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Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

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Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:41 pm

I can't remember if this issue has come up before - I didn't see it on a quick search. (I'll use the real names because it was back in 1871 and, so far as I can see, there are no descendants)

I found an "interesting" birth registration on FreeBMD
James Lingham, reg Q2 1871, Altrincham.

I decided to order the certificate as a PDF through the new GRO system - but couldn't find it or any sensible spelling variation, so ordered the old style paper certificate. It came today and the registration is for

James.
Father Piers Bratt
Mother & Informant Mary Lingham - no "formerly" so not married
Q2 1871 Altrincham.

The new GRO system has, I discovered, indexed this registration but only with the surname Bratt and with a hyphen for mother's maiden name.

The old one, judging by FreeBMD, indexed the child twice, under both Bratt and Lingham.

Surely this shouldn't have happened? Has anyone else seen this? I have submitted a correction to the GRO but thought that you might care to think about this. I'd never have found this in the new GRO system as I had no idea of the father's name. So use FreeBMD if the new GRO system doesn't work, folks!

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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby avaline » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:03 pm

Yes, I've come across this a few times and so if I can't find a birth on the GRO I always make a point of checking FreeBMD to look for it first under the known surname (mother) and then looking for any others on the page with the same forename, which I then cross-check back to the GRO

I agree though, it does seem an odd way to index it.
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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby Mick Loney » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:23 pm

This could explain some of my missing GRO entries! I have found people on freebmd, yet failed to find them on GRO site, to confirm mother’s maiden name, despite having surname and full reference from FreeBMD.
I think GRO should have a serious re-think on their indexing, at least allow a full reference as a search criteria! :cry:
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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby AntonyM » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:56 am

Whenever an index is created, decisions are taken about what to include and not include and what rules to follow.

The old index used rules which changed over time (such as the addition of maiden names in 1911) and the new GRO index has been created using a different set of rules again, and from images of the register entry copies, not just by re-indexing the existing index pages.

Births to unmarried parents in the old indexes would normally be indexed under both parents names.

Where a father is named on the entry (regardless of marital status) the new GRO index seems to only index under the that name. As an unmarried woman the "-" for the maiden name on the new entry is correct.

Understanding how the different indexes work and comparing the way an entry appears on each (if they are different) can be a useful way of determining what is likely to be on the register entry.

The entry seems to have been correctly indexed under the rules GRO are using, so your correction request will probably not have any effect.
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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby meekhcs » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:18 am

I know of an incidence whereby the child was registered in Mother’s name. Mother then changed name by deed poll to supposed Father’s surname and the child was registered again with Father’s surname. The Father’s name did not appear on either registration.


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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:21 am

AntonyM wrote:...
Births to unmarried parents in the old indexes would normally be indexed under both parents names.

Where a father is named on the entry (regardless of marital status) the new GRO index seems to only index under the that name. As an unmarried woman the "-" for the maiden name on the new entry is correct.
...

Yes. (Almost)

I've found 2 more examples of unmarried fathers named on BCs.
Example 1 - I shall obscure the names slightly as this isn't about their history and I think that there might be close descendants:
Q1 1911 Nantwich RD
Child: Elsie
Fa: John LLL
Mo: Ellen MMM (no formerly etc so not married)
BOTH are informants

Modern GRO Index
Code: Select all
LLL, ELSIE        -   
GRO Reference: 1911  M Quarter in NANTWICH  Volume 08A  Page 294

No MMM index, i.e. no index under mother's surname, only under father's.

So empty maiden name (as expected), and indexed only under the surname of the father, as you say, Antony.

FreeBMD

Code: Select all
LLL  Elsie         Nantwich    8a   294
MMM  Elsie         Nantwich    8a   294

So indexed under both parents.

Example 2
Q1 1841, Nantwich RD
Child: Joseph
Fa: Thomas HAMMERSLEY
Mo: Sarah BATEMAN (no formerly etc so not married)
Mother is the only informant

Modern GRO index

Code: Select all
HAMMERSLEY, JOSEPH        -   
GRO Reference: 1841  M Quarter in NANTWICH UNION  Volume 19  Page 168

No BATEMAN index.

So empty maiden name (as expected), and indexed only under the surname of the father, again as per your deduced rules.

FreeBMD
Code: Select all
Hammersley    Joseph         Nantwich    19   168

NO BATEMAN index.

So (in 1841) only indexed under the name of the father! But even odder - the CheshireBMD, which indexes the Superintendent Registrar's records) indexes him only as Joseph BATEMAN - the mother's surname!

AntonyM wrote:...
The entry seems to have been correctly indexed under the rules GRO are using, so your correction request will probably not have any effect.

That would seem likely - I would hope that I get an explanation, mind!
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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby AntonyM » Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:00 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:
AntonyM wrote:...
The entry seems to have been correctly indexed under the rules GRO are using, so your correction request will probably not have any effect.

That would seem likely - I would hope that I get an explanation, mind!


If you do let us know, but I'll bet you will get a reply just saying the entry has been checked and no correction is necessary.
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Re: Illegitimate birth - which surname should be indexed?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:08 pm

AntonyM wrote:... I'll bet you will get a reply just saying the entry has been checked and no correction is necessary.


:-D

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