Whether I would change my name when I got married had always kind of been on my mind. It’s been on my mind for most of my adult life even before I knew my husband.

Maybe it is because I am so steadfast– inflexible? tomato/tomato — and “Mary Galioto” has always been who I am. It is what I call myself in my head when I do something idiotic: “Mary Galioto, what were you thinking?” It is my identity.  I am also one of the last “Galiotos” in our line. It is my heritage. Professionally, as a lawyer, it didn’t make sense to change my name. And I’m also really too lazy and stubborn to go ahead and fill out paperwork.

I grew up in a world of many women keeping their maiden name (I also grew up calling adults by their first names but that is a topic for a different post). My mom kept her maiden name so when friends called her Mrs. Galioto, I’d have to explain we did not share a last name. And that didn’t bother me. And also, please call her “Ann.” I think I was kind of proud.

When I got married, I’m pretty sure I told my husband I would change my name to his last name, “Kennedy.” It wasn’t deal-breakingly important to him so it isn’t like I was tricking him. I wanted to want to because I thought it would make him happy. But I couldn’t do it (which is too bad because my husband’s last name requires no spelling or pronunciation correction).

I explored the possibility of changing my middle name to my maiden last name or hyphenating but it was all too much change and too much name.  I have married friends who both took each other’s name in hyphenated form. And I have friends who created their own new last name using a combination of parts of their birth names. But I didn’t want to change my own name and I can’t imagine my husband wanted to either.

I’ve been going by both last names. Our CSA (Honey Brook Organic Farm) has me as “Kennedy” which is massively inconvenient when I inevitably lose my farm-tag and I can’t show my driver’s license to prove who I am because that says “Galioto.” When I was working, I went by “Galioto Kennedy” and Facebook is under the same misconception. My local chapter of the MOMs Club thinks I’m “Kennedy.”

So it might be time to come clean. There’s no reason for me to be lurking around with multiple identities.

My name is MARY GALIOTO. Nice to meet ya.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.


  1. Nice to meet ya Mary Galioto….and see, I learned something new about you today, ’cause the facebook alter ego WAS confusing me. Love my maiden (and only) name…I am also the last of my line…and I admit I am quite happy with the bonus of passing my name down to my kids. Because, as my husband said when we talked about it long ago “My friends will know they are my kids. And why would I care what strangers think?”

    Personally, I hope that 20 years from now giving kids their mom’s last name is as common as women keeping their maiden name is now… and I think that might just happen. In my daughter’s own circle of friends, 2 of them have their mother’s last name (only). And no, none of us knew eachother before kids.

  2. Heidi, Truthfully, our children’s last name was never a conversation Ryan and I ever had. I think it was enough of inner turmoil for me to decide whether I would change my own name. It is really cool that your kids have your last name especially since you are last of your line and refreshing to see people bucking conventions. Thanks for commenting!