We're thinking about creating a family name — how can we avoid losing our heritage in the process? #I've got a parenting question!#names#pre-trying to conceive May 22 2013 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. By: rick – CC BY 2.0 My partner and I are thinking about coming up with an entirely new last name for our family — one that isn't attached to either family in any way. I only have one reservation: names often have a long history attached, and it's likely we'd want to share this history with our future kids. For families who have created a family name: what do you do when your children ask you about your family name's history? — Maggie Have you and your partner created a family name? How did/will you explain the name to your kids? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS A woodland themed birthday party for a one-year-old NEXT Why we love the mummified rat in our wall Show/Hide comments [ 51 ] OH MY GOD!!! My partner and I "joke" about coming up with our own family name all of the time considering neither of us are attached to our last names but we are too afraid of offending his brothers. This is a very interesting question, I didn't know that people actually do choose their own family names. Reply My wife and I created a family name. We don't yet have children, but we did want to honor our lineage, so we crafted our new surname from syllables of our maiden names. Reply Yes! My husband and I did the same thing. It didn't exactly go over with the family as well as we hoped, but friends of our generation think it's pretty cool. Plus, I feel like it's one of the most personal-is-political decisions you can make, because whenever anyone asks me about it, I get to explain why I felt it was important. If even one person feels like I've opened up a different path, as opposed to the "way it's always been done," then all the family drama is worth it. We don't have kids yet, but I feel like the syllables thing gives us a connection back to our original names and family history. Reply I love the idea, and I've known a few couples that wanted to do this, but it never seemed to work out for the very reasons you mention; offending other family members, confusing for the kids, etc. I also have a couple of friends who changed their names due to family messiness (step-parents, etc.), but this was before they were attached to anyone. Both my family of origin and the family I married into have lots of surnames that they have traced back, and even preserved their heritage by naming their children with surnames. My nephew's middle name is his mother's maiden name. Another cousin's first name is his grandfather's surname. There is no one "right" answer. Reply My sister and her partner combined their last names. They're not going to officially change them from what I know, but they even sign cards and stuff with it. I love it. I think it would be the most awesome last name ever if they did it–combining Scottish and Vietnamese heritage 🙂 Reply Surnames are pretty recent development in Western culture that's why a lot of surnames are based on location or occupation. I really like the old Scandinavia naming which I believe Iceland still uses which you are the parent's son or daughter. So the last name would always be changing with each generation. You can still teach children their heritage without the surnames which tends to be only one name when there are so many branches on a family tree. Go with what fits you and your partner. Reply FYI, Iceland has very restrictive naming laws: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/01/03/why-an-icelandic-girl-named-light-breeze-isnt-legally-allowed-to-use-her-own-name/ Reply I'm getting married on September and this has come up several times. I am quite attached to my name. Although not enough to not want to change it. I think his name is OK but i'm not totally in love with it. So now what do we do? I wish I was more feminist or more traditional! I guess if your creating a name then you are going to have to tell your kids from a very early age so they get used to the fact that the place their name comes from is not the normal route (although what is normal these days) Maybe make them a book that has the history of your families, one half yours one half your partners with the middle page your joining and your chosen name. Now saying this I want to do this what ever route we choose with our name! Reply I was also very attached to my maiden name, so I made it a second middle name. This way I get to keep my whole identity. Reply Great idea! That's what I'm doing too! I felt sad to completely change my name. It's the name I've always known, it's on my college degrees, and it's even the name of my business. Thank you for sharing! Reply That's what I did as well. I even passed down the second middle name to my daughter. I'm going to enjoy seeing what she does when she gets married. Reply My partner and I did create our own last name – I really have to thank folks for the great some great support and help we received from members of the Offbeat Bride Tribe. For a variety of reasons we were not comfortable with taking either of our own last names so making our own was the perfect solution. The name we choose is significant to us and even gives a nod to our heritage. To be honest it never would have occurred to me to worry about explaining it to our kids and it doesn't worry me. I would probably be pretty frank with them – why we choose it, how etc. We'll still talk about family history and the other names in it. I guess I think of it like my maiden last name – it had a family history but that name alone only covered a very small part of my family history. There's a lot of surnames in my family history with some very colorful characters and I want our kids to know about them just as much as anyone who shared my maiden last name. Reply Sorry it