Liverpool's girl with no name

Barb McKenna
Published on March 10, 2016

Rowan Goulden was shocked to find out that until last week, she had no name. She was only registered as “Baby Goulden”.

LIVERPOOL - Until last week, Rowan Goulden’s legal name was “Baby Goulden”.

Her mother, Shawna Goulden, was shocked to learn that her 12-year-old daughter’s birth had never been registered, hence, her daughter had no name.

 She discovered the truth on a trip to Halifax on Feb. 29 to get a passport for Rowan, who is going to Cuba with relatives at the end of the month.

 The couple left Liverpool early in the morning and drove the one-and-a-half hours to Halifax to get the passport, Shawna says.

 “I went in and walked up and passed in my form, and the woman took the payment, and was processing the request, and she just looked at me and said ‘there’s no registration of her birth’."

  Then came the shocker.

 “The lady at the counter said she’s only listed as ‘Baby Goulden’,” and I just said “What? Rowan was standing next to me and we were both like ‘what?’ she doesn’t have a name? Oh my God.'”

 Turns out Rowan was never issued a birth certificate, so the only formal record of her existence was what was passed in by the hospital at her birth.

 Shawna says she’s not sure how it happened. She says she had a really difficult delivery with Rowan, and that’s where things may have gone wrong.

 “They asked me did you fill out papers at the hospital? And I said, 'well, you know, it’s 12 years ago and I had a lot of stuff in my system, I don’t know.'”

 Whether she did or didn’t, Rowan’s name never made it onto a birth certificate, and her legal name was “Baby”.

 But nobody puts this “Baby” in the corner. The solution was to drive back to Liverpool, and have her school principal and vice-principal  swear that Rowan really was Rowan. They made the trip to South Queens Middle School, where Rowan is in Grade 7.

 “They were just, floored. They just couldn’t believe it. There were lots of jokes going around, we could call Rowan whatever we wanted to now. She could pick out whatever name she wanted!”

 They chose to keep Rowan.

“She’s definitely a Rowan,” says Shawna.

 After the school did its job, they drove back to Halifax, and Rowan was officially given a passport under the name “Rowan  Lilly Marie Goulden”.

 For her part, Rowan says the experience was shocking, but has given her some traction at school.

 “I said you know what’s a great conversation starter? I didn’t have a name for 12 years.”

  Her mother says Rowan is not unfamiliar with her old name, Baby.

“The funny part is that her grandmother always called her Baby,”.laughs Shawna.

Because the incident happened on leap day, Feb. 29, they have decided to celebrate Rowan’s “Name Day” every four years.