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Old 11-06-2011, 12:00 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Legality Of Naming Your Child With A Different Last Name?

Say my name is Tom Smith.

I never liked my last name, as Smith is way too common, and I want to give my newborn child a new last name, something with a little zip to it, just to help him stand out from the crowd.

Assuming my wife is on board, can I legally name my son Tom Buttafuoco? (or Tom Jones, or whatever.)
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:25 PM
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friedo friedo is offline
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In the United States, you have the right to name your kid whatever the hell you want.

Just keep in mind that as soon as he's 18, he has the right to change his name to whatever the hell he wants.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:26 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Say my name is Tom Smith.

I never liked my last name, as Smith is way too common, and I want to give my newborn child a new last name, something with a little zip to it, just to help him stand out from the crowd.

Assuming my wife is on board, can I legally name my son Tom Buttafuoco? (or Tom Jones, or whatever.)
Not in Germany, you can't. Kid's got to have either the mother's or the father's last name.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:27 PM
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IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Yes, my kids have last names that differ from either mine or my husband's (they are hyphenated). I just filled out the birth certificate, signed it, and we were good to go (this took place in both MO and CA).
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:28 PM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
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I think it may depend on the state -- and the mental condition of your nurse. I remember that I wanted to leave out the little guy's middle name and the nurse seriously would not let me leave until I had filled out the middle name section. I was pretty pissed, considering it costs over $300 to fix it later.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post

Assuming my wife is on board, can I legally name my son . . . Tom Jones, or whatever.
It's not unusual.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:32 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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In the United States, you may use any name you wish as long as there is no intent to defraud. If the hospital didn't allow you to pick the birthname you wanted, you could go see a judge afterward and change it.

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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
It's not unusual.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:43 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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...and just for the record, I have NO IDEA what made me think of "Buttafuoco", of all the last names in the world.

Was Joey Buttafuoco recently in the news or something?
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:55 PM
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Not in Germany, you can't. Kid's got to have either the mother's or the father's last name.
What if you are German but your child is born in the UK and you give him a different last name, then bring him home to Germany? Do Social Services workers show up on your doorstep with name change paperwork?

"If you do not change your child's name willingly to one that is acceptable under German law, then we will take you to court and the Judge will select a name for your child."
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:31 PM
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You can't in Chile either, here we use 2 'last names', your father's and your mother's (in that order).

And if you want to change your name the law is specific too, you can only change your first/middle name if:

-the name is cause of ridicule or other kind of damage

-you have been known by different name for at least 2 (or was it 4?) years.

And if you want to change your last names, you can only do it to make it match those of your parents ( for example: you want to use your stepfather's lastname, or you were adopted, etc...)

You can only change your name once in your life.

Also civil registry officers have the liberty to reject names if they consider them to be cause of ridicule, or if it doesnt match the kid's gender etc...
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:35 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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That's "ButtaFOOco".
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:57 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
What if you are German but your child is born in the UK and you give him a different last name, then bring him home to Germany? Do Social Services workers show up on your doorstep with name change paperwork?

"If you do not change your child's name willingly to one that is acceptable under German law, then we will take you to court and the Judge will select a name for your child."
Very good question. Foreign nationals can of course keep their names when they become German citizens. For German children born in the EU, the Court of Justice of the EU has ruled that "Article 18 EC precludes the authorities of a Member State, in their application of national law, from refusing to recognise the surname of one of its nationals as determined and registered in a different Member State in which he was born and resides."

For German children born elsewhere, I don't know.

Last edited by Fish Cheer; 11-06-2011 at 03:01 PM. Reason: added EUR-lex link
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:02 PM
maggenpye maggenpye is offline
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In New Zealand it has to be the parent's name - and even then I couldn't give the kid her father's surname without his signed permission as we weren't married.

It got complicated as he insisted she had his name, but wouldn't admit paternity without a test and delayed the test far beyond the 2 week birth registration limit, so legally the kid had to have my surname.

I was not at all upset by that.

