A little bit of theory

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Courage is not the absence of fear but realization of something greater than fear. -- Ghemi Efunuga.

Every human being has (3) names. The first one is the name you inherited from your parents which is called SURNAME. The second is the one they gave to you at birth and the last is the one you gave yourself. Out of the three names, the most important one is the one you gave yourself. In our Streamates society today, we are familiar with some various names. In the time of challenges, there are some names that naturally ring bells especially when it calls for solutions. There are names that open doors, some will open Jasminlive gates and while some will open borders of nations but unfortunately we still have some that cannot even open windows. What is your name and how much respect can your name command? How much value does your name carry?

I saw a livejasmin film recently popularly known as TROY. There was a young man called Achilles. Achilles was a warrior, hero and a gifted killer. He specialized in dethroning kings and rendering princesses useless. It paid allegiance to no nation and honored no flag. He was usually hired by kings. As a result of Achilles non allegiance to any nation, no king was in love with him, which he knew himself because he fights for his own personal glory. There was also this nation called Troy. Troy had a great wall which had never been conquered by any nation before. There came a time one of the kings Achilles usually fought for needed to conquer troy. So they came calling for Achilles to lead the Jasmin live battle. Achilles in his usual custom needed to consult his goddess mother in a place called Luriso. Then the mother told him saying "I knew they will come long before you were born, I knew they will come. They will want you to fight in troy, "mum tonight I decide"-said Achillies. If you stay in Luriso, you will find peace, you will find a wonderful Jasminelive woman, you will have sons and daughters, they will have descendants and they will love you but when you have gone, they will remember you, but when your descendants are dead and the descendants after them, your name will be lost, But if you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write story about your victory for thousands of years; the world will remember your name. If you go to troy, you will never come home.........I should never see you again"

Achilles chose to go to troy but he could come back. No wonder some of the literature books people read today especially in secondary schools, students refer to the victory of Achiles. There are names that ring bells as long as the bearers are alive. But once they pass on, nobody remembers them any more. Some will last up to a century after the death of the bearers, some will last a millennium while some will last eternal. Abraham Lincoln of the United Statehas lasted over a century; Martin Luther King Jr has lasted over 5 decades. How far will your own name go even after you must have passed on? Names do not just ring bells on a mere confession; we must dare to do that which looks so impossible. God loves name makers. No wonder he regarded his people as "salt and light" to this world. Some of us will have to resign from our jobs to find our place of primary assignment before our names can be heard to the glory of God. Some people will not amount to anything in life except they are threatened. So they will want to prove people wrong.

Life is not all about duration but in donation. How impactful is your life to your immediate environment. Are you a blessing or a curse? God is not interested in mediocre. Mediocre are those who will prefer to live an average life to making impact. God loves darers and especially those who will leave posterity behind. Those who will take courage to go for what seems impossible. The scripture says in Exodus "and there arouse a king in Egypt that knew not Joseph" That was the genesis of the suffering of the descendants of Israel. Then I asked myself a question that " what could have happened or gone wrong with all the great and mighty things that were done in Egypt by the hand of Joseph that could have made his name suddenly disappeared like a smoke in the record book of Egypt? The answer I got was that though he was successful but the significance of the success was very limited. It was a battle of posterity.

We must all dare the impossible. We must all be persistent and consistent in faith in God even when obstacles and discouragement are obvious. Those who do not go in faith with God will always return with evil report. Life is all about decision making. There is a league of the conformists while we have another one called the tranformists. You must choose one but do not stay in the middle unless if you have decided to be deformed.

A recent survey was conducted in the United States by a reputable organization known as FORBES on the fifty most influential people in the world. We had just two in Africa. Nelson Mandela was No 1 while No 2 went to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Pastor E A Adeboye (49th in the world). More will still be conducted if God tarries but what position will you occupy. I look forward to seeing you then.

More than just some letters

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In the earliest days of human history people rarely needed more than a few grunts or whistles to call each other in times of danger. But as populations grew, sounds were combined and as language evolved, words or complex combinations of sounds were assigned, or assumed, by individuals to be able to not only call each other, but to be able to tell each other apart. After all, every one in an animal skin with long hair probably looked somewhat alike.

We needed to be able to lay claim to property and land, our spouses and sons. Names were one of the ways we did this, and one of the ways we kept records that ultimately were supposed to help avoid disputes. How confusing it must have been in those very early days.

The first Johan or John, thousands of years ago, may have fathered a son whom he named John. This son may soon have become known as The son of John or John's son. Perhaps even little john. If your surname ends with 'son' as in Johnson, Jackson, Albertson, Smithson and so on you should probably continue your research into the earlier records as your name indicates an original version and the descendant of the first John, Jack, Albert, or Smith.

Locations and occupations often also played a role in how names were chosen. Long ago there was a small gathering of people who were trying to make their way in the wilds of our newly emerging America. Perhaps a wagon train came through the area and several new families decided to join the group. The small settlement began to grow. People would have, as people do, begun trading services for products or other services. The man who operated the local mill may have traded services with the local blacksmith. Imagine that both of these men were named Thomas. You wanted to be able to know which Thomas you were hearing about so they became Thomas the Smith or Thomas Smith, and Thomas the Miller or Thomas Miller.

