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General => The Common Room => Topic started by: ReesyJ on Sunday 14 February 21 14:27 GMT (UK)

Title: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Sunday 14 February 21 14:27 GMT (UK)
Did people change their names in the 1800s?
 I have a family member that has always been named David. His marriage certificate says David, his children's baptism registrations also name him David, However, we are unable to find any documents for David before his marriage and when looking into his parents a bit more, it looks like the only children they had were a William and a Lucy.
I am so confused.  This is why I am wondering if people change their names in this period.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: PaulineJ on Sunday 14 February 21 20:06 GMT (UK)
I'd suggest presenting the evidence as see what we make of it.

Link to each and every record.

Pauline
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: iluleah on Sunday 14 February 21 20:41 GMT (UK)
Hi and welcome to rootschat ;D

Yes people changed their names in the 1800s.

I could never find my great grandfather who was born in 1860, this was before the internet and easy peasy searching, you had to search through parish records or fiche in the records office.

He was born/baptised with a first/surname and by the time he was ten was using another first name, within 10 year he was using another surname and then moved counties so back very difficult to find with lots of travel to 'potential' county records offices...so born/bap using one first/surname and died/buried using a completely different first/surname and no 'legal' name change( so no name change records to find) it was just using the name and it was accepted at that time including legal purposes



Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Sunday 14 February 21 20:47 GMT (UK)
Hi and welcome to rootschat ;D

Yes people changed their names in the 1800s.

I could never find my great grandfather who was born in 1860, this was before the internet and easy peasy searching, you had to search through parish records or fiche in the records office.

He was born/baptised with a first/surname and by the time he was ten was using another first name, within 10 year he was using another surname and then moved counties so back very difficult to find with lots of travel to 'potential' county records offices...so born/bap using one first/surname and died/buried using a completely different first/surname and no 'legal' name change( so no name change records to find) it was just using the name and it was accepted at that time including legal purposes


How did you figure out that your great grandfather had changed his name or was it already common knowledge within your family?
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: KGarrad on Sunday 14 February 21 20:49 GMT (UK)
My family name has remained virtually the same spelling since the 1500's ;D

BUT I had trouble finding my grandfather in 1911.
Turns out he and his siblings had left Wiltshire and were living in Bedminster (now in Bristol) but all using their middle names!
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Sunday 14 February 21 21:06 GMT (UK)
This is what I have so far


David Bray - abt 1810 Ringmer, Sussex, England
Married: Hannah Parker (Waller) 24th December 1848, Portslade, Sussex

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-V29?i=746
 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-V29?i=746)
This states David’s father is John Bray.
The only John Bray I can find in the right area and time married a Margaret Evans
However, when I search for children of John & Margaret I can only find

William John - 1809   https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/87433178:9841

Lucy -  1811 https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/1731406:9841
There are a few more children later as well

David appears on all censuses up to 1881
His birth always calculates to abt 1810
And they all state he was born in Ringmer, Sussex

I have searched for baptisms for David from 1810 - 1848 when he got married, to no avail

David Died: 10 May 1886 - Steyning Workhouse, Ham Road, Shoreham-By-Sea, Sussex, England of Chronic Bronchitis.


Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: hdw on Sunday 14 February 21 21:18 GMT (UK)
In 19th-century Scotland certain first names from the previous century seem to have become regarded as rather uncouth, and there was a process of anglicisation whereby, for example, a woman christened Grizel in the 1700s would have her name given as Grace on her 19th c. death-certificate. Something to be aware of if you are looking for Grizel's death and wondering where the heck she went. The answer is that she lived as Grizel but died as Grace!

In Lowland Scotland a Daniel might be descended from a Highland ancestor called Donald, and an 18th century Patrick might end his days as Peter. Don't assume that a Patrick must be of Irish origin, it was regarded as the "same" name as Peter.

In my neck of the woods in east Fife Michael was often pronounced Mitchell by the old folks and often so written as well. Another potential headache for the genealogist.

But my favourite is one of my 3 x great-grandmothers who was called Campbell Swankie, but on her death-certificate her descendants gave her name as Camilla! (She had a sister called McKay Swankie).

