Should I change my surname?

Mary Songster-Alpin mary_songster_alpin at
Wed Feb 8 18:07:48 EST 1995

I am currently a Ph.D. student in veterinary microbiology/virology.  When I 
got married in July of 1993, I decided to hyphenate my maiden name (Songster) 
with my husband's name (Alpin).  Songster-Alpin sounded good together and I 
didn't feel like taking on a totally new name.  However, hyphenating was the 
worst mistake I could have made.  NOBODY respected my decision.  All of my 
mail is addressed as Mary Alpin, Mrs. Alpin ect.  Even my insurance company 
(all of the bills are in my name since I had access to the phone during the 
day) changed my name.  They claimed that nobody would know where to look for 
our records.  That excuse made me mad.  I get strange looks, blank looks ect. 
when I say or spell my name.  What really gets me is I like it.  I think it's 
unique and elegant.  However, I have found that most people have a problem 
with husbands and wives having different names.  Mine being 50% similar only 
compounds the problem.  If I could do it again, I would have kept my own name. 
 This wouldn't solve most of the problem but people would probably think I 
wasn't married and would be reluctant to call me Mrs.  My advice:  keep your 
own name.  Marriage isn't about names, it's about love.

Mary S. Songster-Alpin      Mary_Songster_Alpin at
Dept. of Micro., Path., and Parasit.
North Carolina State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
4700 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27606

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