21,101 baptisms at St. John’s in the city of Newcastle, Northumberland, spanning 1769-1853. This data set includes baptisms at the Lying-in Hospital from 1816 onward, the chapel at Benwell High Cross (a Chapel of Ease within the parish of St. John, dedicated to St. James) from Nov 1832 onward, and St. Paul’s chapel from April 1841 onward.
This register is full of errors, or at least things that look like errors to us! All of the samples below illustrate some sort of discrepancy with other baptisms to (presumably) the same parents:
- 27 May 1770 Margaret Jefreys, daughter of Keneth Jefreys & Mary (his wife)
[Note: there is another baptism to this couple as Jefferson.]
- 5 Dec 1819 Elizabeth Bearep of Benwell, daughter of Philip (tailor) & Margaret Bearep
[Note: we wonder if this is a clerical error, as there are other baptisms here to RALPH Bearup a tailor & his wife Margaret. The 1841 census shows Ralph with a daughter Elizabeth of the right age.]
- 15 Nov 1834 Isabella Beatch [Veitch] of Low Friar Street, daughter of Joseph (quay carter) & Dorothy Beatch [Veitch]
[Note: there are other baptisms to these parents as Veitch. The clerk must have mis-heard Veitch as Beatch.]
- 23 Jun 1841 Thomas George Richardson [Hutchinson] of Blandford Street, son of Anthony (engineer) & Frances Richardson [Hutchinson]
[Note: We think the clerk misheard this surname. It is Hutchinson in the GRO birth index, and these parents are Hutchinson in several other baptisms here.]
When we notice these name variations and potential clerical errors, we cross-index them so you can find each record under any of the variations, and we often annotate them to explain our thinking, but we have removed some of the annotations and cross-indexing in the examples below for better readability.
Check out the varying names given for the mother’s father in this family:
- 7 Oct 1798 John Howe, born 25 Jan, 2nd son of George Howe (coachman, native of West Auckland, Durham) by his wife Ann Howson (daughter of Michael Howson, of Akscliff near Yarm, Durham)
- 10 Nov 1799 Robert Howe, born 29 Aug, 3rd son of George Howe (coachman, native of West Auckland, Durham) by his wife Ann Dowson (daughter of William Dowson, native of Aixcliff, Yorkshire)
- 3 Jun 1802 Ann Howe, born 3 Feb, 1st daughter of George Howe (horsekeeper, native of West Auckland, Durham) by his wife Ann Howson (daughter of William Howson, native of Aixcliff, Durham)
- 26 Dec 1804 George Howe, born 22 Dec 1803, 4th son of George Howe (horsekeeper, native of West Auckland, Durham) by his wife Ann Howson (daughter of Edward Howson, native of Yarm, Yorkshire)
We think “William Howson” is most likely to be correct because Ann’s father is listed that way in a couple of other baptisms here, plus we have the marriage of George Howe to Ann Howson in 1793, so at least Howson would seem to be correct – but why such extreme variance in her father’s name?
The next group appears to have the same mother but exhibits some confusion about the father’s name – note that we think this is the same father because his profession and nativity are the same in each baptism – he is listed as William Hutchinson in other baptisms not shown here:
- 12 Jan 1800 William Hutchinson, born 4 Nov 1799, 1st son of William Hutchinson (blacksmith, native of Ovingham parish, Northumberland) by his wife Eleanor Blakey (daughter of Michael Blakey, native of Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland)
- 1 Jan 1806 Anthony Hutchinson, born 27 Oct 1805, 4th son of Anthony Hutchinson (blacksmith, native of Ovingham parish, Northumberland) by his wife Eleanor Blakey (daughter of Michael Blakey, native of Heddon on the Wall parish, Northumberland)
- 13 Oct 1811 Ralph Richardson [Hutchinson], born 23 Mar, 6th son of William Richardson [Hutchinson] (blacksmith, native of Ovingham parish, Northumberland) by his wife Eleanor Blakey (daughter of Michael Blakey, native of Heddon on the Wall parish, Northumberland)
[Note: possible clerical error. Eleanor Blakey’s husband is William HUTCHINSON in other baptisms here, with the same profession and nativity. The clerk may have misheard Hutchinson as Richardson.]
The next family used several surname variants, including Ivers, McIver, and McKeever, and can be found in the 1851 census at Birtley, Durham as McIver:
- 14 Jan 1843 Jane [Mary Jane] Ivers of Birtley, daughter of Alexander (labourer) & Mary Ivers
[Note: Mary Jane Ivers in the GRO birth index. This family also used McIver and McKeever in some baptisms.]
- 12 May 1849 William McKeever of Birtley, son of Alexander (labourer) & Mary McKeever.
These examples illustrate the importance of checking all of the available records for a family. If you look at just one baptism from any of the above couples, you could be misled about the surname or the father’s name or the mother’s father’s name. By looking at the baptisms of the siblings, you would see the discrepancies in the names of the parents or grandparents, which would lead you to do further research to discover the truth. If there is not enough data in the baptisms to discern the truth, you can expand your search to include the marriages and burials of the siblings, to see if that data corroborates or contradicts the data found in the baptisms.
This huge package is not available anywhere else online. FamilySearch.org has indexed portions of it, but does not cover 1832 through March 1844 and has multiple year-long and partial-year gaps between 1797 and 1828. We expect that many researchers will find valuable new information in this collection!