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Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:04
by Paulamoulton
Apologies in advance if I have missed a previous answer to this, but I could not find it.
There is a person called Drusilla, a Norfolk girl born in Bungay and baptised in November 1843, who's mother and ancestors were called various forms of Late, Laight, Lighton, Lighting, etc., due to illiteracy, inarticulate speech, heavy Norfolk accents, and so on. Eventually, it seems that they were all called Leighton by 1900.
Drusilla has four entries in the Oct-Dec 1843 Wangford registry, Vol 13 Page 498 viz: Drusilla Tar Leait, Drusilla Tar Hawes, Drusilla Tar Leail , and Drusilla Jane Hawes.
The last two are transcription errors of the first two, it is obvious when you see the writing on the original list. That leaves two registrations and I know that one is for Drusilla's mother's surname phonetically "Late" and the other for the man who was the father that she never married, a Samuel Hawes (who has also been wrongly transcribed as Haines just to make life even more difficult).
Now I would like to send off to GRO for the birth certificate(s) but I have two questions which I just know that someone here will have the answer for.....
Firstly, was it even possible or legal for someone to register a birth twice? Secondly, will I have to send off for both surnames in separate requests to GRO in order to be able to uncover the birth certificate(s)?
Or is there only one certificate possible? If so, which surname should I enter in the submission form?
Many thanks in advance for any help on this.
Ms Paula Moulton.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:12
by brianlummis

I have just looked on the GRO Index pages where you would normally order a certificate ( ... search.asp) and could only find Drusilla Tar Hawes listed in the last quarter of 1843 in Wangford. Where did you get the other details from?


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:35
by tatewise
I think it is possible the birth was first registered with no father, and later the father was prepared to have his name added.
That will probbaly become apparent when you order the GRO Index entry that Bian mentions.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:41
by Paulamoulton
Thank you, Mike.
So should I be entering HAWES in the GRO space for surname, or LEAIT? Because I can enter either, or both on separate requests.
Do they have two birth certificates or registration sets that differ, do you think?


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:53
by Paulamoulton
I have tried a "dummy run" ordering the birth certificate and I have discovered that Drusilla Laite or Lait, etc leads to "NO RESULTS".
Therefore, I presume that there must be just one entry with GRO, and one certificate. That in the name of HAWES.
It is a pity that registry searches come up with such confusing duplicity.
I now realise that if I'd tried to order the certificate under Drusilla Leait I would have discovered all this.
Well anyway, thank you very much for your very quick and knowledgeable replies, I am very grateful.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 19:56
by mjashby

If you found multiple GRO Index entries in the 'old original' GRO Indexes with the same Volume and Page numbers then it's probable that the Registrar's staff were simply trying to cover all bases, i.e. different interpretations of the child's forename(s) and/or surname. In contrast, re-registration with genuinely differing details, such as a child's birth being re-registered after marriage would normally have resulted in the cross-indexing of the old and new entries and only the newer registration being valid for ordering certificates. In contrast, I've found many marriages where there are multiple index entries, usually where one or both parties had been known by multiple names, e.g. Mary 'A', formerly 'B', previously 'C' whose father's name was given as John 'D'. I would guess that it's all down to how diligent the individual Superintendent Registrar's staff were with their indexing in pre-computerised days, i.e. anytime earlier than the 1990s!

I've only come across one 'genuine' double birth registration through my own research where all key details were identical; and that involved the same child being registered in two different Registration Districts about ten miles apart, probably first where the child was actually born (the mother presumably having returned 'home' for the birth of her first child) and then slightly later where the family actually lived.


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 20:06
by Paulamoulton
Many thanks for your insight, Mervyn, much appreciated.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 20:11
by davidf
If you access via FreeBMD it is possible to look at the images of the birth indices. In cases like these there are often manuscript explanations (usually a footnote mark, followed by a note at the foot of the page)

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 20:46
by AdrianBruce
Drusilla has four entries in the Oct-Dec 1843 Wangford registry, Vol 13 Page 498 viz: Drusilla Tar Leait, Drusilla Tar Hawes, Drusilla Tar Leail , and Drusilla Jane Hawes.
Leaving aside fantastic coincidences, this means that there is one certificate only, with four index entries.

