their husband's first name as their last name.
I was quite ignorant about these matters when we got married nearly fourscore and seven years ago. Had I known then what I know now (head shaking ruefully)... I probably would have kept my original name. It was quite a nice Wasp name that I was born to... with swamp Yankee roots, a couple of esteemed ancestors and a nearby college all sharing the name. I even used to get compliments on my name, "good name" anonymous people on the other end of the phone line would say when I told them my name. Of course, they were probably descendants of swamp Yankees themselves with similar names, entrenched in the history of our region.
My ruefulness is compounded when total strangers (south Indians all) assume wrongly that I am married to my father-in-law instead of my husband, because his first name is now my last name.
How did this happen?