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My grandfather Florence McCarthy was a combat veteran, a firefighter, and a hardware salesman.

Never was such a macho man cursed with such an effeminate name.

So, being a man of action, Florence filed a petition with probate court seeking to change his name to Walter.

According to his petition, the name Florence “was a cause of embarrassment to him.”


The court approved the petition and at the age of 32 Florence legally became Walter.

The process that my grandfather went through in 1939 is nearly identical to the procedure followed today.

To change your name in Massachusetts you must complete the following steps:

  1. Get a certified copy of your birth certificate from the city or town where you were born.
  2. Download and complete probate court’s Form CJP 27 Petition to Change Name of Adult.
  3. File both your birth certificate and completed Form CJP 27 with your county’s probate court along with a check for $165.
  4. The court will then issue a citation directing you to publish notice of the name change in a local newspaper.
  5. Once evidence of publication has been provided to the court and the time for objections has expired, the court will sign the order permitting the name change.

The process takes two or three months to complete.

If you have any questions about changing your name or any other probate matter, please feel free to contact me at