New Baby Surname Trends

November 17, 2019 Pamela Redmond
surname trends

Just when you had the whole first name and middle name thing worked out for your baby, here comes a new name challenge. What will your child’s surname be?

One Australian couple blended elements from each of their last names to create a brand-new surname for their child. Courtney Cassar and Laura Sheldon gave their new daughter Lyla the  last name of Casseldon, reports the New Zealand Herald.

“We were excited to give Lyla a blended name because it means it comes from both of our families instead of one, and now her last name tells a story,” Casser told the New Zealand paper.

That story and what it says about the parents as a couple, about their families, and about their values for their children is at the root of the surname choice.

Australian statistics reveal the number of children who share their parents’ surnames has dropped by 50 percent since 1980. In the same period, the proportion of kids with different surnames from both their parents has more than doubled.

Today’s Surname Options

What are the options beyond the idea of a blended surname, which may not produce as melodic a name as Casseldon for all couples?

One idea is to create a completely new surname that the entire family can share. This can be a name from the family tree, of a hero, or any name or word they like.

Some parents who’ve each kept their original surnames give their children both last names. The trend toward hyphenating two last names is fading, according to the New Zealand Herald. Some parents give their children both last names without a hyphen.

Other parents alternate giving their children each of their last names, or split surnames by gender.

One dad I know changed his last name to his wife’s, so the entire family including their three children carry her name.

The most common option, though, is still the original, with 85% of children in Australia getting their father’s last name.

I could find no equivalent statistic for the United States or the UK, but many couples take it for granted that the children will get their dad’s surname. That’s it worked with my kids, and I was okay with them having his last name, because that gave me more control of the first!

What about you? Did you or do you plan to give your children a parent’s surname, a blended name, or a completely different option? Share your thoughts on the surname challenge here.


About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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