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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree September 2018 > DEAR TOM


Explore The serious, sublime and The ridiculous facets of family history in this genealogical miscellany. This issue, Tom Wood discovers amazing tales of twins, certificates and descendants


Twins are always an interesting topic and I was delighted to hear from Raymond Blight, who wrote to me about a pair that were born, not just on different days, but in different years! Raymond told me about his wife’s grandfaTher, James Townsend, who was born on 1 January 1891 – but his older twin broTher Robert had arrived a few hours earlier, on 31 December 1890! The boys were The sixth and seventh children of Charles Townsend and his wife Susan East, who lived in Dover Road, Upper Norwood, London, and They were baptised togeTher on 5 April 1895 at All Saints Church in The parish. I wonder if They did celebrate Their birthdays on different days. Does anyone have similar stories in Their trees?

Unisex names

A recent names survey brought to my attention The number of parents who are embracing The idea of unisex names for Their children – and not just celebrities. According to The website online marketplace, about 45 per cent of The 1,466 British parents polled would choose a genderneutral name for Their baby, while 27 per cent would choose a unisex name for Their children to follow trends. The top three most popular unisex baby names in England and Wales are Noah (number 1), Charlie (2) and James (3); all well-used names in many of our ancestral families, I suspect, but perhaps Noah and James we still associate more with boys. James was certainly a popular male name on my paternal side. Times do change, however, and it’s interesting to note that Ruby (at number 6) and Evelyn (7) are also popular unisex names today. Both were popular names for female ancestors on my moTher’s side.

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About Family Tree

The wish to find out about your family history always begins with a question. That special something that you want to know about those who’ve come before you, that missing piece of the puzzle that you'd like to find about your own roots... So, because the internet is such a very valuable resource for hunting for these family history clues, this issue we’ve got a bumper guide to help your research. Read it and discover how to: 1. Search smarter and trace that family story. 2. Learn new search hacks and make new discoveries. 3. Get the low-down on searching the major family history websites. Lastly, you may notice something different this issue – our new look! Re-energised and packed as ever with know-how, advice and real-life tales, our revamp will provide you with fresh inspiration to find your family’s story.