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Not your average name change

Not your average name change

Posted: 4 Jan 2008 3:45AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WRIGHT, MACCHIA
My great grandmother Elizabeth Macchia voluntarily changed her last name (to Wright) after her husband died in Manhattan, NYC circa 1935. She ran a bar & grill with documentation & also had passports in her new name. Do you know what would have been the protocol for changing one's name at this time? Would she have registered this somewhere, or had a court proceeding, or hired a lawyer??? Help!

Re: Not your average name change

Posted: 9 Jan 2008 8:20AM GMT
Classification: Query
It is not unusual to "Americanize" a name upon naturalization. Did she immigrate to the US? If so, look for her naturalization papers.

Name changes were fairly easy before Drivers Licenses and Social Security. Often there was no documentation or legal paperwork for the name change.

Rel@ively,
Patrice

Re: Not your average name change

Posted: 11 Jan 2008 1:10PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WRIGHT, MACCHIA, DONOHUE
Thanks for your reply. She was a DONOHUE upon entering the country from Ireland, married an Italian named MACCHIA who died in 1920 (she had 3 children by him). Then, at some point she became a WRIGHT with claims that she married the elusive "Mr. Robert Wright". There is no documentation of Mr. Wright and my family lore suggests that he did not exist. This oral family lore suggests that Macchia was not a nice man & the Italian connection was one she was not proud of. Elizabeth was very secretive and very independent. Her children all changed thier names to Wright as well & they opened a bar & grille called "Wright's Bar & Grille". Am wondering if there is anyplace that would have recorded an official name change. I have searched for a true marriage to Mr. Wright and have found nothing. Also, think its very bold for a widow to open a bar and grille on her own with teenage children in New York City in the 1930's. Any advice or angles you think I should pursue? Thanks!

Re: Not your average name change

Posted: 19 Aug 2011 11:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Just because you can't find a marriage certificate doesn't mean that the man didn't exist. It may mean that it was a common law marriage or it could mean that they went traveling and got married somewhere besides in the states. I have found a couple of Robert and Elizabeth Wrights. Without dates or locations of your relatives its impossible to say that they are or aren't the ones your looking for.

As you say, its very strange that a woman would open a bar and grill during that time.

Valerie Wixen Thruelsen
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