reasons you stated in your post, I'd like to give our child both! I love your reason about being clearly connected to both of you too!

elizabeth marley said...

I pushed to hard to get my cousin to hyphenate. Eisenstein-Hershkowitz would have been amazing!

I'd definitely hyphenate my child's last name--if only because I know that having the name "Eisenstein" builds character.

Anonymous said...

I had a hard time when I got married changing my last name to my husbands. I was really conflicted about it. I wanted to take my husband's name but I wanted to keep my own. I for some reason didn't want to hyphenate our names. I think I'm just too lazy for that long of a name. My main drive was that when we had children, I wanted us to all have the same name. Five years after we were married when our son was born, I was so happy that we all have the same name. Actually, after the trouble I went through to change my name I was happy that I did it. Even before we had our little guy, I liked being called the "_____s" and "The _____ family". That was my experience.

Mary said...
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Lael said...

This is a topic i am thinking about since I recently got engaged! I had known I didn't want to change my last name when I get married. My fiancé was a bit disappointed at first, but when I told him about how there is no reason to and it's an old custom of coveture he understood. So I will be keeping my last name. But then we were thinking, what will we call our kids? Our two last names, his: Cowell and mine: Dalal don't really go together! But I think it's only fair for the baby to have both!

Joanna, you are lucky Goddard and Williams sound so great together! :)

Anonymous said...

I took my husband's last name when we married but even if I hadn't I think we still would have stuck with his for our son. Primarily because it goes so well with what we chose for his first name (Wyatt Walker).

Jossie said...
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emily said...

interesting post!

my family lives in Montreal, Quebec, where oddly, it's ILLEGAL to change your name to your husband's last name. so while I always assumed I'd take my husband's name when I got married, I ended up marrying a Montreal-er and found out I couldnt.

Not surprisingly, here there is an astounding number of kids with hyphenated names, so I wasn't surprised in the least to read of Toby's - though I suppose you're not from Montreal :)

We decided to give Lily and Oli my husband's last name and not use a hyphen. Seemed like someone should be able to take it! ;)

Mariana in Paris said...

My surname is Green, and my husband's is Whitelaw. We are thinking that when we have children we will both change our names to Greenlaw! It has a certain ring, don't you think?

Jessi said...

I kept my last name as well when I married my husband. I'm not sure what we are going to do when we have children. Both last names are very long, so hyphenating won't be an option.

Also, I'm not sure how this will work out in the future. For example, what is going to happen when Toby gets married? Does his wife take on his hyphenated name? Does she just take one of them and maybe combine it with her last name? Will Toby give up one of his two names, so that they have the same last name? And what if he marries Sandra Johnson-Smith? Their child's name could be Tim Goddard-Williams-Johnson-Smith. As much as I like the idea of the child to have a combined/hyphenated family name, I think it will make it more complicated in the future for our children and their children.

Kelsey said...

My mom kept her maiden name when she married my dad and sometimes I would wish that we could just be The Kidd family, but that wasn't quite correct since my mom's last name isn't Kidd. And when I filled out school paper work I would worry that my teacher would think, "Who is this woman living with them, she doesn't even have their last name!" Haha! It was silly but when I got married I wanted to take my husband's last name but kept ALL of my names since my middle name is my mom's last name. So I'm officially Kelsey Caldwell Kidd Wharton. My driver's licence is very full but I'm glad to have kept all the names. I also have friends who have made a combined new name or both took a hyphenated version of their names together as their new name, pretty cool!

Kaitlyn said...

I'm definitely changing my name, mostly because I was teased a lot about my last name, Petry, as a child and I'm not that attached to it. Besides, my Boy's last name is Jewell ... which is way cooler. I don't mind hyphenated last names unless they get super super long. Haha, the problem is when two people marry and each one has a six syllable last name. ;)

Christian said...

Very cool! I married someone with the same last name as me -- Drake--- I always loved my last name so I was more then happy to keep it!!! ;)

Roxanne said...

I kept my last name, and I think it was the perfect decision for me. We've talked about what to do if we decide to have children. I think we may give them both without a hyphen, but if my husbands last name was shorter I'd love the hyphen. Its just that First Middle Werner-Konigsberg does seem like a bit much.

My concern with this is that without the hyphen, will people still stick to honoring all the names?
I did like that article from the NY times, thank you for sharing!

natalie said...

My boyfriend has a hyphenated last name, and we were just talking about how ridiculous our child's name would be if it was triple hyphenated, haha.

Jossie said...

I'm all for hyphened names. Our chap is Monty Morrison-Budge - yup - he'll go places with that combo! Has a couple of middle names too after my brothers - it takes up space but taught his to spell well when he was first learning!

Our dog is Woody-Harold - !!!!!! Woodster for short and Monty gets called Moo - it's a funny old world!

Think it adds interest and personality.

You can go too far though - know a family where the kids are called Twig, Briar and Leaf. Parents? Carol and Jason. Go figure! Guess they had name envy!!!!!!

Genevieve said...

I got married 11 months ago and am still on the fence... If I get published in a scholarly journal, I'm still not sure what name I'll use. I like the Hillary Rodham Clinton approach...

whoorl said...

I think hyphenating a baby's last name is an excellent, modern way to celebrate both sides of the family. Bravo!

I took my husband's last name, but changed my middle name to my maiden name so that I still had both. I also use my maiden name professionally, which allows me the best of both worlds!

Anonymous said...

I kept my name and my sons both have my last name, mostly bcs my husband's last name is the same as a blood thirsty dictator. It was an easy decision -- I mean how would you feel about Toby Stalin? kind of a conversation stopper, right? Or Toby Stalin-No-Relation since that's what my husband usually ends up saying anyway. Not great.

jen fuller said...

for our little boy, we used my last name for his middle name, so it sounds like it's hyphenated, but it's not. now that he's a few months old, i do wish we'd hyphenated his name, but at least he has both of our last names!

Karly said...

I love the idea of hyphenated surnames. Unfortunately, my last name - Vercauteren - doesn't work well with others; it's enough of a mouthful on its own!

kaili said...

I kept my name when we got married, and our two children have my last name as well. The reasons are twofold: 1- I am francophone and so are the children (my husband makes amazing efforts and is fluently bilingual) and 2- the feminist in me wanted to establish a matriarchal naming practice.

It's amazing how many questions we get about it, or how many people assume that my husband shares my last name cause the kids do!

JLR22 said...

I originally hyphenated my last name but my medical records got so messed up because people didn't know which name to file it under (common sense - the first last name! But lots of people could not figure this out!). So I paid a small fortune to get it legally un-hyphenated. My children only have one last name, but almost all my other friends have hyphenated their childrens' names with no problem. I made my last name my childrens' middle names.

Marianne said...

Hi, Joanna!

So, here's a little insight from a country far, far away...

In Portugal, tradition says women should adopt their husbands' names. For the past twenty years or so, this hasn't been much of a rule: a lot of women decide to keep their maiden names.

When I got married, I decided that I wouldn't add my husband's surname to mine (here we add their names, but we also keep ours).

My full name is Lenia Maria Marques Rufino. Marques is my mom's maiden name and Rufino is my father's surname. Rufino is not common at all and that was part of the reason I wanted to keep it as it was. My husband's surname is Lobato (which is also fairly unusual), but I like my last name better.

And, to me, the key question was: am I the person who my mom named, when I was born, or am I the person who is getting married? The second couldn't exist without the first, so the answer was clear: I kept my name as it was since the beggining.

Emily said...

this was a major tension for me when we got married (6 mos ago tomorrow!); i added my step-dad's last name as an adult, and while it wasn't hyphenated, i used both names for my last name.
...then i got engaged. I thought three last names would really be overboard, and three middle names (i couldn't part with the one i started life with!) was too much too.
So, i jettisoned both "maiden" names.
it will still take growing into, as my last name still makes me think of my mother in law every time i hear it!

Katie said...
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Amy said...

I definitely took my husband's last name when we married. I went from a hard to spell and pronounce German last name to an easy to spell and say Irish last name (Noonan). I use my maiden name as my middle name which is a lot less common than I thought. I get mail all the time for Amy Elizabeth. When our son was born last spring we gave him OUR family name. It was very important to me that our entire family had the same name. I'm not traditional in many ways, but I am when it comes to family.

