Advanced search

to not understand the rules of double barrell names. Explanation needed!

(96 Posts)
heliumballoon1 Thu 14-Feb-13 10:56:47

Dh and I have decided to give our new baby both our surnames. I kept my surname when we married and want our DC to have my name too.

However, I'm not entirely sure how it works. Sometimes double barrell names are hyphenated and sometimes not. Why is this? And which one should we go for? Does a hyphen mean that the two names are one complete name and are always used together?

We may just decide to use just one name on a daily basis - does that mean it would be better not to use hyphen?

Advice needed please!

phlebas Thu 14-Feb-13 15:24:18

we have myname-hisname, but know people who have pretty much all combinations ... hisname hername, his/hername combination, half the children with hername half with hisname, whole family gets new name, female children have herfirstname boys have hisfirstname, some where the children have hername & even a few where they all have hisname wink etc.

My kids aren't the only one with double-barrelled names by any means though that might be just the area where we live! What will they do when/if they have children ... pick any one of the many options above I assume!

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 15:25:25

the deed poll office says this:

"7. Limits on the number of characters in a name
There is a limit of 250 characters, including spaces, for forenames (i.e. first name and middle names) and 30 characters, including spaces, for a surname. If you would like a name that exceeds these limits, please email us and we will advise you if we are able to accommodate your desired name and advise you of any additional fee that may be payable (due to the additional work involved preparing your Deed Poll documentation).

Please note, the passport office will only print 30 characters (including spaces) for forenames and 30 characters for a surname on a passport, while the DVLA will only print on a driving licence a total of 30 characters for forenames and the surname. Other record holders will also have similar limitations on what can be entered on their computer systems. Therefore, if you decide to have a long name, in usage, you will only be able to use part of it."

but it seems that it's only because of official document space that it matters.
There's no reason in the UK why you coudln't have any size name if you choose, you just have to accept that most of the time, you won't be able to use some of it.

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 15:27:14

deed poll office
see, no restrictions on number of barrels.

so, if your quadruple barrel name was under 30 characters, the whole thing can be on your passport.

so I could be Don-Hoo-Wye-Hythe-Smith if I wanted to be.

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 15:28:38

mummy - the point is that it's up to the person who owns the name and the parent of the child who is to be named.
They can choose any surname they like

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 15:32:06

according to google, you're not allowed triple barrel names in Germany.

mummymeister Thu 14-Feb-13 16:26:08

yes nickel i understand the point of it (old not stupid!) i just think its all a bit middle class aspirational and pointless. can understand if you have a surname you hate or which has unhappy memories for you and you want to change it. can also understand people keeping their maiden name when they marry or partners having the same surname but this idea of barrelling is realitively new and personally i think its a bit wanky. but hey its just my opinion and people are free to do what they want (under 30 characters of course)

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 16:30:08


yes, i know what you mean - I was just saying it doesn't matter what their barrelling is, they can choose what barrelling (or not) carries on to the next generation.

I can see now that you might have been piss-taking blush

mummymeister Thu 14-Feb-13 16:39:19

no i wasnt piss taking nickel. just have a real thing about this barrelling some of which is awful like amelia smith-whiff or davina bones-jones. or grub-grout anyway you get the idea! it just makes me make a judgement about the parents based on this one thing. just wish people wouldnt do it. feel almost the same about first names.

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 16:43:41

hmm, i see.

i can see it does have connotations of aspiration, but to me, it says "why is your name more important than mine?" when naming the baby.
they don't have the imagination to create a whole new name, so they barrel it.

depob Thu 14-Feb-13 16:45:16

Don't do what we did:
DS has first name, middle name, second middle name which is my surname, surname which is DP's surname.
Daughter has first name, middle name, surname which is DP's surname followed by my surname and not hyphenated.
Plane bookings, NHS, anything legal is a nightmare. I myself quite often forget what they are called.
Can't imagine how we were so stupid. Both DCs have vowed to change names by deed poll at 18 and may well divorce their parents at the same time.

BowlFullofJelly Thu 14-Feb-13 16:55:58

Don't see the problem really - DS is FirstName MiddleName DPName Myname, no hyphens. If docs etc can't find under DPName MyName, then they look under Myname.

DS can then choose whether he uses DP's Surname as middle name, or double barrells with mine. Simples!

(mummymeister actually agree with it being a bit wanky, but DP and I not married, neither wanted DS to not have our name, so there we are. I do not think it makes us posh grin)

BornInACrossFireHurricane Thu 14-Feb-13 17:07:49

DH and I both double barrelled on marriage. I don't see it as wanky or trying to be posh- for me it was very much a feminist issue

nickelbabe Thu 14-Feb-13 17:13:35

yes, always make sure all children have the same name.
never enter into "if it's boy it can have your name, a girl can have mine" - you are likely to be upset by the outcome.

VBisme Thu 14-Feb-13 17:19:06

DH and I are Mr & Mrs Mymaidenname DHsurname, no hyphen, the kids are both DHsurname.

tallulah Thu 14-Feb-13 17:23:14

mummy, the idea of double-barreling is certainly not relatively new. We did it 30 years ago. I find it wanky that women choose to give their children the father's name, almost as a matter of course, when they aren't married, but each to their own.

