LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 2002-12 > 1040475248
From: john keers <>
Subject: RE: [Lon] CHANGE OF SURNAMES
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 12:54:08 -0000
Thank you all for your prompt and useful replies about change of surname.
I'm sure in this case it was not for a fraudulent reasn, or to inherit a
I'm still a little concerned about how he managed to get a Ration Book in
WW2, and that blue certificate required by the 1921 Education Act. Surely
they needed original copies of birth certs. As proof?
I'll certainly check the site to see if there was a deed pole change, but,
if, as you say it cost money - I doubt it!
I have another 'name change' mystery in the family. A child appears on
the 1881 census with the surname of the 'parents' he is living with, with
'born - America' against his name.
In later life - school, during the War, marriage and death, he uses another
surname. On his marriage cert. along with this name is the name of his
father with this same surname. I have not been able to trace the child's
birth ( America 1875 ish) or any trace of the father with this surname.
The only clue I have is that the occupation of the father was 'Glass
Polisher' - probably in the East end of London, but maybe in America also.
Maybe he went, came back, and the child stayed with the other family
around 1881 and assumed their name. Again, I'm very puzzled
From:Eve McLaughlin [SMTP:]
Sent:20 December 2002 23:45
Subject:Re: [Lon] CHANGE OF SURNAMES
In message <>, john keers
>Was it legal for a person to change their surname in the early 1900s,
>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
>husband of the mother.
>Could he then live, marry, have children and die, using the surname of
>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
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.
Author of the McLaughlin Guides for family historians
Secretary Bucks Genealogical Society