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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Can you have a surname from a different country if you aren’t from there?

    Is it ridiculous to have a name other than the country you are born in?

    I have been raised in England since I was born and have come to the decision to change my name for my sake and the new family I will have, but, I am not sure if it would be frowned upon that my name isn’t in either of my parents families or even in my ethnicity.

    Having forenames from different nationalities is fine, but can I do the same with my surname?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Why are you changing your surname, to cut the ties with the country and culture you're family is from? To make your life easier?

    Personally I'd never change my surname, except maybe if I'd take my husband's surname (which I never did). But it's in no way ridiculous to have a surname that doesn't "match" your heritage at first sight. To me the reason why someone changed it matters more.
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  3. #3

    Reason

    You may come from a caring family. Unfortunately for me, my father isn’t a man to remember. Adultery, selfishness, and the betrayal of being a father as well as husband is in the slightest of aspects. A new name is not only for me but the family I will have, I needed to know if it would seem awkward

    Thank you for understanding

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    If you are picking a new surname, choosing one that is distinctly from another country, such as Krüger, does seem rather strange. People will probably get asked about it. However, surnames obviously do move countries. I have a surname that is originally French, but most people assume it is English. I also have friends with Scottish, German and Italian surnames who's grandparents didn't even live in those countries. Strangers probably wouldnt question it, but those who know you already might.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    My surname is very German and I am from the southern US. In America (I'm not sure if it's the same in England) many people have surnames that don't correlate with their ethnicity or the country they're from (it does with their heritage but not where they were born).
    I don't think it's that big a deal. If you like the surname and it has some kind of meaning for you then use it. I think most people won't second guess it or even ask you about it; they'll just assume your heritage is from the country that that surname originated from.
    Good luck
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    134
    In America, many immigrants change their surnames to fit in more. This often correlates with surnames that are English or German or sound as such, even though they have no ancestry or connection to those countries, simply because most people's names in the U.S. are from the British Isles or Germany. My great-great aunt changed her very ethnic Finnish surname by shortening it when she emigrated. It became easier for Americans to pronounce.

    TLDR; there's nothing wrong or weird about changing your surname to match a culture you live in, but have no ancestry from. People do it all the time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Of course I understand, I didn't mean to sound judgmental. There are good reasons to cut ties with your family sometimes. I guess what I was trying to say was, changing your surname to a name from a country you have no ties with can seem a little strange at first.
    There are plenty of people that have a surname connected to a different country or culture, there's nothing weird about that. I hope you find a surname that feels right for you.
    Mother to Hjörtur Emmanuel & Barnabas Húni

    Maximilian Óli * Matthias Hreinn * Vignir Ulysses * Nikolai Svani * Zalman Torfi
    Ondine Lilach * Lucinde Meital * Mareva Bluma * Lavinia Perle * Magdalene Dune

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    I think it depends on the name and what culture it comes from. I do feel it would be quite strange to use a surname that's strongly associated with an ethnic/cultural group you don't belong to, e.g. a white English person with the surname Nguyen. But using a French surname (for example) would seem less strange to me because French surnames are relatively common in this country, even among people with no (recent) French ancestry.

  9. #9
    Pardon my confusion - are you saying you're interested in taking an English surname but your family's cultural heritage isn't English? Since you live in England I see no problem with this because you ARE English.
    I would find it a bit odd if you were for example German, living in China, and taking a Russian last name without having any past or present ties to Russia *♀️

  10. #10
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    I did change my surname because I did not want to share a name with my abuser or with his relatives (we are totally estranged). I chose another name from my family tree, one borne by the branch of the family with whom I have a good relationship. I realize this is not a possibility for everyone, but I have never once regretted my name change.

    As to your question, people have been migrating and mixing and assimilating with and into other cultures for... well, forever. I think the reason for choosing the particular new name is more important than the etymology of the name or any other quality of the name. Personally, I would not have wanted to change my surname to something that didn't reflect my heritage in some way, but I think it's fine if that's not a high priority for you. I do think it's sensible for people to expect that the name you choose will have some personal significance for you beyond just "it sounds cool." One kind of significance might be "this names works as a reflection of my heritage since I can no longer use my birth name." Or it might be that the name has a particular meaning that resonates or that it honors someone you admire or have filial affection for. If you find a name that has this type of significance that happens to be an English name, then no, I don't think it matters that you aren't ethnically English.
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