So when thinking about all of our options, we came up with some general possibilities:
- Andy's last name (Magee)
- My last name (Gardner)
- Hypenating our last names together (Magee-Gardner / Gardner-Magee)
- Merging our names together (Gargee?)
- Choosing an entirely new last name (?)
Next up, we thought about hypenating our last names. That got knocked down the list pretty easily as hypenated last names can be cumbersome and pose all sorts of fun questions for when our children get married in the future. What happens if they marry someone with a hypenated last name? Boom. 4 last names and 3 hyphens. That sounds dangerous. Also, our merged name options were pretty dangerous too.
The last option of picking a 'new' last name seemed a bit weird as well until Andy had a great idea. He suggested that we check our family trees for a common last name. I thought that was awesome and over the span of a couple weeks a lot of research ensued on ancestry.com. In the end, we had 3 last names in common which were "Bennett," "Hill/Hylle," and "Richards." Once we got to this point though, neither of us were overly excited by any of these. If we changed our last names to something new, we wanted it to jump out at us and sound awesome. Just like marrying someone, you're going to have that last name for a long time so we knew we'd better like it a lot!
That made us pause from the ancestry track and circle back to our initial choices, our current last names (Magee or Gardner). Neither of us had a strong preference and were a bit reluctant to make the other change. However, our ancestry research did play a final role in our decision. On my side, my 3rd great grandmother had a last name of McKee which is essentially the same as Andy's last name. Decision made: Magee it is!