We changed our names today

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BILTON HOUSE : Harrogate's register office for hatches, matches and dispatches.


Today we registered the birth of our latest edition – Annie Maureen Watson-Power to give her, her full title. The Watson-Power is a coupling of both Eirene (my wife, Annie’s mother) and my surnames. I was a Watson, Eirene a Power. Our offspringlings; Felix – he’s a Power, Jaygo is a Watson-Power as is Sophie.

This multiple named yet blood kin family set up can be quite confusing, and possibly leads people to make conclusions as to why it’s like it is. To be honest, I wasn’t massively happy when Eirene insisted that she kept her maiden name of Power when we got married nearly 13 years ago, but, I respected her wishes. She is the last in the line and she wanted to carry the name on.

My own surname has only been going since just before WWII when my Grandfather chose it. He was a German Jew who came to fight for the Brits and ended up being a true war hero – a Parachute Commander who did 17 drops behind enemy lines. The story behind his renaming is an incredible one, and I wont do it justice in a few lines, but for the sake of this blog, to summarise the relevant part – his C.O. suggested he changed his name from the rather German sounding Wasserman. The story goes that he was reading Sherlock Homes at the time and liked the name Watson, and, given that the meaning is similar to Wasserman, went with that.

Our mixed bag of family names has been a bit of a burden – often – it seems to me that others feel it’s one of those taboo subjects that it’s best not to ask us about. It’s not – it’s just one of those things that we didn’t think through really! Well – as a result and a bit of paperwork with the Registrar this morning, Eirene and I are now Mr. & Mrs. Watson-Power. Turns out, all we had to do was decide, as our Marriage certificate suffices for the only formal documentation we needed – it has WATSON POWER written on it already and it’s up to us which bits we use. Our names though – our new names that is – are now formally logged in the registry, thanks to us signing as WATSON-POWER in the registry of Annie’s birth. The registrar was an ace lady. She told us how her nose tickles when she gets excited just like Eirene’s… She also told us that birth appointments are nearly always late, deaths appointments, nearly always early. She asked us “have you ever thought of changing your names?” we had, and then she said our set up meant that we can change our names and have been able to for the last 13 years, should we have so desired and because Felix was given Eirene’s name, changing his name is a simple and free service for us. Total hassle free, meant to be.

We both liked our sir names and even though it’s traditional for the wife to take the mans name, this set up suits us just fine as we’ve got the best of both worlds. We are now a family with one name and yet we’ve kept  both family names. We’ve still got some paperwork to do on Felix’s surname if (he’s happy to join our gang) but that’s just a formality.

The bit I’m not looking forward to is the admin. Explaining it to people is quite daunting as well, but I guess I’ll just refer to them to this post for the full story (handy). The admin though – the bank, the passport office, deeds and car ownership documentation etc. etc. – will all need figuring out. I guess it’ll keep me busy for a while. The relatively easy bit will be the electronic side of things. I’ve already changed my name in this website’s database, next up things like facebook and twitter, personal email and work email. That’s going to be quite a biggy. It does happen ‘all the time’ though – at least every time someone changes their name due to marriage – so I’m hoping the systems will be in place to make it happen fairly effortlessly.

The other thing I’ll have to have a think about is, my revised signature. Anyone who’s ever seen it will say it’s not legible as it is, so can probably get away without changing it – or just adding more squiggle to it.

Anyway – here’s the end of my first post as a Watson-Power. I was half tempted to change us all to have Dragondrop as a surname, but that would have been perhaps far too silly.

One Response

  1. Jamie
    Jamie 26 March, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

    I say: All Power to the Watson!

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