Certainly I have seen multiple indexes where the clerks were not sure of the correct reading - a marriage certificate that I recently got was indexed under both "Roya" and "Roza" because the clerk couldn't decide whether the letter was a "y" or a curly "z".

Also, the Drusilla's parents were not married at the time of the registration - the original GRO indexing system recorded such children under both parents' surnames. (The child does not have a surname on the birth certificate until 1969).

When the GRO re-indexed birth certificates for the current GRO site - they changed the rules of indexing. To quote Antony M from the WDYTYA? Forum:
Births to unmarried parents in the old indexes would normally be indexed under both parents names.
Where a father is named on the entry (regardless of marital status) the new GRO index seems to only index under the that name.
So that explains why only the Leait, etc, variants don't bring up a result on the new GRO site - that's the mother's name, while Hawes is the father's, so is now the only one indexed. I consider this to be a right royal PITA as such children (of unmarried parents) were usually known by the mother's surname and you might have no idea of the father's name. (There is no Mother's Maiden Name in such a case, as she is not married and the MMN is the surname immediately before marriage.) (I cynically wonder whether the GRO realise that they changed the rules of the indexing game. I suspect not).

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 17 Mar 2019 06:04
by Paulamoulton
Many thanks for that insight, Adrian, now I can see things a lot clearer. It does seem to be a bit of a pain, as you say, especially as the job of finding the correct registration is already difficult enough due to difficult to read or illegible original writing, poor transcription, illiteracy and very broad dialects.
It also seems to be the case that birth outside of marriage was more common in the earlier 19th century than later.
There is a church in Heckingham, Norfolk, called St Gregory's (a Grade 1 listed building) where apparently women from many outlying districts took their newborn to be baptised if they were not married. The baptism record shown in the Norfolk Bishops Transcripts in the mid 1840s shows page after page filled with the entry "Single Woman" and from many (other) places in the "Abode" column. The "Single Woman" entries outnumber the others, local and married, by about five to one, so I guess it must have been a sort of refuge for unmarried women wanting to avoid local baptism.
In the case of my own search for Priscilla "Lightning", the sister of Drusilla mentioned in this post, the Banns were read three times in Ditchingham church Jan 23 1848 to Feb 6 1848 for the marriage of Sarah Ann Light or Lighting and Samuel Hawes (transcribed as "Haines" due to an ink spot), a widower, but no marriage was ever recorded, although one is recorded erroneously in English Marriages dated 6 Feb, which is obviously based on the reading of the banns.
Priscilla and Drusilla's mother Sarah remained unmarried to her death in 1865. So I guess Samuel ran away.....
.....yet 7 years later Sarah, still unmarried, bore a son called Samuel.
Funny old world.


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 17 Mar 2019 12:36
by tatewise
I've moved this thread to the Research Forum, which is where it belongs.

I find this confusing history difficult to resist a little research.
There are some misleading details given earlier regarding where places are.
Bungay and Wangford are in Suffolk and NOT Norfolk.

I have found entries for Sarah Ann, Drusilla, Priscilla & Samuel in the 1851 and 1861 Census records.
1851HO107 Piece 1820 Folio 485 Page 8 Ditchingham Dam, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk, England
Sarah Ann Leart (b.1816) with Rosella (b.1844) and Paiscilla (b.1849) with strange relationships to Head
1861 RG09 Piece 1184 Folio 122 Page 24 Nethergate Street, St Marys, Wangford, Suffolk, England
Sarah Ann Laite (b.1817) with Druscilla (b.1844) and Priscilla (b.1849) and Samuel (b.1855)

Also have found Birth & Death records:

Birth: Drusilla Tar Hawes Q4 1843 Wangford, Suffolk Volume 13 Page 498
Birth: Drusilla Tar Leait Q4 1843 Wangford, Suffolk Volume 13 Page 498
Birth: Priscilla Lightning Q2 1848 Loddon, Norfolk Volume 13 Page 211
Birth: Samuel Lait Q1 1855 Wangford, Suffolk Volume 4A Page 660

Death: Sarah Ann Lait Q2 1865 Wangford, Suffolk Volume 4A Page 442

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 17 Mar 2019 14:38
by Paulamoulton
Hi, Mike, how are you doing?
Many thanks for the information, but nothing that I have not already recorded.
I have all those records already safely sourced in my FH6. I just didn't have the Drusilla birth certificate to uphold my findings for the man I am researching for, my friend of 21 years John Piper, along the coast in Worthing.

Yes, the River Waveney, which runs around the northern part of Bungay, is the Suffolk-Norfolk border.
However, Sarah Ann, Drusilla's mother, was born in Shelton, and all her parent's family and relatives records are in Ditchingham Dam, Ditchingham, and Shelton which are in Norfolk. Ditchingham Dam consists of a few houses on the road to Ditchingham just over the river bridge and hence in Norfolk. Ditchingham is less than a mile from Bungay, but a separate community in 1840 with its own Inn, due to the flood plain, and the river.
Since you have gone to the trouble of researching the family of Drusilla, I assume that you are interested, and so here is what I have discovered.....

Sarah Ann, Drusilla's mother, was the last child, (of at least eight) born in 1815, of William and Mary Lighton (nee Toward) in Shelton (Lightning, light,etc) before Mary died. No record survives, apparently of that event.
William then married Susan Kett of Ditchingham in 1819 , who was the daughter of Jonathan Kett and Sarah Harwood, and Susan bore several children several of whom died.
By 1851 William had died, Susan was 55 and living in Ditchingham with her two daughters Hepzebal (the third one called that), and Charlotte. Also living in the house was Sarah Ann and her two daughters Drusilla and Priscilla. She is described as daughter in law and unmarried. This alludes to the fact that in 1851 "daughter in law"=step daughter and so Susan was Sarah Ann's step mother.
By this logic, we can separate Sarah from the two possible Sarah Lighton births in Shelton, in 1815, 13th July to Charles and Mary Lighton and 21st July to William and Mary Lighton. Reading "unmarried daughter in law" as "unmarried step daughter", which is what is meant in 1851 terms of reference, Sarah Ann Lighton was born to Wm and Mary on 21st July 1815.

By 1861 Sarah was living in Bungay with Drusilla aged 17 and Priscilla aged 12 and son Samuel aged 6. We can assume Sam was the son of Samuel Hawes, alluded to in the earlier post, father of Drusilla and Priscilla and deserter of marriage vows.
(After the non-marriage in February 1848, Sarah must have walked 7 miles to St Gregory's in Heckingham to have Priscilla baptised.)
Anyway, in 1861, next door to unmarried Sarah and her children, in Nethergate Street, Bungay, lived George and Mary Plumb (nee Woor) and their 11 year old son Edward.
By 1866 Sarah Ann, and both of Edward Plumb's parents had died and Edward moved into next door as a lodger, the house now being run by Drusilla.
He was 17 and she 23, Samuel was 11 and Priscilla was working as a servant elsewhere. Add 5 to the ages for the 1871 census.
They had William in 1869, Sarah in 1871, and Agnes Elizabeth in 1873, (all born Leighton or Laite, etc) before getting married in 1875. Several more children were born afterwards, and were put in the 1881 census as "Plum". (But some remained Leighton in adulthood)
Hence in 1898 when Ages Elizabeth married John Piper, whose grandson I am now researching for, Agnes Elizabeth recorded her name on the marriage certificate as Agnes Elizabeth Leighton Plumb.
She met John Piper whilst serving in a house in Blackheath, Lewisham where John was the local postman, and, ironically, had also been born out of wedlock in Central London. But that's another story...


