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Surname change

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Christopher Report 2 Jan 2013 18:42

I have been trying to find a record of my father's birth without success.
I have today found 2 records of my mother's marriage in1929.
One has my father's name as I know it, and the other, same first names but different surname.
I then looked up birth record of the unfamiliar name and found it exists.
i am now guessing that his surname was changed between birth and the 1911 Census. Are there any records of name changes?


KempinaPartyhat Report 2 Jan 2013 18:50

Prehaps your father was adopted?
prehaps your father was given away ?
prehaps your father married before ?

Theres been lots of reasons for name changes ......none right none wrong ...try to order the one that does exsit IF you cant get it he MAY have been adopted

Name change records dont exsist as far as I know and two of my children have changed their names BUT cant change their birth recorded name UNLESS their parents married AFTER the childs birth but again this was after a certain date which someone here will know

you could give us the name and we could take a look for you !?


brummiejan Report 2 Jan 2013 19:04

He won't be officially adopted as this didn't happen before about 1927.
Does he give his father's name on the marriage cert?


KempinaPartyhat Report 2 Jan 2013 19:07

Brummiejan :-D

Poor man is new to this I didnt want to scare him ....but yes Christopher Brummiejan is right ....

Would you like us to look as we may be able to find his family before he married which may answer you questions


Christopher Report 2 Jan 2013 23:52

Thanks for reply.
Father was born in 1902. As could not find his birth details, but was on 1911 Census, I applied for one of his sister's birth certificates, in order to find out my grandmother's maiden name. To my surprise, that proved that she had a different mother - her former surname was the same as the birth surname I have now found for my father; an unusual name at that. It seems to be a very complex family!!


BradM Report 3 Jan 2013 00:00

What does the father's name say on both certificates of marriage for your father?



InspectorGreenPen Report 3 Jan 2013 07:37

In your OP you say "I have today found 2 records of my mother's marriage in1929."

By this are you saying you have simply identified two possible entries in the GRO Index at this stage, not that you have two individual certs? My guess is that there is a single marriage cert but with both surnames, the one given at birth and the one he later became known by, hence the two index entries.

It is possible his mother was unmarried at the time of his birth, hence the birth was registered in her maiden name, but that she subsequently married and he 'adopted' her married name. Have you found a marriage record for his mother and if so was it before or after his birth?


MarieCeleste Report 3 Jan 2013 11:44

Christopher - the family probably isn't as complicated as you may think!

Sounds very much like they just did births and marriages in a different order, certainly not uncommon back then.

You're saying that you father's sister had a different mother - is it just the surname that is different, or the forename too?

I can understand if you are reticent about posting details on here, but if you do choose to then we'll be more than happy to help make sense of things.


Christopher Report 4 Jan 2013 16:45

To BM and InspectorGreenPen,
I have an original marriage certificate of my parents which was in my mother's personal effects after her death. That has only the surname which I have. The other marriage entry is Hand written, with an "A" after the page number. This is an entry under the surname that I have only just found out. Otherwise the volume no. Page no. and spouse name are all the same


Christopher Report 4 Jan 2013 17:29

To MarieCeleste.

My aunt (Minnie), born 1906, is shown on her birth certificate, as having the father whom I have assumed was my Grandfather. But her mother was not Mary, shown on 1911 Census as "Wife" and married to "Head" of household for 14 years. Her mother was a Minnie Ferren, formerly Lonergen.

Lonergen is the name which now seems to be the one my father was born with.

The day before I found out the new name, I applied to the General Records Office (GRO) for a birth certificate without knowing the Vol & Page numbers, just the exact date of birth. I then sent them the extra information in an email, only to get an automated response. To get them to actually look at the information you are giving them, you have to fill in a complaint form - even though it was not a complaint, but trying to make their job easier in not trying to find a birth record that apparently does no exist!

Thanks to everyone for the interest they have shown.


MarieCeleste Report 4 Jan 2013 18:10

Christopher, I see that Minnie's birth was registered in both surnames, but her brother just in one.

I'm thinking that your grandfather must have had a very understanding wife?


MarieCeleste Report 4 Jan 2013 18:33

Christopher - I've looked into this a bit more.

Although the census said that Mary and your grandfather had been married for 14 years I don't think that's true - I think that's how long they'd lived together but they didn't actually marry until 1910 (I haven't posted it as you wish to maintain privacy). Not uncommon for people to distort the facts on census for the sake of acceptability. Quite likely Mary wasn't free to marry until then.

That's how some of the births are registered in both names. If grandad went with Mary to register the births then his name could go on the record but if Mary went alone then they would be registered in her surname only.

I honestly think that Mary and Minnie are the same person.


patchem Report 5 Jan 2013 10:00

Have you found any of your family in 1901, to see who was living where, with whom?
(One sister born in 1899, or have I found the wrong family?)


MarieCeleste Report 5 Jan 2013 11:23

Patchem, I think we're looking at the same family. Have just exchanged pms with Christopher re: my comments above.

I can't find any trace of any of them yet in 1901. Don't know if it's OK for us to post any records yet?

