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Did you, have you, would you change your surname?

(120 Posts)
trisher Thu 02-Jul-20 08:48:39

Most women my age changed their name when they married and so did I. When I got divorced I could have reclaimed my maiden name, but I didn't bother, although I do have a couple of friends who use it. I simply thought it would be best to have the same name as my DCs.
But these days a lot of women keep their name when they marry. So I wondered would you change if you were getting married today and if you were ever to divorce would you return to your single name?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 02-Jul-20 13:32:43

I took my husband's name about 40 odd years ago. It was much more exotic than my very commonplace maiden name. He passed away nearly ten years ago and I wouldn't dream of changing back. Would I change it if I married again? Possibly not but never say never.

TerriBull Thu 02-Jul-20 13:35:33

Maiden name, birth name whatever, mine was foreign, I spent my school life, particularly when the register was called being mispronounced, thanks grandad hmm even if I'd taken my mother's surname, she was also had the same indignity as her surname was French. Then what did I do when I married for the first time acquire a French surname, and spent a few more years at work hearing people get that wrong sad

Finally, got an English surname when I married my husband some 35 or so years ago, unfortunately it was made famous by a a bit of a w****r c'leb a quite famous personality, although having the name elevated to high profile, did help when checking into hotels, because there was a propensity by some to not get the name right. Although there was an occasion in America when the receptionist said "Oh my God he's not a relative of yours is he?" "Thankfully no" came our riposte.

I understand why people want to keep their birth name, but one way or another you are still getting a man's name! I remember hearing Janet Street-Porter kept that surname from a few husbands ago, because she liked the name more than hers grin

lemongrove Thu 02-Jul-20 13:35:35

I took my husband’s name happily, as it’s a lovely one, my maiden name was alright too, but in any case, fifty years ago I didn’t know anyone who kept their maiden name, it wasn’t really the done thing.
I have never regarded it as anything other than tradition, as women haven’t been considered the property of their husband for a long time.You could say, that having your Father’s name foisted upon you means you are the property of your Father ( and again, it’s a long time since that was the case.)Today there is the luxury of choice when you marry, and do exactly as you like.I do wonder though, about all those double barrelled names......what happens when their children grow up and marry?

BlueSky Thu 02-Jul-20 14:02:46

TerriBull yes you would still get a man's surname even if you kept your father's, that's why babies should have had their surname through the female line since Adam and Eve!

Marmight Thu 02-Jul-20 14:37:08

A relative who very surprisingly took her husband’s name when they married a few years ago has announced that they are both changing it to the name (not surname) of a well known suffragette confused. Oh well, each to her own... I believe for a few ££ it can be done on the internet.

trisher Thu 02-Jul-20 14:51:23

Thanks for all the interesting posts.One thing I did notice when I was in Scotland is that their gravestones often have the wife's maiden (sorry it's easiest) name on them.

Westcoaster Thu 02-Jul-20 15:19:01

I changed my name, as was usual at the time, on my first marriage and kept it after separation mainly to be the same as my daughter. Changed again on 2nd marriage even though it sounds odd (husband 2 isn't British) with my Scottish christian name.
Where my husband is from it's not really the norm to change and involves filling in special forms after marriage ... possibly like deed poll. As I was using the former husbands name it was better to switch and I've kind of got used to it now !

FlexibleFriend Thu 02-Jul-20 15:49:10

I took my first husbands surname and have kept it with his agreement. We have kids together and I wanted to keep the same name as them, plus it's rather unique and I like it. When I remarried I held on to my name and glad I did as the marriage didn't last and I can't be doing with chopping and changing names.

Bellasnana Thu 02-Jul-20 16:09:02

I remember when my sister married in 1975, she opted to keep her own name. My grandmother was scandalised and it still makes me laugh when I recall her reaction which was ‘Oh my word! Whatever will the postman think!’ 😂

TerriBull Thu 02-Jul-20 16:09:09

Anyone who has been on Ancestry researching family history may have come across this, one child in the family would having a strange first name, particularly if it wasn't a common surname, this was often an indicator that it was the mother's maiden name, a way of passing that name on. Something I came across on 19th century censuses.

ginny Thu 02-Jul-20 16:24:31

I changed my name when we married 44 years ago. I do’t think I had ever realised that I didn’t need to.
Nowadays I would keep my own name , it’s much nicer.
Even after all these years I don’t really think of myself in terms of my married name.

tanith Thu 02-Jul-20 16:30:22

I changed my surname twice as I’ve been married twice, I never liked either of them but it was the done thing then. I love my maiden name but since I became a widow I can’t be bothered with all the faff I’d have to take care of to change it back.

