Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Kelley Douglass

Kelley Douglass kept her last name when she married her second husband, though she had changed her name in her first marriage. It was very important to her first husband that she takes his name. She kept her name partially out of annoyance at the process of changing it multiple times, and also because she felt a loyalty to her father, who had been adopted, and who thus had a short personal history with the name.

She discussed some of the legal processes of name change that she had experienced. “It was so easy with a marriage certificate to just wipe out your former identity, your former name. It was nothing. But when I went through the divorce I had to change everything, social security, and it just seemed much more cumbersome to go back and change it back.”

She discusses her current husband’s thoughts on the decision. “David didn’t mind at all if I kept my name, in fact his comment was he likes my name, and he could understand. He probably thought about changing his name to my name. It’s easier to spell and pronounce. It seems sort of trivial but I’m in my job… I want people to remember me.”

Her children were given her husband’s last name because she thought it was more traditional and that it would be easier for them at school. She also expressed that she had no preference of what her children decided to name their children.

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