Author Topic: Surname change..... why?  (Read 1281 times)

Offline Vendee

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Surname change..... why?
« on: Monday 26 November 18 11:51 GMT (UK) »
Hi, first post here. I've been researching our family trees for a few years now. My wife's maternal and paternal trees were fairly easy, going back to 1627 without too much effort. However my own paternal tree was a nightmare. My great grandfather had no birth or death records, only a marriage record and an entry in the 1901 census.

Then last week I had a breakthrough. I had been told that my great grandfather (Daniel Giverin) had spent time in prison. I turned up several penal records which stated the name was "Daniel Gavin or Giverin". This was a big lightbulb moment because on my great grandfathers marriage banns his name is written "Daniel Gavin", then the Gavin is ruled through and Giverin was written above.

Once I started searching for Gavin rather than Giverin, the facts came flooding in and they do tie in with the little information I had before. I've definitely got the right guy. So he was born Gavin in 1878, his fathers surname was Gavin. 1881 and 1891 census he's Gavin. Then in 1897 he gets married under the name Daniel Joseph Giverin. He's Giverin in the 1901 census, then in the 1911 census, he's in Dartmoor prison as Daniel Gavin. I'm 90% sure he died in Lancaster 1935 as Daniel Gavin.

Does anyone know why he might have changed his surname?  In the 1911 Dartmoor prison census, he is recorded as "weakminded" in the infirmity column. At the time that was another term for "imbecile". I wonder if that has anything to do with it? The thing is, the surname that he chose to adopt, the one I live with today, isn't a common surname but it is a surname of Irish origin. He didn't just make it up.

I'd love to hear the views of others on this. Thanks.

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Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 26 November 18 12:00 GMT (UK) »
Perhaps he couldn't write. If he could write his handwriting may have been hard to read. He may have had a pronounced accent or a speech impediment.

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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 26 November 18 12:01 GMT (UK) »
Welcome to RootsChat! ;D

Remember that the people writing the records (enumerators, vicars, etc) may not have understood an Irish accent?
So, they simply wrote what they thought they heard ;D

Spelling simply wasn't important years ago! :D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Jebber

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 26 November 18 12:12 GMT (UK) »
Welcome from me too.

As previously said spelling various spellings were quite common.

My maiden name is spelt several different ways, mainly because people pronounced or heard it differently.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline Vendee

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 26 November 18 15:38 GMT (UK) »
Thank you very much for your replies. I do understand that in those days, not everyone could read and write and yes, names were probably miss-heard and miss-recorded but in this case, his correct name was entered in the marriage banns (see image) and then altered to the surname I now have. The marriage certificate itself uses the new name. I suppose for his wife, the marriage certificate is the document which changes her surname and there is no going back for her if a mistake is made. She kept the new surname as did her children. Daniel seems to have gone back to his original surname.


Offline chempat

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 26 November 18 22:18 GMT (UK) »
How did he spell his father's name on the marriage certificate?

She (Jane) could spell her new surname however she wanted if she thought it was incorrect, surely?

Offline Vendee

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 26 November 18 22:55 GMT (UK) »
He spelt his fathers name "Giverin". To be honest, 125 years on, I don't think I will ever find out what was going on with the name and why but I'm quite pleased that there is a bit of mystery in my family tree. I'm led to believe that his time in Dartmoor prison was for attempted murder. Given his "weakminded" status while in prison, perhaps he wasn't the sharpest tool in the box. I might have to splash out and get hold of his prison records if possible.


Offline heywood

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 26 November 18 23:09 GMT (UK) »
There are two prisoners

Daniel Gavin 32 yrs single Labourer b Sheffield
Daniel Gavin 28yrs married Tailor b Salford

A newspaper snippet 1909 mentions the attempted murder of Maggie Gavin by her husband Daniel 27yrs.

There are a couple of other snippets re theft.
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Offline heywood

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Re: Surname change..... why?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 26 November 18 23:17 GMT (UK) »
The younger one married Margaret Taylor in 1904 at Harpurhey, Christ Church. So he was the one who committed attempted murder.
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