For first names, it's been on these threads before that NZ has had a couple of case where names have been rejected, I think one had numbers instead of letters and the other was "Tallulahdoesthehulafromhawaii" The first was rejected for spelling the second for potential ridicule.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:09 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Sorry about the double post, but the edit window closed on me. I've only just realized that I didn't adequately address your question. The decision I quoted explicitly says "in which he was born and resides", and you had asked what would happen if the child moved to Germany. I think that in the spirit of the court decision he should still be allowed to keep his name:

Quote:
[T]he application of the German legislation at issue would have the effect that the child (...) would hold documents bearing different surnames depending on whether they are issued by the Danish authorities (his birth certificate, for example) or by the German authorities (such as a passport).
I don't know how to reconcile that with the wording of the final paragraph, though. I think the kid needs a lawyer.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:43 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
"If you do not change your child's name willingly to one that is acceptable under German law, then we will take you to court and the Judge will select a name for your child."
I thought it was more like "Line zem up against der vall und commerce mit der shooting."
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:47 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Not particularly funny.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:48 PM
ctnguy ctnguy is online now
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Since we're talking about various countries' practices: in South Africa a child born to married parents can be given either parent's surname or a double-barreled surname joining both. If the parents aren't married, then the child must be given the mother's surname unless the father acknowledges paternity and signs the notification of birth.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:49 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Not particularly funny.
I get that a lot.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:05 PM
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My father started using a shorter last name about when I was born. But the original name is on my birth certificate. Also on my brother's though he was born nearly five years later. But when my sister was born 6 years after that, they put the short name on her birth certificate. This was in Pennsylvania.

A couple of followups. When I registered for the draft at 18, the registrar told me that to avoid confusion, the army would insist I choose a middle name (I have none) when I was drafted (which I never was) to avoid confusion. But when my brother enlisted in the AF they looked up his birth certificate and insisted he use the name on it. So do the army and AF have different rules about using the name on the birth certificate? When I applied for my first passport, the State Dept would issue me a passport under the name I had always used, but I had to find two people who knew me under both names to sign an affidavit to that effect. Well, my parents were still alive and they signed, but suppose there wasn't anyone? Then my passport would be under a name nobody knew me by. Does that make sense. Final story. I needed a birth certificate when I retired and my retirement fund was turned into an annuity. So I wrote to Harrisburg stating my birth name and asking for a copy of the certificate and was not looking forward to long explanations to the pension office. But instead I got a nice letter from the Penna vital stats office offering to issue the certificate in the name I used if I could provide evidence that I had used it for at least ten years. No judge, no lawyer just a couple bucks extra postage. I sent them photocopies of university diplomas, expired and current passports and I got the certificate. It is not really a legal change of name but who would ever know. And, needless to say, the short name is what is on my marriage certificate, on my kids' birth certificates (including one born in Switzerland, one in Illinois and one in Quebec).
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:24 PM
Strassia Strassia is offline
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My wife and I changed our name legally shortly after my first son was born (we combined our names by taking basically a syllable from each and forming a new name). We started the process while she was pregnant, but it takes a while. We put down the new last name on his paperwork. So his last name did not match either of ours on his birth certificate. He also has two middle names. None of that was a problem.

A note on changing your name. You can legally go by any name you wish, as long as you are not attempting to defraud anyone. But if you want the government (DOV, DOS, etc.) to use that name you need a judge to sign off on it. In California, that requires filling out paper work, putting an ad in a local paper (local is pretty loosely defined, we put ours in a Chinese paper from two towns over because it was cheapest), and then appearing before a judge. All the judge was concerned about was that you were not changing your name to hide from creditors or something like that.
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:24 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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In Québec (note this is province-specific; I don't know the case for the rest of Canada) a child can have either a single or double (hyphenated) surname that must be derived from the parents' surnames.

If the parents both have compounded surnames (hyphenated), the child's surname can be made up of any two of the four names. If only one parent is known, the child takes the name of the parent on the birth certificate.

Cite.




In an interesting aside, your birth name is your name for life in Québec, even if you get married. (As I understand the law) Had I married in Ontario, I could have changed my name on my driver's license and everywhere else and took my husband's name...until I returned to Québec. Since I was born here, I would have been required to re-take my maiden name legally, though I could use his name socially. This is, again, a Québec specific thing and I don't know if any other jurisdictions have taken away the free name change with marriage. I don't mind - it saved me the trouble of deciding if I wanted to change my name or not
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:29 PM
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Dan Savage was yammering on recently about traveling with his son. His son has neither his last name nor his partner's so when they travel they are often grilled about their son.
He wasn't complaining as much as making a point. If you try to take a child across borders that does not have the same last name as you, you would be advised to have supporting documents.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:33 PM
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nm

Last edited by astorian; 11-07-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:22 PM
Foxy40 Foxy40 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Say my name is Tom Smith.

