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Name Changing

Upon marrying, Amish women change their last name to their husband's. This is a common custom in many cultures.   There women will even call themselves formally by their husband's full name.  For instance if Sarah Bontrager marries Eli Stuzman, Sarah will become Mrs. Eli Stutzman in the formal sense.

When Rachel and I get married on September 14, she'll likely become Rachel Williams.  She's not voiced any objection to this and that's probably what we'll do, but, I have to admit, it feels a little weird to me.  Rachel's a good person who's carved out her own identity in her own name, so why after 30 years change it?     In Hispanic cultures it is not uncommon for a husband and wife to meld their last name into a combined one. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is an example of someone who has done this, his last name is a combined version of his and his wife's last names.  I'm sure Rachel and I will be traditional and just change everything to Williams and, again, she's raised no objection to doing so....I'm just sort of thinking out loud here. I know most of our readers here are female, so, some questions:   how did it feel to change your name? Was it strange?  Is it difficult to change one's name?  For instance, is there a ton of paperwork involved in the process or do you just "change" the name and it all just sort of falls into place? 

Re: Name Changing

It's not that big of a deal to change names with the proper documents.

 On a side note although many hispanic cultures don't actually combine their dual last names. That is an Anglicized version of it. Their children are the ones who carry the dual combo last namese.

For instance Mario Cortez-Garcia marries a woman named Guadalupe Lopez-Espitia and they have a baby named Lizette the baby would be Lizette Cortez-Lopez. Momma stays Lopez-Espitia.

 The first last name in the sequence designates the father's father's last name the second last name is the mother's mother's last name. So eventually what happens is that the male's names will always be carried on through the generations but the original woman's last name will eventually disapper. And eventually someone will end up with both last names being the same like Lara-Lara.

Muslim women on the other hand are considered to be repressed by westerners however they do not change their last names nor hyphenate upon marriage. They retain their family's last name throughout their lives. Their children though will carry their father's last name and not the mothers. I have noticed too that even those born and raised in the USA or Europe do not tend to adapt the Western custom of changing their last names to their husbands.

Re: Name Changing


Now, there is a lot that one can do online even if it is just to download some of those  forms needed.  And the writier who cited the SS# first and everything falls into place was quite correct.

dcharrison's picture
Re: Name Changing

Just on a comical side in this - when my youngest was planning her wedding, she kept teasing her dh that he needed to change his name to her name - that ...... sounded better than ......  He wasn't as amused as she was at the idea.


Re: Name Changing

The interesting reason why many hispanic societies use both mother and father's names goes back to the fact that it was important to note that both parents recognize the child as their own. In several South American countries, where illegitimacy is not uncommon, the child has only one name, its mother's. The dual name,however, gives the child a sense of legitimacy and status in a social strata where those on the bottom have no father around. The mother's name alone is common in those cultures where sexual promiscuity is evident and the father's identity is not certain. This was true in many tribal cultures of the past. In the Western world, particularly those countries that are English speaking, the wife takes the husband's name as do the children, because the family unit is led by the father in the biblical manner. Susan

lorraine stoddard's picture
Re: Name Changing

About a month before I got married I contacted the social security office.  Ihey sent me a forn to fill out and return to them..  I received my new s.s. card within of week of getting married.  I had no problem with writing the new last name.

Re: Name Changing

Count me in agreement with pretty much everything that's already been said here.  For me, changing my name was just a given.  I was honored to take my husband's name and never saw it as "giving up my sole identity" or "strange."  The paperwork part was simple for me as well - I was in and out of the SS office in about 10 minutes, DMV took a little longer, but I don't remember it being a hassle.  The rest just sort of falls into place - a trip to the bank, a letter to the credit card company, etc. 

I think what was hardest for me was writing the new name.  The fact that my maiden name began with the letters S-H-A and my husband's name began S-H-I made it much more difficult.  LOL  I'd get that SH out and just want to keep on going out of habit.  I had to slow down and just WRITE my name for a while, instead of whipping off a signature. 


LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Name Changing

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that's why they call it the present."

I know a girl who married a man with the same last name as her (not related!)... she had it pretty easy Wink

Re: Name Changing

I know a couple like that too and it was so easy. nothing to change.

 The wierdest thing I ever saw though was a couple who had the same first and last name (seriously) they were not American and no they are not related. They have a first name that is considered genderless in their language.  The last name thing is just because it's a common last name in their culture.

Now they caused some major confusion when the wife gave birth to their son at the hospital when it came time to do the birth certificate!!!!! It was classic. Thank goodness they gave him a different first name. They didn't want mail addressed to all 3 of them in the future and no one having any idea what letter goes to who. hahaha

Re: Name Changing

OMGosh!  That's too easy!  LOL

Re: Name Changing

When I got married in '93 it was a whole new experince for me going through all the legal stuff with my new name change with contacting social security, new driver's lisense etc...what was a hassle was after my divorse..I later on went through the process of getting my maiden name back I had to go through the whole process of contacting social security etc....

