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Double-barrelled surname. To correct people?

(179 Posts)
Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 14:42:26

I know this is very insignificant in light of what's happening in the world at present but it has been an irritation of mine since my son was born. He has a double-barrelled surname (let's say Peter Smith-Jones, for example. Not his real name!) and some people consistently omit the Smith and write Peter Jones on envelopes of cards etc. It always irks me as it isn't his proper name!! When we sent birth announcement cards out we put his full name on there yet many relatives will still get it wrong. I'm always conscious of not hurting feelings and not causing offence but when it happens time and time again by the same individuals it gets a bit wearing. For cards and presents he receives he always writes a thank you note and puts from Peter Smith-Jones but yet again they just assume he's Peter Jones. If I'm not sure of someone's surname before writing a card, I'll always check in advance rather than write it incorrectly. A friend of mine has a daughter with a double-barrelled surname but I couldn't remember in which order the names were so I asked. Simple! Everyone deserves to be addressed by their proper name so why can't they make an effort to get his name right? I'm grateful for any cards and gifts he receives and don't want to appear ungrateful by correcting them on his surname but can't see any other way? We've tried telling them in a roundabout way! I have Aspergers myself so would worry about trying to correct someone politely and getting it wrong (as I often do) and coming across as rude. Anyone else have a similar issue with double-barrelled names?

GinDaddyRedux Wed 20-May-20 14:44:57

Is it double-barrelled because you have brought together a "maiden name" (excuse the old fashioned term) and a partner's name?

Or is it a proper old-school double barrelled name?

I'm guessing it's the former, and "Jones" is the partner's name - the one which people assume is the name you would have both taken.

Personally, I find the new craze for double-barrelled names a bit...yeah. But if it's your son's name, then fine - people need to spell it properly and write it out in full.

EventRider1 Wed 20-May-20 14:45:51

I feel you on this one but we have the opposite issue. I have a double barrelled name of my old surname and husbands surname. DD just has DH's surname but she is constantly referred to with my double barrelled surname and I spend my life correcting people and documents. No idea why they do it as I have always referred to her correctly and filled out forms with her correct name 🤷🏼‍♀️
Now my husband even gets addressed with my surname which really pisses him off 😂

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 14:51:50

Yes it's my surname plus my husband's surname. Mine is Smith (let's say) and his dad is Jones. Relatives on both sides of the family omit the Smith part. We're not married so everyone is aware I'm still Smith.

I know double-barrelled names are not for everyone but I have quite an unusual surname which I wanted to carry on.

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 14:55:19

@eventrider1 oh no! It's such a struggle isn't it. People just assume and that's what I find annoying! I would never assume, I'd always try to find out first!

CurtainWitcher Wed 20-May-20 14:58:24

It would be the bloody man's name that they presume is the only name.

GinDaddyRedux Wed 20-May-20 15:00:07


People are dreadful and make assumptions when they shouldn't. It's exhausting and annoying and the onus should be on them to make the effort...


If you want to do something that is potentially unconventional and so on (give your children an invented double-barrel surname when you and your partner, not married, carry single surnames) then you have to expect how easy it will be to get it wrong.

If you and your partner had chosen to combine your surnames as BOTH your new names, then it would perhaps have been easier for folk to understand. As in, here is the Smith-Jones family. Everyone is called Smith-Jones including the kids.

Of course it's not on you both to join your names just to make everything neat! I'm just suggesting why people, annoyingly for you, get things wrong.

ContessaferJones Wed 20-May-20 15:01:25

I have a DB name too but have never had this issue - I suspect it stems from the fact that it's 'only' your name, OP. Sorry sad

flowery Wed 20-May-20 15:04:00

If he is writing thank you notes I imagine he is at school, and they will be using the correct name there? And all through his life, on correspondence, at school, university, jobs, it will be correct. All the times you normally use your surname.

