On 31 Dec 2009 at 15:12, The Quineys wrote:
I've found a couple of siblings recently who were baptised days
they died. They were each mid-childhood age (6 or 7) and fell ill
before dying (smallpox was noted in the burial register). I can only
guess that when they fell ill, it was suggested that they were
baptised as death was inevitable. They were both buried within a week
of being baptised :-( Thankfully their ages were recorded so I was
able to identify them as 'mine'. Heather >
Long experience has taught me that relying on baptisms, whilst undoubtedly finding
valuable information, can be fraught with pitfalls if taken as a general guide to birth
dates and ages.
A gt-gt-grandfather of mine was baptised along with two brothers all on the same day,
he being the middle one. Now, the unwary beginner might well assume that these
were triplets but, of course, they weren't! Other evidence, i.e. census returns,
they were of differing ages and there was something like 8 years between the
youngest and the eldest. I think what tended to happen is that parents decided to get
their youngest and newest child baptised and then thought "Oh, we haven't had
and-so done, might as well have them all baptised together."
There also seems to be a widespread assumption that ALL children were baptised -
but not by any means! Some sects didn't believe in it and followers of the Baptist
persuasion, of course, weren't baptised until they were older and it was assumed they
understood it. I have also come across adult baptisms of people in their 30s and 40s.
Fortunately, a special note is often made in the registers in those cases.
During the Civil War, as I have pointed out before on the list, many Royalist
sympathisers refused to have their children baptised under the new arrangements of
the Cromwell regime, which is why it's always worth looking for them after the
Restoration in 1660. The problem is, you may well have no idea how old the subjects
actually were when baptised, which is why I have always thought one of the most
advanced and enlightened actions of the Commonwealth regime was to order the
recording of actual births rather than baptisms and deaths rather than burials. What a
shame we lost this when Charles II was restored!
Professional genealogical researcher, writer & lecturer
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History: www.genuki.org.uk/gs/Newbie.html
"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about,
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