Author Topic: Name change in mid-life - WHY?  (Read 1117 times)

Offline kath davis

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Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« on: Sunday 15 November 20 15:22 GMT (UK) »
I have established that William and Thomas Franklin - earlier post Lincolnshire section - are most likely the same person.  But why should someone change his name in mid-life?  The change happened between 1813 and 1815.  He was born in Worlaby about 1782 (from 1851 census for Thomas). There is a baptism for William Franklin 26 Dec 1782 parents John and Ann Franklin.  He was married 1803 as William, to Mary Cooper.  The first 9 of his children were baptised at Middle Street Independent, Wrawby, their father was William.  The change came before/when the 10th child, Ann was baptised at Independent Chapel, Brigg, and no 11 at Wrawby Street Independent Brigg (could be the same place); their father was recorded as Thomas.  Thomas was also recorded when the next 2 baptisms returned to Independent Wrawby, the minister was different to the one performing the first 8 baptisms.  At his 2nd marriage he is again Thomas, registered in 1841 1nd 51 censuses and died as Thomas.
As I am satisfied that they are the same man, this is just a discussion issue, unless someone can show differently! Hope this is the best place for it.
Davis - Worcestershire
Dobson - Bucks/Essex
Longfield - Yorkshire/Newcastle
Franklin - Lincs/Yorks border
Exelby - Yorkshire
Chapman - Cambridgeshire
Aitken - Fife/Lincolnshire
Harrison - Yorkshire
Palfreman - Yorkshire

Offline Girl Guide

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:20 GMT (UK) »
One possibility I will throw in.  Perhaps he changed from William to Thomas because of a condition in a relative's will?

Not completely unknown.  There have been cases where in order to inherit from the will the person was required to change their name. 

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Offline kath davis

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:27 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your reply, and good thinking, although probably unlikely - ag lab in Lincolnshire, if it is correct it didn't exactly change his life!  I did check, his father died the year before - but why call him William if he wanted him to be Thomas. 
Davis - Worcestershire
Dobson - Bucks/Essex
Longfield - Yorkshire/Newcastle
Franklin - Lincs/Yorks border
Exelby - Yorkshire
Chapman - Cambridgeshire
Aitken - Fife/Lincolnshire
Harrison - Yorkshire
Palfreman - Yorkshire


Offline Pennines

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:34 GMT (UK) »
This is an awful thing to say Kath and I'm sorry -- but is it possible 'William' committed a crime I wonder and he was hoping to disguise his identity.
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Offline kath davis

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:43 GMT (UK) »
No need to apologise - it did cross my mind - but why and who from?  Better idea to change your surname or move away.  He certainly didn't spend long 'away' he had 12 children at regulation 1/2 year intervals!!! 
Thanks for your interest
Davis - Worcestershire
Dobson - Bucks/Essex
Longfield - Yorkshire/Newcastle
Franklin - Lincs/Yorks border
Exelby - Yorkshire
Chapman - Cambridgeshire
Aitken - Fife/Lincolnshire
Harrison - Yorkshire
Palfreman - Yorkshire

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:44 GMT (UK) »
Some people have an official name and a name they are known to family as

And they just decide to use the one they are commonly.known by
Also varies as to who is filling in the forms or answering questions of the person who is recording the detais

Maybe there was another Thomas in the family so he started using that as a preferred name once they passed away
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Offline iolaus

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 15 November 20 16:59 GMT (UK) »
One of my ancestors is on some documents as William and some as John  - however on his second marriage he actually listed it as John William Surname - I have no idea why he switches between the two names

Also rather more recently one of my husband's friends actual name is Brian - my husband (and 99% of people) thought his name was actually David as he's known as Dai  No apparently his grandfather started calling him Dai when he was a baby because he was born on St David's day


Offline kath davis

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 15 November 20 17:09 GMT (UK) »
Thank you - 2 more interesting responses.  Another Thomas is possibly - anything seems to be possible, but I don't have any earlier ones to blame.... yet! 

Iolaus - yes it can happen, my father was baptised John, but called Jack from day one; until he started work and then became (young) Joe, as he worked alongside his father.  I did check the baptism for 2 names, but that wasn't it.
Davis - Worcestershire
Dobson - Bucks/Essex
Longfield - Yorkshire/Newcastle
Franklin - Lincs/Yorks border
Exelby - Yorkshire
Chapman - Cambridgeshire
Aitken - Fife/Lincolnshire
Harrison - Yorkshire
Palfreman - Yorkshire

Offline Spidermonkey

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Re: Name change in mid-life - WHY?
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 15 November 20 18:19 GMT (UK) »
Similar to other respondents, I teach a student whose official name is X but has always been known as Z throughout his life (not an official name, so doesn't appear on his birth cert etc).

As the change in name coincides with a change in vicar, perhaps your man was always known as Thomas but was officially a William.  The old vicar might have known this and have filled in official forms as William.  The new minister might not know any different, and refer to him as Thomas.  If he referred to himself as Thomas then when the census enumerator comes around and asks what's the name of the head of the household - if Thomas is how he is known then that might have been the response.