If not my surname or my husband’s, could we announce our child after a New Zealand volcano?

Published in Odd and Fun on 22nd September 2017

Franki Cookney and her husband didnt much like one another surnames, so now theyre having a baby theyve decided to pick a brand-new one

When my husband, Rob, and I marriage last year, the question of what to do about our surnames just penetrated our debates. We are both scribes, so our mentions are on every piece of work we do. That we would impede our own seemed a rendered. There was just one niggling disbelief. What would happen if “were having” children?

I had always had considered that we would just lodge both our appoints on the birth certificate, but I knew this didnt quite resolve the problem. Whose refer would go first? And which identify would end up being used?

We could use a double-barrel appoint, but didnt seem our surnames, Cookney and Davies, lent themselves to hyphenation. Whichever guild you choose, the result is clunky and we were reluctant to saddle small children with it.

We could have just picked whichever epithet voiced best with our newborn given name. But in that scenario, one parent objective up not sharing a surname with their child and neither of us required that. Plus, Id discovered too many tales of mothers being agreed upon at airfield security because the epithets on their passports didnt competitor that of their children.

The conventional option of taking my husbands surname was never on the table. Fairly apart from the feminist principle of not wanting to abdicate my identity for his, I wasnt keen on the name. Rob supported this and was by no means offended. The hardship was, he wasnt a fan of my appoint either. Its exactly a bit unwieldy, he said. Its virtually Cockney but not quite. Youre constantly having to spell it out. We looked at our babies maiden reputations and our grandparents names but always purposed up back in the same lieu, feeling that it wasnt equal, that picking one side of the family over another wasnt fair.

We hit on the idea of taking a new mention about a year ago when before our marry we went to write our wills. As we chit-chat to one of the attorneys, it transpired that he and his wife had done precisely this. Theres a fair fleck of admin, but its good, it drives, he said , nodding decisively. Abruptly, it didnt seem so outlandish. This wasnt some foolish rebellion or bohemian pretentiousness, this was something lawyers did!

We mooted it with friends, who were largely unfazed. What call will you go for? was the thing they were most strange about. Good topic. Could we blend the messages of our reputations and form something new, we wondered. Directories were built: Gouges, Cave, Devine, Kinsey, Dacovnicks Cookies? Nothing of them quite hit the mark.

As our bridal outlined nearer, we threw the reputation activity on a back burner. But when I became pregnant 3 months later, “were in” forced to look at the situation afresh and decided to change tacking. How about a place? I suggested. Somewhere weve called that we loved. A backpacking stint before we got married had left us with spate to choose from but most sounded moderately ludicrous when attributed to got a couple of ordinary Brits. Rob and Franki Tongariro owned any particular vitality, but referring yourself after a New Zealand volcano would be ridiculous. And Zhangjiajie might make storages of splendid Chinese mountains, but imagine having to spell it every time you booked a “hairs-breadth” appointment or called your internet provider. For a while Salento and Chaltn were on the roster, after places in Colombia and Argentina. But we werent convinced we are to be able pull off the undoubtedly Latino-sounding former and supposed the latter would result in a lifetime of redressing people who pronounced it Charlton.

Then Rob said, What about Stone Town? The beautiful age-old city of Zanzibar City is where he had asked me to marry him. It instant appeared right. Stone was straightforward but significant. It resounded good with both our first names and after a few weeks of trying it on with other refers would work well with almost anything we decide to for our baby. It was perfect: a solid name( with a potential for puns that was not lost on us) that felt like a constructive solution to our trouble. We would maintain our original surnames for production and accept this new family name for our personal lives.

By law, all you need to do to change your mention is, well, change it. Simply adopting and using your new epithet is enough. Informing your details and records, however, requires a document of proof such as a wedding certificate or, in our case, a deed poll. There is no official lane of acquiring a deed poll. You can write one yourself applying free templates from the internet, but need of lucidity about the relevant procedures outcomes in some institutions asking an original certificate despite the fact that no such concept exists. You can either fight it out or you can do which is something we did and offer 15 -2 0 for a company such as the Deed Poll Office to draw up the letter on your behalf and publication and stomp it on watermarked article. Generated the roll of bodies and organisations you have to notify and the potential arguings over what constitutes an original certification, this seemed a reasonable compromise.

Perhaps it was naive, but we didnt expect to meet with resistance. Uncertainty, perhaps. Intrigue, for certain. When it came to getting married, we had trenched virtually every habit get, prohibiting the union itself, and no one had interrogated us. Surely this too would be seen as a modern updated information on an outdated habit. But when we announced our decision to our families, the reaction was mixed.

Franki
Franki and Rob. Picture: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

While they understood our quagmire, the common restraint was that the child would lose the connection to its family history. Try as I might, I cant know what this is. To me, family history departs far deeper than ones identify. Its in the way we live, our values, the knowledge and shared event passed down through generations. It is part of the storytelling our parents did and its in the floors we, more, will tell and the beliefs we will share.

Our springs are not in our identifies, they are in our mettles. My grandmother, whose surname was Jones, is important to me not because of her identify but because of her love. My great-grandmother, a midwife I never even convened, let alone shared a epithet with, forms a part of my gumption of identity. Why? Because of the style my own mother talks about her, because of the pictures she has covered in my heads of state of that life, that kinfolk, that time.

Interestingly, the identify itself has also testified a sticking point, with a few people commenting that its carrying. Youre doing this really unusual thing but youve picked a really everyday refer, said one colleague, as though by doing something different “weve been” obliged to go the whole hog and call ourselves Rob and Franki Thundercats.

In fact, the accessibility of the appoint was something we pondered would be used sell the idea. It is about to change we were naive there, more. My father, a former primary school teacher, insisted that someone called Stone would be teased. Another relative described it as a dead weight of a name.

In my experience, minors will come up with names no matter what. I invested much of my school years known as Franki Cookie while my first name was routinely elongated to Frankenstein, Frankincense or Frankfurter.

Never tell people your identify picks in advance, admonished one pal( too late ). Its as if telling people in advance is inviting a exchange or consultation!

While my familys seems undoubtedly are important to me, I suppose she might be right. Eventually, this is our decision, based on our requires, and I hope they will come to see it as a practical and positive step , not an reckless one.

Its almost impossible to get everyone on board, adviser another friend, who changed her surname by deed canvas in 2004. The thought upset my grandma but my pa, her son, understood. When I wedded my husband, he took my identify. Im still not sure his brother was 100% behind us, but when we had our first son, he was the first to be born into our empire. Im so excited that we are the first in our tree!

This is exactly how I experience. I affection the idea that our newborn will be born into this new, specifically opted and carefully thought-out family name. And if the working day he or she decides to change it either to something new or to one of our age-old family name we will fully support that.

Even when you change names, ancestry going to be able be traced and, if nothing else, I like to think we will be examined back on as all those people who tried something new; who instead of clearing do with an unsatisfactory situation, guessed creatively about how to solve it. Thats their own families bequest Im happy with.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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