Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Marley Ferguson Hautzinger

Marley is the daughter of Sarah and Tim, who chose to give her both last names at birth. Though her parents openly intended that she use only Ferguson, she chose at a young age to use both last names socially.

Marley acknowledges this, saying that her last name is “Ferguson Hautzinger. And Ferguson is my dad’s last name and Hautzinger is my mom’s. And my parents gave me both with the idea that I would drop Hautzinger and just use Ferguson. But I haven’t done that, and I’ve used both. As if it were a hyphenated last name. And so, is that your choice?   I guess, but also it’s on my birth certificate.”

While she maintains both last names socially, she feels that her parent’s decision to give her two last names was unfavorable. “I just explain that my parents are a little unusual and not very good at naming people, so… [laughs] I use it as if it were a hyphenated last name. And do they ever put the hyphen in, for you? Generally,yeah.”

Having two unhyphenated last names has been difficult for Marley in more formal situations. “I don’t know anybody else that has the space rather than the hyphen. If you could turn the clock back to the day you were born what advice would you give your parents? To put in a hyphen. I’ll probably end up changing it anyway because I don’t like the 18 letters. For the sake of simplicity, it’s just confusing without the hyphen. And they claim to have done it the “Latin American” way, but we’re not actually in Latin America.”


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