Q and A
WHY CAN I FIND TWO MAIDEN NAMES?
After many trials and tribulations I managed to trace my great-grandfather George WATSON, who was born in 1859 in Leeds. I discovered that he was the son of Richard WATSON, a fish dealer, and Eliza (nee SMITH).
With much difficulty I found that George had married Anne Elizabeth HORROCKS in Leeds in 1880. She was pregnant at the time with their first child, Frederick (Fred) who was born in 1880. I obtained Frederick’s birth certificate from the record office in Leeds but it stated that the mother’s name was Anne Elizabeth WATSON, formerly REYNARD. I obtained the birth certificates for three of their other children, including my grandfather William, who was born in 1888, and they all state the same: REYNARD not HORROCKS.
I can find no record of either a HORROCKS or a REYNARD in the census records leading up to the 1880 marriage. I am tearing my hair out as I feel I cannot go on any further until this problem is solved. Can you help a frustrated, tired old amateur and please get me over the brick wall I am up against?
My immediate question is, if the birth certificates of the four children all show that their mother was Anne Elizabeth (nee REYNARD) then what is the evidence that their mother was in fact Anne Elizabeth HORROCKS, and that the 1880 marriage certificate you have is the correct one?
I note that the 1881 and 1891 census returns between them indicate that George was born 1857–1859 in Leeds; and that Anne, Annie or Elizabeth was born 1861–1864 in Leeds or Hunslet. Therefore, is there any marriage registration for George WATSON and Anne REYNARD, or any birth registration for either Anne HORROCKS or Anne REYNARD in the period in the Leesds/Hunslet area? I have only looked on the www.freebmd.org.uk website and all three searches were negative. As this site cannot be guaranteed to be 100 per cent accurate or complete you should check the original indexes on one of the several other websites that now offer them: www.ancestry.co.uk, www.findmypast.com or www.familyrelatives.com
Anne HORROCKS/REYNARD may have been born before the 1861 census, but she should certainly appear in the 1871 census. Searches in the indexes on both the www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.com websites also proved to be negative.
As it is probable that Anne was born in Hunslet, you should search the baptism registers for Hunslet parish. These are held at the West Yorkshire Archives Service, Leeds (Chapeltown Road, Sheepscar, Leeds LS7 3AP; tel: 0113 214 5814; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.archives.wyjs.org.uk). These records do not appear to have been filmed by the LDS Church.
If Anne HORROCKS and Anne REYNARD are the same person, the question is why she had the two names. There are a number of possibilities. Possibly she was born illegitimately and the names refer to her mother and her father. What information is there on the marriage certificate you have about Anne’s father? Possibly she was brought up by another family and her name was changed or she used the foster family’s name. Regrettably, the brick will still remains. But perhaps a FHM reader knows more about the family and will be able to offer some first-hand information to help you.
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