We have a tradition of double-barrelled first names in our family, spanning several generations.
Numerous females on the matriarchal side have been Elizabeth-Jane, Mary-Jane, Eliza-Jane and so on. I was supposed to be Julie-Ann. But en route to register me, my father apparently forgot. Something to do with the number of pubs he may have visited on the way, perhaps? Still, it’s what my mother used to call me, and I used it as a stage name many moons ago. So when I had my own daughter, a double-barrelled name was on the cards – plus my husband and I couldn’t agree on the name at all. Then when she had her daughter five years ago, she was named Maia-Tlws. The second part is Welsh: I’ll give you a clue – it’s pronounced like ‘Toulouse’. Not so as to emulate the Beckham trend of naming their child after where they were conceived, mind you – she would have been called Splott.
Many parents use their child’s first and middle names together – usually when they’re mad at them – though they may not have created a compound name with that all-important dash. I read an article recently which said that overall, one in six of all girls’ first names in use are now double-barrelled. The internet is awash with division over whether it signals an aspiration to be perceived as of a ‘higher class’, whether or not it is now ‘chavvy’ (now there’s a word I detest), or whether it’s just a wave of creativity. I prefer the latter theory – as my daughter always said, ‘I never need to give my surname – I’m the only Zoe-Lisa’. Except that the internet also now bursts that bubble for us via facebook: there are numerous other Zoe-Lisas, and a handful of Lisa-Zoes, in the world. Who would have thought it? And my daughter tends to use only the first part of her name nowadays, though I cannot break the habit of giving her her full moniker. Even when she’s not in trouble.