Ashley said...

I was one of those kids with a hyphenated last name and LOVED it. I loved it so much, when I got married, i made it a double hyphen. I felt too connected to the hyphen to drop it, so now I'm the girl with three last names: Bryant-Hoher-Haeseler. Once we have kids, I'm 90% sure they'll get dad's last name, but who knows, maybe the triple last name is the next big baby naming trend!

me said...

I like the way we portuguese do it. We have both, our mother and father's surnames, no hyphen. Also, if we decide to take our husband's surname we won't be allowed to replace it, only add it to our already long name.

StephV said...

My last name is 12 letters, and my fiancee's is 9...I'd love to give our children both but I think it would be awful for them...yours works so well!

AmySho said...

My last name is Schoenberger, and my boyfriend's last name is Shoenthal. We should probably hyphenate just to torture the hell out of our children.

Dre said...

I have a hyphenated name - Ellsworth-Turner - that came down from my grandfathers family. So myself, my dad (and his 5 siblings) AND my grandfather all had the same long last name. I would hyphenate but it would sound pretty ridiculous: Ellsworth-Turner-Smith. Not to mention having a first AND middle name attached to that? Yeesh!

Laura said...

Interesting! I like that concept.

However, do you think it might be odd or difficult that you all have three different last names?

I'm still not sure if I want to change my last name but I like the idea of having a cohesive "family" name as well.

At least I have a few more years before children to think about it!

Martha said...

I hyphenated, my husband didn't, and we decided not to for my son. My hyphenated last name is sixteen characters long and we felt it was just too long for a little one. I love love love my hyphenated last name though, and I'm so glad I did it. My maiden name is quite long but my husband's last name is just about the only name I could tack on that sounds good--Davis. (It is the sixth most common last name in America!) I plan to give my maiden name (first part of my last name) to one of my children as a middle name.

Anonymous said...

In Denmark it has been very common with hyphenated last names for children for about 20 years or so. When people get married most combine theirs names with or without hyphens so both the bride and groom get both names. At least that is what is most common in Copenhagen. I don't know anyone who simply gave up their name. In the same fashion almost all children get the name of both parents, in the order the parents can agree upon ;-) Our girl has my boyfriends last name as her middle name and mine as her official last name. That is very common. However that also means that long names like Toby's are the norm among children rather than the exception. Toby's is a very good looking - and sounding - name though. And he's such a cutie.

njs-t said...

As a fully grown hyphenate I applaud your decision to give Toby both of your names. There were a few times early in my life where I felt "wow I have this weird long name" but that quickly changed to "I have the most original and awesome name ever!" Toby will be proud to have both names as he gets older. It definitely makes me feel even closer to both sides of my family.

Anonymous said...

My mother kept her maiden name so I always assumed that I would. Even if she hadn't I probably would have decided on my own to keep my maiden name though. I'm not planning on having any kids, but I think I would consider hyphenating if I did. The only thing is that would make the baby a Rankin-Rody, and that kind of alliteration is somewhat daunting.

Amanda Brown said...

I am in the same boat as your husband. My last name is Brown and it is so incredible common, but I like it loads better than my equally common first name, Amanda. So for that reason I would prefer to hyphenate to keep a bit of family connection and I feel like my last name is big part of my identity since friends often call me by my last name.

The problem I foresee is the last name of my long time boyfriend, whose named Matt Sachs. Amanda Brown-Sachs? What!

Yeah, I dunno how that's going to go.

I love the way your baby's name sounds. It has a lovely flow to it.

Prescott Perez-Fox said...

Ladies (and to a lesser extent, Gentlemen) as someone with a hyphenated last name I beg you, DO NOT HYPHENATE YOUR CHILD'S LAST NAME.

A lifetime of confusion follows! What do we call the parents? What do we call the household? Is the father first, or the mother? What happens when _they_ get married? Do you go by one last name and then officially hyphenate the other? Can you get the .com?

Surely, you see my point.

My sisters and I have hyphenated names and even after 35 years, the world doesn't fucking get it. It's a hassle from day one, I and urge you, plead with you, beg you, and beseech you, don't. fuckin. hyphenate.

Stephanie said...

Part of having Spanish heritage is that you get to keep both of your parent's last name. I've never really understood how you can identify yourself with just one last name... traditionally, babies have the father's last name and then the mother's as a second last name and we can shorten it simply by not saying the second one. But since i have the same middle name as my mom (smart woman), she'll always be first!

Ash said...

My maiden name is a total mouthful, Lichliter. It was pretty frustrating for people to try and pronounce or spell it, but I didn't want to drop it altogether, or drop my middle name, so I have my first name, two middle names, and my new last name. It's been a year and a half and I still introduce myself as Ashlyn Lichliter sometimes, but I'm getting more used to saying Ashlyn Fowler.

hope_gabrielle said...

My parent's hyphenated my last name so it is Hope Robinson-Smyke. I have always loved it because I feel I have the connection from both families!

aislin said...

call me old fashioned (and i am, sometimes) but i quite enjoy the idea of taking my boyfriend's name one day. i love my family name; it's irish and i've always been proud of my irish heritage. luckily for me, my first name, aislin (pronounced ash-leen), is also very irish so i'll never be without that part of my life.
my only issue with the boyfriend's last name is it is so ukrainian i had to get him to teach me how to say it, more then a few times! yikes!

Nicole said...

I just got married in October and struggled with this a little - like Kelsey, my mother kept her maiden name and as a kid, sometimes it was annoying/confusing to always have to explain that my parents were actually married, plus the whole picking up from school/doctor issue as well. Because of this, I knew I wanted to take my husband's name so that we'd share a family name with our future kids, but I too was struggling with giving up my maiden name. I ended up going with the Hillary Rodham Clinton approach and so far, so good!

Solenne said...

Married for 6 years i kept my family name, but our son Thibault
has only his father's name.
Nice black and white picture taken in Deauville France...near i live ;)

Annie Nilsson said...

My husband and I both kept our own names when we got married, but I have no idea what we will do if/when we have a child. It sure seems easier to have one family name.
I know a brother and sister of parents with different surnames where the boy got the dad's and the girl got the mom's! So that's one solution...
What I wonder is why no one ever seems to consider the man taking his wife's last name when they get married. You'd think by now it wouldn't be such an issue, (it's not like land is passed on through male heirs anymore, etc) but I still find people to be completely freaked out by the idea. Anyone here do it that way?

Aline said...

I didn't change my name when I got married.

In Brazil, where I'm from, a child usually gets both parents'last names (mother's then father's, no hyphen), so that's what we'll do.

Christine said...

My husband and I have two VERY different last names as I am Chinese and he is Polish. Mine is Yu and his is Dawidowicz. When my husband and I got married, it was really important to me to keep my last name and not just because it's a lot easier to write/spell.

When we had kids, I wanted our kids to have both our last names for all the reasons that you listed - connection to both of our extended families, cultural heritage, uniqueness, etc. We toyed with giving them my last name as middle names but I felt like it would be too easy for Yu to get lost and ultimately dropped. Same reason I wanted the hyphen. So the boys are Yu-Dawidowicz. They love it, at least the older one does, because they see if as Mommy and Daddy coming together. Bonus - they basically get to learn the entire alphabet just by spelling their name!

My husband often wonders/worries what will happen when the boys get married and have kids of their own and how impossibly long our grandkids names may be.

DG said...

I really love this blog and the people who read it. When I told my family I was dropping my middle name, using my maiden name as my middle and taking my partner's last name, my family responded, "Oh just like Khloe Kardashian Odom!" I was thinking more along the lines of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

When my grandparents came to America from Spain they got married and hyphenated their last names to stay connected to both their families. I love having a name that is still directly connected to both sides of their families heritage.

katiepaisley said...

I didn't alter my own last name at all when I got married. My last name is Ricks and my husbands last name is Scott. I figure if we hyphenate our childrens' names it will still only be 2 syllables Scott-Ricks.

Anita said...

My mom didn't change her name either, but I've inherited only my dads last name.

