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Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:48 am
Apologies if this has been asked before, but I haven't been able to find a post.
Does anyone know why a family might have waited several years before baptising all their children in one batch on one day? I know there were taxes applied to parish registers at one point, would this have been a cost cutting measure? Or would it signify that the family wasn't really that religious? Or something else?
The family in question is the Spink Family, in Hull. Baptism date is 30th Nov 1834, and they seem to have baptised all 5 children that day.
The father was also a sailor, so could it have been related to his availability? I.e. did the father need to be present at the baptism?
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:52 am
There seem to be quite a lot of multiple baptisms at that parish over September,October and November ,mostly with fathers who were mariners but also a school masters 3 children.
John and Elizabeth Spinks also had 2 children baptised on 17 Aug 1834.
It looks to me like William Knight the vicar has gone round the parish rounding up his errant parishioners and getting them to christen their children.
1834 looks like sailors,1835 lots of cabinet makers and small manufacturers.
It's possible William and Jane were non-conformists ,but some parishes had Sunday Schools and would 'do' all the children in one go.A non-conformist might take their children to Sunday School but not Church.
There are multiple christenings for sailors even from January ,although latter in the year seems more popular.The father didn't need to be present ,but I suppose if he was due in Port ,the mother might wait a few weeks or months.
There was also cheap days for Christening and marriages such as Easter and Christmas.
Manchester Cathedral was cheaper than surrounding parishes for instance.
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:16 pm
I've never been convinced by the narrative of families waiting until they had a batch of children to be baptised, as has been suggested elsewhere.
I think it more likely that the family simply wasn't going to baptise the children at all - perhaps for religious reasons, perhaps because they disliked the parish priest, perhaps it was simply too darn far to the church. In such a case I think it distinctly possible that a young, energetic curate comes along, starts talking to the parents and asks, "So have they been baptised?", "Err...", "Bring them along next Sunday, Mrs Smith!" The point is that in this narrative it's an outside factor that triggers the change of mind.
Of course, it might be possible to see what's going on - if there are a couple of pages in the baptism register of children all done on the same day, then it's clearly an outside factor like the eager curate. A single family of several children? Much more difficult to tell whether it's an outside factor or someone in the family simply saying, "Mother - don't you think we should have 'em baptised?" In one family of mine, the children weren't baptised until later on, just after one parent had died - so it may be that parent was against baptism in the church while after their death, the grandparents took over and had a different view.
There are some external factors that we know of - a duty that had to be paid on baptisms in the late 17100s(???), for instance, resulted in less baptisms and probably a catch up later.
Fascinating to speculate - but speculation is all it is in many cases - but not all if you look far enough.
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:31 pm
In My case I was baptised along with my younger brother. The reason being we had moved from Scotland to England where my brother was born(all the rest of the family were born in Scotland).
A trip was arranged and we were both christened in the church in West Lothian where the family came from.I was six.My older brothers and sister were baptised there when they were young.
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:59 pm
Thanks for all your input - lots of food for thought. Hadn't thought to look through the parish registers to see if there were a lot of group baptisms, that's a great suggestion!
Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:03 pm
Civil registration of births in England began in 1837 but it was not possible to register retrospectively. Therefore a lot of people got themselves registered before the deadline when they were able to register all of their (sometimes grown up) children retrospectively. They were then given a document which they could use as ID.
Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:39 am
Gamekeepers wrote:Civil registration of births in England began in 1837 but it was not possible to register retrospectively. Therefore a lot of people got themselves registered before the deadline when they were able to register all of their (sometimes grown up) children retrospectively. They were then given a document which they could use as ID.
I think an explanation is needed here. First you say they couldn’t register retrospectively, then go on to say they did them together to register retrospectively! A bit of a contradiction
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