Sometimes I want to go where everybody spells my name

Hi! My name is Ingrid Abrams. Even though my last name is only six letters long (two of which are the same), no one can spell it. It’s true.

I’ve been living in this building for two years. There are only two other apartments in this building, so my landlord doesn’t have a lot of tenants to keep up with. He put up new mailbox stickers the other day, so I was greeted with this:


Who’s this bitch Ingrid Adams?

Again, I’ve been here two years. My name is spelled correctly on the lease, not to mention on the doorbell just a couple of feet away.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. In middle school, I had an appointment with a guidance counselor or dean of students or something. He’s looking over my files and asks me if I’m related to another classmate, Mike Abramson. “No,” I said, “because my last name isn’t Abramson.” The dean looked at me expectantly and waited. “No, sir. We’re not related.”

I was a classical musician in college. I had some sort of solo and my name was on the front page of the program, big as can be, as Ingrid Anderson. Anderson. That’s not even really close.

All my mail from ALA is addressed to Ingrid Abrahams, even though all my online information is spelled correctly. Telemarketers like to call me Mrs. Abraham. Luckily, Mrs. Abraham is never, ever home.

I’m not even going to go into how my middle name is Henny, yet at every graduation I’ve attended (middle school, high school, college and grad school), I’ve been announced as Ingrid HENRY Abrams.

I don’t think it’s an inability to read or bad spelling. I think people are really lazy readers, never paying quite enough attention to what they’re looking at. I don’t know if more trips to the library or less TV or computer time would fix this, but I wish it would. It’s really starting to piss me off.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid Abrams

14 thoughts on “Sometimes I want to go where everybody spells my name

  1. I feel your pain! My last name is Ingham, but everybody’s favorite misspelling/mispronunciation is “Ingram.” There is no R in my name, people. I just got Ingram-ed yesterday in a reply to an e-mail from a customer service rep – and I had spelled my name correctly in the original e-mail and everything. I also get Ingraham, and because my middle initial is K, I often get Kingham or Kingman.

    The tags on your post made me laugh.

  2. Amanda

    I have a very scandinavian last name, which is pretty hard to spell for people because it doesn’t follow English spelling conventions. I added on my husband’s last name, which is an English name. It is the correct spelling of a common noun. I still have to spell it for people! They just don’t believe it could be that easy. So now I have two spell both names. Sigh.

  3. I’m Renata Sancken soo I feel your pain. Over the phone people read it as Sanchez a lot; this happens less often in person b/c I’m pretty white, so then I get Snacken. Or Snacks. I would actually be OK if my last name were Snacks, but, it’s not.

  4. Michael Golrick

    Yeah, well try having a last name shared by about a dozen people in this country (half of them related to you, the other half not). It is commonly misspelled in some predictable ways. However, when Michael Gorman ran for ALA President (and won), I can’t tell you how many colleagues congratulated me on winning. I told Gorman that he won only because people thought that they were voting for me. (Oh, and I had Gorman in my first library school class!)

  5. One of the principals at one of the schools where I work constantly misspells my last name, but often changes how she misspells it.
    There are also now two Jessicas at that school, and I’ve gotten several emails meant for the other one – whose last name is very different from mine, who has a very different job from mine, and who is German.

  6. This happens to me a least once a day. Today I received two emails with my first name spelled incorrectly. One of these people in their email was expressing their confusion over something I said in an email because or a spelling/editing error. I felt like responding, “I’m confused is this email for me because my name is Corinne, not Corrine.” It happens so often I feel guilty making any sort of deal about it but I lose it every time.

  7. molliekay

    I totally understand. My maiden name was a complicated German one (to spell and pronounce), so I was ecstatic to get married and have a much simpler one. Add in the fact that the spelling of my first name (Mollie) is not very common and you total chaos. My grandmother can’t even remember how to spell my name most days!

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