hyphenation

if two people get married and hyphenate their last names, and then have kids… what happens when the kids get married? 

say tom jones and nancy smith get married, and become tom and nancy jones-smith. or maybe tom stays as tom jones and nancy becomes nancy jones-smith or smith-jones or whatever. they have two kids, who they name billy jones-smith and laura jones-smith. 

laura gets married to kevin johnson and she wants to keep her name. does she change it to laura johnson-jones-smith? or does she drop her mother’s name and go with johnson-jones? that would be a little sexist and patrician, keeping her father’s name and not her mother’s, so maybe she’d go with johnson-smith and drop her father’s name instead. really, though, it makes more sense to keep all three, and pass all three names along to her children, so they can hyphenate even more.

billy jones-smith, on the other hand, has a bigger problem, since he marries susan keller-williamson, who wants to keep all of her names as well. so they become billy jones-smith-keller-williamson. their kid marries one a hernandez-simons and they become the jones-smith-keller-williamson-hernandez-simonses. 

parents: please, talk to your kids about hyphenation before it’s too late.

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    • Trisha
    • August 5th, 2012

    Welcome to the concept of the Spanish-speaking world! haha Every single Latino you meet is in a similar situation to your Jones-Smith-Keller-Williamson-Hernandez-Simons…funny that you even included a Hernandez in there.

    The Hispanic culture includes all your previous parental last names. Therefore, you will meet a woman named Maria Elisabeta Lopez Carvahlo, where she is using not only two last names, but two first names. However, she has a good 4 or 5 more last names she could tack on if you really wanna be specific. Most times, they will shorten it for the ease of those around them. So Ms. Maria Elisabeta Lopez Carvahlo will more often be known as Leti Lopez 🙂

    My confusion goes back to age 2 when my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain. At the time, she was Mercedes Fernandez-Cid. She has since gotten married to Ricky Quintana, so she is now Mercedes Quintana Fernandez-Cid Planiol. Again, professionally, she goes by Mercedes Quintana, it’s just easier. So technically, these Latinos have all these names, but they adapt to our culture here and just simplify it for everyone not to have such a mouthful when simply calling them by name.

    Or you can just be super modern and create a new last name TOGETHER. Like the couple Geoff Werner-Allen and Suzanna Chapman…they became the Challen family. Everybody wins. Or do they? I say keep those hyphens imaginary. You don’t have to forget which names you came from, but you don’t need to make us say them all everytime we talk to you 🙂

    • Micah
    • August 21st, 2012

    Meh, I’m okay with my children only having their father’s last name.

  1. I remember a family with parents keeping their own last names. The kids got a blending of them. Braagen and Smith. Made Braggensmith.

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