Couples Cast Off Their Surnames for Original Ones:

“We wanted a name that meant something,” said Jeff Sharlein, a social worker. “In many ways we are unconventional and our families see this as an unconventional choice.”

More people than ever before are looking for unique ways to express their identity, according to Pamela Redmond Satran, co-author of the “Baby Name Bible.” Her dictionary documents 50,000 names from nouns or colors or even video game characters. “Statistically, fewer and fewer people are using one of the Top 10 names,” she said.

“Everybody is looking for a name that has a lot of personal meaning,” said Satran, who took her husband’s name, but keeps her maiden name as a middle name. “It’s the conscious power of branding and leads people to appropriate a name in a different way. You are not just stuck with and limited to the usual suspects.”

In both first names and surnames, couples now have the freedom to “search and choose the name that really feels like you and really stands for the individual you think you are,” said Satran. “It embodies values, history and image. Naming your family is not unlike naming a company.”

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