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, some states may have minimal restrictions 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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