Harry
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: MonicaL on Sunday 14 February 21 21:24 GMT (UK)
This is, I think, the best resource for checking first name variants. Some are obvious, some less so  ::):

www.whatsinaname.net

Monica

Added: Oops! Welcome to RootsChat, ReesyJ  :)
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Ruskie on Sunday 14 February 21 22:03 GMT (UK)
Welcome to rootschat from me too.  :)

Do you have David in all of the censuses, and is he always referred to as David there too? Have you traced William in case he morphs into ĎDavidí?

Do you have the birth/baptism records of William in case he is William middle name David?

It could be that David has fallen through the gaps somehow and was not registered, records lost, spelling variations, registered elsewhere or you may have missed him.

If you would like to give us some names we can see if we can come up with anything.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Monday 15 February 21 12:48 GMT (UK)
Welcome to rootschat from me too.  :)

Do you have David in all of the censuses, and is he always referred to as David there too? Have you traced William in case he morphs into ĎDavidí?

Do you have the birth/baptism records of William in case he is William middle name David?

It could be that David has fallen through the gaps somehow and was not registered, records lost, spelling variations, registered elsewhere or you may have missed him.

If you would like to give us some names we can see if we can come up with anything.


I have posted what I have above.
Also, I have tried looking for William john to see if he disappears at the same time David appears. I don't seem to be able to find William after his baptism, but I cannot be sure. 
Sometimes I feel like I have blinkers on and only see what I want to see.
I would be very grateful If anyone else could look at this for me.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Gan Yam on Monday 15 February 21 13:35 GMT (UK)


The only John Bray I can find in the right area and time married a Margaret Evans


There seems to be another John Bray in the Ringmer, who was married to Charity Collins 4 Nov 1792.  They were still having children in 1812.  Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a David among them either.  I wonder if it could be a middle name not recorded at the baptism?
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: iluleah on Monday 15 February 21 13:43 GMT (UK)

Quote
How did you figure out that your great grandfather had changed his name or was it already common knowledge within your family?

I researched his wife and followed her life back... purchased the marriage cert to find his fathers name  but later found he lied about that and put his grandfather as his father ( and he went onto marry again and wrote his uncle down as his father)... so lots and lots of dead end research ...... so I eventually followed each census to find where he was, who he lived with and saw the changes in names he was using.... luckily there was a census within the first year of his birth and he was with his 'parents' with his birth name...it took me a lonnnngggggggg time........the penny dropped when I got his uncles Will and it named family and answered many questions I had.....
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 15 February 21 15:00 GMT (UK)
It is possible that David was an illegitimate grandson of John and Charity Bray, and was raised in their home, and put Johnís name on the marriage.  It is also possible he was not baptized (I have an illegitimate ancestor, the second born to a couple, no baptism found, but he did put his fatherís name on the marriage) or that he was baptized in a non Conformist church.  I have all these examples in my tree, all in Sussex.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Monday 15 February 21 16:06 GMT (UK)
It is possible that David was an illegitimate grandson of John and Charity Bray, and was raised in their home, and put Johnís name on the marriage.  It is also possible he was not baptized (I have an illegitimate ancestor, the second born to a couple, no baptism found, but he did put his fatherís name on the marriage) or that he was baptized in a non Conformist church.  I have all these examples in my tree, all in Sussex.

That is a possibility, however, there would still be some record of a David Bray before he got married in 1848 no matter who his parents were and there isn't anything. It's as if he didn't exist before this date. Also, William John who I think may have become David disappears after his baptism. I have quite a few illegitimate births within my family during this period and on their baptisms, the father's name is just missing, but there is still a baptism. Nevertheless, I am unable to find a baptism of David.


I am completely stumped with this one.

Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Josephine on Monday 15 February 21 19:03 GMT (UK)
In cases like this, sometimes it helps to broaden your search. Here are my suggestions.

Just because David was born in a particular town or city, that doesn't mean he was baptized there, or that his family stayed there. Your challenge, even if you find a baptism somewhere that might fit, will be in proving that it belongs to your guy.

If you're lucky, you might find a mention of David, or his wife and children, in a relative's will, or in a newspaper notice about a relative (if not about David himself).

Have you been able to determine where David was buried? It might be useful to find out if there are any other Brays buried in the same cemetery.

Do you know if any funeral home records still exist in the right time frame and general location where David and/or his wife lived and died? Sometimes funeral homes recorded parents' names.

Was there an obit for David that might have mentioned any relatives?

