5,492 baptisms at Sunderland Holy Trinity covering 1821-1826 from the parish register and 1831-1834 from the Bishop’s Transcript.
Three cheers for the clerk or priest who kept recording mother’s maiden surnames and children’s birth dates long after the requirement to do so had been abolished ! Unfortunately he also had difficult handwriting and seems to have mis-heard some names along the way. More on that later ! First, some samples:
- 1 Jan 1821 John Bainbridge Lister, of Queen Street, born 18-Oct 1820, son of Stephen Lister (mariner) & Ann Haggeson Bainbridge
- 30 Oct 1832 William [Reed/Wiseman], of Low Street, born 9 Jul 1832, illegitimate son of Thomas Skipsey Wiseman (gardener) & Elizabeth Reed
- 25 Dec 1834 Sarah Hannah Stonehouse, of Nesham Square, born 1 Dec 1834, daughter of William Stonehouse (cabinet maker) & Sarah Tyzack
Abodes shown are mostly street names in Sunderland, Bishopwearmouth, and Monkwearmouth, plus Southwick, Maling’s Rigg, Mill Hill, Minorca, the Barracks, the Pier, and a few from Hetton-le-Hole and Newcastle.
While transcribing and checking these, we could not help noticing numerous errors in the LDS IGI for this set. This is not surprising, as the handwriting was appallingly bad and the entries are faint, especially in 1821-1826. Some of the errors appear to be names that sound like other names – the clerk must have been verbally told the name and wrote down what he thought he heard. For example, Pettigrew is written as Pettigrove, Pedigree, and Peregrine, which I guess works if you roll your “r” a little. Our favorite example follows, and although we are going a bit out on a limb here, we think it hangs together.
First, consider this baptism:
- 16 Jan 1825 Jameson Kay, of Queen Street, born 30-Jul 1823, son of Jameson Kay (mariner) & Isabella Parker
Oddly, we could find no other baptisms for this couple, no marriage for the parents, no other evidence that any of these people ever existed. That got us wondering.
Now consider this baptism:
- 28 May 1802 Jameson Scaith, born 23-Jan 1789, 2nd son of Thomas Scaith (shoemaker) & Barbara Tongs (his wife), an adult
and this marriage at Monkwearmouth St. Peter, which we think is the adult in the 1802 baptism (remember, he was born in 1789, so he’s 26 now):
- 23 Dec 1815 Jameson Scaif (bachelor), of this parish married Isabella Parkinson, of this parish, by banns, with consent of parents
Witnesses: George Davison, William Robson
Note the similarity of Parkinson to Parker. Then look at these baptisms:
- 17 Mar 1822 Thomas Scaith, of Queen Street, born 1-Jul 1820, son of Jameson Scaith (mariner) & Isabella Parkinson
- 6 May 1827 Isabella [Elizabeth] Scaif, of Queen Street, born 12 Apr 1827, daughter of Jameson Scaif (mariner) & Isabella late Parkinson. Curate’s note: This child’s name should be Elizabeth – the name Isabella was put down by mistake – J.Hayton, curate, May 6th 1827
- from the IGI, a birth on 5 November 1829 of William SCAIFE to Jameson Scaife & Isabella Parkinson
And finally, this burial, presumably of the father, as his age matches a 1789 birth:
- 13 Jun 1837 Jameson Scaife, of Queen Street, age: 48
The widow Isabella can be found in the 1841 census of Bishopwearmouth with Thomas, 20, and William, 10. The daughter Elizabeth was buried from Queen Street as SCAITH in early 1828.
Note that the family lives on Queen Street for the baptisms and the burials. Note how Scaith and Scaife are sound-alike names.
Now go back to the first baptism. Out loud, say “Jameson Scaife” – can you see how the clerk might have heard “Jameson Kay” instead? Based on all this, we have annotated the first baptism as follows:
- 16 Jan 1825 Jameson Kay [Scaife], of Queen Street, born 30-Jul 1823, son of Jameson Kay [Scaife] (mariner) & Isabella Parker [Parkinson]
[Note: We think the clerk may have mis-heard "Jameson Scaife" as "Jameson Kay", and also gotten the mother's maiden surname slightly wrong, because Jameson Scaife, a mariner, & his wife Isabella Parkinson have other children baptized here, while we can find no records for a Jameson Kay & Isabella Parker. Also, Jameson Scaife (the father) was buried from Queen St in 1837.]
If anybody has evidence to refute or support this conclusion, we would love to hear it. The missing piece is that we still don’t know what happened to Jameson Kay or Scaife born in 1823. He is not with his mother in the 1841 census and we don’t see a Sunderland burial for him. There is another Jameson Scaife who was born in Sunderland in 1821 to Thomas Scaife & Mary Purvis, and he is seen in the 1841 census with his siblings.
We found numerous other baptisms that were not in the IGI, or were in it with names so badly mangled that you would never find them in a search, or dates 20 years wrong. So, if you have been relying on the IGI for your Sunderland searches for the 1820s and 1830s, you might find what you’ve been looking for in our new data set !
We expect to have the gap of 1827-1830 filled within a few weeks.