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To ask how to prove that I’m of Irish descent?

32 replies

Thehop · 13/12/2019 17:41

Apologies if I’m unreasonable asking on here but I’ve drawn a dead end with where else it could go.

I’ve been trying to be added to the Irish register of foreign births for some time. My fathers parents were both born in Ireland.

My father is now deceased.

The problem is my dad changed his surname. He was born with his family name “Jones” and changed it to my mothers name “Smith” before I was born. (They were unmarried then and she refused to give me his name so he had to take hers) they subsequently married.

This now leaves me with the man on my birth certificate not being the same name as the son of my grandparents and I’m at a loss how to prove that they are one and the same.

Can I please ask if anyone has any ideas, please?

I’m 40. I have half siblings (from my fathers first marriage) that are happy to help if they can. My mother won’t help at all, we have little contact and she doesn’t like me much. Thank you so much I’m advance.

OP posts:

Marleyisme · 13/12/2019 17:42

So he didnt legally change his name?


Thehop · 13/12/2019 17:44

I have no idea. I’ve googled and googled but don’t know how to find out if he did.

I always assumed so, as he had bank accounts and a business and a whole life in that name my whole life up to him dying.

OP posts:

Rottnest · 13/12/2019 17:46

Since you have half siblings willing to help, could you undero DNA testing.
Maybe sonsult yyour GP or try for testing.
Good luck
Sorry about the colour, can't get rid of it


Seeingadistance · 13/12/2019 17:46

I’m in Scotland, so system in Ireland may be different. Are your father’s parents not named on all his certificates - birth, marriage and death?

Are there any census records?


CalmFizz · 13/12/2019 17:48

Hmm, that’s probably quite an unusual situation you’re in.

It’s perfectly legal to change your name, providing you aren’t doing so for fraudulent purposes. The trouble is how you link the two names together. When was your dad born? A national insurance number perhaps?


Streamside · 13/12/2019 17:49

Do you want an Irish passport, why's it so significant to you?


Thehop · 13/12/2019 18:01

@Rottnest that’s a good idea. I hadn’t thought of that thank you. I got one of those tests for my birthday last week so fingers crossed that helps!

@Seeingadistance yes they’re named on his certificates and I can get copies of all those. It’s linking dad smith and sad Jones that’s the hiccup.

@CalmFizz It is indeed. He was born in 1943. Would he have had one do you think?

@Streamside yes, I would like one. We would also consider settling there.

OP posts:

stellarparallax · 13/12/2019 18:03

What does it say on your parents’ wedding certificate? I mean, is he shown on that as having the same name as your mother? if so, he must have had to show some kind of documentation to show that he was the same person as shown on his birth certificate. Can you contact the church or registry office they married at?

Also, you might do better to ask this kind of question on a genealogy site like Ancestry or Findmypast.

Good luck. I’m so pleased I got an Irish passport.


Seeingadistance · 13/12/2019 18:05

If you have all the certificates, with his date of birth and parents’ names, then does that information not show the link between Jones and Smith? If he’s recorded with one name, then the other name on those?


stellarparallax · 13/12/2019 18:06

Also, it may be worth calling the Office o f Foreign Affairs or whatever they’re called, and explaining your situation to them and asking their advice. I’m not sure they’d accept a DNA test, but it’s definitely worth asking.


SwedishEdith · 13/12/2019 18:09

What does his death certificate say about age? Can't remember if includes dob.


stellarparallax · 13/12/2019 18:11

Also, could his will be any help? Sometimes they say things like, I, Paul Smith, formerly known as Paul Jones... and useful things like, to my daughter, Thehop, I leave...


steff13 · 13/12/2019 18:17

My Ancestry DNA test shows what my heritage is, i.e., 50% England, 5% Ireland. I don't know if they would accept something like that, though.


JacobReesClunge · 13/12/2019 18:28

There are Irish citizenship lawyers. They may know what would be accepted.


ArnoldBee · 13/12/2019 18:32

Your parents marriage certificate hopefully has his dads name on it.


Smilethoyourheartisbreaking · 13/12/2019 18:37

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IWorkAtTheCheesecakeFactory · 13/12/2019 18:40

If he changed his name won’t he have done it by deed poll? He should have some sort of certificate. Or there should be a record of it with deed poll?


VestaTilley · 13/12/2019 18:41

I'd have thought you just need all his and grandparent's certificates, plus his name change (deed poll?) certificate, if such a thing exists. Email the Irish embassy in London - they were incredibly helpful when I was pregnant and needed to be added quickly to the Foreign Birth's Register.


Coughsyrupsucks · 13/12/2019 18:41

If he changed it officially by Deedpoll in the U.K. it should have been announced here

If he didn’t and just did the 1960s thing of just calling himself something else, I’m not sure there is much you can do. You could ask the Irish Govt if they’d take DNA match from your half siblings on your paternal side, but not sure if they’ll do that or not?


ACouchOfOnesOwn · 13/12/2019 18:42

Does the marriage certificate not have his parents' names on it? I know my GF's do.


VestaTilley · 13/12/2019 18:42

@steff13 no, they're very clear in the criteria about what they accept as evidence. DNA is not it.


IWorkAtTheCheesecakeFactory · 13/12/2019 18:43


IWorkAtTheCheesecakeFactory · 13/12/2019 18:44

If he didn’t and just did the 1960s thing of just calling himself something else, I’m not sure there is much you can do.

If he did that then surely his passport, marriage cert and death certificate would all be in his original name.


runoutofnamechanges · 13/12/2019 18:46

What does it say on your full (long) birth certificate (the one that has parents' details)? There is a section for "also known as". My DC have my married name on the certificate but my maiden name in the "also known as" section (because ExH is a misogynistic cockwomble who refused to register them with my maiden name, the name that I actually use). You probably only have the short version as that is the one you are given for free when you register the birth. You can order the full version online.

You can also order a copy of your parents' marriage certificate, which will have your paternal grandfather's full name and one of your father's names, and your father's full birth certificate, which will have your grandparents' names.

If he changed his name by deed poll, it might be registered at the National Archives in Kew. The name change may also have been published in The Gazette, which you can search online.


Coughsyrupsucks · 13/12/2019 18:54

@iworkatthecheesecakefactory No necessarily. My Nan used to change her name like the wind from the 30s to the 60s. She never did it properly, there’s no trace on the deed poll lists of her.

She called herself ‘Mrs Smith’ for years whilst not actually being married to Mr Smith. Registered babies, voted, driving licence, passport etc.

Left Mr Smith, met official husband number 1 and married under her maiden name and became ‘Mrs Brown’

He died, she then ditched the Mrs Brown name and once again became Mrs Smith, no idea why?

Then met official husband number 2, and married him under the Mrs Smith moniker and became Mrs Jones.

I’m guessing that in those days names didn’t matter quite so much, so fewer checks were done? It was never ever her real name and no one seems to have questioned it.

She’s been fun to chase through the archives :)

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