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Should I change my surname?

becker at hal4.usm.uni-muenchen.de becker at hal4.usm.uni-muenchen.de
Mon Feb 13 09:54:12 EST 1995

Sorry, I messed up my first attempt - new newsreader.


      there is no right way for everyone, just pick the option that you and 
your husband feel most comfortable with.  Once the two of you are happy, the
rest will sort out itself (or not but it won't matter so much).  The worst
thing that can happen to you is that you decide on something because someone 
else wants it because you'll end up justifying your decision all the time.
Whatever you decide on, there will be problems somewhere: change of name =
change of identity? Some people might see it that way. New name - publication
record goes haywire? Can happen, but in principle you can still publish under
your maiden name (then you end up with confused faces at conferences).
Various of my colleagues have tried different options, in the end it usually
was the contents of the work which was important, the change of name early
in their career didn't cause major difficulties.

    In our case, we both kept our names and are still happy with this decision.
We actually had to fight for it in the first place. I'm german, my husband is
british. When we got married in Germany, both partners keeping their respective
names was not an option, we only managed because he was not german.  Meanwhile
things have changed but not in people's heads.  There were several nice
incidents along the way: A clerk who was supposed to set up a contract of some
sort for us asked after we explained that we had different names but were
married: "...but surely not to each other?"
  When our son was born some neighbors in the new estate where we had moved
asked if we didn't want to get married nor that we had a child (our reply was 
something like :"Again???").
   One thing that causes ma to grin is that my husband usually ends up being
Mr. Becker with any workmen we call in since I'm generally in charge of such
dealings being the more practically minded of us.
   All in all, there are the occasional hiccups but we consider them to be
somebody else's problems.  You should keep them in mind, though.

    All the best to the two of you


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