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Should I change my surname?

Ellen I. Paul toodles at wam.umd.edu
Tue Feb 7 07:07:38 EST 1995

In article <3h6u42$ves at quartz.ucs.ualberta.ca>,
Deborah Merriam <dmerriam at gpu2.srv.ualberta.ca> wrote:
>Hello all, 
>I am getting married this coming summer, and I'm trying to decide whether
>to keep by birth name as-is or take my beloved's surname.  I am currently
>working toward my M.Sc. (and hopefully my Ph.D.) in Experimental Medicine,
>and I'm extremely fortunate to have a publication to my credit already
>from my undergraduate research in a related field of lipid biochemistry.
>My fiance is finishing up his M.A. in Sociology - so people assuming that
>I'm actually his research assistant because we work in the same field
>won't be a problem for me (a concern that one of my mentors in my
>department brought up when I asked for her advice). My dilemma is more
>straightforward: will changing my surname, now that I have published under
>my "maiden" name, affect the way that my publication record is viewed down
>the road? Are there other ways in which a change of surname can affect my
>As I see it, my options are:
>1 - keep my current surname for all purposes
>2 - change my surname to coincide with my beloved's (and keep my maiden
>name as a new middle name, if I choose)
>3 - keep my name for business purposes, and use his for personal purposes
>4 - hyphenate (an excellent idea except that our surnames sound hideous
>together ;-)
>5 - have *him* take *my* surname (but he has some publications, too)
>6 - make up our own surname (cute idea, but completely impractical)
>Thanks in advance for your advice. This is a wonderful newsgroup!
>Deborah Merriam
>dmerriam at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Dear Deborah,
I kept my name for a number of reasons, including the fact that I was 
already known by that name in my profession, with all my licenses in that 
name.  But another reason was to honor my father (I'm the only offspring 
of my generation who will have his name - my cousins all changed their 
names).  Yet another reason was the fact that most of the professional 
people I know (maybe as high as 95%) have kept their own names.  Your 
last name is lovely - I'd say keep it!
Ellen Paul
toodles at wam.umd.edu

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