What's in a (last) name?

  • Article by: KRISTIN TILLOTSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2012 - 10:24 AM

New brides are returning to an old custom. They're adopting their husband's last name because they want to, not because they feel they have to.

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holtjanJan. 16, 1210:32 AM

I was in my mid-thirties when I got married. Because it really mattered to him I finally agreed to change my name. My husband died 15 years later. I am in my 60s now, and I wish I had never changed my name. I was established in career, credit and personally under my real name. I was married for less than 1/4 of my life. Marriage did not define who I was. If it wasn't for the hassle of changing everything, credit history mixups, etc. I would go back to may real name. This is one decision I have regretted almost from the start and wish I had never done.

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oneeyedjacksJan. 16, 1210:35 AM

I've never trusted the hyphenated last-name thing. It always seems like the wife has one foot always out of the marriage. A hyphenated name seems to symbolize less than 100% commitment to the marriage and indicates a lack of self-confidence.

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e72521Jan. 16, 1210:53 AM

It would be interesting to see if anyone has looked empirically at the success rates and divorce rates of marriages where the wife has kept her last name or hyphenated it vs. those that took the last names of their husbands.

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beaglemomJan. 16, 1210:53 AM

I kept my maiden name and took my husband's name and did not hyphenate them...the biggest issue is picking up prescriptions at Target when I tell them his last name and my last name(s) and then have to point them in the direction to look for my last name...TCF ran them all together on my cash card and checks. My maiden name and first name "go together" and I am frequently called by both. I did not give up my middle name which has tied the women in my family together for over 5 generations.

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Sephy479Jan. 16, 1210:55 AM

I got married about 3 years ago. We looked into combining or making up an entirely new last name. However, in MN you have to see a judge if you are changing to a completely different last name - and that was just too much work. We discussed hyphenating, but we both have fairly long last names and a 19 character last name seemed like it would become more of an annoyance. His last name was easier to spell, so we went with his, but he was also willing to go with mine. I feel like having the same last name unites us as one.

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LicoriceJan. 16, 1210:56 AM

It is and certainly should continue to be a personal choice. I married at 19 and kidded my husband I picked him for his short last name (my family name was too long to fit on many forms, his was 5 letters long). He has been deceased for many years now. If I were to remarry, I think I might keep my current 5-letter surname, under which I have a lot of legal and professional history. I would not be a fan of hyphenation for myself, given that I personally did not enjoy having a long last name.

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dflottenJan. 16, 1211:03 AM

I get the advantages(practical and psychological) of both spouses and kids having the same last name. But if you're going to change names, why is it taken as a given that it's the woman who has to change her name? Why not consider both names and choose the one that sounds best with both spouses' first names? Or has the greatest family history? Or is the least common (do we really need more Olsons in Minnesota - jk)? Or is easiest to pronounce? Or make one up - I knew a couple who created a cool sounding new name based on a combination of each of their last names and both changed it to that. Point being, make a rational choice whose name to change, rather than just making a decision based on an outdated tradition.

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jenyukiJan. 16, 1211:42 AM

I think it's interesting that there are 2 comments on here indicating that perhaps a wife isn't as committed to the marriage if she doesn't change her name.

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davehougJan. 16, 1212:18 PM

His or hers, nothing else says as clearly to the world at large: "This is my spouse and these are my children." than one name.

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mohawk1953Jan. 16, 1212:30 PM

Does this mean the end of the ridiculous hyphenated last name nonsense?

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