I’d like to write this letter to my sweet baby Ginny regarding her very special string of names. As you may or may not know, I kept my last name after marriage. Changing my name was not an option for me; I view the tradition as very archaic and incompatible with my beliefs, and though it definitely works for other families, it did not sit well with me; therefore, I could not make such an important change out of convenience to society. Even after two years of marriage, I still get the confused looks, eye rolls, or comments about how I’m “one of ‘those’ feminists.” But that’s for another time and day.

This letter is to explain to perfect little Ginny why she has two last names.

*Below are some family pictures, including both namesake “Virginias,” grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A Letter to My Daughter (About Her Two Last Names)

My dearest Ginny,

Your name is incredibly special for so many reasons.

You are Virginia Katherine Rosasco Copeland.

You are more than 31 characters in your name.

First, you are Virginia. You are named after my Gram and Great Grandma Jones who was ahead of her time and named her daughter after herself. I never hear of women doing this, though men commonly name their sons after themselves. Grandma Jones was a very special lady, and I can’t wait to tell you stories about her- I know she visits us from heaven and watches over you, even though you haven’t officially met.

It's Simply Lindsay

Gram is truly one of the most special people in my life, and I know you will share more than just a name with her- you will share her kindness, fervor for life, non-discriminating palette, and love for reading.

Next, you are Katherine, my middle and your Nana’s middle name. I have always loved my middle name, which is why I never considered dropping it and adding my family name in its place.

It's Simply Lindsay

Ever since I learned cursive, I loved writing the long, beautiful name. Even though they don’t teach it in school, I will teach you to write cursive and have beautiful handwriting like your grandma and great grandma, and you will love writing your long, loopy, pretty name.

Both Katherine and Virginia mean “pure;” what could be more perfect and pure than you?

You are Rosasco Copeland, an exact product of your mom and dad. Your dad and I love when people, even strangers, tell us that you are a perfect combination of us, and your name reflects that.

People will have strong, mostly negative, opinions about you having two last names. People will think we chose to give you two names out of your mom’s selfishness and that it will only cause you problems and inconveniences. But Ginny girl, dad and I knew you were too smart and strong of a girl to let silly inconveniences get in the way.

It's Simply Lindsay

You will be so articulate and confident. You will explain to teachers, classmates, and doctors offices that you have two last names. You will take a few extra minutes to explain that your parents are married and that they have different names. You will be able to talk about where your name came from and even talk about your parents’ choice eloquently and without malice, negativity, or harshness. You will rise above anyone who says your name is confusing or inconvenient.

When the time comes, if you don’t love being different and having two names or it proves to be inconvenient or too different for you, dad and I will support whatever you choose! Keep both, drop one, take dad’s, take mine- I don’t care. The main point is to choose with thought, not from what others think is ‘right.’ Do what you think is right, and you will have all the love and support from us. Always.

I know you will take pride in knowing where your two names came from- one from mom and one from dad, and together we’re a strong family full of love, strength, positivity, non-judgment, and support.

It's Simply Lindsay

As I’m reading this out loud to you and daddy, you gave me the biggest, toothless smile and sounds of approval. Your hair is sticking straight up, you’re happily sucking on your toes and playing with your daddy. You’re looking at me like, ‘why is this even a thing, mom?’ I’m glad you’re already on board, we knew you would be.

With all the love in the world,

Mom (and dad)

Everywhere
  • Stephanie Kliethermes

    Lindsay, this is beautiful, eloquent, and powerful. What a touching letter! Ginny is lucky to have you as her mom.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Stephanie, thanks so much for reading and for the nice comment- made my day!

  • This is so sweet, what a lovely letter!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading, Angie!

  • So so sweet. I admire that you did something that many don’t do because you decided it was best for YOU. I think people feel too much pressure to be a certain way. Her name is beautiful and it has such meaning.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading and for the kind remarks, Jaelan.

  • Rachel Powell

    That is such a sweet letter. She will love all of the thought put into her beautiful name!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I appreciate you stopping by to read!

  • Dayne Prescott

    Beautiful letter to you daughter. LOVED reading the significance of her names, and I know she will to one day! 😀

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I appreciate you taking the time to read this, Dayne, and for the nice comment!

