Donald Trump's Presidency

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Is Donald Trump's real name Donald Drumpf?

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The answer to this depends on how you are going to define the term “real name.”  It is clear that Donald Trump never went by the name “Donald Drumpf.”  It is also clear that at least some of his ancestors did spell their last name “Drumpf.”  It is unclear as to exactly when they changed from Drumpf to Trump.  So, if a man’s real name is the name his parents gave him when he was born, Trump’s real name is Trump.  If you feel that a man’s real last name is whatever last name his ancestors used first, then Trump’s real last name might be Drumpf.

If we are going to say that a person’s real name is the name they were given when they were born, then the answer to this is very easy.  Donald Trump’s parents used the last name “Trump.”  They gave their son that last name.  The Donald Trump who is running for president has never been named Donald Drumpf.

If we are going to say that a man’s real last name is the first last name his ancestors on his father’s side used, things get much more complicated.  First of all, last names are a relatively new thing.  Europeans only started using last names something like 500 or 600 years ago.  Second, accurate records of things like names and dates of birth are not always available going very far back in history.  Records were not always kept and records that were kept were often lost in fires, floods, or wars.  Third, in many places, people would not spell their names consistently.  William Shakespeare, for example, signed his name with different spellings at different times and even his published works did not always spell his name the same way.  What this means is that it will be very hard to know what some family’s “true” name was back in 1500 or so.  This makes it hard to say what someone’s “real” last name is if we believe that we have to discover their family’s original last name.

In Trump’s case, it seems clear that some of his ancestors did spell their last name “Drumpf” at some points in history.  There are different stories as to when they changed the name permanently.  However, none of these stories say that “Drumpf” was used as late as the time of Trump’s father’s birth.  Some stories say that Trump’s grandfather changed the name while others say the name was changed as long ago as the 1600s.

If a man’s “real” name is the name his parents gave him, Donald Trump’s real name is Trump.  If his real name is the name his ancestors first used when they started to use last names, his real name might be Drumpf or it might be something else entirely.

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