Post # 1
I am planning on changing my first name in addition to taking my husband’s surname. Ever since I was very little (5-6 years old), I have been trying on different first names for size. When I was 10, my mom told me that on my birth certificate, my first name was different from what everyone called me, so I could go by that – but it didn’t suit me and my distant family didn’t respect my wishes of the name change. They had always called me by my middle name, Kristin, which I have never liked. I like the meaning, but the “s” sounds drive me crazy, and apparently we live in an illiterate society in which even after people have known me for decades, they still spell my name with an “e” (Kristine, Kristen, Christen, Christine, Kirsten, etc.). I tried going by my first legal name, Nicole, but it never stuck because it never felt like me and my family refused to respect my wishes and call me by it, so I have been going by Kristin for the past 10 years. I even considered switching the spelling of my name to Kristen, but that just sounds and looks wrong to me.
Here we are and I realized that I have the right and the choice to choose my own name. The last two favorites are Katherine or Kathryn with my original legal first name switched to my middle name, Nicole, to maintain some of the history of my name and meaning without the “s” sound.
Has anyone done this? Which spelling would be easier for people to intuitively catch onto? I think I prefer the “y” spelling, but I’m quite tired of correcting people, and I want my name to feel like a representation of me. I like that Katherine/Kathryn is a strong name, with some femininity, and has a meaningful connection for me, but can be shortened to Kat as a nickname. I would prefer not to go by Kate, Katie, or Kathie/Kathy. I also want to try it out before I tell other people in my social circle. Any suggestions on how to go about doing this?
I get that this might be strange for some people. I have obviously been dealing with this for a long time and have given it a lot of thought. I am excited to make a new positive change that feels more like me. I am not looking for judgment but am instead looking for positive encouragement and guidance. Thanks!
Post # 2
MsLiveOak: Good for you! I don’t think this will be a big shift because, if I’m understanding you correctly, you’ve been going by Kristin and are changing your name to Katherine (or a variance). Is this right?
I love the name Katherine, and I think this particular spelling makes it feel regal and elegant. Kathryn with a ‘y’ looks a little to “childish” for me personally. I may just feel that way becasuse I know someone who spells it each way, and the Katherine is much classier than the Kathryn. Totally imposing my subjective opinion on things, but I like Katherine. 🙂
Post # 3
Soon2bmrs1: Hi Soon2bmrs1, yes, you understand me correctly! I totally believe in subliminal meanings/personalities behind names too. I’m glad that you get the feeling of regal elegance/classiness from it, that is the hope I was going for! Thank you for your support!
Post # 4
I like the name Katherine but I think you are setting yourself up for failure. As previously, people called you by your middle name I think many people will assume you go by a nickname like Kat, Kathy, Kate, Katie. Its pretty common to shorten that name and you may run into the same problem as before… people calling you what they want.
Post # 5
Whether you can change your name without a court order depends on what state you’re in. Some states will only allow you to change your first, or first and middle name, without a court order even on your marriage license. Getting married isn’t necessarily a free pass to change your first name. Just, FYI, you might want to look into it further.
Also out or curiosity, if your family refused to call you by your legal name, Nicole, even after you requested, what makes you think that they will abide by your wish to go by Kathryn? It seems like a lot of work when people are pretty stuck in their ways. If they have always known you as Kristin, I think you are going to struggle to ever have them recognize you as a different name, legalities aside. i have an uncle that changed his name legally and I’ve only ever known him as his birth name. It’s a hard habit to break.
Post # 6
littleanchor: I have already looked into the cost of changing my name legally separate from changing my last name and intend to do so in my state. I am at the point at which I am now trying new names to determine what truly suits me.
To answer your second question, I don’t see them very often, and this change is not about them. It’s about me being who I truly feel I am. The only thing I can liken it to (though my situation is much more mild) is living in someone else’s body and not identifying with it. I can only hope that at least some of the people I see on a regular basis will at least try to respect my wishes.
Post # 7
I’m a name shortner and have a hard time calling anyone by there full name once I know them. If you don’t like the nicknames that come with the name I would really consider that.
Post # 8
You should follow your heart and your gut instinct. I agree with your points in the post, it is a beautiful and classic name. Something that seems interesting is you prefer the Kathryn spelling with a ‘y’ and yet you’re worried about spelling correction issues.
If it helps any, my full name is a classic name and I have been going by my nickname since I was a child. The equivalent of my nickname is likened to the version of going by ‘Kitty’ if the original name was Katherine. The way I spell my name at work, with friends and family is a bit different. It can take a bit of time but others will come around. Plus, the more times you encounter situations where you introduce yourself as Kathryn(or whichever one you pick) the more you assert and affirm that that is your one and only name. Also, in most socities, proper etiquette raises the importance of correctly pronouncing and spelling a person name. So if someone mispells your name, that’s on them and it’s a social faux pas.
