A while ago I was asked by somebody why I had changed my name. This person found me on Facebook after 13 or 14 years of no contact, despite the fact that my last name is different. I said that I would explain the name change, but I realized that it wasn’t so much of a simple answer. Really, in order to provide a halfway decent explanation as to why I chose my “new” last name, I would have to provide a small biography of myself.
The really short version is my mother’s maiden name is Pelfrey, and I decided to revert to that. Why? That’s where the long story comes in.
At some point in 1965 or 1966 my mother married a guy whose last name was Simmons. I say “was” as if he is now dead or he changed his name. I have no idea. I have never met him as my mother and he divorced, but she kept his last name. at some point after this, she met the man whose sperm would generate half of my genetic makeup. Unfortunately, he left before I was born.
This is the setup to the name I was given at birth – Daniel Travers Simmons. Yeah, that middle name was a mistake on the birth certificate from the hospital. It was supposed to be Travis, after my grandfather.
15 years later, my mother remarried, a guy named Pat Boyle. She legally changed her name, but not mine. Nor did he ever legally adopt me. I still consider him my father (this is the same man that was at the center of my recent trip to Ireland). From the age of 15 I used the last name of Boyle, even getting my Learner’s Permit (issued by the State of Washington) with the last name of Boyle.
A couple years later when I joined the Army (no, I won’t be going into that story here) there was some confusion as to what my legal name actually was. Down at the Social Security Office the Army recruiter helped to get my name legally changed to Daniel Travis Boyle. Not only was I correcting the misspelling of my middle name, but taking what I assumed would be my family name from then on.
My mother and Pat would separate a couple of time, and finally it would become permanent while I was still in the Army.
Also during my time in the Army (which was only 4 years, but damn they were long years) I gained the nickname of Monk. Maybe I’ll save that story for a later time. Eventually, however, I would simply use that nickname in almost everything I did, from personal interactions to my dealings with the music industry.
Many people that I interacted with in my 20’s knew me as “monk” but legally I was Daniel Travis Boyle. At least, that’s what I thought. Apparently, while all my taxes were under Boyle, that wasn’t my legal name. My birth certificate was never changed, so my legal name was still Daniel Travers Simmons, 20-some years after my birth, and more than 10 years after I thought I had changed it. I only found this out when applying for a passport, which required my birth certificate as proof of citizenship. Apparently, a piece of paper from a state holds more weight than the entire federal government.
Fine, so I finally legally change my name (again, so I thought) to Daniel Travis Boyle. This time I appeared before a judge, and my birth certificate was changed to reflect this.
Oh, but this was not to be the end.
During this time my son Kyle was born. I won’t go into details about that, suffice to say that it would up being a legal nightmare. When I finally did get custody at about the age of 30, it was decided to change his name, and mine. For reasons I won’t go into, he was given a name at birth he didn’t like, and was going by a different name. We were going to change his name to reflect not only the new name he had taken, but also incorporate the name he was originally to have at birth. When the issue of what hi last name would be, I opted to change my last name.
Well, my mother had separated a number of years earlier from the man she married whose last name was Boyle. I identified myself less with Boyle, and much more with the original family name of Pelfrey. See, we’re getting to the end of this story.
I changed my name legally to Daniel Travis Monk Pelfrey, incorporating the nickname that I had used for so long, as well as my (what should have been) original family name. At the same time we changed my son’s name to what it should have been, as well as having his last name match mine.
So that’s the shortened version of the story of my name. I’m wondering how many actually made it past the third paragraph.