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 17 Mar 2019 17:57
by tatewise
An interesting family history, Paula.
Perhaps what I should have said is the registraton district Wangford is registered in Suffolk.
It is important to make that distinction when searching for records, even if Bungay is mostly in Norfolk.

I now understand why Sarah was recorded as daughter-in-law of Susan in 1851 Census.
But that does not explain why Sarah's daughters are recorded as daughters of Head of house Susan, when they should be grand-daughters-in-law.

I found Samuel Hawes windower in 1851 Census at Beloy Bridge, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
I think I found his son Samuel married in the 1861 Census, but cannot find Samuel senior.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 13:28
by tatewise
A bit more digging in the 1851 to 1881 records has found the following that may be worth following up:

1851 HO107 Piece 1820 Folio 512 Page 15 at Belsy Bridge, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
Samuel Hawes widower (b.1813 St Andrews) with son Samuel (b.1830) and daughters Mary (b.1833) & Alice (b.1847).

1859 (8th May) Samuel Hawes (age 43, father James) married Emily Greengrass (age 33) at Ditchingham, Norfolk.
Samuel Haws widower & Emily Greengrass Banns 27th Mar, 3rd & 10th Apr 1859 at Ditchingham.
1859 Q2 Civil Reg at Loddon Volume 4b Page 385 Samuel Hames and Samuel Greengrass must be an error!
(The other couple on that page Mary Ann Ward & James Pigney have a Parish Marriage entry.)

1861 RG09 Piece 1230 Folio 71 Page 12 at Radford (Belford?) Bridge, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
(Surname mistranscribed as Raws.)
Samuel Haws (b.1815 St Andrews) married to Emily (b.1828 Beccles) with three children Mary A (b.1850 Beccles), Walter (b.1855 Beccles) & George (b.1860 Ditchingham).
1855 Q1 Walter Greengrass at Wangford Volume 4a Page 664
Have not found an entry for childen Mary and George.

1861 RG09 Piece 1230 Folio 77 Page 1 at Green, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
Samuel Haws (b.1830) married to Mary with two children.

1863 Q2 (19th Apr age 35) Emily Hawes died at Loddon, Norfolk Volume 4b Page 149 (registerd twice).

1866 Q3 (9th Sep) Samuel Hawes (father James) married Mary A Dunnett at Loddon, Norfolk Volume 4b Page 351.
Samuel Hawes widower & Mary Ann Dunnet Banns 5th, 12th, 19th August 1866 at Ditchingham.

1871 RG10 Piece 1832 Folio 71 Page 8 at Belford Bridge Road, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
(Surname mistranscribed as Howes.)
Samuel Hawes (b.1813 St Andrews) married to Mary A (b.1819 Broome) with two children Walter (b.1855 Beccles) & George (b.1860 Ditchingham) and granddaughter Anna Durrant (Dunnet?).

1881 RG11 Piece 1964 Folio 74 Page 16 at Belsey Bridge, Ditchingham, Loddon, Norfolk.
Samuel Hawes (b.1815 St Margarets) married to Mary Ann (b.1821 Broome).

The dates & places of birth for Samuel and his sons Walter & George match well.
He has had relationships with at least four women (1st wife Maria?, Sara Ann, Emily & Mary Ann).

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 15:44
by TimTreeby
Samuel Haw(e)s Marries

Emily Greengrass - May 8th 1859 in Ditchingham.
Mary Dunnet - Sep 9th 1866 in Ditchingham.

Both Emily and Mary Ann are spinsters upon their Marriage to Samuel.

