Search for content in message boards

"Otherwise" in a surname

"Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 5 Oct 2010 9:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
What does it mean when someone inserts "Otherwise" in their surname? For example: On St. Martins-in-the-Fields parish register for her marriage, a person stated her name as "Ann Littler, otherwise Watson". Signed her name thus. Register states that she was a Spinster. I've also seen this in Probate records, e.g. John Catchpole, otherwise John Catchpole Stanford.
Thanks, Dave

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 6 Oct 2010 9:39AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Dave,

I think there must be lots of different reasons for using "otherwise" in this context, but possibly the reason Ann Littler was otherwise known as Watson is because her mother married, either for the first time or when she'd been widowed, after Ann was born. There was no formal adoption process in the UK until the 1920s, so changing a child's surname was voluntary before then.

John Catchpole otherwise John Catchpole Stanford could have been born illegitimately to a mother with the surname Stanford, who later married the father who had the surname Catchpole. If a couple had a child out of wedlock, but they were pretty sure they would later get married, the child was very often given the surname of the father as a middle name, so that the surname of the mother could just be dropped once the father & mother were married.

As I say, these are just possible explanations - there could be many more, but I hope it helps.

Christine

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 6 Oct 2010 8:46PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Christine,

Thanks for your reply. I had thought of your second explanation since my own grandfather and his two brothers have the "middle name" Catchpole on their birth certificates (late 1800s) but the surname Sandford. Their father was married to someone else at the time of their births (she had TB) and father and mother married after she died. However, the brothers didn't use the term "otherwise" and I believe just adopted the name Catchpole without ever using Sandford.

As far as Ann Littler is concerned I thought perhaps she had been an orphan or adopted (but since there was no formal adoption process in the UK I doubt that). On her marriage certificate a witness is Mary Littler, so do you think Watson was Ann's original surname or Littler?

Cheers,

Dave

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 6 Oct 2010 9:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
Very difficult to say which surname was Ann's original one, unless you are lucky and can find Ann and perhaps Mary in the censuses. Mary could have been her sister. Is there a clue about Ann's father's name on the marriage certificate, and/or a reasonable indication of her age? That might make it a bit easier to find her, assuming she lived within the period of the available censuses.

Christine

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 6 Oct 2010 9:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Actually I should say that Mary could have been Ann's sister or mother!

Christine

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 6 Oct 2010 11:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
Actually not a marriage certificate but a 1815 parish record with no indication of parents. Ann died in 1834 so no census records. Haven't looked for Mary Littler in census records as I've no clue as to age or where she may have been living. At the time of the marriage, Ann was in St James, Westminster.

Dave

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 7 Oct 2010 12:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
Ah. OK, well I've run out of ideas in that case. I'm sorry I can't help you - I hope somebody else can. :-)

Christine

Re: "Otherwise" in a surname

Posted: 7 Oct 2010 3:42PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks for your help and ideas. Dave
per page

Find a board about a specific topic

  • Visit our other sites:

© 1997-2014 Ancestry.com | Corporate Information | Privacy | Terms and Conditions