Duana Names: Labelling a Take Home Baby

April 20, 2015 16:54:39 Posted at April 20, 2015 16:54:39
Duana Posted by Duana


We have our first name picked out for our girl both middle name (three syllables and then one). Both are very pretty, classical but not overused - maybe both in the 250 range of most popular. The issue I am having is the last name-hyphenation issue.

My boyfriend and I have been together donkeys' years and after many ups, downs and heartaches we might actually be having our take home baby late spring. The issue is we are not married, nor do we have plans to. I want to include my last name for pure nepotism and for ease of traveling which we do a great deal of. The issue is my last name is not common and three syllables like "Harriman" my boyfriend has a simple last name like "Wilson".

Is Harriman-Wilson simply too long as a last name? Will that even fit on a passport? Will this kid grown up and think WTF were my parents on? Or...do we simply use Harriman as a second middle name? I am just not sure what it the etiquette on last names these days and how much, is too much?


This is something to love about today’s society.

You’re not married and don’t have plans to be. Some people are married but don’t all take one last name. Some are married and both hyphenate their name. Some families have two moms or two dads and so which last name goes where is not a given that you either choose for or against.

These are all the things that conservative politicians want us to believe will ‘fracture society’ and cause strife and confusion in our children. Instead, the exact opposite is happening. Since there are fewer and fewer ‘traditional’ families, and those supposedly ‘traditional’ families are doing things all kinds of ways, everyone accepts that basically anything goes. One dear friend is in a straight marriage to a man she loves, and both their boys wear his name first and then hers. You know who blinked about this? Nobody. I have friends who hyphenate. Friends whose kids have different last names than theirs. You know who is bothered by this? Nobody.

So yes, do Harriman Wilson if that’s what you want. I do think some forms don’t always allow for actual hyphenation, but there’s no reason your kid shouldn’t be like Bryce Dallas Howard or Johnathan Taylor Thomas or Jennifer Jason Leigh or other people that the kids know, where the second name is just part of the last name. So if she’s Anna, then she’s Anna Harriman Wilson. Lovely, right? It does maybe make you consider her first name – I don’t think you want Elisabetta in the first spot, or Persephone, or anything too fussy – but that’s not the same thing as not having a long name there. In fact, Annabeth Harriman Wilson might balance out the longer names better.

The only downside here? Yes, you will rarely get to use her middle name except in casual conversation. But maybe that’s fine? Let me know what you choose!

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!

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