Find Living Relatives

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

Gift subscriptions

Genes Reunited gift subscription

Do you know someone interested in discovering their family history?

You can now buy a gift subscription to Genes Reunited so they can research their family tree.

Buy gift or redeem gift


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Jean Wilkinson otherwise Todd

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 12:24

I was born at 418 Westgate Road Newcastle on 5th Jan 1947 and named Marie Wilkinson. My mother was named as Jean Wilkinson otherwise Todd, address Hope Dene Jesmond. I was raised by George and Ada Elsy in South Shields who changed my name to Margaret Elsy. Any information would be much appreciated.


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 13:29

Also I have a copy of a certificate of when my name was changed 18th May 1962 in South Shields but it states my name as being Maria Wilkinson not Marie Wilkinson and that George and Ada took custody of me on 1st March 1947 and no legal steps were taken by them to affect a legal adoption..Does this mean I wasn't adopted?


Reggie Report 19 Feb 2013 14:07

It would certainly seem so.

To be 100% certain, check with a Solicitor.

I'm surprised that they were able to change your name at the age of 15.

Were you consulted?


brummiejan Report 19 Feb 2013 14:19

Hi Jakki.
I wonder if it's so that they actually 'took custody' immediately ? They would presumably have been foster parents at this point, and it seems on the surface they didn't adopt you. It seems quite unusual doesn't it as they were able to change your name, but I have no idea of the legalities back then.
Have you considered asking social services for advice, in case any documentation exists?
Also, it might be worth checking out the electoral register for the address you have. Easy enough to do, and if you are very lucky other inhabitants might hold some clues.


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 14:24

I didn't find out they were not my parents until much later, it seems I didn't have to be consulted and as they changed it from Maria Wilkinson and not Marie Wilkinson is rather strange...


brummiejan Report 19 Feb 2013 14:30

Have you considered that they might have been related in some way to your mother? I do think it very strange that a couple who did not adopt you could have full custody and legally change your name.
I really think you need to get some advice from people who know more than we do!

ADDED are there any other family members you might ask? It's my observation that other people often know more about family secrets than the people directly involved! For example, as a child my mother knew her Aunt and Uncle were unmarried, hence their children (her cousins) were illegitimate, but they didn't discover this till in their 70's!



Reggie Report 19 Feb 2013 14:53

If these people didn't adopt you, I don't see that they had any legal right to change your name.

Ignore the difference of one letter in Maria/Marie. Just a simple error, I would think, by people who didn't take enough care to check facts

But I don't understand why your name was changed when you were 15. What name did they call you by when you were growing up in their home?


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 15:11

I always thought my name was Margaret Elsy until I wanted to join the Air Force at 18 and received a copy of my name change in place of a birth certificate..


brummiejan Report 19 Feb 2013 16:02

Jakki, is the name of your mother from the name change document or do you have your birth cert? I assume the latter as you know where you were born?
I strongly suggest you check out those addresses and see who lived there at the time - might not help, but worth a try.


Reggie Report 19 Feb 2013 16:05


I have just been in touch with a cousin, who practised as a Solicitor and was a Notary Public until his retirement

This is an extract from his response..........

In the case of a child,a change of name cannot be done at the age of fifteen without the formal participation of the parents or legal guardians and only then when the formal documentation is filed in the High Court.


brummiejan Report 19 Feb 2013 16:11

Presumably they were her legal guardians as thy had custody - or said they did! Interesting they left it so long to change her name, I wonder what prompted this?


Reggie Report 19 Feb 2013 16:19

Marriages Mar 1943 (>99%)

Elsy George H Greener S.Shields 10a 1239
Greener Ada F Elsy S.Shields 10a 1239

Births Jun 1919 (>99%)
Greener Ada F Falp S.Shields 10a 1253


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 18:27

Yes this is the correct George and Ada Elsy and yes I have a copy of my birth certificate but the address is a unmarried mothers home run by the Salvation Army and 418 westgate Road was the Newcastle union workhouse then the General Hospital :-(


Kay???? Report 19 Feb 2013 20:49

AS your birth is registered in both Todd and Wilkinson and no fathers name appears on your BC,,,,,it suggests Wilkinson was what Jean was known as,,,,but this maybe a surname of a stepfather she had taken?

Youve no idea of her age?


Jakki Report 19 Feb 2013 22:21

I'm sorry I have no idea of her age, I didn't know my birth was registered under both Todd and Wilkinson, whilst searching I found a Jean Todd that was born in 1933 and mothers maiden name was wilkinson but I have no idea if there is any link.


Jakki Report 4 Jul 2013 10:01

Well after years trying to find my birth mother I think I'm finally going to give up :-(


Dougieb1 Report 4 Jul 2013 15:40

I think I can throw some light on why your name was changed.
In 1962 you would have been due to leave school & start work as you were 15.
You would have been known to everyone as Margaret or Marie Elsy.
The name change was probably done to try to regularise the situation.
My late father was born in 1922.
He was illegitimate but his mother married another man who was not his biological father.
He was known by this man's surname as he was living with his mother & step father.
In 1936 he was due to start work as he was 14.
His name was then officially changed to the family name which he had always been addressed
This I think was done to officially regularise his status in the family as he would have to apply for a National Insurance Number




Jakki Report 10 Jul 2013 02:21

Hi Thanks for your help, I agree this does seem the logical explanation, also maybe at 15 they didn't have to inform me but at 16 that might have changed, just guessing though :-)


brummiejan Report 10 Jul 2013 14:25

Not sure a change of name would be necessary for work purposes for someone born 1922. My husband's uncle (born 1919) went through a good bit of his adult life using the incorrect surname. He worked, married and had children using it. It was only when he wanted his birth cert to apply for a passport (I think) that he had problems, eventually realising he had been registered under his mother's previous married name!

Did you ever check out the address(es) you have?



Dougieb1 Report 10 Jul 2013 20:44

I don't think I ever said that it would be necessary for a name to be changed for work purposes.
I only offered a theory as to why Jakki's name was changed in 1962.
I was going on my own personal experience.
When I applied for a copy of my late father's birth certificate I was actually given a copy of his adoption certificate.
His date of birth was 1922 but he was "adopted" in 1936 aged 14.
I actually managed to find out the name he was given when he was born in 1922
His "parents" & his half sister were all known by the family name.
He also would have been known to everyone by the family name
The lady has asked a question & I have only given a possible answer to her situation