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Naming the child

What surname do I give my baby?

Your baby will normally be given your surname or the father's surname (even if you
were not married to each other and the father does not attend with you).

However, you may give the baby any surname including a combination of surnames. Once the surname has been decided upon it can only be changed if:

  • you apply for re-registration of the birth because you were not married to each other and the father's details were not entered in the register
  • you marry each other after the original registration. In this case the birth must be re-registered by law even if the child’s surname is not being changed

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What if I want to change the first name of my child?

You may be able to change your child's first name(s) within 12 months of the date that you registered the birth. If the child has been baptised in the Christian faith within the 12 month period after birth registration you can obtain a form from the register office to take to the Minister of the church where the child was baptised.

Once this form has been completed it must be returned to the register office and the new first names can be entered into the birth register. This can be done at any time after the birth as long as the baptism took place within 12 months of the registration.

You can then purchase certified copies from this amended registration. A full copy certificate will contain both the original name and your baby’s new first name, given in baptism. If the child has not been baptised you can complete a form at the register office.

The following pdf form is to apply for a new birth registration which will replace the original birth registration certificate.

Application form to re register a child (pdf 54kb opens in new window)

Once again this can be done at any time after the birth as long as it can be proved that the change of name took place within 12 months of the date that you registered the birth.

Once the form has been completed the new first name(s) will be inserted into the birth register. Copies of the amended registration can then be purchased. A full copy certificate will contain both the original name and the new name. The short version of these certificates will only record the child's new first name(s)

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What if I just want to change the surname of my child?

Married parents

If you have married each other since the date that the birth was registered the birth should be re-registered to accurately record this. A form is available from the register office that must be signed by both parents.

Either parent can then attend the register office, with the completed form and a copy of the marriage certificate. The birth will then be re-registered and the child's surname can be changed. Copies of the re-registered birth can be purchased from the registrar.

Non - married parents

If you were not married to each other at the time of the birth and the father did not
attend with you to register the baby it is possible to re-register the birth at any time in the future to include the father's details in the registration and change the surname of the child. A form is available from the register office that has to be completed by both parents.

The following pdf form is to apply for a new birth registration which will replace the original birth registration certificate.

Application form to re register a child  (pdf 54.1kb opens in new window)

If you were not married to each other at the time of the birth and it was decided to
give the child the father's surname (whether or not he attended with the mother) it is not possible to change the surname in the registration back to that of the mother. The only alternative will be to speak to a solicitor and make a statutory declaration or deed poll changing the surname of the child. This will not change the original birth registration. The statutory declaration or deed poll document should be attached to the birth certificate and this will provide evidence that the child is being brought up in a surname different to that recorded in the birth registration.

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Can I re-register a birth?

The easiest way for the birth to be re-registered is for both parents to attend the
register office together. However, it is possible for either parent to make a statutory declaration, before a solicitor or other person able to witness a legal statement (an
oath), acknowledging parentage of the child. It is also possible for either parent to
seek a court order naming the child. In any of these cases the birth will be registered again and copies of the re-registered birth can be purchased from the registrar.

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What if I made a mistake in the naming of my child at the time of registration?

If you made a mistake in the original birth registration it will be necessary for the
person who registered the birth to prove that mistake exists. A registration is an historic record that records the details as they were intended to be on the day of the registration. What information you will need to provide will depend on how soon after the birth was registered you realise a mistake has been made.

If you realise you made a mistake within a couple of weeks of registration you should write a letter stating what the mistake is and how it came to be made. This letter should be sent to the register office who will send it on to the registrar general's office who has to give permission for a correction to take place.

If there has been a longer time gap between registration and realising that a mistake exists, as well as writing the letter saying how the mistake came to be made, you will need to provide proof, dated from the youngest age of the child, that you are bringing up the child in a name different to that recorded in the registration. This evidence could be in the form of a clinic card, National Health Service medical card or bank book. The letter along with the evidence will then be sent the registrar general's office for consideration.

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How can I celebrate the birth of my baby?

We can provide a very personal naming ceremony which will provide the
opportunity for you to celebrate the birth of your child with family and friends.

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