I was reading a novel a couple of days ago, when the thought struck me: can you get names on a birth certificate changed? Now, I’m not going to tell you the name of the book, for the reason for the name change is part of the denouement. Mind you, it’s pretty clear from an early stage what’s going to happen, though the exact series of events is harder to predict. And there’s nothing in the book about birth certificates, it’s just something that has to happen off-stage.
A small amount of research showed that a name change is possible. For an adopted child, the natural parents can be replaced by the names of the adopters. I suppose I should have known this, given that it is now possible for adopted children to seek their natural parents when they are eighteen — which must imply that their birth certificate was changed at some stage.
If this wasn’t possible, the whole story in the novel would collapse.
And, not entirely unrelated, what is it with The Cobb at Lyme Regis that causes so many authors to cause their characters to have disasters there? I know now of three.