Necessary Naming

Hello, hive. I’m Miss Campfire and I have no idea what I’m going to do about my name once I get married.

From Dreams Time

I’ve gone through several stages of consideration about this.

You see, as much as I love my family, they can be difficult at times and there has been more than one occasion where I’ve been left hurting and overwhelmed from/because of drama. In those moments, I think, “Man, wouldn’t it be wonderful to associate myself with a family (Sparky’s) that has never once made me feel unwelcome, hurt, angry, etc.?” And in those moments, I have absolutely no qualms about dropping my last name and picking up a new one.

But here’s another consideration: I’ve worked in research since 2006 and in that time I’ve collected professional presentations and publications under my name. At current count I have 13 on my CV with more that I could add if I wanted to. This year alone I’ll probably have at least two/three more papers credited to my name. In a world where your credibility is determined by how many peer-reviewed citations you have, this is a huge factor.

At the end of the day, I love my last name. I think it’s beautiful—difficult French pronunciation and all. It used to frustrate me when I was younger (I mean, what kindergartener can fit 25 letters on those name pages?), but it’s grown on me.

I suggested to Sparky that he take MY last name, to which he laughed. He likes the way his name would sound with my last name but has flat-out refused to consider this option.

I, and a couple of friends, even suggested that we combine last names to create a new one. This would be fun as our name combination is actually pretty awesome. This, too, was vetoed by Sparky.

It’s too bad because our combined last names sound something like this with more fun letters like “x.” / Image via Wikipedia

So that leaves me with some choices.

In the words of Miss Jet Setter:

  1. “The Feminist” (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MAIDENNAME) – Keep my name entirely.
  2. “The KEEP ALL THE NAMES!” (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MAIDENNAME MARRIEDNAME) – Add my current last name as a second middle name.
  3. “The Ol’ Switcheroo” (FIRSTNAME MAIDENNAME MARRIEDNAME) – Ditch my middle name (which I happen to really love) and move my current last name into that spot.
  4. “The Fancy Law Firm” (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MAIDENNAME-MARRIEDNAME) – Keep my middle name and hyphenate two last names.
  5. “The Fresh Start” (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MARRIEDNAME) – Drop my maiden name entirely.

I’m going to add a sixth option to this:

6. “The Fake Out” Legal: (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MAIDENNAME). Social: (FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME MARRIEDNAME) – Keep my name the same legally and professionally but go by Sparky’s last name socially.

This is what I’m most seriously considering. It has a couple of benefits for me:


1. It keeps my professional/personal worlds separate. Not a bad idea in a day and age where my clients can Google search me and find me on social media websites.

2. No added legal paperwork.

3. I still get to publish under the same name.

There are a couple of cons, though.


1. If (when) we have kids, I will legally have a different last name than my little ones. Not a BIG deal, but still a consideration.

2. Inevitably, Mrs. Campfire Sparky’sLastName will probably become an alias which I will need to list on documents, which doesn’t exactly save me much time in the long run.

As you can see, I’m going around in circles. I don’t have to make any decisions now, but I’ve been thinking and thinking.

What did you do about your name?


Mrs. Campfire

Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
September 2013
Gallery of the Day: July 1, 2013
Dress You Up in My Love: Glasses
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  1. Member
    notablysidedjp 366 posts, Helper bee @ 1:25 pm

    I’m not sure what to do either. I honestly don’t like SO’s last name. Mine isn’t a gem either, but I’m used to it. He really wants me to take his, he’s traditional like that. Problem is, my last name is 4 syllables and his is 4 syllables; adding up to a whopping 8 syllables and 19 characters, (20 if you include the hyphen). I have no idea what I’ll do either…

  2. Member
    CountryRose 402 posts, Helper bee @ 11:37 pm

    Or choice 7: tell your FI to get over himself

    Sorry, just… Seriously?

  3. parasol Bee
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:04 am

    Just curious, but why do you feel like your future children necessarily have to have your husband’s last name? I didn’t change my last name, and when we have kids, we’re planning on giving them both of our last names. I’m just curious why many woman who don’t change their last names don’t consider giving their kids anything other than their husbands’ last names.

  4. Member
    MrsLDC 5087 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:38 am

    I’m totally up for changing my name. It’s a new fresh start and we creating our own new family. I really want to take my husband’s name.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 11:19 am

    I’m in the sixth option and love it! 🙂 Will probably move to the Switcheroo eventually. Great post and great luck to you, Miss C!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Anna, Guest @ 9:19 am

    I had this same dilemma. I don’t really need my maiden name for professional reasons, but I happen to like it, and it’s kind of making me sad to think of losing it, like losing a part of my tie to my family, whom I’m really close to. I considered all these options, but decided they were all too complicated, too likely to create problems in the long run etc. so I’m dropping my maiden name entirely and taking his last name (fresh start). I figured I will always be a [insert maiden name here] no matter what my legal name is, and this way he and I will always look like a full, solid family, without any doubts about the nature of our relationship (especially when we have kids). We’ll see how I feel when I get my new DL, SSC, etc with my new name! (BTW, his last name is really cool too! Objectivally, it’s probably cooler than mine, but I’m a little bit biased towards mine)

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