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Two surnames - why the confusion?

(51 Posts)
CuppaTeaJanice Sat 23-Aug-08 17:43:23

Myself and DP are both the 'last in line' when it comes to our surnames, so neither of us were prepared to give up our family name and we have given DS both surnames.

This seems to be causing some confusion, particularly at the doctors surgery and health clinics where they seem to want to give DS my surname only. Other places tend to put a hyphen between the names.

Has anybody else given their child 2 surnames (not double-barrelled)?

I can think of a few examples - Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Whatshisname Cougar Mellencamp etc (some may be hyphened or stage names, not sure). It's not that unusual, surely, so why is it causing such confusion and are we going to have to constantly explain his name for his entire childhood?

Madlentileater Sat 23-Aug-08 17:46:24

Why not hyphenate? We have and has never been an issue with normal people...just the odd relative!

Milliways Sat 23-Aug-08 17:46:35

A baby is first registered by the GP from the Mother's birth discharge as Male/Female X (Where X is Mothers surname). This is then amended when the Birth Certificate or Form from Hospital giving the NHS number is available. They should copy the name from that!

Tortington Sat 23-Aug-08 17:48:57

cos its weird

RubyRioja Sat 23-Aug-08 17:50:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tortington Sat 23-Aug-08 17:52:25


batters Sat 23-Aug-08 17:59:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chandellina Sat 23-Aug-08 18:17:47

my surname (a common boy's name) is DS' middle name - i don't consider it two surnames - i do think it would be confusing to use both that way. as in surname is Pxxx Mxxx

bran Sat 23-Aug-08 18:29:22

If it isn't hyphenated then perhaps it's difficult to tell whether both names are surnames or one is a middle name and one a surname.

BTW I always thought that the Cougar part of John Mellancamps name was a middle or nickname, especially as he dropped it after a few years.

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 23-Aug-08 18:31:42

Why don't you just put a hyphen between the names then? It's not unreasonable to assume that someone would assume that the second name is a middle name.

bran Sat 23-Aug-08 18:34:44

I've actually had trouble the other way, sometimes people simply can't believe that my middle name is not a surname and try to give me a first name and two surnames.

I think hypenation of your ds's surnames would at least make things clearer for strangers. The world of names is complicated enough and on the whole people have better things to do than think deeply about tricky naming conventions.

mrz Sat 23-Aug-08 18:48:43

My mum and aunt both have my granny's maiden name as a middle name (no hyphen) never an issue with anyone.

MerryMarigold Sat 23-Aug-08 18:48:54

Do you imagine that when your ds gets married, his spouse will take both his surnames? If not, which one? What if she wants to use her surname? How many surnames will his kids have?!! And what about the poor kid writing his name when he is 5? Please don't tell me his first name is long and hard to spell as well!

I am the last with my surname too. But hey, that is life, things change and move on.

PookiePodgeandTubs Sat 23-Aug-08 18:50:09

Which did you put first out of curiosity? The father's or the mother's?

PookiePodgeandTubs Sat 23-Aug-08 18:52:46

Merry, isn't there an aristo/actress called Isabella Anstrutter-Gough-Calthorpe.

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 23-Aug-08 18:54:34

Actually, having read the thread title again, I think you're being incredibly disingenuous. Why on earth wouldn't there be confusion? You're going against all the conventions that exist! (Not saying that you're wrong to want to do what you have done, btw - but your execution of it could be more sympathetic to the way we deal with names)

MerryMarigold Sat 23-Aug-08 18:58:02

Pookie, the poor thing!!!

(Btw, we did give our ds my grandmother's maiden name as his middle name, but it is definitely a middle name, and just wanted to do it really in remembrance of my Gran and her father, whose money we used to buy our house!).

LaTrucha Sat 23-Aug-08 19:03:26

WE have this problem because DH is Spanish. In Spain, the child gets, and passes down, the father's name and then the mother's name is on the end.

Even though we put both names in the surname bit on the form she always get called by my surname alone. This makes DH very sad, as effectively, he and his traditions are written out of her name.

Neither can we hyphenate as this would make it a completely different name in Spain (ie. one surname and no mother's name to their eye).

It's an intractable situation. sad

edam Sat 23-Aug-08 19:25:17

I've always thought the Spanish naming system was very good, so am sorry to hear officialdom in the UK is so useless.

Don't understand the hostility to the OP. It's not that unheard of. Did none of you read Laura Ingalls Wilder when you were little? Or were you so confused you couldn't find her books in the library? Have you never come across John Cooper Clarke?

I was going to give ds both our surnames but dh backed out at the last minute, insisting he didn't like his name and would rather ds had one (but was equally insistent about giving ds two middle names).

LaTrucha Sat 23-Aug-08 19:36:12

I like it too. British officials, especially the passport office shock are awful. Effectively, dd has a different name on her passport than her birth certificate, and if you ever need to apply for a bank account in Spain, you'll understand what a BITCH that's going to be for her when she gets older.

edam Sat 23-Aug-08 19:38:28

Can you not get her a Spanish passport in her full name?

I always think the Spanish system referencing both parents is so lovely. Shame it doesn't work over here!

edam Sat 23-Aug-08 19:39:15

I'd love to be Dona edam rather than Ms Edam (no idea how to do one of those symbols over the 'n').

ib Sat 23-Aug-08 19:43:21

DON'T hyphenate. Dh's surname was hyphenated and it caused no end of problems. In this age of computers hyphenated names have a tendency to go very wrong. We have, for example, had two tax bills, one in his name (hyphenated) and another in his name without the hyphen!

It's a pretty intractable problem. In Spanish cultures people give both parents' surnames and put the father's first, and in common usage only use that. In the UK, they tend to assume the last name is the relevant one. So if you straddle both cultures, you will find that the child is called by a different surname in each.

Dh and I got round it by merging our surnames (new surname is one word, half of his sn, half of mine). It doesn't follow any tradition, but at least it has a bit of both of ours.

ruddynorah Sat 23-Aug-08 19:44:01

you should have done what i did. gave dd my maiden name as a middle name (will be with her forever, not to be married off iyswim) and she has dh's surname.

feedmenow Sat 23-Aug-08 19:47:23

My dd has 2 surnames, not hyphenated. But lots of people do hyphenate it and I don't argue with them. When I fill in forms for her or make appointments for her, I write/state her name correctly. If anyone calls her by either one or the other, I correct them.

TBH, I think it will be her that will be most insistent on her name being correct as she gets older. She is 9 now and is rather proud of her unusual surname.

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