Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Casey Mallinckrodt

Casey was married briefly in her early 20’s and initially took her husband’s surname. She immediately felt uncomfortable using his name and that her identity had been lost, so she legally changed back to her natal name, Mallinckrodt. After divorce, Casey had a daughter with a man she was not married to—the pair chose to hyphenate their daughter’s surname to represent both of them, but Casey put her name first so it wouldn’t be lost.

When she was first married, Casey explains, “I, actually I ended up using my husband’s last name just by default, it sort of happened by default, and I was kind of unconscious of it. And then within a year I realized that I really was uncomfortable with that and I started using Mallinckrodt again, but then when we got divorced I had to legally change my name back to Mallinckrodt again. So you had legally changed it to your first husband’s name? It had become legally changed…As a wedding, as a marriage license or whatever…Yeah. And so, you have to, it happens, at least then and in Maine, and I had to change it. But I didn’t change it for not, I mean it wasn’t, it was a bad, it was an unhappy situation. So, it was like, there was no reason to. So even before the divorce you changed back to Mallinckrodt? Yeah. Interesting. I’ve just never felt comfortable losing the name. On the other hand I’ve always liked that I had my father’s last name so…Can you explain why? I don’t know why, you know? I don’t know why that particularly…I found that the family history was interesting,”

Casey was asked about the decision making process for her daughter’s last name: Why were you afraid that your half of it would be cut off, other than the length of course? And actually more than that I wanted her last name to be Mallinckrodt- both Mallinckrodt and Reese, but Mallinckrodt. Because we weren’t married…Mmhmm..and not that we weren’t deeply committed, as any deeply committed and then divorced couple might be, but..umm..just that I felt as though it was important to have, to not loose the Mallinckrodt family side of the history. And, yeah, it was also very selfish. I felt, this is MY daughter, and admittedly she’s his daughter too but, I like this, I like this being MY child. So hence, Mallinckrodt-Reese.”

 

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