Here is an interesting cultural tidbit about the naming custom in our area.
--Disclaimer-- Appologies to any Kipsigis for any mistakes i might make in my recollection.
Okay... First the basics. In america as well as most the western world our last names are passed down and our first names our... Well.. kinda rabdom. My last name is Van Regenmorter which of course means that my father and his father all the way back have a surname of Van Regenmorter. It kind of makes family trees easy to visualize.
This however is not the case here. When a boy is born he receives two names. First he receives a surname which signifies when he was born or under what conditions. So if you're born at night you are Kiplangat (kip = boy born at, langat = night), if you're born in the a.m. You would be Kipmutai or if you're born around noon you'd be kibett.
Then you get a Christian name like Emmanuel. I think this was basically the result of British missionionaries and their difficulty with the language and is also an indication of how widespread christianity has been adopted here. funny enough the Christian names they choose many times are one's you'd hardly recognize such as Boniface, Obadiah, Zephania, or Enock.
So a typical name could be boniface kiplangat, but when the boy undergoes circumcision he looses his surname and inherits his fathers childhood name. It's confusing. So let's take an example. Assuming i'm born at night my name would be Jon kiplangat. When i get circumcised i would now take my father's childhood name (say... Kibett) and my new name would be Jon Bett. and finally my children would take my childhood name (langat) when they are circumcised. So... Basically your surname changes when you reach puberty and your name is only linked to your father. Therefore the only way to identify relatives and granparents would be a clan name which is rarely used and i don't believe is included officially.
Okay... Now on to something very different.
It's really important to have kids here. If you're a man and your wife can't deliver (no pun intended), you can get a second wife... Or third. (Polygamy is a fading but still practiced tradition). BUT if you're the infertile woman you have to get pretty creative. And i MEAN creative.
Sometimes an infertile woman will adopt a fertile daughter and have her marry her immaginary son. Therefore any kids born from her adopted daughter are by custom her grandchildren. Ok... That's a bit different but you get it right? Desire for family, respect, chidlren. But now... How do you name those grandchidlren!? The father is immaginary (okay there is a father... Kinda has to be ;) but he's not included in this family unit that i know of) so where do you get the surname? Essentially all of the family members are female, so he's given the last surname Chepkwony. This is odd for two reasons. Sons always have the prefix Kip- (see earlier paragraph), and only daughters get the prefix Chep-, but if your grandchild is a boy he still is chepkowny. Which essentially means daughter of woman (kowny means woman).
It's hard to follow i know... I had to consult the infinitely better memory of my better half to get all of this straight.
Hope you enjoyed!