  • Patricia Hickey Rosasco

    Women really didn’t keep their names when I was getting married…..back in the old days, before water! Ask Gram and she’ll tell you that the only 2 reasons I was sad to get married were 1) I didn’t want to lose my last name, Hickey and 2) I didn’t want to leave my bedroom. It wasn’t an option. I do understand it, but I also like that the entire family, mom, dad and kids all have the same name. I use my maiden name and married name on social media so that people can find me. It’s not fair that old friends and acquaintances wouldn’t know married names; so in that sense, too, it makes sense. And when my husband saw this for the first time, he questioned it and didn’t really like it!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I was also most sad about the notion of losing my name and leaving my room- you made my home too comfy for me! If your husband questioned and didn’t like you using both names on social media, which most people do, you should explain that your maiden name is still YOU and part of your identity. How would he feel about losing his name?

      • Patricia Hickey Rosasco

        I also have tried to instill in each of you kids that you are 1/2 Hickey and just as Irish as Dad says you’re Italian. Maybe even more since you have Irish from both sets of grandparents and only Italian from one of Dad’s. It’s also proven that children are more related to their Mom and the Mom’s side, genetically speaking. So I guess Ginny’s name should be Virginia Katherine Hickey Rosasco Copeland…..because you should take back the name meant for you – Lindsay Katherine Virginia Hickey Rosasco!

  • Riya Kalsi

    so beautifully written! you are such a great mommy! Names are very personal to all of us! http://denimsanddresses.com/

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading and for the kind words- I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

  • Serene Mom

    I love this because I am a name geek lol. Your daughter has a really lovely name, so beautiful and classic but not over-used at all. I named my son Edison Cornelius after his father Edward but not exactly a junior. He gets to be his own person. My daughter’s name is Reagan Cassandra I knew she had spunk when I was pregnant with her, so her name means little king/queen and Cassandra is my mother’s name, I wanted to honor her since she passed in 2011. Such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thank you for sharing your kids’ names with me- I love love love their names. They are unique, sentimental, and special, and what a beautiful way to honor your mom.

  • This is such a sweet post; I always write in cursive and definitely want to teach my kiddos to do the same too 🙂

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I love cursive! So pretty : )

  • I love her name, and all the thought and meaning that went into it. And all of your pictures are beautiful. Ginny is such a sweet name, particularly when named after a woman that sounds like someone worth naming a person after! 🙂

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Brooke, it means a lot that you stopped by to read- your post this week about your daughter’s name was my inspiration!

      • Oh, I’m glad, thank you! I remembered your comment and wondered if it was a coincidence. I love hearing about names 🙂

        • Lindsay Katherine

          Thanks for the inspiration-glad to have a new connection with you!

  • Her name is beautiful. Even though I changed my last name, and I tend to think that’s the way to go, I totally understand wanting to keep your family’s name alive. It makes sense. I just didn’t have that conviction. And as long as a woman is like “no, my man will not overtake me by stealing my last name”, I think it’s fine. lol.
    We don’t have kids yet, but I never liked my last name, so I am glad I changed it. My dad is adopted anyway, so it was’t like there was this deep heritage to carry on. haha.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading, Kristin! Everyone has to do what makes sense to them in terms of their name- there’s definitely not one right way to go. I’m glad you love your married name now! I’m curious to know more about your comment about a woman not saying her man will overtake her- you might be interested (or apalled) to read this: https://itssimplylindsay.com/to-change-or-not-to-change/ I LOVE hearing different perspectives and having an open dialogue about this!

      • I hopped over and read it and I actually think I had read it before, and just didn’t know it was you.
        I guess, for me, I know my husband doesn’t view me as property, so I never had an issue with that. I get where you are coming from, but I guess, for me, my identity has nothing to do with my name. My name doesn’t define me; my identity, as a Christian, comes from Christ. So since I have that view about my identity and I knew my hubby didn’t view me as property, giving up my last name meant nothing to me. Sure, I love my family, but I am still just as much “me” as Mrs. Kristin Cook” as I was when I was still “Miss Kristin White”. 🙂
        As an addition, I really do feel that some women keep their last name JUST to prove a point. At that point, they aren’t keeping their last name for the right reasons. They are just being obstinate. I’m not saying that you did that, nor am I saying that every woman who keeps her name does that. I just feel that some do.

        • Lindsay Katherine

          This is what I love about blogging- having the opportunity to discuss things like this openly! I love how you mentioned your identity has nothing to do with your name, but rather as a Christian. What a beautiful, true statement. In that way, of course you’ll never lose who you are. What a great perspective.

