Thanks for the helpful clarification. It was always my understanding that only the natural parents could register a birth and that the baptism record has no legal standing. The difficulty in clearing my mind is that the baptism took place 3 days after the birth was registered and the presumed (by me) natural mother was the name given at the church. The birth certificate shows another woman altogether as 'Sarah Thomas formerly Cooper' but she and my great great grandfather did not marry for another 7 years (1856). What seems to be emerging is that my great great grandfather had an irregular household with a complaisant wife and in registering the birth in question he misrepresented the mother's status. What bewilders me is that he misrepresented Sarah Cooper's status when it would have been more logical to assign the child to his legal wife which he did at this baptism.