By any other name …

What is in a name? Many women change their last name upon marriage. There is nothing wrong with tradition, but this ritual may not feel suit all women.

Which also brings us to the question, “Why shouldn’t mothers pass on their names to their children?” In a Time Magazine, article, Audrey Hirsch talks about why she wanted her babies to have her last name when they were born. She had traced her genealogy back to the 1600s in Germany and Sweden and wanted to “pass on the history of the Hirsch family to her children”.

Unfortunately, when she hit the bureaucracy, there was much explaining required. But why? Couldn’t it be as simple as a new form line – check the applicable box – children have their mother’s / father’s last name?

In the ’80s and early ’90s, many women decided to hyphenate their last name, but this practice has since lessened because, as NPR put it, it became “less of a feminist statement and more of a bureaucratic nightmare.” I dislike use of the hyphen; it comes across as people-pleasing instead of a woman knowing her own mind.  

The total obliteration of our family’s last name when we get married is old-fashioned at best, and just wrong for 2022. In my personal life, I did take my husband’s last name, but I kept my family name for my business and social media. I like using Crossland. It speaks to my English heritage and feels like a gesture to my father who would have been proud of my entrepreneurial path.

Many freelancers, consultants. authors, designers, and digital marketers prefer to use their names instead of creating something generic ; it is an excellent way to brand yourself professionally. However, even if you don’t fall into that category now, owning your name in domain format may come in handy for a blog or creative project down the road.

The world of available domain names is shrinking. It can be awkward if someone with a sketchy occupation owns the .com or .ca of your name. I am lucky, Google Jill Crossland and the other me to come up is a concert pianist.

I read a comment on Reddit that a woman is choosing between a father’s or husband’s name but why does this decision have to be explained in the context of paternalism or even feminism?   I know married women who have kept their family name; their decision doesn’t have anything to do with love but everything to do with self-identity. Some women embrace a hybrid solution, as I do. What matters is taking the time to consider your choices. How best to honor yourself, your genealogy and your relationships.


The Pros and Cons of Using your Own Name as a Domain Name – Curvearr, August 2021

Why my children have their mother’s last name by Audrey Hirsch – Time Magazine, March 2022

Everything to Know About Hyphenating Your Last Name By Michelle M. Winner | Updated on 01/04/22 – Brides Magazine

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