Hatched (matched) and dispatched

25 July 2015

In every family tree, each character must be hatched and dispatched, with a potential for being matched in between times. They may not have lasted long enough to be matched, they may have played for an alternative cricket team before the alternative was recognised legally, or they may have just not found the right person/not wanted to be matched off in life…. but what is guaranteed in life is birth and death (and paying tax).

In today’s society, you need to prove certain information in order to have it formally recorded on a certificate. If the parents of a newborn child are not married and they want both of their names to be recorded on the birth certificate, both of them need to be present at the birth registration and both sign the birth register, so I am told. In years gone by, you could record whatever you wanted – if someone wanted to record Henry Davis as the father of their illegitimate child on the birth certificate, Henry would most likely not even be aware! How do we deal with that in genealogical research?

All this makes our job very difficult – why do people change their names? Is there always an untoward reason? Is there always a record of the name change? More often than not, no! So, if someone decided to change their name from William X Y Z to John F, how do we prove that William and John were the same person? Generally – at FWL – with a lot of hard work, dedication and determination ….!

How many of your ancestors changed their names? I don’t mean being known as Jack when they were born John. I mean a complete change of surname for no apparent reason, or a total change of their entire name (first and last)…. What were the reasons for the change of name? Was there any documentary evidence of the change? If not, how did you prove it?

Source image: Rainbow-Rose Blossom

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