Author Topic: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates  (Read 8698 times)

Offline LizzieL

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Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« on: Sunday 30 November 14 12:54 GMT (UK) »
I have just found a marriage for a George Eltham to Annie Brown (widow) in Bootle on July 6 1912. He was a soldier in the local barracks and gave his father as Stephen Eltham deceased bricklayer. As this was a bit out of area for my Eltham research, I checked him on 1911 census (very easy with name, age and occupation) and found his place of birth bang in the middle of the area my direct ancestors originated from. So why didn't I have him and father Stephen on my tree? I thought I had got all the Wantage Elthams that ever existed several years ago.
Then the penny dropped he was the illegitimate son of Mary Louise Eltham and had fabricated a father. After five illegitimate children M L had married Stephen Wilkins and then produced a large crop of little Wilkinses as well. So young George had taken his stepfather's christian name and occupation tacked his own surname on and said he was dead. Stephen Wilkins was still alive at the time of George's marriage.
So not only is there a fictitious father on the marriage cert, but highly probable he has lied to his new bride and her relatives.   
Berks / Oxon: Eltham, Annetts, Wiltshire (surname not county), Hawkins, Pembroke, Partridge
Dorset / Hants: Derham, Stride, Purkiss, Scott, Sibley
Yorkshire: Pottage, Carr, Blackburn, Depledge
Sussex: Goodyer, Christopher, Trevatt
Jersey: Fowler, Huelin, Scott

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 30 November 14 13:08 GMT (UK) »
It was quite common for illegitimate people to "invent" a father, in order to look respectable?! ;D

There was, and still is to some extent, a lot of bigotry about illegitimancy.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline fizzix

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 30 November 14 13:09 GMT (UK) »
You can't exactly blame him, given the times  :(
Or it's possible that this is what his mother had told him.
Walls, James, Waterworth, Coram, Higman, Ecroyd, Battersby, Monk, Hine, Reid, Hancock, Glanville, Hudspith, McDonald, Podesta, Wyatt, Harrison, Scantlebury, Davey, Whiting, Edmonds, Glover, Donnithorne.

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Offline LizzieL

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 30 November 14 14:26 GMT (UK) »
I don't think the mother would have worried too much, she had five illegitimate children and her sisters had two and one respectively. In 1881, Mary Louise was living with her parents and two of her illegitimate children and with sister Jane and her first  illeg. child. Seems no attempt at a cover up. Stephen Wilkins was in the army for 12 years and was overseas during the period most of the children were conceived. They married three years after he was discharged.
I think it more likely George decided to invent the father to avoid a gap on the marriage certificate.
Berks / Oxon: Eltham, Annetts, Wiltshire (surname not county), Hawkins, Pembroke, Partridge
Dorset / Hants: Derham, Stride, Purkiss, Scott, Sibley
Yorkshire: Pottage, Carr, Blackburn, Depledge
Sussex: Goodyer, Christopher, Trevatt
Jersey: Fowler, Huelin, Scott


Offline Jeuel

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 30 November 14 15:52 GMT (UK) »
Just because something is written down, it doesn't mean it is correct.  Mistakes happen, people lie, or they tell what they think is right but it isn't.

I've found errors/lies on gravestones, bmd certs, parish registers, Wills, you name it! 

On the plus side, my illegitimate gt grandmother's marriage cert gives her mother's name in place of the father so at least one of her parents was acknowledge.  Let's face it, mother's are a bit more involved in the birth of a child anyway!
Chowns in Buckinghamshire
Broad, Eplett & Pope in St Ervan/St Columb Major, Cornwall
Browning & Moore in Cambridge, St Andrew the Less
Emms, Mealing & Purvey in Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
Barnes, Dunt, Gray, Massingham in Norfolk
Higho in London
Matthews & Nash in Whichford, Warwickshire
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Offline jbml

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 02 December 14 21:13 GMT (UK) »
There is an old maxim that says whilst maternity is a matter of fact, paternity is a matter of opinion.

Bear in mind also that just because the mother is married and her husband's name appears on the certificate as the father, that doesn't mean that he necessarily was the father ...

... but has any of us EVER seen a birth certificate where the mother is a married woman and the father's name appearing on the certificate is anyone other than her husband??
All identified names up to and including my great x5 grandparents: Abbot Andrews Baker Blenc(h)ow Brothers Burrows Chambers Clifton Cornwell Escott Fisher Foster Frost Giddins Groom Hardwick Harris Hart Hayho(e) Herman Holcomb(e) Holmes Hurley King-Spooner Martindale Mason Mitchell Murphy Neves Oakey Packman Palmer Peabody Pearce Pettit(t) Piper Pottenger Pound Purkis Rackliff(e) Richardson Scotford Sherman Sinden Snear Southam Spooner Stephenson Varing Weatherley Webb Whitney Wiles Wright

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 03 December 14 09:44 GMT (UK) »
... but has any of us EVER seen a birth certificate where the mother is a married woman and the father's name appearing on the certificate is anyone other than her husband??

Yes, but in Ireland at least the father had to appear with the mother to register the birth if they weren't married to each other.

I also researched a local family were the couple got married and the wife started producing numerous children over a long period of time. In the middle of her child-bearing the husband died (have death certificate and rather graphic newspaper account of inquest as he was run over by a cart) but for years after she merrily registered children by giving her deceased husband as the child's father.
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline Flattybasher9

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 03 December 14 10:24 GMT (UK) »
BMD's are just a historical event. Can we really trust any written history. No, not really. History is just a record based on knowlege of that time, which is just based on opinions of memory.

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Malky

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Can we believe anything we read on BMD certificates
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 03 December 14 11:19 GMT (UK) »
After Hardwicke's Act of 1874, if a married woman registers a birth, it is assumed to be the child of her husband!

If the father of the child is NOT the husband of the woman, then he has to jointly register the birth, and sign the registration.


So, to see a birth registration, where the father of the child is not the husband of the mother is extremely rare! ;D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)