When Will and I were married, I did not take his last name. He was a little crestfallen when I told him I wouldn’t. I kept my mother’s maiden name as my surname instead.
“It may mean something different to you now, but it was designed to signify ownership.” Men Who Insist You Change Your Name Make Terrible Husbands.
Her biological maiden name, not her adopted one (i.e., “Ellis”). I had taken a man’s surname once before, and didn’t want to again. So I took a woman’s name instead. My mother’s, after I divorced Seth and Michaela’s father. In honor of her, my mother, who died when I was six.
A History of O’Neylan: an anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Nialláin.
So how to honor a husband and a mother at the same time? How about this: go down to the King County Courthouse and take your husband’s first name as your middle name. So that 36 years after you’re born, your nominal evolution goes a little something like this: Catherine Neylan Holmes, 1967-1986 (but always call her “Callie”, please. Never, ever “Cathy” and “Catherine” only when she’s in trouble or dealing with the government); Catherine Neylan Pomeroy, 1986-1993; Catherine Ellis Neylan, 1993-2003; Catherine William Neylan, 2003-forever.
And that, my friends, is the story of a name. September 5, 2003.