Monday, 15 February 2016

Hyphenated Names

I was reading this morning, and one of the characters had a hyphenated name. Appropriate for that character, I suppose, as his mother and father were the heads of a large company of the same name.

But what happens when a person with a hyphenated name marries another person with the same kind of name?

Joe Blow-Jones marries Jane Doe-Smith. Does their child become Bob Blow-Jones-Doe-Smith? How does that track? Joe’s mother was a Blow, his father a Jones, and Jane’s mother a Doe, her father a Smith?

In our family, the mother’s maiden name became the son’s middle name. I think that is a respectful way to honor the name without all that hyphen business.

I took my husband’s name when we married, and kept it after we divorced because it was the same as my children. It made things simpler all around. I suppose, if I had married again, I would have taken my husband’s name, and dealt with the varied names in the family.

Is that part of this, that couples are not married, but join their names for the children? Mary Smith and John Jones have a child, out of wedlock, so to speak, maybe from a common-law relationship, and name their offspring Sam Smith-Jones. Sam then marries Suzanna Johnson, and she becomes Suzanna Smith-Jones. If instead they had just lived together, would their child become Gary Smith-Jones-Johnson?

I’m confusing myself, and all this because I read a name in a book. I’m old fashioned, and hope this name stuff loses its popularity. If not, all those forms we have to fill out in our lifetime will have to be redesigned to hold more letters. 


betty said...

First time visiting your blog :)

You brought up a very good point, something I hadn't thought of before, but I can see if this present trend continues, in future generations having over 8 last names hyphenated.

I took my husband's name when we married; I was glad to leave a Polish name for a simpler name. My sister chose not to take her husband's name; but she didn't hyphenate the names. Their children of course have his last name. It is confusing though when addressing cards or whatnot to them to get everyone's names correctly :)


Deborah Lean said...

Thanks for visiting.

I remember when I was a kid how awkward it was at a Girl Guide dinner when my Mom called a friend's mother by the child's name, and was corrected. Can't remember why the names were different, but I never forgot the feeling, so that may have influenced my decision years later.

It's all a trend, and I wonder if those who do this realize how uncomfortable others can be. There's no Emily Post book of manners for this. It was Emily Post wasn't it? Is that showing my age or what?