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My question has to do with deception, and concerns whether or not a person needs to change his name. (I'm not thinking of a specific person, and don't require a psak).

For the sake of an argument, what happens if a man with the surname of Cohen marries a non-Jewish lady and has a son, who grows up and marries a Jewish lady, also having a boy. This boy is Jewish, since his mother is Jewish, and he has the surname of Cohen, since his father's surname is Cohen, but he is not himself a kohen since his father wasn't one.

In such a situation, would it be considered necessary for him to change his name, lest people mistake him or his subsequent male descendants for kohanim?

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    Anecdotally, I can say, I have known a few Cohens and Katzes (another kohen name) who were not kohanim. And a Segal family that's not l'viyim. – msh210 Aug 20 '15 at 2:25
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    @msh210 Were the Katzes in questions כץ or קץ? The latter is often shortened from Katzenelenbogen (or something like that). – Double AA Aug 20 '15 at 2:33
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    @DoubleAA, כץ or even כ״ץ IIRC (but I'm not sure I do). – msh210 Aug 20 '15 at 5:51
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    I know of a family which adopted the last name Katz during war times. So as not to be making a false claim, they spell their name like this: קטץ or maybe קאץ. – intuit Aug 20 '15 at 13:16
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    @Daniel The point I'm making is that I believe halachically, no assumptions halachically should be made from a last name in any language. I know that people tend to do this in the same way that people assume that someone with the l;ast name "Goldstein" is Jewish. But that assumption has no halachic binding basis AFAIK. Thus, I question that concept of gneivat da'at if it is founded on the person's non-halachic "thinking". – DanF Sep 9 '15 at 14:08

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