Last Names

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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Last Names

Postby reboot365 » 01 Feb 2012, 00:24

I have a question about the importance of having the same last name. I'm waiting on a copy of my grandmother's birth certificate. I am anticipating that her last name on her birth certificate will be Williams, and that her father's name will be listed as Frank Williams. However, Frank Williams was never an official name change - it's really Francesco Guglielmi. Yet he used Frank Williams on all of his US documents (barring his naturalization record, where he used his Italian name thankfully). I've been going through and changing his US records to his Italian name. However, if I change his name on my grandmother's BC, will the consulate (NYC) hold it against me if his child has a different last name than him? I'm pretty positive my grandmother has always been legally Williams, and I know for a fact that she will not want to change it to Guglielmi (plus every record with her name on it says Williams).

My thoughts are that parents can name their children whatever they want, last name included, so it shouldn't be a problem if he is clearly stated as the parent. Thoughts?
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Re: Last Names

Postby kontessa » 01 Feb 2012, 09:25

Is your GM in your direct line? If not, then don't worry about it. If so, then given the fact that you will be applying in NYC, you may have a problem. Have you done any reading on what others have posted about their experiences applying in NYC? They are one of the more difficult consulates to deal with, and seem especially picky with last names.

Not having record of a legal name change and the fact that it wasn't documented as a change in naturalization papers complicates the matter as well. (BTW, it would have been better had the name Frank Williams been used on the naturalization paperwork.) However, it sounds like you've been making headway anyway changing a number of the stateside documents back to his original Italian name. IMHO, it's always best to correct as many errors as you can.

Is it possible for you or your GM to try and include an AKA on her birth record? I don't know much about doing this but have read it as a suggestion posed to others in a similar situation. What about changing her father's name on her birth record, will you follow through with that as well?

Another possible solution is some sort of legal statement - maybe an official declaration from your GM that she makes in front of a judge, or something similar to a finding of one and the same. Since she's still living, if might make the process a bit easier.

Last, try posting your dilemma on italiancitizenship.freeforums.com - they get a lot of traffic, and the advice is sound. Good luck.
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Re: Last Names

Postby KarenChristino » 01 Feb 2012, 21:11

I have a similar issue in that all of my GGF's documents have Italian spelling of last name Cristino, and my GF and the rest of us have American spelling Christino. I corrected my GF's D.C. to add his father's last name with Italian spelling. I'm hoping you are right and I also feel that they really shouldn't object to it since it's on the certificate. But if your GM agrees, the a/k/a would probably be a safer bet.
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Re: Last Names

Postby kontessa » 02 Feb 2012, 10:05

KarenChristino wrote:I have a similar issue in that all of my GGF's documents have Italian spelling of last name Cristino, and my GF and the rest of us have American spelling Christino. I corrected my GF's D.C. to add his father's last name with Italian spelling. I'm hoping you are right and I also feel that they really shouldn't object to it since it's on the certificate. But if your GM agrees, the a/k/a would probably be a safer bet.


All in all, it's up to the consulate to decide. I think that the mistakes in your family surname - Cristino to Christino - are not that serious and they might not be objectionable at any consulate other than NYC. If you read the actual requirements for applying for citizenship jure sanguinis, it mentions that grave mistakes in names must be amended. NYC has changed the definition of 'grave' to 'any'!

The OP's case appears to be a bit more complicated.
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Re: Last Names

Postby KarenChristino » 02 Feb 2012, 18:49

Yes. And "grave" to "any" is certainly a big leap!
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Re: Last Names

Postby jennabet » 02 Feb 2012, 19:23

My sig. other recently recognized by San Francisco consulate had a similar concern with his mother's name (most definitely direct line) and it was not a problem at all. Both she and her father used the English translation of Perry, which was originally Perri in Italy. Again, not a problem.
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Re: Last Names

Postby jennabet » 02 Feb 2012, 19:31

Since you will NEVER find the name "Cristino" (or any variation thereof such as Cristian, Cristianello, Cristo, etc.) in Italy spelled with the letter "h" inserted, you do NOT have a problem and I wouldn't change anything.
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Re: Last Names

Postby kontessa » 02 Feb 2012, 20:35

jennabet wrote:Since you will NEVER find the name "Cristino" (or any variation thereof such as Cristian, Cristianello, Cristo, etc.) in Italy spelled with the letter "h" inserted, you do NOT have a problem and I wouldn't change anything.


With all due respect, just because a certain letter doesn't exist in the Italian alphabet doesn't necessarily mean that a consulate won't require an amendment to a misspelled name...especially the consulate in NYC.
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Re: Last Names

Postby mler » 02 Feb 2012, 21:29

That's true, especially in NY. Also, although there are several letters that do not appear in the Italian language, they are still occasionally seen in Italy--for example: the soccer club Juventis. One of my maternal family names also has a J, both in the US and in Italy, perhaps a Legacy from Roman times.
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Re: Last Names

Postby jennabet » 03 Feb 2012, 11:15

If the other documents prove without a doubt that the person is who she says she is, I wouldn't bother changing anything in this case.
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Re: Last Names

Postby reboot365 » 03 Feb 2012, 15:10

jennabet wrote:If the other documents prove without a doubt that the person is who she says she is, I wouldn't bother changing anything in this case.


First thing: Yes, my GM is in my direct line. And jennabet, what do you mean about the other documents? The other documents with my GM on them (her MC, my dad's BC and MC) are all consistent, but the problem is that I need to establish that her father was Italian. And right now it says "Frank Williams", who never legally existed as such. I think I'm going to change his name and leave hers and cross my fingers.
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Re: Last Names

Postby jennabet » 03 Feb 2012, 15:41

Her father was born in Italy. His name was Francesco Perri. When he arrived in the USA, he started using Frank Perry. This was not a problem because it's not a different name. It's just the English translation. Your situation is the same. It should not be a problem.
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Re: Last Names

Postby reboot365 » 03 Feb 2012, 17:16

Ah, I see what you mean jennabet. But now I have another problem - if I were to leave it, I just changed his death certificate to Francesco Guglielmi. I'm applying at the NYC consulate - do you think this would be an issue?
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Re: Last Names

Postby jennabet » 03 Feb 2012, 17:28

You probably didn't need to change the death certificate, as death certificates arn't that important anyway. I don't know what to tell you other than with all the changes people are making because they think they have to satisfy the NY consulate, it surely must be bringing additional revenue to the city and state. Personally, I think Italian-Americans have paid enough to the cities and states as is.
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Re: Last Names

Postby kontessa » 03 Feb 2012, 20:30

It's best to read about what others have experienced that have already applied in NYC. We may all offer an opinion, and try to use logic to follow a particular blood line, but essentially it will be the consulate in NYC that has the final say about what must be amended. Keep in mind that what may pass at SF or Philly, may NOT go unnoticed in NYC. Hopefully, you are successful and have minimal problems. However, don't mistake an applicant's experience applying in SF with an experience applying in NYC. Best of luck to you!
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