posted twice Reply My partner and I did create our own last name – I really have to thank the members of the Offbeat Bride Tribe for the great support and help they gave us. For a variety of reasons we were not comfortable with taking either of our own last names so making our own was the perfect solution. The name we choose is significant to us and even gives a nod to our heritage. To be honest it never would have occurred to me to worry about explaining it to our kids and it doesn't worry me. I would probably be pretty frank with them – why we choose it, how etc. We'll still talk about family history and the other names in it. I guess I think of it like my maiden last name – it had a family history but that name alone only covered a very small part of my family history. There's a lot of surnames in my family history with some very colorful characters and I want our kids to know about them just as much as anyone who shared my maiden last name. Reply We did this, but not really. We didn't legally change our names because what we came up with was hideous, but it also honored our families. We took the first two letters from each of our last names and our mother's maiden names and came up with McCupaca. Our friends all call us this, even my brothers call us by this name. They thought it was really weird until we told them how we came up with it. They still think we're weird hippies, but they thought that even before we made our own family name 🙂 When we were having our first child we even got the name engraved on a lamp we bought here while on vacation. We love our little family name! Reply Sounds like you've named yourselves 'Son of Cupaca'. Probably for the best that you didn't change it legally. From a Scottish point of view it's a bit, "WTF?" I'm not meaning this to sound like a fly-by cruel comment; I'm meaning to say that people don't often look up name meanings (look at the sheer amount of baby girls named McKenzie, with various spellings). It can pop up later and prove a little embarrassing. Reply A lot of queer couples do this. My partner and I took my mom's maiden name so technically there's still a family link but just a thought about attached history: in my family, everyone is divorced. Both of my sets of grandparents divorced and the women remarried and took new names. Many of my aunts are divorced, and some kept their married names, some didn't. My sister married and took her husband's name. Basically, in my very basic family tree, we have at least 20 different last names. I know this isn't the norm for everyone but I do think it's pretty common. Our kids haven't asked about our name yet but when they do we'll just be honest with them: we wanted to have one last name as a family, and we chose my grandpa's last name because he's one of those most accepting people of us in our extended families, and my partner's family is very polish and we didn't want to stick our kids with a complicated, hard-to-pronounce-and-spell last name. But I think a family's rich history is about much more than a name. I used to love listening to my grandma describe all of her siblings and aunts and so forth and their many exotic (to me, as a kid, anyway) names. I can't wait to regale my kids with all kinds of stories about the characters (with many names but shared DNA) who came before them. Reply We have this, too — even just in small family clusters. My aunt, for example, has been married 3 times. She went from a T (her maiden name, also her brother/my dad's name and mine) to a Z in her first marriage. We have a Z cluster (her stepson and his wife and their kids; her son and his wife and their kids; her daughter). When she married again after being widowed, she became an H. After they divorced, she married again and became an M. She's not any less a part of the family! Reply Great question! My husband and I are both attached to our own surnames, but we are thinking of combining our surnames (which contain three of the same letters) into a new surname for our children… But like others, I am concerned about the confusion this will cause in school, etc, if each family member basically has a different surname. Then again, hyphenated surnames for children are still fairly common, right? Reply we did this. for a variety of reasons, neither of us wanted to give up our last names when we got married. and when it came down to choosing a last name for our new baby, we didn't want to give him one surname to the exclusion of the other, we didn't want to hyphenate our already cumbersome and difficult to pronounce last names, and we didn't want to do that "mom's maiden name as middle name, dad's surname as kid's surname" thing. so we took 3 letters from his last name and 3 letters from my last name and made up a new name. that's our son's surname. to help with school confusion, travel confusion, etc: we each took on that new name as a second middle name, thus giving us a shared "family name." so i am now legally nicole [original middle name] [new name] [my last name] – husband is similar – and i go professionally by nicole [new name] [my last name] all together. Reply Our home has 3 people in it and 3 surnames the school is learning to cope. 