Author Topic: Middle Names in England early 19th century  (Read 5569 times)

Offline Familyskeletons

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Middle Names in England early 19th century
« on: Wednesday 01 April 20 18:18 BST (UK) »
My three times great grandfather was born in Gloucestershire in 1779. We was christened with just a forename and surname. When he married in 1806 it appears he had added a middle name. This middle name also appeared in the Christening records of his first two children in 1808 and 1810. By the time his third child was born in 1816 the middle name wasn't there and it never appeared again. I read somewhere that only the upper classes had middle names in that era. Might he have arbitrarily given himself a middle name? I have recently found that his brother might also have given himself a middle name for some period of his life.  Any thoughts? And information sources I could look at?
Legg Legge Curtis Meggitt Caswell King

Offline taffie01

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 01 April 20 18:59 BST (UK) »
hi Familyskeletons
just an idea, but not sure if it applied in late 18th century.
In the catholic religion when children  were confirmed they took on the name of a saint. Many people adopted that as a middle name. however, just as people who have a middle name now, never ever  choose to use it, perhaps your ancestor exercised that choice.
cheers taffie

Offline Familyskeletons

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 01 April 20 22:01 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the idea and I'll mull that over. In this case the names added weren't names of saints - rather they were the names of people that the fellows might have held in high regard.
Legg Legge Curtis Meggitt Caswell King

Offline rosie99

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 02 April 20 06:35 BST (UK) »
You only have to look at baptisms in a parish register for that period to see that middle names were not uncommon so not related to status.  Maybe he just liked the name, he could call himself what he liked without it being the name he was baptised with
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Offline Familyskeletons

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 02 April 20 16:56 BST (UK) »
That is an excellent idea and, fortunately, the parish registers for the place of their birth (Winchcombe, Gloucestershire) are available online on Ancestry so I went through them page by page for the period from 1768 up to the birth of the second son in 1782. Less than 1 percent of the christenings had a middle name. I'm curious whether this was also the case in the London area where they moved to so now I just have to find some parish registers online for comparative purposes. If the majority of those they associated with in London had middle names, maybe they felt compelled to create their own so that they'd fit in.  Many thanks for the suggestion.
Legg Legge Curtis Meggitt Caswell King

Offline Little Nell

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 02 April 20 17:46 BST (UK) »
It is possible that the middle names were given to acknowledge godparents.

I don't think it was necessarily associated with any one place or area.  I have examples from the late 18th century in Sussex, Dorset and Hampshire.

Nell
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Offline Familyskeletons

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 02 April 20 18:01 BST (UK) »
Hi Little Nell: Just to clarify what you're saying:  Are you saying that children in Sussex, Dorset and Hampshire gave themselves middle names to acknowledge a godparent? Was that a common  practice in what you've seen in Sussex, Dorset and Hampshire? If so, then perhaps the two fellows I'm looking at didn't do something odd.

What I'm trying to figure out is what motivated these two boys to give themselves a middle name despite the fact that their parents hadn't given them a middle name. In the place of their birth, middle names were extremely rare so something, subsequent to their birth, motivated them to give themselves a middle name. They did move to London area so that's why I was querying whether middle names were common in London for people in their age group.

I'd be really keen to see if somebody else has seen the same thing  in their family history.
Legg Legge Curtis Meggitt Caswell King

Offline Little Nell

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 02 April 20 18:22 BST (UK) »
I have to admit I was thinking mainly of what you said in your post at reply #4 about giving middle names perhaps being common in the area that he moved to. 

I wonder did he have cousins with the same name and so he added another name to distinguish himself from them?  Or were their names relatively common in their local area and again perhaps they added the second name to make it easier.

Nell


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Offline UK4753

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Re: Middle Names in England early 19th century
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 02 April 20 18:30 BST (UK) »
This is a subject that has fascinated me.  My great-grandfather was born in Wiltshire in 1830 and was given two middle names:  David Abdie Jackson Jones.  He has an older brother named William Solomon Banks Jones and another older brother with only one middle name: Henry Thomas Jones.

I believe the "Solomon Banks" middle name is some relation of his mother, Sarah Banks, but I have not found any candidates named that.

My great-grandfather's middle names are a complete mystery.  Neither of those names, together or separately, show up in my family....yet.

I believe the "Thomas" in Henry Thomas Jones could be his grandfather's name but I can't prove that one either.

Then, trying to find a "Jones" in Wiltshire or anywhere in the British Isles is daunting.

 :)
Wiltshire: JONES, BANKS
Yorkshire: FEVERS, SCALES
Kent:  RUMLEY, NIGH
London:  HUGHES, NIGHTINGALE