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Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

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Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby leohickman » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:53 pm

Hello,

I was hoping someone might be able to help me.

I'm trying to find the original birth certificate for the following person...

Name = Jannett Conway RICHARDSON
Mother's maiden name: Conway
Born = 4 April 1848
Registration district = STRAND

(She was later called "Jeannette", but seems to have been registered and baptised under this name. I'm trying to find out who her parents were, as I've got conflicting names for her father on her baptism and first marriage certs. Her younger sister, possibly half-sister, Alice, was my 2x great-grandmother, but I can't find anything about her parents, so I'm hoping tracing Jeannette's records might help.)

I tried to order the GRO's copy, but I had the following response:

"We have been unable to process your application…Sometimes we experience difficulties with our records where the quality of the original document is poor and are unable to reproduce a pdf accordingly. Unfortunately, on this occasion we are unable to issue a produce pdf reflecting the original document."

I was hoping, therefore, that the original Strand cert still exists?

My understanding is the Strand registration district was abolished in 1913 and, over time, became the Westminster district.

However, I've tried emailing and calling the Westminster register office for help, but they keep referring me back to the GRO. Is the original Strand birth certificate likely to still exists somewhere or is the (poor quality) GRO copy the only version of the birth information likely to have survived?

Many thanks in advance.

Best, Leo
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby sdup26 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:50 pm

As you say, the GRO birth entry for her is Jannett Conway Richardson, JQ 1848, Strand 1 388, mother's maiden name Conway. As you mention her baptism, you probably already have this: Jennet Conway Richardson, born 4th April 1848, baptised St Anne, Soho, Westminster, 21st May 1848. Father Henry Richardson, mother Jane.
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby AntonyM » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:56 pm

There is no original birth certificate - the only original document is the birth register entry which will be held by Westminster Registration Office. All certificates, and the the details GRO have, are copies of the information on that original entry.

GRO say they can't produce a pdf copy, but you could order a paper certificate ( they may be able to manually copy the information).

Sadly it is becoming more common for larger registration offices to just refer requests for historical certificates to "order from GRO", sometimes because they have put older registers into storage, and in some cases they just don't have the staff to deal with certificate production. In a couple of cases I have found an application by letter to the Supt. Registrar, enclosing the required fee and reminding them of their statutory responsibility to provide certificates from the registers they hold may get a response.

If not, the only angle is a complaint via the Registrar General.
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby elsabels » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:06 pm

On the baptism dated 28 May 1851 of Alice b 18 May 1851, Jane is given as a spinster, of Carlton Terrace the baptism immediately above is for 'sister' Jeanette b 4 April 1848 .

The 1861 census also states Jane is unmarried.

Maybe Conway is the name of the father of Jeanette!
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby leohickman » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:54 am

elsabels wrote:On the baptism dated 28 May 1851 of Alice b 18 May 1851, Jane is given as a spinster, of Carlton Terrace the baptism immediately above is for 'sister' Jeanette b 4 April 1848 .

The 1861 census also states Jane is unmarried.

Maybe Conway is the name of the father of Jeanette!



Many thanks Elsabels!

This is very exciting as I've never stumbled across this baptism information for Alice from 1851 before. But I can't find it in the Westminster Baptism records on Find My Past. Or on Ancestry. Please can I ask you what the exact reference is for the record and on which website you found it?

Best, Leo

UPDATE: Ah, yes, I have found it now on Ancestry...

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Board of Guardian Records, 1834-1906/Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1906; Reference Number: p87/mry/032

So it appears that Jeannette, her (half?) sister, was baptised twice?! First on 21 May 1848, just after she was born, at Westminster St Annes (where the record lists her father as "Henry Richardson", a printer on Porter Street, and her mother as Jane Richardson). And she was then baptised again on the same day, 28 May 1851, as her new-born sister Alice at Paddington Green St Mary. But, as you say, there is no mention of a father for either of them, with their mother Jane being listed as a "spinster".

Why would Jeannette be baptised twice? Was that common in those days? Maybe Jane was never actually married to a "Henry Richardson" (I can't find a marriage cert, or a death cert for a Henry from 1848-1851) at the time of Jeanette's birth in 1848, and that was written down to help "legitimise" her on the official records? Was he a totally invented person, perhaps?

But what adds to the intrigue is that in the 1851 census, Jane, the "head" of the house, is listed as a "widow". A 4-year-old "Jennett" is listed as living with her at 163 Carlton Terrace, along with two male lodgers. The census must have been taken just before Alice was born.

So it seems that Jane was filling out these various forms with conflicting information, perhaps to cover the trail that the father(s) of her two daughters was/were not married to her? It's quite a mystery?!
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby peter kent » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:53 am

But what adds to the intrigue is that in the 1851 census, Jane, the "head" of the house, is listed as a "widow".


I would rate it as unusual if an unmarried mother did not describe herself as a widow.
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Re: Help, pls... locating an "original" birth cert from 1848

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:08 pm

AntonyM wrote:... Sadly it is becoming more common for larger registration offices to just refer requests for historical certificates to "order from GRO", ...

As an aside, a big thank-you from me to our local registration offices in Cheshire and the surrounding counties, the bulk of whom co-operate with the CountyBMD web-site and its volunteers to enable the ordering of certificates from them. So much so that I'd rather go via the local registration offices, not least because they sometimes produce images of the originals with their signatures.
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