          What point do you feel some women are trying to make by keeping their name?

          (Thanks for the good convo this morning!)

          • I think that some women have this idea that all men WILL walk all over them (and yes, some will), but I think that some women are so bent on showing that a man can’t walk all over them, that they forget that *their* man isn’t like that (and if he is like that, why are they marrying him?) So maybe, in trying to prove their point, they walk all over their man in the name of making sure their man doesn’t walk all over them. I hope that makes some sense. I don’t feel like I explained it very well.

          • Lindsay Katherine

            So true! I sincerely hope women aren’t marrying someone who will walk all over them. Or men marrying women who will do the same to them for that matter. I hear ya, Kristin! For me, and maybe others, it’s not about thinking my husband will walk all over me, but rather not understanding the reason behind the tradition and not having any reason to change my last name in the first name. Can’t think of any valid reason that makes sense for me. Loving the convo, thanks for coming by again.

  • Christine Hawkins

    That’s beautiful. I don’t see you as a feminist for doing this. You want to carry on your last name and that is perfectly okay. It looks like you put so much thought into her name and used your family history to complete the name for your little baby girl. Beautiful post…

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thank you for the kind words- I also enjoyed reading your post this morning : )

  • Sweet letter to your daughter. It is good for a child know who see and where she came from.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading, Aisha- I appreciate your kind comment : )

  • Erin @ Love Peace Beauty

    Oh my goodness, love this! You have a beautiful family! As an ESL teacher – having two last names is very common for many of my students so I don’t find it unusual at all. I’m so glad you did what felt best for you and your daughter!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      It’s refreshing to come across someone who knows many people with two last names- in my cultures and countries, as you know, this is common practice anyway. I’m also a teacher and have yet to come across a student with two last names, though I think it may be slightly more common in the years to come.

  • This is so awesome! I love it!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks, Rachel- appreciate you taking the time to read it.

  • What a great post filled with great pictures. Thank you for sharing it with us today. My daughter too is named after her great grandmother.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading, Trisha- my mom’s name is Trisha : ) What is your daughter’s name?

  • I love this sweet letter to your daughter! I appreciate so much that you made a conscious, well-thought-out decision for you, your family, and your daughter, and that you’re already being so intentional about teaching her about this choice. And, I also appreciate your attitude of letting her be the one to explain and own this later, and with that, allowing the flexibility and freedom to make decisions about it when she’s ready. I hope she keeps all her lovely names!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I appreciate your comment, Brittany! I always want her to understand her name and have positive associations with it in a world where people will be annoyed or confused by her name. I hope she keeps all her lovely names, too : )

  • this is so sweet! I plan to change my last name when I get married next year, but I love that you chose to not! like you said, it works for some people and it doesn’t for others, and thats okay. This letter is so precious and I love how you talk to your daughter in it. thank you so much for sharing! <3

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks for reading and being so open and positive. Congrats on your engagement- when’s the big day??

  • I love that you gave your daughter both last names, I think this was more common once upon a time but has faded into near non-existence.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Thanks Rebecka- it’s funny because many people think it’s so wrong and strange, but it’s customary in many Latin American and Spanish cultures.

  • When I get married I am going to keep my last name. Her name sounds perfect especially because it’s a tradition for your family!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Hi Amy, I’m pleasantly surprised to have a reader share my beliefs. How did you decide you’d like to keep your name? Thanks for reading!

  • Liz Stratford

    When I got married, I did the expected traditional thing and changed my name. When we divorced, however, I didn’t want to go back to my maiden name (felt very disconnected from it) and I didn’t want to keep my married name. So, I chose my own name! I chose a last name that was meaningful in MY life story, that feels perfectly suited for ME. And when I remarry, I’ll be keeping it. Not because I don’t love my boyfriend’s last name… but because I already have a name and I love it dearly.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Liz, that is such a cool thing you did! That makes so much sense actually – way to go. I like that you’re deciding to stick with this new name that you chose because it is YOU and what you want to keep.

  • Julie Fleck Kubilay

    I’ve been married twice and took my husband’s name both times. I do love my maiden name and I am called by it frequently!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Very cool! Definitely to each their own; everyone has to do what is best for them and their family.