🙂 Reply My husband and I did this… sortof. We've been married two years and still haven't made it legal (and as time goes by it seems less likely that we'll ever get around to it, but who knows?). Here's the story: When we first started dating, I said something to him about how I didn't think it was reasonable that women were asked to change their names while men kept theirs. He said "I'd take your name!" and I thought the discussion was over. Years later, when we got engaged, I assumed that he'd meant that seriously (and that he remembered it!) and started telling everyone that he was taking my last name. When he overheard this he was confused – he didn't even remember the conversation. We spent several months thinking about what we wanted to do, and in the end neither of us felt comfortable taking each other's name. We couldn't come up with any combination that felt good to both of us, so we decided to create our own name. Several more months passed while we thought about the name, and we finally decided the night that we drove up to Maine for our wedding. We tried hard to come up with something that reflected our families and heritage. Here are some of the ideas we had: – Combining names. Nothing here felt good to both of us. – Choosing a word from a language we heritage we share: Our shared heritage is Gaelic. We made a list of words that were meaningful to us (peace, joy, grace, etc.) and translated them (in Irish and Scottish Gaelic) to try to find something that would work for a last name. Still couldn't find something we liked. – Choosing a place that is meaningful to us. This is what we ended up doing – choosing the name of the place where we met. Our extended families – his very traditional and mine very loosey-goosey – were mortified, although I think it was just as much that I wasn't taking his name that we were Our parents were mostly fine (especially mine – hippies!) Reply My husband and I have been talking about this. (When we got married I kept my name, but now I'm pregnant and we're trying to come up with a last name for our baby…) We've been looking through our family trees to see if we have any heritage in common. We do, both German and Irish, so we're considering choosing an ancestral name from one of those lineages to preserve our heritage. Reply im not in a partnership but when i changed my last name i chose something that still had ties to my heritage – I just added another step, which is what heritage is really… so instead of my story being that my last name came from Ireland where my poppy's dad was born, i took the nickname based off that name – gran and poppy doran were always known as the d's to people outside the family, I use Dee because i didnt like what Doran represented to me but didnt want to lose the connection completely, in my mind I have added the australian step in the heritage. If I pass on Dee to future generations then I become part of the story. Maybe something like that would work for you? Reply So, we didn't officially change our name either but we combined it informally. And we have two kids, both of whom have his last name. And mine is different. Lots to explain. When explaining, I've been finding (in my whopping six years of parenthood, whuhu!) that honesty is the best policy without getting negative or detailed. So I don't say "You get daddy's last name and mine is different because of the patriarchy dammit." Instead I say, "Well, you have all of my history in your cells and your blood because I grew you, and so daddy gets to add his history with his name." And also "I kept my name because my dad died and it was a part of his name that is a part of me (just like you!)" And then "but we like people to know that we are one family, so we made one NEW name for fun." One idea would be to drill down to the positive truth of why you want a new family name, and then the positive truth of how you value and honor your family history, and practice saying those things and be ready for questions that make you grow and think deeper, and then just go for it! Good luck 🙂 Reply My husband and I chose a new family name when we got married, though it is connected to my husband's side. We decided to go with my husband's great-grandfather's last name. My mother in law had done some historical research and found ancestors that existed in like the 15th century with the same last name but the Old English spelling (it's her surname in the SCA). We decided to go with the Old English spelling instead of the modern (so I felt it was more ours than just coming from my husband's heritage). This is how I explained it to others (even my husband who needed convincing to change his last name): I'm was not becoming part of his family and he wasn't becoming part of mine, we were starting our own new family and that deserved its own unique name. If our little guy (and his future siblings) ever asks about our last name, I'll probably tell him this. Reply My husband and I combined our last names into one long, cumbersome name that really sounds like two. We thought it was the most elegant solution- hyphenating would have been more elegant after all. I love it though, the elephant of a name, so we're keeping it for us and our progeny. When picking a name, if it's not already a family name, do due diligence. Especially do this if the name is in another culture or another language. Someone I love renamed himself a Gaelic name that turns out to be the name of a terrorist group- it was a little difficult explaining it while traveling in Ireland. Reply This reminded me of a post I read a while back on the blog "from two to one" called Our New Name. This couple chose a new last name when they got married, using a Dutch word since keeping that heritage was important to her husband. Danielle walks through the process and the different options they considered. She also hosts a series called The Last Name Project with a lot of interesting stories about people's decisions to keep or change their last name. Reply My husband and I kept our respective last names (Fetz, Stallings), and gave our son both of them (Fetz Stallings). That said, most of our friends call our family The Fetzllings — a name far too silly for us to ever actually take on officially, but one that seems to have stuck in terms of usage. Reply I discussed this with my daughter in a loose fashion after I had been seeing my boyfriend for a while and I told her that we could make up a new family name and she loved the idea. It gave us good giggles to come up with names. My daughter said that she just wanted to have the same name