The reason we d-b is because my interfering MIL told DH she would "disown" him if he changed his name to mine, as we'd planned. He wasn't bothered about his name and I was passionately attached to mine. Although I didn't change my name on marriage I then found that under the laws of this country if you cannot agree what your child's name will be and you are married the father's wishes take precedence. So it was looking like I would have to put up with my children having a different name to me, which I personally do not like.

I also get tired of the navel gazing that worries what will happen in future generations. My children are adults. One plans to keep my name and db with her boyf; one plans to just keep my bit and his gf wants to take it as well because she doesn't like her name. One uses his father's name only and the other uses both. It is up to each of them to decide what to do, and unlike my MIL I will address each of them the way they choose, and not how I think they should.

FWIW OP we are Myname-Hisname, with a hyphen. The other way around made a phrase.

FryOneFatManic Thu 14-Feb-13 17:28:10

I think a hyphen would be preferable as it would stop people thinking that the first surname is actually a middle name.

I still get people who drop part of my surname, even with a hyphen to show it's double barrelled.

IShallWearMidnight Thu 14-Feb-13 17:35:51

we double-barrelled when we got married 20 years ago - mainly because I didn't want to give up my name, and we thought it was a nice way of stating we were our own new family unit (DH had some family issues). The DDs have our d-b surname while they are still our responsibility, then can do what they like, as it won't be my decision at that point.

I don't care if it's wanky or not, I like how the two names sound, and we're the only people with that particular surname in the world (as far as google tells me) which is fantastic for business purposes.

badbride Thu 14-Feb-13 17:47:24

Am ROTFL at people who think double surnames are "wanky". Try telling that to the entire Spanish-speaking world! They all have 2 surnames, one from each parent. Children take one each of their parents' surnames--used to be the male-line name, but nowadays, parents can choose which one to pass on.

Result: a relatively equitable naming system that acknowledges both parents, but doesn't get ridiculously cumbersome. More info here:

I think it's a good system.

HerrenaHarridan Thu 14-Feb-13 18:03:33

Middle class aspirations? Maybe in your circle of friends this is true.
My decision to double barrel and hyphenate was based on watching my best friends daughter grow up with her useless junkie dads name. The school/ doc etc. we're forever call my friend mrs uselessjunkiesname and it really hurt her.
Now my dd can choose when she is older and I can just use mine now her dad is no longer on the scene.
She is my daughter no way was she growing up with a different name from me

RevoltingPeasant Thu 14-Feb-13 18:17:09

Surely this is not remotely new - as a PP said, it goes back to landed gentry and nobility. I can think of examples from the C17th at least.

It's like when people spout off about 'new, chavvy' spellings of names that are actually the original spelling........

It is aspirational in the sense that the reason the upper classes did this originally was to preserve the woman's name as important if she brought land with her. It was unusually equally valuing her name. So, I equally value my name and I bring equal or greater assets to the marriage. Ergo, my DC will be Jones-Peasant, not Jones.

Aspiration is good.

ComposHat Thu 14-Feb-13 18:44:25

There are no rules when it comes to surnames in terms of the numbers of barrells nor does it have to be the same surname as either of the parents.

I went to Universirty with someone with a triple barrelled name. The first and last surname were the same name and it was quite an unusual name. Which I also wondered if that implied incest in the dim and distant past.

She was extrodinarily posh, but quite nice considering. I think her family were so posh that breeding with anyone who wasn't a family member would be a step down the social ladder. A bit like the Hapsbergs.

lovetomoan Fri 15-Feb-13 00:26:12

badbride I had the lovely Spanish naming which you mentioned. Bloody nightmare to get people to write it the right way. Ended up changing my surname as soon as I got married.

Not nice trying to spell my surname to any call center worker grin

And using a hyphen does not make a difference IMExperience.

ComposHat Fri 15-Feb-13 08:05:17

The only difference a hyphen will make is which surname they will be filed under.

Alice Cannon Ball would be filed under B for Ball

However Alice Cannon-Ball would be filed under C for Cannon.

GingerbreadGretel Fri 15-Feb-13 08:21:16

Yes, to what Peasant said. We have 17c examples on our family tree of double- and triple-barrels and also I have a document where a husband agreed to change his name to his wife's in exchange for inheriting her father's farm when he died. That was 18c.

I do find this "oooooh, what if a child with a double-barrel marries another child with a double-barrel" thing a bit disingenuous. Surely it doesn't take much imagination to see those marriages just make the same decisions anyone else does - pass on just mum's name, pass on just dad's name, come up with a combination of both, use some as middle names, use something else altogether, etc.

GirlOutNumbered Fri 15-Feb-13 08:29:39

So and this is a genuine question.... Why is it so important to keep your maiden name? I got married because I wanted our family to be recognised. I absolutely wanted the same name as my children and husband. I never thought fora minute about keeping my dads name. I just don't get it. I feel no ties to that name at all?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now