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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

So, here I am at my brother's lovely new condo. The rest of the family is off exploring Morristown. I should have gone with them, but that would be cramped anyway.

I learned something rather disturbing, at least for those of us who have changed our names for whatever reason. For security reasons, in New Jersey, such people have to present documentation about their name change. Example - my mother. When she got married, she changed her name to my father's, which was pretty darn standard in 1954. Everything she's signed or carried since them - passport, driver's license, check book - has used her married name. Here's the thing - she got married overseas, because my father was stationed in Japan. They had a rabbi, a military chuppa and two Jewish soldiers as witnesses. (Mom, like me, is a Brooklyn girl.)

And her marriage license is long gone. So is their ketubbah and the replacement one. And there was a fire in 1973 which wiped out a lot of military records, including my dad's. Which means there is no documentation on how my mother changed her name. And her driver's license is up for renewal. She can't use the old one as proof, and she can't use her maiden name because there are too many things - 51 years worth of things - in her married name. And if she marries Lenny, that's still no good because you need records of each marriage.

And NJ is the test case. It'll spread to the other states. Now, I have my own marriage license because I did change my name, because 14 years ago, that was relatively simple. I'm guessing, by the number of people who only change their names socially if at all, that it's not so simple any more. My father-in-law changed his name legally before WWII. Now we need to know if he kept those documents.

This disturbs me - how could a 72 year old lady be a threat because she used her married name for 51 years?

Comments

You might want to change the name on your Social Security card.

I work for the Disability division of Social Security, and have one case on my desk where the 60 year old woman never changed her last name with us. So when I had to write for records to substantiate her case, the computer put her maiden name (the name we still legally had to use) on all the letters. Since the medical records were in her married name, they all came back "no such patient". I had to re-send them all with her married name as an AKA (once we figured out that was what the problem was) which delayed the process considerably.

I think you can change it with just a phone call. Well worth it to avoid the potential hassle, don't you think?

Thanks for the information. The truth is that as I was typing it struck me that I'm pretty sure I did change it, but I'm going to check, once I decide whether I'll change back to my maiden name because of divorce. (Yes, not knowing whether I changed it is not... brilliant.)