Change of Name – Gary Kingdon

This is to let you know that I am changing my surname, back to my original birth name of Houghton.  

My life was turned upside down late last year when it was found that I had family in Canada through my biological father.  While a family there had long been suspected, Canadian privacy laws made it virtually impossible to confirm this.  It was only through efforts of my super-sleuth wife, the wonder of modern communications and social media that it was found that I had a half-brother in Ontario.  Contact was established with him via his granddaughter and he said was interested in talking to me.  Several Skype calls took place and a good relationship was developed.  I decided to go and visit him while I could and, as some of you know, travelled there last October.

Even though he was unaware of my existence before Di initiated communication with him, when we met at Toronto airport there was an instant bond.  My visit was an outstanding success and unforgettable, with family ties strongly developed.  He is my real brother from another mother.

Having found out about my biological father and filling in all the gaps, I have found a sense of belonging to the Houghton family.  I have a greater sense of affinity with them than I did with my stepfather’s family.  My stepfather was a Kiwi and the only good thing that he did as far as I am concerned was bring us out to NZ (although he was also the prime motivator for me joining the Navy, so I guess that is another plus.)  There was no other family as such in NZ so I have no attachment to the name.  I did actually try to change my name about 40 years ago, but my Divisional Officer at the time effectively talked me out of it, citing all sorts of problems that would arise, especially on security clearance side.  In retrospect and the benefit of hindsight, I think that he was probably trying to avoid the administrative workload that might have been involved with me changing my name.  Anyway, I let it slide at the time, but regretted it later, particularly when I got married and had children, by which time I thought it was too late.

Some have said why bother, especially at your age, it’s only a name.  But it is more than that.  Your name gives you a sense of belonging and forms your heritage.  One of the things that I have admired, and envied, with my Maori friends is their ability to trace their lineage and their whakapapa.  While I have been able to trace my ancestry on my mother’s side back to the 1600’s, on my father’s side there has been nothing – until last year.  I now feel that the circle is complete and I have a family that I can relate to and call my own.  Moreover, I want to go out under the same name that I came into this world with. (Hopefully that won’t be too soon!!)

Anyway, the paperwork recognising the change has all been submitted and approved, and everything is in place.  So from 1 Feb 17 I will be Gary Houghton.  Underneath it all I will still be the same person (and will still answer to Kips).  I will keep my current email account going for the time being, until I am confident that all those who need to know of the change have received the information. 

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10 Responses to Change of Name – Gary Kingdon

  1. John Bullock says:

    Hey Gary, does that mean you are no longer “Kips”, and now called “Cannuck”?

  2. john snow says:

    Great thoughts and brave decision. As an aside was he ever in Royal Navy as there was a Houghton in our mess way back in 1946 at HMS Ganges.

  3. Christine Commons says:

    A wonderful change of circumstances in your life Gary. So very happy for you finding a long lost brother and meeting him and the bond that has formed twixt you both. Bet you and your brother have shed a few tears on finding each other.

    • Gary Houghton says:

      Thanks, Christine. It was an emotional time, especially when it came to me leaving. Could have been a few tears on another occasion, but that was late at night after a few (fair few) ‘cocktails’.

  4. Brian Edwards says:

    Hi Kips. Can relate to your story in parts but not so traumatic. Orphaned in 1943 – My Father was killed on MTB 316 17th Jul 1943. Was born a CLARK, shipped out to NZ in 1946 on MV Rangitiki. Still remember the 7 week voyage. Adopted as EDWARDS in 1949- Fortunately had the most incredible Step Dad. Knew nothing of my Fathers siblings until a chance post on ‘Rootschat’. As you or anybody interested in Ancestry would of discovered, you cant find out any info on living persons. A lady picked up on my post and and got me in contact with a cousin in England. With my and the Missus health on the decline we made the decision to try and reconnect with family two years ago. Discovered seven cousins who were just fantastic to us. These families filled in so many missing gaps in my life. Sadly all my birth Fathers siblings had passed on. No name change back for me but on application in 1990 to obtain a passport I hit my first hurdle. In the end it cost me $860 for my passport. The paperwork was diabolical as I had to find non existent documents. The NZ Government didn’t want to know me either. My 14 year Naval Service counted for nothing. I had/have a happy ending and I wish you well under your new title.
    Kind Regards
    Pilz Edwards

    • Gary Houghton says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Pilz. Surprising how many people with similar stories to yours and mine have emerged from the woodwork and contacted me since I first put the post up. It is good to get all the gaps filled and find out new information/details of the family. The same as you, my father’s siblings have all died and my cousins dispersed a bit and not in regular communication with my brother, so didn’t get to meet any of them.

  5. Neill Dorset says:

    Kips, great to read of your brave decision and pleased everything has worked out well. A close friend of ours back in Blenheim had similar situation finding his birth father was still alive living in Montana. He had his mother (and one brother) came out from England just after the war and he thought his father had died. Like you through contacts etc he located his father liiving on a Indian Reservation (he was a Assiniboine Sioux Indian) and found that he had 14 half brothers and sisters. He too had a fantastic reunion and whilst he has kept his step fathers name, he is in regular contact with his new family. If you can, can you send us your email address so we can keep in touch. Say hi to Di. Regards Neill & Lynne

  6. william bartlett says:

    Garry! Having just checked my inbox on return from our recent RNZNA Conference in Blenheim, Mate,I can only admire & congratulate you in what has transpired to put in place your whakapapa (family lineage) to the best of your ability and desire to “put things right”. Whilst I did hear a snippet of info via a fellow delegate during our Conference, I thought at the time best not to raise the subject .
    So for me – from now on it shall be ” Kips Houghton !” Kia Kaha!
    Fond Regards to you and Di
    Bill B

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