975 baptisms at St. Bede’s Roman Catholic church in South Shields, from August 1857 to the end of 1864. St. Bede’s replaced St. Cuthbert’s in early 1857. The final year of baptisms at St. Cuthbert’s is duplicated in the St. Bede’s register, but we were careful to avoid duplicating them in our database, and we noted any anomalies between the 2 versions when we released the St. Cuthbert’s baptisms a little while ago. This register is mostly in Latin, but we have done some translations to provide name clarity.
Names in this register exhibit an unusual degree of creativity and variety in spelling, often within the same record. In each baptism, the surname is listed 4 times: once for the child, once for the father, once for the mother (plus her maiden surname), and once in an index along the side of the page. It was not uncommon to find a surname spelled 3 or even 4 different ways in a single record. For example:
- 13 Nov 1864 Rosanna Crolley, born 31 Oct 1864, daughter of Jacobi Croolley & Maria Cassidy Crolly
Godparents or Sponsors: Hugo Cassidy; Anna Henry
Because many of the surnames are Irish, they can take several forms; for example, the same family may be recorded as Maughan and MacMaughan, or another family as Connelly, O’Connell, McConnell, Connell, and Conly.
In many cases, the surname used in the baptism was noticeably different from the surname used to register the birth with the civil authorities:
- 18 Jan 1863 Ellen Delany [Lahaney], born 30 Dec 1862, daughter of Thoma Delany [Lahaney] & Ellen olim Redden
Godparents or Sponsors: Jacobus McClary; Margarita Lally
[Note: clearly Delany, but the GRO birth index says Lahaney, which is consistent with another baptism to these parents as Leheny.]
Some families seemed to alternate the use of 2 different surnames in baptisms, birth registrations, and censuses:
- 16 Aug 1857 Matthew McCarrol [McArdle], born 3 Aug 1857, son of Daniel McCarrol [McArdle] & Maria olim Carry
Godparents or Sponsors: Henry Hand; Mary Cassidy
[Note: this child is registered as McArdle and the family is McArdle in the 1861 Westoe census. The 1871 census shows the family as McCarrol. Several of their children were baptized as McCarrol or McCarroll, but registered as McArdle.]
All in all, interpreting this register is challenging! We will be moving forward in it with more baptisms and then marriages.