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Archiver > LONDON > 2002-12 > 1040427914

From: Eve McLaughlin <>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 23:45:14 +0000
In-Reply-To: <>

In message <>, john keers
<> writes
>Was it legal for a person to change their surname in the early 1900s, without
>the benefit of remarriage?
Yes, as long as it was not done for fraudulent purposes, or for passing
yourself off as another.
eg Fred Orton calling himself Anthony Tichborne, to claim a fortune
>The case I have is a child being registered with the surname of the current
>husband of the mother.
>Could he then live, marry, have children and die, using the surname of another
>man,(who his mother did not marry,) legally?
it was and is possible to call yourself whatever you like. For a
stepchild to adopt the stepfather's name was very common. Formal name-
change was unnecessary. It was simple when life was simpler and most
people had no subsequent need to prove a connection, no passports, no
property etc..
It is much more difficult now, because most of us have trails of
paperwork in the original name, and we could lose the advantages gained
in the first name (i.e. right to passport using birth certificate,
academic qualifications, access to bank account, stocks and shares,
house property, inheritance from Granpa), without a lot of hassle
showing the link.

Eve McLaughlin

Author of the McLaughlin Guides for family historians
Secretary Bucks Genealogical Society

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