Author Topic: Changing identities  (Read 702 times)

Offline Jojosam

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Changing identities
« on: Monday 30 July 07 05:25 BST (UK) »
Hello

I have a certificate for a marriage in 1859 in Cheshire. Because of a number of questions about the groom’s life before this (and afterwards, at various times) and the lack of any records that match the details on the marriage certificate, I’ve been wondering if he was who he said he was. Does anyone know what sort of checks – if any – were done of a person’s details before they got married in those days? Would it have been possible for a man with a trade to start calling himself a totally different name?

Any views on this would be welcome (although I don't know where my searching would go from here if identity changes were easy).

Thank you

Jojosam
Interested in: Willcock, Tennant, Streeton, Snowden, Simpson, Prestidge,  Quigley, Nixon, Millburne, Mellish, Lawson, Kirkham, Kempster, Katagiri, Janvin/Janvill/Ganvin, Hirano, Hedges, Hart, Eardley, Deverell, Currell, Coles, Cleaver, Brown, Brogden, Bonham, Barron, Bailey, Badcock, Arnold

Offline JAP

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #1 on: Monday 30 July 07 05:47 BST (UK) »
Jojosam,

There were no checks.  As long as the minister/Registrar did not know him, he could give any name he liked.

JAP

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #2 on: Monday 30 July 07 10:17 BST (UK) »
Just to point out that From the 1836 Act.
XLI. And be it enacted, That every Person who shall wilfully make or cause to be made, for the Purpose of being inserted in any Register of Birth, Death, or Marriage, any false Statement touching any of the Particulars herein required to be known and registered, shall be subject to the same Pains and Penalties as if he were guilty of Perjury.

Stan
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline JAP

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #3 on: Monday 30 July 07 15:22 BST (UK) »
Well Stan,

Do you have any statistics/details of prosecutions under this clause of the Act  ;D

And, in any case, would giving a name other than that registered at one's birth actually constitute a "false Statement" for the purposes of the Act  ::)

Also, what if one had been born before Statutory Registration (very likely for persons covered initially by an 1836 Act - which, presumably, applied only to England & Wales) and had not even been baptized ...  Not to mention if one had been born or lived under another jurisdiction e.g. Ireland, Scotland, a non-UK country ...

I wonder what any similar Acts in Ireland and Scotland said.

Sorry - but the mind does boggle  ;)

JAP

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #4 on: Monday 30 July 07 15:42 BST (UK) »
The important word in section XLI of the Act is 'wilfully', (purposely, on purpose, by design, intentionally, deliberately) something that is very hard to prove, even today. ;)

Stan
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline JAP

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #5 on: Monday 30 July 07 16:33 BST (UK) »
Hi again Stan,

Yes indeed!

But I do still wonder whether an 1836 Act (i.e. presumably to apply from the start of Statutory Registration in England & Wales in 1837) could apply to names - which weren't recorded anywhere up to that time unless one had been baptized (and baptismal names were far from always the names by which a person was known).  And, even if it did - and to be pedantic - could the legislation be retrospective.  And, anyway, were there actually any Deed Poll provisions for name changes in those days.  Or was one's name what one said it was!  (And, of course, spelled any which way.)  Lovely legal quibbles  ;)

Of course, Jojosam was referring to a marriage in 1859 so who knows  :D

But I still think that the general answer to Jojosam is that there weren't any checks i.e. her guy could get away with calling himself whatever he liked unless the officiating person knew him!

What fun!

JAP 

Offline Little Nell

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #6 on: Monday 30 July 07 20:35 BST (UK) »
As always, Stan has supplied the offical facts according to the Act of Parliament - excellent stuff.

Here is the "guidance" if you like supplied by Barbara Dixon on her site about English and Welsh BMD certificates:

http://home.clara.net/dixons/Certificates/marriages.htm#COL2

Quote
Names of Bride and Groom
Column two is the name and surname of the bride and groom at the date of the marriage. Those last 6 words are crucial - the name used at the date of marriage is not necessarily the one on the birth certificate of the bride or groom. These days the words "Name changed by Deed Poll" or "formerly known as ................." or "otherwise" indicate that the bride or groom has changed their name since birth but that is a fairly recent phenomenon. In the past, the bride or groom were simply asked for the names they were known by. Remember that it was not necessary to produce any proof of the use of a name.


My 3x gt grandmother was always known as Amelia - census (1841-71), marriage (pre-1837), baptism of children (also pre-1837), but when she died her husband gave her real name for the death certificate and the burial record also shows her real name. 

As far as I am aware  - in England and Wales at least, it is still the case that you may use whatever name you like without necessarily changing it by deed poll.  Provided that you have no intent to defraud anyone, it is perfectly legal.

Nell
All census information: Crown Copyright www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Jojosam

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Re: Changing identities
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 31 July 07 00:12 BST (UK) »
Thank you Jap, Stan and Nell. Your replies have opened up a number of possibilities in my search.  ???

At least I might find a detour around this particular brick wall.   ;)  I think there could have been some good stories around this ancestor.

Jojosam
Interested in: Willcock, Tennant, Streeton, Snowden, Simpson, Prestidge,  Quigley, Nixon, Millburne, Mellish, Lawson, Kirkham, Kempster, Katagiri, Janvin/Janvill/Ganvin, Hirano, Hedges, Hart, Eardley, Deverell, Currell, Coles, Cleaver, Brown, Brogden, Bonham, Barron, Bailey, Badcock, Arnold