Re: Balance of probabilities
- From: Renia <renia@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2009 13:25:11 +0200
On Wed, 04 Feb 2009 23:20:20 +0000, Adrian Gray wrote:
I think you think to need to rethink, and perhaps rephrase, that
No, I don't.
She was baptised with one name, known by another to the
census, and used her baptismal surname for the last time in 1899
when she gained a third... Which rather negates the statement about
retaining the surname.
I said *if* she retained it.
One of my husband's great aunts had five different surnames during the
course of her life. She didn't retain any. Her surname changed with
whoever her mother married at the time until she, herself, married.
If the standard procedure at the time was to record the name of the
mother when the child was born, that surely means you can't draw
any conclusions as to whom the father was?
Of course not. I didn't say you could.
After all, they've just
given the child the name of a man who - barring bizarre badger-like
biological occurrences - cannot be her father!
The mother's surname was that of her late husband and that, even
today, is the name given to the child, even though the child could not
be the late husband's.
The child would not have been given its biological father's unless the
father admitted paternity and agreed to be named. This applies to
post civil registration certificates though.
Even if the father did admit paternity, the child would still be
baptised in the mother's late husband's name with the comment <name>
the reputed (or alleged) father.
The child wouldn't be given the mother's maiden name in either case.
The name given in the census may have came about because her
parents would have been unable to fill in the return, so had to
rely on someone else (enumerator? child? neighbour?) to fill in the
form. They may have assumed that all the children born after the
first husband died were the second husband's, so used his name -
especially as the birth was almost ten years previously.
Assumptions like that were certainly possible but, as I said, it was
common practice for a child to take its stepfather's name irrespective
of whether the child was illegitimate or not.
Not common practise, but it happened.
Who completed that forms if the householder couldn't, would be pure
speculation but it wasn't often the enumerator. He wouldn't have had
The enumerator wrote down the details as told to him by the family. The family's details (or the notes he gleaned from them) may not have been clear so that when he finally wrote up his schedule, he may have mis-read his own notes or misunderstood what the family had said. If the head of house gave his own surname but didn't specify the surnames of any children living with him or the relationship, the enumerator probably assumed the surname was that of the head of house.
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