Problem for our future baby because of our surname

Me and my husband have been living in the US for 2 years now and we are having a baby. My husband has three unhyphenated last names and two middle names.

Example of what it looks like: William Edward Philip Nassau de Zuylestein

I’ve talked to many Americans and they said wouldn’t recommend using his long surnames for our baby if we plan on raising him/her in the States. It would cause a lot of confusion cause the baby would have problems with high school, college, driver’s license, DMV, plane tickets, taxes and stuff. In other countries like Britain or Mexico, you could definitely have more than one middle names and more than one surnames without trouble. Why does American law limits only one middle and one surname? We don’t want to hyphen the surname for our baby. To us, it is the erasure of our culture and identity. It’s wrong and we’re already rethinking our permanent move here.

Do you know anyone with more than one, non-barreled surnames in the US? Here are some of the examples to help my American friends understand and get used to:

This is what all Americans are accustomed to and the American law restrict them to this:
William Edward Nassau

This is the citizens of other countries in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia are used to. Citizens in this country enjoy the freedom of having more than one surnames, more than one middle name because they can honour their ancestors:
William Edward Somerset Nassau de Zuylestein
William Philip d’Albert Nassau de Zuylestein
Oliver Frederick William Nassau de Zuylestein
Atalanta Marie Louise Beatrice von der Schulenburg

TLDR: We don’t want to “delete” our surname and reduce it to an “Amercanised” non-cultured version when other countries in the world are fine with foreigners keeping their traditions. We don’t to be the freak show what is now called “Vanderbilt” that was supposed to be “Van der Bilt”


I have known many people in the U.S. with multiple last names that are not hyphenated! I’ll admit to not being sure what it looks like on paperwork and such, but at least in everyday life, I think it works and is beautiful!


The US doesn’t limit you to 1 MN and 1 surname, it does limit the number of characters allowed per each due to space limitations they have set. Because of this, many people do limit it to one MN when naming their children.

On the other hand, I have known several people with multiple MNs or multiple surnames who were born and raised in the US.

There may be letters cut off when obtaining an ID card or when voting or something similar, but I certainly wouldn’t “erase” part of your name when naming your children. As long as they have proof to show that the ID is them when they are needing to use their id, such as the last names match across 2 of the IDs, then they will be fine.

I worked in elections in my state in the US for many years and we often came across people with up to four surnames. As long as we could match up their IDs in some part to their registered name, they were fine.

Example: Mr. Campos Rodriguez Santiago Martinez (not the exact surname) was on file, but for the restricting ID card it said Mr. Rodriguez or Mr. Campos Martinez — he was able to prove FN, MN & LN (in part) as well as address and birth date so he could vote.


This is not what American law restricts you too, but what some Americans restrict themselves to.


This is technically allowed, but you will run into problems, as you said. I work at a hospital and our system didn’t accept spaces between names until a couple years ago. So everything had to be hyphenated or squished together.

Did it look awful in our system? Yes. (Example: [name_u]William[/name_u] Edwardsomerset Nassaudezuylestein)

But did it REALLY matter? No. Not for billing and insurance. If the DOB was right and the names were close enough to each other, it was fine. And like I said, our system has been updated now.

Although, I can’t speak to passports (I’ve never owned one) and airport security. Maybe someone with more experience there can speak to it.

Personally, I think you should do the long name. Our society needs to adjust to each others differences. This is meaningful to you, so I say do it!


As others have stated this isn’t what American law restricts you to, I live in an area with a lot of Hispanic influence. Many of our kids have two surnames. And I know many people with double middles, When written in our computer systems, yes they often reduce it to one, but that’s just for ease of computing, it’s not necessarily their legal names.

But I would like to point out that for as many countries that have less restrictive naming laws there are just as many that have more restrictive naming laws than the US. Many countries have lists of approved names that you must select from. Every country does it differently, and no matter where you live you will have to abide by that countries naming laws. So you just have to decide if what the country has to offer outweighs the inconvenience of its naming laws…and if the name is that important there are other countries that your naming style may mesh better with.