I was surprised to find out that my church records are under MoBob's surname even though he is not a member and I did not change my name. In Morocco women don't change their names upon marriage and even if I wanted to the thought of having to change from overseas all my US documents, including getting new visas for a re-issued passport, not to mention social security and driver's license, was too overwhelming.
It's very rare that we have to show any documentation to show that we're married; in Morocco and in I imagine other countries in the Middle East/North Africa region we have to show our marriage certificate when checking into a hotel. (Hotel clerks don't seem to be as strict about this if two foreigners were to share a room.) In Burkina Faso we opened a joint bank account and had to include a copy of our marriage certificate. The Moroccan one is in Arabic so normally we just show the American one.
Sometimes people do get confused - a couple of times I'm addressed as Mrs. A and he's called Mr. C - and when I moved to Little Rock the HR person didn't get it when I jokingly said that MB decided to keep his name. MoBob is certainly thrilled to know that his info is kept in the nuclear war-protected church archives vault. I suppose if we were to live in Morocco and I decided to change my name to his I'd be Mme. Pigeon.
When well-meaning church members ask why our names are different, I take great pleasure in informing them that Eliza R. Snow, one of the great figures in early church history, never changed her name and she was married to both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
On August 31st, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Wow--I thought they only changed it automatically when you got married in the temple. But it's easy enough to change it back--just go see your membership clerk. I suppose mine was made easier because David was the membership clerk when our records came in with my name oh-so-conveniently changed for me.
There are a lot of things people take for granted that aren't. On the other hand, it does save them time if there are things they don't have to think about, and that just happen.
People just forget that "last names" are a relatively new thing, as the world goes (ever hear someone talking about Abraham who wants to be more formal and suddenly reaches for a Mr. last name and realizes Abraham didn't have one, nor did Nephi?).
I was just really surprised because my record was correct in Little Rock, where I was the only married woman who kept my name, and in error in Washington DC, where about a third of the women in the ward kept or hyphenated their names. I guess the ward clerk was just really busy!