The thread continues:
I’ve recently been considering this because my friends have been getting married lately. Taking the husband’s last name seems antiquated, keeping your original last names seems standoff-ish (much less what last names do your children get?), and hyphenated names seem like a future disaster where hyphenated people marry other hyphenated people (e.g. The Tikki Tikki Tembo Kerfluffle). Imagine three generations down the line of only people with hyphenated last names getting married. Bubbling-in last names for the SATs would be a mess.
Solution? Blended last names. Take the best of each last name and combine it to form a new family name. Yes, your family name wouldn’t last (tribalism is lame anyway), but imagine the fun! Say a Jones marries a Bloomberg. You could go Joomberg, Blones, Bloomes. The possibilities are endless. Couples could have fun picking their new last names, signifying their independence and new beginning, and you could go any number of different directions – ironic names that you regret later, serious names, names which hold a special significance, etc.
Bonus: Future genealogists would hate it. The improved record keeping of the 20th and 21st century would be complicated by fun, new puzzles for future historians.
My wife and I came up with a novel solution to the problem – we came up with a new name.
And no, I do not mean a hyphenated name. Our new last name is a combination of the two names that uses one instance of each letter to make a new last name while at the same time retaining the sounds of both. Thus Lohr and Miller became Mihloer. Our two children were the first to have the new name since it turns out to be a bit complex to change your own last name to something that isn’t your spouses. Children, on the other hand, can literally be given any name (see Louis CK for more on this [above]).
Despite the difficulties, we love it. We came at it from the perspective that all last names are invented (often arbitrarily based on trade or location) and are relatively young in the scheme of things. In some cultures, last names are transient. In Iceland, for instance, a man named Erik Gustavson could have a son named Gustav Erikson and daughter named Ingrid Erikdottir. So we decided to create something new – as in, our new family starts “now”. Whether our children keep their name (we have both a son and a daughter) because it’s special or go along with mainstream tradition is yet to be seen, but it is all very fun, sorta like a surname adventure!
Another wasn’t quite as creative:
I never planned to change my name directly to a husband’s and I married a man who would have been uncomfortable with a woman who would do it without thinking. In fact, as one of three sons himself, none of the three wives/daughters-in-law changed their names!
We did attempt to find a good combination of our two names, but none of the combos worked at all. We ended up trading last names for middle names, so I’m Myfirstname Hislastname Mylastname, and he’s Hisfirstname, Mylastname, Hislastname. In the end, he was the one who ended up giving up a name – his middle name. My mother had tired out by her fourth child and gave me no middle name, figuring I’d just lose it when I got married anyway.
For our children we decided that boys would have his last name and girls mine – the other as the middle name. Then we went on to have all boys, so no one knows about that plan unless we explain it. However, we met another family at school who has a daughter with the mom’s last name and a son with the dad’s last name. We also ran into an older woman in the neighborhood who had done the same.
In many ways, it’s easier. Before caller ID, I knew that calls for Mr. Mylastname or Mrs. Hislastname were solicitations and those imaginary people were never here. I don’t care at all if I’m called Mrs. Hislastname by kids at their schools or the like, nor does my husband mind the other. Our oldest son (early 20s) is pretty adamant that he wouldn’t want to marry someone who would want to change their name. I point out that it’s a choice, albeit one that should be made with thought.