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Old 21.06.2022, 11:21
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Naming a child with a Swiss national

Baby is born in England but will grow up in Switzerland

I wish to name my baby the following:
NAME + MOMí surname DADís surname (or DADís and MOMís surname)

My Swiss in-laws are not happy about it as they say Iím breaking the family tradition and my baby is the last one who could give continuation to the family Nachname. Also the law in Switzerland do not authorise double barrel names, so it sounds ďoddĒ in their opinion.
I have strong views regarding the matter and find it extremely upseting if my baby wonít carry my surname also (I find taking the fatherís surname only, patriarcal and outdated).
So I am under pressure to take this decision.
I would like to know:

1. Will my child be the odd one out living in Switzerland with two surnames or a hyphenated surname?
2. Does the order of the surname matter? In your opinion which one stands more importantly?
(My understanding is that in England on daily life it would be the Last Surname, as people would understand it to be THE surname (if not hyphenated).
3. Is there anything else, you think I should consider?
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Old 21.06.2022, 11:30
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

Well if you and your swiss partner were not married your child would have your foreign name as a nachname by default.


In my experience, and I have swiss in laws, you are not going to please everyone all of the time.



Do what is best for you, your partner and child. I have many friends with double barrel names here.
IM
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Old 21.06.2022, 11:37
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

And what is your family last name? What do you and your husband decided to use after marriage? I personally agree with your parents, hyphenated and double last names do sound odd.
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Old 21.06.2022, 11:55
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

Are you married?

If so, is your marriage recognized in Switzerland?

If so, what is the family name that you have chose, as that is what the surname will be.

Tom
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:06
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

I was given more names than necessary by my parents and have found it nothing but an inconvenience. I always need to double and triple check official documents and plane tickets, and have inevitably come up against jobsworths who can't understand that I have the number of names that I have in the order that my parents' decided. One of my names is very much my Mom trying to give homage to her matrilineal heritage, and I know it means a lot to her, but it doesn't have the same meaning for me. I have nothing against the name itself or our family history, but I just have way too many names and wish I could drop a few. There are other ways to pay respect to ancestors apart from giving your kid an extra name they need to write out every goddamned time they fill out a form. I often run out of space on online forms, my name is so long. I even briefly considered legally changing my name and dropping two of them, but I'm too old and have too much administration linked to my full name, at this point changing would only complicate things even more.

I think there was a related thread here not that long ago where several forum users who had double-barrelled last names chimed in to say that they did not appreciate the fact that their parents had burdened them with multiple last names. It is SUCH a hassle, and to me seems more for the parents than the kid. I'm not a parent myself, but if I had a child I would for sure never give them an inconvenient name, i.e. one that is difficult to pronounce, or is spelled in an awkward way (Jennypher vs. Jennifer), or consists of more names than is normal (e.g. hyphenated or double-barrelled last name, or three middle names). First name, (optional) middle name, last name is all anyone needs.

Have you considered giving your child one of the family names as a middle name and the other as a surname?

Last edited by Bossa Nova; 21.06.2022 at 12:37.
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:08
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

If I may be so bold, my interpretation of your message is that you are frustrated, maybe even angry, and are feeling unheard and you feel that your opinion is not being treated with respect. Your feelings are valid.

I'd like to suggest that you resolve those feelings first, with your spouse/partner, because even if you "win" or "lose" the argument as to how your children are named, both of you should feel good about it.

My experience in naming my children with my Swiss spouse:

I wanted to do X, she wanted Y, we did Y. We followed the Swiss tradition and that was it. I "lost."

Ultimately I was okay with this for a variety of reasons:
  1. I didn't lose, I have children and that's great. You're going to have a child and that's great.
  2. So long as you give your child a name that isn't disrespectful or hurtful for the child, the name is okay. You and hour spouse/partner need to agree and be okay, nobody else's opinion matters.
  3. From a purely biological perspective, my children carry my line hopefully far into the future, and it doesn't matter if they're named the Swiss way or the American way, or even have our family names at all.

This is just my $.02.

One final note: We had decided on our daughter's first name (I guess in Switzerland it's her first first name because there is no middle name but a second first name). It is a nice name. And we decided on the last name as well. We couldn't decide on a middle (second first) name.

