Hyphenated Surnames, Yay or Nay

Hello again, Berries! Today my friend and I were discussing baby names and we found ourselves on the topic of surnames. When she got married she kept her surname, which really bothered her husband, but she felt it was an important part who she was and more than that, important to her cultural identity (she’s Latina and married to a white man with a very common last name). Now she’s pregnant and she feels very strongly that she wants her child to have the same ties to her Latina roots. Her husband, on the other hand, is adamant that he doesn’t want their child having a hyphenated name. Any Berries here have a similar experience?

I haven’t had a similar experience per say (I gave up my surname, which I did love and which was tied to my Italian heritage, and took my husband’s ultra-English-sounding surname), but I don’t think this situation has to be a huge blowout. Perhaps her husband would be willing to let her use her surname as a middle name (or second middle name) for any kids they have together? Maybe they could use a name from her culture as a first or middle name? Girls get her surname, boys get his? I don’t think either side is being unreasonable in their wishes, since each person has their own personal and valid feelings here, but I do think that they will just have to be mature adults and figure this out. Names are important, but I don’t view them to be important enough that a relationship gets ruined.

[name_f]Edit[/name_f]: In response to the actual title, I’ll admit that I am not a fan of hyphenated surnames. They just seem messy to me and can be awfully long. That’s just my personal view on it though. Some people really like them or choose them for their own families, which is great :slight_smile: different things work better for some than for others.

I have a hyphenated last name and I hate it. When I was in school, (I’m home schooled now) people would always call me by just one of my last names (for example [name_m]Smith[/name_m] instead of [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_m]Brown[/name_m], not my real last names btw) which I hated and it annoyed me so much and when I had to write my name seven times a day, it was a pain in my butt. I personally think its unnecessary but that’s just me.

I am very pro-hyphenated surnames and nontraditional last names in general. I have a friend whose parents picked a totally new surname that they both took when they got married, a friend with two dads who has both of their last names, and a friend whose parents combined their surnames into one smooshed name that they gave to their children. I hate how Anglo-American naming traditions only allow one parent to pass on the name, and I hate even more that it’s automatically the father (even though women statistically do more work in child-rearing). I think that if both parents raise the child equally, they should both pass on their names.

That said, I do understand the practical issues with bucking tradition. I’m sure in a lot of situations, it’s just easier to have the same last name as your father. I don’t fault anyone for not wanting to put their child in a situation where they constantly have to explain their name. And sometimes hyphenated surnames just sound silly or absurdly long- nobody wants to be part of the [name_m]Seymour[/name_m]-Butts family. But I do hope that as nontraditional families become more and more common, nontraditional surname practices will also become more widely accepted.

In my opinion noone should change their surname after marriage. [name_f]Every[/name_f] person has his/her personality and their surname is a part of it which connects them to their families. I’m not against using both names as a child’s surname, both are parents and the child doesn’t belong to the father of the mother only.

My child has a hyphenated last name, I have a hyphenated surname myself even if it’s not really common in my country.

I have to say I’ve never understood the tradition of using only one surname, and women changing their last names after they get married. I have two last names, as everybody here in Spain, one is my father first last name and the second one is my mother first last name, so at the end only my brother and I have the exactly same last name at home and, trust me, is not an issue. For example, if our last name is [name_u]Garcia[/name_u] Vazquez, we are known as “[name_u]Garcia[/name_u] Vazquez family” because it is the union of our parents last name. I’ve been living abroad too, and it still surprise me how confused people are about my last name.

So, about your friend, I do understand how important is to keep her last name (and I’m sorry, but her husband’s complains don’t seems valid to me. Why a woman has a to adopt the man last name? Is not part of her or her heritage. And, why the children can only have their father’s last name? They are half from their father and half from their mother. They belong equally to both families.

So I think giving their child a hyphenated name is quite a good solution. The baby will have both his father and his mother name. And, let’s be honest, is not that difficult to understand nowadays.

I don’t mind hyphanated last names, however, I wouldn’t necessarily give my children one nor would want to have one myself, at least not from birth.
Mainly because here you couldn’t just drop one name once you get married and hyphanate it with your partner’s; you’d either have to keep your name or adopt theirs. You couldn’t be [name_f]Mary[/name_f] [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_m]Rogers[/name_m]-[name_u]Blake[/name_u], you’d either have to stay [name_f]Mary[/name_f] [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_m]Rogers[/name_m] or go with [name_f]Mary[/name_f] [name_u]Blake[/name_u].
So if you were to marry and would want to share a last name with your partner, you couldn’t unless you dropped yours; every part of your birth name would get lost.

Also, if you were [name_f]Mary[/name_f] [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_m]Rogers[/name_m] and married FN [name_u]Blake[/name_u] and could legally drop one name, which last name would you drop? Your mum’s or your dad’s? Would you be [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_u]Blake[/name_u] or [name_m]Rogers[/name_m]-[name_u]Blake[/name_u].

