Should I change my surname?

Kristen M Timms ktimms at imgen.bcm.tmc.edu
Wed Feb 8 17:04:10 EST 1995


In article <3h6u42$ves at quartz.ucs.ualberta.ca>, dmerriam at gpu2.srv.ualberta.ca (Deborah Merriam) writes:
|> Hello all, 
|> 
|> I am getting married this coming summer, and I'm trying to decide whether
|> to keep by birth name as-is or take my beloved's surname.  I am currently
|> working toward my M.Sc. (and hopefully my Ph.D.) in Experimental Medicine,
|> and I'm extremely fortunate to have a publication to my credit already
|> from my undergraduate research in a related field of lipid biochemistry.
|> My fiance is finishing up his M.A. in Sociology - so people assuming that
|> I'm actually his research assistant because we work in the same field
|> won't be a problem for me (a concern that one of my mentors in my
|> department brought up when I asked for her advice). My dilemma is more
|> straightforward: will changing my surname, now that I have published under
|> my "maiden" name, affect the way that my publication record is viewed down
|> the road? Are there other ways in which a change of surname can affect my
|> career? 
|> 
|> As I see it, my options are:
|> 1 - keep my current surname for all purposes
|> 2 - change my surname to coincide with my beloved's (and keep my maiden
|> name as a new middle name, if I choose)
|> 3 - keep my name for business purposes, and use his for personal purposes
|> 4 - hyphenate (an excellent idea except that our surnames sound hideous
|> together ;-)
|> 5 - have *him* take *my* surname (but he has some publications, too)
|> 6 - make up our own surname (cute idea, but completely impractical)
|> 
|> Thanks in advance for your advice. This is a wonderful newsgroup!
|> 
|> Deborah Merriam
|> dmerriam at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
|> 
|> 
|> 
|>  
 
I got married on Jan 20 - about three weeks ago. For me this decision was
very easy with the only possible option being #1. I couldn't imagine any
reason for me to want to change my name, and I could think of a lot of
reasons why I should not change it. My family were very supportive of this -
in fact I think they would of had more difficulty with the idea of me
changing my name. My husbands family have been far less impressed - and we
have even received letters addressed to Mr and Mrs Craig Pierson - blerk!
Talk about loosing your identity. I also have a number of publications under
my "maiden" name - but for me this is not the major reason why I haven't
changed my name - tho' it has given me an excuse when being grilled by the
in-laws. I think ultimately this decision can only be yours - you have to
choose the solution that you feel most comfortable with - afterall you're the
one that has to live with the decision. If you choose to keep your own name
and also have children then I guess you should also face the possibility that
the same problem is going to arise again in the future. For my part I'm a
firm believer in the idea that the woman who does the work should get the
credit - so I can imagine the howls of protest that my in-laws are going to
make if I ever introduce them to their grand-child Junior _Timms_.

Whatever decision you make I don't think it will
have any real impact on your professional life. For me it was
more about how I identified with myself than any possible effect on my
career. Really I guess the only answer to the question is that you are 
the only person who knows the answer.

Anyway, congratulations on your marriage.

Kirsten Timms.



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