Should I change my surname?

becker at becker at
Mon Feb 13 08:10:05 EST 1995

In article <3hbf4q$hja at>, ktimms at (Kristen M Timms) writes:
 : In article <3h6u42$ves at>, dmerriam at (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
 : |> 
 : |> 
 : |> 
 : |>  
 : 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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