Perhaps the confusion exists because on the day of Elvis’ birth, January 8, 1935, Gladys and Vernon (Elvis’ parents) had only been expecting one child and the named they picked out, if it was a boy, was NOT Elvis Aaron Presley or Elvis Aron Presley but…Jesse Garon Presley (note: as was common in the South they chose the name “Jesse” out of respect to Vernon’s’ Father who was named Jesse). The reason being is that Gladys was not aware that she was having twins although having twins does run in their bloodline/family.
On January 8, 1935 Gladys gave birth to a son, Jesse Garon Presley, who (sadly) was born “stillborn” meaning that he had died. During the emotional torment of just giving birth, and knowing that her child had died, Gladys (to summarize) called out to the attending Doctor that “I think there is another one”. The Doctor checked and yes there was another one – a son – and now Vernon and Gladys had to come up with a name and they choose “Elvis” as that was Vernon’s’ middle name (i.e. Vernon Elvis Presley) and “Aron”. The official paperwork for Elvis birth/delivery confirms the name “Elvis Aron Presley”.
Whether this was the Doctors typographical error, to spell it Aron, or not remains a mystery to this day but it is safe to say that January 8, 1935 was not a day for Gladys or Vernon to be “spell checking” but to celebrate the birth of their son – be thankful that Gladys was doing all right – and to mourn the loss of their first child…Jesse Garon Presley as well as to make burial arrangements.
One fact that has escaped the majority of Elvis Presley Fans, and the applicable “Press”, is that Gladys was pregnant during the years 1942 and 1943 but (sadly) miscarried and this was her final pregnancy. Needless to say, it was heartbreaking for Gladys and Vernon to (again) suffer the loss of a child. Fate, and God, had determined that Elvis would be “an only child”.
Worth noting is that on the Marriage Certificate, of Elvis and Priscilla, dated May 1, 1967 Elvis name continued to be spelled as “Elvis Aron Presley”.
During the 1970’s Elvis assigned Vernon the task of checking with the State of Tennessee, and the Federal Government, about changing the legal spelling of “Aron” to “Aaron” which is the biblical spelling.
Vernon made the calls and to his surprise was told that “somehow it was in the records as already being Aaron”. Vernon shared this with Elvis who was also surprised and used, more and more, the spelling of “Aaron” on documents/signature pages both legal and otherwise.
The fact that Vernon personally confirmed that Elvis’ name was “legally” Elvis Aaron Presley came into consideration (sadly) when Elvis died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. Thus Vernon ordered the engraving, on Elvis’ tombstone/headstone, to reflect the full legal name of “Elvis Aaron Presley”. Many Elvis Presley Fans Worldwide have questioned if this was a “mistake” or some “sign” of Elvis not really being dead. Nothing more could be further from the truth as in spite of enduring spiritual/soulful/painful feelings of loss, of his beloved son Elvis that adversely affected Vernon every remaining day of his life, Vernon simply made sure the engraving appeared correctly.
Interestingly, Elvis was not the first member of his family to change the spelling of his name but it was Vernon’s Father (i.e. Jesse). Jesse was not only Vernon’s Father but also the “ex-husband” of Elvis’ beloved GrandMother who he called “Dodger” (i.e. Minnie Mae Presley).
Jesse, Elvis’ GrandFather, was legally named Jesse D.McDowell Pressley otherwise known as “JD”. During the mid 1800’s the family of “Pressley” first began to use the spelling of “Presley”. This was evident when Vernon was born as and once Elvis became famous Jesse opted to use the same spelling as “Presley”.
Elvis Aron Presley, and Elvis Aaron Presley, were “one and the same” and was – is – and forever will be as unique a man/entertainer/son/grandson/friend/father/etc. regardless of how one spells his middle name.
Take care and may God bless you.