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Middle name query (Valentine)

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Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby MoVidger » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:17 pm

I suppose this is a silly question with no definitive answer, but wanted to ask anyway. :?

I have a chap who regularly used a middle name/initial in the census records, yet his 1847 birth certificate indicates a first name only. My research confirms it is the same person.

Henry Barber was born 20 Feb 1847 in Hoxne Union Workhouse (located in Stradbroke, Suffolk). His mother was Ann Barber. No father information is provided (the column is blank).

In the 1851 and 1861 census, he is living with his mother Ann. His name is simply listed as Henry Barber. When he marries in 1868, he is still just Henry Barber.

However, in the 1871 and 1881 census records, he begins using "V" and "Val" for his middle name. Which stands for "Valentine". His 1927 death registration lists him as "Henry V Barber".

His second son (born 1872) is given Valentine as a middle name, too. So there is obviously some significance to the name "Valentine", but what could it be? How common was it for Victorian era folks to "add" a middle name when they became adults?

I'm hoping the answer might be a clue to his father. I've tried searching for Hoxne/Stradbroke men with Valentine as a first or last name, but the only possible candidate died several years before Henry was born. So I'm back to the drawing board.

Also, Henry had an older sister named Matilda Barber, born in 1845 in Hoxne. She appears with Henry and mother Ann in the 1851 census for Hoxne, but disappears after that. (Ann married a William Nunn in 1852, and died in 1904). Matilda is not with them in the 1861 census.

Any suggestions or advice provided will be gratefully received. Thanks!
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby brunes08 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:01 pm

This may not help you answer your question but it demonstrates your situation is not unusual. My gt gt grandfather only used a single forename (Thomas) on his marriage certificate, census returns from 1851 to 1891, his children's baptisms and as the identified father on my gt grandfather's marriage certificate. However, when his daughter was the informant for his death certificate, she gave a middle name (Lawrence) that I had not previously come across in any family documents. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to trace a birth for him to confirm the middle name.
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby JaneyH » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:01 am

Do you know if your ancestor had any particular faith affiliation? Roman Catholics are often given an additional Christian name upon confirmation. So there would be one (baptismal) name then a second (confirmation) name. The original Valentine was a Roman martyr so I imagine would be a suitable name to choose in this context.

On another track entirely, one of my great aunts married someone called Valentine, and he was born on 14th February. I have another great-aunt who married someone called Noel. He was born on, yup, Christmas Day.


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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby Dene Fisher » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:19 pm

I have a similar thing in my family, my great grandfather Joseph Hargreaves Atherton was born illegitimate to Anne Atherton who married John Hargreaves soon after Josephs birth.
All through his early life Joseph used the surname Hargreaves & only appended Atherton when he married my great grandmother
You mentioned illegitimacy in your tree, could the Valentine be a clue to the unknown father?


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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby MoVidger » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:01 pm

Thanks JaneyH, Dene, and brunes08 for your replies. I'm quite certain the Barber family weren't Roman Catholic. And yes, I'm hoping Henry's usage of the name Valentine is a clue to his unknown father. But my searches for a local chap with the name Valentine is proving fruitless. I'll keep checking the local census records for 1841 and 1851.

It's another reason why I want to find Matilda after 1851 - unless she died before 1861. If she didn't, it would be interesting to see if she's using a middle name, as well.

In the 1851 census, Ann with children Henry and Matilda are lodging with her elderly mother (?) who is on "parish relief". So it appears the family struggled until Ann married William Nunn the following year.

I'm awaiting the 1852 marriage certificate for Ann and William Nunn. Hopefully, it will provide the name of Ann's father. Having said that, it wouldn't surprise me if she was illegitimate, too.
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby sdup26 » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:07 pm

As you say, Henry uses the V for the first time in the 1871 census, and son William, on the census in 1881 as William V, had his birth registered as William Valentine in 1872. (Clarence b1886 also has the second initial V, but that's for Victor.) Was the name Valentine an homage to someone who was particularly helpful to the family around 1870-2?
Or, as you suggest, had Henry discovered it was his father's name? There is someone of that name living in Wickham Skeith in 1841, the same age as Henry's mother, and still living in Wickham Skeith in 1871. Was this revelation the reason why Henry moved his family north? Obviously, it can only be conjecture on our part.
Incidentally, there's an inmate named as MB, female, aged 15, in the Union Workhouse, Plomesgate, Suffolk, in 1861. Birthplace is given as Wickham Market, but any chance it could be Matilda?
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby MoVidger » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:35 pm

Thanks sdup26 for your findings. They look very interesting, particularly the Valentine Lummis find in the Wickham Skeith census reports. Interestingly, Henry's wife Lucy Musk had a great-grandmother named Dinah Lummis (1758-1844). I've no idea if or how she's related to Valentine Lummis, but it is a possibility.

To answer your question: I believe Henry moved his family to the Bradford area for work. He started out as a thatcher, then became a stone mason.

The 1852 marriage cert for his mother Ann just arrived! Father's name is John Barber, occupation: miller. At the moment, I'm trying to find John with wife Mary and daughter Ann in the 1841 census.
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby sdup26 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:45 pm

I can see a couple of John and Mary entries, although not occupation miller, and no likely Ann, with or without parents. So this is a speculative offering. In 1851, Ann is listed on the census as Mary, which may have been a simple error, but I searched on Mary just in case, and there's a Mary Barber aged 15 (born c1826) female servant, in the household of William Pegg, Weybread, Hoxne.
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby MoVidger » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:30 am

Thanks again sdup26 for another interesting find. I've always wondered if Ann being listed as "Mary" in the 1851 census was an error, or perhaps her name was actually Mary Ann...??

I've not been able to find a birth/baptism for Ann Barber c1826 in Hoxne. Interestingly, her birthplace in 1851 is listed as "Woodbridge", whereas the later census reports indicate Hoxne. I don't think Woodbridge is anywhere near Hoxne, though. So it adds further confusion trying to locate this lady's birth details.

In the 1861 census, there is a "visitor" staying with Ann and husband William Nunn. This Hoxne-born visitor is aged 19 with no occupation listed. Ancestry has transcribed the name as Thomas Barber, but the name has been amended to "Thamer Barber" (female). I've no idea yet how this person is connected to Ann Barber (and son Henry), but I will follow-up tomorrow.
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Re: Middle name query (Valentine)

Postby ianbee » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:56 am

Hi
Have you seen this?
http://www.genealogaker.genealogy.com/f ... rber/6156/

Not sure how it fits in, the Anne in question is apparently up to ten years older than yours. Both baptisms are on ancestry (sister is transcribed as Thomas), Anne's is also on Lancashire OPC

Unless Ann reduced her age somewhat...
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