What's in a name?

Will you keep your name or take his? Once news of the engagement gets out, modern brides-to-be are often asked this question. But some aren't limiting their options to just these two choices. Instead of his or hers, a third name is occasionally chosen by both husband and wife.

Jennifer and David Allyn formed their last name from their middle names - Lynn and Alan. Some couples, such as Kevin McGrew Isbister and Amy Elizabeth Clendening, made a bolder choice of going with an entirely new name. They scrambled their initials (KMI and AEC), and came up with "Makice" as their family name. Although Kevin and Amy had talked about a name change for seven years, they made Makice (pronounced Mah-KEES) legal before the February 2000 birth of Carter, their first child.

"It isn't as easy as you might think to come up with a brand new name, let alone accept a new identity," the Makices wrote to friends in last year's Christmas letter. "After some casual looks at 'Isbiding,' 'Clenbister,' and even 'Isbister-Clendening,' the search shifted to a more practical approach."

Kevin did the scrambling with a computer program that produced more than 7,000 combinations of their initials. The couple paired down the list until they finally picked "Makice," in part because of its Scottish flavor. An Internet search on their new name only found a few random references, proving to them its uniqueness.

The Makices now use their original surnames as middle names, which has helped facilitate paperwork during the past several months. With the occasional slip, friends and family are adjusting to the switch. And when he starts speaking, baby Carter will no doubt have an easier time uttering Makice than Isbiding or Clendening.

When changing a name, documentation can be daunting. Driver's licenses, credit cards, passports, and insurance forms are just some of the papers that need to be dealt with.

For a fee, a variety of Internet services will navigate people through the process and provide forms. Two of the best can be found at www.dfwx.com/namechange.html and www.fivestarsoftware.com/namechange/index.html.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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