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Archiver > DEVON > 2010-05 > 1272991632

From: "Nancy Frey" <>
Subject: Re: [DEV] Balson/Balsom/Balsam - Caroline & Mary
Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 12:47:12 -0400
References: <23FB6B34D3024C9FACB95640698FDF69@ACER><3333BA57D7E54916A9197F571897A3B9@acer2b73192757><>

Hi Jason & Julie,

I think you are misunderstanding the situation a bit, Jason, as Robert
TAYLOR didn't 'change his name' when he went to Australia. He only changed
it on the documents he had to get into Australia. Once there he used the
name Robert while all his papers said Charles.

Certainly things were very different at the time the BALSON girls emigrated.
Using an alias was fairly common in the UK and there were many reasons for
doing this. Sometimes it was to differentiate between two families with the
same surname but no actual genetic connections. Sometimes, a husband
adopted a wife's family name because it was more influential than his own,
but this usually happened in the upper classes and had to do with
inheritance. Then there are those with a less than stellar past who wish to
hide it.

There was no legal requirements to use a different surname as there are
today, but that doesn't mean the change of surname wasn't for an illegal
purpose. When people made statements or signed documents, they often gave
false information, and as a family historian one has to be careful to check
all information to ensure that it is correct.

Not only bigamy occurred, but there was also the case of man & woman living
together as husband & wife without the sanctity of the church. It was
common for a man not to marry a woman until she could prove she was fertile,
and sometimes they miscalculated and the child was born before marriage.
These children were baptised under their mother's maiden name, but used
their mother's husband's name until they went to marry themselves. The
clergy would check his baptismal records and all of a sudden you have the
child marrying under their baptismal surname. Illigitimate children made up
fathers which are then shown on their marriage certificates. Couples
married in parishes where they were unknown giving false ages to avoid
parental consent.

I still feel that in this particular case, there was some reason that Robert
TAYLOR would not be a suitable immigrant whereas Charles TAYLOR would, OR
the Agent just made an error in the documents, and the persons involved
couldn't read and didn't find out until they were in Australia. A verbal
explanation was probably given to the person checking their documents, but
no notation was made. They wanted all the immigrants they could get.

As for the 'promo' you attached from the newspaper in Cornwall, I've seen
articles like that in Devon Newspapers as well, but more likely for
emigration to Canada. They paint a very rosy picture to encourage
emigration and investment, but are usually exaggerated or just plain not
accurate. There were 'con men' or 'scam artists' around even in the 1850's.

When I find someone of impecuniary status who has moved to a new location
and changed their surname, I start looking for a problem -- and I usually
find one, lol.


Nancy Frey
Newcastle, Ontario, CANADA
OPC for Ansford & Castle Cary, Somerset
Moderator of Yahoo! Catsash Hundred Group
Moderator of Yahoo! Glaston Twelve Hides Hundred Group
Moderator of Yahoo! NorthWiltshire Group
Moderator of Yahoo! SouthWiltshire Group
Moderator of Yahoo! WestWiltshire Group
Moderator of Yahoo! FULFORD_North Devon Group
Moderator of Yahoo! DAVIDGE Connections Group

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason Austin" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: [DEV] Balson/Balsom/Balsam - Caroline & Mary

> It's important to remember not to look back in time through the glasses
> of today. Our terminology; our society; our community standards; the
> degree to which we are governed are all vastly different today from what
> there were 173 years ago in 1837 Australia.
> It was not deceitful to change ones name - one just did it. There was
> nothing to register, no one to inform. Many going to a new country
> took the opportunity to change their name at the same time - my own
> grandfather did this when going to Australia a 100 years later in 1925.
> And when practicality ran afoul of the law, practicality usually won:
> Divorce among the less wealthy was virtually impossible because it
> required an act of parliament, so couples would part, the woman would
> later marry again terming herself a widow. Likewise it was against
> the law until the 1900's for a man to marry the sister of his deceased
> wife, so ruses would be set up to get around that.
> I will post below a message on the Cornish list from March 8th about
> conditions in Australia in 1851. None of this answers Julie's question
> directly, but it shows how almost incomprehensibly different the
> conditions are then to what we have now and how we need to be careful
> about judging the behaviour of our ancestors. They lived in different
> times, under different rules, and different conventions.
> Jason
> Victoria, BC
> WEST BRITON AND CORNWALL ADVERTISER - transcribed by Julia Mosman
> 3 JANUARY 1851

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