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I’m writing about the wife of my cousin who apparently had two maiden names. Elizabeth was born c1897 in Sheffield and married my second cousin, James Edward CONNELL in August 1917, also in Sheffield. The marriage certificate shows her maiden name as ANTCLIFFE. They had three children: James, Edward and Mary. GRO records show their mother’s maiden name as ANTCLIFFE. Later they moved to the Doncaster area where they had three more children: Frances, Kathleen and Winifred. On these occasions however the mother’s maiden name is shown as ROBINSON.

            My first thought was that James Edward had remarried, but checking the 1901 census I found an ‘Elizabeth (Robinson Antcliffe)’, aged four, living with her parents – she is described as ‘daughter’ of Frederick and Mary ROBINSON in Bailey Street, Sheffield. The census entry shows ‘Elizabeth ANTCLIFFE’ on one line, with ’ROBINSON’ squeezed in above.

            I would be grateful if you could offer me any explanation as to this strange census entry, and the different maiden names given on the birth of Elizabeth’s children.

Michael James Connell


On the face of it, it would appear that Elizabeth was born ‘ANTCLIFFE’ but acquired the surname ROBINSON from Frederick. Possibly she was Mary’s daughter and Elizabeth adopted the name ROBINSON when Mary married Frederick. Whether Mary was married to a Mr ANTCLIFFFE when Elizabeth was born, or Elizabeth was born illegitimately and ANTCLIFFE was Mary’s maiden name is not known.

            The first things to do are to locate Elizabeth’s birth and obtain the certificate, and to locate Frederick and Mary ROBINSON’s marriage and obtain the certificate. These would probably reveal the truth of the situation. The GRO indexes include the entries you require. Frederick ROBINSON married Mary Ann ANTCLIFF (no terminal ‘E’) in the March Quarter 1902 (NB 1902) in Sheffield Registration District. And there is a birth registered for and Elizabeth ANTCLIFF (no terminal ‘E’) in the March Quarter1897, in Sheffield Registration District. You may now also wish to obtain Joseph ROBINSON’s birth certificate to confirm exactly who his parents were.

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