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Mom's name incorrectly spelt on kids' birth certificates

Margarette MACAULAY

Monday, April 05, 2021


Dear Mrs Macaulay,
I am writing from Brooklyn, New York, and I have been discussing with my mom who resides in Jamaica that I would like to file for her and my siblings.

She then told me that her name was incorrectly spelt on all four of mine and my siblings' birth certificates. I honestly never realised this error. I am the last child and I am in my 30s and the oldest child is 52 years old. Please offer me guidance. Changing mine and my siblings' birth certificates is a major stretch and we hope there are other alternatives.

My mother currently possesses a US visa in her correct name. Please help me.

This is an astonishing situation. If I understand what your mother told you, it is that she knew that her name had been incorrectly spelt on all her children's birth certificates and that this started occurring from the registration of her eldest child's birth. Though she knew this, she did not have the error corrected, but rather permitted it to occur again in the birth records and certificates of each of her other children. You go further to say that you only discovered this fact when you decided that as you are established in the USA, you wished to file for her and your siblings to join you.

I understand that you have gone through the processes of your visa and residence and citizenship applications, using your birth certificate as is, with your mother's incorrect name thereon.

I am not an expert about US visa applications and I am not attempting to question what you would need for the filing you wish to do for your siblings and your mother. It however seems to me that a problem would only arise in the filing for your mother as her name on her birth certificate is different from the entry of the “mother's name” on yours. If you file for her and all your siblings together, then of course it would be clear that some explanation about your mother's different name would be necessary. This is indeed a mess and I fail to understand how she could have left this error to remain uncorrected for so long for all her children while she herself was alright.

Yes, it would be quite a “major stretch”, as you describe it, for you all to seek to have your mother's name corrected in your respective birth records and certificates. There is only one alternative, but you would have to ascertain whether this would satisfy the requirement of US immigration law by using the process I am about to suggest to you. This is a change of name by deed poll. You can have this done quite quickly by a lawyer here, and after it is executed, before a notary public. By this process, the names would legally be as stated in the deed poll.

I would also suggest that, at the same time, you have the lawyer prepare an affidavit and a statutory declaration for your mother detailing the facts as they occurred, how her name was recorded incorrectly in all your birth records and certificates, and that due to inadvertence they remained unchanged as no steps were taken by her to correct the error, and that her children were not aware of this fact until the date that she informed you. I suggest this also, as a change of name by deed poll may not be sufficient for certain processes, especially for immigration purposes, which is why you must check with them first. If this will not satisfy them, then you all will have to go through the “major stretch”, by having the error rectified by the Registrar General's Department.

I hope I have been of some assistance to you and wish your family all the very best and a happy and united future.

I take this opportunity to wish everyone a holy, safe and COVID-free Easter weekend and Easter week, and then also into the future with our faithful adherence to strict precautions.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.