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Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

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Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby SDV » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:07 am

I am trying to locate the birth certificate of Charles Riddle, who was born c1839 in the Chiddingfold Workhouse. His father was William Riddle, a labourer. And his mother was Harriet Riddle, formerly Glazier and born Far.

I have a copy of his baptism, which took place on 25 Jul 1839. I also have a copy of his death certificate. He died on 29 Mar 1840 of pneumonia in the Hambledon Workhouse. He was buried a few days later on 29 Mar 1840, hs residence being the Hambledon House of Industry.

I know that this was very early in the registration period and people were often lax, but given that this all happened in the workhouse, I would have thought that there would have been a record.

As always, grateful for any help.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby phsvm » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:59 pm

Under the 1836 Births and Deaths Registration Act it was originally the responsibility of the registrar to register a birth, not the parent which is possibly why to start with in some places less than 50% of births were registered. Imagine living in a vey rural area and having to ensure all births were registered - Dartmoor in winter must have been pretty inhospitable!

This being the case the parents and those who ran the workhouse may have felt it wasn't their responsibility to register a birth, which indeed it wasn't. If the registrar only visited the workhouse infrequently it is easy to see how a birth, perhaps weeks before could be missed.

It wasn't until 1874 that it was the responsbility of the individual to register a birth with fines for non-compliance.

I don't know if it's possible but if there is a list of inmates in the workhouse around the time of the birth you might be able to ascertain whether other births around the same time were registered or not. If others aren't I think you can assume that the registrar missed them because he didn't visit.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:09 pm

phsvm wrote:Under the 1836 Births and Deaths Registration Act it was originally the responsibility of the registrar to register a birth, ...
This being the case the parents and those who ran the workhouse may have felt it wasn't their responsibility to register a birth, which indeed it wasn't. If the registrar only visited the workhouse infrequently it is easy to see how a birth, perhaps weeks before could be missed.
...

While I don't disagree about the responsibility, I find the idea of the registrar making visits less than compelling. While it was certainly the registrar's responsibility to register births, I really doubt that he could do everything by himself - he surely had to discharge his responsibility by informally co-opting others? He's not, after all, going to call in at every house, every few months to ask, "Any pregnant women or new-borns here?" He must surely have had a communications network via the local midwives, doctors, parish priests, etc., who would be asked to give him a nod about any new-borns.

Maybe the workhouse was requested to pass on such news but, being quite early on in the registration process, they hadn't really got their act together. Or maybe the workhouse saw such record keeping as an unwarranted interference which they wanted no part of. So yes, communications problem is the probable answer - but the exact reason for the breakdown is more debatable, I think.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:26 pm

It may well be too early for Charles, and you may already know about it, but FreeBMD has this

Births Sep 1837 (>99%)
Riddle Male Hambledon 4 140

And the matching entry in the new DOVE-format GRO indexes is:
Name: Mother's Maiden Surname:
RIDDLE, RIDDLE FARRE
GRO Reference: 1837 S Quarter in HAMBLEDON UNION Volume 04 Page 140

So that's one of that family, I think, based on the mother's maiden name? (Interesting to see how the "Male" of FreeBMD gets entered as a double-surname in GRO)

Also in FindMyPast's Surrey institutional records 1788-1939 are these 2:

First name(s) William
Last name Riddle
Year 1839
Date 20 May 1839
Nature of relief Wife's confinement to be attended by Mr Yate
Page number 204
Year range 1836-1910
Country England
County Surrey
Place Hambledon
Event Workhouse
Archive Surrey History Centre
Archive reference BG7/11/1
Dataset title Hambledon Board Of Guardians Minute Books 1836-1910
Record set Surrey Institutional Records 1788-1939


First name(s) William
Last name Riddle
Year 1841
Date 25 Jan 1841
Nature of relief Mr Yate to attend his wife's confinement
Page number 308
Year range 1836-1910
Country England
County Surrey
Place Hambledon
Event Workhouse
Archive Surrey History Centre
Archive reference BG7/11/1
Dataset title Hambledon Board Of Guardians Minute Books 1836-1910
Record set Surrey Institutional Records 1788-1939


If those 2 are your lot, then that first one looks like it could be Charles????? Which, if true, would at least put a range on Charles' birth of 20 May 1839 to 25 July 1839.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby peter kent » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:40 am

In practically every case, at least in the early years of civil registration, the Superintendent Registrar was the Clerk to the Board of Guardians.

Being born in the workhouse was the best way to ensure that your birth was registered.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby phsvm » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:23 pm

Thanks for that piece of information Peter which I wasn't aware of. Now to find somewhere in my brain to store that nugget :-)
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby ianbee » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:07 pm

peter kent wrote:Being born in the workhouse was the best way to ensure that your birth was registered.

Not in the case of Charles Riddle!
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby peter kent » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:16 am

Not in the case of Charles Riddle!


I think we need to question the assumptions.

The data that Adrian found doesn't make me totally confident that he actually was born in the workhouse. He may have been admitted after the birth and the staff missed a trick in getting him registered.

Unfortunately the workhouse website says that few records for Hambledon Union have survived. If there were any, that would have been the place to look.
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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:49 am

I must admit that the comments about confinement to be attended by... don't strike me as definitely meaning that the mother-to-be was in the workhouse. That's if they are referring to the same family at all. I would suggest that someone needs to look at the full text of those minutes to see if there is any clarity over whether that relief was indoor (ie she was in the workhouse) or outdoor (she wasn't in and the doctor went to her). Would the decision need the involvement of the Board (or whatever it was at that time) if it were just a case of the doctor looking at her on his rounds inside the workhouse? From a position of guesswork, my gut feeling is that the doctor was being instructed to call in on his rounds outside the workhouse. But note the word guesswork.

As I recollect though, there is no record in FreeBMD to match that first confinement. But also, I am unclear whether the baptism shows a residence of the workhouse or not. Equally, I'd be interested in knowing if there is anything in the PRs to match the unnamed male birth registration that is there but earlier.


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Re: Missing birth certificate for Charles Riddle

Postby ianbee » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:27 am

Adrian, you might get a better context of the Riddle confinement in the guardians minutes from the pdf
https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/asse ... 6-1910.pdf

Mr Yate is authorized to attend to various confinements!
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