Saturday, October 4, 2008

Keelan's Two Last names

This has been a very debated topic, a source of misunderstandings, arguments and disappointments. So, I like to clear the air with some information that might help many understand the reasons behind our daughter to be born.

William and I come from different places in life. I have a strong Spanish heritage mixed with Taino and Caribe Indians (indigenous people of Puerto Rico before the Spanish conquest and slaughter), African and in my particular family form my mother's side, French-just a bit. And of course after the Spanish-American War, Puerto Ricans became American citizens, so that means that I have assimilated much of the American culture through years of "colonization", but the Spanish traditions are stronger. William's heritage is Irish and Swedish, his ancestors came to the United States a long time ago, so it is fair to say to that William's cultural traditions are "American" (when he reads this blog he might expand on the topic).

As I was saying, we both have strong attachments to our traditions, however, we have also become a new family after our marriage in September 2006. It was and it still is important to us to create a home in which both cultures are honored. An example of this was our wedding day, it was a beautiful merge of cultures, traditions and beliefs. Now, with the birth of Keelan, it was important for us to continue to honour both of our cultural backgrounds.
The first name of our daughter will be Keelan. This name was chosen after an extensive research. It was important to chose a name that was easy to pronounce, to write and to remember. Also, a name that would reflect the father's ancestral heritage, will match the father's family name (Scanlan), will have some positive meaning as well as it would be a not so common ordinary name. The name Keelan (pronounce: KEE-lan) has Gaelic, Celtic and Irish origins, meaning "fair". Her middle name will be Francis, as this is William's middle name (William Francis) and my first name ( Francis Haydee). Our daughter will have two last names to honour William's family (Scanlan), and to honour my family name (Allende). Choosing our daughter's name is a very private matter. Many people is of the opinion that we should not do this. I feel that by not doing this, I will be denying my child of part of heritage and instanly erasing her Caribbean and Hispanic roots. I feel offended when others make comments such as "you are in America now" or " this is the American way" as if Puerto Rico is not a part of it- we are a "colony" a "commonwealth" of the United States, we are for all political and social purposes American citizens. But I digress from the original topic, this one will a be one for another time in which we can discuss the political status of the Island. Back to the last name matter, I strongly believe that they way in which we choose to honour our heritage is a matter of personal identity and pride. Our child will bear her father's last name, no doubt about that, but also it is important that there is a connection with the mother other than the preceding 9 months in the womb. So, she will be Scanlan-Allende. Taking from the Spanish tradition, children are given a first name (Keelan), a middle name (Francis), two surnames in this case the father's last name (Scanlan- inherit from his father) and the mother's last name (Allende- inherit from her father). The result will be Keelan Francis Scanlan-Allende. As we live in a patriarchal society, "Scanlan" is the main-first last name and "Allende" the second last name. These can be used with or without a hyphen, matter that I am researching. Later in life she will be socially address as Ms. Scanlan or Ms. Scanlan-Allende, when she marries she can choose to 1) keep her maiden name (as I did) Scanlan-Allende or 2) drop both surnames and take her partner's surname or 3) keep her maiden name and add her partner's name (Scanlan-Allende- Partner's surname).

So our Keelan will have a rich heritage filled beautiful with traditions.

1 comment:

Liza said...

You do not need to ever defend the name of YOUR child. I especially enjoyed the explanation though. Truly lovely, as are her parents. I retained my surname when I got married because I felt it was the name I was given at birth. My daughters were given their father's surname. Just think about your niece, Bailey's name, and its genesis. I think the Scanlan-Allende family is honoring tradition beautifully.
Liza Bautista (from KCMO).