The funny thing is, my mom has a very beautiful, traditional Italian last name, and I've always sort of secretly wished that I had hers instead!

Hyphenating two long, European last names would never work, though. To many syllables!

Lashley said...

I don't think that 6% number can be right, especially for the maiden/birth name as middle name switch (your Hillary Rodham Clinton example). In the southeast, at least, that's the status quo. It's actually MUCH more unusual for a woman to keep her given middle name than to change it to her maiden name.

I have a friend who, when she and her husband married, they both changed their middle names to her maiden name. I love that, but my fiance is attached to his lack of a middle name, so I doubt it will fly for us.

Kersey Campbell said...

Love Toby's name! Tobias..Funke?! :)

Sara (House Bella) said...

I didn't want to lose my last name, but wanted to be true to joining a new family, too. So I did Sara Husbandlastnamee Madienlastname. So like a Hillary, but backwards.

Megan said...

My only hesitation with the whole hyphenating thing is what it means for future generations. If I hyphenate my children's names, what will they do when they get married and have children of their own? Will they pick the name they like best and hyphenate it with their partner's favorite name? At some point names will be dropped anyway.

Erica said...

Like your husband, I had a really common last name, Martin, and was looking forward to having something a bit more interesting. Unfortunately, my husband's last name isn't all that exciting either, but I took it on while keeping my maiden. I go by Erica Ricks, but if someone asks my full name, I say Erica Christine Martin Ricks. And b/c gov't forms only allow for 3 names, each of my IDs have different names. Some Erica Martin Ricks, some Erica Christine Ricks. Whoops!

Nicole said...

I kept my name - Snyder - when I married. And my husband's last name is Dougherty (pronounced like Dock- er-tee)and I like his name. I've just always been me and I have no problems with my last name.

But here's the fun part--- we are known by our friends and family as the "SnyDocs"-- which is totally silly and never used in an official manner. I do think I its cute when his family refers to us as the Snydocs in a group email:)

Isabelle said...

I am 31 and from Quebec and as a kid so many of my friends had hyphenated names! It was close to being the standard (it is a bit close to matriarchy there sometimes... hence parents with equal rights and women keep their names after marriage). Also they were a bit long... Rivet-Sabourin, Caouette-Moreau, Beaulieu-Tremblay...

But today it creates a new problem : what about when 2 people with hyphenated names get together ? It can get quite complicated.

Actually people do it less and less. It can be a burden for anything administrative and just plain too long !

Anyhow i love Toby's last name. Very classy. And given that his first name is short it fits very well.

Emily H. Arent said...
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Miranda Agee said...
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jane voisin said...

I did exactly what you did! I kept my last name (why wouldn't I?? I love my husband-obviously since I married him!- but it never occurred to me to take his last name. It would have felt so archaic). My children have both our last names (mine first) hyphenated. It was very natural to us that they would have both our names since the two of us "made" them. It is sometimes (well, a lot of the time) hard for people to understand this and they often shorten their last name to just my husband's last name (I am French so my last name can be challenging for some people). When we lived in England, nobody had any problem with it and in the 3 years we were there nobody tried once to shorten their name. Here it's another story!

jane said...

i didn't legally change my last name when i got married-- i like it too much! but i am ok with being called by my husband's last name and will be going by it socially. our children will have his last name only, and at that point, if i've gotten used to his last name, i might change mine. or hyphenate it... he would LOVE for me to change my name to his (no hyphen), but for now, it's staying as is!

JacPfef said...

My full name is 26 letters long with no hyphenations and, as a kid, I was always SUPER proud of the length. I love my last name, 'Pfeffer,' too, despite no one ever being able to spell it or pronounce it. It looks like someone just took a bunch of letters and played boggle with them.

I am pro unique names. They're so much more Google-friendly. It's much easier to make a name for yourself if you're not sharing it with a ton of other people :)

xx

Lili said...

Ah, I wish I even had the choice! Here in Germany, you can have either name for both, each keep your name or hyphenate it when you get married (I'm not even sure if both can have both names or only one!). There even were short-lived laws that told you if your maiden name had to be the first or the last part of your new name, ugh! Either way though, you have to choose one of the names for your children, you can't choose a hyphenated name. Also, creating a new family name is not allowed. You even have to give sufficient reason to change your family name if you have a really bad one (and it may be denied). Of course, this makes choosing names quite hard. I would like to keep mine should I ever get married, but what about the kids?

Emily H. Arent said...

My mom dropped her middle name when she got married and took her maiden name as her new middle name. Her maiden name (Hanssen) is now my middle name too. I used to hate it, and longed for a sweet and girly middle name like my friends. But now I love that that I'm carrying on the Norwegian surname of my mom's side of the family!

Oddly enough, I think I'm more attached to it than my actual surname. I'd like to take my husbands last name, but Hanssen will remain firmly in the middle :)

Abbey S said...

My bofriend's last name is hyphenated to create a name with 16 letters! His mom was going to give his sister, her oldest child, his dad's last name, but then went into labor and decided she wanted her name on them too! He doesn't seem to mind it, though when he signs things, he almost never puts his whole name.

Anonymous said...

my husband and i combined last names (although not hyphenated, just two words: "evans maxwell") and both of our daughters have the same combined surname. it was important for us to combine our names into a new family name that we all share. an extra bonus is learning that apparently this makes us posh!

Cait said...

Goddard-Williams does have quite a nice ring to it, though not all hyphenated names do. I'm recently engaged and probably planning on taking my future husband's last name. I've tried it over and over again, but "McCarthy" just doesn't hyphenate well!

I have a question though (this is something I thought about while figuring out my own decision) - by hyphenating Toby's last name you don't give him the option to do what you and Alex are doing. Now he has a hyphenated name and can't very well hyphenate again - Toby Goddard-Williams-Smith. Just wondering how you feel about that?

P.S. LOVE his "First Kiss" photo (and that he cried!).

Hillary said...

I kept my own last name. Kids...hmm. Not sure. Thinking they might get the HRC treatment as Schuster-Kiser or Kiser-Schuster sounds pretty intense.

Christine said...

I love hyphenated last names! I kept my name when I got married, but we didn't hyphenate our son's last name because my husband's last name is way too long to then include my last name. Our son just got my husband's last name, which is fine. It's weird and hard to spell and pronounce, but it is also rare (I've only met his immediate family with this same last name). His middle name is the name of my paternal grandfather, so there's a family name in there.

Changing my name really wasn't a question with me. I think that taking your husband's name is kind of antiquated and silly. I know some women love the tradition of it, though. It just isn't for me.

Lili said...

Oh, also you can't choose different family names for different children. Children within one marriage all have the same family name. You can't spllit them up between the parents, hehe ;-)

Monique said...

I'm not married, but I do have a daughter (taboo! - not really these days). I hyphenated my daughters last name, so that she could have part of my name in there. I knew her father and I weren't going the marriage route, so I wanted some of "me" in there. Her name is long, but I'm happy with the decision.

I think I would hyphenate my name when I do get married. Definitely keeping my maiden name in some way!

Alicia Marie said...

I took my husband's last name with no regrets. I was proud to be married to him and I didn't feel like I lost any part of myself by not using my maiden name. I was confident before and even more confident after I took his name. I felt like we were becoming a family and we were united under one name. It was not HIS family or MY family but OUR family. We are a team.

Emily @ NewlyWife said...

I was actually glad to change my name, even though I really liked my maiden name. My older friends still joke around and call me by my old name, but I just felt that we were redefining our new family while still respecting tradition -- even though I'm not super traditional in other areas. I never really thought it weird when I met kids with hyphened names, because the more you said it, the more it became just like one name. I just wonder what to do if they want to hyphen down the line. Harry Smith-Johnson-Williams? ;)

abigail said...

I kept my maiden name S. , but my middle name is Gray (my grandmother's maiden name) so we named our daughter C. Gray S. (my husband's surname begins with an S. too) So my initials are A.G.S and Her's are C.G.S and my husband's are C.H.S so even though she and I dod not have the same surname we have the same middle name and similar initials. Hyphenating two s last names WOULD have been a mouthful for sure!

