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Two birth certs - same person!

Two birth certs - same person!

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 4:06AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 16 Nov 2013 4:02PM GMT
During a family search I have come across two almost identical birth certificate for the same child, born 1944 in Bath. Surname was the only thing different. Both were dated the same day and both have the same parents listed. Parents were not married but living together. Is this normal or unusual? Anyone else ever known of this. I am very confused as to which one is correct data.

Re: Two birth certs - same person!

Posted: 14 Sep 2013 6:47AM GMT
Classification: Query
Do you actually mean two birth *certificates*, or have you just found two entries in the GRO index? I suspect it is the latter. Prior to 1 April 1969, the surname of the child is not explicitly given - the entry in the "name" column is just the forename(s) and the surname entered in the index is that of the father (if the parents were married) or the mother (if not). If there was ambiguity about which surname is correct (for instance if a mother was known by the surname of the child's father but not married to him), the birth (which was registered just once) would appear twice in the index, once under each surname.

Re: Two birth certs - same person!

Posted: 15 Sep 2013 4:59AM GMT
Classification: Query
Many thanks for the help. We sent for two certificates, not knowing which was the girl we were looking for. Surprised to find that they are almost identical. I am guessing due then to the two different entries. The mother was using a name that was not hers. Her husband was alive but she had been living with another man and using his name (common law wife?) but then had a child by yet another man, who appears on the certificates. Still not sure what the child's legal name would be. So, still confused!

Re: Two birth certs - same person!

Posted: 16 Nov 2013 3:13AM GMT
Classification: Query
It is possible for one child to be registered twice.

If a child is born to an un-wed mother, then the baby will usually be registered with the mother's name. If both natural parents later marry, the child can then be re-registered with the new married name of the couple. Step-fathers can't register as a father for this purpose, only the actual father (unless they lie, of course).

This can cause, as you may guess, serious confusion for us amateur genealogists.

I am un-clear if this is the case here. You may be able to tell by checking the dates of birth against the date the two births are registered and seeing if you can find a wedding involving the mother and father between the dates the child is registered.

Also, beware name coincidences.

Re: Two birth certs - same person!

Posted: 24 Nov 2013 10:42PM GMT
Classification: Query
The "legal name" of a child (or adult for that matter) is, strictly speaking, the name by which they are known.

It is worth remembering that until the 1960s birth registrations did not explicitly allocate a surname to a child. The "Name" column on the birth certificate used to contain only Christian name(s) and it was only in the index entry that the father's surname (or mother's in the case of illegitimate births) was tacked on to this.

In modern times, our obsession with documentary proof of identity has meant that using a name not on ones birth certificate causes severe problems. Combined with more complicated family situations these days, this has resulted in some relatively new and very complex rules regarding birth registration.
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