My Name

It’s complicated!.

I got married at 20 and just started using my maiden name as my middle name. I never went through any official name change procedure and no one ever questioned it. When I got remarried, I just changed last names but the forms asked for a middle and a maiden name so Teresa still showed up in those documents.

As we moved from state to state, I would use my maiden name on my Driver’s License … until we moved to Minnesota. They insisted that Teresa HAD to be on my license but I’d been using my maiden name for 20 years by that time … the compromise was to use both middle names. When we moved back to Florida and I was able to drop the Teresa again. And then we moved to Georgia again. Even though I was able to use my maiden name as my middle name previously in Georgia and the Florida license I was surrendering used my maiden name, Georgia insisted that Teresa had to be on the license so once again I am stuck with 4 names.

Now we’re getting ready to start traveling again. I had to renew my passport so it now shows 4 names. I also had to update the information on the Delta site since the name on my ticket has to match the name on my IDs.

I’ve got a trail “legal documents” over 40 years that do not have Teresa on them but do have my maiden name. Maybe somewhere along the line I should have formally, legally dropped Teresa but at this point it would be too complicated.

What do you do? Use your middle name or your maiden name? Or both?

29 comments

  1. I understand the challenges. I divorced after 40 years of marriage and chose all new names—first, middle and last. It’s legal and I like knowing that I’ll never have to deal with that issue again. My last name is actually my grandmother’s maiden name and she and her sister were my mentors.

    • I hated my first name and started using my middle name in grade school. When I got married, I wanted my maiden name. I just added it to all documents, driving license, etc. My original passport, social security card, etc. had my maiden name. However, getting a Medicare card, was an issue. They won. I now use the first name and have to answer to that, no longer have my maiden name. I fill like I lost myself. It is one of life’s adjustments. I am still “updating names on financial institutions to make it easier later for the children. I just noticed this WordPress has my maiden initial. ha

  2. I was not given a middle name; my mother thought women had too many names. So, when I got married I used my maiden name as my middle name and changed it on my social security card…and driver’s licenses. I think I am safe. No one understood not having a middle name when it came to filling out forms, so sometimes my confirmation name was used, just to make them happy.

  3. I use my original middle name and just dropped the maiden name, my daughter uses her maiden name as the middle name and dropped the original middle name. Both of us are really known by or nicknames Ginny for me and Katie for my daughter.

  4. Upon marriage, I think it was the tradition in the South for the woman to drop her middle name and to use her maiden name as her middle name. I personally refused to do that and kept my middle name from birth. However, some people in my husband’s family thought that was a mistake. Now, speed forward to the time of security and identity in travel, that decision was the right one. I think it is a legal issue, but perhaps you could relieve your mind by asking a lawyer.

  5. I have 3 Christian names which I use on legal documents *Jennifer Lesley Alexis*. I’ve used Lesley for everyday usage since I was about 8 years old. I’ve changed my last name on marriage.

  6. Mary, I now use my complete birth name, first middle last. I did not change the last name when I remarried. I figured I came into this world with this name and I’ll go out with it, too. You would not believe how easy it is to get driver’s license and passport! All I had to show was my birth cert and DONE! No other supporting papers for marriages in-between. Easy-Peasy!

  7. Being British there was no tradition of using your maiden name as your middle name.
    I did intend to keep my maiden name but when we wanted to open a joint bank account in Switzerland we had to have the same last name. grrr

    • I was named for two very special great aunts, Sallie and Annie. My parents changed the spelling a bit to Sally Ann and I was called by the two names. Eventually, I was just called Sally. When I married at 35, I hyphenated my first and middle names, put my maiden name as my middle name and took my husbands last name as mine. So I didn’t drop anything but added his name. It sounds simple but it’s been complicated. Drivers license people said they couldn’t use a hyphen, so they separated the hyphenated names and ran together my maiden and married names (made it one name). That in turn affected my voter registration so every time I go to vote they have trouble finding my name on the register. I think many of these name problems might come about simply because there was a new person on the job that day who really didn’t know what/how to handle the situation and did it wrong.

  8. I grew up not knowing I had a legal name and just used my nick name when I applied for social security card, etc. My wrong name is on everything. A big headache to try to sort out at over 70. Now I use 4 names but no one knows who that is, except the legal stuff. We can have issues with the men in the family where 5 have the same name.

  9. I dropped my birth middle name, took my maiden name as middle name and spouses last name upon our marriage.

  10. My Aunt Mary died when I was 18. Her legal name was Marie but she used Mary for everything. Her family had a lot of problems fixing her estate. I use my legal name with just an S for my middle name. No one but very closest friends and doctors know my legal name is Hester, not Hedy. When I divorced a trillion years ago I took my maiden name back and said I would never give it up again and I haven’t. So my name today and for a trillion years has been the name I was born with.

