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Missing Birth Registration

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Missing Birth Registration

Postby Will Mundy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:00 pm

Good evening,
I am researching my third great grandfathers ancestry his name was Frederick William Sparrowhawk he was baptised on the 16th October 1842 in Bampton, Oxfordshire he was of the nearby hamlet Aston and Cote. His mother was Ann Sparrowhawk, who was a spinster she was working in a nearby house to a rich family the Lindsey's, they had a son Frederick born in 1822 and he married later on in 1843 making him I think quite a strong possibility for Frederick's father. Ann Sparrowhawk was born in 1820, she had another son in the same town Bampton called Thomas Edwin in 1839, his father is unknown as there's no mention of his father or where Ann was working. After Frederick William was born Ann seems to have gone AWOL and moves to Oxford and later on marries a man quite a bit younger in 1858 and has further children, appearing to leave her older children to fend for themselves.

Ann registered the first child Thomas but her second Frederick William Sparrowhawk does not appear to have been registered, but was baptised. Was this just a mistake at the GRO? or is there another explanation as to what happened to Frederick's birth certificate? Also if there is any way of deginately identifying Frederick's father or if it will always be an educated guess?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: Missing Birth Registration

Postby Mick Loney » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:15 pm

In the early days of GRO, it was the responsibility of local registrars and their assistants ( i.e. not the parents) to register all new births, marriages and deaths in their area. Although they caught most, it wasn’t a very robust system, and many slipped through the net.

It is therefore not surprising for a birth registration to be missed. When we perform a search on Freebmd etc, we are looking at the central GRO indexes, which are compiled from returns sent every 3 months from local registrars. This doubling handling was also a source of errors.

If you cannot find a birth on the central GRO index, you could always ask the local registry office to do a search of their records, in case the entry never made it to the central index.

As for identifying the possible father, one would need to rely on whether Ann went after him for maintenance for the child, so try looking to see whether there was a bastardy order taken out. If not, then you’ll be out of luck.
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Re: Missing Birth Registration

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:15 am

You've probably done all this but for the sake of form I better mention that you need to check variation spellings (Spar followed by a wild card would seem useful) plus a wide variation in date in case it's a slightly delayed baptism.

You should also check wills just in case the testator leaves something to his natural son - though it's only practical to do it for someone that you already have a suspicion about.

Bastardy orders are perhaps your best bet but their survival seems to vary - Lancashire seems good, the adjacent county of Cheshire seems poor, for instance.

And of course someone should mention DNA... But I won't...

Good luck

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