OK, according to the feedback I got from my migration advisor at Colin R. Singer, the migration agent whose services I rely on, I went to municipality in order to research the requirements with regard to having my name’s spelling changed to the original and correct version “Nike”. At first I talked to a very young man at the registration office, who got ready to go ahead and simply change my name on the grounds of a copy of an old family register I provided. My heart skipped a beat there – that easy? I had expected a rather longish, complicated and costly procedure with tons of documentation to provide and even more forms to be filled in and such.
Oh well, of course it wasn’t THAT easy. On second look and after consulting with a senior colleague there it turns out I have to report to the registrar. So we walk into his office and a very nice and helpful young gentleman here in Weßling offers me a seat and has me articulate my request. Mind you, it was 15 minutes prior to closing, so any bad joke you might have heard about public servants proved to be false – at least in this fortunate case.
After I had explained what I was trying to accomplish, he repeatedly looked up documentation on what the regulations are concerning the correct procedure. It turned out that the registrar of the community of my birthplace Krumbach is the appropriate contact on behalf of this. He is equipped with the legal power to actually update my last name’s spelling in all official documents, e.g. the family register. So far, so good. This appears to be my first milestone regarding having my name changed.
I then inquired what other documentation the registrar may need as legal prerequisites to proceed on behalf of this matter. Now, this is where a formerly friendly and easy card seems to turn and where things get quite complicated: I may have to provide original documentation, which my family most likely is not in possession of. Why? I have to get a little comprehensive in order to explain:
My entire family is subject to the Expulsion of Germans after World War II. In simple terms: They were chased away from their homes due to Germany losing the ill-intended World War II (b.t.w., when is war well-intended anyways…?). That probably means that family register and other official records were either destroyed or handed over later, after the installation of a legimitized new German government. How is this complicated? Well, any official registration of family documents etc. didn’t start until 1886 according to my Weßling public servant. However, the copy I’m holding indicates that the individual by the name of “Elias Nike”, who my father’s family goes back to, immigrated way prior to that date. Specifically, the first entry we find on this copy of a family register is dated to the year of 1884, only two years short of the beginning of official archiving. Errr…
What now? Well, I guess, my first todo will be to contact the Krumbach registrar and have him determine, what he needs. If she or he needs original documents by all means, I will have to research at Registry Office 1 in Berlin, who are said to have received all official family records of expellees. They may have to dig deep in their archives to produce our records, I’m afraid. If they come up with a “sorry, no can do”, my friendly and helpful Weßling registrar suggested contacting Polish clergymen, for they were the official “institution” producing family registers prior to secular authorities.
Uhhmmm… this whole idea of discarding the stress vowel from my last name slowly turns into a massive research undertaking… Not sure, whether I’m ready to undergo all that effort…