What's in a name?

Bernard Schwartz, Arnold Dorsey and Reg Dwight all have something in common. Got it? Well they all decided to change their names to something a little more theatrical. They may have had talent by the bucket loads but their success hinged, they thought, on their names. So today they’re better known as Tony Curtis, Engelbert Humperdinck and Elton John

To their families perhaps they’re always going to be Bernie, Arnie and Reggie – but not to us.

Unless we’re on the run from the authorities it’s unlikely any of us would have the need to change our names and to any armchair genealogist, that’s just what we want.

We can now trace our ancestry back centuries and there are some excellent resources available both on-line and at records offices around the country. But imagine how much more difficult tracing a tree would be if we all began changing our names.

Transcribers, bless them, are only human and anyone tracing their roots know how frustrating mistakes are. But what if Peter Perkins just decided one day to become Philip Peters, how the heck would you find him?

As we stretch into the 21st century with ‘celebrity’ the goal of some, on behalf of all future family historians, can I beg you not to change your name – and give us all a chance!