My name is Mariah Kaufman. “One f, one n,” I say, verbatim. I might as well add it to my legal name for the frequency of which I use that phrase.

Think about how many times you have to either write or give out your name; Every time you schedule an appointment, pick up your mail, or fill in paperwork, there is likely a clerk or worker of some kind to assist in the process.

The number of times that these kind humans have to delete and retype my name is astronomical. Kaufman seems innocuous enough, right? Wrong! Kaufman is the last spelling that any Hoosier (or Kansan smh) assumes is correct. The most common misnomer is Kauffman. In defense of my home state, there is a rather affluent family referred to as the “Kansas City Kauffmans” because of all that they’ve given to the city- so I suppose that I can forgive the mix up when I’m at home… but really, 2 F’s? 

Does anyone ever assume double letters for anything? I guarantee that you know at least one person who can’t spell the word “tomorrow” correctly. Why? Because the double r’s are trippy yo! 

Kaufman offers simplicity: one f, one n, no nonsense. It is spelled exactly how it sounds. No need to fear that double letters are hiding in the shadows! Alas, even if the double f’s aren’t an issue, double n’s emerge. To its credit, I do believe that the surname Kaufmann is a more traditional German spelling. However, my point still stands. 

Even scarier than Kauffman or Kaufmann is a combination of the two; Kauffmann! Yowza! Simplicity is key! As if the double letters weren’t ostentatious enough, some people have the audacity to spell Kaufman with a “C”. 

Coffman, Cofman, Coffmann, Cofmann, Caufman, Cauffman, Caufmann, Cauffmann, and Caughman are all spellings that I found in a brief google of the last name Kaufman. Mystery abounds. There are literally so many spellings for this name- even within the Mennonite world! 

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering- “Mariah, why is this such a big deal?” to which I would respond: let me enlighten you!! 

Firstly, I have a strong connection with my family. I am proud to embody Kaufman blood and personality- we’re kinda awesome #kfamforlife. 

But also, I need my name to be spelled correctly so that I can be included in important email threads- ahem piano lesson scheduling. Additionally, I would prefer not to commit fraud of any kind, so it would be nice to have my name spelled correctly.

Idk tho, that might be kind of a big ask. I recognize that in Goshen, there are a multitude of Kaufmans and it can be hard to keep track of their spellings. To help with this, I’ve crafted this nifty little chant that I’ve woven throughout this article- “one f, one n, no nonsense!” Shoutout to Dustin George-Miller for always spelling my name correctly in Music Center stuff.