We were at a Costco in Atlanta, and we started talking about it with the nice optometrist who was helping me pick out a pair of glasses. She said, "I've always loved Sofia, it's such a beautiful name." And that's the name we chose for our daughter's middle (second first) name.
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:17
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

As a followup, let me answer your questions directly:

Quote:
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1. Will my child be the odd one out living in Switzerland with two surnames or a hyphenated surname?
Your child, if not following the Swiss way, will probably always have to explain which parts of his/her name are the first, middle, and last names.

Quote:
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2. Does the order of the surname matter? In your opinion which one stands more importantly?
(My understanding is that in England on daily life it would be the Last Surname, as people would understand it to be THE surname (if not hyphenated).
My wife, when we married, she changed her last name from her last name of X to a new unhyphenated last name of X Y (where Y is my last name). From that point forward everyone calls her Mrs. Y (my last name).

It was not her intent, but it's what happened. She's okay with it now.

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3. Is there anything else, you think I should consider?
As suggested by Bossa Nova, perhaps you could agree on a first name with your spouse, give the child your last name as a middle (second first) name, and give your child your partner's/spouse's last name as a last name.

It means all of you contribute equally to the name of the child and you make your child's life in Switzerland simpler. But whatever you decide, it should be the child's interests, not yours, not your partner's, and not anyone else's interest, that is considered.

Last edited by sonnenhund; 21.06.2022 at 12:19. Reason: Missing the Oxford Comma
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:24
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

My understanding is that double names are no longer legal in CH

'En application du droit Suisse, le double nom níest toutefois plus admis depuis 2013.'

According to Swiss Law, a double name is no longer legal since 2013.
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:33
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

Here are two related threads with food for thought:
From 2021:
https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...e-newborn.html

From 2012 (before the law on double-barrelled names changed):
https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-li...g-customs.html
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:49
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

I have three names, first, middle and last. Before coming to Switzerland I used a shortened version of my middle name for everything. Only my passport showed all three.

When I came here and applied for a credit card I was told no, I couldnít use only the shortened version of my middle name, only my first name. They could make an exception and use both hyphenated. So either Mr. First Last or Mr. First-Middle Last.

Having two names has been a hassle every since. Whatever you decide, for the kids sake, please Keep It Simple Ö KISS
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:49
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

You don’t say what your nationality is or if you are married.

If the baby is born in England then the birth certificate will be issued there.
In the UK it is perfectly possible to give two surnames.

The baby could be baby MOM DAD or baby DAD MOM and nnobidy would bat an eyelid and both surnames would be included.
It is my understanding that for babies born and registered abroad double names are accepted in Switzerland.


I can understand it from both sides. Your in-laws want to perpetuate the family name and you want to keep your family name too.

Ultimately it’s something you need to decide between yourself and the baby’s father.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 21.06.2022 at 18:31.
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:49
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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My understanding is that double names are no longer legal in CH

'En application du droit Suisse, le double nom n’est toutefois plus admis depuis 2013.'

According to Swiss Law, a double name is no longer legal since 2013.
Not sure that is quite true, my wife uses two family names on her swiss passport and ID, even though she took my name when getting married. I chide her about it everytime I have to book a flight for the family

Meanwhile for a new born, I distinctly remember that who ever writes the name on the form in the hospital gets to "choose"? (at least in Switzerland)

You would have to check for the UK what the certification is like...
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:50
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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...make your child's life in Switzerland simpler. ... whatever you decide, it should be the child's interests, not yours, not your partner's, and not anyone else's interest, that is considered.

Exactly this. Your child will hopefully be on the planet for around 80 years, and if they will be living in a society where multiple last names is not the norm (Spain is an exception) giving them two last names is definitely setting them up for a lot of administrative frustration. Don't stress about needing a name to validate a family connection, build familial ties by being loving and supportive. Names don't matter all that much...
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Old 21.06.2022, 12:59
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

It is indeed quite complicated- and as said above, I would choose to make life as simple as possible for my children.

