Documents and certificates for life events such as a birth, marriage, death or stillbirth require a legal name(s). A person’s name may be either:
- at least one given name and a last name, which is a surname, family name or name used in common by family members
- a cultural mononym, where a person has only one name. It may also consist of more than one word
A requested name may be denied if it is confusing, embarrassing to any other person, misleading or defrauding the public or, in general is determined to be:
- offensive on any other grounds
Choose, alter or correct
All given and last names must begin with a letter and may contain non-consecutive hyphens, apostrophes and periods. The name must use the standard English alphabet of 26 letters:
- Greek letters, Inuit letters, Arabic script or Kanji are not acceptable
A given and last name can use:
- letters such as a, b, c, or A, B, C
- Roman numerals like II, III, IV
- numbers spelled out such as second, third
- a space to separate names like David John
- a hyphen (-) to join names as in Mary-Anne
- a single letter like J or B., with a space and/or period following the letter being an option
Not allowed are:
- pictograms, codes, hieroglyphics, among others
- actual numbers, as in 2 or 5
Using punctuation marks
Under certain conditions, a name may contain punctuation marks, if used non-consecutively:
- period (.)
- hyphen (-)
- apostrophe (')
A legal name cannot contain just hyphens, periods or apostrophes without letters such as ('..-..')
Also prohibited are: symbols of any sort, slashes (/) or commas (,) in any part of the name, or to separate names including quotation marks (“ “) or/and brackets ().
Naming a baby
When parents cannot agree on a last name for their baby, the baby’s last name will be registered with the last name of each parent hyphenated in alphabetical order.
Do not use slashes (/), commas (,) or hyphens (-) to show there is a blank space between names.
The following is a list of the letter-accent combinations we can print on Alberta Vital Statistics certificates and related documents. Accents can be applied to both upper or lower case letters.
Table 1. List of the letter-accent combinations
Connect with the Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction Contact Centre:
Email: [email protected]
P.O. Box 2023
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4W7
John E. Brownlee Building
10365 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5C5
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