What’s In A Name?

Not wanting this site to be about me I reluctantly write the following explanation of how having two families created my daughter Holly’s two surnames and also mine.

My daughter Holly’s birth name is Holly Marie Gillis Gearin. It is also her legal name.

Holly = We like the name

Marie = After my adoptive mother who raised me.

Gillis = After her biological family lineage.

Gearin = After her father’s (me) legally adoptive surname.

Knowing that my daughter was legally given this name, I for years have though about how best to describe myself in a way that connects both my families. Though my legal name is Shawn Lawrence Gearin my original birth certificate shows Malcolm Adrian Gillis. My birth father has the same name.

I have thought about amending or updating my name legally to reflect how I see myself, but have decided against it. Besides the obvious of having to pay for the change, it makes no difference to me whether the State recognizes this change. I am Shawn L Gearin in the world of bills and bank statements, but Shawn Lawrence Gillis Gearin in the world of genealogy and who ever else cares to know. I believe the work I have done in genealogy will long outlast any state information and it is here I pull the two families together as one. Not in a legal document, but in my daughter and myself.

So my name:

Shawn = Because my Mother liked the name.

Lawrence = After my adoptive father Lawrence J Gearin, but also after my adoptive G-Grandfather Lawrence Francis Gaffney.

Gillis = Due to the fact that I am biologically 1/2 a Gillis – 1/2 a MacNeil.

Gearin = My legal adoptive name, but also how I was raised as.

Twice the names, twice the genealogy, but not twice the time to sort it all out. What will my epitaph say?

Thanks for listening,

Shawn Lawrence Gillis Gearin

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