Even if you have David's children living with him in census records, have you searched for them individually, just in case they might also have been listed in a relative's household while on a visit?

Have you checked the tombstones or cemetery records for the Brays who lived in Ringmer, in case David was named there (even if he wasn't buried there)? Similarly, have you checked marriage and death records, and obits and marriage notices, for those Bray families, in case David was a witness or was mentioned?

These are all long shots, and take a lot of time and effort, but I've had to do all of this, and more, when trying to research some relatives. Sometimes I've found important clues or solid evidence and other times I've either found possibilities or nothing at all. None of it is a waste, though, because I believe that disproving a theory is as important as proving one.

In the meantime, someone on Rootschat might find what you're looking for.

Good luck!

Josephine
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 15 February 21 19:39 GMT (UK)
Lots of good suggestions, Josephine!
David is on the 1841 census, as an Ag Lab in the household of Nicholas and Frances (Howell) Stredwick or Stradwick.  The other Ag Lab in the household was a Howell.
You might want to look at any Baptisms for any baby called David in Ringmer from 1809-1811 or so.  He might have been informally adopted, although it seems unlikely he would have changed his surname.
It is possible your David was simply not baptized (one for my 3x great grandfather in Lancashire has never been found).  Have you checked both the parish records and the bishopís transcripts?  He might have been a twin of William or Lucy, not expected to survive, and baptized at home, and not recorded.
I did check the BNA but found no death notice for David.
DNA might help you link to whatever family he belongs to.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Josephine on Monday 15 February 21 23:30 GMT (UK)
Thanks, Diana!
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: phenolphthalein on Monday 15 February 21 23:55 GMT (UK)
Neither my grandmother nor my grandfather used their given names.
Both ended up for periods of time in households where their names wee already in use.
Both of granddad's first and middle names were in use
so he was known by a third totally unrelated name.
When he went to WW1 newspaper reports of his doings were
under one name in one place and the other in another.

Nan on the other hand lost her first two names and was known
by her third ie her second middle name.

Her aunt (the reason nan could not use her first middle name)
had always used her middle name.
This aunt (my ggaunt) did so for the same reason
as my grandfather and grandmother -- to avoid confusion
with a more senior member in the household of the same name.

Another family of Scottish ancestry had so many members of the same names
 due to Scottish naming patterns
that everyone had nicknames
and these were used in official documents as well like electoral rolls.

All fun when first starting to track folk down.

Had my nan to the wrong parents for all of 2 months back in 1978.
Know a lot about one of her 2nd cousins as a result  ;D :P

pH
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: wivenhoe on Tuesday 16 February 21 05:57 GMT (UK)


"..children's baptism registrations also name him David"

What information do you have for children......names...birthplace....baptism.....?
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Tuesday 16 February 21 07:52 GMT (UK)
Lots of good suggestions, Josephine!
David is on the 1841 census, as an Ag Lab in the household of Nicholas and Frances (Howell) Stredwick or Stradwick.  The other Ag Lab in the household was a Howell.
You might want to look at any Baptisms for any baby called David in Ringmer from 1809-1811 or so.  He might have been informally adopted, although it seems unlikely he would have changed his surname.
It is possible your David was simply not baptized (one for my 3x great grandfather in Lancashire has never been found).  Have you checked both the parish records and the bishopís transcripts?  He might have been a twin of William or Lucy, not expected to survive, and baptized at home, and not recorded.
I did check the BNA but found no death notice for David.
DNA might help you link to whatever family he belongs to.

A Richard Howell was witness on the marriage.

Perhaps he was really the "missing" William John. He was baptised late March. Maybe he was born 1st March - St David's day.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Tuesday 16 February 21 07:54 GMT (UK)
Have you checked John Bray / Margaret and John Bray / Charity back any further, maybe there was a grandfather called David he decided to honour by changing name.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Tuesday 16 February 21 16:35 GMT (UK)
Have you checked John Bray / Margaret and John Bray / Charity back any further, maybe there was a grandfather called David he decided to honour by changing name.

I have been working on this today, however, I still haven't found a David as of yet.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Daisypetal on Wednesday 17 February 21 07:37 GMT (UK)

Hi,

Have you seen these?

https://www.rootschat.com/links/01qbn/

https://www.rootschat.com/links/01qbm/


There is no David mentioned there but William John seems be using his middle name to become John. Knowing the family moved to Bexhill might help find the children.

