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New Movement: Women Using Their Maiden Names and Why It Is Important for Their Future

February 10, 2017

Women’s lineage, Female Inspiration, Girl Herstory

auntdonabrejillmeMy beloved Aunt is known for many things – her giggles, crystal blue eyes, deep dimples, and her love for our family. At every family occasion or holiday gathering she speaks to “the group” and starts by saying, “You know you belong to the most wonderful family in the world – the Chamberlains.” We all hoot and holler to ensure she knows we agree with her.

grandpachamberlainandbrothersOne of the things she is most proud of is the “Chamberlain Brothers.” Her father – my grandfather – was one of seven boys who lived during World War II. We always hear stories about them especially since my great grandfather was chosen as “National Father of the Year” because he had seven sons and five of them were fighting during World War II.

A couple days ago I was approached by one of my company’s members about submitting stories about women in my family who had anything to do with the Women’s Rights Movement. I called my family historian – my Aunt of course – and asked the question. She said, “Tracy, I don’t think any woman in our family was an activist but to be honest with you I know more about the men than the women.” I said to her in a loving voice, “Doesn’t that seem strange we don’t know enough about the lives of the women in our family since we are both women?” Her famous giggle was not present after that question.

sisters3Three years ago my youngest sister, an activist in her own right, decided to change her married name back to our family name because she realized in searching our grandmother’s lineage that women get lost through history because we drop our maiden names. I loved my maiden name and actually made it officially my middle name when I got married in 1989 after attempting to convince my husband to hyphenate our names. He was right it would have been too long “Chamberlain-Higginbotham” and I knew I wanted children and wanted to share their names. But after my sister changed her name back to her maiden name, I decided to use my full name on all documents and in my writings not to torture anyone who has to write it but because I want to have a name legacy.

We are born to our full names. We are that person until the day we get married and change it. We also agree in that moment to be lost in history. I want to encourage every woman with this blog post to consider using their full name from this point forward to create a legacy for themselves. Hillary Clinton is also known as Hillary Rodham Clinton. Why can’t we all be a three name woman?

2013PhotosTracyCellPhone 002I wish I had given my sons “Chamberlain” as their middle names so the history of the “Chamberlain Boys” as my aunt called them was in their names and not just their blood. Women owe it to themselves and to the generations of women to follow them to be able to find out about their female relatives through history and know what they did to change the world for the better. Let’s start today using the names we were born with and our married names if we have one.

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