Reunion 2004, Robert Croxton Whitney, Hyphenated Names

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Miscellaneous > Whitney Family Reunion, 2004 > Reunion 2004, Robert Croxton Whitney, Hyphenated Names

Hyphenated Names
by Robert Croxton Whitney
26 June 2004


AEG = Allan Green
JMP = Mike Poston
JP = Jinny Parks
RCW = Robert Croxton Whitney
RLW = Robert L. Ward

RCW: This is about hyphenated surnames. The British have a quick term for it called, "double-barreled names," which I'll probably be using. It's a little quicker than saying double hyphenated surnames.

If you go to the movies these days, and you're able to sit through about (5) minutes of credits, you'll be finding people with double-barreled names. Of course, many people on the payroll are now listed than ever before as apposed to a 1939 movie which probably listed no more than (25) names. Nowadays, for example, in "The Prisoner of Azkaban," in the credits there are (3) females who had double-barreled names and (2) males. This ratio is really vice versa from what you normally find. Most of the double-barreled names are usually females. By the way, in the credits of "The Prisoner of Azkaban," the very last enumerated individual under Stunts is someone named "Joanna WHITNEY." I have no idea who she is. Another movie, "The Chronicles of Riddick." If you look at the credits there you'll find (6) females with double-barreled surnames and only about (3) men. Several decades ago it was the British who had mostly double-barreled names listed in their credits.

The earliest reason for this may be the following quote, "Through the last quarter of a century [from 1920], a fashion set in for double names. Double names are legitimate when property is represented that has descended through an heiress. It is right that the several generations who held the estate should be remembered in the name of the present proprietor. Such a double name is not irregular, for such have the warrant of a royal license. No objection can be raised to such names a Spencer-Churchill because each surname represents a fact in history of a family, the extension of one family and the devolution of its estate on the other." Now of course that's changed these days. What is the reason for the frequency these double names?

One of my acquaintances told me the reason she adopted the idea of the double names was to make it easy for her highschool friends to find her in the telephone directory. Her maiden name being unusual would be easy to find. Another reason for the frequency of double names is possibly the divorce rate being so high, roughly 50%. Those who divorced with children involved most likely went with their mothers. Sometimes the mother remarries again, the children have a step-father. Child is raised in part by the step-father who they loved. The children tag on their step-father's name to their own and we have a double name. This apparently doesn't happen that often with boys. Why this is so it not quite clear to me. The higher incidence is going to be the more females with doubled last names then boys.

In history the famous double last name guy is going to be the Russian, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff. A younger contemporary of his, also a composer, was Mikhail Ippolito-Ivano. These days, I ran across a high-ranking international ping-pong player, Jan-Ovagenna. Henin-Hardenne, who is a high-ranking female professional tennis player. The Hardenne part of her name is from her husband. His name is Pierre Yves Hardenne. Do you remember Chris Evert? She got married and then she was know as Chris Evert-Lloyd. A few years later they got divorced and she went back to Chris Evert. This seems to be the practice among pro tennis players. I want to add that some titled Britishers actual names are several surnames names long, minus the hyphen.

In sum I think that the reason for the frequency of female double last names is because of the divorces, the daughter's liking their step-father and so adding on his surname to their own.

AEG: I can give you one other cause of this, as an example, young professional women who have pride in their name in their line of work, and who marry and are willing to attach their new husband's name, but are not willing to give up the presence of their own name, because they have a certain notoriety associated with that name. I'm thinking of a young woman who worked for me. Her name was Killian, and she was a choral conductor and a voice teacher. She left and went elsewhere, after she left my school, she got married to a very nice fellow named Pacl, so she became Killian-Pacl. It's maintaining the identity, especially if there's some kind of work identity associated with it.

RCW: Caveat emptor, they say. These names are not necessarily in your lineage.

AEG: It could drive a genealogist crazy.

JMP: How do you alphabetize a hyphenated name?

RCW: You go by the first of the two names. It's the one that gets alphabetized.

[Inaudible discussion by members of the audience JP, AEG, JMP AND RLW.]

Addenda: After discussing the subject with a friend of mine he said he knew a lady who had a double last name both of whom were her ex-husbands!

Copyright © 2004, 2006, Robert Croxton Whitney and The Whitney Research Group

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