Summary: After five years of deliberation, I have finally decided to change my name from Jeremy Baker Hubert to Jeremy Hubert Baker. Tara is so awesome that she will be taking the Baker last name as well. :)
Some history of my father and the Hubert name
As a few people know, my dad was adopted and was raised by the Hubert family in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He was given the name Stephen Fitch Hubert by his adopted family. He spent years of his life trying to track down his birth parents with no luck, however, after he was diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease the US Government finally released their names. It turns out, his birth name was Stephen Mark Gray. He changed his name in an attempt to reconnect with his birth name, and when he passed away he was legally known as Stephen Mark Grey. (Yes, he misspelled it)
In the middle of all that was his life and during that time, among other things, he managed to get married and have two children. My mom, being the wonderfully independant woman she is, kept her maiden name. He stuck around for about 6 years, but after he left I was the only Hubert guy in the area.
Although I met Mrs Hubert a few times and she was very kind to my mother, she passed away when I was young. Mr Hubert had died of polio before I was even born so I never had much connection with him. The only real connection to the Hubert family now lies in my uncle, Larry Hubert, who is a wonderful man and lives in Maryland. I see him every now and then, but really not often enough.
Some history about the Baker family
All of my life, I have been Nancy Baker’s son. She did a fantastic job of raising my sister and me and has shown a tremendous amount of strength and integrity. Further down the line, Bert Baker is my grandfather and Jackie Baker was my grandmother. I have a direct connection to the Baker family and I am proud of their heritage and history. My grandfather has worked hard all of his life, and has done an amazing job of providing for his family. His father was a Sea Captain and another hard worker. The Baker lineage is strong and I am proud of their past and present… but what about their future?
There is only one male descendent of Bert and Jackie Baker with their last name. The rest of them are either women, or have the last name from the man my aunt married.
Why am I changing my name…
I want to carry on the name of my mother and my grandparents. I want my children to have their name and be able to look back on their last name with pride. I admit, having a name that’s easier to pronounce is appealing as well and, as Tara points out, our kids will be at the front of the line. :)
My mother seemed to feel the same way when she named me. Instead of giving me some typical middle name like Matthew, she stuck her last name in there as my middle name. It has always been rather strange for me, going through life with a last name sandwiched between two first names. (ie: Hubert Humphrey)
Thus, it makes the decision just a bit easier. Instead of drastic name change, I’m just going to flip my last and middle names to become Jeremy Hubert Baker.
Let the complications begin!
In the old days (pre internet), changing your name was relatively easy. You could literally just start going by a new name and that was the end of it. Perhaps you would have to file some paperwork at the Bank so that they would recognize cheques made out to you.
That definitely isn’t the case anymore.
The process to change your name is now a legal one that takes more than three months and costs a few hundred dollars. As if to demonstrate how dated and surreal the whole thing is, you even have to put an ad in the local paper letting everyone know that you will be changing your name; as if ANYONE that knows me reads the local San Francisco newspaper.
And there there is the internet!
These days usernames, email addresses, domain names, and other identifiers really complicate things. In my case, I have been on the internet since about 1995 getting emails, building websites, joining networks and developing a brand. I take up 9 of the 10 Google results for the name Jeremy Hubert. I am jhubert at gmail and jhubert on pretty much every social network out there. I have the jeremyhubert Yahoo! IM address and own JeremyHubert.com and jhubert.com. I was early to this whole internet thing and got a headstart. Now I want to change.
15 years into the world wide web, I’m now a late bloomer. jbaker everything is taken. jeremybaker everything is taken. There are a *few* jeremyhbakers left. I suppose I have to hope for an overhaul of the internet in order to get that all sorted out. :p
What about my lovely wife?
Well before the wedding, I had told her my dilemma and she was happy to take whatever name I chose. However, as the wedding got closer and I still hadn’t made up my mind, we had to put something on the invitations. Because of the timeframe required to change your name, I made the call and settled on Hubert. On September 4th, Tara Lynn Purtle became Tara Lynn Hubert. At least on the wedding certificate.
Being the loving wife she is, she has agreed to go along with my craziness and to change her name at the same time as me so that we will both be Bakers. Personally, I think Tara Baker is a pretty cute name for her, so I’m excited about that.
We have also joked about her just becoming “Tara” and dropping the last name all together, a la Madonna or Cher.
I will be taking notes as I try to transition over from Jeremy Hubert to Jeremy Baker. It is going to take a LONG time, I’m sure. I may keep Jeremy Hubert as my online presence and just use Jeremy Baker in everything formal and every day life.
Whichever one, don’t worry. I’m not going to get mad if you call me Jeremy Hubert. I’m not going to correct you or ignore you until you say the “right” name.
After all, a rose by any other name?