  • Angel Parks Taraila

    I took my husbands name when I got married. I have a son from a previous relationship so when I changed my name I dropped my middle name (to be honest I always loved my whole name Angel Dawn Parks, but my husband’s ex is named Dawn lol). I digress. I changed my middle name to my maiden name because it is my son’s middle name. Even though I never married his father I wanted to make sure he was still connected to my side of the family. My husband and I have a daughter together as well. We thought about having her middle name being Parks, but went with Grace. It suits her and has special meaning to us. I applaud your choice! My sister-in-law received a lot of grief for hyphenating her name and giving both her children her maiden name as their middle. I think names are a strong connection to family.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I loved reading your story and seeing different family name options; I think Grace is a lovely middle name, by the way, especially as it has meaning to you and your husband. It’s too bad that people care to be so negative about people’s choices; I don’t see how it impacts anyone else! Thank you for reading : )

  • Meredith MacVittie

    When I was in high school, I first thought about my last name. My specific thoughts were, “Hmm, my last name is a bit too long and awkward to hyphenate… so I guess I’ll just keep it as-is if I get married.” And that was my assumption moving forward. That I would keep my name. Fast forward a dozen years or so, and I was engaged. The entire wedding industrial complex seems geared to assume that and encourage women to change their last name – from the cutesy “Future Mrs. ____” t-shirts you can wear to your bachelorette party, to the need to design a monogram of your combined initials for your aisle runner and menu cards. But I stayed strong. I’m glad I already knew what I was going to do before that time, so I didn’t have to make a decision while in the romantic throes of actually planning a wedding!

    My husband and I don’t have children, yet. We discussed names prior to getting married. He, understandably, wants our children to have his last name. I, understandably, want my name in there. I don’t want to hyphenate. I’d prefer my children have the same last name as each other (we have friends who gave each child the last name of one parent, so they got equal representation), but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. I wanted to combine the first 3 letters of my last name with my husband’s 1-syllable last name, creating a portmanteau, but he’s hesitant. So far, the only solution we have maybe agreed upon is to also give our children 4 names – but use my last name as a second middle name. My mother-in-law moved her birth name to her middle name when she got married (in 1969), and all three of her children also have her birth name as a second middle name. (Their “first” middle name is always a saint’s name, since my in-laws are Catholic.) My husband never actually uses his second middle name, so he doesn’t find it cumbersome, but on the other hand, very few people know he has a second middle name unless they’ve seen his college diploma or wedding invitation… so I fear my last name will be regulated to the side, and definitely not passed down or anything.

    That said, hopefully I get some leeway in using names from my own family if we use his last name. My own middle name, Mae, is the name of my great-great grandmother, who actually passed away when my mom was about 8, so she remembers her well. There are several other matrilineal names that would be great first names or middle names!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Meredith, I loved reading your story!! You are so right about the wedding industry pretty much stating that there is one choice for you – the “obvious” one – to become Mrs. Husband’s name. They, along with our tradition, glorify and romanticize this tradition to be something sweet, lovey, and wonderful, which it’s not really. I have to say, I think we are kindred spirits – I got way too excited to see you use the word portmanteau – I thought I was the only one who even knew, let alone use that word! Well done. My only fear, like yours, is that a second middle name is just something to appease the wife and the name is forgotten. I know you’ll figure out what is best for you though. Thanks so much for reading and sharing. Mae is a beautiful name with a wonderful history.

  • Terri Reid

    I married at a very young age for all the wrong reasons. I took my ex-husbands name as that was the norm so many years ago. When my son was born, I gave him his father’s last name even though we had already separated. That day in the hospital was the first and only time he saw him until my son was 13. At the age of 2, after his father gave up all rights to him in order not to pay child support, I changed both his and my last name back to my birth name. I wanted his last name to be a reflection of the family who raised him and helped shape him into the wonderful man he is today. His only issue growing up was having a “father” who wanted no part in his life, not a name.

    • Lindsay Katherine

      Wow Terri, thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so glad that you made that change for you and your son back to your family name. That’s too bad about his father, but you sound like such a smart, strong woman and mom; your son is lucky to have you.

  • I’m not crying… you’re crying.

    This is beautiful Lindsay, your daughter is a lucky and loved little lady.

    However you decide to embrace your name is a choice, I never understand why people get so uppity about it, and I think you’ve chosen the perfect name for your little one

    Xxox
    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com