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Split off new article Matriname[edit]

I'm splitting off Matrilineality's section, Matrilineal surname, by cutting and pasting it into a new article Matriname. The latter name is simpler and more common (i.e., less scientific) than the orginal section's name, as appropriate for an article name.

As recommended by WP guidelines, I'm substituting a synopsis of the information needed, under the old section heading, in the article Matrilineality, and linking to the new article as the old section's Main article. I'm also tending to the categories of both articles, as well as tending to the WikiProjects listed at the top of the Talk page of each article. I tried to do just the Splitting off/Creating an article, clearly labelled in the two Edit summaries – ie, nothing extra during that one step, as recommended.

My reason for splitting it off: Since I wrote the 21Aug09 Talk page entry about which of 3 named articles to place a new section Matrilineal surname in (I placed the latter in Matrilineality), both this new section and the rest of the article have benefited from each other, I think. But the section has grown much bigger than many other sections within the article, even though the latter have grown too. Thus, the section has developed to where it should be an article itself. So I'm being bold and splitting it off.

I'll continue to work in both articles. For example, I still need to do some work on matrilineal clans, in the Matrilineality article. I'm placing this identical entry in both Talk pages, For7thGen (talk) 02:34, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Prove "matriname" is more common than "matrilineal surname". In particular, "matriname" is specialized terminology that may be used in narrow scientific circles, but will be unintelligible to the general English-speaking readership. "Matrilineal surname", on the other hand, is a phrase of two intelligible words, and many general readers will be able to understand it even if they have not been exposed to it before.
The Corpus of Contemporary American English shows no instances in its database of "matrilineal surname" or "matriname", but it does show 200 instances of "matrilineal" and 529 instances of "surname". For comparison, a common word, "name", has 116,200 instances. I suggest a compound of two words that while a bit uncommon, clearly are in use, is more intelligible to a general readership than a word that apparently is not in general use, and thus more satisfactory as an article title. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:40, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree with your approach, Jc3s5h, but my own experience is in Googling for "matriname", where you'll soon see that ordinary genealogy people do in fact like to use "matriname". And they seldom if ever use "matrilineal surname". If you patiently glance through Google's first 50 entries, say, I think you'll agree that people do like to use "matriname". (I was surprised by their liking to use "ambilineal" as well, from the Matriname article.) And this commonness of the word matriname is so familiar to me by now that I have never questioned it. I do agree with your approach and your reasoning; but I'd like you to apply your 2nd sentence to Prof. Bryan Sykes' suggested name for the concept, and to why he didn't suggest the name "matrilineal surname" instead?

Googling "matrilineal surname" gives very different results, when I tried it just now for the first 20 entries. (I was a little dismayed by entry #10, a Google Books entry for the 2008 book Chinese American Names: Tradition and Transition, which uses "matrilineal surname" 1 time , and uses it incorrectly. If you look at the whole page, you'll see that the authors really meant "maternal surname" instead.)

To actually prove that "matriname" is more common, I'd have to print out and then carefully tabulate the first say 30 Google entries for each. That might take me 2-3 hours to do, just as a start, so I hope you won't need me to do it. Naturally 30 uses for each of the 2 terms would not mean that there were more uses of one than of the other. But I could, if needed, carefully describe each of the 30 uses, and then you and I could go on from there. For example, my quick impression was that a higher fraction of the "matrilineal surname" entries were essentially junk or nonsense. There must be such stuff on the web, I assume, since Google does find it. I'm thankful for your good entry, on behalf of WP readers, For7thGen (talk) 19:30, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Women's need for their own identity surname, and questions[edit]

I'll record this while I'm thinking about it. Since at least the time of Lucy Stone (see also Lucy Stone League, or LSL), efforts have been made to provide equality or symmetry between the genders in various areas including surnames. Lucy Stone herself liked to clarify that she was working toward eliminating Women's wrongs rather than toward Women's rights – just like CEDAW (1979) but say 130 years earlier.

The desire or need for women's own identity surname is indicated by the amount of human work toward this surname goal, including Lucy Stone's work and the work of the LSL. This work also includes that of many couples who choose to combine their two patrinames into a double surname, using the woman's father-name as her identity surname. This work is further described by the English-speaking section of Family name; by the article Married and maiden names; by the occasional book or article or interview in the media, about this surname topic; and further indicated by the laws or guidelines about surnames in at least Germany and France (legislated after CEDAW but before the concept of matrinames was known); and indicated even by the inclusion of family names in CEDAW, as discussed in this Matriname article. And so on, during the last say 5 generations. But the concept of matrinames (or women's own identity surnames) presented in this article has been only somewhat available for less than a generation, since Sykes's 2001 suggestion.

