C is for ….

18 October 2013

….copious counties, censuses, clerks, curates, courts, convicts and today’s C, for christenings.

The christening (or baptism) of a child was supposed to take place the first Sunday after birth, or on the next Sunday thereafter. However, sometimes several brothers and sisters were baptised together and as such, weeks, months or even years may have elapsed before a christening is noted in the parish records. Therefore, if you are undertaking a specific search, extend the period to fifteen years surrounding the possible year of birth in case of late christenings and/or faulty information so that you can assess whether the family is present in the parish.

An example from Swanley in Kent – the Dingley family baptise five of their children in 1903, born from 1895 to 1902 and thankfully, the vicar, clerk or curate recorded their birth dates alongside the record.

Some christening records also provide valuable information not given on birth certificates – for example, Owen Sillifant who was born of Mary Jane Sillifant on Christmas Day 1894 with no named father – well, at least not on his birth certificate. The christening on 20 March 1895 ‘in the house at Soldon X [Cross]’, recorded in the Holsworthy Circuit Wesleyan records (Devon Record Office  2812D-6/32  1888 – 1931), refers to Herbert Sanders as the father of Owen Sillifant! Très interessant!

And so tomorrow, to D. What will D be….?

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