Author Topic: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?  (Read 1274 times)

Offline Sierra32

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« on: Saturday 14 March 15 23:59 GMT (UK) »
Why my 2x g grandfather changed his surname from Cairns to Wright has been a mystery in our family. I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.
He was born at Wester Balado, kinross in 1853. He was not living with his parents by the 1871 census and when he got married in Bo'ness in 1877 he had already changed his surname to Wright. Family folklore has it that he was a conscientious objector/ absconded from the army. I don't have any proof to support that. Does anyone know where I could look?Many thanks

Offline Plummiegirl

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,620
  • Me, Dad, Granddad & G/gran
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 15 March 15 12:06 GMT (UK) »
Hi

Firstly you need to know that in theory you can call yourself any name you like as long as it is not for nefarious purposes.  My mother was Julia, always known as Rita.

However, with surname changes like this it could be a number of reasons, just 2 listed

1: falling out with family

2: money - he was asked by a close older family friend to change his name to theirs for a legacy

I had a much older cousin who changed her name and for neither of the above.  She was in constant contact with her father.  She just probably thought her name was not 'exotic' enough for an Air Stewardess.  But following her name change, she then married (under new name so I am assuming her change was legal) and she ended up being Elizabeth Taylor.  Sadly not the film star, but she was certainly glamorous enough.
Fleming (Bristol) Fowler/Brain (Battersea/Bristol)    Simpson (Fulham/Clapham)  Harrison (W.London, Fulham, Clapham)  Earl & Butler  (Dublin,New Ross: Ireland)  Humphrey (All over mainly London) Hill (Reigate, Bletchingly, Redhill: Surrey)
Sell (Herts/Essex/W. London)

Offline garstonite

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 11,859
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 15 March 15 12:20 GMT (UK) »
do you know his occupation ??
Shipwright
Wheelwright
Cartwright   etc etc - in work would be known as the Wright
.....its like a Blacksmith /Silversmith / Goldsmith - known as the Smith.....
just one possible explanation ??
oakes,liverpool..neston..backford..poulton cum spittal(bebington)middlewich,cheshire......   sacht,helgoland  .......merrick,herefordshire adams,shropshire...tipping..ellis..  jones,garston,liverpool..hartley.dunham massey..barker. salford

Offline DonM

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,597
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 15 March 15 15:27 GMT (UK) »
A James Cairns Wright and Sarah Downs married in Bo'ness 08 JAN 1877 is this him?

Don




I have turned off all email notifications, thank you.


Offline Gardener

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,242
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 15 March 15 20:53 GMT (UK) »
Why my 2x g grandfather changed his surname from Cairns to Wright has been a mystery in our family. I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.
He was born at Wester Balado, kinross in 1853. He was not living with his parents by the 1871 census and when he got married in Bo'ness in 1877 he had already changed his surname to Wright. Family folklore has it that he was a conscientious objector/ absconded from the army. I don't have any proof to support that. Does anyone know where I could look?Many thanks

There is another thread about this here http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=566233.msg5025177#msg5025177

According to the details there, James stated his father to be James Cairns Wright too. Perhaps the reason lies further back? Sometimes two surnames are used either singly or together. For example, James Cairns is brought up by a stepfather so known by the surname Wright. Or one name is that of the biological father  and the other the biological mother (parents never married).

What about the b. 1819 James? Who were his parents?
Rose (Black Country),Downs (Black Country),Wolloxall (any and all),Bark (Derbyshire),Wright (Derbyshire),Marsden (Derbyshire), Wallace (Black Country)

All census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Sierra32

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 15 March 15 21:00 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks for all your very helpful  suggestions. He was a  carpenter who eventually went on to run his own timber merchant business... so maybe he did run into some money through a legacy. Difficult to say with any certainly that he did nor did not fall out with his family.... but I just have a hunch that he wasn't estranged as all his children has the name Cairns as a middle name. It is the James Cairns Wright who married Sarah Downs.
I think he made up his father's name(of James Cairns Wright) on his own marriage certificate as his father was James Cairns in the 1771 census and on his (James Cairns 1819) death certificate. His mother's death certificate is also under the name Cairns..... so I am inclined to be thinking that his parents had not changed their names.

Offline despair

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 3,459
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Why Did James Cairns change his surname to Wright?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 16 March 15 18:58 GMT (UK) »
Given that he was a carpenter,this list possibly adds weight to Garstonite's suggestion.

http://www.scotsfamily.com/occupations.htm

Regards
Roger