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Surnames are often used as metaphors for genetic material on the assumption of neutrality and general immunity from systematic pressures. The Yucatec Maya use surnames of both Maya and Spanish origin. We find evidence of positive assortative mating by ethnic origin of surname and a slight bias away from marriage of women to men with Maya surnames for parents of cohorts born from 1878 to 1970 (x2 =11.0 to 46.6; p < .001). Selective neutrality of surnames apparently cannot be assumed in all cases.