Author Topic: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries  (Read 1051 times)

Offline Kiltpin

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #9 on: Thursday 02 December 21 17:42 GMT (UK) »
   "and at burial Elizabeth, widow of Samuel Berry". Or even just Widow Berry! That really gets to me.
I assume widow of Samuel Berry indicates that he was still alive but widow Berry might imply that he had gone before and then possibly nobody left who did know her name.
Pheno
 

How does that work? If she is a widow, then he is dead. If he is still alive, then she can't be his widow. 

Or am I missing something? 

Regards 

Chas
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Offline Top-of-the-hill

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #10 on: Thursday 02 December 21 17:48 GMT (UK) »
 Reply to Pheno
That is an interesting thought, that such a woman had outlived anyone who had known her name. Although I suspect that poorer women in the 18th and 19th centuries may have been called by their forenames, rather than Mrs. Was "Widow Smith" maybe a more polite form of address for an elderly woman? (Thinking this out as I go along!)
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Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #11 on: Thursday 02 December 21 19:03 GMT (UK) »

That is an interesting thought, that such a woman had outlived anyone who had known her name. Although I suspect that poorer women in the 18th and 19th centuries may have been called by their forenames, rather than Mrs. Was "Widow Smith" maybe a more polite form of address for an elderly woman? (Thinking this out as I go along!)

It reminds me of an elderly woman in the 20th century mourning the death of a friend or relative of her generation because they were the last person who called the woman by her forename.
Women who were Mrs in England in the 18th century seem to have been higher in the social scale.
Later married women lost their forenames. Wife of John Smith was "Mrs John Smith". I was reading Letters from Kilkelly on Mayo Library website last week. They were from a father whose 2 sons emigrated to America. The father didn't use the first names of his married daughters or his daughters-in-law when he mentioned them in the letters; they were always "Mrs", followed by forename or surname of their husband.
Still in Ireland, I came across a household census return (1911) which the householder had signed "Widow _ _ _ _" before "Widow" was crossed out and her initial was written above it.
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Offline Pheno

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #12 on: Thursday 02 December 21 19:09 GMT (UK) »
   "and at burial Elizabeth, widow of Samuel Berry". Or even just Widow Berry! That really gets to me.
I assume widow of Samuel Berry indicates that he was still alive but widow Berry might imply that he had gone before and then possibly nobody left who did know her name.
Pheno
 

How does that work? If she is a widow, then he is dead. If he is still alive, then she can't be his widow. 

Or am I missing something? 

Regards 

Chas

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D  Oops!  Rather think it is me missing something Chas.  Well that theory is out the window then.

Pheno
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Offline suey

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #13 on: Thursday 02 December 21 19:20 GMT (UK) »

I had two burials about five years apart. Both were Elizabeth widow of John. It would have been a help if the vicar had recorded Snr or Jnr after the surnames as father John and son John both had wives named Elizabeth   :-\ :-\ :-\
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Offline Sloe Gin

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #14 on: Thursday 02 December 21 19:56 GMT (UK) »
The worst are the baptisms where only the father is named, and the mother not even mentioned.
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Offline Galium

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #15 on: Thursday 02 December 21 20:12 GMT (UK) »
Or those which I have seen in Wiltshire where the clerk has written an entry such as 'Mary daughter of John Smith and his wife'.
Yes, obviously John didn't produce his daughter all by himself. What's his wife's name?  There's room to write it!
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Offline Rena

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #16 on: Friday 03 December 21 00:06 GMT (UK) »
The worst are the baptisms where only the father is named, and the mother not even mentioned.

I've come across one particular lazy cleric who only recorded the minimum details
:

Wm s of Wm Speight

considering there were two adult Wm Speight's in the area each with a son named William - hard luck - guess which one the vicar was dealing with.
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Offline Kiltpin

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Re: The paucity of female surnames in official reccords - 17th & 18th centuries
« Reply #17 on: Friday 03 December 21 12:27 GMT (UK) »
I have a similar situation out in India.   

At one of the garrison churches in the north of the Madras Presidency, the Vicar recorded all the doings of the Church. Weekly attendance was divided into Visitors and Parishioners. 

One of the Guests was "a native woman" - a regular attender.
After 6 months was an entry to the effect that "a native woman" had been baptised. 

6 Months later, "a native woman" attended weekly confirmation classes on a Wednesday.
6 Months later "a native woman" was confirmed and on subsequent attendances was noted in the Parishioner Column. 

A year before her first attendance, Captain of Dragoons William Eaton attended services every week. 

A year after her confirmation, the banns for Captain of Dragoons William Eaton and "a native woman" were read. After which there was a marriage of Captain of Dragoons William Eaton and "a native woman" - A large number of his fellow officers provided a guard-of-honour as they left the church. 

3 Years later the first child was born - William, son of Captain of Dragoons William Eaton and "a native woman". 

This was followed by 2 more children, a girl and then a boy.   

The last child was David, son of Captain of Dragoons William Eaton and his wife "a native woman". 

Right from the very start, there is a very great feeling of un-Christian enmity. 

I have a few other ancestors who "went native", but every one who converted to Christianity took a Christian name and I have no doubt that she did as well - but the vicar was determined ... 

Regards 

Chas


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