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October 23, 2009

What's in a name?

So much!

My husband and I have the difficult decision on choosing a surname for our babies, as well as the usual task of a first name. This is because I chose to keep my name when we married, partly because I like my name, partly for the feminist in me and partly because it's my name-I can't imagine just waking up one day with another one.

So what to do about our babies? I'm not into hyphenating, because what happens to the next generation, quadruple barreled names? I want a more sustainable option. I'm not keen on the idea that girls take the mother's name and boys take the father's name, simply because I want them all the have the same name.

So here is the idea I am currently working on. It's a bit complicated so bear with me:
  • Ms Jones marries Mr Smith and they both take each others name to become Jones Smith (no hyphen!)
  • Their children Bob and Sally take both names, Jack Jones Smith and Sally Jones Smith
  • When Bob gets married he keeps the patriarchal line, his dads name Smith and his wife keeps the matriarchal line, her mothers name Brown and they become Brown Smith
  • Their children become Brown Smith's too
  • Sally gets married and keeps her mother's name Jones and her husband adds his fathers name Green and they become Jones Green
...and so on...

But I'm not sure if I am willing or able to try this out without it becoming the norm in our society. It takes too much explaining.

First names are much more fun. Rosalie or Harriet are front runners if it's a girl but we need more boys names, Rupert currently tops the list.

Any suggestions for surnames or first names?

3 comments:

Geordie said...

jj, i was just thinking the same thing about names the other day - ie females keep the mother's name and males keep the father's name but i hadn't gone as in depth as you.
i do like rosalie.

Lissa said...

I knew a couple that agreed that any girls they bore would take the mother's surname, and any boys the father's. They had one girl and one boy. I thought this worked out well, because then one of the parents didn't feel isolated namewise.

We are debating the first name, and also trying to decide the last name. I think we might just hyphenate, or else use my name (I am the mother) as a middle name. But this could get tricky if we compromise on the first name debate by making one of our choices a middle name! Then the child will have four names, which is getting to be a bit like Spanish royalty.

Julia said...

I think we are going to use my surname as a middle name, but I am not sure yet if we'll have another second name as well. Using the mother's maiden name as a middle name is very common in many cultures, but it does depend what the name is whether it sounds nice or not!