I never liked my last name, as Smith is way too common, and I want to give my newborn child a new last name, something with a little zip to it, just to help him stand out from the crowd.

Assuming my wife is on board, can I legally name my son Tom Buttafuoco? (or Tom Jones, or whatever.)
It must be. My sister and her partner gave the child my sister's last name even though her partner is the bio mom.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:16 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
What if you are German but your child is born in the UK and you give him a different last name, then bring him home to Germany? Do Social Services workers show up on your doorstep with name change paperwork?

"If you do not change your child's name willingly to one that is acceptable under German law, then we will take you to court and the Judge will select a name for your child."
No, foreign children keep their own names and are not "nationalized" into German names.

Since there's so much snark about the German naming law, maybe you need to know the reasoning behind it: to protect the child.

The law is that a child must have a normal name that lets people recognize whether the child is female or male. This means no unusual spellings, no trade marks, and no "buttfucker" or "Little Satan" or similar. Because the lawmakers realized that children with unusual names will be made fun off during their vulnerable childhood years, although they had no choice at all in that matter, so the state protects the interest of the child not be taunted against the interests of the parents to be "creative". (If you want to be creative, name your car or your pet anything you like).

Every year, some cases come to family court to decide which names are acceptable and which aren't.

It's also not a special German invention out of bureaucratic spite, it's part of the big Code Napoleon that is the basis for most western contintenal countries. (Napoloen didn't write it, he called a commission of experts and because he ruled a lot of countries it was made law widespread. When the countries threw off Napoleon and wrote their own laws, they kept the sensible parts.)
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by CitizenPained View Post
I think it may depend on the state -- and the mental condition of your nurse. I remember that I wanted to leave out the little guy's middle name and the nurse seriously would not let me leave until I had filled out the middle name section. I was pretty pissed, considering it costs over $300 to fix it later.
Wait - nurse? Why would a nurse care what or when you named your child?

"Would not let me leave"? As in leave the hospital with your child? Where are you that you have to name your child before you leave the hospital?
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:30 AM
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It's also not a special German invention out of bureaucratic spite, it's part of the big Code Napoleon that is the basis for most western contintenal countries. (Napoloen didn't write it, he called a commission of experts and because he ruled a lot of countries it was made law widespread. When the countries threw off Napoleon and wrote their own laws, they kept the sensible parts.)
I recall a news item about 10 years ago where the parents in France were not allowed to call their child "Cerise" (Cherry). France apparently has a law against unusual names too. (Napoleonic code again?) They refused to allow that name on the birth certificate. The funny thing was that across the channel, the Prime Minister's wife was Cherry.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:44 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Since there's so much snark about the German naming law, maybe you need to know the reasoning behind it: to protect the child.
I'm pretty sure that members of this board have discussed this issue before and the result has been an impasse.

There are people who think that the risk of parents giving an abusive name to a child is so strong that the government is justified in instituting preemptive naming rules.

My views include:

1. Abusive naming cannot possibly be such a widespread problem that it actually requires what is essentially a prior restraint system. The government should be empowered to act only in those cases that some kind of abusive case is shown. In other words, show me an actual situation in which a parent tries to use the name "Buttfucker" an then I'll agree with government action. Otherwise, the government should not be setting down blanket rules on naming.

2. Even in such cases, there is no guarantee that disallowing an abusive name to be registered would actually prevent a parent from calling a kid by an abusive name. "Yes, I told the government that I'm naming you Karl-Heinz Gruber, but I'm going to call you Buttfucker instead! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

3. Even if every kid in the playground is named Karl-Heinz and Christian-Jurgen and Gottfried-Helmut, the bullies on the playground will still come up with ways to make fun of people's names.

4. The government has no business mandating gender identity issues.

5. The government has no business ossifying naming traditions. If individual Germans (I'm using Germans just because they've come up as an example -- this applies to anyone) want to take steps that change the traditional perceptions of names, then they should be allowed to do so. In English there are many names that are ambiguous in a gender sense, and there are many names that have switched along the scale of masculine-ambiguous-feminine. Culture and society should be allowed the flexibility to change based on the individual decisions of individuals.

Quote:
This means no unusual spellings, no trade marks
-- Okay, I don't see these particular rules as having been offered any justification at all.

