Monday, January 20, 2014

"su apellido, por favor"

Now it is time to give you a lesson on how names work around here—as far as we have come to understand the system. Anyway, this is what Sherryl has learned through her service in the temple.  Each person has a given name followed by their father’s father’s surname followed by their mother’s father’s surname.  For example, let’s say we name a new baby girl Maria Elena.  Automatically tacked onto her name is her father’s father’s surname and let’s call him Jorge Martinez Gonzales.  Also tacked onto her name is her mother’s father’s surname and the mother is Maria Luisa Sanchez Gutierrez de Martinez.  So at birth, the child will be Maria Elena Martinez Sanchez.  So when you ask someone for their name—even a child—they will probably give you ALL of their names because they are their official and legal names!  If you ask for their last name, they might just say one or both last names or ask you “which one?”  Because they have two last names.  Then let’s say our Maria Elena grows up and gets married to Eduardo Vergara Polo.  Her name becomes Maria Elena Martinez Sanchez de Vergara.  We have been told that upon marriage, she could quit using her mother’s last name and be Maria Elena Martinez de Vergara and some quit using both of their parents’ last names and cut it down to Elena de Vergara.  We work with names in the temple and find ourselves constantly asking people for their apellido which we interpret to mean “last name” but in fact means “surname.”  I have been asked, “do you want my married name?”  “Which name?” And sometimes they just give their complete name Maria Elena Martinez Sanchez de Vergara and let me choose which name I want to use when I address her.  Once when I asked a sister what her name was and after she said it twice and I couldn’t repeat it back to her correctly, she just said, “well, let me give you my maiden name since it is simpler than my husband’s last name.”  I asked the matron of the temple about names and have been told that any name they choose to give me is correct.  It is strange since we work with a sister whose name badge clearly states  Hermana Yolanda Aviles and everyone calls her Hermana Lopez.  I asked if she was Hermana Lopez or Hermana Aviles and she said I could pick which one I liked best since she is both.  I have yet to learn how it all works with her and really don’t want to ask.  Paul says when he was a missionary in Mexico 40+ years ago, he typed up membership records while working in the mission office.  At that time he observed that a man’s traditional Catholic first names could be Maria de Jesus followed by the name that we know them by such as Antonio, Jorge or Manuel.  So technically a man’s first name could be Maria.  

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