It’s a conundrum many couples have to face eventually. But rather than going with the expected, a pair of Yellowknife couples bucked tradition and are using a blending of their last names as they set out in life.
That’s what the Van Overliw’s opted for. Maureen and Tim came up with their unique surname as an amalgam of their given family names — Maureen Harilyw and Tim Van Overbeek.
“It wasn’t an approach where we both said we wanted to blend,” Tim says. “We were both trying to contemplate, would we hyphenate? Would one take the other’s?”
After reading in the New York Times about a similar couple who blended names, the duo invited friends over for dinner to see what they could come up with.
"We had a lot of stuff like 'hairy-beak'," Maureen laughs, so they were quite happy to eventually settle on Van Overliw for a last name. “It just came naturally,” Tim says.
They aren’t alone. Byron and Susan Fitzky (née Fitzpatrick and Sawatzky) opted for a similar plan when they joined their lives together.
“We both had long last names, so hyphenating two- and three-syllable names makes for a long one.”
“Fitzpatrick-Sawatzky would have been impossible to put into boxes,” Susan says, “and Susan has a lisp so it becomes… really awkward,” Byron jokes.No kidding. But not nearly as awkward as what would happen if, say, Jim Buttinsky and his spouse Gillian Whitehead tried to blend their surnames.