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Parish Registers

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by LauraN, Jan 17, 2023.

  1. LauraN

    LauraN New Member

    I am researching family in Dorset in 1700s and have come across an anomaly.
    Some baptisms show both parents and some entries for the same year show only the father. Is there any significance to this or was it the preference of the parents? Does anyone have have an answer? My example is from Ancestry:
    Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
    Godmanstone p 20
  2. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    My understanding and experience is that baptism records in the oldest parish registers tend only to give the father's name and that mothers' names were included more frequently as time went on. It is hard to say why some entries in this specific register omit the mother's name, but it is likely that the register was written up from notes made by whoever performed the baptisms. If the baptisms were not all performed by the same clergyman, an older cleric might perhaps have been less inclined to remember or record the mother's name?
  3. LauraN

    LauraN New Member

    Thanks for getting back to me. The mother will have to remain a mystery.
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    If I'm looking at the right page, the dates covered are 1761-8, and by this dates most - though by no means all - registers included the names of both parents. On the two pages on image 20, there seem to be about 4 or 5 entries where the mother's name is omitted including two entries for children of Onesiphorus Hyde. However, the entry for one of his earlier children on the LH page shows him with a wife named Dorothy.

    There may be no logical reason why a few mothers' names were omitted from this register. However, often, all is not lost when the mother is not named at a baptism. With this particular register, for example, you may be lucky and find the mother's name you are looking for from the baptism of a sibling, or you may find her burial as "wife of" the father in question. Or, assuming the name is not too common, you may be able to find the right marriage by trying to identify when the first child was baptised - and checking that no wife was buried between then and the baptism of the child you are interested in.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Sometimes the mother's name is omitted because the vicar can't remember what it was (better than entering the wrong name!!), and occasionally you'll see a gap left for the name to be entered later. Always remember that the register wasn't completed at the time, so whoever wrote it up was relying on his memory, his notes, or notes taken by someone else (typically the sexton). Pauline's tips are, as usual, worth following.
  6. LauraN

    LauraN New Member

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I have been through the whole register and my ancestor, Onesiphorus Hide, was married to a Dorothy, though I can find no marriage. The children named with no mother may be his or his son's (same name). I'll have to work it out. Thanks again for your help.
  7. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    That is the first time I have seen that name outside my own tree. My 3rd great-grandfather was George Onesimus (Onesiphorus) Barratt. His son, my 2nd great-father was also Onesimus but he was not baptized with that second name, and there was a third George Onesimus Barratt but he was a great-uncle.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Onesimus and Onesiphorus are Biblical names with a similar meaning (broadly 'useful') - some think that they refer to the same individual.
  9. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    Yes. Paul mentions Onesimus in one of his epistles.

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