Thachi - family name history

Interesting facts about my family name change from Thathapalli Chinnaraju to “Thachi”

All my friends, relatives, professional networks and work colleagues had been wondering about my new last name Thachi. It’s been a long due for me to share the interesting facts about my last name change.

No last name concept where I came from

Where I’m originally came from, we do not have a concept of family name; instead, we use father’s first name (with or without birth place name) as our last name. Also, most people use initials as a last name instead of full-form last name. My original last name (sorry! initial) was T.C (happy to write my original last name after a very long time). T.C is spelled as Thathapalli Chinnaraju, where the former one was my native place name called Thathapalli (a very small village in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India). Chinnaraju was my father’s first name. I carried my last name T.C until my undergraduate college completion. As I cannot use initials as my last name, at my first work place, I have had started using my last name as Chinnaraju. During my passport application, I had to expand T.C (because of my official municipal and school documents). So I ended up with Thathapalli Chinnaraju as my legal family name per my passport.

23 & Me: my family name challenges in the US

When I moved to the US, my legal family name became Thathapalli Chinnaraju, which is 23 characters. At that time, social security administration office could not fit my last name in the system, so it had to go the head office to manually enter in the computer. Whenever I moved to a different state, driver’s licenses could not fit my long last name and it was always cut out. However, I kept Chinnaraju (shorter form) as my last name at my work place, social media accounts and other places where it was legally not required to do so. Believe me, it was very hard to have other person understand my full (legal) last name, especially when you were on phone calls with customer support people. I would have to spell out each of 23 characters of my last name: “T” for Tango, “H” for Henry, “A” for America, ….. “U” for Umbrella 🙂 It used to take for other person over the phone up to 3 minutes to have my last name got it right; however, if something went wrong middle of my spell out, I had to start over again. grrr!!!

“Thachi” was born

At one point, I have decided to have my own family name identity. Hence, I strategically planned over the years to have our new family name unique (no one ever used it) and shorter so as to give unique identity to my family, kids and future generations.

I came up with a name Thachi as our new family name from each of first three characters of Thathapalli and Chinnaraju. To ensure uniqueness, I googled to make sure no one with the family name as Thachi. When my kids born, I already named them with their family name as Thachi, but I was still having my original last name and was waiting for the right time to change mine. First thing I did was I registered domain with our family name and for our kids.

Finally, after three years of our family name Thachi was born and my kids have it, I have legally changed my last name from Thathapalli Chinnaraju to Thachi when I applied for the US citizenship. It was funny (nicer way) that my kids got the family name before me.

Interesting fact: for about three years, my two kids, wife and me all have had different family names. Luckily we did not face any imigration issues during our international traveling.