(hope my explanation made sense!)

I like Toby's hyphenated name, I think Toby Williams also has a nice ring to it, I instantly think of a tennis player or musician...? either way he's bound to sue something rad!

~abigail

aka @GrayDayShop and tiptoethrough.blogspot

Kate said...

My last name (Miss) means I can never hyphenate! But even though I love it, I'd never wish it on a child, so they'll definitely get their father's last name, even if it does make me a tad sad to not have my name a part of theirs.

Jenny Attwater said...

Yeah, it is considered posh to have a double barreled surname in England. I went to Oxford University - and the double barrel is extremely common, but I guess that figures.

My boyfriend has an extremely bizarre and long name - Tim Peter Erastus Ryan Murray Browne, but 'Murray Browne' is his surname. This was a choice of his parents, who I think wanted to avoid the 'poshness' aspect. But it caused a lot of trouble for Tim with official documents and the like, as people would often think Murray was one of his (many) middle names and reduce it to an initial. He's now changed it to double barrel by Deed Poll, and it makes it a lot easier. So my point is, double barrel vs two surnames is much easier. Although in Scotland it is common to assign the mother's maiden name as a middle name, as is the case of my godson (Leon Weinhold Dalley).

The NEXT issue is.... if Tim and I ever got married and had children, I don't want to give up my surname, and like you would want my children to have both - but a triple barrel name is surely just too ridiculous!

Tee said...

I took my husband's last name for many reasons including 1) I liked it better than mine (it's really pretty and suits my first name as well), 2) he's the only male to carry on that name and I have tons of male relatives with my maiden name, 3) it evokes a sense of togetherness, which I love. I also like that my boys have the same last name and me and their father.

jensie said...

I took my husband's name when we were married 5 years ago but I not-so-secretly wanted to combine them and have us both change. Professionally I use both last names, but legally I'm just my first + married last name.
Since the death of my father I've really missed the name I shared with him and have been thinking of legally including both names. The greatest pause has been around the kids thing - as you're addressing and it's a great topic and I like your boldness around trying it out.

stacy said...

I kept my last name (Foley), my husband kept his last name (Billington), and as their are no males on my side to carry on the Foley name he agreed Byrdie could have my last name and use his as her middle.
Byrdie Billington Foley!

nickandnoragettingmarried said...

I just got married and am going through the process of changing my last name (although I'm already going by my husband's name in the day-to-day). I like the idea of having a family last name, and all the women in my family have changed when they got married. But I think half my friends changed and the other half kept their names. Mostly I think it's great that we're getting to a place where people can do what works best for them.

Still, I wish the paperwork to change was easier. Come on, red tape!

Sara, Luke, and Brooklyn said...

When my husband and I were married, I legally made my maiden name my new middle name and took his last name as my own. I considered all options, but felt like this one best suite me. :)

Bridget said...

When I got married I didn't want to take my husband's last name, he didn't want to wear a wedding ring, and with that a compromise was born. I kept my maiden name as a middle name and our son only has his father's last name.

As a primary teacher, I appreciate people who don't hyphenate their child's last name. It's totally and completely for selfish reasons though. It's just easier when the child has one last name to write on all those things throughout the year.

Christine said...

I couldn't let go of my maiden name when I got married, so I bumped it up to my middle name. But since my original middle name was my grandmother's maiden name, I didn't want to just dump it, so now I've got two middle names. And 5 years later, I'm still very glad I kept it in there somewhere! :)

Anonymous said...

I definitely took my husband's - it's very British: Needham. And everyone was so surprised, because they think of me as "modern". But I had been looking forward to that connection to him for a long time. We joked about combining. My maiden name is Daley, we came up with Daleham and Needley, both cute. But my husband, as an archivist, frowned upon future researchers trying to look us up years later, and not able to go further back, because they can't find our "real" names.

I did read an article way back, (wish I could find it) about the next generation of hyphen kids, I went to school with a lot of them! What do they do when they marry one and have kids as well, with 4 possible names to choose from. What a conundrum! I have a friend who thought of using a different last name for each child. Yikes! It is fun to think of the possibilities. What about men taking the woman's name? :)

Glenda said...

In the spanish culture children are given their father's last name followed by the mother's maiden name.

I took my hubby's name when we got married.

My kids have his last name ( I didn't do the traditional spanish 2 last names)

Stella said...

I would NOT get rid of my last name, its who I am! Besides my clothing line's name is my last name, so it would be weird. However if my bf proposed, I'd add his name to mine and I know he wants his (our) future kids to have his name. He's american, I'm swedish, not that I know if that matters. I want my kids to have both our names, but if I get to choose the first names, they can have his last name (which, thank god, is a nice and cool last name.)

btw - love the motherhood mondays, and I don't even have kids!

Haley Rogers said...

I love the idea of combining last names! I'm not married but both my mom and sister took their maiden names as a middle name. So keeping it, sorta.

Erin said...

We had talked about combing our last names, Black and Mitchell and becoming the Bitchells! Since it probably wouldn't be that great of a last name for kids, we ended up giving the kids my last name which is a hyphen.

Kari said...

I changed my name to my husband's when we got married, despite him trying to convince me that he'd like to take MY name (what can I say, I was young and traditional). After 10 1/2 years, we had our first baby earlier this year, and we gave him my maiden name as his last name. Partly because our relationship with my husband's parents is nonexistent (hence him wanting to take my name) and partly because my dad has passed away, and he was the only boy in his family, so we wanted his name to be carried on. We decided that since this is 2011, we can pass on the name that means more to us, my maiden name (which is still my middle name). If it gets too confusing for our son, I will change my name back (and my husband says he'll change his name, too . . . we'll see).

My maiden name is Irish and has an apostrophe, so hyphenating seemed like too much punctuation. Just a personal preference.

I work in the school system, and I agree that no one has the same last name as their kids anymore. It's just a different time than it used to be.

Maud said...

Joanna- How did you decide which last name would come first (Goddard over Williams)?

Anonymous said...

I was happy to get rid of my last name and take on my husbands last name because I didn't like my dad very much.
I also always wanted my last name to be longer than my first name, which now it is.

I like genealogy / family history and I don't like when people pick new names... it makes finding ancestors/family members so confusing. I would like it if everyone could stick with tradition, even if it's outdated.

I think hyphenated names are fine, but what if Toby marries someone with a hyphenated name as well? Are they going to name their child with 4 last names?! Haha. Ridiculous. :)

MarianneEee said...

My husband and I didn't change names when we married. Our son is called Edvard HisSurname MySurname.

Christin said...

I pulled a Hillary. [Insert "I am the 6% joke here.]

I love Toby's full name--so distinguished!

Red Penny said...

we spent some time on this, too... i didn't want to lose my last name when we married, so i hyphenated to Parks-Wise. When we learned we were pregnant with a boy, I proposed using my last name, Parks, as his middle name and Wise, my husband's last name, as his last.

So he's Eliot Parks Wise. No hyphen for him, but still represents both sides of the family.

Now I want to try coming up with a combo of our two last names....Wirks? Parse? oof, those are awful!

Sarah V said...

I can definitely relate to this. I have four names, Sarah Fay Yohai Vatch. Yohai is my mother's maiden name, which she never changed to my father's last name, which is Vatch. While all names are on my birth certificate, I use Vatch on a regular basis. I am also married and have kept my last name, inspired by my mom I suppose. My hubby's last name is van der Raadt, so if we ever did combine, I would vote for van der Vatch. He doesn't think this name is as awesome or hilarious as I do, but I am still working on him. When we have kids, we may torture them with all names combined and then they can use van der Raadt, as I have with my dad's last name. Such a great topic today Joanna!

Megan said...

I think naming is fascinating. Like many ladies here, my maiden name is important to me, so I took it as my middle name as well as my husband's when we got married. (I'm also a writer and my married name is decidedly "normal," so I know where Alex is coming from.)

I've thought about hyphenating our kids' names but worry I'd put a future daughter in a pickle on what she wanted to do with her name. However, a good friend of mine's parents hyphenated her last name -- it's a whopping 20 letters long -- and she wouldn't have it any other way.

