Identifying Photos

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where do they get the names?

I have had my searches blocked because someone has given a wrong name on an official document of some kind. This leads me to wonder why and broadening searches so far still have not answered the question.

First off Benjamin Woodhead and his brother John, both came and settled in Melbourne and did quite well for themselves. Both were well educated and knew how to make money. So why is it that on John's marriage and death certificates he has named his mother Fanny Hobson? I can understand the discrepancies on Death Certificates, depending on who gives the information also depends on what they know of the person they are giving the information for. But on a marriage certificate?

I have spent years trying to find Fanny Hobson but gave up. Then I realised that John Woodhead (Snr) had married a Fanny Mellor about that time. Then there are a number of children to John and Fanny (no maiden name). There was a christening of a John Woodhead about the same time as our John (Jr) in Pennistone, just up the road from Almondbury, the mother is listed as Fanny Mellor.

Then I got John's marriage certificate and found that he was born in Pennistone. The 1851 census for my John and Fanny and children then confirms that Mary and John were born in Pennistone. There are too many co-incidences between John and Fanny Hobson and John and Fanny Mellor not to believe the two are one and the same person. Also there is only ever one John and Fanny that can be found in the census.

My guess is that maybe Fanny's Mother may have married a Hobson along the way somewhere, and the boys realising their grandmother was a Hobson assumed their mother was too? The search on this one goes on.

Then the next generation. Alfred Woodhead (Benjamin's son) was born 22 July 1848. On His marriage certificate he names his mother as Sarah Taylor. Years of looking for Sarah was found to be rather elusive. I did find a marriage for Sarah and Benjamin and sent for the certificate, certain this was them, in the hope of finding Sarah's Father and maybe getting a lead on the family. However when the certificate came I found that Benjamin's occupation was incorrect, his father's name was Joseph and not John, and his occupation was also different, to top it off I found that Ben was illiterate and signed with an X.

After Ben's first wife died he remarried Sarah Clarke. I sent for this certificate which had all the correct details as I knew them, Benjamin Woodhead, joiner, his father John,  a dyer, and he signed his name.

Recently Family Search has updated a number of details found in their records. Among these was the marriage of Benjamin Woodhead to Isabella Jenkinson. It lists his father as John. I had a look for Isabella's death and found she had died in Kendal, where Benjamin married Sarah Clarke a few months later, the only discrepancy was that she appeared to have died a few months before the date of birth we had for her son Alfred. We have never been able to find a birth registration for Alfred and the date we had came from his daughter's birthday book.

I took a punt and send for the marriage certificate. It was the right one, all the details matched those on Benjamin's second marriage certificate. Apparently Alfred was born a year before, and when I checked his certificates and the ages on them this all worked out to be correct.

This still poses the question why did Benjamin and John believe their mother to be Fanny Hobson when she was Fanny Mellor, and why did Alfred believe his mother was Sarah Taylor?  Guess these are ones we may never really know the answers to.

Further to the above, I have just found Alfred's birth and Christening. He was in fact Alfred Townley Woodhead. It is the first I have heard of the Townley name and no idea where it has come from. It sounds like he has been named after someone.

Also on his christening his grandparents are named as his parents. My thoughts on this? His father has taken him to be christened and has been asked what the parents names are and he has given his parents. I know it is the right person as the address is correct and father's occupation and I did have Alfred's birth date which is also listed on the christening certificate.
Why is it that when I knock down a brick wall 10 more jump up? No wonder genealogy keeps one interested.

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