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It is a modern development as far as I know. There used to be no law regarding last names before 1981 and it was simply customary to give the father's name. The law was adopted as a way to fight sexism, allowing a part to the mother in the name heritage. 
 
It has earned some popularity as a practice in the '80s, but it has decreased largely since the '90s. Very second-wave feminism.
 
> Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 07:27:01 -0600
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Romance naming practices
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> Is this a modern development or a traditional practice? Adam
> 
> On 3/4/11, Maxime Papillon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> On 4 March 2011 00:54, Adam Walker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> > ...
> >> Also, I'm not aware of it ever being the custom to give a child both the
> >> father's and mother's family name. I also know that it's officially
> >> disallowed: a child cannot have a family name different from both their
> >> father's and their mother's.
> > ...
> >
> > Unlurking to add the small point that it is different in French Canada. It
> > is not rare to name a child with both parents' family names, generally
> > starting with the mother's, separated by a hyphen. It is also common for
> > those bearing double last names to choose to use only one of the two family
> > names in some contexts so that siblings are known under different family
> > names. Such a name is recognized legally as a "double nom", double name,
> > distinguished from "noms composÚs" who are names with many parts but that
> > cannot be cut. If one or both of the parents have a "double nom", their
> > children may be named with any single or any two of the 3 or 4 names in any
> > order.
> >
> > Maxime