As for us, I have a feeling we won't hyphenate but will use my maiden name as a middle name so that the kids are tied to their mama and extended families.

I think Toby will love being a Goddard-Williams! It has a wonderful ring and shows what a great, strong family he has.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea ...but :) just hope Toby finds a girl who doesn't have hyphenated name too ...their children will have tough time :P

christina said...

we totally struggled with this one too. my last name is soletti and my partner is schemel. so soletti-schemel is really a mouthful!! we combine it as a bit of a joke (schemoletti) but never thought seriously about it.

we ultimately decided not to hyphenate because then what would poor beatrice rinn schemel-soletti do if she married toby, for example? would she become beatrice schemel-soletti-goddard-williams? ;)

also, since i was the birth mama i wanted to make sure patty felt a part of beatrice, so we gave her patty's last name, schemel.

all that said, i love how toby's name sounds and honestly if our names weren't so long, i might have hyphenated too! ;)

Catherine Sullivan said...

I really dig my last name (Radachi) so if I ever do get married--I don't actually know if I would change it.

Speaking of long names--people say that my name is a mouthful! My middle name happens to be hyphenated: Catherine Sullivan-Michael Radachi. Personally, I think it sounds professional and a little bit important :)

Amanda and Nick said...

I have both my parents last names (not hyphenated), yet no middle name. Amanda Arneman Bakken. I love my name and when it came time to name our son Henry it was a very difficult decision. Nick fully supported using both of our last names, but in the end I decided that three last names were just too much. We did choose two middle names that were very close to our hearts and decided to hyphenate them. Henry John-Elliot Dircz. :)

P said...

I was so happy to read your blog today. I have an adorable 2 month old daughter and we hyphenated her last name. My husband and I are Indian and hyphenating is definitely NOT traditional in India. But we decided that it was the right thing to do :).
Though I do wonder what she will do if and when she gets married..

Roses said...

I loved hearing you story. I think its so interesting how people decide on what to name their child. In regards to last names I went the traditional hispanic way. Fathers surname followed by mothers surname. I also added my husband's last name to mine when i married, so my last name is the exact opposite of our kids. Neither the kids or I have hypenhated names we just have two last names.

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

My name is hyphenated since I married while in my 40's. By that time the world knew me by my last name... I hyphenated it when we got married and I didn't ask for my husband's approval... just did it since I was a big girl and all grown up. Of course, if I had had children in my 40's I would have hyphenated their names. Love Toby's name!

Holly said...

We're still transitioning to our new names, but my husband and I chose to both change our surnames to a hyphenate. It's a long name (Levin-Aspenson), but I like it a lot. Egalitarianism is very important to us, so we had already planned to hyphenate our future children's surnames. I wasn't going to hyphenate my surname unless my husband would, but I'm glad he did! I also like that I can label things with my four initials (HFLA) like my grandmother (MCML) did.

I don't see how it's much of a hassle (or, as some people have said, a selfish decision) to hyphenate. Our hypothetical children could use their last initials in school (I knew children growing up who did this on school papers, e.g., S-J for Smith-Jones) and do what they like with their names if they get married (whether they keep both, keep one, or keep none). It just seems unfair to me that women and children are supposed to take the husband/father's surname in the name of tradition and family unity when few ever consider taking the wife/mother's surname.

Laura said...

When I get married, I fully intend to take my husband's last name. For me, it's an important symbol of commitment and family unity. I know this is completely untrue but I've always associated hyphenated names with divorce and remarriage and other uncomfortable-to-talk-about situations. As a little girl, knowing that my mom, dad, brother, sister and I all had exactly the same name made me feel like a part of a secure unit.

MarianneEee said...

And Joanna, couldn't Alex (and you) use Goddard-Williams as well? If the writer really wants a unique name I mean ;)

wildchild said...

i like the idea of combining you and your husband's last names to make a new name for both of you, but i can't figure out how it would sound good with Quigley and Swanson... and also, he's the last man left with his last name, so we kind of have to keep the family name going. bummer. but i like how toby's sounds! and that last picture is perfect to go along with this post. bravo :)

Robin said...

This is such a great topic! When I was in college, I declared that I would never change my name, even if I married or had a child. My college boyfriend was offended and we got in a huge fight about it. Fast forward 10ish years...
I married my husband and took his name without a second thought (not sure exactly what changed my mind, except that Goldin-Tobin is too rhymey to hyphenate and I wanted all of us - me, Brad, future child, to have the same name)
Funny thing is college boyfriend married an only child who convinced him to take her name (so the name could live on) and he did!
cracks me up!

leah p. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Briar Rose said...

I have a hyphenated name from my husband. YUCK!! Neither of us like it but the state court system hyphenated his name when his step-dad (who was out of his life like a year later) adopted him. So now we have this ridiculous LONG hyphenated name that we both hate! And our daughters have it also. Plus side: We are the only 4 in the world with our name! Down side: explaining it, medical records, legal records, military stuff all has the hyphenated name all screwy on everything.

Joanna Goddard said...

i love these comments -- SO FASCINATING!!!

Joanna Goddard said...

when we're talking about our family, we say we're the "goddard-williams family." for example, when we write our return address on letters, we say "goddard-williams" :)

Joanna Goddard said...

elizabeth, "Eisenstein-Hershkowitz" would have been amazing!!! i love all these names and amazing insight. everyone has such fascinating thoughts on all of this.

siescierto said...

I like the idea of hyphenated names. In Spain and a lot of Latin American countries you have two last names. No hyphenation needed. It's understood that the second last name is the maternal one. So Toby would be Toby Paul Williams Goddard. Toby's kids however would only get the "Williams". It's a way that the mother's surname "survives" one more generation. I guess it's a pretty foreign concept, I had trouble explaining to my boyfriend why I don't have a middle name and yet my entire name has three parts! But I think it's lovely and helps to make you a little more unique.

Tournesol said...

I took my husband's last name when I got married, but when we divorced I hyphenated it with my maiden name, I wanted my name back but also wanted the same name as my sons. My youngest son with my partner of 17 years, his name is hyphenated with my maiden name and his father's name. It's long but it's pretty.

Nicole said...

I took my husband's last name, but in not wanting to part with my maiden name or middle name, I decided to hyphenate the two. This way my middle initial has stayed the same, but my maiden name is sneakily along for the ride.

Gabriela García de Cortázar G. said...

In Chile, where I come from, is the same as in Spain: we have our father's last name and then our mother's. The thing is that my father's last name is composed (García de Cortázar) so everybody (EVERYBODY!!!) in Chile asks me why do I have THREE last names (García de Cortázar Galleguillos). In the UK, where I am living now, they just get it wrong all the time.
I like that women in the US are giving their names to their childs! Toby will certainly like it!!!

Clare said...

I do like Goddard-Williams, but like Megan do wonder what the next generation will do when two lot of hyphenated names hitch up!

A colleague and his new wife (he had got married before) took the name of the place they honeymooned. It works really well as a name and I like that it has meaning, but without having to choose between his and hers.

BTW hyphenated names are usually really posh in UK, either that or really chavvy (really not posh). The accompanying forename will usually let you know which!

Brittany said...

Generally speaking I like the idea of hyphenating the child's name if the parents have different last names. I think the problem will be, as this becomes more popular and I think it will, then what will Toby's kids' names be? What if his wife's name is hyphenated? First Middle Goddard-Williams-Smith-Goodwin?

Had I not had an atrocious maiden name, I think I would have either kept my maiden or hyphenated with my husband's. But good riddance to a very bad last name!

anniematic said...

I took my husband's name when we got married, and am really happy with that decision. I love that we have one united family name, and always hated my maiden name anyways - too long and hard to pronounce. I thought about hyphenating our kids' names but have known several friends growing up who became frustrated with their double name and dropped one of them. I also second those questioning the sustainability of hyphenations; two hyphenated-name parents would have tough choices to make!

megan said...

I kept my last name and we hyphenated my son's name (he's three!). My husband keeps saying that he's convinced that our son will change his name when he's older to MY last name because he thinks it's cooler than HIS last name. I don't see it happening. We're super happy with our choice and I've been surprised at how accepting people have been. No one says ANYTHING about it!