Personally, I like the idea of including one parent’s last name as a (second) middle name, so both could be kept if the person would want to hyphanate their last name when getting married.
So [name_f]Mary[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] [name_m]Rogers[/name_m]-[name_u]Blake[/name_u].

I may not be helping here and I can understand why your friend would want her name included and I do think a double last name can be a good idea (despite everything I said) but if she really wants her lastname to permanently be included, putting it in the middle spot may be the best idea.

I can’t say I’ve been in your friend’s shoes, but my parents certainly have with me - my mother is half Pakistani with a common Pakistani surname while my father is English with a very, very common English surname. When they married, my mum dropped her last name and took my dad’s, but she very much regrets it - our last name is so common it’s ridiculous and inconvenient. However, my dad, like your friend’s husband, would’ve been bothered had she not taken it. When I was born, they gave me my mum’s maiden name as a second middle (as with my siblings) and my dad’s last name. Personally, I wouldn’t want a hyphenated surname but I’m not against them; that said, I’d take my mum’s surname over my dad’s any day. I appreciate the tie to my roots and the convenience of having such an uncommon name where I live (in fact, we’re one of only two ______ families in my county, I believe). I recommend having one parent’s surname as the baby’s actual surname and the other as a middle (first or second) if the husband is against the hyphenated surname.

I have a hyphenated surname, it’s been that way since its origins (so it’s only my father’s name, who got it from his father). It’s sometimes a hassle because most people completely ignore the second part and because some systems don’t allow symbols so the hyphen gets lost. But that’s never bothered me and I love my surname, long and complicated as it may be.
A good option is to use both surnames but with no hyphen. In many Latin countries that’s the usual way to name kids, so they are [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] [name_m]Baker[/name_m] instead of [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m], [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]Baker[/name_m] or [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]Smith[/name_m]-[name_m]Baker[/name_m]. Using one of the surnames as a middle is an option too, but that’s not common at all in Latin [name_u]America[/name_u] and since your friend is Latina is would be cool if they went for a Latin tradition

I agree with the sentiment of many previous posters that children taking on only the father’s surname is outdated. I think hyphenation is a great idea, as is smooshing two surnames together, or using two surnames without hyphenation etc. If your friend wants her child to have her name, they should and her husband should not have a say in it. The child is just as much hers as his. I like the suggestion of including both surnames without hyphenation as the full surname, and not designating your friend’s surname to the middle name spot. If anyone’s surname is being used as a middle name, it should be the father’s [name_f]IMO[/name_f].

My mom kept her maiden name when she married, and I will too. I just have my dad’s surname, which I don’t mind, but I don’t think I would’ve minded having a hyphenated surname (only because it would only be 3 syllables and ten letters together). My parents didn’t want to hyphenate my name though for the reason that @opheliaflora mentioned, in case I decide I want to hyphenate later on. My aunt kept her maiden name as well and my cousins both have a hyphenated surname. I think this was a great choice for them because my uncle unfortunately passed away last [name_u]December[/name_u], so my cousins still have a part of their dad with them but they’re also very connected to the woman who will raise them on her own.

I think hyphenated surnames are great in some circumstances. They’re really not that uncommon nowadays so it’s not as big a deal as it was for even my generation (I only recall one kid with a hyphenated surname when I was younger). I think it’s a good idea for your friend’s situation.

This is actually a discussion for us right now. We aren’t married and likely will never marry. In some situations it can be very complicated to not share a last name with your child, so that is a big hesitation for me when it comes to only giving out children his last name and me being the only one with my last name. We will very likely hyphenate our children’s names, we are both essentially the end of our family names otherwise and neither of us will yield our name willingly. This means our kids will 15 characters in their last names alone, which is a lot but at this point I am not sure what else to do.

Personally I don’t like hyphenated names because I feel like it can cause unnecessary hassle. In my husbands culture, it’s very common to have a hyphenated but I chose to drop my mine when we got married. For our son we choose not to do a hyphenated name either.

But I think there’s nothing wrong if you want to do it. I think if your friend wants their son to have both names then they should and that maybe her husband should be more understanding that she wants to keep her culture traditions as well.

I mean its really up to the people involved, but I think hyphenated names can sound really great especially when people of different cultures marry like your friend because both cultures are very visible in the family if that makes sense.

I plan on keeping my surname when and if I marry. The way I look at it, it’s a gift from my father. (And my mother, though other than marriage she has no ties to it.) I love my last name, and family is important. So I’m going to keep it. I would’ve loved a hyphenated surname. My surname would have been long but I love long sing-songy names. Maybe one day I’ll add my mom’s maiden name, but I doubt it. Name changing seems like a long process.

So yeah, I like hyphenated names. That being said, my children will probably end up with their dad’s name should I be married.