In my family we have 'Joyners' who were probably involved in some sort of early building or carpentry. A Joiner is someone who builds certain parts of buildings like stairs or doors and windows. I have often thought that my ease with woodworking comes through my DNA from some early Joyners. Perhaps my love of bread comes from early millers who were occupied with grinding grains and experimenting with ways to make bread more easily.

Often surnames are taken from an area of the settlement. Brooks usually became the name of families living near a, you got it, a brook. Rivers families lived close to rivers and perhaps even worked the river as with those who ran boats for transportation across larger rivers. Some people lived in forested areas and became the families of Woods.

Names have changed a lot over the centuries. Early, during the days when records first began to be kept, writing was not as common as today. Often a person had no clue as to the way a name was spelled. This is why we always look for variations and alternative spellings when we research our surnames. A passenger boarding a ship who was named Boone, for example, may have been recorded as Boon, Boonne, Bune, or Bunne and so on. In my family it soon became obvious that my mother's maiden name, Elschner, was changed over the generations. We have documents showing early ancestors spelled the name as Eltzschner, Ellsner, Elsner, Etchner, and so on. Tracing the correct line, especially thorough war damaged europe has been a daunting task at times, but it is possible. You just need patience.

A lack of naming conventions in early days also gave rise to confusion. The son of John who was named Peter may have become Peter Johnson, while his son, Henry became Henry Peterson. This means that a family surname might change from generation to generation. Then as migration grew, it often happened that the officials recording entries into a country could not figure out how to pronounce or spell a foreign sounding name. Often names were changed to sound more like what was familiar. My maiden name, Miller is an example of a change from Mueller!

So what is a genealogist to do? Try this.

---Make a list of every possible spelling you can think of for your surname, no matter how strange it may seem. ---Think about all the ways your name may have been mispronounced by others. Say your name aloud and try to think of different ways it might be heard by someone from a different country ---Don't fear some experimentation. Change K's to C's, or Sh to Sch. Perhaps a hard consonant was once a soft one, or vice-a-versa.

Certainly you will come up with some unusual spellings and pronunciations, but it is quite possible that is the way it once was.

There are many other ways names were derived. For example, Norwegians often take a name associated with the family farm, and Most German names come from places, colors, or occupations. If your heritage is African you will find that there were no surnames allowed and a slave was known by a nickname assigned to them and the surname of their owner.

Research into your ancestry can be one of the most fascinating and enjoyable activities you undertake in your life. If you love a mystery you will probably soon become addicted to the search. If you are a history buff, like me, you will find yourself studying the time periods in which your family lived and you may discover you become that person in your group with all the trivia knowledge. If you have been searching for some time and are up against a brick wall, consider that you may be encountering an alternative spelling, pronunciation, or generational name change.

Take a little time to look into the origins for the names you are researching. It may mean the difference in discovering you are descended from aristocracy or the labor force, your family origins began in the mountains of Europe, or beside a rolling brook in Ireland. Names can help you pinpoint locations and learn how your earlier ancestors lived. Sometime the name can even tell you why your ancestors decided to migrate to America.

You can never be sure what you will find when you begin to climb your family tree!

Make it fit to you

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Anyone who would like to be known by a different name be it a new forename, surname or just an additional name has the legal right to adopt a new name. Surprisingly perhaps, there is no set down legal procedure that must be used in order to change a name. Simply start using your new name and stop using your former name. Changing your name can be done at any time but not for any act of deception.

You may not be able to change your name on your birth certificates as this is only allowed for a limited range of circumstances.

Having decided to change your name, you should use the new name for all purposes, including any legal proceedings and obtaining a driving licence or passport.

A son's name can be changed in the same way provided that those with parental responsibility, normally parents or guardians, consent to it. A descendant under 16 years old does not have to consent to the name change, but can object to it by applying to the court to order his or her name is not changed. For this type of challenge to be successful the son involved must show a clear understanding of the issues.

Evidence of a change of name

Whilst proof of a name change is not 'legally' required, there are circumstances when evidence of the change of name is required. The evidence required to satisfy a particular purpose can vary and will depend on the purpose for which it is needed.

The two most common methods employed are:

  • Statutory Declaration
  • Deed Poll

Deed Poll

A Deed Poll (not Deed 'Pole') is a formal legal statement proving that a person's name has been changed. This can be the easiest route as it can be done without a using a lawyer if you can access a suitable legal form to use. You need to have one witness to your signature on the Deed Poll and then the document is kept as proof for any circumstances when you might need to use it.

If you use a lawyer or a specialist company you will find that the cost can vary quite considerably.

It is worth noting that when applying for a UK passport you will need to have a Deed Poll confirming your change of name.

Statutory Declaration

A statutory declaration is a legal declaration that records your intention to stop using your old name and adopt a new one and is acceptable as evidence of your name change for most purposes, but not for passport applications!

You can make a statutory declaration before a Commissioner for Oaths or a solicitor.

Perhaps the simplest and possibly the best type of evidence of a name change is by having it noted in a Deed Poll. If you never plan to get a passport you might do without though.