What E-Mail Address Goes With My Name?
-- Middle or Married?
Much as we love them and fuss over them, most middle names don't matter a great deal when it comes to name style. Most of us go by just our first names, reserving the full three-part name for ceremonial occasions. Only a small fraction of Americans regularly make a middle name part of their image, like the down-home style of a Billy Ray Cyrus or the imposing presence of a William Randolph Hearst.
But middle names shine in the functional arena. For instance, they can help a teacher make sure that Emily Grace Jones doesn't get the report card intended for Emily Alden Jones -- and help him remember that Emily Alden Jones's parents are Ms. Alden and Mr. Jones.
For anyone adopting a marital surname, using a maiden name as a middle name serves another function: continuity. It connects your past and present identities, and helps people from earlier stages of your life recognize the new you. The first-maiden-married three-part name has become standard in forums like Facebook that are all about maintaining connections. Don't worry, this isn't "pretentious," just practical.
E-mail is about connections too, so it makes sense to incorporate your old surname into your new address. The choice of initial vs. full middle name should depend on the names themselves and how they work together. If the full trio is long and hard to spell, stick with an initial. On the other hand, if your new name is Zelda Owens Reilly, use the full middle name to avoid confusion with the surname O'Reilly. Either way will work fine for the address. What you really have to be careful about is your outgoing "from" name.
Think about it: anyone typing in your new e-mail address presumably knows who you are, new name and all. It’s the people you send e-mail to who need a heads up that Zelda Reilly is really their old colleague Zelda Owens. Take the time to poke around in your email system and set the "from" ID to your full, three part name so all of your correspondents know that you may have a new name, but you’re still the same person.