Have we mentioned how much we love the parish clerk of Sunderland Holy Trinity in the 1840s? Yes, probably several times, because we just finished transcribing 542 baptisms from 1842, and the clerk was still recording the mother’s maiden surname and the child’s birth date. Perhaps he didn’t get the memo that this was no longer required after the end of 1798, or perhaps he was a genealogist himself who knew that this information would be important to us some day. Of course by mid-1837, civil registration had commenced, so we should be able to get that information from the child’s civil birth certificate. However, registration was not compulsory until 1875. Do you know how many births went unregistered between 1837 and 1875? Estimates range from 3% to 15%. (Here’s an interesting article about the history of civil registration.) However, most people did baptize their children, so even after civil registration came into play, for some people a baptism at this church might be the only record of a child’s birth date and mother’s maiden surname.
Sample baptisms (in the first one, Minorca is an area of Sunderland, not the Mediterranean vacation spot):
- 1 Jan 1842 William Robinson Forster, of Minorca, born 13 Dec 1841, son of William Forster (millwright) & Eleanor late Best
- 14 Sep 1842 Elizabeth Scott, of Baines Lane, born 18 Oct 1824, daughter of Thomas Scott (grocer) & Elizabeth late Stephenson
Abodes listed are mostly streets in Sunderland, plus Bishopwearmouth, the Barracks, Maling’s Rig, and Minorca.