The Evolution of My Name

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Most people take their current name for granted. These same people have probably never had their name changed. Many probably have assumed the same about my name: Kim Jason Joseph Benoit Siever. After all, if I, the holder of my name, can assume it, why shouldn’t others?

In reality, it’s not the case. While I may go by that name, legally it’s not my name. In fact, the earliest documentation I have of this name being recorded was when I was ordained an elder a month before my mission.

I first realised something was odd when I received my birth certificate in 1987 and saw that not only was “Benoit” not on it, but the other two middle names were in the other’s place.

Recently, I’ve been reviewing old documents and discovered that my name has gone through quite the roller coaster ride. Come share the ride.

Baby Book Entry

That’s the inside front page of my baby book and it reads “Kim, Joe, Jason, Ben”. I am not sure of the date it was written, but it possible predates my baptism certificate (dated five days after my birth). If so, it is the earliest documentation I have for my name. The roller coaster starts there.

Catholic Baptism Certificate

That’s from my Catholic baptism certificate. The baptism took place five days after I was born. Here my name is “Kim Joseph Jason Ben Siever”.

Birth Certificate

Here’s my birth certificate. It’s based on my baptismal certificate, and now every other legal identification is based off it. It reads “Kim Joseph Jason Siever”. For whatever reason, “Ben” was not included. My birth was registered the day after the baptism.

Blessing Certificate

When I was five, my parents joined the Mormon church. I was blessed in the church nine months later. This is my blessing certificate and here my name is “Kim Jason Joseph Ben Siever”. This may be the first occurrence when “Jason” is put at the front, a precursor to my current name.

Deacon Ordination Certificate

Within seven years, I took the last name of my step-father (who for all intents and purposes I consider my dad). I don’t recall when I started going by “Haysom”, but I believe I was around eight. Anyhow, that’s my deacon ordination certificate. I’m not sure where the “Benjamin” came from, but it’s the only occurrence I’ve seen of it.

Deacon Ordination Certificate

Here’s my priest ordination certificate, where I am listed as “Kim Jason Joseph Ben Siever”. By the time I was sixteen, I needed to get a job. I couldn’t get a social insurance number under Haysom, since it was never legally changed. I started going by Siever again.

Elder Ordination Certificate

This is my certificate for when I was ordained an elder. I received it in October 1992, a month before my misison. It was the earliest official occurrence I have found where my name is as I use it now.

There you go. The roller coaster that is now my name. Legally, my name is Kim Joseph Jason Siever. That’s what’s on my birth certificate, my SIN, my driver’s license and so forth. Sometimes I bug Mary that we’re not even legally married since the name on our marriage certificate is different from that on my birth certificate.

19 thoughts on “The Evolution of My Name

  1. Interesting history! My given name was pretty boring–no middle name at all.

    My husband’s maternal grandfather’s family were originally from Canada (then moved to Rhode Island), and I know I’ve seen Benoit and Cloutier among his family names.

  2. What’s with the five billion names? :)

    When my 15 year old niece came to live with us I had to get a copy of her birth certificate and we discovered her middle name was different that she thought it was. She wasn’t happy.

  3. Okay, so I missed something. How did “Ben” become “Benoit”? What a fascinating story! My son has two middle names, and he goes by a derivative of his first given name, so he’ll have some complexity to deal with, too. Have you ever spoken to your parents about why they were so inconsistent on records?

    On a related note, one of my sisters decided in elementary school that she wanted the middle name “Elizabeth” (may parents didn’t give her a middle name), and began adding it to her standardized tests at school. It caused some real confusion down the line!

  4. Good question, Rosalynde. One I have asked myself often. I have my theories, but I’ll wait to see if my mum (who is a poster on Our Thoughts) responds.

  5. lol funny how I usually read this site a couple of times a day but this week have been slack as I have been busy working on my genealogy AND trying to fix MY name. I just faxed off to the government 11 different documentations that try and prove I am who I say I am. I have no idea why some paperwork turn out the way they do. I can only assume that somewhere along the way there isn’t enough room on a line or on a typed entry and people automatically shorten names.

    My real name is Solange Estelle Marie Alice and maiden name Cloutier. I grew up like that.. the only name I knew. When I first got married or about to be married I got tired of explaining how to pronounce my name to non French people and someone gave me the name Sally and it stuck. My ex hubby refused to allow me to speak French around him and refused to acknowledge my real name. After we divorced I kept that last name as it was the same as my children.

    Then I remarried. My regular marraige certificate from the courts state Sally Estelle Siever but my temple marriage certificate states Solange Estelle Cloutier. My Drivers and SIN state Sally Estelle Siever then when I changed it when I got remarried it remained Sally Estelle Haysom.

    At no time was my name legally changed from Solange to Sally. It was just a form at ICBC or SGI and for my SIN and no one ever said they could not change it without a legal name change. Their error.

    3 years ago I had to apply for disability and they refused to accept me as my birth certificate name did not match anything else I had. Even my baptismal certificate (Catholic) did not match my birth certificate. I had to get my mother to drive to my hometown church rectory office where I had been baptized at birth and have her get a copy of my baptismal certificate, then go to a lawyer’s office, get it notarized that she was my mother and this was my baptismal certificate.

    They finally accepted it as face value ONLY after I went to a lawyer’s here and wrote out all my name variations:
    Solange Estelle Marie Alice Cloutier
    Marie Alice Estelle Solange Cloutier
    Sally Estelle Siever
    Sally Estelle Cloutier
    Solange Estelle Haysom
    Sally Estelle Haysom
    were all one and the same. I thought I was through with all of it.

