I’ve spent some time over the last couple of days trying to sort out a friend’s genealogy mystery. This involved rummaging around in records from both Sussex and London. I’ve sent a report to her of what I’ve found, but it’s all still a tangle.
The experience, however, has made me so very grateful that the vast majority of my ancestors were Scottish. Being able to download digitised copies of BMDs and OPRs, as well as some other records, is wonderful.
I’m also very grateful that Scottish BMDs contain so much more information than English ones. Being able to read, on a death certificate, who the person’s parents were (providing the informant knew, of course) makes building a family tree so much easier. Always having the mother’s maiden name on birth certificates is a big help too.
I’ve also noticed quite a few female ancestors reverting back to their maiden name in the census once they were widowed, and some being called by their maiden name in the census even when they were living with their husband. Clearly, a woman’s name in Scotland was the one she was born with and wasn’t ‘lost’ when she got married. So saying something such as “William Fraser and his wife Christian Hutcheon” would have been perfectly normal in Scotland.