Ashley Joy said...

I am getting married soon and have been debating this very thing! I have always thought I'd change my last name, but now that it's all happening, I already feel nostalgic for my maiden name. I considered replacing my middle name with my maiden name, but it's so short that I can't do it! I do like the idea of having the same name as my husband and our future children, so I believe what I'll do is tack the new last name on at the end and have two middle names.

My fiance definitely gets brownie points, though, because he offered to take my last name into his name as well!

Robyn said...

When my two friends had their first child, they combined their last names (Sloss & Berry) into Slossberry! Their children have names right out of Dr. Seus now!

Stephanie said...

I hyphenated my last name, but it's more for practical purposes, like my undergrad degree being under my maiden name and knowing I wouldn't get through the paperwork to change my name at my job(s) and accounts in a timely manner. I don't have any problem with people referring to me as Stephanie Tickle (yup, that's really the name I married into!) instead of Stephanie Rath-Tickle, so when we have kids, they'll just have the Tickle name. They'll probably get made fun of enough for that last name, no need to complicate things further by adding a hyphen to the mix. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I kept my last name (Swallow) and my husband kept his (Bundy). When we have a child, I would like to give him/her a merged version our last names: Bundallow.

My parents gave me two middle names- the second of which is my mother's maiden name. Sometimes I am forced to drop one while filling out forms- and as a rule, I just always drop the first one.

I also like the idea of inventing an entirely new last name for the whole family that holds personal meaning. I knew a family that used their combined heritage (Danish, English, and German) to make a new last name: Danenger.

Also, a friend who just got married took his wife's last name, which I think is awesome!

So many great options!! I think whatever you find that works for you and your family is great!

Holly said...

toby is in good company. joseph gordon-levitt has the last name of both of this parents too :)

Stevie said...

My mother kept her maiden name as she's the last one with it (that we know of) - the burden of only children. ;) When it came time to name me, I got my first name and nickname as a tribute to my maternal grandmother, and my last name came from my father. A reasonable compromise, but I'm another only girl, so it's tough to see my mother's name come to an end.

Sarah H. said...

Very interesting to read these comments! Fun topic...
I grew up with a long, uncommon Czech name, which I love, and so when I married into my husband's long, uncommon German name, I kept mine as my middle. Our daughter has only his last name. For us, it was an entirely practical choice, as the combined name would have been nearly 20 letters long...tricky for a little one to master. :) I have two brothers carrying on my family name (hopefully one of them will have kids that will pass it on too!)

Lena Eats Hearts said...

In my country the child carries both their fathers and mothers last name. Usually the fathers last name comes first and the mother last. Without that little line in between.

Fancy Pants said...

Well, my maiden name WAS Williams, and as an Elizabeth, I was truly glad to get a new last name. Although, there was a part of me a little sad to no longer share the same name as my paternal family, I love that my hubby and I share a name now.

Chelsea Wayant said...

I married a man with a hyphenated last name and it caused a problem when deciding what to do when we got married because if I were to take on his full hyphenated name then it would seem to the world that one of those hyphenated names was my surname from birth. Talk about losing my identity! So he ended up dropping one of his last names and so that all three of us have the same last name no hyphen. Since both he and I changed our names to get married, it felt like we were in the same boat as opposed to only the woman changing her name. Though, ss a filmmaker and in the professional world I still use my maiden name. If my husband did not have a hyphenated name I am positive I would have kept my name and hyphenated my daughters name, but my husband was dead set against out children having a hyphenated name. Ironically, my high school boyfriend also had a hyphenated last name and planned on dropping one of them when he got married as well.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I kept my maiden name (Fox). My children have my husband's last name (Goldschmidt). So my children are Edith Caroline Goldschmidt and Eric Mitchell Henry Goldschmidt (another big name for a little dude!). I like having my own name, but if my children ever REALLY opposed to me having a different name, I would consider changing it. We still go by "The Goldschmidts" as a family, but all correspondence goes out as Dr. Goldschmidt and Ms. Fox.

Kathryn said...

I kept my last name and gave my son my last name as his middle name and my husband's last name as his last name. That way I got my name in there without creating an overly long last name.

Melrose said...

I personally like the Hyphenate, but I'm lucky enough that my last name sounds like a first name, Talia, so it would be easy to choose either the "middle name" or hyphenate option.

I love the name Tobias btw, it sounds so rugged and (little) manly!

Anonymous said...

Laura Wattenberg has been writing about this at both the BabyNameWizard.com site and the Name Lady site recently:

One Surname or Two?
http://www.namecandy.com/name-lady/2011/11/21/one-surname-or-two

The Living Surname Manifesto
http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2011/9/living-surnames-a-manifesto

Charlotte said...

Well I love the idea but unfortunately my last name is Cox and my boyfriends last name is Came. I'm not being rude or making it up. I kid you not. So hyphenating at any point in the future - well it's just a joke. I'm considering just changing my last name to Fox. And as for children - to hyphenate our current last names would just be cruel.

Mina said...

Love this piece! I pulled a Hillary Rodham Clinton and made my maiden name my middle name. Previously I had a very ethnic and long name that included a title and two last names, but didn't have a middle name! So I agonized over what to do and eventually decided I couldn't lose my maiden name totally. My kids will take my husband's last name, but we might try to work something in from my Persian heritage.

iciar said...

I love it!! In Spain we use both last names, usually the father´s and after the mother´s, but now you can put before the mother´s last name if you wish, and when we introduced ourselves and in our ID cards we always use the name and the two last names. We also keep our last names when we get married, so I love what you have done, great decision!, I am sure that Toby will be very happy with that when he grow up!

Best regards from Spain!

Giulia said...

I am on my third last name. I changed the first time as a child when I was adopted and the I changed again when I married. My former last name was complicated and I had to keep spelling it along with my first name. So, now I spell my first name and Doyle is a pretty straight forward last name.
Hyphenated names remind me of the spanish names and cultures that use 'daughter..son of xxxxy' in their names.

Karli said...

My husband and I both took each other's last name but go by our respective last names (mine is Kujawa his is Smith). Our newborn son has my maiden name as his second middle name so his name is Cole Andrew Kujawa Smith. So we are all united with both family heritages, yet it is not such a mouthful as if we had hyphenated it since Kujawa is hard to pronounce all on its on. It works for us and we love it!

Alice said...

I live in Argentina and here women basically don't take their husband's names. I'm not even sure if it's even possible to make the legal change. And kids, in general, inherit their father's paternal last name + their mother's paternal last name. At first, as an American, I didn't love this but I'm learning to embrace it.

sk said...

I love this topic! I recently got married and kept my last name-- but mainly because it is Valentine. Hard to beat that, right? I'm not sure what we'll do when we have a kid. I like the idea of the kid having both of our names, but say we have a daughter and hyphenate her last name...what happens when said kid with hypenated last name gets married or has kids??? Will we start seeing future kids with 3 last names or more? The mind boggles :)

kelsey williams said...

I changed my middle name (Marie) to my maiden name (Christianson) when I got married. I had never felt a connection with my middle name, although it's a family name, so I just dropped it. I loved Christianson my whole life and wasn't ready to be done with it. I also didn't really want four names, although I know it's possible to have two middle names.

Hannah said...

Joanna, I am so curious what was the main reason you kept your own last name! Also, Toby's long name is adorable! I wonder what he'll do when he gets married... will the lady take the whole hyphenated last name? Curious!

Weezie said...

Oh geez, topic of my life! My parents gave me four names at birth - all significant family names - and I go by my second name, but all of my official forms have my first name on them. When I got married, I added my husband's surname to the end of mine, giving me FIVE names! Talk about problematic monogramming!

The Commonwealth of VA let me use names 1-5 on my driver's license, but when we moved to NC, I only was allowed names 1,2,4&5! My Social Security card is names 1,2,4&5, but my passport has 1,2,3&5! My credit card is just names 1&5, but my debit card adds in initials of 2 & 4. It is ridiculous!

We gave our daughter our last name, but her middle name is the name I dropped (my third name, which is my mother's maiden name). We're happy to be able to use my family name and hope she agrees when she's old enough to understand!

courtney said...

