What’s in a name?

I was thinking over the weekend about the implications of changing my name when Steven and I get married later in the year. Over time I have gone backwards and forwards about whether I would take my husband’s name when I got married or not. By the time we finally got around to getting married, I had pretty much decided that while I am happy to go against societal conventions, I do get fed up explaining why I am doing so to people. Hence, mainly out of laziness, I decided that I would change my name. It saves any confusion when we have children and means that I won’t have to get into complicated discussions about why I’m not Mrs. Hanlon.

One of the considerations was the fact that I don’t yet have a professional reputation to worry about. If I was more established in my career, I might have considered keeping my name professionally but at this point, it is unlikely that I will confuse anyone by changing it.

What occurred to me over the weekend though was that I have established a reputation under my maiden name, it is just an online one rather than a professional one. I am registered just about everywhere under my full maiden name: Distributed Proofreaders, Ravelry, Flickr, Facebook, Yahoo, Googlemail. Even the texts that I have submitted to Project Gutenberg are credited to my maiden name. Hundreds of people know me under a variety of usernames, all based on my maiden name. Some of these sites will let me change my userid, so I could change my name but some won’t. I also know that if I only “know” someone online, I struggle if they change their username because I have difficulty transferring the associations to the new name.

Given all this, it looks like I am going to be keeping my maiden name after all, even if only virtually!

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