You can have multiple surnames!

Surname-based organizations and societies

You Can Have Multiple Surnames!

For many years, the tradition in many countries has been to take on just one surname, usually that of the father or, in some cases, the mother. However, the times are changing, and a growing number of people are embracing the idea of having multiple surnames. If you're curious about this trend, keep reading to learn more about the advantages of having multiple surnames, how it works in different cultures around the world, and how to legally change your name to include multiple surnames.

Advantages of Having Multiple Surnames

There are several advantages to having multiple surnames. For example, it can help to distinguish you from others with the same name. This is particularly useful if you have a common name, such as Smith or Garcia. Multiple surnames can also allow you to honor both sides of your family or to show solidarity with a partner's culture.

Another reason why people choose to have multiple surnames is to preserve their heritage. In some cultures, it is traditional to have multiple surnames, and people may choose to adopt this tradition to stay connected to their roots. For example, in Spain and Latin America, it is common for people to have both their father's and mother's surnames, and in Iceland, people often use their father's first name as their surname.

Multiple Surnames Around the World

The practice of having multiple surnames is not new, and it is something that is followed in many different cultures around the world. Here are a few examples:

  • Spain and Latin America: People often have both their father's and mother's surnames. The father's surname is listed first.
  • Portugal: People often have both their father's and mother's surnames, but the mother's surname is listed first.
  • Iceland: People often use their father's first name as their surname, followed by "-son" or "-dottir" depending on gender. For example, if the father's name is Jon, the son's surname would be Jonsdottir or Jonsson.
  • Hungary: People often have their mother's maiden name as their middle name.

How to Legally Change Your Name to Include Multiple Surnames

If you're interested in having multiple surnames, there are several ways to go about it. The specific process will depend on where you live and what your reasons are for changing your name. Here are a few options to consider:

  • In some countries, such as Spain, it is customary to have multiple surnames, and you can simply use both your father's and mother's surnames without needing to go through a legal name change.
  • In other countries, such as the United States, you will need to go through a legal name change process to add additional surnames. This will involve filling out paperwork, paying a fee, and appearing in court.
  • You may also be able to change your name through marriage or by adopting a child.

Before you go ahead with a name change, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks. For example, having multiple surnames can be confusing for others, and you may need to explain the reasoning behind your decision on a regular basis. It can also be more complicated if you need to provide identification or documentation, as different countries and organizations may have different naming conventions.


Having multiple surnames is a growing trend that allows people to honor both sides of their family, preserve their cultural heritage, and differentiate themselves from others with the same name. While the process of legally changing your name can be complicated, it is worth considering if you feel strongly about having multiple surnames. Keep in mind that it may also come with some drawbacks, such as confusion and complications with identification. Ultimately, the decision to have multiple surnames is a personal choice that depends on your own values, traditions, and aspirations.