How do I hyphenate last names?

Some people have “double-barreled” last names such as “Smith-Merkus,” for example because both parents retained their original surnames when they married.

There is no consistent rule about whether such last names should be hyphenated. Hyphenation varies widely according to cultural context and personal choice.

To know whether a specific person’s last name is hyphenated, it’s best to check a reliable source such as the title page of one of their publications or an entry about them in a reference work.