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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree Christmas 2017 > Clerical errors

Clerical errors

Explore the serious, sublime and the ridiculous facets of family history in this genealogical miscellany. This issue, Tom Wood discovers some dodgy baptismal records, a Regency scandal and a rogue godmother…

Dear Tom

Many years ago, I’m afraid, Church of England ministers did make the odd mistake or two when recording details of baptisms, marriages and burials in parish registers. However frustrating this is for us now, these errors can make for entertaining reading. So I was amused when reader Ewan Cappitt got in touch with a selection of some of the problems and discoveries that he came across recently while transcribing a 19th century baptismal register for Crowland Methodist Chapel in Lincolnshire. Says Ewan: ‘After two pages of baptisms dated January 1883, I find two entries for 10 December 1882, so wonder whether the minister had originally noted details on a scrap of paper and then forgotten to enter them in the register! Similarly, after a page of September and October 1881 entries, I find three entries for 21 August, but without “Abode” details being entered.’

On 31 August 1879, Ewan tells me, a minister completely omitted the first names of the parents of two apparently unrelated one-month-old babies. So Ewan wonders if he lost his scraps of paper with the details on that day too!

And there were even more ‘misadventures’ to come. In entries dated 28 September 1879, the same minister registered the baptism on 7 September 1879 of Millicent Jesse Bradshaw, born 15 June 1877, in Crowland. Her brother, born 2 August 1879, was also baptised on the same day. Then on the next page, following some baptisms registered as October, there is another baptism of a girl of the same name with the same parents, with the same baptismal date, but this time born 15 June 1879!

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About Family Tree

Welcome to the Christmas issue of Family Tree – we’ve got festive family history treats galore in store for you. Dive into our delicious feast of digitised documents – rare historic collections for you to enjoy browsing and researching on your device. Enjoy some genealogy jollies: a family history crossword, quiz and memories of Christmas traditions from centuries past. And last but not least, this issue sees the launch of the Family Tree Academy – this is your opportunity to hone your family history skills. In part 1, this issue, we’ve got documents for you to decipher, old handwriting for you to transcribe and a research case study for you to pit your wits against. Join in with our learning experience today to become a better family historian!