What luck! I posted a question about Wisconsin state law and how it pertains to baby names several days ago. Today, I discovered a legal paper called “Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights” by Carlton F. W. Larson of UC Davis School of Law. Apparently it was published the same day as the post.
Larson says that many U.S. states have laws about baby names, and that “[t]he most typical restrictions are prohibitions on obscenities, numerals, pictograms, diacritical marks or overly lengthy names.” He discusses each of these areas in detail, but since my original question had to do with numbers, I’ll stick to that.
Spelled-out numbers (like Seven) seem to be allowed everywhere, but the use of numerals (like 7) is restricted in some states, including New Jersey, Illinois and Texas:
- New Jersey “permits the State Registrar to reject names that contain “numerals” or a “combination of letters, numerals, or symbols.””
- Illinois “prohibits numerals when used as the first character in a child’s name.”
- Texas “prohibits numerals as part of the name or suffix, although Roman numerals may be used for suffixes.”
The paper is fascinating. (And I can’t get over the timeliness!) I’ll have to comb through for all the state-specific details and organize them here, so that we can use the list as a reference.