Hi Liz, 15 years ago, I was told that I have a different biological father. My father recently passed away and I’m torn about the legality of the situation. My birth certificate has my step father’s name on it, but biologically, I have a different name and DNA. With my father’s death, it’s brought up questions about if I should change my name. Also, is there a way to get my father’s name changed on my birth certificate? I don’t want to offend the wonderful man who raised me, as he stepped up and acted as a role model and father to me for 34 years. But, for the ancestry records, I want things to be accurate. What do I do?

Colorado Springs, CO

Hi in Colorado Springs- thanks for asking. I can imagine this news was stunning for you. And I can really understand why you might be unsettled as you figure out a way to find yourself in all this reality.
First of all, you would have to investigate and find out about the legality of changing a name on a birth certificate. I am sure there is some way to do it when the circumstances are such as these. I understand your desire to clear things up for ancestry records, however I’m having a difficult time understanding why you would be contemplating changing your name right now? I wonder how the death of your biological father enticed you to think about changing the name you use and have gone by your whole life. I imagine this would most definitely present an issue for the man who raised you. There is every way to make sure your family records indicate ancestry facts, you can even think about adding an addendum and explaining this in the official ancestry records.
The truth is, we all respond differently to our own life road maps. There is no right or wrong to your answer here. What matters most is that you do what you feel will best serve you moving forward in your life. Yes, you should factor in those around you and those who will be impacted by any choice that you make, but the people who love you will support whatever it is that makes this situation settle inside you most easily.
I hope for peace and good living for you! Best- Liz

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