Change of Name
The Archives of Ontario Research Guide 229 “Finding Change of Name Records In Ontario” prior to 1939 there was no legal process to document a change of name through the courts. People were able to adopt any name providing there was no intention to defraud.
Individuals could file a deed poll at the County or District level as the public declaration so the new name would be recognized in the community. The deed poll was sworn before a judge but the courts were not required to keep an official record. The person who changed their name retained the copy. Some deed polls from across Ontario have been retained and are now in York Supreme Court matter files in Ontario Archive. There is an index covering 1850s-1946.
1939 – 1979 County/District Court matter records
Following the passing of the Change of Name Act judges held formal hearing into proposed name changes. No one could apply to change their name unless they ere 18 years of age and a British subject, (which included Canadians.) Married women could not initiate a name change and a married man could only change his name if he changed the name of all other members of his family, all of whom had to give their written consent if they were more than 14 year old. A notice about the proposed name change had to be published in a local newspaper.
1948 – Divorced and Deserted women could apply to resume their maiden name
1972 – citizenship required Ontario residence
Change of Name Act applications were required to list the applicant's surname, first name(s), address, date and place of birth, occupation, proposed name, and the reasons for the name change. The application also contained details of any criminal record and outstanding court judgments or debts.
- Check the local newspaper for the Change of Name notice for the date and name.
- If the Change of Name document is not found in the court record a copy of the order was filed with the Office of the Registrar General and can be obtained for a fee.
These records are held at the Office of the Registrar General:
Office of the Registrar General
P.O. Box 4600, 189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6L8
Tel: 1-800-461-2156 or (416) 325-8305