Saturday, September 17, 2011

What's in a name...

Adam and I were engaged for over 2 years before we got married.  We knew we wanted a long engagement, if for nothing else other than to convince my mother that it was ok for us get married (Hi, mom!  Love you!)  During that time, a lot of people asked me what I was going to do about my name.  Me, being a rather independent woman, always thought that I'd keep my maiden name.  I never really thought it was a big thing, but then Adam spoke up.  He really firmly wanted me to take his name.  After a few days of thinking my soon to be husband was really a caveman, I asked him what his deal was.  He explained that he wanted his whole family, myself and our future children, to have the same last name.  Growing up, his half sisters, mom, and eventually step sister all had different last names.  So for him, it was important.  Eventually it ended up being more important to him for me to change my name than it was for me to keep my name.  So I became Chelsea Bednarczyk.  Now, I will still contend that if my maiden name wasn't just as long as Bednarczyk, that I would have hyphenated it.  Really though, no one hyphenates Winningham-Bednarczyk.  So after the wedding, we got the copy of our marriage certificate, and I went to Social Security and the MVA to change my name legally.  Then I wrote a list of every bank account, credit card, and student loan I had and started to contact them.  Most of them were easily, I would call customer service, find out the fax number, and send them a form letter I'd typed up with my old name, new name, and a place to write in my account number, along with copies of my new driver's license and marriage certificate.  I was really organized, and clearly not busy enough at  my previous job.  So the process was a pain, but nothing too bad and within a few days, all my accounts were updated.  Well, all but one.
Citibank Student Loans is the hold out.  They have never changed my name.  On their online system, I am still Chelsea Winningham.  When I get correspondence from them, I'm Chelsea Winningham-Bednarczyk.  And for awhile, I would send them another copy of my form letter.  When that didn't work, I started to call them.  They would tell me that they had updated their system.  I would tell them that couldn't possibly be the case, I was receiving mail with a name that never was legally my NAME.  Then I would be told that they had really updated the system that time.  But as recently as August, it was still hyphenated on correspondence that I received. 
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email that Sallie Mae bought my loans from Citibank.  I didn't think much of it, as Citibank had recently deferred my loans again and so knew nothing would be changing any time soon.  Then I got my first piece of correspondence from Sallie Mae, it was addressed to Chelsea Winninghambed.  So is this Winninghambed person on the hook for my loans?
An aside on my darling husband's forethought on the whole family having the same name.  I can't tell you how many times I've been asked for James' name (doctor's appointments, etc,) and then my name, and then the inevitable - "Same last name?" And it is much easier to answer - "Yes."


  1. Personally, I find it annoying when they ask you, "Same last name?" The same way the healthy start coordinator in the hospital was shocked to hear that we were in fact married and had college educations. Unfortunately, educated, working, married people don't receive public assistance. Bummer. =)

    And you're much better than I am... I still have bank accounts in my maiden name and actually deposit checks into them under my married name. LOL!

  2. I agree that it is annoying when they ask if its the same last name. I'm just glad I can answer yes and be done with it. Funny side note - we had a phone interview before we took James to get his genetic testing done in March, and they asked about history of learning disabilities in his parents. Adam's dyslexic, so I said yes. And then she asks me if he's functional. What does that even mean? Um, yea, my baby daddy is "functional". I told her he has a Master's from Johns Hopkins, so I think he's doing ok. It was a little awkward.