Parker/Palmer Name Change
How do I find name change records? Or why an entire family would change their name?
Sometime between 1910 and 1919 my great-great-grandfather George R.D. Parker changed his name to Wilbur Ardennis Palmer; his wife Emma and children only changing their last name to Palmer. George and Emma were married in Buchanan, Iowa - 1891 and moved to Minnesota.
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
In some countries it is probably not a legal requirement to register a change of name, or would not have been in the past. So there will probably be no "name change records" to consult.
On the reasons for changing a name (especially with the example of your g-g-grandfather), without any story passed down through the generations one person's guess would be as good as another's.
In the case of a BUGG family who appear in my family tree, one can perhaps understand why one branch changed this to BUDD (on immigration to the US). But the definition of "Palmer" appears to have given no reason to change it to PARKER. I couldn't find anything for "Ardennis" in a Google search - the closest name being (the French region of the) "Ardennes".
Unless there is an unlikely instance of old family paperwork suddenly turning-up and providing some insight, I think this will have to remain one of those family mysteries we all occasionally encounter.1
Áine Ní Donnghaile ✭✭✭✭✭
In some locations, you may find court records of the name change. In some, you will find newspaper announcement - generally for 4 consecutive weeks - of the planned change, in the legal notices section of the local paper.
I'm currently working to find the legal change in one of my families. I know it happened because a priest made a margin note on a marriage that he had been shown the legal document confirming the name change. FamilySearch has microfilmed and digitized the name change records for the location where my family lived, and I'm patiently going through them page by page.
Judy Russell, one of the best presenters on genealogy matters, has an upcoming free webinar on name changes you might find interesting. What’s in a Name: Name Changes and the Law:
Edit to add some examples from the FS Catalog for Iowa:2
where did you find that? I would need the one for Minnesota.0