Why I changed my name

Justin {Lilly,Abrahms}

I got married, my wife and I chose to change our names. My new name is Justin Abrahms. As I expect there will be several people who have questions mostly around the question of "Why?". So..


I've been sort of interested in changing my name conceptually. I have a fascination with weird polish names like Poliskiewicz (Po-lis-ko-witz), Kowalski (Ko-wal-ski), or my good friend Andrew's last name. I've joked with Tracy for years that we would change our names when we eventually got married. When the time came, we started really exploring the name thing. She asked "Well, what about my name, Hinds?". Pffft. I just couldn't even entertain the idea. Then it hit me: If I find it preposterous to take my wife's name, why would I ask her to take my name?

Why Abrahms?

Tracy and I have been exploring the Jewish faith. As part of it, we've come across this story of "Lech l'cha" roughly translated as "Go!". Its first words are:

Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.


It describes the story of Abraham leaving that which was familiar to him. He did it seeking out something better, though he really didn't know what.

What's the process for changing your name?

As we got married, the question was up in the air. Based on my research, we knew that I would need to appear in court as men changing their name was not traditional. You usually need to stand before a judge and say "No, I'm not avoiding any debts or anyone that's looking for me."

There was a recent trial in SC which allows you to change your name as a man at the time of marriage. The precedent was for a man who changed his name to his wife's name. On the advice of Tracy's mother, a lawyer, we elected not to change our names at the time of marriage. There wasn't a strong precedent in changing your name to something new entirely in South Carolina (where we were married), and, moving back to Oregon, we didn't know if we'd run into our marriage not being seen as valid or something equally weird. Turns out, precedent is what actually matters.

As it stands, we still have our original legal names. I'm at least going to go by my adopted name after we get back from the Honeymoon. I'll persue a legal name change when I get back into Oregon.

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