Losing Our Names

Recently, a question was posted on ancestry.com, where people can conduct family tree research and build their record. The person wanted to know tricks for finding out the maiden names of her female ancestors, because she was hitting research walls where the women in her family were concerned.

Fortunately, the maiden names of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers and beyond seem to have been recorded. But as I thought about how important names are to people even once they are gone, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves – which now seems to take on greater importance.

I took my husband’s last name when we were married, after much debate, so that I would share the same last name as my children. I do not regret that.

I did not, however, give up my first name.

Why then are couples formally addressed as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe? I don’t know any women named John. I am not Mrs. John anybody. I mean, really, are we to be erased from history completely?!

I allowed my last name to fade. I refuse to give up my first.

In the name of preserving the history of women, we should start demanding that invitations, letters and official documents give us our names back. Emily Post and Miss Manners be damned!

My name is not John or Tony or Richard or Paul.

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4 thoughts on “Losing Our Names

  1. michelle says:

    Yes!!! That’s exactly it!

  2. Yes! The new name, while I like it, feels like I am wearing a dress I borrowed from a good friend.

  3. michelle says:

    I’ve been thinking about the name change a lot this week. I’m changing jobs and the new company did an intense background check. They needed to know ‘my name’ when I took each job. I thought about the damage we do to our careers when we change our names in the middle of our ascent. It’s almost like we go into the witness protection program daring success to find us. I, too, decided to ditch my name so the kids and I would share. I don’t regret it. But I never felt like I owned my new last name. (stilll new after 9yrs)…

  4. elizabeth says:

    What does your return to sender nameplate say–if you have one? Make sure it says YOUR first name and your hubby’s.
    when you respond to invitations, make sure you change the wording if it is there and needs to be changed. if you are going to damn miss manners, you better be ready to stand up to her! 🙂 fun.

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