Maiden Name vs. Surname
Ever wondered why most women take their husband's last name when
marrying? Is anyone else offended by this? (You realize that women were --
and still are, in some countries -- considered property, and
that's why she acquires his name?) Why doesn't the man take
his wife's name? I heard that long ago, in Egypt, a child took their
mother's name -- because you can prove who your mother is. I don't know
why that is no longer tradition. It's logical.
To be honest, tho, I don't think taking the woman's name is an improvement.
You're still recognizing only a portion of your heritage that way. The
way it is now, you get your dad's name, which was his dad's name, which
was his dad's name before him. What about your mother's side? Or your
grandmother's side? Even if you take your mother's maiden name, you're
still stuck with your grandfather's name. Unless she divorced. But
if you look far enough back eventually you end up leaving somebody out.
On my mother's side, if you look at the family tree, you can see that
some people were dissatisfied with the whole name-inheritance procedure.
So they decided to keep *both* names upon marriage. This is a fine
idea, and it worked for a while. But what happens when two hypenated
childen marry eachother?
You end up with something like this:
Gullegos-Lujan-Romero-Jesus-Martinez-Sandoval. A poor choice, in my
The Family Name Alternative
Here's the way I see it. When you get married, essentially you're
starting your own family. You're leaving your birth family behind, in
order to forge your own way in the world. So why keep the name of your
previous family, and inflict it on your spouse? What I propose is to
create a new name for the new family. Come to an agreement on a name
that sounds good, perhaps it's derived from words (in other languages,
perhaps?) that reflect what sort of people you are.
Open for Future Generations
The beauty of this plan: If you and your spouse choose a family name,
and you have children, you can give them a first name and the family
name. When they get married, they can keep the family name, and
add the name of their New Family to the end. This way, they
neglect none of their heritage. (And perhaps there won't be three pages of
Smiths in the phonebook!)
The Four Sins of Naming:
- Names from the Holy Bible -- This means Deciples'
names are OUT
- Names of Relatives --
I don't care if he was your favorite uncle; Don't take his name!
- Common Names --
Anything you've heard more than twice
- Alternate Spellings of the Previous --
Rebekah is just as common as Rebecca
I admit it. I've got some pet peeves. But these are legitimate. I
mean, really. When the population grows so much that you've got three
pages of Smiths and five pages of Browns, we've got too
many people. But they're not going to go away so easily. So can't we
at least distinguish ourselves from eachother?
If you know seven Bobs, four Shanes, and 14
Jessicas, there is a problem. People aren't very creative! The
naming of a child is a very special thing. Why should its importance be
tossed away so easily? By choosing a name so unoriginal, a parent can
condemn their child to being refered to by their last initial. When the
teacher has to call on "Anna S." so as not to confuse with "Anna W.",
we've got an identity crisis.
Here are some approaches I think will work for choosing a unique name:
These are a great place to look up words of
significance. You can sometimes find a suitable name in one stop. Look
up a word that is important to you. If you're religious you could, say,
look up the word 'savior' or 'chastity' in hopes your child will grow up
to be a missionary. If you have artistic aspirations for your child, you
could look up 'poet' or 'painter'. Try different languages -- French,
Russian, Swahili; tho there tend to be some parallels between languages,
frequently you will come up with wildly different words by looking up
the same thing.
Skat, Babble, Mumble:
Sometimes just making random syllables will spark your imagination. You
start putting sounds together and you'll come up with something cool.
Try it. If nothing else, it's fun.
Combine these approaches. Often you'll find a word you like, having
translated it to a foreign language. But it may not quite sound like a
name for a human. If you're lucky, changing one or two of the letters
will change the sound enough to make it speakable. Add an 'a' or an 'o'
on the end. Or change the ending completely. Rearange the syllables.
Have fun. You're creating a new word, a unique descriptor for
your baby. It's acceptable to "make up" a name.
Please do. 'Cause the last thing we need is another
Scott. (No offense, guys!)