Moderator Control Panel ]

Twins' birth records

Share your thoughts with your fellow family historians – and the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine team – here

Twins' birth records

Postby Robbie J N » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Does anyone know if there is a system in place for registering the births of twins so that the older of the pair is always registered first?
If numbers are assigned to birth records, is the lower number always the first born, and the higher number the second born?
I have sisters who are twins and their records show them listed this way around, the older twin having a lower number, so I was wondering if this is always the case. Just in case you were wondering, their names are in reverse alphabetical order, with the older twin having initial 'S' and the younger twin having initial 'C'.
One of my great-grandmothers had 2 brothers who were also twins, born in 1899, and their records show them listed in reverse alphabetical order too, initial 'J' ahead of initial 'D'. But, I have no idea which of the 2 brothers was oldest and which was youngest. (I got their birth records from Scotland's People, and there is a note on the left saying 'Twin' for each of them.)

So were twins' names always registered oldest first or is there no particular format or system in place?

Thanks for any help you can provide with regard to this.
Robbie J N
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby ksouthall » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:43 pm

I thought that the time of birth was supposed to be noted on the birth certificates and children from multiple births. However, this may be a recent practice.

Perhaps someone else might have some examples?
ksouthall
 
Posts: 1937
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby Robbie J N » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:00 pm

I think the information I got from Scotland’s People would be the same as on an actual certificate, but I can’t be sure. The GRO certificates I have, for English births, look like they have done a cut and paste job from originals like the ones on Scotland’s People, where there are 3 to a page.

With regard to recent births, I was more interested in the birth records or indexes, rather than actual certificates, so the sort of thing you can research on Ancestry or Find My Past without having to purchase an official certificate. When researching a pair of 3rd cousins 1x removed, for example, I would just need to know which twin is older so I can accurately put them in the correct place in the pecking order for their family.

Another problem, quite minor, is creating a family tree on Ancestry where twins’ names are not in both chronological and alphabetical order. I can’t get my sister with initial ‘S’ to appear before her twin with initial ‘C’. I even messaged Ancestry Support about it and they said there was nothing they could do.

Anyone know any other ways to determine the older twin from the younger one when doing research?
Robbie J N
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby pollymac » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:45 pm

My great grandmother was born in 1864 in England. She was a twin and the time of her birth is recorded on her birth certificate.

All Scottish birth records obtained from Scotlands People should have the time of birth recorded on them, not just twin births.
pollymac
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:45 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby Robbie J N » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:10 pm

I think the Scotland’s People twins records might have a time on them, but it is indecipherable other than ending in PM. Even on the record for the twins, the other record on that page has no time on it, but many others do, but again they are very hard to decipher. If these are the only records available and the handwriting is not easy to read, putting it mildly, then how can you tell which twin is older?

(If I had to guess, I would say my great-grandmother’s brothers were born at 7:15 and 7:45 PM, but the handwriting and quality of the scan is very very hard to make out, especially the 1 and the 4.)

The point I was getting at was - Is it possible to tell which way round a pair of twins were born, from searching the records of births without seeing the actual certificate(s)?
Some records are numbered, so does this number relate to which twin is older?
If the parent registered the younger twin’s name first, does that muck up the numbering system?
Recent records, for example 1998, have an ‘Entry Number’ on them. Does this relate to which twin is older?
Robbie J N
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby pollymac » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:41 pm

A pair of Scottish born twins in my tree were George, born at 12h 0m noon, entry number 9 and Jane, born at 12h 30m pm, entry number 10. In this family the older twin was registered first but it is also that case that the names were registered alphabetically.
I will check if I have any other Scottish twins.
pollymac
 
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:45 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby Robbie J N » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:00 pm

Sorry, I should have said earlier, but most of the records I am referring to are English records. The example of my great-grandmother’s twin brothers were the only Scottish twins I have researched.

When searching for English and Welsh birth records on Ancestry, the ‘Entry Number’ on the record page, below the ‘Register Number’, seems a recent thing, like the last 25 years roughly. Does this number relate to which twin is the older one and which is the younger one? That’s the point I’m trying to get at. Sorry for any confusion.