Re: Name Changing

My name was a big "dispute" when my husband and I got married almost 10 years ago. I wanted to take his last name, but I was also very, very proud of my maiden name. I come from a wonderful family, and I'm proud of them. So, I wanted to at least make my maiden name my middle name. My hubby and his family did not like that at all and made it quite clear! They STILL address me with my given middle name instead of my maiden name. (They have more issues than I can state here). But, finally my husband came around when I told him that I didn't want to hear anymore about it or I would hyphenate my maiden and his last name. Problem solved.
To me, it's a lot for a woman to be expected to give up her sole identity (especially when ladies are getting married older and have a well-established career). I think it's a good idea to use the maiden name as a middle name. That's a good compromise in my book. Oh, and I also gave our youngest son my maiden name as his middle name- that's very common in other cultures, too.

Re: Name Changing

It was no problem for me to change my last name.  It seems the biggest hassle to change was Social Security, but then, that's probably a good thing.  I didn't run into any problems changing drivers licenses, bank accounts and the like.  Rachel shouldn't encounter any problems as long as she has copies of everything she needs in hand. ~Diann

dcharrison's picture
Re: Name Changing

I changed mine - mostly, I feel, just because it was how I was always taught growing up.  Since I am the only child of my father, I have thought at times that I regret the name ending with me.  I have thought in recent years that I should have included my maiden name as a 2nd middle name for my son, since he is named after my dad.

My oldest daughter did as I did & just dropped the maiden name entirely.  My youngest dropped her middle name and replaced it with her maiden name.  I am not sure, but I think this is a military officer type thing, since my mil also did it upon marrying my fil, who was also a military officer.  I could be wrong about that though!

Being as mine was 31 years ago, I don't really remember the process, but I don't remember it as being difficult.


KJuneBug's picture
Re: Name Changing

Name changing, wasn't that big of a deal!  The social Security thing was the last thing I changed, I had to go into the office and show the marriage certificate or take the chance of mailing the original certificate into SS.  I never thought the mailing option was secure, so I put it off because the office was always busy, I found a time when it wasn't went in with the 5 children and was in and out in 10 minutes!

Changing names to that of your husband shows respect and submission to him.  It says that you are no longer in submission to your father.  It's very Biblical.  I never have really understood not changing it, I've met women who haven't, with children the ages of mine and who's surname is that of their father , they end up being callled Mrs. so and so (insert last name of children here!) anyway.

It is an honor to be called my husbands surname!!  

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:5

Re: Name Changing

It's been 26 years since I changed my name to my husband's.  The big thing was taking my marriage license to the SS office to prove I was married and then waiting for the new card.  Seemed like I carried that marriage license to get my name change on my driver's license too.  I already had my therapy credentials when I got married so I use my maiden name as my middle name to prevent any confusion that could occur (vsa hyphen name) but overall not a big problem to change.

I have had parents where the wife kept her maiden name or hyphen the two names together.  They had their kids use the husband's last name or, in the case of the hyphen names, use the two names.  As far as kids having different last names as their mother, unfortunately I've seen this as a trend in my area.  Have learned to address correspondence 'to the guardian of (kid's name here)' vs using Ms.(Kid's last name here). 

LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Name Changing

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that's why they call it the present."

I concur with what MWeisgerber says on the paperwork thing... it really isn't that big of a deal.  The main thing is the SS card, and then everything else falls into place.  Now, I wasn't a nurse yet when we got married, so I didn't have to worry about this, but... if Rachel has any sort of certification, etc. that causes her to have to sign forms in a certain way, she will have to continue using her maiden name until she can get the certification updated with her new name.  For instance, if she were a nurse, she wouldn't be able to sign her stuff "Williams, RN" until she got her license updated with her new name.

You know, for me it wasn't that big of a deal and really a no-brainer to change my last name.  I mean, as young girls, didn't we all doodle "Mrs. Such-n-such" in our notebooks or whatever during class?  Don't deny it Wink.  I am sure some women have their reasons for not changing, or for doing a hyphenated name, and more power to them.  But in my view, it is just a traditional way of showing that you are now joined as one, a famiy.  I think it is confusing when the name doesn't change, because you never really know if they are married or not.  In today's society, with most of the parents in the birth section of the paper having different last names, I will just assume that they aren't. 

LuvMaerz's picture

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift... that's why they call it the present."

 It definitely took some time getting used to writing the new last name.  I messed up more than a few times Wink.  Also, at first the new last name sounds a bit strange and foreign on your tongue, but you get used to it.

Re: ps...

Have to agree but found the new last name was easier to write due to the spelling, plus it moved me up in the alphabet Wink 

Re: Name Changing

Well, okay, that doesn't sound TOO complicated:) Thanks!

Re: Name Changing

When my husband and I were married five years ago, I was excited to change my name. The form to change your name on your social security card is simple to fill out. My passport is still in my maiden name, but I haven't had any problems using it. I'll just wait until the expiration date is looming to change it. Credit cards, bank stuff, driver's license, and so on are simple to change. I waited until my new SSN card came (a couple weeks?) to update my license and checking account just in case there were questions. I don't remember, but you may need to send a copy of your official marriage license to get a new name on the SSN card. I'm sure if you go to the Social Security website it will give you all the information. Good luck with the wedding!

momof3letmebe's picture
Re: Name Changing

You'll need your marriage license to update your passport also.  I just updated mine two years ago, and we've been married for 8 years now.

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