Recently read an article about the history of wedding rings. The article went as far back as the time of the cave man when it was believed that males wold tie rings around a mates neck, arms and legs as a means to subdue them, break them like a wild horse. This visual makes me angry, as this is not about respect, but submission.
This got me wondering about the tradition of the wife taking her husbands last name. I do not have my husbands last name. Most days I do not care, especially as it is becoming less common for people to change their names. The reasons are various. It does make me chuckle sometimes when someone calls from the pediatricians office and calls me by my husbands/children’s last name, especially since I am the one who always takes my children and always sign with my name . . . but I digress.
The answer is vague and still unclear. Not everyone around the world does it. It varies by culture and is more of a Western cultural tradition. At least this is what my vague research has discovered. Some say it is to signify the changing of families. Others to show clans and determine relations so family was not having relations with family. Others said it only occurred in the last 100 years and is more of a financial thing for when the woman was mostly not working and everything was reliant on the husband.
Most of the information I have found is not creditable, but even a Harvard collage paper on the subject does not make mention of any name changes before 1855. Another site states that there is no mention in the bible of the requirement of a woman taking a last name upon marriage, in fact there is no mention of last names at all!
Basically, last names come down to show paternal lineage. Hmmm I think I may look into changing my kids last name (JK). I am the one who carried them for 9 month and shifted my internal organs to make room for them to grow and thrive. Yeah Kids should take the Moms last names . . .