Way Back Wednesday: C is for Change of Surname

June 29, 2016

Did you know? It has always been legal to change your surname (in the UK).  It's just that there wasn't always paperwork involved.  You will have noticed some of your surname study people being called things like 'John Blagdon alias Gifford' (he was married as a Gifford, and buried a Blagdon - I haven't yet plucked up the courage to look for his baptism) - this was the sixteenth/seventeenth century way of announcing it.  (Of course, ladies usually changed their surname upon marriage.)

Then came paperwork.  In the late seventeenth century, it had to be done by Act of Parliament, or Royal Licence (advertised at the same time in the London Gazette, then the College of Arms.  Later came the well-known Deed Poll.

But from 1916, 'Enemy aliens' were only allowed to change their surnames by Royal Licence or special permission from the Home Secretary.

Next week's letter is 'D'. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up D with surname studies?  If so, please send them to me at sos [at] surname-society.org

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