One example is the name William which means "will helmet". At first glance this definition it seems to make no sense. However, the word will use in a context meaning to desire or to want and helmet as a form of covering for the head while in battle the meaning of the name starts to take shape.
Although the meaning of the name William does not have any present day significance, it is in fact the “meaning of the name”. Of greater significance, is who in history bore this name and who we think of when we hear the name William. Many Kings of England have had this name as well as other famous people including William Shakespeare and William (Bill) Clinton amongst many others.
It could be said that the modern day interpretation of the name William could mean leader, writer, actor, or many other thoughts that come to mind when we hear the name. Although the meaning of a name can indeed be important when choosing the proper name for a baby being born in the twenty first century, there are many other factors that are involved as well and we should put so much weight into just a meeting of the name but rather what the modern day interpretation of that name may be.
For those would-be parents there are a set of “rules” that are good to follow when naming a baby, but the choice ultimately lands in the hands of you – consider it the first gift you give to your baby. Rhyming conventions, fad/fashion names, alternate or quirky spellings (Wylliam) are all things to be considered as well as what will the name of the baby be when he/she grows up. There, of course, are ways around that as well. For those who want to name a baby after a great aunt or after the father but don’t want the baby to have an “old” name, a nickname can be used as well as using the middle name as the name used in casual conversation – the family name. The 42nd president of the United States regularly went by Bill (Clinton) instead of his given William (Jefferson Clinton). Ahh, you say with a quirky smile – I know another! Tony Blair (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom). Sorry… his given name was indeed Tony (Charles Lynton Blair).
So now you are grown and you do not like your name – you HATE it. What to do, what to do. There are remedies to the situation. The easiest – start going by another name. My name went from Tommy to Thom to Tom to Charles to Tom again, and those are all diminutives of my middle name Thomas. To avoid confusion my official/unofficial name (official to everyone but the government) is C. Thomas Wright III. I never get a phone call asking for Mr. C (this isn’t Happy Days folks). And if I do indeed get mail/phone call with Charles Wright on it, I know I am in trouble.
The second thing you can do is to legally change your name. There are three legitimate reasons for this.
1. Getting Married
2. Getting Divorced
3. Because you WANT to!
You will need to do the following to legally change your name (when getting married this is usually automatically done).
1. Petition the court to change your name
2. Give public notice of the name change (a newspaper ad saying you were and now you are is fine)
3. Affidavit if required (by parent/guardian/spouse/etc…)
4. Granted court ordered name change
Make sure when filling out any forms as with any official forms to make sure your handwriting is legible and there are no spelling errors. If you have horrible handwriting you can have someone else fill out the forms but make sure YOU SIGN THEM. Make photocopies of any/all forms and legal papers pertaining to your name change.
It is sometimes advisable to have an attorney go through the steps with you to make sure everything is done properly. If a lawyer is too much money, a paralegal or someone going through law school can also help you in the matter.
After your name change is complete make sure you notify the proper people (start with Credit Card companies, DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles, sometimes the MVA (Motor Vehicle Administration)], and the SSA [Social Security Administration]). After that, copies should be sent to the Bureau of Vital Statistics (the census people) and have your Birth certificate amended.
For most of us who HATE OUR NAMES, we can either live with it; use a pseudo-name, stage-name, nickname, or some other name. When given the enormous task and responsibility of naming someone else, remember what you went through and what your child might endure if indeed their name is out of this world (Frank Zappas kids names: Moon Unit, Dweezel, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Muffin).
And yes, it is possible to change your last name or drop it entirely. Teller (from the magical duo Penn & Teller) has no last name, he legally changed his name to Teller in the 1980s.