I was listening to a programme on BBC Radio 4 as I shifted the dust yesterday morning.  The name game.   From this I learned that the number of people changing their name by deed poll has doubled in the past five years and should top 70,000 this year.  With a one hour express service that costs just a few pounds, people are able to fill in forms and make the change to become someone new.

I suppose after an acrimonious divorce it is understandable for a woman to want to change her name.  A family name that can become the butt end of jokes is another, but 70,000 reasons?  Whatever could they be?

I do know three sisters called Faith, Hope and Charity, and another family where the mother Violet named her two daughters Iris and Heather.  With my luck, had I been born into the last family I might end up being named Dandelion or Daisy!  A perfect reason to make a change!  I heard of one couple who gave their son all the names of a football team – At least it was a soccer team (11) and not a rugby (15) team.  There was a friend of my father’s who called his first born William Pius, my father asked with disgust if he really wanted his son to go through life being called: Willie Pee?

What would make you change your name?

If you were to make a change, what name would you choose?

And for me, how about:

Vertiline or

23 thoughts on “Names

  1. nick

    Quite happy with my name, no desire to change it. But I suppose there are many reasons for wanting to change your name, from embarrassment to politics. I remember lots of women in the seventies changed their names to more feminist ones or ones that had no “masculine” content. And there are those who change their English names to Irish ones. Or “foreign” names to English ones. Many, many reasons really.

  2. BelfastTaxiDriver

    I would change my last name to Strange (mothers maiden name) as that family name died with my gran! Plus i would be Mr strange!!

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – You do have quite a collection!

    Nick – You give reasons that I had not thought of!

    BelfastTaxiDriver – Changing your name to Mr strange, would make for a great conversation piece, especially in your line of work!

  4. blackwatertown

    I’m not so keen on those girls names that are so obviously meant for boys – like Gerardette (though displaying no consistency I’ve no obkection to Geraldine). Why can’t people just accept they’ve had a girl, and name her after someone other than a male.
    BelfastTaxiDriver should definitely change to Mr Strange. I can see that “Strange Taxis” or even “Strange Belfast Taxis” could be a business asset, or the next novel from Colin Bateman.
    (Though it depends what name BTD trades under now – could be something like Mr Wonderful I suppose.)

  5. Grannymar Post author

    BWT – I know a girl called Robina, it always reminds me of the blackcurrant drink so popular when we were children!

    By the way I loved your flying story today!

  6. Mike Goad

    I’m quite happy with my name at this point, though, when I was a kid, I received more that what I thought was my share of being called by other variations of my last name.

    But there is one that always comes to mind when I hear about unfortunate names: Ima Hogg.

    Rumors have it that she had a sister named Ura, but, as I just learned, they aren’t factual.

    You can read more at the wikipedia article on Ima Hogg.

  7. Geri Atric

    I don’t know about legally changing a first name; but there are many unusual sounding Surnames over here in the Netherlands that I would certainly want to change, if one of them was mine; e.g.: Naaktgeboren (Nakedborn); Borst (Breast); Grootendorst (Bigthirst); Bogeman (Bogeyman)..etc.
    What first name would I chose for myself? “Albatross”. Yes, really! I just love the idea of winging into the air and being alone and free for years at a time…(Until of course I have to swoop down for a fish dinner and get a mouthful of plastic..!)
    As for your name GM? I don’t know. But definitely something that means ‘curious, talented and thought provoking’!

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Mike – I am sure you were well goaded at school about your name! Oh I am sorry, but couldn’t resist it!
    Ima Hogg was a poor choice of name for a girl, but she certainly never let it interfere with her life. She is to be admired.

    Geri – Those Dutch names are unusual and if any were mine, I would be in the queue for early doors to change it!

  9. Mayo-Maynard-Mil-etc

    I would never consider changing my name. it’s Engle and that is what it is going to remain.