    But alas the saga continues. I have tried to apply for a passport so that we can fly to Europe for our 25th anniversary/my 50th birthday next fall and they refuse because of the same old same old… that my ID does not match. I contacted the birth registry office in Regina Sask when I was born to see if they could please once and for all change the birth certificate to the order in which it is SUPPOSED to be according to my mother
    Solange Estelle Marie Alice Cloutier.

    They will do it for a legal name change for $135.00 unless I can prove that is the order in which I used it before I turned 14!! ARGGGGG. That was today’s activities. What child under the age of 14 in the 1960’s living in a tiny town of about 400 people would have any ID in the first place that they could use??? I tried to explain to them I don’t want to LEGALLY CHANGE my name… I want to keep my name I want it in the order that it is supposed to.

    So now I faxed them every thing I possibly could get my hands on to see if they will accept it. If they do then I have the wonderful chore of changing every other piece of ID I own to reflect the same name. I will no longer be able to go by Sally but by my given name. Finally after 30 years of being together when my husband now gets upset with me and says SOLANGE ESTELLE MARIE ALICE HAYSOM.. I can sweetly say that’s my name don’t wear it out… just like when I was 12 lol.

    So Kim just think you are just barely over 30. You have another 20 years of playing catch up with your name. If anyone asks me you full REAL name is:
    Kim Jason Joseph Benoit

    When you were born I was barely 17 years old married to a man that refused to acknowledge my french heritage. I can only state that in my naive ignorance of trying to play nice in a new marriage that I probably let your name go as Ben and not Benoit and he would have insisted that when anyone asked your middle name was ONLY Joseph after him.

    I can only shake my head and say I am sorry. As I told Memere last month… what we so readily tried to run away from when we were teenagers (our heritage) we find ourselves running back to.

    Now where Benjamin came from you got me there!! YOu will have to track down the ward clerk from that ward… It never came from me

  6. Ha, I was not given a middle name at birth, and also raised by a stepfather. When I turned 18 and no longer needed my birth father’s consent I had my last name legally changed to my stepfather’s and made my first name my middle with a new first name, (since I too felt left out for not having a middle name). I still went by my original first name, the full name just sounded better in that order.

    After a few years I learned that going by your middle name is a nuisance, so I went back and had my first and middle name switched around, thereby makng my first name the same as the original first name.

    The only problem was this latest change occured after I got married and took on my husband’s last name. On the legal name change form I used my maiden name so that I could also ammend my U.S. birth certificate, and because one needs only to present a marriage certificate at any time to use their husband’s last name at any time.

    Since I was born in the U.S. I had to get my Canadian citizenship updated (I hadn’t done it since I was 5 years old). An officer in the citizenship office refused to change my name on the citizenship card without also making it have my maiden name(since that was the name on the change form). She refused to use the marriage certificate to allow my married name on the document since my most recent name change was after the marriage and reflected the maiden name. After fighting with her for weeks she finally consulted a superior in Ottawa only to learn that she was wrong and one can use their maiden or married name interchangeably whenever they please.

    Meanwhile, I still haven’t gotten my U.S. birth certificate ammended because it requires a U.S. court order (the Albera legal certificate won’t be honored). But I can get a passport as long as I show all the legal documents leading up to my current name. What a pain!

    Also, my husband found out when he tried to get a passport for his mission that his middle name was spelled wrong on his large expanded birth certificate (even though it was correct on his pocket sized certificate). Apparently there wasn’t much time to get the problem fixed and it was faster to just accept the mispelled version, so to this day his middle name is spelled wrong on ALL his documents.

  7. While serving in the Canada Montreal Mission 1987-1988, I learned that the French Canadians typically had five or so given names. I’ve wondered whether that tradition has spread to the English Canadians. Based on your history, I’m guessing it has somewhat.

    I also remember some members of my branch having a baby and trying to choose between two names for their girl. I don’t remember what the names were, but let’s suppose they were Manon and Giselle. When I suggested naming her both–“Manon Giselle,” the members interpreted me as meaning that they should give her a composed (hyphenated) name of Manon-Giselle, which they rejected because it wasn’t one of the traditionally hyphenated names (such as Marie-so and so). They didn’t understand that I meant using the second name as a middle name because there was no tradition of middle names among these Quebecois. I found it surprising that this could be so, while at the same time, most of them had come from Catholic homes where they received long strings of names.

  8. Actually, I am French Canadian. or rather my mum is. My biological father (while in possession of some French Canadian heritage) diluted that when I was born, what with his German and Dutch and Czech and English and so on.

    My mum has some Cree and Scottish, but she brushes them aside while she embraces the predominate French aspect of her heritage (after all, she only ever spoke French until she was seven years old).

    So, while the tradition may have spread to English Canadians, don’t use my case as a basis for it. My names are a result of my French Canadian background.

  9. ongoing saga of the names… just got a call from Sask Birth Registry office and they will not change my name to the proper order. They have to keep it as Marie Estelle Alice Solange. Then she says that’s ok your mom’s name is Marie Bernadette Pauline and your dad’s name is Joseph Arthur Roland but they go by Pauline Bernadette and Roland Arthur and I said that is because that is their names and they don’t have Marie or Joseph in their names and she said oh yes they do on their baptismal certificates it is on there and if some government office decides to make them change it they would… oh the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive the catholic nuns!!!!!!!!

    I should call my mother tonight and say hey mom guess what I found out today??? You have a crooked name too!!!But I can’t.. I will be at the genealogical library doing name changes!!!!!!!!!!

  10. hey that is what I thought!!! we never told any ward clerks that did all those certificates of yours that any of those names were your legal names!!

  11. Wow, that’s certainly a long name and interesting evolution. That’s great you discovered all of that. Makes me want to see if my name has changed at all since birth…

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