Question: Would the above paragraphs, carefully rewritten, work as a 3rd section in this article? And would it help WP readers? What I'd really like would be for someone else (who thinks it would work) to write the new section, because I don't think it is healthy for me to be the only writer of this article since it was split off from Matrilineality. Please help this article by rewriting the above content into a 3rd section, or add other content instead that you think would help WP readers. For7thGen (talk) 01:59, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


References to other articles ought to be better integrated into the flow of sentences. I'm just sayin'. —Tamfang (talk) 03:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Tamfang, it's truly great to have not only an input from someone else, but an excellent input from you. (You are welcome to make any such changes yourself, in the future.) I think you are sayin' that the article's style is a little too encyclopedic, too many cases of "see the article So-and-so". So I am improving those 6 cases that I can find. (I also intend to improve the article by following WP suggestions for writing a good article, but unfortunately can't find time for that within the next few months... ).
  • I repeat, please improve anything in the article, including my improvments for these 6 cases (or add to the article, whatever...). Trying to help WP readers, For7thGen (talk) 21:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I took out some links to Family name where the context implied that that article is essentially a list of patrilineal cultures. —Tamfang (talk) 03:53, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

mother's patriname[edit]

Note also that one's mother's patriname(s) may be inherited from either or both of one's mother's parents, in some patrilineal cultures in the Family name article.

What, if anything, does this sentence mean? —Tamfang (talk) 01:55, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Well, in the traditional Spanish culture, the mother has one patriname from her father and one from her mother, with the latter one actually from the father of her mother. And I generalized it. I wanted to convey that the mother does have a surname from her mother. So I should hammer out a decent sentence in place of my obtuse one. I'm too tired right now, so feel free to clean it up yourself, but I'll give it a quick try now. Many, many thanks for your excellent writing. I can see that you kept my wording wherever you could, which makes me feel honored. Do make a lot more changes, ....
  • The WP readers will truly benefit from your excellent improvements. All I can say is Wow! and many thanks, For7thGen (talk) 14:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

All this flattery is making me giddy. I'll go take a shower now. —Tamfang (talk) 19:52, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

hyphens and whatnot[edit]

It should be mentioned that the patriname is always a single surname, like Smith or Jones, never a double surname like Smith-Jones or Smith Jones [footnote: By reading within the Family name article, one notices that the single-surname (or patriname) is indeed used as the identity-surname, such as Smith or Jones, and that the double-surname Smith-Jones is used as two patrinames. Similarly one notices that patrinames (normally) are never changed.] – and similarly the matriname would always be a single surname, never a double surname. And, just as men normally never change their patriname, so also women would normally never change their matriname. Thus both identity-surnames would be equally stable over the generations.

This passage is puzzling in multiple ways.

  • Ernest Horatio Algernon Smith-Jones would never say "I have two patrinames, Smith and Jones, so you can call me Jones or you can call me Smith, or you can call me Smith-Jones." Whatever its origin, a name like Smith-Jones nearly always becomes (at least after the first generation) functionally indivisible, a single name with a funny orthography. By reading within the Family name article, I don't see anything to the contrary.
  • Who says a matriline can't adopt such a composite as its matriname?
  • Why emphasize the custom of not changing the name? Is that not implied?

Tamfang (talk) 20:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I have now finished unforking another article, which surely was higher priority than this article (Matriname). Now I can return to fixing this article. You worded your thoughts so well that I could follow them just fine, I believe. As follows:
  • Well, I agree, my use of never and always (etc.) was not correct, and therefore not encyclopedic. Thank you very much for your work here. I hope my fixes are adequate... the wording is delicate and hard for me to navigate while still leaving the concepts clear for the readers, and easy to grasp. (Always and never are easy to grasp.) You perhaps can word it better.....
  • Again, your point is good, and I hope that "normally" not a double surname or composite is good enough.
  • I just have a lot of sympathy for US women who have been (illegally) forced by our so-called legal system to change their surname at marriage for say the 3 or 4 decades prior to 1972, see Lucy Stone League. But yes, equality with men does imply not changing the matriname. What particular part(s) of the article are you referring to? Do feel free to change those parts and I'll see if I can live with your result.
And Vielen Dank for your handling the DNA entry in the below section. I did use your suggested wording in adding something to help such readers. (I thought the 2nd occurrence had too long of a sentence already so I added nothing there.) For7thGen (talk) 01:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The particular parts of the article to which I'm referring are the particular paragraph that I quoted above.
 Why say anything at all about the "normal" or likely style of the adopted name? There might be many reasons to adopt a two-part name from scratch. The clan might name itself after two landmarks or two revered personages. A big clan might hyphenate to disambiguate (like a German ducal house), rather than to combine. —Tamfang (talk) 02:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
To your question, Why say anything at all.... ? My thinking will be, Can I just say nothing at all about the likely style of matrinames? (I suppose I've assumed matrinames are likely to be similar in style to our existing patrinames.) Yes, I can, and should, say nothing. And now I've made that change, as you can see. This is of course another big improvement, due to you. I appreciate your work, and the readers benefit from your work. So keep up your good work, as needed..... For7thGen (talk) 14:02, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
You're such a good sport! —Tamfang (talk) 02:16, 24 July 2012 (UTC)