I kept my last name too, and my kids names are hyphenated (my last name first, his second). My youngest is only 15 months, but my oldest thinks it's pretty cool.

Kristin said...

I took my husband's last name (Roberts), my main reason being that my maiden name was always difficult for people to pronounce (Hohmeier - "ho-meyer"). BUT, I loved my maiden name so much that I decided to make it my middle name. I'm glad I now have an easier last name and will still always be a Hohmeier too! (Our kids' last names will be Roberts as well, I don't want them to deal with a mouthful of a name like I did!)

Mary said...

I think it totally depends on your specific names. I like Goddard-Williams, but Barth-Wasielewski would obviously not have worked for me! :-) I was not a huge fan of my maiden name (Barth) and I adore my middle name (Eliza), so when I married, I became Mary Eliza Wasielewski. I don't feel like it disconnected me from my Barth family in any way.

My brother married a woman named Beth. He couldn't ask her to become Beth Barth (how cruel!), so he changed his middle name to his last name, and they became Jim and Beth Gillette. Again, he is still very much a Barth despite giving up the name. To each his own!

brigzorn said...

I changed my name to my husband's after two years of marriage. No regrets now, but I really had to work myself into it! I wrote a whole post about it back in August. http://settlingwest.com/?p=2343

Mary said...

Oh, and my sister, who married a Spaniard, kept her last name, as is the norm in Spain. Their son took the paternal last name and does not have a middle name, again as is typical there.

Anonymous said...

i'm chinese and my husband is jewish, so the family name is a very important thing to both cultures. his last name is very obscure, so that pretty much anyone with the same name can trace roots back to right before everyone got split up during the holocaust. my uncle on my mother's side has been able to trace back 19 generations. pretty amazing stuff, which is why i wouldn't want to make up a new last name.

i grew up with quite a few hyphenated last name kids, and i always wonder what 2 of those people would do if they got married. would toby's future kids have the last name of goddard-williams-jones-smith? now THAT'S a tough decision to make! :)

Shannon said...

I never even thought about changing my name to my husband's until AFTER I was married, when well-meaning but slightly annoying people pestered me about why I kept my last name. After politely answering (and hoping to end the conversation), many even asked what would happen if we had kids? "Surely they will take your husband's name", they said. I just said that we had not discussed the idea of having children, but I would be sure to let them know once I consulted with my husband (tongue-in-cheek).

Personally, I think every woman should keep her own name, or change it to a different name with her husband so they are both equal. That being said, I also recognize that the point of being equal is also being able to CHOOSE. Either way, women should be supportive of each other's choices! Interesting discussion!

Ruth said...

My brother is about to get married. Our last name is Quiles and his soon-to-be wife's last name is Friche. Combine them to form Quiche!!! A delicious combination...I'm not sure they will put it into action though.

Rebecca said...

My parents never got married, I have both their names and I love it !
I use only my dad's name a lot lately because it's shorter that way, but it's nice to know I have both.

My name is Rebecca Lou Genet Aboucaya.
Hi !

Elena said...

My parents gave my sister and I hyphenated last names. I'm 21 now and I've always really liked it. When I was little and in school if I met another person with two last names I felt like we were both part of a special club or something.

Carrie said...

I was a hyphenated girl my whole life, with a long first name to boot! It took up all the bubbles on standardized tests and no one could pronounce it, so when I married a fella with a 3 letter last name, I switched right away.

Sometimes I miss the old name, or at least mourn the fact that with all sisters, the legacy of both names has mostly died out... but man is it easier to fill out paperwork.

laurenjeanallece said...

I am all for hyphens! I'm an only child (and only grandchild on both sides, yikes) so my parents wanted to make sure the WHOLE family was included in my name so....

Lauren Jean-Allece Morton-Farmer

(FIrst name is all mine, middles names are my grandmas' middle names and last names for the two families!)

Patricia Villamil said...

was it intentional to have your last name first then your husband's last name second.

I kept my last name when I married out of convention (where I come from, wives don't drop their last names, instead the husband's last name is added, such as Patricia Villamil de Moreno)

Kelly said...

I have kept my maiden name, and I am shocked how little my husband and I think of it but other people seem to love to bring it up. Hyphenating is something I am just not sure about. I do think names are mattering less and less.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend gave her son her surname and her daughter her father's surname so each child can carry the line of a name...

Carey said...

I love Toby's name! Sounds very distinguished!
I decided to pull a HIllary and changed my middle name to my maiden name. So I am Carey Kirk Griffin. We decided to give our daughter her daddy's last name. I enjoy the tradition of it. Eleanor James Griffin.

To be funny though we have a faux combined last name we use as a joke. Girk. If ever anything bad happens to us we say it's the curse of the Girk. Silly, but makes us laugh.

Anonymous said...

I added my husbands last name to my last name (my last name was 2 words, no hypen to start with)...so now my last name is 3 words...LONG!. I planned to hypenate but was STRONGLY ENCOURAGED by social security not to add a hypen when I emigrated from Canada to the US...so I went with no hypen to please the government in my new country. Not sure what they say to people now that want to hypenate...
ps. my husband's name is Toby...good name choice!

NYC Recessionista said...

I totally would have hyphenated if my maiden name (Zaccone, pronounced Zah-co-nee) and my married name (Jimenez, pronounced Hee-men-ez) sounded at all good together :) but Zaccone-Jimenez is just a mouthful. In the end I just took my husband's name.

nina corvallo said...

I hyphenated my name when I married and am now pregnant with my first child.
I like my hyphenated name, but I find in America it is still something people sometime struggle with.
In Europe it is much more common.
In retrospective my husband and I think we should have chosen a totally new family.
Because we are also a European citizen it is almost impossible now to change our family name (European governments make it much harder than American governments to change your name). And I am a bit sad, as I think it would have been nice to give our baby that name.
On the other hand I am glad to pass on my family name. And unless we find a way to change our family name, our baby will have a hyphenated last name.
BTW I think Toby’s full name is fantastic! Very cool, very posh -I love it.

Anonymous said...

I did this. My MIL I think secretly hates it...but I love it. I'm the first female in my family to accomplish many things so it was especially important to me. We'll keep it for our children too, but we'll recommend that they do something else when they get married (both of our names are relatively long and one is hard to pronounce ;p). I know many people who married into hyphenated names, but also kept their own...then became offended if you only refer to them by one last name. It seems like it can get too confusing at some point...As long as they get the importance, it's all good with me.

Girlie Blogger said...

Very cool way to name your kiddo. He is just adorable!

http://www.thegirlieblog.com

Ale' said...

My parents never married and I was named Alexandra Garcia (mothers maiden name) for different reasons when I was 14 my name was changed to Alexandra Garcia-Rojas to add my fathers last name. All my friends think its cool I have a hyphenated name and, although sometimes when I have to write it I wish it wasnt so long, I really like my name :) Also there a tremendous amount of Alexandra Garcia and it could get very confusing so have the extra last name seperates me from all the rest!

Em said...

I plan to hyphenate my maiden name with my husband's when the time comes. My last name is Slater, and I just love the badassery of it. Plus, I tend to date men with very strange, unflattering last names (my ex's last name was Chubb!), so Slater may be my saving grace.

As far as my kids go...that'll be something discussed with their father. I'd love to incorporate my family name, though. ^_^

Anonymous said...

my mom always told me that's how you know when a kid's parent's are divorced.

But I wish I had kept my name when i got married, to me I feel disconnected from my parents now. And it's also kinda terrible how it's so great a man gets to pass down his family name but a woman's is lost.

Barchbo said...

I kept my last name and added my husband's after it - I have two last names. I got married at 38, so I needed to keep my name professionally. Plus, it feels like me!

My son has his father's last name...and my last name (Archbold) is his first name. We call him Archie, and this way he has both names (including the blessing/burden of Archbold.)

cora d said...

I took my husband's name when we married. I liked the idea of having a new name, added bonus that his is easier to spell (Davidson vs Milhollin). We briefly toyed with the idea of combining our names to become Milvisons. Growing up in a remarried household, my mom and step-dad had a different last name than me. I wanted my family to have one name. We often refer to ourselves as Team Davidson. Our two daughters' names start with A, so they're known as the A Team portion of Team D.

