Archive for September 2nd, 2009

Twenty-nine and Holding

Happy Birthday, Blake!

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… Because nobody else will.

All my life, people have tried to make my name into “Julia Anne,” and while that’s a beautiful name too, it’s not mine. My last name was written down many incorrect ways too, including “Princess.” Now that I’m married, people try to make me “Julia Watson.”

When the topic of name spelling and family middle names came up recently, I received the following story by email from my mother, and it was something I don’t remember hearing before:

For many years the Recorder in Ringgold County wrote all the official recordings by hand. When I went to get a birth certificate, my name was spelled Patricia Anne, but I had always been told there was no ‘e’ on Ann.  And it wasn’t written clearly enough to really tell if it was just a swirl at the end of Ann or an actual ‘e’ so they issued it without, and spelled it Ann. Just a few years ago, Janet Judge, my cousin, found my birth announcement card that had been sent to her mother, and my mother had clearly written Patricia Anne… how soon she forgot. As I said before, she taught me how to spell and write my name when I was 3 years old, and there was no ‘e’ on Ann then, and never has been since… go figure!

The same thing with her name… She had always been told and gone by Elma Elnore but when she went to get her birth certificate, when she discovered she would need it for Social Security, the writing was smudged and she was told it looked like it was Elma Lenore… well, you can imagine her fury… her certificate was issued as Elma Elnore! Of course, everything she had ever had her name on was not as Elma Lenore… so I can understand her concern, as did they!

Back then, we were all at the mercy of whomever was recording it, and trusted they would get it right in official records… as we do today.  Then, it was a matter of translation, penmanship and spelling. Today, it’s a matter of translation, spelling, typos and leaving the corrections up to spell-check, which accepts anything that makes a word!

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