One thing I will post is this link which is one of many confirming that Minnie can be a pet name for Mary, as well as being a name in it's own right:


patchem Report 5 Jan 2013 16:38

For consideration, as I cannot remember without writing things down, if Esther wrongly written as Elsie?
1901 England Census
Minnie Foy Age: 28 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1873
Relation: Sister married Gender: Female Where born: Ireland
Civil parish: Woolwich Ecclesiastical parish: St John
County/Island: London Country: England
Registration district: Woolwich Sub-registration district: Woolwich
ED, institution, or vessel: Engineer Barracks and Grand Depot Barracks
Household schedule number: 1 Piece: 569 Folio: 35 Page Number: 14
Norah Foster 26 wife Ireland wife of corporal RFA in S Africa
Minnie Foster 8 dau Hants
Rose Farrow 10 niece Ireland
Minnie Foy 28
Elsie Foy 1 niece Hants Portsmouth
Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 569; Folio: 35; Page: 14.

Norah in 1891?
1891 England Census
Nora Foster Age: 19 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1872
Relation: Boarder Gender: Female Where born: Clonmel, Ireland
Civil parish: Portsea Ecclesiastical parish: St Mark County/Island: Hampshire Country: England
Condition as to marriage: Married
Registration district: Portsea Island Sub-registration district: Kingston
ED, institution, or vessel: 13 Piece: 854 Folio: 122 Page Number: 51
William C Parfitt 38
Sarah A G Parfitt 34
Mary Jane Parfitt 15
Fanny G Parfitt 13
Rosena Parfitt 6
Agnes M Parfitt 3
Albert E Parfitt 8/12
Nora Foster 19
Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 854; Folio: 122; Page: 51; GSU roll: 6095964.


MarieCeleste Report 6 Jan 2013 18:49

Message from Chris, OK to post.

This is the 1911 for the family in question:

FOY, Patrick Head Married M 42 1869 Hospital Porter Kings Co Ireland
FOY, Mary Wife Married 14 years F 38 1873 Keeping House Tipperary Ireland
FOY, Esther Kathleen Daughter F 11 1900 School Portsmouth Hampshire
FOY, James Son M 8 1903 School Portsmouth Hampshire
FOY, Patrick Joseph Son M 6 1905 School Portsmouth Hampshire
FOY, Minnie May Daughter F 4 1907 School Portsmouth Hampshire
SHIERS, James Visitor Married M 23 1888 Labourer General Portsmouth Hampshire
SHIERS, Rose Visitor Married2 years F 21 1890 Tipperary Ireland

RG number: RG14 Piece: 5568
Reference: RG14PN5568 RG78PN253 RD90 SD3 ED8 SN95
Registration District: Portsmouth
Sub District: Portsea and Landport
Enumeration District: 8
Parish: Portsmouth

Address: 10 Chalton Street Landport Portsmouth County: Hampshire

Although the 1911 says married 14 years I think that's probably how long they'd been together and this is probably when they did marry:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Jun 1910
BALL Edward Charles Portsmouth 2b 956
Farren Mary Portsmouth 2b 956 <<
Foy Patrick Portsmouth 2b 956 <<
SQUIRES Annie Portsmouth 2b 956

I'd certainly recommend getting a copy of that marriage certificate to check out Mary's previous names. Also, there are some Tipperary baptisms on Ancestry so her father's name might help with those.


MarieCeleste Report 6 Jan 2013 18:54

Marriage of Mary's daughter:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1910
Farren Rose Portsmouth 2b 1123 <<
Hayden James H Portsmouth 2b 1123
Hoile Lily A M Portsmouth 2b 1123
SHIERS Edwin J Portsmouth 2b 1123 <<


MarieCeleste Report 6 Jan 2013 19:03

I'm pretty sure that the Minnie Foy with her sister on the 1901 is Mary Foy on the 1911.

This highly likely the sister's marriage:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Jun 1891
Daysh George Robert Portsea 2b 812
Foster Henry Portsea 2b 812 <<
Lacey Emily Florence Portsea 2b 812
Lonergan Norah Portsea 2b 812 <<


MarieCeleste Report 6 Jan 2013 19:08

This is a possible for Mary's first marriage:

Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958

Name: Mary Lonergan
Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1890
Registration district: Clonmel
Volume: 4
Page: 242
FHL Film Number: 101256

There is a William Farren on the page.


MarieCeleste Report 6 Jan 2013 19:16

In message from Chris, we're fairly confident that this is Patrick's military record:

British Army Service Records 1760-1915

First name(s): Patrick
Last name: FOY
Calculated year of birth: 1868
Parish of birth: Edenderry
Town of birth: Edenderry
County of birth: Kings (Offaly)
Age at attestation: 18 years 6 months
Attestation date: 22 March 1886
Attestation corps: Royal Artillery
Attestation soldier number: 54101
Discharge rank:
Discharge corps:
Discharge soldier number:
The National Archives reference: WO97 / 2828 / 36

Won't post all the details as Chris has them.

Patrick was discharged 1898 and it appears his father's name was Martin.