Legal status of your name

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datosprivados

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I know it's an odd question to be asking here, but I have a feeling it's trivial (for now). I can check my states legal website if need be. :) But read below, and tell me your opinion.

You see, I'm a sophomore in high school. And my last name is Polish-Germanic. My grandfather when he registered as a US citizen many years ago transcribed it DIRECTLY from the Latin based German Alphabet.

Therefore, it's not phonetic, and many people can't pronounce it worth a shit.

Because of this, I nowadays change the first two letters of my last name from ZW to TSV in school at least. And I might later (or sooner), begin changing how I spell the last letters of my last name to something more phonetic.

Question is, if doing this on a job application, officially kept document, or other such thing. Is it illegal?. Maybe I should wait to change my last name when I'm 18?

And when I do that, can I possibly stipulate multiple spellings?.
P.S. I live in the Northeast USA, if that's any help.
 

ayanna

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You might wanna check with your local notary public or whatever the American equivalent is (court officer of some sort).

But...I know in Canada you can only change your name legally after you turn 18, unless your family changes their name...ie your father changes his name thus changing his children's names (all children's full names must be included in the court documents).

You can spell your name any way you like on things where it doesn't matter...ie school papers (although not on your actual school record) and so on...but things like driver's license, passport and other legal documents would have to have your birth name (as it appears on your birth certificate).

So...if my name is Ayanna Jane Smith (It's not but I'm using this as a reference point)...on non-essential papers I could spell it...say...Ayanna Jayne Smythe (simply because I really like the letter y)...but...I couldn't sign it that way at a bank or on court documents etc.

Does that answer your question?
 

ballucanb

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I know there is a process you have to go thru to change your name leagaly, it involves getting leagal help.
 

Pojo

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Why not just keep your name...Who cares if people can't pronounce it...People can't pronounce a lot of names...Why not just keep the uniqueness and what your family chose it to be...
 
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in situations like this im happy my last name is Jones :)

My ansestores has some Polish, Irish, and other names, and they were all changed to basic names
 

Peachy

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Changing your legal name is a complicated and costly process. Why would you go through all that trouble just so people can pronounce your name right when reading it off a sheet of paper?
In fact, the United States is filled with people from different cultures and languages, and I would assume that people got used to weird or unpronouncable names. I've grown used to just saying and immediately spelling out my name to make it easier for people to write it down.
Not everyone has a boring name like "Smith"...and even that wouldn't help you in Germany, because it comes in three varieties: "Schmid", "Schmidt", "Schmit". So you'd still get the usual question "With 'dt' at the end?".

Peachy
 
E

Error404

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Yes, it is illegal to change your name on any legal documents.
 
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My surname is of German origins and I have the "AU" letter combination in it. Now, living in a natively English-speaking country where the name also contains the "AU" letter combination has really screwed things up. People here tend to pronounce my last name with a typical-English "aw" sound to it, just as how "Australia" is said. This is opposed to a typical-German "ow" sound for the same letter combination. I can only recall one time in my life where someone pronounced it right the first time they saw it.

Aside from that though, when entering into all legal or financial agreements (like that with an employer), you need to provide the correct spelling of your name. I'm not entirely sure what the law is, but it could prove to be a hassle in the future.
 

babyemo

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mothers maiden name neizgocki pronounced neezgoski,
 
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My last name is Polish, and we've been butchering the pronunciation of it for 100 years now. The spelling got butchered at Ellis Island. People can't read it, people can't say it, and I am not even sure of the correct pronunciation.
 

Charlie

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Heh, loads of people get my name wrong the first time too.

I'd suggest just not letting it bother you, it's not really a big deal. All it means is that you have to say "No, it's..." every time you meet someone new. It's probably not worth changing your name over, it's just a mild inconvenience.
 

Corri

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Wow, I know how you feel. My last name is phonetically Italian.
where i makes an ee sound. and c makes a ka sound. I get it mispronounced, (and mispelled) so often, that I am considering having an accent mark added to the i.
 

