ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2009-10 > 1255948101
From: Roger Partridge <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Family change of name?
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 11:28:21 +0100
Hi Steve & Listers !
I have read this original email and the ones that followed in the
but is it just possible that either (a) the Enumerator made a mistake /
transcription error and substituted James HUMPHREY's occupation
of 'Carter' for his surname ? / or (b) that James was widely known in
the area as "James the Carter" (along the lines of the well known
Welshman "Dai the Bread" !) and that it was not James himself who
gave the Enumerator the information, and so it was taken to be his
real surname and not just his occupation ? I have seen the later
email suggesting that this would not have happened as the family
would have filled in the 'Household' form themselves, but suppose
they were not all that literate or possibly very busy with the carting
business and the Enumerator did it for them and made the error ?
My son-in-law John CARTER is actually my Dentist (thank the Lord
as he is brilliant !) but presumably that is how one of his ancestors
got that surname ?
Best Wishes ! Roger.
On 18 Oct 2009, at 16:25, Steve wrote:
> My wife's family come from the villages round Braintree. Mainly
> Cressing and the Notleys.
> Her maternal line great grandmother's little bother was Samuel DOWSETT
> (b1859 Cressing) and up until yesterday all I knew about his wife was
> that she was Rachel J (b1859 Pattiswick) from the 1881 census.
> I thought that I would have a go at filling in a few gaps re her.
> First thing was to find when they married, so a search on FreeBMD
> quickly gave me
> Q4 1879
> DOWSETT Samuel Braintree 4a 747
> Humphrey Rachel Thyrza C Braintree 4a 747
> So there is the first thing, an unusual (to me) middle name. Though
> apparently not that uncommon in the 19th century where they seemed to
> like obscure Biblical names.
> So I then look for a Humphrey family in Pattiswick in the 1871 census.
> And there they were James aged 38, a miller's carter born Pattiswick,
> Mary aged 35 born Bradwell and Rachel T aged 11 born Pattiswick with 3
> younger children.
> OK, now to search for the Birth of Rachel Humphrey in 1860 (& 1859).
> Nothing. I widened the search by a couple of years and included all of
> Essex. Still nothing.
> Well Pattiswick is not a large place so search for Rachel (no surname)
> born 1860 +/-1 in Braintree district. And there are only 4 (and a
> of them and the first one is Rachel Thirza CARTER. So perhaps Mother
> I know, I'll have a look at the 1861 census, and there the family is
> James 28, Mary 26 and Rachel 1 with the right birth places, but
> with the
> CARTER surname.
> OK, lets do a search for James and Mary's marriage. Search for James,
> spouse Mary from 1850 to 1861, that way I have a chance in spotting
> James Carter or James Humphrey. And there in Q1 1855 is James Carter
> Humphrey, marrying a Mary Ardley.
> So, it looks like it is the same mother and father for Rachel, just
> sometimes they call themselves Carter and sometimes Humphrey.
> This seems strange behaviour for people living in what is a tiny
> agricultural village - you can't hide by changing your name when there
> are only 2 or 3 hundred people in your village.
> Any ideas why they could have done this?