I also don’t know what your time line is looking like, but I would suggest you start as soon as you can(and are comfortable with) going by your chosen name before you make it permanent on your name change. It will help with your transition and it could also be a good indicator of sussing out any potential issues that you may encouner before making it official.
Also, people can be curious about change and may or may not ask you ‘why did you change your name?!’ When you answer them, just keep it firm and simple. You don’t have to elaborate or tell the whole story if you don’t want to.
All the best to you Bee!
Post # 9
Since one of your pet peeves about your current name is misspellings, are you concerned that both Katherine and Kathryn could be misspelled as the other name or that others might inadvertently spell it with a C?
I’ve always thought it was cool when people went by first initial and middle name (e. g. N. Kristen Smith), but I know you’re set on doing the name change.
Post # 10
I like Nicole Kristin. People spell my name with an “e” all the time, but it doesn’t bother me enough to change my name or how it’s spelled!
Post # 11
- Wedding: June 2015 - Malibou Lake Mountain Club
MsLiveOak: i would check with your county or where you are getting married because i know in Los Angeles County theres strict rules on changing your first name (i dont think we can here)
Post # 12
I would prefer not to go by Kate, Katie, or Kathie/Kathy.
That’s what is going to happen. For some reason people go with what they know…and it’ll stick. My first thought when I read Katherine was “Oh! Another Kathy!” before I got to the bolded part.
My name is Nicole, and so many people call me Nicki. No matter how many times I correct them, ignore them, or be completely blunt… there will always be people who call me Nicki. I can’t stand Nicki (it’s just never suited me) and I’ll never be able to get away from it. Hell, I’ll introduce myself as “Nicole” and those same people will just automatically start calling me Nicki in conversation.
So definitely keep that in mind. You may not like it, but it’ll happen. So instead of correcting people on how to spell Kristin you’ll be correcting people not to call you Kathy AND how to properly spell Katherine.
If you’re ok with that, then go for it!!! It’s your name and you should feel comfortable with that. More power to you!
Post # 13
I am assuming you’ve already discussed this with a lawyer, but if you’re trying to change all of your names at once you might run into extra strict barriers. The reason name-changing is difficult is concern over people committing fraud/crimes and then changing their names to evade responsibility. Changing all of your names at once will trip that suspicion more than just changing one name, I think.
Also, you can ask to be called anything you’d like. It’s not like people automatically have to call you whatever your legal name is. So if you want, just start asking people to call you your desired name now. See if people will abide by that.
Post # 14
I have a friend who changed her name in her early 30s, from one 6 letter, 3 syllable name to another 6 letter 3 syllable name, both ending with the same vowel and beginning with the same consonant. So not a huge change but a significant one. I think it was related to a family drama of some kind and to prove a point to her mum, possibly because her parents were from a quite old-fashioned culture that she wanted to distance herself from (the name was typical of that culture), and the name she took had a family connection although it was not a typical name of that culture.
I do still think of her as an [original name] and you can’t erase people’s memories. Often people will slip up and you can’t be too judgmental about that.
It seems to have worked for her but I think that may be because the name was so very similar and she really only changed the middle 4 letters. Both names were stand-alone names that people wouldn’t normally shorten- also a big help. With Katherine, almost all Katherines are naturally shortened by people, whether they like it or not, so you have to expect that, and that they might call you Katy etc. I would just tell people your new name is Kat, to be honest. People can cope with a simple name change but not also instructions on which abbreviations are ok and not.
I’m surprised if you hated your name so much for so many years that you didn’t evolve a nickname you liked amongst your friends and workmates. How old are you? If you were 18-mid 20s when you decided you wanted to change your name, surely you had loads of opportunities to give whatever name you liked to new aquaintances in your life? That’s the time in our life when we are meeting the most new people.
Kathryn is the American spelling, Catherine is the English one, so that may guide you, although I know Americans use both. As someone with an unusual name myself (not my bee name here), I don’t care less when people spell it wrong. I consider it a trade-off for having such a nice original name. Other people can get very wound up about spelling. If this is very important to you, as you’re actually making a choice, not being granted something at birth, you need to choose a name that can only be spelt one way.
Post # 15
“I’m surprised if you hated your name so much for so many years that you didn’t evolve a nickname you liked amongst your friends and workmates. How old are you? If you were 18-mid 20s when you decided you wanted to change your name, surely you had loads of opportunities to give whatever name you liked to new aquaintances in your life? That’s the time in our life when we are meeting the most new people.”
Frankly, this is none of your business, how old I am or what my history is. I shared what I was comfortable sharing, and I don’t need your judgment as to how I could have/should have done things differently. I am here now making changes for today, and I do not owe you or anyone else an explanation.
I do appreciate your experience from your friend having changed her name, so thank you for that.