Family Name in Indonesia

when you have no family name

When Indonesians (who don’t have any family name or achternaam) live in the Netherlands, they must have at least one moment when they have to explain why they don’t have any family name. I did, hundred times (^^,)

I’m the one that they would say is having the “weird name” that consists of three first names and no family name. Since the Dutch have the culture of writing the initials before the family name, then they will always write my name this way: I.*.Maureen and since Maureen is considered as first name, then my friends called me Maureen or Mo (kewren kan eike, serasa Agnez Mo, trus langsung joged *cinta ini… sambil mengepalkan tangan).

(that’s why since 2002, I use my last name as my first name. that also explains the reason why my socmed account id is (at)maureenmoz  follow me? *wink)

Sometimes I feel like they couldn’t believe that I don’t have any family name. It would be such a terrible idea -of having no family identity. They must have think that I was a diabolic baby that my parents don’t want me to have the privilege of being in the family.

I know ^^,

but it’s not like that.

It’s neither that my family hate me so much nor I hate them.

Yes, those three first pretty names are all my names, and I know my parents proud of having me as their only baby girl (kata emak: opooo aeeeeee *jendul)

well, as you might probably know, that there are many other believes, faiths, and cultures in the world which are sooooo different one another.

the family name tradition in Indonesia

In Indonesia, we have a broad range of different cultures, might be just as many as the number of the islands ^^ we have different languages, habits, ways of thinking, traditional dances, traditional clothes, batik patterns, and of course, different ways of naming.

It is very complex, yes..

confusing? hmm, let’s see..

There are Indonesian cultures that allows passing the family name from the father’s family (patrilineality) like in Batak culture, e.g.: Wandi Panjaitan (Panjaitan is the family name in Batak) OR the mother’s family (matrilineality) like in Minangkabau culture (I don’t have any example, sorry).

There are also given names that represent the status or caste of the family (yes, some cultures have the systems of categorizing society into castes – or just 2 castes: royal and ordinary families).

Like in Bali, there are “title” like Ida for the highest caste families (or known as Brahmans or priest/teachers, and “Tjokorda”for the Satria – the warrior caste) so we can easily recognized that Ida Bagus Oka is the first (Oka means the first) son (Bagus for male) in the-highest-caste family (Ida).

In Bugis culture, we will find that royal or distinguish families will have the name “Andi” in front of their names.

In Java or Madura, the royals must have for example: Raden (and Raden Roro or Raden Ayu for female) in front of their given name AND sometimes also with a family name.

Then, we could easily recognizes where he/she comes from based on his/her name since most of them are so unique.

(I haven’t known so far if there’s any Indonesian culture that pass both family like in Hispanic family)

BUT, there are also MANY Indonesian cultures that pass NO family name. So no wonder that we could find single names in Indonesia, like the first president, Soekarno.


Single Name

Well, I’m not studying about history or cultures, but I assume that the single names tradition came from “average” families that must have bigger number than the royal ones. “higher class” families tend to have more than one name, that is usually the case, imho.

Then through time, there are  “modern” families that tend to be creative with names (with the forming of the name or the quantity of the name). Some “modern” families even create their own family name by combining part of names from the father and mother, like: AIRVA = Anak (child) IRwan (the father) and iVA (the mother). Or just named their children after famous actor/actress.

about my own name

I believe all children in my father’s big family have the title Raden/Raden Roro in front of their names except ME and my little brother (my big bro still owns the royal title). my parents (well, I think it’s my mom’s idea) agree that I wouldn’t need the title “Raden Roro”..

well, not only that the combination would sounds weird (imagine: Raden Roro Maureen) but my parents believe that I would be good even without people knowing that I belong to one of the royal families (that would no longer be suitable since there is no such kingdoms in Indonesia, well.. except in Central Java) and -for my mom- this would represent her open mindedness (of being one of the Indonesian families instead of the royal families – with no existed kingdom)

anyway, I love my names (yes, those three first names) although it doesn’t sound like traditional Indonesian names, but I think… so far, I am the only one in this world having the names combination *proud *pukpuk emak

so.. what’s the story behind your name?

this is truly just my opinion, I don’t  study or conduct any research about the history and culture of Indonesia, but since the questions keep on coming then I got to come up with something, right?


5 thoughts on “Family Name in Indonesia

  1. Ah senang tahu cerita dibalik namamu Mo *lalu nari jingkrak2 ala Agnez Mo 😅 wahh berarti kamu sik keturunan kraton ya, darah biru dong *darah diblau
    Suamiku lho baru tahu lek nama belakangku itu bukan nama keluarga, setelah kami menikah. Selama ini dipikirnya nama belakangku itu adalah nama belakang Bapakku *padahal pas akad lak de’e menyebut nama bapakku, tapi ga sadar haha. Trus dia merasa aneh kenapa kok keluargaku ga ada nama keluarga dinama belakang. Kedawan, nama mbahku dowo nemen soale. Trus nama pertamaku itu gabungan nama kedua orangtua. Tapi keren yo, keminggris *huahaha dipuji2 dewe😅

    • hahaha… *toss iya nama kita keminggris, tapi aku nemen, nama keminggris – tampang kejawen alias ndeso, wkwkwk… bayangin kalau jadi dosen tamu, pasti mahasiswa2nya ngarepin lihat bule (tulisannya mesti Maureen MSc-Uni.Twente) padahal ireng, hahaha..

  2. Aku seneng banget loh kalo ada yang cerita apa makna dibalik namanya masing-masing atau historinya, like what you did, raden roro irena maureen asmo********jo 😀

    Kalau aku mah punya nama njawani *jadul* tapi tampang tidak njawani sama sekali. Gak ada manis-manisnya 😀 Ada satu ketika waktu masih kuliah S1, praktikanku nanya namaku (aku co-asnya). Trus kubilang, namaku Astuti. Tau nggak komennya apa? Katanya gini “Kak, nggak cocok kak, masak tampang begitu namanya Astuti. Kakak mah yang itu aja namanya, Bening (nama temenku), unik kak.” 😆 😆 😆 *bangke* *ngakak*

    • eits maap yeee… nama eike ngga pake raden roro dan nama keluarga… hahaha… no, just the first three names, kok…

      btw enak looo nama njawani dan nama cantik pula (astuti or padmaningsih), bisa bangga gitu kalau mewakili bangsa.. ya ngga sih… padmaningsih from Indonesia, nah kan cucok…

  3. Pingback: Royal Family | @MaureenMoz

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