post childhood name changes

+4 votes
80 views
I am curious if anyone knows of a place (places) where name changes are recorded? I am convinced a lot of the name changes (spelling) are created some time after birth, and if we knew where to look, that would be a good site.
in The Tree House by Milton Davis G2G6 Mach 2 (25.9k points)
They do occur. Have many a half-dozen or more among males and of course females usually take a post childhood surname but the males most often used the 2nd name as an alias -- whereas the women's cause is Tradition, Custom

Such a change for anyone can be due to legal action on the part of the person, they petitioned the court and it was granted

What causes your question, some details would be appreciated, name, WT-ID#, things like that.
No particular situation, just curious. I see these "name changes" a lot in studying genealogy, but how many are real legal changes, and not just a genealogist's whim. Ya know?
Even an informal (as in, no legal deed of change is recorded) name change can still be legal depending on the jurisdiction.

It is perfectly legal in Australia to assume a different name so long as it is not done for any fraudulent or nefarious purpose.

Additionally, sometimes it can be done (again, by usage, not by deed) as was done by many Germans at the beginning of the Great War (1914).  I recently documented a family that died as Miller, but who could bot be found born as Miller.  Birth name was Muller (not known if there was an umlaut or not, as most Australian departments of BDM disallow accents).  Son was registered as born Muller, enlisted in the AIF as Miller, had death registered as Muller, was buried as Miller.  So, legally he was Muller, but equally legally, yet informally, was Miller.

Records are full of similar name changes that had no legal deed, yet were not illegal changes.  (And it's not just in Australia where that can be so.)
I doubt most of them are legal changes and I also don't think they are a "genealogist's whim." I don't know where your family hails from, but after coming to America, most of mine settled in the rural south. The surname for one branch evolved rather organically in the records from Kilcrease to Gilcrease to Gilchrist, and for some, to Gilchrest and Gilcrest. I think much of the transition had to do with the fact that, for generations, most of them had minimal formal educations and the name came to be written as it was pronounced until the children had better educations and better records were kept and the spelling evolution has more or less stopped.

2 Answers

+4 votes

laughGiven a number of reasons we can imagine WHY someone would shoulder a new name in part or in whole, we have to consider 

1) hiding from law enforcement, 

2) changing back from a name given at adoption to the original parental surname as an adult after it is discovered and takes it on, 

3) an illegitimate child as an adult discovers the bio parental surname and takes it on (saw that recently in blood kin),

 4) one of the constraints of an inheritance is that the name must be changed from abc to lmn or no inheritance (saw that twice in Old Virginia records) 

5) man or woman "went out for a newspaper" one day and just decided to keep going and took on a new name 

6) the mother (usually the case) remarried and the child uses as an adult the surname of the step-father, usually because it lacks any acquaintance with or any affection for the absent bio father 

7) someone classed as "mentally unstable" by the people around them change their name from "Roger Farnsworth Hapgood" to "Super Bambam Hapgood" and if they can convince the court (with a well paid and very competent lawyer at their side) the court will grant the change 

8) sometimes the name at birth is a social impediment such as the sisters Ura Hogg and Ima Hogg, or "Ronald Fuchs" 

and I'm sure, Milton, you can come up with some other causes for changing a name 

AS TO WHETHER some genealogist was playing games they should not wear the badge of "Genealogist" and further, if they did not document the change of name with some paper work, you might want to cherish some doubt about this matter. Or you can root around in some archives somewhere and find  what you can 

by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (450k points)
Close relation of someone infamous, such as a child poisoner.

An actor.
+2 votes
My grgreat aunt was christened Grizzel (1861 census) but on later records she is listed as Grace. Can't say I blame her!

Valerie Crowley
by Valerie Crowley G2G6 Mach 1 (15.7k points)

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