"Rob Weisskirch asked about a name change >from Max CHARCHIRIN to Max
FISHKIN indicated on his naturalization papers, and whether that's
all that was required for a change of name vs. the formal process
Any US citizen can change names informally at any time, provided that
it is not for purposes of fraud. A court order is not required.
My father and his two brothers changed their last name >from SLONIMSKY
to SLOAN in the late 1930's or early 1940's. They never went to court
to make it "legal," but it was legal anyway. My father enlisted in
the Army in the early 1940's under the name SLOAN, while one of my
uncles used SLONIMSKY. Therefore, their cemetery plaques
have SLOAN for dad and SLONIMSKY for my uncle.
My father's first name was also changed informally. He was named
Louis on his birth certificate in 1917, but by the 1920 census he is
called Lawrence. I only knew him as Larry and Larry is the name on
the cemetery plaque as well.