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changing the birth name

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Julia Report 8 Apr 2013 22:31

I met someone this weekend who was born on 7th March 1949 and her birth certificate shows her as Janet Margaret but by the time she was baptised on 27th March 1949 her name had been changed to Margaret Enid and she doesn't know why. Baptismal records show a handwritten amendment with the record number showing (a) and (b) against the reference numbers.
Was this a common occurrence in those days? Can anyone shed any light on it for her?


Reggie Report 8 Apr 2013 22:36

I would imagine the only people who could help would have been her parents........


Julia Report 8 Apr 2013 22:45

Unfortunately now dead


brummiejan Report 8 Apr 2013 22:50

Hi Julia.
Was the name just changed at baptism, or was the birth re-registered also? Maybe she could inquire at the relevant registry office in case there was an error of some kind.
Which name was she brought up with?


SylviaInCanada Report 9 Apr 2013 03:58

Many parents changed their minds between registering and baptism ............ and very few of them knew about the abilit to change the birth record, within a certain period of time.

Hence why you see Male or Female Smith .................. could be because the baby's life was expected to be short-lived, OR because parents had not decided on a name

why you see 1 name on the birth registration, and 2 in most other records

maybe even ..................... someone registered the baby (dad, another relative), and Mum didn't like the name ............. so she changed it for the baptism.

our ancestors did all kinds of weird and wonderful things!


mgnv Report 9 Apr 2013 06:36

If you look at a b.cert pre-1969, there's a special column (col 10) for people who change their mind abt the kid's name. I think you can add any forename(s) there within a year with production of a baptismal certificate from the minister, or by affidavit before the registrar, if they're not into the baptism thing.

Births Sep 1837 (>99%)
CLEWORTH Female Leigh 21 347
Leigh Female Leigh 21 347
PARTINGTON Male Leigh 21 347
Wood Male Leigh 21 347

Maybe they didn't have things too organzied when they started - these births were on the very first page of births rego'ed in the Culceth subdistrict, and all got a name in col 10 - here's LancsBMD for the same births:

Lancashire Birth indexes for the years: 1837
Surname Forename(s) Sub-District Registers At Mother's Maiden Name Reference
CLEWORTH Sarah Culcheth Wigan & Leigh MARSH CUL/1/2
LEIGH Elizabeth Alice Culcheth Wigan & Leigh URMSTON CUL/1/8
PARTINGTON Joseph Culcheth Wigan & Leigh UNSWORTH CUL/1/3
WOOD Ralph Culcheth Wigan & Leigh SILCOCK CUL/1/9


SylviaInCanada Report 9 Apr 2013 07:37


Birth certificates that I have for 1869 and 1870 also have column 10 ........... but both have a black stroke marked across them. These marks were obviously put there very early on, if not at the actual time of registration.

I still maintain, as I said in my post, that MANY people did not know about the ability to make the change ............ doesn't matter how long they had to do it in, if they didn't know about it, then they would not go back to the Registry Office to make the change

I think one also have to consider the fact that many people probably would not have had time to return to the Registry Office!

They often worked at least 5½ days a week, or even 7 days a week ............... and going to the Registry Office to re-register your baby wouldn't cut much ice with employers!


Jonesey Report 9 Apr 2013 09:13

The name change between registration and baptism was probably simply brought about by a change of heart by the parents. This was certainly not uncommon.

On a slightly different level when my first son was born in hospital in 1973 my wife was asked by the maternity staff whether she had a name in mind for him. Prior to his birth we had discussed several names so she gave them, Brendan, which was one of the names we had considered. The staff duly entered that name in their records. By the time his birth was registered we had decided to give him an entirely different name.

In 1991 we had another son born in the same hospital and the same scenario occurred. This time we had not discussed possible names so my wife gave the staff exactly the same temporary name, Brendan, as she had given when our 1st son had been born. Once again by the time his birth was registered he had been given an entirely different name.

The hospital records will show that my wife delivered 2 identically named sons, 18 years apart. As fate would have it although 18 years had elapsed between the births the midwife was the same on both occasions. When my wife first presented at the hospital the midwife realising the time lapse enquired, "New husband?" My wife replied, "No, the same old sod.." :-D


DazedConfused Report 9 Apr 2013 11:18

I have an uncle who was registered in one name, baptised in another and known by a completely different name all his life.

Mum pretty much the same. And her mother too (sister of above uncle)


Julia Report 10 Apr 2013 17:05

Thanks for all the comments - maybe her parents did just have a change of heart


Kuros Report 10 Apr 2013 19:28

It was common in these parts for the grandmother to name the child and usually went herself to do it to make sure she had what she wanted. At that time they could do this. If the parents disagreed with her choice - and, in my family, they often did - they could change it within the time limit. If it had been left to my great-grandmother my father would have been named Ethrog.


SylviaInCanada Report 10 Apr 2013 19:53

:-) :-) :-)

was that a "family" name Annie??


Vicki Report 13 Apr 2013 23:28

Sorry, have only just seen this post - I know it's a bit late, but:

A few years back, I read somewhere that one of the only legal ways to change your name officially, without using a solicitor, was to be baptised in Church, and that the name you were then given by the Vicar, was deemed to be as 'official' as the name you were registered in. In other words, this could still happen today, your birth is registered as one thing, your parents then decide on something else, so when you are christened, that becomes your proper name.

I didn't realise you could actually change it at the Register Office! Wish I'd known, my daughter would then have had the names I wanted, not what her excited proud Dad dashed off and landed her with!



brummiejan Report 13 Apr 2013 23:37

Just worth noting Vicki that you can call yourself whatever you like! No need for any kind of legal name change.