Lucy C-C said...

My whole family went hyphenated! My grandmother (father's mother) was not pleased but she grew to accept it. My hyphenated last name is a big part of my identity for better and worse. I am used to spelling it for lots of people but I also feel unique and people often asked me questions about it. I'm still undecided about what I will do when I get married!

Anne Grant-Anderson said...

I am currently 5 months pregnant and my husband and I both hyphenated our names when we got married - I felt strongly about keeping my maiden name and he felt strongly about us having the same name, so "Grant-Anderson" was our compromise. Our friends blend our names together and call us the "Grandersons," which I love. I always thought that perhaps we'd legally change to this blended name, but my husband isn't interested. Hearing that your baby and lots of others have hyphenated names actually makes me feel much better about the mouthful of a last name our little one is going to end up with :-)

Emily said...

Found this article fascinating. We just had a discussion the other day at my work about this because someone I work with explained that his middle name is his mom's maiden name (which she never changed when married). So in reality he has both names without the hyphenation, and says he sometimes wishes he had an actual middle name.

When I married I changed my name just because I didn't think much about it and it seemed like the thing people do. But now I've thought about what I'd do if I remarry again since I never separated because of divorce (my husband passed away young) and I had two children with him. Change their names again, hyphenate (to make the school/introduction thing easier), go back to my maiden name... Glad to hear the I'm not the only one thinking about this!

wonderousclusterf#@k said...

My last name is Ebert, and I love it! His last name is Tran. The idea of abandoning Ebert feels weird to me...I think I'll hyphenate! Ebert-Tran.

Aileen said...

I took my husband's name and took my maiden name as my new middle name. We thought about hyphenating but my maiden name is 2 works & hyphenating with hubby's name was just way too long.

Heather MK said...

I knew I couldn't part with my maiden name, but I liked the idea of a "family name" too, so when I got married I changed my maiden name to be my second middle name and took my husband's last name. I have four names now, but it's only for me to deal with and I personally adore it. :) My son has our "family name"...

Anne said...

How fun to read how hyphenating names is looked upon in the US and the UK. We didn't do it, although I really would have liked to (for several reasons). In The Netherlands, where we're from, it is however not an option. By law you have to choose one or the other. We live in France at the moment (and our daughter was born here) and here you can hyphenate names. However, should we go back to The Netherlands (or have another child there) it would all become very complicated. So we didn't do it. I still 'mourn' for that, however silly that sounds. I think it's ridiculous that us Dutch people are made to choose, because 99% of the time babies get their father's name. If you choose the mother's name, people tend to think that daddy's a wuss and mommy's a b*tch! :(

GINA BIBER said...

When my husband and I got married in February he insisted that I take his last name but keep my last name too. You see, he's Colombian and in Colombia if you only have one last name that means your daddy wouldn't claim you.

So, though I don't have a hyphen, I do have two last names and our children will have the same.

Desi McKinnon said...

i've been married for 19 years and i kept my last name. i haven't ever regretted it. i would hyphenate my babies last name. i have friends that did a hillary and just gave their babes the same name (ex. John Werner Allen). I think it all works. do what you want and don't judge.

Cathryn Ramsden said...

Haha...I'm British and yes,it's too posh to hyphenate names!! Also, I hated my maiden name (Boast) so was glad to be rid of it. Otherwise, I may have kept it.

LOVED the Catherine Tate sketch, she is so funny. Made me quite homesick.

Tbadee said...

I pulled a Hillary too! I was definitely sad to see my middle name (Louise) go, but I loved my maiden name (Livingston) too much to drop that and thought everything together would be too long. I remember joking with my husband about combining our names or having him take my name- but funnily enough- he is very much connected to his own name and wouldn't even consider it! I remember being annoyed that women are the ones who are expected to accomodate!

crimsonlips said...

To be honest, I don't like hyphenated names. What happens when you decide to marry someone who also has a hyphenated last name and then you have a kid? It becomes even more of a mouthful. And from the comments, I can see that this problem will surely arise!

My parents decided to use my mothers' last name as my middle name. Therefore, I do not have a not a hyphenated last name, but still have a connection to my mother's last name.

jen said...

When I got married, I was uber-annoyed with both my parents (who were getting divorced after 27 years of marriage) and dropped my maiden name completely. So my name now is first + middle + husband's last. I love my last name but I miss my maiden name and the strange connection I felt to my identity as that person. I don't plan to change my name to add that back in, though I suppose I easily could. I do like the idea of using it as a middle name for my child, though it would be very unconventional.

Susan said...

I hyphenated my name, maiden name first. My 3 kids have my husband's last name. In social settings, I often drop my maiden name as it is easier to have my name match my children's name, but professionally I always use the hyphen. It is a bit of a hassle, but I like that I kept it and have both options. What will you use for Toby's initials? I use my maiden initial only.

claralouise said...

I already had a hyphenated surname as my parents were never married so had both...my full name is Clara-Louise Marie Alexander-Fennell!! When we had our two girls my husband and i werent yet married and i was adamant that as they were a part of both of us then they should be named after both of us so they each have a hyphenated surname :o) they are Nevaeh Marie Alexander-Fennell and Safiya Bay Alexander-Fennell, and now that we're married im Alexander-Fennell to match :o)) i love the long names and if it were solely down to me they would each have an extra middle name or hyphened first name ;o) xx

Aya said...

Growing up, I had a lot of pride about my name. My first name is Japanese and my last Sicilian, so it always seemed logical. It suits me. Plus, I realized that if my sister and I don't keep our names, our surname will die out. So I've always wanted to stay Aya Costantino.

I like the idea of being connected to my future husband though, so perhaps I can add a Kaplan to then end. I'd like if we were all "______ Costantino Kaplan." It's cohesive, and the alliteration helps it from feeling too clunky I think.

charis said...

i'm not married yet, but when my parents got married, my mom decided to keep her maiden name. then they decided when they had kids, any girls would have my mom's name as a last name and my dad's name as a middle name and boys would be the reverse.

so i'm charis dad'sname mom'sname and my brother is eric mom'sname dad'sname.

i realize now that this is a totally weird approach, but it seemed normal to me growing up b/c it was what i was used to. it also meant that my mom both got to keep her maiden name, which was important to her, and share a name with both of her children.

Jennifer said...

i can't tell you how happy it makes me that you addressed this in Motherhood Mondays! I myself have a hyphenated name (Malone-Brown) and I really do think people remember you better and it definitely sounds much cooler than just one of the two :)
Also, I am mixed-race, so the name represents the Irish side of me and the African American side equally!

I just wonder what i'm going to do for my kids... is three last names too much? LOL

Sharon said...

I have a pretty tough-to-pronounce and tough-to-spell last name (Gochenour), but I have always loved it, because it's rare and means that almost anyone I encounter with that last name is probably related in the not-too-distant past. I always figured I would keep my last name if I were to get married and hyphenate any kid's names. People are super concerned about what hyphenated kids will do if they get married (particularly to another person with a hyphenated name), but the thing is, they can figure that out themselves. Leaving a kid a choice in their future is really not the worst thing you can do to them.

Anonymous said...

it's not possible to give your Baby both namens in germany where we live. I would have done it if it was possible. In Germany you have to decide which last name (of the man or the woman) will be your "familyname" when you get married.
This familyname will be the last name of your kids.

I kept my maiden name and hyphenated it with my husbands last name. My boys have the last name of my husband because that is our familyname.

Greetings from Cologne
Nadine

Robin said...

I love my last name (I was officially "adopted" by the only man I ever knew as my father when I was 18) and didn't want to give it up when I married at 20 (! - still happy... who knew?). So, our children have my last name (Kelly) as their middle name and my husband's last name as their last name. It works for us but if our names would have sounded anything short of awful when hyphenated, we may have taken that route. Our combined name would be "Swelly" which I actually think is kind of cute in a "gee willikers" kind of a way.

Marilyn said...

I guess I've never thought about it...my husband had the same last name as me (Clark) so I am a Clark for life and kept my birth middle name. So it is an easy win for both!! haha!

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