Can a Baptism certificate be reissued with a new name?

For instance, when a child is adopted after having been baptized, will the diocese issue a new certificate with the child’s new name?


@acanonlawyer @deaconjeff @edward_george1
perhaps 1 of these 3 can help

1 Like

Can. 877 §1. The pastor of the place where the baptism is celebrated must carefully and without any delay record in the baptismal register the names of the baptized, with mention made of the minister, parents, sponsors, witnesses, if any, the place and date of the conferral of the baptism, and the date and place of birth.

§2. If it concerns a child born to an unmarried mother, the name of the mother must be inserted, if her maternity is established publicly or if she seeks it willingly in writing or before two witnesses. Moreover, the name of the father must be inscribed if a public document or his own declaration before the pastor and two witnesses proves his paternity; in other cases, the name of the baptized is inscribed with no mention of the name of the father or the parents.

§3. If it concerns an adopted child, the names of those adopting are to be inscribed and, at least if it is done in the civil records of the region, also the names of the natural parents according to the norm of §§1 and 2, with due regard for the prescripts of the conference of bishops.

Complementary Norms for Canon 877 in the United States:


Yes. Parish secretaries are trained on how to do this change. (If they are not, contact the Chancery Office at your Diocese).

1 Like

I’m actually asking for my aunt, who is trying to figure out somewhat of a mystery regarding her deceased husband. He was legally adopted by his parents at the age of four, from a small town in Illinois. Prior to that, he remembered living in a children’s home. His adoptive parents had his original birth certificate with the name he was given at birth, but a Baptismal Certificate that listed his adoptive name, but dated only ten days later. My aunt has fabricated this scandelous story of her husbands father messing around with some lady in Peoria (what in the world he was doing there she can’t say), fathering a child, the woman giving him up for adoption, and the father suggesting to his wife that they adopt a child four years later and going to Peoria to get him out of the orphanage. It’s certainly an interesting story, but I suspect there’s a much more simple, albeit boring, explanation.

Is this thread talking about a new surname only or also, in some instances, new given names? When children are adopted is it common for them to receive new given names? (I assume this would be more likely if the child is adopted at a very young age.) My thinking would be that the names given at baptism are our Christian names, so if a child was given new given names they would be “given names” only, not Christian names, and the child would grow up not knowing the names they were given at baptism. I think I’d find that problematic, as our baptismal names are given to us as a means of identity and a way of signifying something to us and to the world.

In this case, the entire name was changed.

In Canada the CCCB Complemetary Norm says this

I see. I am interested to know whether I am the only person who considers that to be a problem. I don’t mean that I think that the baptism is invalid. My concern would be that that person has lost the connection with their baptismal names. I remember my own baptism very clearly, so I remember the bishop saying my baptismal names to me as he baptised me. If I’d been baptised as an infant and then adopted and given new names I think I’d want to know by what names I had been addressed during my baptism. I think of a name as something more important than just a label. A name is something that is given to us because it has a meaning.

In this case, the previous name was a “junior”, so it was probably a little inappropriate to keep it. I think situations vary enough that it’s wise to let the parents decide what is best. At any rate, if you are going by a completely different name, it might be problematic when you want to recieve the other sacraments.

But the question is, would a new certificate with the new name be issued? I would think yes, so that the child can use it to receive the rest of the sacraments.

Yes, I can understand being known by a different name. I was thinking that potentially there would be no surviving record of the original name. Yes, if I’d been born to Irish parents and baptised Patrick after my father, but my parents turned out to be abusive or neglectful and I was adopted by a Polish family who wanted me to be called Stanisław then that would be fine. I’d just hope that there was some record of my baptismal name, as I might feel some connection to St Patrick or to the Irish Church, while I’d also think the Stanisław was a great saint to be named after too. For the record, I’m not adopted, and my parents didn’t name me after saints, although my names are shared by some couple dozen or so saints!

Yes, absolutely. This is required per the complementary norm:

Baptismal certificates issued by the parish for these individuals shall give only the name(s) of the adoptive parent(s), the child’s new legal surname, the date and place of baptism, and the name of the minister who conferred the sacrament. The name(s) of the sponsor(s) shall not be given, and no mention of the fact of adoption shall be made on the baptismal certificate.

So, the existence of a Baptism certificated dated ten days after his birth with his adoptive name on it is not conclusive evidence of a sordid affair with a woman in Peoria?

1 Like

Yes, the certificate is issued with the child’s new name and the adoptive parent/parents’ names. I did one just last week.

1 Like

The baptismal certificate will have his date of baptism and the names of his adoptive parents and his apdotive name. The baptismal certificate will not list his original name nor his original parents, nor that he was adopted.

So, no.


After the death of my first husband, my second husband adopted my children. Additionally, the children’s godparents are not practicing Catholics, are both divorced and married each other outside of the Church without seeking a Decree of Nullity and have not been a part of the children’s lives for well over a decade. I wanted to know if our close friends who are in full communion with the Church could be officially named as the children’s godparents. They had already taken the role unofficially at the children’s First Communion and by guiding the children in their spiritual formation.
I inquired with the Archdiocese of New Orleans in which we currently reside, and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston where they were baptized.
I was told that the official Church record would reflect the name change and add their “new godparents,” but not remove their original names or the names of the original godparents.
After reading the responses, I am wondering if this information was correct.

Yes, it is correct.

The sacramental record book retains the original information and adds the adoptive information.

Any certificate requested by the person, family, or another parish— such as for Confirmation, marriage, etc.— will have only the adoptive information on it.


While the addition of “new Godparents” seems odd, nothing you’ve said otherwise seems wrong. The Church said they would note the adoption information.

Did the Church issue you new baptismal certificates with the names of the original Godparents?

1 Like

They did not issue a new baptismal certificate. According to the Archdiocese of New Orleans adding additional godparents is not that uncommon. Particularly in cases where the original godparents are deceased.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit