In Britain, one traditionally associates double-barrelled surnames with the aristocracy or landed gentry, originally as a way of keeping going a surname that would otherwise have died out, due to lack of male children to carry it on. However it is my impression that there is a significant incidence of double-barrelled surnames among British black people, of Caribbean (as opposed to African) extraction. Here is one example in the news at the moment: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/commonwealth-games/43735185 I have not been able to find an explanation of the origin of this practice. I wonder if perhaps it is from Spanish custom (in which children take the surnames of both parents' families), perhaps from the way slaves were named, or perhaps from something else entirely. Does anyone have an explanation, preferably with links to some further reading?