Quote:
Because the lawmakers realized that children with unusual names will be made fun off during their vulnerable childhood years, although they had no choice at all in that matter, so the state protects the interest of the child not be taunted
They "realized" no such thing. They "assumed" it or "made it up." Not everyone with an unusual name will be made fun of. Not everyone made fun of has an unusual name. Government regulation of names will not prevent kids from being made fun of.

Quote:
against the interests of the parents to be "creative". (If you want to be creative, name your car or your pet anything you like).
Why shouldn't I be "creative" with my child's name? Every name that exists today was the result of creativity at some point. Why should I not be given that same freedom?

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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Wait - nurse? Why would a nurse care what or when you named your child?

"Would not let me leave"? As in leave the hospital with your child? Where are you that you have to name your child before you leave the hospital?
I have heard such tales of presumptuous nurses. They either don't understand the law or they take it into their own hands.

Last edited by Acsenray; 11-08-2011 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:08 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Québec - perhaps obviously, given it's historical links to France - also has laws regarding what a child can be named, though I'm not entirely certain what those laws are. The reasoning is one of avoiding ridicule, as I understand it, though there is an appeal process and I've known or heard of kids with interesting variant spellings or unusual names (Mykayla, Arizona, Zöé (it's the diacritics that make that one weird)), so I don't know how strict the laws are. I think the law is more or less a judgement call on a case-by-case basis, and there's an opportunity to appeal or explain a name.

Personally, the laws don't bother me, since the cases I hear about tend to be rather extreme - like wanting to name a child "Colander" or something. I kind of agree in principle with protecting children from idiots.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:15 PM
gallows fodder gallows fodder is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
...and just for the record, I have NO IDEA what made me think of "Buttafuoco", of all the last names in the world.

Was Joey Buttafuoco recently in the news or something?
Well, it would be a badass name to have if it weren't associated with Joey -- it literally means "throws fire" in Italian.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:04 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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I can understand the argument that some "creative" names are bad for the kids, even though I don't like the idea of legislating names.

I do *not* understand a country that won't allow a legal adult to change their name. If I've always hated the name "Gary," or I want to change my sept-based surname back to the clan name, or I want to simplify the spelling of my last name, why should the government be able to tell me no? How am I hurting society if I wish to become Angus or Bob or Carl instead of Gary?
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:17 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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How am I hurting society if I wish to become Angus or Bob or Carl instead of Gary?
Society does have some interest in keeping track of who an individual is and what he's done, and keeping a consistent legal name makes that a lot easier. Makes it harder for people to dodge their past. I'm not saying that that should outweigh your desire to change your name. But it's not totally irrelevant.

You could always just tell people to call you "Angus". It's not particularly uncommon for people to go by a name other than their legal one.
  #33  
Old 11-08-2011, 05:26 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
No, foreign children keep their own names and are not "nationalized" into German names.

Since there's so much snark about the German naming law, maybe you need to know the reasoning behind it: to protect the child.

The law is that a child must have a normal name that lets people recognize whether the child is female or male....
And what happens when a Japanese couple living in Europe have a daughter and try to name her "Yuri", which is a perfectly normal name for a girl in Japanese but is also a Slavic boy's name (e.g. Yuri Gagarin)...
  #34  
Old 11-08-2011, 05:51 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Society does have some interest in keeping track of who an individual is and what he's done, and keeping a consistent legal name makes that a lot easier.
I don't know about the other countries under discussion, but when "society" wants to know what I've done, it uses my Social Security Number*, not my name. There are too darned many people with the same name in this overcrowded world of ours.

* Or in some cases, fingerprints and/or DNA samples. I just applied for a substitute teaching position and got fingerprinted. I had to be fingerprinted and background-checked before I could be a 4-H leader, too.
  #35  
Old 11-08-2011, 06:49 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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I have heard such tales of presumptuous nurses. They either don't understand the law or they take it into their own hands.
Frank Zappa tells in his autobiography that the nurse taking down birth certificate information for his second child stubbornly refused to accept the name Dweezil. Zappa ended up rattling off a string of "normal" Christian names (belonging to various band members and friends), and that's what went on Dweezil's birth certificate. Dweezil himself was proud of his name, and when he found out that it wasn't on his birth certificate, he had it legally changed to Dweezil.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:16 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I don't know about the other countries under discussion, but when "society" wants to know what I've done, it uses my Social Security Number*, not my name. There are too darned many people with the same name in this overcrowded world of ours.