Where is David in 1871? Hannah is showing as a widow.


Regards,
Daisy
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Wednesday 17 February 21 08:48 GMT (UK)
Good find. That might help fill in the wider family
There's a Robert Bray of right sort of age (given rounding) in Westfield in 1841, but not with family. Possibly the same one buried in Brede 14 June 1846 age 28. Robert baptised Ringmer 19 Oct 1817, so maybe not reached 29th birthday before he died.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Wednesday 17 February 21 08:59 GMT (UK)
There's a burial for a Margaret Bray at Bexhill on 07 Jul 1879 age 90. Notes say Battle Union, so I suspect she died in the workhouse
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Wednesday 17 February 21 09:06 GMT (UK)
Found Margaret in 1851 and 1871, housekeeper to James Burt, widowed and born Ringmer.
Also in James Burt's household in 1841
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: LizzieL on Wednesday 17 February 21 11:54 GMT (UK)
James Burt was born in Hooe, Sussex and is a widower. In 1841 there is an 11 year old George Burt in the household.
James Burt was baptised in Hooe on 11 Mar 1804 s/o James and Hannah. James Burt snr married Hannah Sarjent in Hooe on 7 May 1803. James Burt jnr married Elizabeth Lansdell on 05 Dec 1827

If the Bray family were removed to Bexhill, John Bray must have been from that area. There is a John Bray baptised in Hooe, nr Bexhill on 3 Jan 1779 s/o John and Lucy. John Bray married Lucy Glid on 04 Apr 1777 in Hooe. John and Margaret called their oldest daughter Lucy. 

Was hoping to find a connection between Burts and Brays and a David cropping up, but nothing so far
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Wednesday 17 February 21 12:54 GMT (UK)

Hi,

Have you seen these?

https://www.rootschat.com/links/01qbn/

https://www.rootschat.com/links/01qbm/


There is no David mentioned there but William John seems be using his middle name to become John. Knowing the family moved to Bexhill might help find the children.

Where is David in 1871? Hannah is showing as a widow.


Regards,
Daisy

I don't know why Hannah is shown as a widow because David didn't die until 1886, he was in a workhouse and died there.
Technically Hannah was a widow as her previous husband William died before she married David.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Wednesday 17 February 21 13:00 GMT (UK)
James Burt was born in Hooe, Sussex and is a widower. In 1841 there is an 11 year old George Burt in the household.
James Burt was baptised in Hooe on 11 Mar 1804 s/o James and Hannah. James Burt snr married Hannah Sarjent in Hooe on 7 May 1803. James Burt jnr married Elizabeth Lansdell on 05 Dec 1827

If the Bray family were removed to Bexhill, John Bray must have been from that area. There is a John Bray baptised in Hooe, nr Bexhill on 3 Jan 1779 s/o John and Lucy. John Bray married Lucy Glid on 04 Apr 1777 in Hooe. John and Margaret called their oldest daughter Lucy. 

Was hoping to find a connection between Burts and Brays and a David cropping up, but nothing so far

HAHA, I tried doing the same thing as you and make a connection, but nothing has come of it.

I am wondering, could David's parents be other people and the Bray's took him in for whatever reason and that is why David put John as his father on the marriage register.
A bit far fetched I know, but I have come across similar during my research with a different family.
Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: Rosinish on Wednesday 17 February 21 13:21 GMT (UK)
David Bray - abt 1810 Ringmer, Sussex, England
Married: Hannah Parker (Waller) 24th December 1848, Portslade, Sussex

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-V29?i=746
 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-V29?i=746)
This states Davidís father is John Bray.
The only John Bray I can find in the right area and time married a Margaret Evans

David appears on all censuses up to 1881

The marriage states John Bray - Labourer although it doesn't state he's deceased.

Have you found John & David in 1841 census whether together or apart?

Annie

Title: Re: Does anyone know anything about name changes in the 1800s?
Post by: ReesyJ on Wednesday 17 February 21 13:51 GMT (UK)

[/quote]
The marriage states John Bray - Labourer although it doesn't state he's deceased.

Have you found John & David in 1841 census whether together or apart?

Annie
[/quote]

I have David on the 1841 Census, but not John because I'm not sure which John Bray his is.