My question today: Are there circumstances which might lead to a child being Christened twice? I have two possible examples in Birmingham. I have used the wonderful new images of Birmingham’s Parish Records available on Ancestry to re-examine all my information, but the questions still remain.
My 4 x Great Grandfather Thomas MOLESWORTH lived in Birmingham, married twice, and had a big family. All the family Christenings took place in the New Meeting House, a Unitarian chapel in Moor Street. However, as this was a non-conformist chapel, most of the rest of the family church events took place, of necessity, at the main C of E churches in the city, such as St Martin's in the Bullring.
Thomas and his first wife Myra had 10 children between 1781 and 1799. This included 2 sons called Thomas (following a standard practice of ‘recycling‘ the names of children who died), who both died young, and apparently 2 daughters called Elizabeth. The first of these was Christened on 1 October 1792, the second on 5 January 1795. This second Elizabeth was buried in St Martin’s on 18 May 1796. Between the 2 Elizabeths, Thomas and Myra had a son, the second Thomas, who appears to have died so soon after birth that he was never Christened, and was buried in St Martin’s on 3 January 1794.
My problem is that I can find no burial for the first Elizabeth. She must have died between her Christening on 1 October 1792, and the birth of the second Elizabeth in cMay 1795, but there is no sign of it anywhere. Even the new Ancestry records have not thrown it up.
So, it is possible that Elizabeth’s Burial was somehow omitted from the records, probably of St Martin’s. Given the large numbers of burials, this would not be particularly surprising. Or the record for the burial of Thomas in 1794 was incorrectly rendered in the records, and it was actually “Elizabeth, daughter“, not “Thomas, son“, who was buried. Or there was only one Elizabeth, but she was Christened twice.
The reason why I wonder if this ‘double Christening’ was a possibility, is that I have another example.
Thomas’ daughter Myra married James SPITTLE in Birmingham in 1808, and they raised a family of 9. They had a daughter Sarah, who was born on 20 February 1813 and Christened in St Martin’s on 15 March 1813, with her older sister Mary. I have no record of any burial for Sarah, but then on 18 November 1816, another Sarah was Christened in St Martin’s. No date of birth is given on the Christening record. This Sarah married and lived until the 1860s. Again, I realise that the strong probability is that the original burial for the first Sarah, presumably between March 1813 and late 1816, was missed from the record. But I also wonder if there was only one Sarah, and she was Christened twice for some reason.
I would be grateful for any thoughts on this, particularly if you have any proven examples of children being Christened twice, and the reasons it might have occurred.