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The name change thing.. it has always annoyed me. But there is a better way…

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I’ve struggled with the ‘name change’ issue forever.  As a child I used to imagine that I would miraculously marry a man who had the same last name as me!  As it turns out, I have good reason to have an issue with this.

I never wanted to change my last name when I got married, but I did, because I wanted the same last name as my children. (I did however keep my ‘maiden’ name as my third name. It was the only way I knew that would ensure my children and grandchildren would know where my side of the family came from!)

How ridiculous is it that names carry on only through the males?  How sad that my father was sad that the lineage of his last name ends with this generation.  That bothered me because we women are carrying on the genes just as much as the boys do… but the ability to track the family history will get more and more difficult.  

After my divorce I went back to my birth name.  It felt right.  I did however have to do a ‘magical name changing’ ceremony to honour that change and to acknowledge that having a name different from my daughters held some grief.  But alas, I knew that they too might change their names, anyway and so I changed to my birth name.

And now each of us have different last names.  Courtney loves her married last name and of course has the same name as her daughter. Megan has her birth name. 

This is all very annoying.  Why? Because the other day I was with a group of people and they were talking about Megan and the Mongol Rally Girls.. and they did not know she was my daughter until I told them.   And I’ve been in the same situation with Courtney who writes for a magazine.  

I want kudos for these two girls! I want people to know they are my daughters!  I want recognition for being their mother!  After these couple of incidences I wanted to put an ad in the paper saying I was their mother.  But instead, I’m blogging about it right here right now.

Please note: Megan Unruh and Courtney Charlton are my daughters. Evalee Charlton is my granddaughter.  And let’s go one step further.. Avee Boyle and Finn Boyle are great niece and nephew.  Their mom Shandee Whitehead is my niece.. but that one we can connect easier since her and I have the same name.    Okay? Everybody got that straight?   Thanks.

I think the only reasonable way to resolve this whole naming issue is for everyone to keep their birth names.  This is a far more common practise throughout the world, it appears from my bit of research, than actually changing names.

THEN, if a couple has a daughter the child is named after the mother. If a boy, then named after the father.  I’ve heard this system exists and  is used in a variety of countries – but I can’t actually find the research to back that up.

Doesn’t that make a lot more sense?  Isn’t that more fair and reasonable? 

My advice to the next generation is to do exactly that.. UNLESS , I suppose, if the man or the woman doesn’t love their birth name anyway, marriage is a great excuse to change it.

I’ve ranted. Thanks for listening.

and the comment below has me rethinking this whole thing once again. Siblings… It’s nice for them to have the same last name…..

No wonder this is such a challenging issue – I can’t even get clear on what would be ideal!


About Janet

Artist/writer with a tall ship and mystical twist, Certified Professional Life Coach (ICA), Master Creativity Coach (KMCC), Curator/owner of Writerly Kits, workshop leader and creativity group facilitator trainer. Outdoor enthusiast and Tall Ship sailor. Been through breast cancer and found her own tools of play, lightness, creativity, nature, thinking differently and visualization assisted healing through and after treatments. Ever ever so grateful for all the wondrous people she is surrounded by.

3 responses »

  1. I feel strongly tied to my maiden name. It was mine for thirty some years before I married Rory. My identity and my credit history are tied into it, and I believe as a woman, I have gained much strength from keeping my name. In the past, the taking of a husband’s name established the husband’s possession of his wife, and I oppose politically with this outdated thought. I just tell people who are confused about my name that, “I do not have the same last name as my husband and my children.”

    With that said, it is imperative to feel comfortable with your choice, and if you are not, keeping your name may not be worth it. I believe I am very much a part of my husband’s family and my children, even if my name is different. In the end, I think it is vital for my children to see that I am a wife, mother and an independent woman, and keeping my last name has helped me keep all of my labels intact.

    I am okay with Avee and Finn having my husband’s name … or maybe I am just happy that they share the same last name. I prefer that they be connected, by name, to each rather than connected, by name, to me … or perhaps I just delight in the chaos is sometimes can cause.

    So who am I? Avee and Finn’s mom, probably. Oh … and Janet’s niece!

  2. Oh … by the way … I found this post by google searching my name! LOL!

  3. Thanks Shandee! I love hearing your thoughts here! How fun! Honestly, I hadn’t thought of the part about the value of the children sharing the same last name. I think you are absolutely right that ought to be given priority. So, whooaaa, I’ve switched gears once again. Of course, my girls no longer share the same last name, and Courtney loves her married name – but still, as children the kinship of sharing the same name is important.

    So. I have no idea what the best option is. Announcing connections on blogs, I suppose. Not that anybody has read this particular post except you. But I am relieved that I have announced my connection to my wonderful family!!

    And that my wonderful family responded here! ~ smile ~
    Love you!


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