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Change of name

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  • Change of name

    Hello all. I had some great help from some of you a few years ago when I was trying to find cousins who had moved to Australia. I went on to find an address and phone number for one of them in Sydney. Tried phoning and wrote to him with my email. He eventually emailed me to say there was no connection so although I knew I had the right person, I apologised for bothering him and said that I wouldn't contact him again. I just attached a photo of his parents' wedding and said that it was the son of this couple that I was trying to contact. I had an email straight back asking where I'd got the photo and from there on he accepted that I was genuine. Long story cut short, Brian and his family came over to the UK and Wales specially to meet me and his many cousins who he had no idea about. I had the pleasure of putting them up for a week and showing them family graves going back to the 1700's. So many thanks for your help when I had hit a brick wall.

    I am now wondering if records were kept when families changed their surnames in the 1880's. My great grandfather and some of his siblings changed their family name from Charles to Rees when the lost the tenancy to their farm because they didn't vote for their landlord in a local election - so I was told by my late father. They farmed at Trecastle, Breconshire but moved to Abercarn in Monmouthshire where they rented a farm on the estate of Lady Llanover. She was the wife of Benjamin Hall. I think it was his company which cast the bell, Big Ben.

  • #2
    How lovely for you to be accepted by and to meet the family from Australia. You must have been thrilled.

    The National Archives (TNA) have a guide for changes of name:

    1. Why use this guide? Use this guide for advice on how to find records, or other forms of proof, of a person changing their name. There is advice on the kinds of records that have been created since the 16th century right up to the present day. You may find that proof of a […]

    It never has been illegal here to change your name without having to register the fact as long as it is not being used for fraudulent purposes.

    My avatar is my mother 1921 - 2012


    • #3
      Firstly, the bell Big Ben was cast by Warner's Bell Founders at a foundry in Stockton on Tees, if that helps.

      Secondly many people changed their surnames, for all sorts of reasons and left no record of the change. I have a number of examples in my own families and could only trace them on censuses by the first names and grouping, birth places etc of the children. It is still legal even today to start calling yourself by a different name, unless you are doing that for fraudulent or other illegal purposes. (You might struggle with the banks these days though!)



      • #4
        Thank you both for your responses. I will look up the TNA.
        Yes, it was great to be in touch with the cousins in Oz and to be able to show them a lot of their family history and where their ancestors were born and raised.