* Or in some cases, fingerprints and/or DNA samples. I just applied for a substitute teaching position and got fingerprinted. I had to be fingerprinted and background-checked before I could be a 4-H leader, too.
Keeping in mind that most of the countries in question have government-subsidized education and healthcare, in addition to social services for adults, there is a benefit in knowing which Gary Robson went to So-And-So Public school and got all his childhood vaccinations and which when to ThisOtherOne Public school and broke his arm when he was 2 and didn't receive his rubella booster shot or whatever other data a government office or hospital is trying to look up.

Matching a name to a SIN provides an additional confirmation as to the identity of the person in question since it is possible to do things like transpose numbers. Looking at wikipedia, it's only been since 1990 that a SSN was assigned to newborns, so the name mattered more for children then than it does now.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:33 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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I understand what you're saying, mnemosyne, but you're making it sound like the government wouldn't keep any records.

"Let's see, SSN 314-15-9265 was originally issued to Bubba McBubberson, who legally changed his name to Percival Snootmeister at age 19. Looks like we're good."
  #38  
Old 11-09-2011, 03:02 AM
Mops Mops is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I understand what you're saying, mnemosyne, but you're making it sound like the government wouldn't keep any records.

"Let's see, SSN 314-15-9265 was originally issued to Bubba McBubberson, who legally changed his name to Percival Snootmeister at age 19. Looks like we're good."
That's for the countries that use an unique number to trace an individual in all administrative contexts. A lot of countries assign a number for that express purpose; some like the US use a number (the SSN) that originally was intended for another purpose.

This is not possible e.g. in Germany where a personal numerical identifier spanning different administrative domains has been ruled unconstitutional (constitutional court rulings in 1969 and 1983) as violating personal dignity and privacy. East Germany had personal identification numbers and we West Germans considered them somewhat odious at the time.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:51 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
My views include:
Fine. You have your opinion, I have mine. That doesn't mean that your opinion is right, and it's correct to compare German naming laws to execution.

Quote:
1. Abusive naming cannot possibly be such a widespread problem that it actually requires what is essentially a prior restraint system. The government should be empowered to act only in those cases that some kind of abusive case is shown. In other words, show me an actual situation in which a parent tries to use the name "Buttfucker" an then I'll agree with government action. Otherwise, the government should not be setting down blanket rules on naming.
In the many previous discussion about unusual names in the US, many weird names have come up.

Also, a system that only applies in special cases is much more open to abuse than a rule that applies to everybody. Maybe you misunderstand how this works - parents aren't given a list of 20 approved names by gender and pick one. They get a baby book, and pick a name (or several) and register the birth.

Only in a few cases every year does the official say "No, that spelling is not normal, that name is weird", and in fewer cases the parents disagree and go to court to get it sorted out.

Quote:
2. Even in such cases, there is no guarantee that disallowing an abusive name to be registered would actually prevent a parent from calling a kid by an abusive name. "Yes, I told the government that I'm naming you Karl-Heinz Gruber, but I'm going to call you Buttfucker instead! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

3. Even if every kid in the playground is named Karl-Heinz and Christian-Jurgen and Gottfried-Helmut, the bullies on the playground will still come up with ways to make fun of people's names.
Nobody said it would eliminate bullying and name-calling.

But having an unusual names especially invites children to make fun off, because standing out attracts attention and often making fun off.

Quote:
4. The government has no business mandating gender identity issues.

5. The government has no business ossifying naming traditions. If individual Germans (I'm using Germans just because they've come up as an example -- this applies to anyone) want to take steps that change the traditional perceptions of names, then they should be allowed to do so. In English there are many names that are ambiguous in a gender sense, and there are many names that have switched along the scale of masculine-ambiguous-feminine. Culture and society should be allowed the flexibility to change based on the individual decisions of individuals.
I agree, and I wish they would listen to the small group of third gender people and change that.

However, in practical life, knowing that a person is male or female not only helps in addressing letters, it does make things easier.

Quote:
They "realized" no such thing. They "assumed" it or "made it up." Not everyone with an unusual name will be made fun of. Not everyone made fun of has an unusual name. Government regulation of names will not prevent kids from being made fun of.
Um, how the frack do you know what the lawmakers realized? Why do you doubt that they had the best interests of children in mind? What's so horrible if parent's rights are limited by the govt. to protect the children?

