Saturday, September 5, 2009

When Do You "Own" Your Surname?

Since this is the official blog of a surname project—the Taylor surname project—it is reasonable to question, when is a surname yours?

If you have the surname Taylor by marriage or adoption, is it yours? My answer is yes. If you psychologically identify with the surname, and use it as your legal name, it is yours in my opinion. (Readers are encouraged to comment, if they have strong feelings about this.)

Thus, within our Taylor surname project we have y-DNA matches that do not carry the surname Taylor, but trace back to Taylor lines, and we have people who carry the Taylor name and trace back to other male lines and other surnames. All of them are part of the Taylor project because they identify themselves by personal preference, by identity, by law, or by DNA, as Taylors.

We welcome them all.

Consider Jeremy Taylor, the dream expert. Taylor is a founding member and past president of the Association for the Study of Dreams, he has written three books integrating dream symbolism, mythology, and archetypal energy. The latest is: The Living Labyrinth: Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams and the Symbolism of Waking Life. His earlier books, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, and Dream Work, have been translated into many languages. As far as I am aware, he is not a member of this project.

Jeremy Taylor is a most interesting person; I have met him, interacted with him at a week-long retreat, and read one of his books. See more about Jeremy at his website: I mention Jeremy Taylor because, having an interest in Taylor genealogy, I asked him about his Taylor connections. He told me his father had been adopted. While I suspect that his father is deceased, as Jeremy is in his 60s, Jeremy’s y-DNA can still be used to determine his father’s paternal lineage.

By my reckoning, Jeremy Taylor is a “real” Taylor, even though his father was adopted. Jeremy has used the Taylor name throughout his life. What do you think?


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