Author Topic: Unbaptised baby?  (Read 636 times)

Offline Peter L. Mitchell

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Unbaptised baby?
« on: Tuesday 06 July 21 12:03 BST (UK) »
Hi folks.

I have an ancestor's child who died at the age of one day: Phillip Dial buried 6 September 1813 - Page 239 of the Bishops' Transcripts for Longbenton.

I've searched for any record of baptism but can't find one. Does anyone know whether babies who died so young (and presumably suddenly) were baptised as soon as possible after death, or was there another ceremony at burial? As far as I know the family was Methodist; quite possible Primitive Methodist.

Many thanks,
                   Peter


Offline Viktoria

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 12:22 BST (UK) »
If the baby was ill at birth, perhaps a difficult birth, it may well have been baptised at home .
Even though Methodists many people were concerned if an” unchrisomed “ child died,Roman Catholics were very concerned about it and  made sure babies were baptised ASAP .
I think even a time was allowed before the soul was thought to have left the body so that time could still be used to baptise a recently dead baby. This seems more likely to have been Roman Catholic  .
A cloth,the Chrisom cloth ,later a robe , was put on the baby which it wore for about a month ,the baby was anointed with Chrism ,a holy oil.
I can remember babies having a veil over their faces at their Christenings,  and my M in L bought my first baby’s Christening gown and a cape and asked did I want a veil .
The custom was dying out by 1957 ,so I said no.
There were many infant and neo natal deaths in years gone by and people wanted babies baptised quite quickly,in 1957 three weeks of age was the average .
Water was still used fo the baptism ,but the chrisom oil also after the water baptism.
Perhaps a home baptism ,it would have been a home birth, but no register filled in.
Viktoria.

Offline Peter L. Mitchell

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 12:26 BST (UK) »
Wow Viktoria! That's just brilliant!

I was aware of the urgency of baptism in those days but knew nothing of what was involved. Thank you for your terrific help!

Regards,
             Peter

Offline medpat

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 13:26 BST (UK) »
When an ill baby is born anyone can baptise the child if they fear his/her imminent death. There are notes in baptism registers, if a child survives, referring to the baby having a private baptism prior to the church service. I have never seen a reference to a private baptism with the name of who actually baptised the baby at that time.
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Offline Viktoria

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 14:30 BST (UK) »
Yes medpat, I had forgotten that.
So unless the baptiser spoke with Rector ,Vicar or Priest the home baptism would be unrecorded.
Thanks for the reminder ,that will help Peter a lot .
A lot of superstition surrounded such things ,even in the fifties and sixties people were convinced babies did not thrive until they were baptised .
My mother in law(  yes her again) was totally unconvinced when my first baby gained a pound in his first week ,two weeks before being Christened!
Would not believe me.
Tne Midwife came for about two weeks after a home birth which he was, and weighed the baby on a spring balance ,put baby in a spread out nappy, pushed the hook of the balance through the four corners and held it up ,the dial showed him to be 8 lbs ,was just 7 lbs at birth.
He was riding a bike two weeks later at his Christening!  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

I tell lies sometimes!

Viktoria


Offline zetlander

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 16:27 BST (UK) »
When an ill baby is born anyone can baptise the child if they fear his/her imminent death. There are notes in baptism registers, if a child survives, referring to the baby having a private baptism prior to the church service. I have never seen a reference to a private baptism with the name of who actually baptised the baby at that time.

That's right!
Friend had a baby who was very sick when born and the Midwife (in a London Hospital) who delivered him baptised him immediately after birth and actually chose the name.  As my friend was Welsh as was the Midwife the Midwife chose a Welsh name. I think my friend was too ill at the time to give a name.  Sadly the baby died within a few minutes of being born.


Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 18:37 BST (UK) »
I have never seen a reference to a private baptism with the name of who actually baptised the baby at that time.

A few Catholic priests noted who had baptised a baby "in danger of death". I've seen names in some early registers, 18th & early 19th centuries. A doctor baptised a few in one rural parish. A female baptiser for a baby in another parish may have been sister of my 4xGGF. Occasionally the priest's note about the prior emergency baptism included a descriptive word or words about the woman which indicated that he knew her to be reliable.
A reason for ensuring a baby was baptised was that a curate could refuse to bury an unbaptised baby in the churchyard. There's a poignant chapter in "Tess of the D'Urbevilles". Tess begs her father to send for the curate to baptise her ill baby. Tess and her sister bury the baby's body at night outside the churchyard wall. A famous real case was a woman and baby who both died. Family wanted them buried in same grave but curate refused to let baby be buried in the churchyard.   
Cowban

Offline Peter L. Mitchell

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Re: Unbaptised baby?
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 06 July 21 22:21 BST (UK) »
Thanks everyone! This is a terrific help!

Peter