Daddima Thu 02-Jul-20 18:13:19

My son took his wife’s surname when they married, as he thought married people should have the same name, and she wanted to keep her ( more exotic!) surname.

Witzend Thu 02-Jul-20 19:36:31

My dd didn’t take her husband’s name. That was at least partly because she was known professionally by her own name and it would have been a hassle to change it - and partly out of principle.
Their children have his name, however.

This meant that when we were driving with her and first very little Gdd to France, she had to take Gdd’s birth certificate, to prove to passport control that she was her mother, and wasn’t abducting her. And they did ask to see it, which I was pleased to see.

EllanVannin Thu 02-Jul-20 19:55:39

As long as it wasn't Longbottom, Shufflebottom or Sidebottom I wouldn't worry.

Then, unfortunately, there are those who come from a long line of Pratts.

paddyanne Thu 02-Jul-20 20:32:10

I changed then 45 years ago ,also changed religion...well not really but married in church of Scotland brought the children up in it .His very old fashioned dad would have made my life hell otherwise .The first thing he told me when we said we were getting married was if you take his name you take his religion.West of Scotland Catholic/protestant isn't as bad nowadays .I've always been happy t be known by my married name ,I love my husband and my life so why wouldn't I?

Puzzler61 Thu 02-Jul-20 20:38:35

I don’t mind what surname I’m known by, as long as it’s polite!

I changed my birth surname by 4 letters only when I got married anyway.

PamelaJ1 Thu 02-Jul-20 21:08:02

I didn’t give it a thought when I married. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest . I can’t see it really matters.
I know that I am not my husbands chattel and, more importantly, so does he!
Perhaps in this day and age I may have made a decision to keep my maiden name. One more thing to think about.

BlueSky Thu 02-Jul-20 21:27:56

Well done Daddimas son! A real new man!

GrandmaMoira Thu 02-Jul-20 21:35:32

I reverted to my maiden name when I divorced. When I married the second time I changed my name in some things and not others. It did get confusing and I eventually got everything in my second husband's name, even though I was a widow by the time I changed everything. I prefer having his common name than my maiden name which I always have to spell.

vegansrock Thu 02-Jul-20 21:51:42

I’ve been married twice and never changed my name ! One daughter has my surname and her children ( she is married) , eldest son has his dads ( 1st husband) surname, 2nd daughter has her dads surname ( 2nd husband) , youngest son has his wife’s surname ( exotic, non British, complicate inheritance reasons). So all my 4 children have different surnames, only one is the same as mine, but it’s fine - a modern family!

SueDonim Thu 02-Jul-20 21:57:52

I changed my name when I got married, as almost everyone did back then. I wouldn’t change it back even if I was divorced, simply because I prefer my dh’s surname to my maiden name.

My maiden name is pretty meaningless anyway because it isn’t my father’s birth name. He was raised by an aunt after his parents died and it’s her husband’s name, so there’s no family connection to anyone as they had no children of their own.

AllotmentLil Thu 02-Jul-20 22:56:02

I took my husband’s name when I married. It was nicer than my “maiden” name and besides, it’s my mother’s “maiden” name! I have lots of relations with the same surname!!

paddyanne Thu 02-Jul-20 23:28:04

I did find some family research much easier using the maternal surnames as they were far less common and often used as middle names in later generations as is/was normal in my part of Scotland .In doing it that way I found 4 extra generations on my fathers side of the family ,his male side were Irish and impossible to find as the names were so common in every generation

Maggiemaybe Fri 03-Jul-20 00:03:27

An interesting topic, OP. I had a very common maiden name and DH’s is unusual. I seriously considered keeping mine, but have grown used to “ours” over time and it seemed logical for all of us (DH, me and the offspring) to have the same name. DD1 has kept her maiden name through two marriages and DD2 has a flexible approach, using her maiden name professionally and her husband's when she’s dealing with their children’s school and other things that she shares with them (GP etc). DS’s wife has chosen to take his name so that the whole family have the same one, but both their sons have her maiden name as a middle name.

I think I’d still take DH’s name if we were getting married now. I’d have reverted to my maiden name, and so would my children, if we’d divorced when they were young, but I wouldn’t bother if we split up now.