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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    287

    How do you feel about giving kids hyphenated surnames?

    I'm interested in people's impressions of this practice (in general, though if you want to comment on my particular case, feel free), as it's something that I intend to do. I won't be changing my last name when I get married, and my SO and I both want to pass on our surnames. We both have 3-syllable last names; mine is a fairly common 8-letter Swedish name ending in -son, and his is a fairly uncommon 7-letter Italian name ending in -tini. It's not really going to be the most effortless blend in the world, and I'm curious about how people will react to it in the future.

    So...here are a few questions. You can answer them one at a time or all together, and feel free to skip some of them; I know I got a little carried away:

    How do you feel about hyphenated surnames? Does it depend at all on how long each name is or how well they go together? Do you have a particular order you feel is "right" (i.e. mother's name vs. father's name first, alphabetical, etc.), or do considerations of flow trump all? How would you react if you met a kid with a double-barreled surname? Would you refer to that person casually by using both surnames, or would you drop one (and if so, which)?
    on my mind, for the moment

    Daria | Athena | Ramona | Winifred | Maeve | Blythe | Nadine | Dorothea | Margot | Cyra | Renata | Hypatia | Junia | Thisbe

    Flynn | Otto | Winston | Claude | Leif | Roald | Tavish | Lionel | Cormac | Tobin | Oswin | Rory | Damon | Tycho

    Mildred "Red" ☆ Obedience "Bede" ☆ Relief "Leafy" ☆ Dorothea "Doro" ☆ Penelope "Pen" ☆ Ruth "Rue" ☆ Eudoxia "Exie"

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Liverpool, England
    Posts
    3,998
    I know an Erskine-Shaw who I always thought was Erskinshaw until I saw it written down. She was always referred to as 'Firstname Erskine-Shaw'. No one thought to cut a name out. I think as long as it sounds like it flows then you should be alright. I'd say flow matters over any preference to order. It has to sound good. I had to come up with a few for the book I'm writing:

    von Gartenfeld-Hasley, Juel-Westergard, Rodmilla de Santos etc

    I always worry though with double barrel names; what happens when two people with double barrelled surnamed marry? They can't quadruple it, so someone would have to back down there... Unless it was something like an Erskine-Shaw marrying a Johns-Crane then they could smoosh it to Erskinshaw-Johnscrane which sounds like another double barrelled.
    ~Boys~

    Jory Leander Atticus, August Eli Benedict, Casimir Mordecai Stewart,
    Edmond John Meirion, Horatio Ethell Emery, Bram William Jasper,
    Julian Remy Charles, Vasiliy Lochlan Michael.


    ~Girls~

    Aira Rose ___, Eleni Fiorella Charlotte, Sylvia Sayuri Noor,
    Merit Eleanora Adelaide, Clover Elodie Seraphine, Bridie Scarlett Viola,
    Marguerite Cecilia Iris, Eilidh Clara Valentine.


    Beta read The Self Invention: The book is now complete. All chapters are up!

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    716
    I don't care for hyphenated last names just because they can get so long. I have a cousin that is a Zimmerman-Ziegler, paired with his double barreled first name and he has at least four names to write on any paper.
    There are quite a few kids with double barrels at my school and the always seem to drop one. Cliff-Scott becomes Cliff; Jover-Bell becomes Jover.
    And as to a pp's idea of what happens when two double barrels get married there is a football player with the last name Ben-Jarvis-Ellis-Green. They fit it all on his jersey but its a tight fit and he gets called "The Law Firm" a lot.
    If I had a baby right now they'd be:
    Isaac
    or
    Blaire

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    125
    How do u decide which names goes first? In my experience the 2nd of the double is dropped for convenience.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2,355
    How do you feel about hyphenated surnames? II am all for them. I've never liked the idea that, as a woman, my children would not share my name simply because of my gender. It seems a very old and outdated custom. This actually is practiced in other cultures- in Spain, people are generally Firstname Dadslastname Momslastname. The first last name (so the father's last name) is the one that generally gets passed down, but the practice can be altered to an individual's desires. So most commonly, Jose Garcia Lopez and Maria Martinez Garrido will have a son, Pedro Garcia Martinez. Pedro will probably pass on Garcia to his children as their first last name. Even though that system is pretty patronymic, it still includes the mother, and I think that's important.


    Does it depend at all on how long each name is or how well they go together? For me, yes. I would be hesitant to use a hyphenated name that sounded awful, even if it meant not having my name in there at all. I would probably try for other solutions first- some people give their kids smooshes of the two parent's names, and I might consider that.

    Do you have a particular order you feel is "right" (i.e. mother's name vs. father's name first, alphabetical, etc.), or do considerations of flow trump all? Because there's no real prescribed method, I'd do it by flow. If both mother's-father's and father's-mother's sounded equally good, I'd do father's-mother's.

    How would you react if you met a kid with a double-barreled surname? I know lots of kids with double-barreled surnames (perhaps a by-product of knowing a lot of gay couples) and it's not a big deal.

    Would you refer to that person casually by using both surnames, or would you drop one (and if so, which)? I use both if the child goes by both. Some children elect to drop one, and that's fine, I'd respect that. But if they're using both, I think it's a bit disrespectful to not use both. They want to go by their name, the name on their birth certificate, and not acknowledging that is a bit like calling a girl named Anna "Nancy" without her permission.

    In regards to what happens when two people with double-barreled surnames marry, that's their problem. I hear this brought up a lot, but it really isn't a very big issue, honestly- the two will decide together. I personally would have the children take one of my last names and one of my spouse's last names. Not a big deal, not really confusing unless you make it so.

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