Peachy

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I get it mispronounced, (and mispelled) so often, that I am considering having an accent mark added to the i.
...just to find out that the accent mark gets dropped in 99% of the cases because people are too lazy to write it, don't have a key for it on their PC or don't understand its significance.

I once had a professor with a Greek last name who explained to us that stressing the second syllable of his name (as most English-speaking people do for most words) means you call him a "donkey". So he's in a worse position than you are.

Peachy
 

ade

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i think that under british law the only thing that matters is what a person is known as. pretty loose, i know but, since there are many people who use aliases and nicknames, the law tends to follow the names a person goes by, or is known by, rather than what is on their birth certificate.
the thing to do is set a precedent early on. once you are known by whatever name you choose, that name then has a legal and non-legal standing in any other uses.
i think that's how it goes, anyway.
 

Peachy

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i think that under british law the only thing that matters is what a person is known as. pretty loose, i know but, since there are many people who use aliases and nicknames, the law tends to follow the names a person goes by, or is known by, rather than what is on their birth certificate.
the thing to do is set a precedent early on. once you are known by whatever name you choose, that name then has a legal and non-legal standing in any other uses.
i think that's how it goes, anyway.
My passport actually has a field "religious name / pseudonym". So I'd still have to use my legal name, even if the entire world knows me under my artists' name. So "Elton John" would still be "Reginald Kenneth Dwight" as far as his legal name is concerned.

Peachy
 

Martin

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My last name is extremely Dutch. English people often mispronounce it and write it wrong if they hear it.

My first name is the opposite. Technically most Dutch people mispronounce it (I just take it in that mispronounced form) But everyone spells it wrong (English and Dutch).

My second name contains a th so it'd never be said right by anyone that speaks mainly Dutch. I don't think it'll have any problems for the English speaking people.
 

Footed P.J.

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I know a Dutch girl named "Marjolein", but it's not mar-jo-LANE, it's something i can't even grasp, like Mario LINE, or something. I dunno.

I first name is a cinch, if a bit unusual. My last name was made up by my parents. So NO one gets it right.
 

ayanna

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I first name is a cinch, if a bit unusual. My last name was made up by my parents. So NO one gets it right.
Ummm...your parents made up your 'last name'? I've heard of people making up names for their children before...but never their last name!

As for pronouncing names...very few people mispronounce my real first name...or my last name either, for that matter. Actually...more people have problems with my online 'nick' than my real name.
 

Dude84

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In the UK you can call yourself whatever you like, so I could for example, call myself:

"Lord Mark Fox The First Duke of Leicestershire and Protector of the Throne"

But it would mean nothing; the only name that has any legal meaning is your legal name, fairly obviously. Your passport, driving licence, birth certificate and similar must carry this regardless of how much you may or may not like it.

Anything that serves as identification in a legal context or from which you are identified must also carry your legal name; for example, my bank statements must carry the name "Mr Mark ..... ....." not "Lord Mark Fox etc" as otherwise, they would not be legally mine - if you sign a contract under a pseudonym then the contract isn't even worth the paper its written on.

However, that doesn't mean you couldn't be held to it - if you signed your mobile telephone contract in the name of "Mickey Mouse" then complained when Vodafone sent in the debt collectors to your address after you fail to pay, they can *still* recover the money for services to which you have used but not pay. The sting in the tail is that they will be entitled to recover the phone and terminate your contract, and charge costs for doing so as well!

Additionally, there are some specific cases where it is illegal to use a pseudonym:

1) When dealing with financial matters, such as banking. This is considered money laundering.
2) When dealing with the police or security services.
3) In court or court proceedings.
4) With postal mail - oddly enough, if you use an alias, and receive post addressed under such an alias, it is not yours to open. If you chose to do so, you are breaking the law - this is seen as interfering with the Queen's Mail, and is actually treason!

MarkFox
 
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