On Sat, 08 Sep 2012 13:15:14 +0100, "Peter Duncanson [BrE]"
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
There is a more general point about surnames in the UK.
The only formally registered name a person has is their forename, their
given name, which is on their birth certificate. A person's surname is a
matter of custom and practice. A person can change their surname at any
time so long as the change is not for dishonest purposes.
Legally true, not quite so true in practice nowadays. (IANAL, so the
following may not - almost certainly isn't - the whole story).
Certainly you can go by any surname(s) and name(s) that you choose to.
You *do* effectively have an "official" full name, though. For
example, you won't find it easy to get a passport issued, or indeed
nowadays to open a bank account, under a surname other than that on or
implied by your birth certificate, without presenting a deed of change
of name (a witnessed legal document). Changing your name "by deed
poll" is almost trivially easy - but the mere fact that the legal
concept even exists shows that, in some senses, you have a full name
which is more than simply a matter of custom and practice. And whilst
the wording of a such a deed can vary, it will state, in some form or
other, that you have fully given up the use of your old name and
adopted the new one.
Having said that, an explanatory note to the Enrolment of Deeds
(Change of Name) Regulations 1994 states:
"At common law a surname is the name by which a person is generally
known, and the effect of changing it by deed poll is only evidential
As for what's entered into a UK register of births... I have two
copies of my own (UK) birth certificate.
The first is the original, full, hand-written copy ("original copy"
seems somewhat eccentric, but in this context it's correct) from 1954,
given to my parents at the time that the register entry was made. The
column for my own information is headed "Name, if any"; the columns
for my parents' information are headed "Name and surname of father"
and "Name and maiden surname of mother". My given names, only, are
recorded in the first of those; nowhere on the entry is an explicit
value for *my* surname recorded.
The second is one issued in 1975 (presumably when I needed a copy for
some purpose or other and couldn't locate the original). The first
field on the form is labelled "Name and Surname", and contains my
given names followed by my father's surname. The signed statement
confirms that "...the above particulars have been compiled from an
entry in a register in (the registrar's) custody".
Put another way - the actual birth register entry, of which the first
example is a direct copy, does not record my surname directly.
However, my surname at birth seems to have been deduced, for official
purposes, to be that of my father.
Whether or not that is invariably the case, I have no idea.
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
A person may use different surnames in different contexts.
The wife of one of my nephews uses two different surnames. She uses my
nephew's surname for most purposes. She has a daughter from a previous
marriage. The daughter has retained her father's surname. So her mother
calls herself by her previous married name when dealing with her
Like many women. one of my daughters-in-law retains her maiden name
for professional purposes. For good reasons I won't go into, she
hyphenates that with my son's surname outside of business hours. My
son, by contrast, sticks to his original, unvarnished surname. I wait
with interest to see how that develops when they have kids, mind.
Cheers - Ian
(BrE: Yorks., Hants.)