Women and surnames

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Women and surnames

Postby DonnaPellegrin » 08 Dec 2006, 05:16

I know that my female ancestors in Italy kept their surname all of their lives as was the custom. My question is: Do women in Italy today keep their surnames? Or has this custom changed? And what other European countries have this custom? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby Poipuo4 » 14 Dec 2006, 19:44

I am sure there are other people more qualified to answer this, but from my reading, women in Italy today usually use their maiden names professionally and their married names in social settings. They do not hyphenate, like some of us tend to do.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby suanj » 14 Dec 2006, 21:57

In Italy the women have always the birth surname, and the husband surname is used only in social settings, as Poipou said... a name for a woman is always the same for all life, as for the men... regards, suanj
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby jcsm400 » 14 Dec 2006, 23:28

From our member, Trish, a professional genealogist.


"Besides Italy, there are other countries today that the woman always uses her maiden name.

In The Netherlands married women will remain registered under their maiden name, but may choose to use their husband's name, or join both names.

In Belgium a women must use her maiden name for official purposes, and will use her maiden name for most private purposes too.

In Spain, the practice is for people to have two surnames, a paternal and a maternal surname (their father's surname followed by their mother's surname)."

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Re: Women and surnames

Postby DonnaPellegrin » 15 Dec 2006, 19:32

That is great information. Thanks. You people are the best. I'm glad that women in Italy have continued this custom. It makes genealogy so much easier!

Interesting information about Spain, too.

You know I kept my maiden name when I got married. And all it does is confuse people in the United States!
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby nuccia » 15 Dec 2006, 21:46

I chose to hyphenate my name when I got married which proved a nightmare! My last name is so long and almost every document, credit card, letter, etc is misspelled. I totally understand about confusion... I should have kept one or the other..not both. I have been regretting it ever since (by the way..I do prefer my maiden name, but only because I have always liked it).
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby DonnaPellegrin » 15 Dec 2006, 22:36

Nuccia,
What is typical of Canadian women? I once worked with a French Canadian woman who kept her maiden name. Is that common up there?
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby nuccia » 15 Dec 2006, 22:43

In Ontario is is common to take the husbands surname or if you're like me you can hyphenate. Some do choose to keep their maiden names most most typically you take the husbands.

In Quebec however, its different. Women keep their maiden names which would explain why the French Canadian woman you worked with kept hers.

I believe, although not 100% certain, that the rest of Canada is like Ontario. Quebec is slightly different in their "laws" than the other Canadian provinces.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby DonnaPellegrin » 16 Dec 2006, 15:03

Thanks, Nuccia. That would explain it.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby JamesBianco » 17 Dec 2006, 20:40

DonnaPellegrin wrote:Nuccia,
What is typical of Canadian women? I once worked with a French Canadian woman who kept her maiden name. Is that common up there?


After researching French Canadian Parish registers back into the early 1600's a woman retained her maiden name on all church records. While the records of Ontario are considerably later, a Catholic Church record (regardless of ethnic origin) from that province always lists women by their maiden names first, then denote the spouse. This was also true in France when I started tracing even farther back. It is also (naturally) the custom in Portugal.

In Canada today, on a civil level, women are listed by their married name, regardless of Province.

Just my two cents from heaps of experience.

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Re: Women and surnames

Postby Poipuo4 » 21 Dec 2006, 20:39

Nuccia: I am glad to hear there is someone else with a very long hyphenated name! I have a very long Italian maiden name and an 8 letter married name. It confuses a lot of people too.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby wldspirit » 21 Dec 2006, 22:50

My name is hyphenated with my mothers surname and fathers...then I got married.....so I have three surnames..... :P Talk about confusing people...
if they ever try to find me in a genealogy quest a hundred years from now,
I will give them one heck of a brickwall to get over!!!!
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby Roadlawyer » 26 Jul 2007, 04:46

This thread made me so happy to hear I wasn't the only one. My maiden name was two words, for a total of 17 letters, which we hyphenated so that Americans wouldn't drop the first word in the Spanish style. I couldn't face adding another hyphenated name (can you imagine the nightmare) when I married so I dropped my maiden name.

I'll be resuming the name without the hyphen when we retire to Italy next year.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby NOLA » 31 Aug 2007, 13:50

If I were an Italian woman, my name would be Patricia Rubino in Sandler (my husband's name). Italian women continue to use their birth names, but they are addressed formally by their husband's name. I would be La Signora Sandler, but all my financial records, health records would indicate my birth name. I wish it were so here, because it would have been much easier to produce correct documents for dual citizenship.
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Re: Women and surnames

Postby BillieDeKid » 31 Aug 2007, 14:47

JCSM-

You said Spain you have to use both parents surnames? Then what happens when you get married? Do you keep all three surnames or use your husbands surname?

This is a great learning experience.

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