Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disappointing Elizabeth

A week ago Joyce Humphrey, an Armitage cousin, found the marriage record for our g-g-grandfather Abel Armitage and his wife, Eliza Hartley, on the West Yorkshire Marriage Parish Records collection at Abel married twice. After Eliza died, Abel married Ann Bell. Joyce descends from Ann; I descend from Eliza.

Abel and Eliza had two daughters. Ann was born on May 21, 1850. Elizabeth, my great-grandmother, was born on August 24, 1852. I hoped (and assumed that) their baptismal records would be on the companion set of records at where Joyce found their parents' marriage. Below are photographs of the baptismal records as I found them on Ancestry.
Ann Armitage's record.

Date of Birth. 21 May 1850
When Baptized. 16 June No. 477
Child's Christian Name. Ann
Parents' Christian Names. Abel Eliza
Parents' Surname. Armitage
Abode. Bowling
Quality, Trade, or Profession. Carrier
By whom the Ceremony was performed. [Illegible signature] Office Minister
Elizabeth Armitage's record.

Date of Birth. 24 August 1852
When Baptized. 1852 19 September No. 985
Child's Christian Name. Elizabeth
Parents' Christian Names. Abraham Eliza
Parents' Surname. Armitage
Abode. Bowling
Quality, Trade, or Profession. Porter
By whom the Ceremony was performed. W. C. Hodgon [?], Apt. Curate

My disappointment is not in Elizabeth, an infant who had no control over what was written in the baptismal registry. My disappointment is in finding the first name of her father recorded as Abraham instead of Abel. I believe without a doubt that this is my Elizabeth -- but how did Abel become Abraham? I was so hopeful this record would provide clear evidence because I have been unable to find a civil birth record for Elizabeth.

I understand that in 1800s England parents were required to pay a fine if births were not recorded within a specific time period. In order to avoid paying the fine parents sometimes changed the birth dates of their infants. If that was the case in Elizabeth's situation, I will never find a record with her name, an accurate date of birth, and the correct names of her parents. Disappointing.


  1. I didn't realize there was a fine for "late" reporting of births. That opens a whole can of worms, doesn't it? How will we ever be sure that our ancestor's birth dates are right? That is very disappointing. This is one of those times you wish you could meet the ancestor in person and chat for a while!

  2. Heather, I understand that was specific to the UK during the 1800s. I have not heard that there were fines in the US or in any other countries (but that's not to say that there weren't). Knowing that for UK records definitely makes for a feeling of uncertainty when it comes to birth dates. Yes, I do wish I could sit a visit with my ancestors.

  3. Nancy,
    Thank you for inviting me to google+. This is something I would really like to explore. I set up a circle I called bloggers. Perhaps we can get a group in our circle from geneabloggers and try the "hangout" function. That could be so much fun. I understand that the software automatically switches to the face of the person who is speaking -- but I've yet to try it out. Need a group.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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