Birth Name Rules

Birth Certificate Naming Rules

Did you know that there are some rules and restrictions when it comes to naming your child – at least with regards to the birth certificate? Yes, whether you are welcoming a new bundle of joy into your life or are simply planning for your future child’s name, there are some birth certificate naming rules you should know. That’s right, there are legal and illegal birth names. These birth name rules may differ by state and in fact, some states may have no rules at all. However, it will pay off in the long run to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. No one wants to find out that their precious little one can’t have their birth name the day they are born!


It may come as no surprise that names of people who have committed atrocities throughout history, such as Adolf Hitler, are often found on the list of banned baby names in many states. Religious figures, derogatory terms, or obscene phrases are commonly found on the banned birth name list as well. Besides offensive names, you’ll also find special characters, foreign characters, numbers, diacritical marks, trademarks, hyphens, asterisks, or apostrophes are commonly banned from birth names. Here is a list of names that are examples of the above common restrictions:


  • Barry 3
  • Zoë
  • T!m
  • André
  • Messiah
  • Jesus Christ
  • Aña
  • Kelly’s
  • Nutella
  • @
  • Αδράστεια


Names like Zoë, André and Aña are popular names, so it should be noted that these names are ok without the special characters!

Some states have restrictions on the number of characters in the name length or how a child is given a surname, and they often require at least two names on a birth certificate. For example, in Massachusetts a child’s first, last, and middle name must not be more than 40 characters in length. In Hawaii, a child must have both a family name and a given name chosen by a parent.  In Louisiana, a child must have the surname of the father if the couple is married, though if both parents agree, the child may take the maiden name of the mother. Meanwhile, in Delaware, Montana, and Maryland, you basically have complete control over what and how you name your child. Want to learn more about the birth name laws and banned baby names in your state? You can contact your city or town hall to learn more about the rules and regulations you may face.


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  1. Hello. Please I need to access my files so that I can
    fight to have my children back now. The adopted family
    that I was adopted by was Janet and Orlando XXXXXX they
    said they didn’t want to give me my files because
    they abused me emotional and physical now I
    really need your help and once a child reaches 18, they should be
    entitled to it but nobody give me them so can you help me?

    1. Hello Susan. We suggest you contact the vital records agency in the area where you were born to find out what steps you need to take to get a certified copy of your birth certificate.

  2. I have sole custody of my grandson he’s my son’s son his younger brother lives with me too he had his father’s name the oldest wants his dad’s name not his mom’s Madin name he’s 12 and you know how tough it can be I have his paternaty papers and proof of custody and was told at heath deptlll

    1. Hello Lugena. Each state has different requirements for amending a birth certificate. You may want to contact the vital records agency that issued your grandson’s birth certificate originally to determine if it is possible for you to change his name on the certificate. It is possible it will have to be handled through the courts. We wish you luck in this endeavor.

  3. Hellos Arsenio. So we can assist you, please contact us with your questions by phone at 800-255-2414, by email at or by private message on our VitalChek Facebook page. Please include your order number but not the pin number.

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