Formal or everyday name on birth certificate? Greek name

This question requires a little bit of back story…

So, most modern Greek baby names have a long “baptismal” form (the name the baby is called in church) and a short, everyday form. Some examples might be the names [name]Ioannis[/name] (everyday:[name]Yanni[/name]/[name]Yannis[/name]) and [name]Giorgos[/name] (Giorgo/Giorgo). Obviously, spellings will vary a little bit in English due to the different alphabet. In Greece, people have the long form on their birth certificates and official documents, but are almost never called by those long forms, unless it is an unusually short name like [name]Maria[/name].

We are following Greek baby naming protocol and naming our daughter after my mother. Her name was [name]Katerina[/name]. We will be calling our daughter [name]Katerina[/name]. However, the long form of the name is Aikaterini. I had totally made up my mind to put [name]Katerina[/name] on her American birth certificate and be done with it, but now I’m having second thoughts.

I wanted my daughter to have an easier time at work and school and to have the name she is called on her BC, like most people do. However, I have the long form of my name, [name]Evangelia[/name], on my BC, even though I am called [name]Evie[/name] by most people. I do like having the long form on my BC, but I feel like [name]Evangelia[/name] is more manageable to most people than Aikaterini. Also, [name]Evie[/name] and [name]Evangelia[/name] start with the same letter and there is a more recognizable derivation. I have to admit, now that I am an adult, I go by [name]Evangelia[/name] in professional life - maybe my daughter would want to go by Aikaterini, even though I can’t imagine it?

My husband was born in Greece and has the long form of his name, [name]Dimitrios[/name], on his official documents. He totally hates it! He finds it difficult to explain that he is called [name]Dimitri[/name] to his coworkers. And he hates being called “[name]Dimitrios[/name]” - I know it may sound strange to Americans, but Greeks are really never called by their baptismal names outside of a church setting.

I’m really torn on this one and I’m hoping you all can provide opinions! For more information, we were planning to give her the middle name [name]Ariadne[/name], but if we go with Aikaterini, I don’t know if we will. Our last name starts with A and that’s a lot of As! I also don’t like that both names end with the ee sounds, but one is spelled with an i and one with an e. We both want to give our daughter an ancient Greek middle, and [name]Ariadne[/name] has a lot of personal meaning to me.

Thank you so much!

I would just go with [name]Katerina[/name] [name]Ariadne[/name]. That way she wont have to explain her name for her whole life, you can use the middle name you want, and you are honoring your mother by using her name. Since you’re in the States it would be more convenient for her, and she will thank you for it! :slight_smile:

I would put [name]Katerina[/name] on the birth certificate especially if you are think you’ll be living in [name]America[/name] for a long time. If you go with Aikaterini [name]Ariadne[/name] plus your "A"Surname then her initials would be AAA which isn’t good. [name]Katerina[/name] [name]Ariadne[/name] sounds pretty Greek to me. :slight_smile:

I think it might be simpler to just put [name]Katerina[/name] on the BC, and that way you can also be happy about your middle name choice. I think [name]Katerina[/name] can be worn on a little girl just as easily as it can in the professional world. Aikaterini would be hard for many people to pronounce, whereas people are familiar with [name]Katerina[/name]. [name]Even[/name] in professional life it may be easier for her to go by [name]Katerina[/name].

My mom’s full name (on her BC) is [name]Graziella[/name], but she goes solely by [name]Grace[/name] (in professional life as well). She really dislikes [name]Graziella[/name], but often gets called that by people who only know her name from official forms or whatnot (similar to your husband). So unless you are hoping your daughter goes by Aikaterini in the future, or really want to have the strong link to the full name, just [name]Katerina[/name] may be the way to go.

I think that using [name]Katerina[/name] is your best choice. I think [name]Katerina[/name] is professional and adult sounding so you shouldn’t be concerned about that aspect. I wouldn’t avoid Aikaterina because it’s unfamiliar or cause the nickname isn’t intuitive, I would avoid it to avoid the AAA initials.

Thank you all for your replies!

If the only concern to Aikaterini is the AAA initials, [name]Ariadne[/name] is not set in stone. There are a few other middles we like too.

I would go with [name]Katerina[/name]!

[name]Just[/name] go with [name]Katerina[/name]!
I am from Greece and I have my formal name Vassiliki on the birth certificate and I always hate it! I have to explain all the time that I go by Vasso or [name]Bellerose[/name].it’s just make the things more complicate when you live in a different country.I will doubt your daughter will ever go by Aikaterini

Best wishes and the combo [name]Katerina[/name] Ariande is wonderful!

I’m Greek Orthodox (though not Greek ethnically) and I know for sure that any form-- English, Greek, anything-- of a saint’s name is perfectly acceptable in the Church as your daughter’s baptismal name & Eucharist name. Unless your Greek-born husband truly plans on speaking Greek in the home, I think Aikaterini isn’t necessary and might simply confuse your daughter.

I think too your given name, [name]Evangelia[/name], is different-- “[name]Evie[/name]” is a recognized English nickname from [name]Evangeline[/name] or [name]Evangelia[/name], and it’s a logical conclusion for most Americans to make that perhaps “[name]Evie[/name]” isn’t your full name. However, calling your daughter a long, formal (beautiful) name like [name]Katerina[/name] but having her legally be Aikaterini would be more confusing and lead to more social/bureaucratic snafus, I would think.

