Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Name Change Game

Ah the name change game…  To change your name or keep your maiden name, that is the question! 

Back when I was younger and contemplating the idea of marriage (and well before Mr. Gazelle ever entered the picture) I always figured that I would change my name after getting married.  In fact, when I first met Mr. Gazelle I used to think about how my first name fit with his last name.  It is quite a pleasing combination, and in fact, I actually know someone who has the same name I would have (however she spells her first name differently).

But here is the thing, I have one unique name when you put it all together.  I have never met anyone who spells their first name like mine is spelled.  Chances are if you meet anyone with the same last name as me, we are related.  My dad is originally from Finland.  The story is that my great-grandfather (I believe) grew up in a part of Finland very close to the Russian border and his last name was very Russian sounding.  With parts of Finland being ceded to Russia in the 1940s he decided to change his last name to make it sound more Finnish.

Now really, if you think of any Finnish hockey players chances are their names are not simple (Kiprusoff, Laukkanen, Niittymaki anyone?), but our last name is a simple four letters.  I like it.  My First Middle Last sound so good together (thanks Mom and Dad!).  My grandmother, mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and I are the only ones that have that last name.  Knowing that our last name is very nearly extinct makes me want to keep it. 

There is no thought about hyphenating last names or using my maiden name as my middle name and taking his last name.  Our two last names do not sound good together.  And while Mr. Gazelle thought about perhaps taking my last name, his first name doesn't sound quite so nice with my last name.  So he'll still be Mr. Gazelle and I'll get to be Ms. Gazelle.  I don't think that having a different last name will make me feel any less married.  And one of the neat things is how awesome my grandmother thinks it is that I'm keeping my maiden name.

Are you keeping your last name?  What are your reasons for keeping it or deciding to change it?

9 comments:

Lily on the Road said...

A very good friend of mine (from Newfoundland), kept her maiden name when she married, however, when they had children, the female children carried her maiden name while the male children had her husbands surname.

a tad confusing, but that's what they did....

Melinda said...

I had to decide when I applied for my green card (they said it was a legal way to change my name to ANYTHING! I thought I should change it to somthing really cool, but just picked DH's name). Honestly, never a huge fan of my maiden name (never really liked having a man's first name as my last name - sorry mom & dad if you're reading my comment), and figured it was less confusing for us all to have the same last name. Our names definitely sound bad hyphenated & I would definitely not use my maiden name as my middle name (although if we had had a boy I would have used it for his middle name). However, I'm a big fan of keeping cool last names or keeping them for professional reasons.

monika said...

so, what`s your last name anyway? :-[

Nikki said...

Even though I always liked Mike's last name, it sounds rediculous with Nikki...sounds like a nursery rhyme! Anyhow, I always liked the tradition of changing your last name so I gave it a go and after 3 days of laughing everytime I said it together I decided not to change and hence, I`m still Nikki Scott! I do however, call our family by his last name and have no problems if people call me Mrs. N. Plus, for engineering I liked to keep my registration in my original maiden name. (Whoops, sorry, long post)

Tracy said...

When I got married, I struggled a little with this. I was Tracy Richards and while all I wanted was to be a Bryant, it made me sad to think that I wouldn't be a Richards anymore. I was talking to my dad about it and he said "You'll always be a Richards, no matter what your name". It makes me cry to think about that even now. I changed my name and am not sorry that I did, but when I received my official name change document in the mail, I cried. That surprised me. And when my brother got married and his wife took his last name, I was envious that she got to be a Richards. So weird! Our names carry so much emotion with them, you have to do what feels right for you.

Elena said...

I wrote a little more about it here (worth reading the comments! http://caffeinerd.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/the-name-change/), but I will be changing my name. As my dad is from Jordan and had his last name completely Americanized when he came here (my grandpa's decision), our last name (Turner) is not culturally or historically meaningful to me or my sister. It's a last name shared by bazillions of people that only shares the first letter with what would be my "real" last name. I would love to give it to a son (first name) someday. My fiance', on the other hand, has a centuries-old Scottish name. I dig being able to trace family histories and am actually pretty excited about taking it :) Absolutely understand both decisions, though!

lindsay said...

i didn't change mine either. i am still "open" about it though... i have a unique last name too, and no brothers so the name will die out sooner rather than later. but i also don't like the reasoning of "the woman is supposed to change or name" or "has always changed her name". i'm not a feminist, i just don't agree with this! the "tradition" started because women were seen as property and sorry but i am not a cow :) i have told josh that i am open to a suggestion from him on what he would give up/change in return for me changing my name and he has not offered anything yet. i think the guy should do something to.

Nicole @ "Haute Runner" said...

I planned to change my last name but after the wedding I just couldn't get used to my "new" last name so never officially changed it. I just like my name as is and don't feel that having a different last name from my husband makes us less of a family. Our future children will have my husband's last name only. I am not a fan of hyphenation. Some people give me a hard time for not changing it. A lot of people assume I have changed it which can be annoying.

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