© Charles Chandler
This isn't a technological issue — it's cultural — but I didn't have a folder for cultural issues, so I'm just sticking this brief article here.
In Western society, the traditional standard has been that when a woman gets married, she adopts the last name of her husband, and then her maiden surname becomes her middle name. Recently, people have started hyphenating the last names of the husband and wife. But apparently nobody considered what would happen when the children with the hyphenated names got married — were they supposed to combine two hyphenated last names into one made up of four surnames?
Sooner or later, we have to start dropping names. The better way is for everybody to not bother changing their names when the get married, because that's just confusing. Then, the children should get the middle name of the mother's family, and the last name of the father's family. And we should take it for granted that everybody has three names, thus explicitly acknowledging the family names of both parents.
Thereafter, both the maternal and paternal lines will be preserved.