This type of thing- (usually) older relatives in cards, is probably going to be the only time it will be done wrong. So on that basis I wouldn’t worry about it.

SeriouslyRetro Wed 20-May-20 15:05:37

it is tricky, I think it’s inevitable who ever gets final spot will become the de facto surname.

The first in the double barrel is just a spare middle name for a lot of people. And who writes middle names on cards?

vanillandhoney Wed 20-May-20 15:05:43

I think this is often the case where the surname is only double-barrelled because the parents aren't married.

Not saying it's right, of course.

GinDaddyRedux Wed 20-May-20 15:07:32


Agreed. I think some old-school people just dismiss it as contrived. Especially if neither adult carries the double-barrelled surname themselves, which would make more sense and prove a constant reminder to all.

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:08:26

Yes I agree, at school etc it's all fine.
It's the relatives. Whats more, they'd soon kick up a fuss if the tables were turned and you addressed them incorrectly!

Yellowbutterfly1 Wed 20-May-20 15:12:59

I totally agree with you.
I do have to ask as I’m a bit confused, you say it’s your surname and your husband’s surname but Then you say you aren’t married.

Is your surname the same as your child’s with your maiden name and husbands name?

Twospaniels Wed 20-May-20 15:13:18

It’s nice to keep an unusual surname going.
I added my maiden name to my daughter’s names, but as another middle name, so it’s not used, but it’s still there.

ie, Jane Mary TwoSpaniels Fathersurname

FeedMeSantiago Wed 20-May-20 15:15:21

This would annoy me too OP.

I didn't take my husband's surname on marriage and constantly get written to as Mrs Hisname, by people who know full well that isn't my surname aka. everyone in DH's family over the age of 40 (his siblings and cousins address me correctly).

DH's grandparents are adamant that this is illegal and that legally my name changed on the occasion of my marriage hmm

I have a different ethnic background to DH and they get my non-English first name wrong too!

My mother's family write to me as Mrs Completely Random Surname, a name which is neither mine, nor DH's name. No idea why. I pointedly put Myname & my address on the sender section of the envelope when I send cards, but they persist.

I suspect it's a value judgement that you should have just called DS Peter Jones, and not included your surname so they just omit it.

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:15:57

Thank you all. I agree it may seen unconventional to some but regardless of whether we are married /carry a double-barrelled surname ourselves /whether the older relatives feel it contrived is by the by. Its his official name and should be used as such.

Azerothi Wed 20-May-20 15:16:10

Not relevant but I'm intrigued as to why you call him your husband.

In any case people should get it right and especially family should know that you and your boyfriend have different names and your son has a different whole name to both of you. It's just laziness on their part and a bit disrespectful of you and your boyfriend to be honest.

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:17:54

My surname has Scandinavian origins so wanted to continue this. It's not really outlandish and quite easy to pronounce and spell.

JustinOtherdad Wed 20-May-20 15:18:53

@GinDaddyRedux "Or is it a proper old-school double barreled name?"

You realise those 'proper' names will have come about through the joining of two family names don't you.

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:19:28

Always refer to him as husband, as I've never liked saying boyfriend or partner. We've been together so long it's kind of stuck now. Doesn't really matter though surely??

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:21:21

@azerothi sorry that wasn't meant to come out like that. Just that I refer to him as husband but we're unmarried, I'd feel odd saying boyfriend or partner as we've been together ages

Daybydaybyday87 Wed 20-May-20 15:24:50


It's my surname plus partners surname
We're not married but been together ages. We always refer to each other as husband and wife. Just what we choose to refer to each other as.

SeriouslyRetro Wed 20-May-20 15:27:08

That's a bit odd op, is there a marriage planned?

Husband/wife is a legal term.

Liverbird77 Wed 20-May-20 15:28:43

I have three parts to my last name (it is Spanish). People often only use the first word. It really bugs me because I have written down my name clearly. I find it a bit disrespectful.

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