Another unusual middle name

I’ve written before about where interesting middle names come from.

Another gentleman I’ve written about before, William Parsonson Anderson, has a – very helpfully – unusual middle name. I was chatting to a cousin today about naming conventions and the like, and he came up, and I had entirely forgotten that I did actually know where his name came from, so to stop me forgetting again, I thought I would make a small post about that too. One more for the unusual names set!

It’s quite simple, and just like an earlier example, as it appears that he was named after the minister who baptised him. It also illustrates a good reason to view the original records rather than just the transcriptions provided by various genealogy websites.

Here’s the transcription from Ancestry:-

Name: William Parsonson Anderson
Gender: Male
Age: 0
Birth Date: 11 Nov 1847
Baptism Date: 21 Nov 1847
Baptism Place: Unst,Shetland,Scotland
Father: William Anderson
Mother: Charlotte Russel

And here’s my own transcription from seeing the original record.

1847 Register of Births
No 37
21 Dec
William Anderson & Charlotte Russel in Trohall had a lawful Son born 11 Novr. Bapt 21 Nov in Methodist Chapel by Revd William Parsonson named William Parsonson.

The other thing to note here, is that, although this record is on a page with heading 1847, the date this record says it was registered is 21 Dec 1854. Does this mean that the baptism was registered exactly 7 years and 1 month after it happened? Or is this more likely to be a scribe error. This is from a volume that was a “Copy or Duplicate” of the original register. It is possible that in making the copy, they tried to re-order some out of order entries and in the process messed up the dates?

The original volume has a gap from near the end of 1849 (last entry is October) and then the next page starts in 1854. There is no sign of this baptism entry in the original volume, either in the pages for 1847, or in the pages from 1854 onwards. From census records I know William to have been born before 1851, so the 1854 date is clearly rubbish. He is aged 1 in the 1851 census, suggesting a birth year of late 1849 (given I believe the day and month, just not the year from the above record). And in fact, his age is consistent in every single census entry up to, and including, 1911. This would put him squarely on the missing page in the original register. So I’m inclined to think he was born on 11 November 1849. However, it is rather hard to prove!

2 thoughts on “Another unusual middle name

  1. I’ve found a few examples of confused chronologies in the Derbyshire records where we have roots. Some seem to be errors that have then been amended at recopying (not always correctly) but in quite a few instances a baptism at an earlier date has been recorded at the same time as a subsequent baptism of a sibling. So the record will have adjacent entries for Robert baptised in 1842 and his brother William in 1845, with the 1842 entry slotted in amongst those for 1845, sometimes with a marker in the margin. I love those copperplate books though am yet to see one in person – the available digitisation is amazing! I also find the middle names fascinating- in my family individuals are named after others and it is often the middle name that identifies or gives the clues It took me several years to track down the source of my grandmother’s middle name (she was named for her mother’s half-brother’s wife some years after he had died) – a satisfying moment when I finally located it!

    • I do love the sense of likelihood of correctness you get from tying together family names. Happy to hear you’re getting time to do research. I hope to put in a few hours over the festive season.

Morag would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment here.

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