Click here for long history explaining Common Law of England still in effect in Tenn. - "The Common Law in Tennessee by Daniel Lewis"
Dunn v. Palermo, 522 SW 2d 679 - Tenn: Supreme Court 1975 states:
We adopted the common law:
(A)s it stood at (1776) and before the separation of the colonies ... (it) being derived from North Carolina, out of which state the State of Tennessee was carved. The Acts of North Carolina, 1715, c. 31, and Acts of North Carolina, 1778, c. 5, preserved the common law, while Session Act 1789, c. 3 provided for its continuance in the State of Tennessee. (Parenthetical date supplied).
Quarles v. Sutherland, 215 Tenn. 651, 389 S.W.2d 249 (1965); Smith v. State, 215 Tenn. 314, 385 S.W.2d 748 (1965).
Thus it is that Tennessee, through North Carolina, adopted the common law of England as it existed in 1776.
"`It is universally recognized that a person may adopt any name he may choose so long as such change is not for fraudulent purposes.'
Barabas v. Rogers, 868 SW 2d 283 - Tenn: Court of Appeals, Middle Section 1993 states:
Accordingly, the common law recognized the right of every person to use and to be known for all legal and social purposes by any surname they chose as long as they had no fraudulent purpose and no intent to interfere with another's rights. Dunn v. Palermo, 522 S.W.2d 679, 683 (Tenn. 1975); 65 C.J.S. Names § 11(1) (1966).
In re Joseph, 87 SW 3d 513 - Tenn: Court of Appeals 2002 states:
A person's name is one of his or her most personal attributes. Accordingly, the common law has long recognized every person's right to use and to be known for all legal and social purposes by any name he or she chooses as long as the choice of name did not inappropriately interfere with another's rights. Dunn v. Palermo, 522 S.W.2d 679, 682-83 (Tenn.1975); Barabas v. Rogers, 868 S.W.2d 283, 286 (Tenn.Ct.App.1993). Tennessee, like most states, has enacted statutes providing procedures to obtain name changes. See Tenn.Code Ann. §§ 29-8-101, -105 (2000). With two exceptions we will address presently, these statutes are not intended to diminish an individual's right to change his or her name but rather to provide an expeditious procedure for doing so.
IN RE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME GRANNIS, Tenn: Court of Appeals 2004 states:
In Tennessee (as in most other states), a person may change his or her name at will without court action by simply adopting and using a new name, "as long as the change does not interfere with another's rights and is not being made for fraudulent purposes." In re Lackey, No. 01-A-01-9010-PB00358, 1991 WL 45394 (Tenn. Ct. App., April 5, 1991) (no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed), citing Dunn v. Palermo, 522 S.W.2d 679, 682 (Tenn. 1975).