Thursday, October 15, 2009

There's no such thing as a unique name

Reading an old post by James Clark about Thai personal names, I wondered how many different names I am addressed by. Surprisingly, I came up with eight.

John Matthew Simon Doar (birth certificate)
Matthew Doar (school name, birth family usage)
Matt Doar (work name)
Matthew Baginski Doar (family name after marriage)
Matthew B. Doar (shortened family name used for publications)
Matthew Baginski (used by systems that can't handle two words in a family name)
J. Matthew Doar (occasional form letters)

and strangest of all is the U.S. Immigration Service who refer to me as "John M. Doar" and once forced me to make up a signature for it on the spot! All I really want these days is to be unique enough for Google.


Tim Kolar said...

You forgot, "Yo, Britboy!"

Matt Doar said...

And now there's another Matthew Doar (who is also a Brit) getting married apparently:
There can be only one, or two if really necessary.

Anonymous said...

I know where you're coming from. The name that has been used for me since birth and the one I've always used for myself appears second on my birth certificate. But I don't go around telling people I've got two or 8 names. When it comes to official documents (government, employment, banking, etc.) I always use the name as it appears on my birth certificate because it's the only correct one.

Your issue is that you refuse to use your name as given to you yet also refuse to have it officially changed to one you prefer. You can invent as many aliases as you wish, but you still only have one name.

nickshanks said...

I am surprised to see that neither "Matt" nor "Matthew" are on your list. That would make ten.

Matt Doar said...

Full name is what I meant, but some people are indeed recognized by a single name such as "Elvis". Not sure I'm there yet though!