[DWJ] new book preview

Eleanor Joslin eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk
Thu Jun 27 10:36:47 EDT 2013

On 27/06/13 14:38, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
> On Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:16:55 +0100
> Eleanor Joslin <eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk> wrote:
>> Moving a maiden name into a middle name position is not something
>> that happens much in Britain. (Never say never, but I don't know of
>> any examples.) Giving a family surname to a child as a forename seems
>> less common here too. So the most common assumption is that if a name
>> looks like a surname, it is one, although this may be changing as we
>> absorb forenames-that-used-to-be-surnames from the USA.
> I know at least six people in England with an extra surname in their
> name, including my ex's family who use the maternal grandmother's
> maiden name for the penultimate name of a first son and the paternal
> grandmother's maiden name for the penultimate name of the second son,
> then work up through the generations if they need to.  This family
> tradition does not include the girls.  Another one I've known is a child
> whose parents were not married, who has his father's and his mother's
> name with no hyphenation.  Yet another had father's and mother's
> surnames just because the parents had felt like adding the two together
> when they got married, as far as I can make out: she was the only child
> of an only child and wanted to keep that surname in her name, or
> something of the sort.

I suppose I've been thinking that the difference between a forename and 
a surname is which box its owner puts it in on forms.  When people marry 
and combine their surnames, don't they put them both in the Surname box? 
  Whereas I would guess that Martha, who signs herself "Dr Martha P. 
Hixon", puts only "Hixon" in the Surname box, and is "Hixon, Martha 
Pittman" to the Library of Congress.

I can understand that it's a grey area, and that some people may treat 
their names inconsistently, just as I am not consistent about whether 
the B after my house number should be upper or lower case.  (And neither 
are the people who send me mail.)

Humans' names are very complicated, as any programmer who has tried to 
write a validator for them could confirm.


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