A Last Name – Part 2

In the grand scheme of human language, surnames do not have a long history. Their use is sporadic and ill-defined throughout the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations – and typically they indicate clan membership, as opposed to an unique lineal relationship, especially among the aristocracy – but by the 5th century, the use of family names had been abandoned. The beginning of their use in English is traced to the Norman invasion of the 11th century, with common usage coming centuries later. In other places, the use of surnames is a new phenomena: Netherlands (1811), Japan (1870s), Thailand (1920), and Turkey (1934). In some places they don’t exist at all, including Iceland.

The current mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, adopted a new surname combining his original surname with that of his spouse’s.

In any case, my hope for the past year or so, was that a logical method for choosing a last name would present itself. Alas, I’m starting to suspect that J will go into labour and we still will not have decided.

J and I did discuss some interesting last names, each with their own particular rationale (for instance, J and I were engaged to be married in Banff):

  • Banff
  • Blairmore
  • Exley
  • Kelsey
  • Leapark
  • Snow, Snowdon/Snowden
  • Vaughn
  • West

But as the carefree days come to an end, J and I are gripped by the likelihood of giving our newborn the last name of Mowat or Hutchinson, and not something more…creative.

At the moment, the Hutchinson clan and the Mowat clan are in the same boat: no further sons to carry the last name on into the future, beyond the current generation: ie, myself and my brother-in-law Kyle. That really doesn’t mean as much to me as it once maybe did. Nevertheless, it is a small consideration to make, I suppose.

There are, I fear, even tougher decisions on the horizon.

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4 thoughts on “A Last Name – Part 2

  1. Have you thought about what your son would like for a last name. Will he think that’s it’s wonderful having a last name made just for him? Or would he feel that he was denied being apart of something bigger?

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  2. Hmmm. That’s an interesting point.

    Again, the intention was that J & I would be legally changing our last names to match that of the children. So the entire family would have the same name.

    But perhaps that isn’t quite the same as inheriting your name.

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  3. I was thinking about your conundrum last night, and remembered that I knew a couple in university who both hyphenated their last names with their spouse’s. So your whole family could be Hutchinson-Mowat. Or Mowat-Hutchinson. (I think the first combination sounds better.) Then you will all have a “new” last name, and both names will also be carried on.

    You can let your kids worry about what they’ll do with their hyphenated name when they get married…

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  4. Sara kept her last name too, but the kids all took on the “Horseman” moniker. The main reason behind that was I was the only “Horseman” left. My Grandfather being an only child, my Brothers being adopted, and my Dad’s only sibling was a girl.

    There aren’t a lot of “Horseman”‘s around, mostly spelled without the “e”, so I felt it important to keep the name going. I suppose we didn’t have to with our daughter, but once we decided, it became the default option.

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