The part about DNA/mtDNA doesn't make any sense to me, as surnames are a cultural invention and have little to do with genetics. Surnames reflect legal parentage (if even that), not biological descendancy. What about orphans and adopted children? There are actually laws against discriminatory surnames like "Esposito" used to be.-- (talk) 13:12, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

There is a disclaimer to the effect that this article ignores complexities such as adoption (just as patrinames generally ignore adultery); perhaps it ought to have more emphasis — but it would be inconvenient to sprinkle explicit exceptions all over. On the other hand, it would not be very burdensome to replace "women who share mtDNA" (if your daughter has a mutation, do you change her name?) with "women who have a common ancestor in the female line". —Tamfang (talk) 15:29, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Examples of use of matriname and patriname[edit]

I've just added 2 examples of the use of matriname and patriname, as footnotes in this article, and then did "undo" them within 24 hours. Namely, the thought occurred to me, maybe Eric Kline Silverman, in his 2001 book Masculinity, Motherhood, and Mockery: Psychoanalyzing Culture and the Iatmul Naven Rite in New Guinea, was misusing the word matriname. Most scientists would not misuse a word, but I'd better make sure before I put a mistake like that permanently in front of our WP readers.

  • Making sure will require me to do a lot of work to investigate his book, using its Google Book, to at least make sure his matrinames are being handed down his matrilines, if he even uses the word matriline, as he really should if he is using the word matriname correctly, in parallel with his use of patriname. (His patriname does get passed down the patriline, but in a weird way: the paternal grandfather gives his patriname to his patrilineal grandson, and loses it himself, so only one person at a time has that patriname, if I understood it correctly.) I see other scientists (etc.) using matri-name when they really mean maternal patriname, and I could accept the term matri-name, if that's what Silverman actually meant.
  • This matri-name = maternal patriname would clearly not be the same patriname as the weird one above, so I'm hopeful that Silverman's matriname is handed down the matriline. I got the impression that Silverman's matriname went to both sexes, just as our patriname goes to both sexes. It's too complicated to comprehend easily. I can't really afford the time it will probably take to investigate this, but I feel forced to do it. Good luck to all of us, For7thGen (talk) 21:31, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Well, Silverman does use the words matriline and patriline, and matriclan and patriclan, and mentions "descent group" at least 12 times, sometimes for matrilines and sometime for patrilines, but his description of exactly how matrinames get handed down is on pages that are not shown in his Google book. Too bad! Very unfortunate! So I have no chance to understand what his matriname is, and it still may really be a patriname as mentioned above. End of story. (End of investigation.)

  • I should add, patrinames are a power thing in the Iatmul culture, much different from our own use of patrinames: their ancestors even "named the world into existence", on p. 28 (included in a snippet which came up when I searched the Google book for the term "descent group"). And I am sure that each man has a matriname and a patriname (which belongs to his patrilineal grandfather until the latter is willing to give it up), and that each person will "revert" to their matriclan "in death".
  • Most important is that the Google book search shows no use of the word surname (nor of family name) in the whole book. Therefore, even without being able to see his description of his words matriname and patriname, I conclude that Silverman was not using them to mean matrilineal surname and patrilineal surname. (If he was, he would have said so and as a scientist he would have used either the word surname or the term family name.) I feel that he should have used "matri-name" and "patri-name" instead of matriname and patriname, to avoid confusing his readers.
  • I would really like to put this book up for WP readers to see, but it does not belong within this Matriname article, unfortunately. Having nothing to show for all the work I've done, For7thGen (talk) 23:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

The final result, of course, is that after the above work I did enough more searching-work to find examples which correctly use matriname and patriname, and included an online-accessible example of each in the article's footnotes. I like the impressive result: the article begins with Endnotes 1,2,3 for matriname, and then follows with Endnotes 4,5 for patriname. See them for yourself, if you like, For7thGen (talk) 18:47, 17 February 2013 (UTC)