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Two surnames

(25 Posts)
rothbard Mon 21-Oct-19 14:14:09

Hi, my wife and I had a baby boy two weeks ago, and we are considering the possibility of giving him both of our surnames. My Italian surname is difficult to pronounce and spell, so we would prefer for the baby to have my wife's surname first and mine second, so that later in life, if he wants to, he can just go by my wife's surname alone.

Does anyone know if this can cause practical problems in the UK, e.g, with the NHS, schools, etc?

Thanks.

shoebedobedobedobedoo Mon 21-Oct-19 14:21:40

Do you mean double-barrel the names, with or without a hyphen? If yes, why would you even be asking if this is a problem as it’s very very common? If you mean you are going to give him 2 surnames, so for example Jones and smith and his first name is John and some days you are going to call him John jones and some days you will call him John smith - that won’t work. FWIW, We call ds by his middle name. It was a silly decision. Say his name is David John, well anywhere official (ie anywhere we have to write his full name), drs, dentist, school they are calling david and he doesn’t answer, because he only answers to John.

rothbard Mon 21-Oct-19 14:40:28

Thanks for your feedback. Yes, we were thinking of a double barreled surname without a hyphen. Let's say my surname is "de Laurentiis" and my wife's is "Navarro", so the baby's official name would be "Martin Navarro de Laurentiis". Later in life he can choose if he wants to use both surnames or just go by "Martin Navarro" which is a lot simpler to spell.

MikeUniformMike Mon 21-Oct-19 14:45:35

It's best for a child to have his or her mother's surname, so:
Martin de Laurentiis Navarro

In the UK convention is to use the last name even if the surname includes two surnames.

rothbard Mon 21-Oct-19 14:47:35

Thanks - just to clarify, do you mean that the surname we prefer to use should be the last one?

Paperthin Mon 21-Oct-19 15:00:32

Yes. So your name is De Laurentiis and your DW Is Smith. If you want your son to have the easy option - to use the easier spelling I mean - then he would be John De Laurentiis Smith shortened to John Smith .

JumpingFrogs Mon 21-Oct-19 15:09:53

My friend tried to register with 2 (unhyphenated) surnames, but was told that unless she was prepared to hyphenate it the first surname could only be registered as a given name. So effectively her child has her surname as his middle name. So John Wilson SMITH as opposed to John WILSON-SMITH.

MikeUniformMike Mon 21-Oct-19 15:19:14

I would register as:
Martin de Laurentiis Navarro
This will be treated as
Surname = Navarro
First name = Martin
Middle name = de Laurentiis

rothbard Mon 21-Oct-19 19:14:57

Thanks, however I think that "de Laurentiis" as a middle name wouldn't work, since it's two words. Would it create any problems to have both as surnames?

MikeUniformMike Mon 21-Oct-19 21:20:09

it would still be two words as a surname

thenewname Mon 21-Oct-19 21:23:48

You can definitely do this in UK, it does not necessarily automatically contract to the last name but rather sometimes it’s the last name that falls off, people do try and hyphenate it.

Whoever told pp’s friend that was absolutely wrong! It’s quite common even in U.K. (Helena Bonham Carter etc)

SorrowfulMystery Mon 21-Oct-19 21:25:47

@JumpingFrogs, I don’t think that’s true. We registered DS in 2012 with both our surnames unhyphenated. The registrar specifically asked whether or not we were hyphenating.

OP, no problems whatsoever with the NHS or schools in seven years here.

MikeUniformMike Mon 21-Oct-19 21:29:04

It probably wouldn't be a problem to have two surnames as a surname but the registrar might insist on a hyphen.

The issue would be that your son would have a very long and difficult to spell and say surname. Even if hyphenated, the tendency is to just use the last name.

Some names are made up of two words. St John is a mumsnet favourite. I's pronounced Sinjun.
David St John Smith has one middle name - St John.

There are people like Tom Parker Bowles who's surname is Parker Bowles.

Sarah Jessica Parker's first name is Sarah Jessica.

Elieza Mon 21-Oct-19 21:31:41

A lot of hyphenated names don’t fit in the amount of space provided in forms, online or on paper. There isn’t enough room and that’s not helpful

They don’t fit on name tags easily either.

I think hyphenated names so both parents have themselves in the name is great but really impractical.

First time I met a chap in work I had to ask about his surname. His is double-barrelled. I wasn’t sure. It’s just a pain in the ass asking.

Prob better making one name the middle name and one the surname. He can mess about with his name when he’s older and do whatever he wants then.

diddlediddle Mon 21-Oct-19 22:04:52

In the U.K. it is definitely best to put the main name last. If you don't want to use the name you are planning to put last then don't put it there.

Journobourno Mon 21-Oct-19 22:15:51

We registered our baby this year with both our surnames as her surname - no hyphen and neither is a middle name (ie both of our surnames are her official surname). The registrar asked if we wanted a hyphen but we didn’t and that wasn’t a problem. Like you, we figure that in everyday life she can go by just one of the names if she likes but officially both names are her surname.

MikeUniformMike Tue 22-Oct-19 07:42:33

Martin de Laurentiis-Navarro
will be " Martin de Laurentiis hyphen Navarro "

thenewname Tue 22-Oct-19 09:16:22

The registrar can’t insist on a hyphen as far as I know?? ‘Yes, as a regional U.K. official I am going to unilaterally change the entire Spanish speaking world’s naming conventions.

thenewname Tue 22-Oct-19 09:17:01

Again, it doesn’t always default to just the last name being used.

thenewname Tue 22-Oct-19 09:17:57

Baby Navarro de Laurentis is the best way round.

FizzyGreenWater Wed 23-Oct-19 11:38:12

Yes, there isn't a problem with two separate words counting as one name in the UK system.

So de Laurentiis could indeed be a middle name.

However you CAN also have a non-hyphenated double barrel surname, absolutely, I've known of them.

If I were you I would register the surname as de Laurentiis Navarro. Folk are right that it's easier in the UK to drop the first part of a surname than the last.

JumpingFrogs Wed 23-Oct-19 21:17:25

My friend was registering her child quite some time ago (young adult now). It was flatly refused unless she agreed to hyphenate name (which she didnt want to do), but obviously rules may have changed, or maybe she was just unlucky with the particular registrar. I remember us wondering at the time how that would affect people registering Spanish names, so I'm glad to hear other people haven't had the same problem.

NameChange30 Wed 23-Oct-19 21:23:50

Go for it. I have two surnames, no hyphen. Sometimes people add a hyphen (I guess hyphens are more common than not). But I think that not having a hyphen allows flexibility in making it easier to drop one of the surnames. I agree with PPs in that it's usually the first surname that gets dropped (it is sometimes assumed to be a middle name). So put the one you want to be used more as the last name.

I have a DS now and we've done the same for him, two surnames no hyphen. I think it's getting more common now, it's perfectly normal in Spain, and maybe English people are getting more used to it.

Oh and we haven't had issues with names fitting on forms! And that's a minor inconvenience surely.

We did choose a short first name though (and a short middle name) as the whole name would have been too much of a mouthful otherwise.

Bythebeach Wed 23-Oct-19 21:28:48

No issues with non hyphenated double barrel here. Never had a problem!

rothbard Mon 28-Oct-19 07:08:54

Thanks again for all your replies. I have another question. If we register the baby as "Martin" (first name) and "de Laurentiis Navarro" or "de Laurentiis - Navarro" as surnames, is it possible when he attends schools to specify that we want him to use the second surname only?

If that's too complicated, then we'll probably give "de Laurentiis" as a middle name (a bit like "DePfeffel" for our current Prime Minister).

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