Here is an official link with all the varied possibilities.


https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/countri...-heirat_en.pdf
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Old 21.06.2022, 13:17
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

Name it what you wish. Itís your child not your in-laws. I have a friend who is naturalised Swiss with about 6 names, so itís hardly a big problem.
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Old 21.06.2022, 13:37
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

where I'm from there used to be first name, middle name, last name and the convention was middle name (mother's family name) and last name (father's family name)... that's what I had in my passport when i came to Switzerland. Here they said that's great but on your permit you're getting First Name and Last Name where Last Name is my Middle Name plus my Last Name

it was a Royal PITA for years until my home country decided to do away with the middle name and put everything in the last name... now I officially have a First Name and a double Last Name... on all documents and it is lovely (except my covid certificate that I butchered myself )

as others have said keep it simple and think about your child. Also if I can advise choose a first name that translates well into your mother tongue and french/german... that's what we did for both our kids and it's so easy when they play back home or when they are in school. don't disregard the first name!
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Old 21.06.2022, 13:44
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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Name it what you wish. It’s your child not your in-laws.
Fair beans, but your child is also their own person and they are not you. Burdening another human with an inconvenient or unnecessarily long name in order to fulfill your own desires isn't really being respectful to them. Trust me, having more names than what is considered normal is not fun.

Last edited by Bossa Nova; 21.06.2022 at 14:05.
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Old 21.06.2022, 13:17
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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Baby is born in England but will grow up in Switzerland

I wish to name my baby the following:
NAME + MOMí surname DADís surname (or DADís and MOMís surname)

My Swiss in-laws are not happy about it as they say Iím breaking the family tradition and my baby is the last one who could give continuation to the family Nachname. Also the law in Switzerland do not authorise double barrel names, so it sounds ďoddĒ in their opinion.
I have strong views regarding the matter and find it extremely upseting if my baby wonít carry my surname also (I find taking the fatherís surname only, patriarcal and outdated).
So I am under pressure to take this decision.
I would like to know:

1. Will my child be the odd one out living in Switzerland with two surnames or a hyphenated surname?
2. Does the order of the surname matter? In your opinion which one stands more importantly?
(My understanding is that in England on daily life it would be the Last Surname, as people would understand it to be THE surname (if not hyphenated).
3. Is there anything else, you think I should consider?
The best for your child is to use a first name that works in both languages and a single family name. Remember they, not you will be the one that has to live with it the longest.
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Old 21.06.2022, 18:09
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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My Swiss in-laws are not happy about it as they say Iím breaking the family tradition and my baby is the last one who could give continuation to the family Nachname.

So I am under pressure to take this decision.
Remember: Your family traditions are equally important, and hold equal value.

--

This is a decision that should be made by you and your husband/partner, and you two alone. Punkt Fertig. The inlaws have no say in it.

Don't let them pressure you. If they start up, simply thank them for sharing their thoughts. The then pointedly change the subject.

Your husband/partner must back you up to let his parents know that pressuring you is not acceptible. If he isn't doing that, a heart-to-heart is in order. He should have already told his parents in no uncertain terms to back off, that the decision belongs to you two alone.

This will be good practice for child rearing - there will be plenty of times when, even if you are still debating amongst yourselves, you two will need to be a united front when others try to stick their oars in.

Do what feels right for you and your husband - and most importantly for your child.

Congratulations on the baby, and wishing you much joy.
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Old 22.06.2022, 09:23
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Re: Naming a child with a Swiss national

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Baby is born in England but will grow up in Switzerland

I wish to name my baby the following:
NAME + MOMí surname DADís surname (or DADís and MOMís surname)

My Swiss in-laws are not happy about it as they say Iím breaking the family tradition and my baby is the last one who could give continuation to the family Nachname. Also the law in Switzerland do not authorise double barrel names, so it sounds ďoddĒ in their opinion.
I have strong views regarding the matter and find it extremely upseting if my baby wonít carry my surname also (I find taking the fatherís surname only, patriarcal and outdated).
So I am under pressure to take this decision.
I would like to know:

1. Will my child be the odd one out living in Switzerland with two surnames or a hyphenated surname?
2. Does the order of the surname matter? In your opinion which one stands more importantly?
(My understanding is that in England on daily life it would be the Last Surname, as people would understand it to be THE surname (if not hyphenated).
3. Is there anything else, you think I should consider?
So you are talking about naming the baby:

Baby Smith-Schmidt or
Baby Schmidt-Smith or
Baby Smith Schmidt etc.

Personally, I think surname without hyphen might be a bit confusing, but it is your baby so you should decide.

In the UK there is considerable flexibilty on the name, so choose whatever name you want including hyphenated and once you have the name in the UK, provide the birth certificate/passport to the Swiss authorities who would then accept the name, even if it would not normally be allowed. If child is already born, you can also change the name easily in the UK. Some guy even changed his name to Jellyfish McSaveloy another changed his name to a very long one incorporating all the names of his favourite football team players.
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