  10. Rummuser

    Grannymar, I wonder why UK’s, till the 6th of May, 2010, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, did not change his name!

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Dear etc, – You stay just as sweet as you are!

    Ramana – Perhaps his name tickles his fancy! 🙄

  12. wisewebwoman

    I’m too old to change now though I did revert to my birth name many, many years ago. I always feel sad that so many female histories have been lost with women changing their names on marriage, giving up all familial identity so to speak.
    My favourite aunt was ‘Daisy” I’ve always loved the name.
    And you share a name with my mother.
    I didn’t like my own first name for years and years, far too common in Ireland and always envied the Cornelias, the Lorraines, the Joys, etc. in my classes in school.
    The lack of variety then in Ireland was of course the power of the RC church.

  13. Nancy

    My Mother in Law came here from Germany with another young lady by the name of Emma Schitz, pronounced, well, you know.

    Emma never married unfortunately,and she never changed her name.

    My children couldn’t keep a straight face when they had to introduce her to their friends.

  14. Tech Unsavvy

    There are a lot of awful names out there. Mine is foreign sounding and difficult, a burden: Badria Jazairi. I chose the pen name Babs Jaworski because I think Babs is a hilarious shortening of Barbara (which I sometimes get called). Jaworski was the Special Prosecutor in the Watergate trial. Also, an old friend used to call me Jaworski; he’s gone now and it’s a smile and a wave to him. I like to write under a name that does not evoke preconceptions, as my Arabic name is understandably likely to do from time to time.

    I would never legally change my name, I don’t think. It feels a bit like self-abandonment. I can understand, though, why some might want to leave a difficult childhood behind, throw off an identity that never served them. As long as it’s not to evade consequences for wrongdoing, I try not to judge those that do. We’re all seeking our true selves, and some feel that their name is a reflection of that.

  15. Baino

    Nope, I fought long and hard for my last name so I’m keeping it thank you. As for my first . . I’ve sort of become used to it even if I don’t like it however, I see names often that really should be changed. We have a funeral parlour chain here called Wood Coffill. . that always sounds a bit yuk. Had a farrier once called Geoff Slaughter and a dentist called Phillip Paine!

  16. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – I know what you mean by the female histories being lost. Elly was very much aware of it since she was the last of the line on her father’s side.

    Nancy – You know the right people! 🙄

    Tech U – I agree that there are some peculiar names out there. My own one seems plain and simple. There are less errors made with it than my maiden name, it was seldom spelt correctly.

    Magpie – I thought you would pick something unusual. Did you hear the programme?

    Baino – I think your name suits you! Stick with it.

  17. Magpie11

    Only in passing….
    Did you get the reference?
    “And did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the Holy Lamb….etc”

    I heard a discussion about marriage and some expert said that in the past people had to get married to carry on relationships. Did they cuckoo? They obviously haven’t come across people like my paternal grand and great grand mothers!
    My Great Grandmother was supposedly widowed having never married Charles Crew. She managed to have two daughters and a son by him after her widow hood and then married her lodger.
    Her second daughter, probably sired by the lodger, later took my grandfather’s name without actually marrying him and then married one Herbert Jones using my Gfather’s name as her maiden name and saying that her father was one Charles Mills when her birth cert says it was Charles Crew(dead at the time) but it was in fact Charles Larkman her mother’s eventual spouse!
    And that is only part of the story!

  18. jenniffer

    i always wanted to change my name to either JULIA, LUCY or CLAIRE… but now (even as popular as it is) i like jenniffer… even the crazy spelling : )

  19. Grannymar Post author

    Magpie – I did indeed.
    Your family history would make a great novel!

    Jenniffer – I had a grandaunt Julia. She and her sisters all used names other than those they were given at birth! None were changes by deed pole.

  20. bikehikebabe

    I like my name, though in 1st grade I had to cheat with a note that said Cynthia under the desk. I wanted to be a simple Ann or at least Mary.


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