Thanks for this. It is not easy to put yourself in the position of someone over a hundred
years ago. I have to say I have also seen statutory records where the registering person
probably wanted to not answer a question because they didn't know the answer and ended
up making up an answer.
Peter at LostCousins <peter(a)lostcousins.com> wrote:
My logic was my that paternal Great
Great Grandmother stayed in the same house as her son -my Great
Grandfather - and my Grandfather for about four years covering him
being fourteen to eighteen years old so I assumed that by that age he
would have knowledge of her name and maiden name in particular.
As family historians we tend to assume that our ancestors knew at least as much about
relatives as we do. They probably didn't.
The first time I registered a death - my stepmother - I had to say where she was born. I
expecting to be asked this question, and although my father was with me, he didn't
I should have known the answer because I'd seen her birth certificate a few hours
this showed that she was born in the same maternity hospital as I was). But you know what
like when someone dies - there are a thousand and one things to think about, so you tend
ignore information that doesn't seem to be relevant at the time.
In the event I guessed - and guessed right - but I can understand that someone who
100% certain might prefer to say that they didn't know, rather than risk providing
information (and perhaps committing perjury?).
Also my Grandfather and his parents lived in a village amongst
both this Great Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandfather.
I met a lot of relatives when I was younger but I didn't know most of their surnames -
referred to them by their surnames whern they were there, and if their surnames had been
mentioned on some other occasion I probably wouldn't have known who was being talked
I didn't even know which were on my maternal grandmother's side of the family, and
which on my
maternal grandfather's side. (I did know that they weren't my father's
relatives - I didn't know he
had any until I started researching my family tree, when I discovered that both his
from large families!)
So I don't think there is anything strange or sinister about the information being
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