Have you ever changed your name?

I’m considering changing my middle name. In a discussion of ancestry and names, my mother said she wished she had given me a family name (her mother’s) instead of the generic one I got. I would change it from Julie Ann (the Ann has no significance) to Julie Etta (Etta was my grandmother’s name). I like the sound of Julie Etta, and I like the idea of having my grandmother’s name as part of my own. I know the legal steps to take, and have even picked up the papers from the county probate clerk’s office. What I don’t know is how much of a pain in the ass it might be to change everything (credit cards, teaching certificate, social security, etc.) to a new name.

Have you ever changed your name? What are the potential pitfalls?

Go ahead – it’s not that big a deal. Newly married women used to do it all the time and still do most of the time. I think. I haven’t actually checked this but I’m assuming that the majority of married women still take their husband’s name. I’ve changed my name several times:

  • When I married my first husband I took his last name.
  • When I divorced my first husband I took my maiden name back.
  • When I married my second husband I took his last name AND legally changed my middle name to my maiden name.
    Changing my documents – military ID, drivers license, social security card, credit cards, etc. – was a very minor bother, needing no more than a day of errand running and a couple of stamps. No biggie.

It was Mary Ann, two words.
I could never figure out how to put it into the single slot for middle name, so I changed it to Marian, the same as the aunt the name was supposed to be for.

Go for it!
Like Jess I’ve had to change my name twice: marriage and now divorce. It’s just a matter of making a few critical changes first, e.g. social security card and drivers license, then the rest you just do in turn by mail or whatever.

I think Etta would be a beautiful, unusual name that would hold a lot of meaning for you. Why stay stuck with a name you don’t want for the rest of your life when minimal effort would change it to what you DO want?


Julie, I legally changed my first name, and it wasn’t that much of a problem. I was asked if it were for “Frivolous reasons” and when I explained it wasn’t, the change was granted.

A little trouble with the IRS, but nothing spectacular. Social Security a tiny bit, but they came around too.

I’ve thought of changing my last name. Never really liked it. Don’t know anything about that side of the family. It’s just some guy who happened to be married to my grandmother long enough for my dad to be born before splitting off.

Hi, Proudest Monkey.

This thread has some more info.

You’ll want to check with your local courts to see what you have to do in your jurisdiction.



My family changed our last name when I was 13. We took mom’s maiden name, which is unique. Dad’s name just wasn’t very interesting. In the process my brother dropped his middle name entirely, turns out he’s always hated the name.

Anyway, I recommend it. You don’t keep other stuff you’re not too fond of, so why keep a name?

Before we kids were born, my Dad added a second barrell to our surname that, personally, I don’t like. Nevertheless it’s on my legal documents, and therefore gets stuck on to all manner of things I wish it wasn’t.

I should change my name legally to get rid of that extra doodad hanging on there, as I never use it in casual or semi-official ways, only when I know I really have to.

But, nope, have never gotten around to it.

I changed my last name, at age 18, to correspond with my mother’s maiden name, which she took back after her divorce, when I was 14. It was a pretty simple process. The only pitfall was that the circumstances which led me to do so turned out to be false, leading to a great deal of resentment between me and my father, and his side of the family. (Much of it turned out to be largely academic, as my wife and I aren’t having children, but it was there nevertheless.)