'Our family came to be with this name'

Family identity and gender roles in surname choices


  • Katrine Kehlet Bechsgaard University of Copenhagen




personal names, surnames, socio-onomastics, family identity, gender roles, Denmark


The article focuses on surname choices among families in Denmark, seeking to add a new perspective by proposing that the choices and narratives of surnames contain information about and reflect family identity formation as well as family and gender practices. It examines individuals and couples in different family formations in accordance with the diverse family landscape of Denmark in the 2020s. The analysis shows that for some, surname choices are closely related to the idea of family, while others attach less importance to surnames. It also demonstrates that while surname choices are sometimes used for doing gender, surname choices are also part of undoing gender practices.




How to Cite

Kehlet Bechsgaard, K. (2024). ’Our family came to be with this name’: Family identity and gender roles in surname choices. Nordic Journal of Socio-Onomastics, 4(1), 69–100. https://doi.org/10.59589/noso.42024.17083