Post # 1
Me and my Fiance starting talking about what we are going to do with last names once we finally get married. My Fiance is estranged from her family at this point and isn’t particularily attached to her name for sentimental reasons, but it is a unique name and she thinks it might be useful in her future career path (research). On the other hand my last name is an incredily simple and common four letter name. It has some meaning to me as it was the name I inherited when my dad adopted me as a young child. I am not overly sentimental about a name, but I have to say I prefer my own last name to me FI’s last name because I associate it with her parents and I cannot stand them and everything they have done to her (and me!).
We talked about hyphenating or having both last names but we don’t like that. We want to have only one last name, and we want to have the same last name for sure! The only other option we have talked about is going back to the last name I was born with (Volberg) which I don’t particularily care for from an aestetic perspective. Also, no one in my immidiate or close extended family has the last name Volberg anymore. It was my mother’s father’s last name but he passed away when she was a teenager and my grandmother remarried to my grandfather. Their last name is Scandanavian and hard for people to read and pronounce (Skjervem). I could trace names back to my grandmother’s maiden name which is Haegstad, but that’s also weird and Scandanavian… lol
So basically, I don’t know what to do. I could get over my personal distaste for my FI’s last name and take hers, or we could go with my simple common last name but my FI’s first name is common and I think she is of the opinion that it’s important for people in research to have somewhat unique names. We could pick one of my family’s previous last names, or we could make something up completely!
If anyone else has been in a similar situation, what did you do?
Post # 2
I haven’t been in the situation, but one of FI’s colleagues has. She changed her name to her wife’s last name, I think before they were legally married. Neither of their maiden names were common though.
I suggest starting with a new name you both like, or you could keep your last name and she could change hers to something less common.
Post # 3
I know a couple in a similar type situation and they choose to make a new last name kinda merging them. For example: last names smith and kowalski merge to form siminski or something like that. Or you can start and create an entirely new last name. I know I have run into some unqiue last names over the years that I thought were awesome just well because they were unique.
Post # 4
I love the idea of using a new name! I think that is the ideal way to compromise. Ironically, when my cousin got married, he (and his wife) took the last name that our grandparents changed to sound more Americanized. Ha!
Post # 5
I don’t know how it is in the U.S. (If that is where you are?) but in Sweden, where I am from you can come up with a totally new name. If that is possibles maybe you can make some mix between the names you have now. I mean transform both of your last names, into one name.
Post # 6
I don’t think it’s important to have a unique name for research purposes (and I also think it’s silly to pick a name solely for that purpose). What matters is the quality of your research. If she’s already published under her current name, she should keep it (changing names does cause a problem when searching publications as it’s not clear the body of work belongs to the same person). If she’s not published, tell her to choose whatever name she likes. If she’s worried about it being too common, I’d recommend using all initials (for example if she’s Andrea Jane Ann Smith – use AJA Smith and not A Smith).
Post # 7
I like the idea of coming up with a new last name.
I hate my family and am eager to change my name and drop all the negative connotations associated with it (especially in my hometown!). So I can understand how you both feel on that one.
I also don’t like having a super common last name, but it has it’s perks. Like people cannot find me on Facebook. So that’s a bonus.
I always love meeting people with cool last names like champagne or Casanova (lol).
Good luck and hope you find something that works for you both!
Post # 8
If neither of you are attached to your last names and want to have the same, create a new one. I have 2 moms and they have different last names, however, my mom changed hers to her grandfather’s last name since she was closest to him and loved him so much. My other mom loved her father so she kept her last name, but they both start with the same letter so it works for them. I think it just all depends on whether you two want the same last name or not. Wish you both the best!
Post # 9
Congrats again on your engagement! It seems to me that you have an attachment to your name, and that both of you have a strong dislike of the connotations of hers. I don’t think a unique name is necessary for research, and agree that it’s not the best reason to choose a name to which neither of you is attached, particularly when you have fondness for your own last name.
If she is really concerned, she might want to do some research to see if there are others in her field with the name you choose. As Vineyard-bride15:
said, she might want to consider using initials. In the end, your Fiance will distinguish herself from others and build professional recognition based on her institutional affiliation and her record. In my (non-academic) field, there are several women writing under the same name as mine – no one has ever mixed us up, because we all specialize in different things.
That said, take it from the girl in editorial – your Fiance should pick a name and stick to it. I am choosing to change my name to my FI’s, and while it’s not the end of the world that I have to note publications under my maiden name on my CV, it is inconvenient. Several journals have been kind enough to change my byline, but they are the exception, not the norm. As I think you’re both finishing your undergraduate degrees (yes? apologies if I’m wrong!), she may not have any publications yet, so this is a really good time for you both to figure it out!
On the other hand, I do have colleagues who maintain that it’s best to use a joint name socially, but to publish under one’s maiden name. The reason is that, in the unlikely event that at some point in the future, the couple decides to separate, the published partner will have no choice but to keep that name if she’s established herself under it.
Post # 10
I don’t have a similar situation but it seems you’ve gotten some good suggestions above.
I just wanted to add that, as a researcher, the uniqueness of your name is completely unimportant, publishing and impact factor are. The biggest name in my field also has an extremely common four letter last name and a very common first name too, but he has some 1000 publications, that’s what people remember.
Do what is best for you and Fiance, but don’t let that point influence your decision Best of luck!
Post # 11
My partner and I are having a similar problem. We’re thinking that we’ll do a mash up of our two names (Owens and Ruhl to become Owhl) but I’m not entirely happy with that solution. Volberg is pretty unique name and if nobody else is using it, it’s a fresh name you can bring your own associations to. Names are a tricky subject though.
Post # 12
We went the previous family names root and are taking my grandma’s maiden name! My fiancée and I have both had pretty horrid relationships with our fathers and had zero desire to bring their names forward. On the other hand, we absolutely adore my grandmother and she’s been very supportive of us 🙂
We both have super common boring Anglo-Saxon last names and are still switching to a super common boring Anglo-Saxon last name, lol. Our new name means she’s keeping her initials and I’m keeping the last few letters my current name ends in, so it feels like a comfy switch.
I really like the idea of picking a new name that’s meaningful for both of you, whether that’s finding a piece of family history that you like, merging your current names, taking a fictional character’s name, etc. I think it’s a sweet marker of starting a new life together.
Post # 13
Thank you everyone! I think we will discuss taking my name and her using her initials (except her first name and middle name initials are M.D. which is a little funny, because she’s not going into a medical field). Or we will discuss taking my birth name or my grandmother’s maiden name.
Post # 14
- Wedding: August 2017 - Sea Cider
experienced a twist on your situation: I’ve done work in research, so my maiden name is published. my partner is a doctor, so obviously, she’s got research and a professional career tied to her last name, too.
my first instinct is to hypenate, but my maiden name already IS hypenated, and I’ve noticed that everyone just uses the second of the hypenated names, anyway, so I’m more inclined just to pick up my partner’s last name.
problem: she’s divorced. her ex-wife (awful, manipulative, gold-digging straight girl) took her last name with ZERO discussion, and last we heard, was still using it after the divorce was finalized. ugh.
we’ve decided that I will keep my last name(s) as middle names, and use hers. my boss has a queer daughter and is enormously supportive, so there will be no issue for me professionally.
I’m actually really looking forward to carrying her last name. 🙂
Post # 15
Could your fiancee take your last name and use her maiden name in place of her middle name? Otherwise I think that you should create a new hybrid last name. (White and Tennyson= Whittyson or whatnot) Or take a name from something important to your relationship. (Winter if you met in the winter, Baltimore if you got engaged in that city, Church if your first apartment was on Church st, whatever…) Good luck!