as me if I ever got married. I think it is a great idea and I have mentioned it to my boyfriend and he agrees. I think that honesty is the best policy and I like what Amy said about her family deserving its own unique name. Reply My fiancee and I are getting married in September and we just finalized our last name choice! It was hard to pick a name that we both felt connected to (it's not something either of us had ever felt about having to pick!) but it was easy to decide that it was what we wanted to do. We're both feminists, and we both have icky feelings about the way last names have been used to imply ownership historically, and neither of us would have been comfortable on either side of that. But we want to have a child, and we want to clearly present as a family unit. So… we searched. And we thought. And we waited. And we got frustrated. And then we thought we decided. And then I quibbled. And then we REALLY decided. I don't feel that we are depriving our future child of the heritage of my father's father's father's father by not passing on that name anymore than we are depriving them of my mother's father's mother's mother's heritage or my father's mother's mother's heritage by not choosing to give them one of those names. I realize it is more loaded for some people, but as we can't fairly pass on the names of every single ancestor, we decided this made the most sense for us. If we have a girl, we do have an ancestor's first name that we would like to use, and THAT feels nice. The process did make me realize how much of MY identity is tied up in my current last name. After a lot of thought, I've decided to keep it as a second middle name. I think. Reply My husband and I chose a new family name when we got married. Neither of us was particularly fond of our last names (Gray and Bolton) and we knew once we had kids we wanted all of us to have the same last name. We test drove dozens, but ended up taking on my grandmother's maiden name, Logan. She was an only child and her last name would've otherwise disappeared. Both of our families were definitely confused by our choice initially. But now it's just a fun bit of history for everyone to share. Reply When my mom divorced for what she claimed will be the last, she wanted to come up with her own last name and asked me for ideas. She loves word puzzles, so I said to take letters from all three of her children's first names, scramble them up, and see what came out. She ended up using 2 letters from each of our first names, mixed, to create her own meaningful last name. (Bonus for my mom, the name ended up being "Charms," and she practically squeed at how cute it was.) So that might at least be one possible way to go about coming up with the name itself… taking words (or parts of words) that are meaningful to you both, and seeing what you come up with. Then you'll automatically have a story to go with the name! Reply My husband and I legally changed our surname when we got married seven years ago. It's in my username and has no relation at all to either of our birth surnames. When we tell people about it now, it still seems crazy to some folks, but everyone tends to agree that it works for us (who knows what they might say behind our backs, but then again, who cares?). Phoenix has no personal history attached to it, and was generally chosen because it just seemed right, as well as a few other reasons. I actually get asked about this a lot, so I took the opportunity to write about it here: http://thefeministmystique.blogspot.com/2012/10/abby-last-name-project.html There's not a lot there about what we'll tell our almost-two-year-old daughter though, so I wanted to address that here: I think it is what you make of it. I've never thought about our kid asking about our name's history, but if you're thinking about that, then maybe your family places more value on having a strong sense of its own ancestry, especially tied to surnames. If that's the case, maybe it's better to try to pass along those names in some sense. For us, not having that family-connectivity-through-names, the narrative we plan on telling our kid is the probably same one we tell anyone who asks: we didn't feel right taking each other's respective surnames, but we wanted to somehow mark the creation of our new family when we married. So we made our new name, and our new family. It's possible that I'm more flippant about this because I wasn't really raised to think that I'd be keeping my surname when I married anyway (not that I didn't know some women who did, but it definitely wasn't the norm)? When I got to the point of making that choice though, my husband and I wanted to clearly mark the type of marriage and family we wanted to build together, one based on equality and with dabs of silliness and creativity. I think that's really the main thing I'll want to pass along to the littlest Phoenix. Reply We have kept our names the same but hope to hyphenate them if/when we procreate. Only thing is I don't know if we'll be allowed to have 2 hyphens in our sprogs' name (I already have one) so we'd have to get a bit creative if that ends up being a problem. Reply I work in a hospital and we have a patient with a double-hyphenated surname. Interestingly, the first and last parts are the same (e.g. Smith-Jones-Smith). Reply I'm so glad to finally have more than anecdotes that this is possible. I love my already hyphenated last name, but want at least a good chunk of our last names to be a family name, so I've been looking for sighting of the last name version of a unicorn, the triple hyphen. Reply I mean no disrespect… only curious- what happens if your children get married and want to hyphenate their three part last name with their new spouse's last name? What if his or her last name is also hyphenated? It becomes a quintuple or sextuple hyphen… Is there a limit to how many hyphens one can