I do think the Aikaterini / [name]Katerina[/name] connection would be confusing to explain in [name]America[/name]: difficult, but not impossible. If you used Aikaterina and called her “[name]Kate[/name]” or “[name]Katie[/name]” it would be easier perhaps…

I think it’s perfectly logical to use [name]Katerina[/name] as an “English” form of Aikaterin and put it on the birth certificate as it is — in fact, even if you were naming her [name]Katherine[/name] or [name]Katrina[/name] or [name]Katelyn[/name] you would still be honouring the grandmother: your daughter an English speeker, it’s logical for her to have an English name. If you baptize her in the Orthodox Church she would be Aikaterini “religiously”, and she could always adopt Aikaterini if she was to become a Greek citizen.

Thank you all! Looks like it’s unanimous - that was my gut feeling, too.

To answer questions, yes, we are planning to speak Greek at home (my husband can barely speak English anyhow! And she will learn English at school), but [name]Katerina[/name] is the everyday Greek form, so there would be no confusion there.

[name]Blade[/name], thanks for the reply! I’m not worried about her Eucharist name being muddled up. We’re baptizing her in Greece anyhow, so her name will be Aikaterini (in Greek alphabet) on her baptismal certificate, not [name]Katherine[/name]. I didn’t mention this earlier, but my husband has some worries about “[name]Katerina[/name]” translating to a Greek passport, but I think the Greek baptismal certificate should clear up any confusion (baptismal certificates are legal documents in Greece).

Ugh, bilingual naming is such a headache! I really appreciate all of your feedback!

:slight_smile: If we have another girl, she will be Vasiliki!

Is your family planning on living in the US, but purusing dual citizenship for the baby? If so, the names have to match up on both passports, correct?

I don’t pretend to have examined many Greek passports but I believe it is standard practice the world over for languages written in non-[name]Roman[/name] script to write the bearer’s name in the native script as well as a transliteration for borders & customs personel. Perhaps she could have Αικατε”ινη / [name]KATERINA[/name], even though it’s not a direct transliteration?

Yes, living in the U.S., but possibility of moving to Greece in the future. My dad’s legal name here is [name]John[/name], but on his Greek passport he has [name]Ioannis[/name]. But he came here 30 years ago, and from what I gather, procedures have become much more strict. Really, I don’t know if she could have Aikaterini on her Greek passport if we put [name]Katerina[/name] on her BC. She will have Greek citizenship automatically, as her father is a sole Greek citizen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_nationality_law

I suppose the worst case scenario is that she would have Κατε”ινα on her Greek passport, which wouldn’t be the end of the world.

For what it’s worth, if it is meaningful for you to put her full Greek name on her BC, and you do plan on her using it in certain realms of life, it would not be unheard of to have it on her BC.

Where I’m from (and I live in the US) we all give our children Hebrew names (some more uncommon than others) and put that name on the BC. It’s something that your daughter will get used to, and when asked about it will have a good, substantive story to tell.

In general I’m not one to take religious traditions of naming lightly, so I’m sure that also taints my opinion on something like this.

Go with [name]Katerina[/name] [name]Ariadne[/name]! [name]Katerina[/name] is so beautiful. I have a point you may not have thought of. In highschool/university there are yearbooks and they use your official name there. So I know a girl (not sure of her background) who calls herself [name]Sasha[/name] and signed her name as [name]Sasha[/name] as head of our yearbook. However, in the graduates section, her name is [name]Alexandria[/name]. I also know a Jewish girl named [name]Rebecca[/name], but who goes by [name]Remi[/name]. When people see her yearbook, everyone’s shocked that her name is really [name]Rebecca[/name]. Name your daughter what you want her to be called. [name]Katerina[/name] is a beautiful name. The reason you go by [name]Evangelia[/name] is because that’s a beautiful name, and it is more acceptable to the american ear then Aikaterini. Also, [name]Evie[/name] is a common nickname, so it’s nice to have a professional sounding name. [name]Katerina[/name] is a professional sounding name, she doesn’t need the additional hassle of Aikaterini. And by going with just [name]Katerina[/name] you can use [name]Ariadne[/name]! A gorgeous mn. [name]Katerina[/name] is also a personal favourite of mine, so pretty!

I actually really respect this. Here’s the thing: We are not super religious ourselves, and the religious aspect of the name is not highly meaningful to us. The heritage aspect is more important to us, personally. I agree that it is an important story to tell, but for our family, I’m wondering if it’s worth it.

I’m glad you brought up the Hebrew name tradition! I was going to make the analogy earlier, but I didn’t want to be inadvertently offensive or ignorant.

[name]Waverly[/name], thanks for the compliments on the name! :slight_smile:

Having read the thread, I think I’ve changed my mind — since you are actually Greek, I really encourage you to have Aikaterini in all the legal documents and call her [name]Katerina[/name].

Like people have said, many Americans go by names that aren’t on the birth certificate ([name]John[/name]/[name]Jack[/name], [name]Alexander[/name]/[name]Sasha[/name], [name]Mary[/name] [name]Margaret[/name]/[name]Meg[/name], [name]Giuseppe[/name]/[name]Joe[/name]); I wonder if it would be more complicated if she ever moved to Greece and was only a “[name]Katerina[/name]” legally (in many European countries having “nicknames” as official names is frowned upon).

I feel Aikaterini is much more interesting and distinguished — and it gives her more options!

I would put [name]Katerina[/name] on the birth certificate! Good luck :slight_smile: