marriage and name-changing

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at
Wed Sep 3 12:52:45 EST 1997

Linnea Ista (lkista at UNM.EDU) wrote:
: On Wed, 3 Sep 1997, Susan Laredo wrote:
: > Haven't seen any debates about name-changing in quite a while.
: > I'm planning a (U.S.) wedding in the spring.  I always assumed that I 
: > *wouldn't* change my last name, but now I'm giving at least a little
: > consideration.  One other idea that came up was to continue to use
: > my current name professionally and a married name socially.  While the
: > idea of two identities has some appeal, it seems like a paperwork
: > nightmare.  
: > I also thought of using Firstname M. Lastname Newlastname because I
: > don't really want to be hyphenated.
: > 
: > Anyone care to comment on their experiences?

Linnea writes: 
: I would say that this decision is highly personal and what works for me
: may not work for other people. Do what you think is right!

Yes, I second that (or third it)

but . . .

I'll add that I _hate_ it when people change their

I've kept my name, and use it in all circumstances. I have a
few friends who have tried to go the route you are suggesting
of using one name in social, another in professional contexts.
But, most of my friends are professional collegues (of mine, or
my husbands), so I can't imagine when I'd use the "social" name.
This may work for people who have more divided social/professional
lives, that is who socialize with friends from church, and work
with people at the university.

The suggestion of firstname middle init. oldlastname
newlastname is them old choice of professional
women (Ruth Bader Ginsberg comes to mind) but in science,
that's going to be R.B. Ginsberg, and the cite will
be to Ginsberg et al, so it means that you've changed
your last name, for all intents and purposes.

Your citation list is important in science, and the
easier you make it for people to keep track of your scientific
publications, the better it'll be for you. If you change your
name, people will forget (at least sometimes) your old publications.
I know of several divorced women scientists who now use their
ex-husbands last name (though re-married), because they
decided they couldn't afford to give up the citation list they'd
acquired when married to their ex-husbands. 

Going back to social/professional contexts, maybe you need to
decide more specifically which cases you'd imagine using
the two names -- for example, which name on your drivers
license? on your credit cards? on your papers? on your house
stationary? on your monogrammed towels? hotel reservations
when you're traveling for pleasure? when you're travelling
for business?

Some of these are up to you -- you can use whatever
name you want on your towels, but others demand (in some
cases legal) consistency.

Yikes! I've been reading women-in-bio long enough to remember
the last time we had this discussion.

Bharathi Jagadeesh/bjag at
Lab of Neuropsychology, NIMH
Building 49, Room 1b80
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(312) 496-5625 x270

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