Thanks again for all the input.
Robbie J N
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby ksouthall » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:23 am

Robbie J N wrote:The point I was getting at was - Is it possible to tell which way round a pair of twins were born, from searching the records of births without seeing the actual certificate(s)?
Some records are numbered, so does this number relate to which twin is older?
If the parent registered the younger twin’s name first, does that muck up the numbering system?
Recent records, for example 1998, have an ‘Entry Number’ on them. Does this relate to which twin is older?


No. The "Entry Number" would be the order in which the children were registered. I think the only way to be sure which twin was born first would be to purchase the certificate to see what the time of birth was.

Another alternative would be to ask family members in case they have additional knowledge to add, however you have to bear in mind people's recollections are not always accurate.
ksouthall
 
Posts: 1937
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby Robbie J N » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:28 pm

Thanks for the clarification.

Do any certificates ever indicate if twins are identical or not. My sisters are not identical, but I do not know about my great-grandmother's brothers? (Obviously if one twin is a boy and the other twin is a girl, it is not an issue.)

I wanted to know these things regarding twins so that names in my various trees and lists could be put in the correct order amongst other things.
One of my 5x great-grandmothers was Christened on the same day as her brother in 1767 (in Warwickshire), but luckily the priest/vicar put a note on the record saying - NOT TWINS. So that was quite helpful, though I still do not know which sibling was older.
One of my 5x great-grandfathers was Christened on the same day as his brother in 1747 (in Gloucestershire), but I have no idea if they were twins or just siblings whose service was performed at the same time.
Both of those examples were pre-1837, so no birth records existed, only if the actual date of birth happened to be recorded on the baptism record, which they can be, but not always.

Another reason to know the older/younger order of twins is when compiling a list of descendants of a particular pair of ancestors. One pair of my great-great-grandparents had 12 children, and I have traced the names of over 450 of their descendants, each one given a specific and unique number. For example, my father has the number 10.1.1 and my twin sisters are numbers 10.1.1.4 and 10.1.1.5. (The 4 numbers indicate they are 4th generation descendants, therefore great-great-grandchildren.) Some of those I have traced are younger than me, but I am not in contact with any of their close family members, parents, uncles, aunties, grandparents, etc, so I can only go by Ancestry records, and not on family knowledge. (In this case, knowing whether twins are identical or not, is not important.)

Sorry if I have been a bit of a pain in asking all these things, but I am just trying to make my research be as accurate as possible, or at the least, as accurate as I need it to be. (By that I mean, I need years of birth, not specifically an exact date for most people, especially distant relatives and people who are not my direct ancestors.)

Thanks again for helping answer these questions, as it is appreciated.
Robbie J N
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am

Re: Twins' birth records

Postby Guy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:20 pm

Robbie J N wrote:Thanks for the clarification.

Do any certificates ever indicate if twins are identical or not. My sisters are not identical, but I do not know about my great-grandmother's brothers? (Obviously if one twin is a boy and the other twin is a girl, it is not an issue.)

I wanted to know these things regarding twins so that names in my various trees and lists could be put in the correct order amongst other things.
One of my 5x great-grandmothers was Christened on the same day as her brother in 1767 (in Warwickshire), but luckily the priest/vicar put a note on the record saying - NOT TWINS. So that was quite helpful, though I still do not know which sibling was older.


It is still possible at this time to use the same methods (though alas not often used in this time of digital records) as would be used to help to confirm birth dates in later years.
One such method would be to use census records, it may be a long shot but someone baptised in 1767 could appear in the 1814, 1851 and even the 1861 census. Burial records & gravestones may also (though not always) record ages.

Robbie J N wrote:One of my 5x great-grandfathers was Christened on the same day as his brother in 1747 (in Gloucestershire), but I have no idea if they were twins or just siblings whose service was performed at the same time.
Both of those examples were pre-1837, so no birth records existed, only if the actual date of birth happened to be recorded on the baptism record, which they can be, but not always.


Other records include wills, apprenticeships, workhouse records, army & navy records, court records etc., many of these records may include age some may even include a description of the person even newspaper reports (or advertisements) may provide such information.

There are many sources available but some may not appear obvious at first sight and may require thinking out of the box.

Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
Guy
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Next

Return to Genealogy chat


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron