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My paternal grandfather was William McKEGG and he was born on 16th September 1877 in Workington, Barrow, Cumberland (confirmed by his WWI attestation papers found at The National Archives). His father and mother (James McKEGG – possibly McKEAG – and Sarah Ann GUNNING) were both born in Ireland and married in 1874 in Workington (confirmed by their marriage certificate).

I have found William in the 1891 census living at Grosvenor Street, Barrow, along with James, Sarah Ann and other members of the family. He is not mentioned in the 1881 census although he would have been 3 years old at the time.

One of the problems I have had is that I have never been able to find either a birth certificate or a death certificate for my grandfather. I have always accepted that he may have died in Ireland, and so be difficult to trace from Essex, but couldn’t understand why, if he was born in Workington, I couldn’t find a Birth Index reference for him. I did find one Birth Index entry, for a Ceremitle McKEGG, but discounted it as I’ve never heard this name before. However, out of curiosity and possibly on a hunch, I sent for a copy of the birth certificate and, lo and behold, not only did it confirm that Ceremitle’s parents were James McKEGG and Sarah Ann GUNNING but his birth was on the same day as William’s.

I am wondering, therefore, whether Ceremitle is either a twin brother – even though there is no further reference to him in census or death records – or if Ceremitle is in fact William. I don’t know how to substantiate this.

Mrs Edna Clegg


The possibilities are few: William and Ceremitle are one and the same, or they are twins, or William ‘stole’ Ceremitle’s date of birth for some reason.

If William and Ceremitle were twins, then there should be a time of birth on Ceremitle’s birth certificate, in addition to the date. If there is not then this considerably lessens the chances of there having been a multiple birth.

But are you absolutely certain that the name is ‘Ceremitle’? The Index to Births gives ‘Celermitle’. Whichever, I can find no reference anywhere to this word. Could it perhaps be ‘Jeremiah’ or something other? The example of a Jeremiah from the 1851 census shows what I mean.

Do you know when either, or both, James and Sarah died? Did either leave a will? Mention of children may help clear up this problem. I do not know if the family was Catholic or C of E but you could perhaps see if you can discover any baptism record for William/Ceremitle.

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