Odd Last Name: Would You/Have You Changed Yours?

Last night I watched a TV show that starred actors with the last names of “Belcher,” “Butz,” and “Weiner” and it got me thinking about last names.

the “odd” in my title isn’t really the right descriptor, but I couldn’t think of a better one.

For example, IRL I grew up with a family named “Horr” (they insisted it was pronounced “Oar,” but everyone called them “Whore”). Another family had the last name of Puba (“Pew-ba” – you know what these kids were called!) I’ve always wondered why, at some point in the lineage, someone didn’t change the name.

On the other hand, maybe it’s just not a big deal for some folks and a name’s a name/it’s important to keep one’s heritage. I have a Scots-Irish name that’s a bit unusual, but doesn’t lend itself to teasing.

I don’t like my last name, which was my stepfather’s. Nobody spells it correctly, ever. But the name I was born with was no better; in fact, it would likely have been more of a PITA for people to spell correctly.

I worked for a nice young Ensign in the Navy whose last name was Hjerpe, pronounced ‘yer-pee’. The guy must have had a lot of schoolyard brawls over that one. Even supposed adults would snicker and call him herpes behind his back.

My last name is pretty neutral and if I were to get married I’d use whichever of my or my husband’s last names sounded better. Obviously kids have no choice, but if I had a name that could potentially be the butt of the joke (pun intended) I would change it as soon as I was legally able. And of course I have to give a shout out, as I always do in threads about names, to my girlhood friend, Patricia “it’s COCK!” Cocke.

There are so many fairly common but unfortunate surnames in Newfoundland, that I once know a guy who saved cliplpings from the engagements/marriages page in the newspaper, of liaisons matchng names like Monster-Freake, or Outhouse-Barefoot.

I have the same name as a generally beloved, but somewhat controversial, politician. It was kind of a liability in the Southern city where I briefly tried to establish myself. Ultimately, it opens more doors than it closes, so I kept it.

I share the same surname with a certain astronaut turned senator. Years ago he returned to space and that day while on the phone with a client, I jokingly asked to call him back as I wanted to go outside because my uncle had just launched from Cape Canaveral. He totally bought it! :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a friend whose last name is Belcher. A bit unfortunate, and I imagine she got teased about it a lot as a child.

My wife’s maiden name was DeMent. When we became engaged, I told her that I would have no issue with her keeping her maiden name if she wanted. She replied that she couldn’t wait to change her name – not that she wasn’t proud of her family, but she had gotten so much teasing about it over the years, that she had no affection for the name itself any longer.

I have a hyphenated surname that I wish wasn’t, because I only go by the last name colloquially, but the full surname legally. It was my Dad who invented this unnecessary hyphenation, to make us seem fancy. As most of the things I sign up for require ID, I have to use my passport name for these things, and that means I get mail and notices under “K-P” even though everyone knows my last name as “P”.

Changing it would not make any difference, as legally my passport has to still have my birth certificate name, with a list of AKAs and documentation to prove it. It adds complication instead of removing it.

My name is not embarrassing or weird, though nobody ever pronounces it right, it’s just unwieldy.

Short of something like Shithouse (insert your Robin Hood: Men in Tights joke here) I could live with just about anything.

I remember someone (but I can’t remember where–not a friend of a friend thing, though) whose last name was Felcher. I’d have changed that, I think.

I knew a Fucks who changed it to Fuchs. Can’t blame him in the least.

For personal/family security reasons, or for professional and business considerations. One professional basketball player in our country was named Luke Dacula. Every time he held the ball, the fun-loving audience would chant “Awoooo…” so he changed his family name to ‘Dator.’

I wouldn’t, and I just had the chance to do it.

In Spanish law, there is no concept of “a (one, 1) legal name”; there is a concept of “full name, which can be abbreviated in many different ways, all of them legal so long as there is no intent to deceive and there isn’t a law saying you must use the full name”. You do not need to include the full name in any documents except a very few which are defined by specific laws, and alas, the government itself may abbreviate in different ways in different documents. This leads to things akin to trying to trying to rent a car with a passport that says “Robert Bruce Thompson” and a driver’s license which reads “Robert B Thompson” (both computers spell out Robert Bruce Thompson on screen, but print it out differently).

I just went through the process of “changing” my first name from its original four word version to its one word abbreviation, to make sure it would show the same way in every single government-generated document. But changing the complicated last name would have felt like I was betraying the good half of my family… if I had gotten married in a country where it’s common for wives to take their husband’s name, I would have done that for some purposes, but only in that country and only for a few things.

My last name starts with a really awkward combo of three consonants that aren’t usually found in sequence. Think something like kxl-… . It always makes me laugh to hear people pause before trying to say it (almost always wrong). But I don’t take it badly. It’s a weird name and the correct pronunciation, while easy, cannot be reasonably guessed from the spelling and I’ve heard it pronunced in every conceivable ways over the years.

The thing that bothers me more is that after “How do you pronounce it?”, the next question is almost always “What is the origin of that name?” as if my family was coming from some exotic place. It turns out that it’s a name that has been attested for almost five centuries in the region I come from. So it’s strange and very local but not foreign. It’s not even that rare: there are several families with that name that have no direct relationship with mine - at least that I’m aware of.

This thread reminds me of the joke about the guy named Joe Schidtt. He got so tired of people ragging on his name that he had it legally changed to…

Bob Schidtt.

I share my rare surname with a very well-known fictional family. It’s kind of an arse-pain because people like to make a big deal about it and occasionally refuse to believe that it’s (a) a real name, and (b) my real name.

But, you know, it’s easy to spell and no one ever forgets it once they’ve grasped it’s real. I figure I’ve earned it and my ancestors have used it since forever. So it’s mine.


I think if I had been born with the name Kuntz, I’d consider changing it if I were going to have children.

Nope. More along the lines of Gilligan, but not that. Not Clampett or Addams, either.

I didn’t have a weird name, but a *problematic *one. My maiden name was a very common man’s first name. Things were constantly filed under my first name as my last name.

Jane William (for example; not actually my name) would be filed at my doctor’s office under “J” for “Jane, William”. Even my high school diploma reads “William A. Jane” :dubious:

I wasn’t at all sorry to take my husband’s last name when we married. I don’t think I would have gone through the expense and hassle of changing it otherwise, but I’m not sure.