use legally? Reply I'm going to go out on a limb and say no, mostly because even though he only goes by his first and last name, my kid legally has six names (none are hyphenated) and no one ever bothered us about it. I'm pretty sure you can hyphenate all day long. To be honest, this question ("But what will the kids do when they get married?") always confuses me. The answer is Whatever They Want. You and your spouse decide on a last name that works for both of you, whether it's hyphenated or make believe or ridiculously long or whatever. If/when your child gets married, the child and their spouse will pick out whatever name works for them – whether it's hypenating or picking certain portions of the name or making something up or going with Smith. That's the beauty of moving past the patriarchial rule that "woman takes husband's name" – everyone gets to do it. You make up your own rules, and you help make it okay for your kids to make up their own rules, and maybe eventually the old patriarchial rule won't be the standard anymore. Yeah, like Carolyn Ellstra, this question always confused me too (and, I'll be honest, it kind of annoys me, even though I know you don't mean badly!). No matter what, our children will have to make choices when they get married. I don't see what difference it makes if they have one more name to choose from. My husband and I each kept our names upon marriage. But when our son was born, we gave him a blended name (one syllable from each of our surnames, approximately). I'm just gonna put my cards on the table here and say that I think the family-name-is-the-father's-name is a patriarchal tradition that's gotta go. (It pretty much is the definition of patriarchy, eh?) If you're concerned about heritage — and I am, too — realize that bestowing the father's surname means you are cutting off half your kids' heritage, name-wise. I consider our blended name to be a wonderfully accurate attempt at reflecting our son's heritage. I'm proud of our decision, and I tend to sing it from the rooftops in hopes that others will follow this path. Reply My fiance and I are combining our middle names to form a new last name. We were going to combine our last names but our particular last names don't mix well. Coincidentally both of our middle names are our mom's last names so we keep that family link. Plus we are both changing our middle name to our former last name. Anyway I'm excited about it, so thought I'd share! Reply I think there are many ways to honor your ancestry without keeping your last name. All three sides of my family have made sure to keep up family traditions, even when we don't share a last name. For instance, our family makes pickles from my stepmom's family's secret family recipe, I'm going to a family reunion based off of a name that I don't share with that part of the family, and yet I am no less a part of that family and its history. I think the important part is keeping the stories alive. My aunt keeps photos of everyone at her house, and when a family reunion is coming up, we go through the pictures to make a slide show. Going through those pics stimulates a conversation of storytelling about our family history, keeping our ancestry alive. That's so much more important than simply a last name, in my opinion. I don't share my aunt's last name, or my grandmother's or great grandmother's. But we share a connection that we keep alive through tradition and the keeping of the history. So, that's my two cents. The wife and I (well, future wife) have decided to choose a completely new name, but we will be sharing our family history through our stories. Reply I don't have an reply to the family name question. But I have comments on the sharing family history with your children. My mothers maiden name and my grandmothers maiden name are no longer on my side of the family. But geneology and tales from the people who *had* those names, and are part of our blood, part of what makes us who we are still live. Even if the kids don't share a blood bond, as my step-daughters don't. They still love to hear stories. So we tell the tale about my Great Grandfather coming to America when he was 16 with 20 dollars in his pocket, show the pictures of him then, show his signature at Ellis Island how he met a young woman, and neither of them spoke English well but loved anyways. We tell the tales about how my Great Grandmother divorced my G. Grandfather for being a cheating traveling salesman in the 20's! and how brave that was to be a single mom and a divorcee at that time. We tell the kids what the times were like then, why our ancestors left their homes to come here. We make them real people, and we respect that bond that passes down, and that shows to the kids. We also made sure they all have names that *mean* something and are traditional to our biology and to the kids, well they love hearing the stories about their names, how they got them, what they mean and so on. So basically, if you keep your ancestors and their names alive to your children, it doesn't matter if their last names match, when they grow and become parents, they will most likely fall back on the stories told to them as children and the names will live on. Reply also, I think chosing a new name is a really good idea. Lots better than hyphenating!! My husband last name is hyphenated, PLUS it's an O'irish type last name THEN hyphenated! HIDEOUS. He has had to spell that thing his entire life. In the military, they took off the front part and just left him with the last part, making him have to file taxes with the last part even though legally, the whole hyphenated shebang is his name! I'd never want to do that sort of thing to our kids ugh! Reply I like my hyphenated name and I think it's beautiful. It hasn't caused me any trouble. I've always had to spell it out, but I enjoy that. Obviously you're entitled to your own opinion, but