We can actually compare the naming law with another incidence which obviously had very different aims and therefore different methods: the re-naming of Jewish names in late 19th century in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire for order of assimilation. No rules were given, so small officials used this both for personal gain (bribery) and petty abuse of power by giving ridicolous names (the same prinicple shows up in the TV series Alien nation, when small-time US officials go around naming the former Tenkton slaves with ridicolous names like Sam Francisco and similar).

Quote:
Why shouldn't I be "creative" with my child's name? Every name that exists today was the result of creativity at some point. Why should I not be given that same freedom?
Because it's your child who suffers from having to correct a creative spelling; of having less opportunities at jobs and other offers*, and who is being thought of as moron because you thought "La-dash-a" was funny.

And past names are not result of creativitiy as used today. Past names have a meaning (and usually a positive one), not a creative spelling or an insult like little Devil, or a trade mark to earn 1 000 dollars from a company.
  #40  
Old 11-09-2011, 06:54 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I do *not* understand a country that won't allow a legal adult to change their name. If I've always hated the name "Gary," or I want to change my sept-based surname back to the clan name, or I want to simplify the spelling of my last name, why should the government be able to tell me no? How am I hurting society if I wish to become Angus or Bob or Carl instead of Gary?
And what country are you thinking off? Because German naming laws don't forbid you from changing your name. It's however made difficult so you don't change your name every week, because

that messes up the records

makes it easier for criminals to disappear

So you need to pay a fee and show you have serious cause to change your name.

Remember that these laws go back to times long before computer databases tracking people with SSN, and that European countries don't always have SSN. Name + DOB is the easiest way to track people, so changing last names nilly-willy messes that up.
  #41  
Old 11-09-2011, 07:00 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
And what happens when a Japanese couple living in Europe have a daughter and try to name her "Yuri", which is a perfectly normal name for a girl in Japanese but is also a Slavic boy's name (e.g. Yuri Gagarin)...
Yuri isn't a German name. I don't know the law if they keep their Japanese nationality and only live there temporary vs. they have moved there to stay and maybe have dual or German citizenship.

However, the usual solution is "pick more" - take the first name as normal German female name, and the second Yuri.

You can choose four or more first names, and there is no legal first name you're required to always use, so if the parents pick several names, the child can choose which one she likes best.
  #42  
Old 11-09-2011, 07:02 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I don't know about the other countries under discussion, but when "society" wants to know what I've done, it uses my Social Security Number*, not my name. There are too darned many people with the same name in this overcrowded world of ours.
So your SSN is issued at birth? For people born 50 years ago? For people who later came into this country?

All your school records and certificates are by SSN? Your doctor keeps your records by SSN? When you register at amazon, you use SSN?
  #43  
Old 11-09-2011, 12:04 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by constanze View Post
So your SSN is issued at birth? For people born 50 years ago? For people who later came into this country?

All your school records and certificates are by SSN? Your doctor keeps your records by SSN? When you register at amazon, you use SSN?
No, it was not issued at birth 50 years ago, but you are required to have one before you can get a job. All financial records, tax records, and hospital records are by SSN.

As far as shopping goes, no you do not give your SSN to Amazon or any other store unless they are sending you money. To put eBooks up for sale on Amazon, I did have to give them my SSN.


Quote:
Originally Posted by constanze View Post
And what country are you thinking off? Because German naming laws don't forbid you from changing your name.
Let's see, constanze, just using this thread as my cite, I have:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish Cheer View Post
Not in Germany, you can't. Kid's got to have either the mother's or the father's last name.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grama View Post
You can't in Chile either, here we use 2 'last names', your father's and your mother's (in that order).
[snip]
And if you want to change your last names, you can only do it to make it match those of your parents ( for example: you want to use your stepfather's lastname, or you were adopted, etc...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by maggenpye View Post
In New Zealand it has to be the parent's name - and even then I couldn't give the kid her father's surname without his signed permission as we weren't married.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctnguy View Post
Since we're talking about various countries' practices: in South Africa a child born to married parents can be given either parent's surname or a double-barreled surname joining both. If the parents aren't married, then the child must be given the mother's surname unless the father acknowledges paternity and signs the notification of birth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnemosyne View Post
In Québec (note this is province-specific; I don't know the case for the rest of Canada) a child can have either a single or double (hyphenated) surname that must be derived from the parents' surnames.
[snip]
In an interesting aside, your birth name is your name for life in Québec, even if you get married.
  #44  
Old 11-09-2011, 03:52 PM
Hypnagogic Jerk Hypnagogic Jerk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Let's see, constanze, just using this thread as my cite, I have:
I think you're missing something. I can only speak for Quebec, but here at least, you can change your name, although to do it officially, you have to submit an application and pay a fee. What you don't get is a free name change to your husband's if you're a woman who gets married. You could still change it if you so want, but you have to go the whole name change process. (Or you can just use your husband's name as a social custom, without it becoming your official name. But I think that's becoming very uncommon.)