  11. Didn’t change my name when we got married as had established professional ID. Did answer to Mrs DHname when addressed as such mainly at kids schools.

  12. I was born at home in Holland. My baptismal certificate is my “proof of birth” and had my middle name on it. I am a naturalized US citizen and that document has my middle name although the judge spelled it wrong and Dad signed it and it’s not worth the effort to fix it. I had to use this for my passport and DL so continued with my middle name as well as the SS card I got when I was 11 and opened a bank account (they required it). I married in 1980 and dropped my maiden name-never occurred to me to not take hubster’s name, it wasn’t a thing then.

  13. I’ve always used my middle name, and dropped my maiden name when I married. At least people can spell my married name correctly which wasn’t the case with my maiden name. Ironically my mother learned at age 14 that her given name was actually Jenny, but everyone called her Jane. I was in junior high when she finally managed to change it legally on her birth certificate. Names can certainly be complicated.

  14. I never expected to change my last name when I married. However, when I finally found the man of my dreams at age 42, I did take his last name and moved my maiden name to the middle. I did it because I wanted his teenage daughter to see the three of us as a family unit. I’m glad I did.

  15. One reason to use your maiden name as a middle name is to make it so much easier for later genealogists to trace families. I use my maiden name as my middle name, and it’s a reminder of my whole life history: first name, maiden name, married name.

  16. I go by only my first and last name. When I was born my parents didn’t know what to name me. It was not until I was in my 30’s that it had to be changed legally. My birth certificate had Baby as my first name. My mother had to send a couple of documents in with my name on them but neither had my middle name. So legally I do not have a middle name and that is how I have kept it since. I did use my middle name for a few years but so far that has not been an issue.

  17. When I got married, the form (as I recall) asked what name I would be using. I listed my maiden name as my new middle name. Then I used the marriage license to change drivers license, SS, etc.

  18. My mother disliked her middle name, so she didn’t give my sister and I a middle name. Now we use our maiden name as our middle names. So far…we think it is all legal!

  19. I’ve only ever used my middle name with my last name, so have never had problems. My youngest is having all the problems though. She got married in December. Her husband is in the process of changing his last name of Schroeder to his middle name of Winter and and adding his grandfather’sname for his middle name. So he’ll be Eli James Winter. Right now she’s using Grace Ensminger-Winter but will drop Ensminger once his name change is official and be Grace Kathryn Winter. Legally she’s still Grace Ensminger which she can’t wait to change. Wish i could too, it’s an awful last name! 🤣

  20. We’ve been married nearly 48 years now. When we married I took my husbands last name, and on legal documents have to show my first, middle initial and married last name. There was no way I would ever consider using my maiden name, and if I were asked I’d be adamant about NOT using it. Back then you didn’t ‘change’ your name, you just used the new one from then on. I got my license records changed at DMV (with the marriage license), bought & sold numerous homes, worked in tons of different jobs (including one that required TWO background checks) and never had any problems.

  21. Oh I have a funny story about this. When I got married I dropped my middle and maiden name thinking I was simplifying things. On my military ID, for year I was Vicki NMN Welsh (no middle name). Virginia didn’t care. When I moved to North Carolina in 1990 I went to get a driver’s license and got in a big fight with the DMV because they told me that I “had” to use my maiden name as my middle name. I suggested that they show me the law that stated that because federal law didn’t require it and North Carolina couldn’t. They kept asking for my maiden name and I told them that they could make up any name that the wanted because any name they put on that license would be illegitimate. It took a while but I did finally get out of there with the proper name on my driver’s license. Those people were obnoxious!
    My grandmother was a twin and she wasn’t given a middle name because each twin got one of the names! LOL

  22. I have always gone by my middle name. My first name was the same as my mother’s but the only time I heard it was when I was in trouble! When names matching on passports and driver’s licenses became more stringent, I legally changed my name by dropping my first name and using my maiden name as my middle name. In my heart I will always consider my name to be what my parents named me but for practical purposes I’m fine with making the legal change.

  23. I never had a middle name and when I married in 1973 I used my maiden name as my middle name. I didn’t have to do anything except change my name on my Social Security and drivers license.

  24. It has been interesting reading the comments. I have never heard people taking/using their maiden name as middle name after getting married. My nieces middle names are their mother’s maiden name. They mom kept her last name for professional reasons. My mom used her middle name. I wonder if is a regional/cultural thing.

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