I'm uncomfortable with the fact that you are calling someone else's name hideous, and talking about hyphens as though they are completely absurd. Some of us are really attached to our hyphenated names. Reply We did this! We got married in October, and as part of that transition, we both changed our last names to a new name, which is a combination of our last names (Westra and Elliott to Ellstra). For us, this was a really important step and one of the most concrete things we did to designate (internally and externally) that we are a family. It was really important to us that we have the same name, and that our future kids have the same name – especially because they'll have two moms. For both of us, sharing a name is part of what makes a family, and we really wanted that, but neither of us felt comfortable taking the other person's name. So we compromised, and combined our name into something that we both love. (We did try out a lot of combinations in the process, and then settled on one a while before the wedding). During our ceremony, we took a few minutes to talk to our community about our new name – we explained that because we wanted to "combine our families of origin to create a new family," we were also combining our names to create a new family name. We explained the new name combined each of our favorite elements of our old names – my wife kept her initials, which were important to her, and I kept the end of my last name (-stra), which is a signifier of my Dutch heritage. 80% of the people there already knew our plan and our chosen name, but because we talked about it during the ceremony, and explained the reasons behind it, it really helped our community understand and embrace it. We have not heard any negative comments but a lot of "I think that's so cool" and "such a great idea" comments. When we got home from our honeymoon, we went through the process to change it legally, which was kind of a pain. If we had been legally married in MN (not an option at the time), we could have easily both taken new names through the marriage certificate itself (and for free), so I recommend finding out if that's an option in your state. Some states still only let the woman change her name on the certificate. I certainly agree with others that the heritage you pass to your kids is much more than a last name – especially because that one name is only one of many that exists in their family. We don't have kids yet, but I expect that we'll teach our kids what our names were, how and why we combined them, and talk about why this was important to us. But growing up, I also really enjoyed knowing that I was ½ half Dutch, and I loved those moments (however rare) when someone heard my last name and said "Oh, you're Dutch, from the lowland veld. There are a lot of Westras there." So I'll also teach my kids that they're ¼ Dutch, and that their name is still a "Dutch name," even if it's technically made up, and that my love of that heritage is part of why we chose the name we chose. Our kids will also know that their Grandparents have different names, as do their aunts/uncles/cousins, and I think it will be fun for them to learn about all those different names, what they come from, and what they mean. I think we'll also at least consider giving them first/middle names that are connected to family heritage as well, so that's another way to pass down heritage. And I hope that when/if they get married, they'll feel free to pick the name that works for them and their partner, whatever it is, because our example gave them the freedom to do so. And hopefully by then, it will be less assumed that a woman will take her husband's name when she gets married. Reply My grandmother loved her maiden name so much and was so proud of it she made it my mother's middle name. It's my middle name as well. Reply My aunt and uncle hyphenated their names, as my uncle was the only boy of his generation with the last name, and my aunt is an only child. While some family members think that their kids are going to have a hard time in kindergarten needing to learn to spell an extra name, I keep reminding them that if we were of different heritages, they could have one last name just as long! I had thought about keeping my maiden name or hyphenating names, and believed I would keep my maiden name somehow when I married… I believed this up until I met my husband, and I fell in love with his last name: the rich history of the region of Italy, and the story that his grandfather traveled here on a boat in the early part of the last century a week before a horrible earthquake flattened the city he lived in… so his life was saved by immigrating here. It's a name I am proud to have now. I had no such historical attachment to my maiden name "Austin" other than it was easy to spell and no one ever mispronounced it. Reply My husband & I combined our last names. It didn't go over well with his family, so his legal last name is actually hyphenated as "combined last name – his maiden name," as a compromise with his family, but my husband uses just our combined last name for pretty much everything. We actually wanted to make sure we had the same last name, instead of just keeping our own names and combining the surnames of our children, in order to avoid confusion. And some states require that a child whose father's identity is known must get the last name of the father, which would not have flown with me. I am NOT carrying a kid for 9 months in order for it to not have my name, lol. We haven't really thought of how to explain this to our kids. We kind of figure we'll just be upfront about it and they should be cool with it. It's not like they'll have known anything else. And if they're like my husband and myself, very little should phase them. 🙂 Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. 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