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Double Barrelled Surnames


In the intricate world of surnames, the emergence of double barrelled surnames represents a unique fusion of tradition, unity, and personal expression. Originating from various cultural and historical influences, this naming practice has evolved over time. It challenges traditional conventions and reflects the dynamic nature of human identity.

Origins and Evolution:


Double barrelled surnames are formed by merging two family names, and they have roots in preserving familial legacies. Plus, they are a great way asserting individual identity. Historically prominent in European aristocracy, these names ensured lineage continuation. Today, double barrelled surnames transcend class, symbolising unity and honouring both sides of a person’s heritage.


The practice of combining surnames has also been influenced by societal changes and evolving attitudes towards identity. In modern times, individuals seek to assert their unique identity while maintaining connections to their familial roots. A blended surname provide a way to achieve this balance, allowing individuals to embrace both sides of their heritage.




A double barrelled surname celebrates the heritage of both partners.

A double barrelled surname celebrates the heritage of both partners.

Coats of Arms and Heraldic Authority:


Traditionally, coats of arms are associated with single surnames, representing a family’s heritage, achievements, and social status. It’s vital to note that creating one’s coat of arms requires approval from heraldic authorities, so do check with the College of Arms.

Heraldic authorities play a crucial role in ensuring the authenticity and legitimacy of coats of arms. They verify the historical accuracy of family crests and ensure that they adhere to established heraldic principles. This process helps to preserve the integrity of heraldry and maintain the significance of coats of arms as symbols of family heritage.

Hall of Names has a database with a million surnames, including the oldest recorded coat of arms relating to the name. You can search for yours in the box at the top of this page, plus you can view our online dictionary of heraldry symbols to find what the imagery all means.


Modern Trends and Blended Identities:


In contemporary society, double barrelled surnames have gained popularity, especially among couples and families. Regardless of marital status, individuals opt for this naming convention to signify unity and inclusivity. This trend reflects a broader societal shift towards personal expression and acknowledgment of diverse familial backgrounds.

The decision to adopt a double barrelled surname often goes beyond mere tradition or convenience. For example, for many couples, it represents a conscious choice to create a shared identity that encompasses both partners’ backgrounds. This blending of identities is particularly evident in families with children, where parents may choose to give their offspring a hyphenated surname to reflect their joint heritage.






Do you have a double barrelled surname?

Do you have a double barrelled surname?



Inclusivity and Double Barrelled Surnames


Double barrelled surnames serve as a poignant reflection of the desire to embrace and honour both sides of one’s familial heritage without showing preference for one name over another. In a world where traditional naming conventions often prioritise the paternal lineage or follow patriarchal norms, double barrelled surnames provide a balanced approach. They acknowledge the significance of both maternal and paternal family ties. And by combining two surnames into one, individuals and families can celebrate the richness of their diverse backgrounds and create a unified identity that encompasses the entirety of their heritage.


This practice fosters inclusivity and equality, allowing each family member to carry forward their ancestral legacies with equal prominence and pride. If you’d like a gift that celebrates two individual surnames, before joining, our Double Coat of Arms Print could be just the thing. It proudly displays the coats of arms side by side, and you can even put your own message below. In this way, you can create a truly unique gift that celebrates both names.





A double barrelled name gives both surnames equal importance.

A double barrelled name gives both surnames equal importance.

Embracing Change:


The growing prevalence of double barrelled surnames illustrates an evolving understanding of identity and heritage. Rooted in tradition yet adaptable to modern norms, these names symbolise the complex interplay of tradition and innovation in naming practices.

As society continues to evolve, so too will our understanding and interpretation of surnames. They serve as a reflection of personal identity and cultural heritage, bridging the gap between past and present. Whether rooted in aristocratic lineage or contemporary expressions of unity, double barrelled surnames offer a compelling narrative of human identity across generations. We’d love to know if you have chosen to combine surnames in any particular way – surnames are our business, so it would be great to hear your story!



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