They changed their name!

Discussion in 'General Family History Queries' started by Mutters, May 12, 2013.

  1. Mutters

    Mutters I am not bossy, I just have better ideas.

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    I was quite shocked to find that the paternal name I followed back for five generations was not our male family name. At some point in the late 1700s early 1800s my g.g.g.grandfather and his siblings started to become known by their mother's surname rather than their father's surname following her death.

    Some double-barrelled it for a while, others changed their mind a bit. My line settled (during my g.g. grandfather's generation) for the mother's surname.
    There was not a family rift, I have a letter in 1812 from 4 x g.grandfather to one of his sons. He used his paternal name and addressed it to his son using the maternal surname.

    I have read that it often happened with the gentry or very wealthy families if there was not a surviving male heir to carry on the female name but mine were not rich at all, in fact quite the opposite. All ten of Christopher's grandchildren ended up not carrying on his name.

    Any ideas why?
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    I had a similar thing happen, but mine did go back to the original surname eventually.

    John MASCALL and his family appeared in most of the censuses with the MASCALL surname, but then they all turned up on a couple with the surname WEBB. Further delving showed that he was born to Sarah MASCALL (a single woman) and was given the middle name of WEBB - after his father, John WEBB.

    The census where he was first shown as WEBB was 1861 - 4 years after his mother, Sarah MASCALL, died. It seems like he was continuing with her name only whilst she was alive. He also used WEBB in 1871 and died in 1873, where his death was registered as MASCALL. His widow then continued in the censuses using MASCALL.

    So, could there have been a case of no marriage having taken place in your line - or have you established that it did take place?
     
  3. Guy

    Guy Whose knowledge is boundless

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    It sounds to me as if the son simply wished to honour his mother's memory by using her surname.
    As always in change of name after a death check the wills. There is always the possibility of inheritance on condition of change of name.

    Jan, a family used as a first or Christian name could also be to carry on a family name or surname.
    It happened to a member of my family. ...Oh, that was me!

    It would have been my middle name but my mother used all the spare cash naming my sister Diane Anita Elizabeth Edith that they could only afford to give me the one name, Guy. ;)
    Cheers
    Guy
     
  4. Mutters

    Mutters I am not bossy, I just have better ideas.

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    There was definitely a marriage between the parents and the children were not illegitimate.

    I wonder if it was as Guy said, to honour their mother. There may have been a will but I've not yet found one. I'll have to keep looking. ;)
     
  5. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    Your mother knew she would have to holler at a son a lot more than a daughter and it is much easier to shout one name instead of 4 along with your surname. ;)
     
  6. Guy

    Guy Whose knowledge is boundless

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    Ouch! ;) :cool:
    Cheers
    Guy
     
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  7. LynS

    LynS New Member

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    I had the same thing but it was because the surname was German - so was changed to the wife's English name.
     
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