I assume similar things are true in the other countries on your list. And remember that restrictions on what parents can name their child aren't necessarily the same as restrictions on what you can change your own name to.
  #45  
Old 11-09-2011, 03:57 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
I think you're missing something.
I have never researched laws regarding name changes in various countries around the world. All I did was notice posts in this thread saying that in Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, and Québec, you are limited to using your mother's last name, your father's last name, your adopted parents' last name, or some hyphenated combination thereof. Many of the posts in this thread mention governmentally-imposed limits on first names as well.

In response, I said I can't understand why a country would limit an adult citizen's ability to pick a name that he or she liked.

I don't think I'm missing anything.
  #46  
Old 11-09-2011, 04:06 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by constanze View Post
. . .Because the lawmakers realized that children with unusual names will be made fun off during their vulnerable childhood years. . . .
So, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say here that in Germany, it's uncommon for children to have classmates named Lemonjello and Oranjello, unlike in the US. (Or so it's often claimed.)
  #47  
Old 11-09-2011, 04:15 PM
Hypnagogic Jerk Hypnagogic Jerk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I have never researched laws regarding name changes in various countries around the world. All I did was notice posts in this thread saying that in Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, and Québec, you are limited to using your mother's last name, your father's last name, your adopted parents' last name, or some hyphenated combination thereof.
What those posts said was that these were the last names your parents were limited to when first naming you. They didn't say anything about not being allowed to change your name yourself later.
  #48  
Old 11-09-2011, 04:49 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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You can change your name legally here in Québec, but there are no freebies with marriage, though I admit my statement that a name was "for life" was misleading. All the relevant information is available on the link I posted earlier as it's all the same government office- you have to have a good reason to want to change your name, but that includes "You have been using for at least five years a name other than the one that appears on your birth certificate", which is a pretty low standard to meet.

Basically, the laws prevent you from naming yourself of your kids "kl33nêx"; they allow you to use names of foreign origin, though they might ask you to confirm that the name isn't entirely nonsensical and made up. Seriously, there are all kinds of interesting and unique names here; just not completely crazy ones.
  #49  
Old 11-09-2011, 05:48 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
What those posts said was that these were the last names your parents were limited to when first naming you. They didn't say anything about not being allowed to change your name yourself later.
Please read posts before responding to them. Specifically, in this case, note the material I quoted from post #10 (by grama) and post #21 (by mnemosyne), which very specifically address changing your name later.

I'm not making this stuff up -- I'm merely quoting what other people said and stating that I don't consider it reasonable for a government to do that. mnemosyne recanted his statement about an hour ago. Even if grama were to do the same, I still wouldn't consider it reasonable for a government to limit your choices of last name to your parents' names.

Last edited by Gary Robson; 11-09-2011 at 05:51 PM.
  #50  
Old 11-09-2011, 06:35 PM
Filbert Filbert is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
I recall a news item about 10 years ago where the parents in France were not allowed to call their child "Cerise" (Cherry). France apparently has a law against unusual names too. (Napoleonic code again?) They refused to allow that name on the birth certificate. The funny thing was that across the channel, the Prime Minister's wife was Cherry.
You mean Cherie Blair? Don't think we've had a PM's wife called Cherry.

I know a few people in England who've changed their names- it's not very hard- including one who changed her name to her boyfriend's, instead of marriage (a friend's Mum, and now the friend is planning to do the same thing, weirdly), and one who's new name includes a number '3' in the middle of it, which is always fun in airports.
Here, you can choose any name for a baby at birth (barring a few classed as offensive etc.)- it doesn't have to have any connection with either parent's name.

When my Mum was born - her parents were forced by the church to reverse her planned first and middle names, as her initials would have been 'JEW', and they refused to christen a baby that...
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