View Full Version : Lancashire birth cert. details/Alias
29-08-2007, 1:30 AM
During the 1920's my grandmother had several children with one man whom she married
in the 1930's. The births were registered under "Smith" her maiden name. His surname was
"Brown". However, the family was using the surname of "Jones" and when the couple
eventually married it was under the name of Jones not Brown -his actual surname.
Family history says Brown was married when he met my grandmother and this is why they
were using an alias. But, is it possible to marry using an alias? Also, is it possible the births
would also be registered under Brown and birth certs. issued in this name?
29-08-2007, 2:20 AM
"is it possible to marry using an alias?"
Yes. Unless, say, someone on the Brown (alias Jones) side of the family heard that he was getting married and objected on the grounds that he was already married, nobody would check whether or not the information was correct.
"is it possible the births would also be registered under Brown and birth certs. issued in this name?"
I take it we are talking here about children born *before* the marriage of Mr Brown alias Jones to Miss Smith.
Yes and no. You may find the same child in the index as both Brown and Smith, but that does not mean that there are two birth certificates, one in each name, because a child is not actually registered under any surname - it is only deduced from the parental information shown.
I believe the system has now changed, somewhere around the 1970s I think, but in the 20s and 30s we still had the old fashioned birth certificates. The name shown for the child is just the forename, and the event is indexed under the surname (singular) of the parents if married, surname (singular) of the mother if not married and father did not attend the register office with her (in which case his name will not be on the certificate), or surnames (plural) of both parents if not married but father did attend the register office with mother. In the last case, it would make no difference which surname you applied under, you would still get the same certificate.
To further complicate life, it is also *possible* that they could be indexed *only* as Brown, with the mother's maiden surname column showing "Smith" - because they may have lied and pretended they were married.
In fact, the answer to any genealogical query starting "Is it possible..." is almost invariably "Yes", because people lied, people recording things made mistakes and/or ignored official instructions and made their own rules, so there is not really much at all that you can rule out absolutely 100%!
29-08-2007, 3:09 AM
And, to be safe, I'd better add this bit.
I said that "the event is indexed under the..." <snip> "surnames (plural) of both parents if not married but father did attend the register office with mother."
This may not *always* be the case. The 1874 Act (Guy Etchells has a transcript on his site (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Eframland/acts/1874Act.htm), section 7 being the relevant bit), is concerned with the *registering* of the child, not the compilation of the index.
What instruction, if any, was actually issued by the Registrar General to his minions I do not know - I speak only from experience of actual cases that I know of, and it is possible that...
(a) the system of *indexing* an illegitimate child under both names where father attended with mother and signed the register may have been somebody's bright idea a little later, or
(b) local registrars and people in charge at the GRO, faced with a "What do I do about this one?" query from a clerk, may have made their own decisions, so what applied to one registration may not have applied to another.
So, while I have not come across one myself, it is *possible* that there could be only one surname in the index, but both on the certificate, or that the local BMD index may differ from the main GRO index in the way that the registration is *indexed* rather than what parental names are included.
30-08-2007, 12:44 AM
Thank you for the info.
It's been rather complicated trying to trace my grandmother and her husband.
I purchased a couple of their childrens' birth certs thinking Brown would be listed as the
father's name but, it is Jones the alias. A distant relation says her mother's birth cert(she was one of the illegitimate children) lists the father surname as Brown. How can I have a
birth cert with Jones but, hers lists Brown??
30-08-2007, 1:34 AM
Because that's what they told the clerk at the Register Office, so that's what he wrote down, simple as that, really.
Expecting them to be organised enough to sit down, create a carefully thought out lie and stick to the same story every time, would, I feel, be a little optimistic.
I have a whole string of certificates for supposedly legitimate kids (if you're fool enough to believe the certificates) which start off with the father's surname as Evors, mother being Evors formerly Griffiths, then they suddenly change and become Alexander instead of Evors - including a burial or two in the Alexander name for kids born with the Evors name.
They're Alexander instead of Evors on the 1891 census, but then go back to being Evors on the 1901, and later deaths are in the Evors name too. They've just used Alexander temporarily - probably, in this case, because they'd gone into hiding. Every birth certificate, even those in the Evors name, is based on a lie - they were never married in the first place, the fellow's just shacked up with his young niece. He was a vicar, so I suspect that the name change may possibly be because someone shopped him to the church authorities and they were looking for him, then they've gone back to normal when the fuss has died down, but, whatever, there isn't a single one of the birth certs that actually tells the truth and has the mother as simply Griffiths rather than Evors (or Alexander) formerly Griffiths.
People told lies, not always consistent lies, and those various lies got recorded, that's all it boils down to really!
31-08-2007, 3:52 PM
I had expected the birth certs to list the father's actual surname(of course!) to confirm.
I am trying to learn about him but, have run into a brick wall yet again.
Have heard about deed poll being used to change names but, am not familiar with it.
Would you explain?
Thank you for your help and your insight into certificates!
31-08-2007, 4:28 PM
"Have heard about deed poll being used to change names but, am not familiar with it."
And I doubt if Mr Brown was familiar with it either! :D
Seriously, there is a lot of absolute nonsense written and false assumptions made where change of name is concerned.
I'd recommend reading the National Archives leaflet (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=176) on the subject - that will give you the picture better than I could. It includes a section on change of name by deed poll, but do read the first part too before you skip down there, and bear in mind that in those days they didn't have social security benefits, old age pensions, driving licences, credit cards etc., all the clutter that most of us have nowadays, so if you just decided to call yourself something different, it wasn't a hassle trying to convince other people who want to see some kind of "evidence".
Edit - sorry, just remembered that we are talking about the 1920s and 1930s here, so scrap my "no pensions bit", I'm behind the times - they *might* even have had driving licences by then, not sure when they were introduced, but you get the general idea - modern society has more paperwork associated with it and there's more chance of various authorities wanting to make life hard for you if you don't play by their rules.
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.3 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.