Both entries can be found in Norfolk Marriages on FMP.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 21:03
by Paulamoulton
Hi Mike,
My, you have been busy!! I have just got back from doctors, shopping, seeing friends, so have not had a chance to look at your findings properly, but I can tell you that at first glance I think I have seen all those records, but I was unable to convince myself that it was the right guy.
The question still remains whether he was married when he fathered Drusilla in 1843, (also, there was a Marion Tar Leait buried in 1839 in Bungay, and I don't do coincidences. Hawes again? ) and then mystery of why he didn't turn up for the wedding after the Banns when Priscilla was just about to be born in February 1848. An objection, perhaps? Or scared sh**less?
I am waiting for the Drusilla birth cert, which should arrive by Wednesday. I am playing snooker tomorrow with John, and at the doctors and the hospital on Wednesday, so I won't be around to get stuck in again until Thursday. I will let you know what turns up in the birth cert.
Many, many thanks for your efforts, Mike, I am very grateful to you.


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 09:08
by E Wilcock
I think it worth posting that I have always found the individuals at the GRO Help are very experienced at sorting out problem entries.
One is never isolated with the index books.

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 23 Mar 2019 16:33
by Paulamoulton
Once again, thank you for doing all that research into Samuel Hawes. I am going to be spending the weekend looking into all that and anything else I can dig up this weekend.

The Drusilla Tar Hawes birth certificate (pdf) has been downloaded, and it states that Samuel Hawes is the father. She was born October 21st 1843, at Bungay Holy Trinity, registered on 1st November.

She was baptised on 1st November 1843 as Drusilla Lait. The father's name is left blank and to confuse matters further, some idiot has transcribed the mother as Drusilla, which was obviously Sarah Ann Leighton. (Using the correct family name).

There was also a birth of Marion Tar Haws in Q2 of 1839 and subsequent death of Marion Tar Leait and burial recorded as Marian Tar Leait on 2nd October 1839. Note the different spelling of the Christian name. We can assume that Samuel Hawes was the father of that child.
Whatever happened with the Banns of Marriage nine years later, at St Mary's in Bungay in February 1848, between Samuel and Sarah is anyone's guess, but Sarah took new baby Priscilla in the summer of that year to St Gregory's in Heckingham to be baptised, as a single woman. No father.

Then, in 1855 she bore Samuel who was baptised as Samuel Lait, to Sarah Ann, no father and in the notes we have pb/sw which I read as private baptism, single mother.
I cannot imagine that she would call her newborn boy Samuel if Mr Hawes had not been the father.

Sarah died in Bungay in 1865 aged 50, as Sarah Ann Lait.
She never entered herself onto any census as married, and no marriage record exists except the erroneous 6th February 1848 which actually refers to the aforementioned Banns.

The research that you have done about Samuel Hawes is very interesting, and I will be checking it all out, so once again, many thanks.


Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 04 Apr 2019 21:59
by IanTS
FYI ... As an aside to the above, in Scotland it is not unusual to find two separate Statutory Registrations of Births for the same child. I have quite a few in my family from the 1860’s and 1870’s. For example if the child’s mother returned to her parent’s home to give birth (not unusual for a first born) the birth would be registered within that Parish. Then, when the Mother and Child returned to their actual home the Birth was again registered within their home Parish with the Registrar noting that the Birth had already been registered “and transcribed” in another Parish. I have one child first registered in Selkirk Parish (child was born in the mother’s parent’s home) and then a week later registered again in Cambusnethan Parish, the actual home Parish of the Child’s mother and father, some 55 miles from Selkirk. Another example I have is where a Father, who was away from home working immediately after the birth, registered the birth of his child in the Parish he was working in, and then 3 weeks or so later registered the birth again in his home Parish ! Again the second Registrar noted it was a second (duplicate) registration. The joys of Scottish Registrations and Parishes (that is if it was registered in a certain Parish, it did not mean it happened in that Parish) :-)

Re: Multiple instance of birth registration.

Posted: 07 Apr 2019 00:05
by themoudie
Aye IanTS,

I too have encountered this 'double recording' of births in the Scottish Borders, with my wifes paternal family. Also, with my paternal mother's family in North Devon, in Parish records going back to the mid 1700's. It can be a bit disconcerting, but I attach both PR entry documents when making the entry into FH using AS, using the date of the initial baptism ceremony.

Happy hunting!