Updated 29 Jun 2001

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Some people were known by two different surnames, with no suggestion they were criminals. The Parish Register gave their "Alias", all examples found are listed below. Problems of illegitimacy were often the cause.

Kathryn Farrel of Massachusetts writes:

"Dear John,

......The other thing I wanted to tell you about was a book I'm reading entitled:

"Surnames and Genealogy: A New Approach" by George Redmonds
pub: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 1997

Although most of the examples come from Yorkshire records, the author
states that a lot of the patterns apply to other English speaking regions.
In the sections devoted to aliases and by-names, he gives multiple
examples of how the same person or members of the family will appear
in the records sometimes with the family name, and other times with
the alias.  If you don't know the connection, then you would not
logically associate one name with the other.  His premise is that
many times when a record cannot be found, it is because it is often
recorded under the alias.

Liz Newbury of Cornwall writes: This subject often crops up on this list so here are some answers: "Entries for illegitimate children in parish registers before 1813 normally name only the mother. They often contain an additional term of disapprobation of the child, such as 'base', 'bastard', 'B', 'byeblow', 'chanceling', 'filius/filia', 'unmulierly begotten', 'populi/vulgi/terrae/,eretrocos', 'illegal', 'lamebegot', 'lovebegot', 'merrybegot', 'nothus', 'spurius', 'viciatus', 'scapegoat', 'uniuscuiusque', and even 'dratsab'. Sometimes it is the mother who is implicitly blamed by being referred to as 'fornicator', 'adulterer' or 'harlot'. It is not uncommon for the name of the reputed (or 'supposed') father or fathers to be given also, especially after an Act of 1634 which required the recording of the names of both parents at baptism. In the seventeenth century an illegitimate child might carry an 'alias' in his or her surname when an adult, a practice which survived into the nineteenth century. Thus John Smith alias Jones would have a father and mother who were not married to each other, one called Smith and the other Jones. John Smith alias Jones might then grow up, marry and have children who themselves would carry the surname Smith alias Jones, and occasionally so might their children. (The sins of the grandfather!!!)There seems to have been no strongly applied convention that one or the other should come first. In more modern times illegitimacy has been the origin of some hyphenated surnames. An alias, often abbreviated to 'als' in the registers did not always denote illegitimacy, however. It has also been used on marriage, or on the remarriage of a widow to denote 'formerly'; to recognise changes of name, including some following immigration; to signify a common-law marriage; to differentiate between different holders of common surnames; to acknowledge a personal inheritance from outside the family; and to indicate stepchildren or fostered children, often in order to preserve rights inherited from their birth family; occasionally, to indicate an occupation; or to indicate a commonly used nickname or occupational name for the individual concerned. There are many aliases which suggests that Roman Catholics were in the habit of using them for security during their years of persecution. Discovering the reason for an alias is not straigntforward and each case has to be treated on its merits. Even where illegitimacy was the cause, there is no rule for whether the father's or the mother's name was given first, and there are cases in which the individuals changed them round on different occasions." Here endeth an abridged extraction from The Family Tree Detective by Colin D. Rogers.

B 1613may24 BECK Mary                                        "Alias NOTON"
B 1613jun24 BOO...? John                                     "Alias SPENSUR"
B 1613sep03 WORMHILL Thomas                                  "Alias FLYNT"
C 1613oct31 KEE Dorothy=(dau)-/Elizabeth                     "Alias..."
B 1614jun25 BERISFORD Margreat                               "Alias STONNE"
B 1620feb02 VALLENCE Richard                                 "Alias HASLAM"
B 1623dec07 BARTRAM Elizabeth                                "Alias HICHKINSON"
B 1631may13 STATHAM Lawrence                                 "Alias TOPLES"
C 1647apr25 THORPE Elizabeth=(dau)Francis/                  ""Alias TRAVIS""
B 1670apr27 CARMER George                                    "Alias CARMAN"
B 1670may09 PEARSON Sarah                                    "Alias PERKINS"
B 1676may13 SPENCER Thomas(Wirksworth)                       "Alias ROOS"
B 1679jul31 ROPER Jane(Meerbrook)                            "Alias Wirkesworth"
C 1690feb19 GRIFFIN Silvanus=(son)George/(Wirksworth)"       "Alias Gosibank""
C 1740jul16 ROPER Anthony=(son)-/Mary(Wirksworth)     "Illeg, alias TOMLINSON"
M 1790jan21 FROST William(Wirksworth)/ALLIN Sarah
                Witnesses: George SALT,Philip GELL
                                                     Comment: Alias S.ARMFIELD
C 1793sep18 HOLEBROOKE Dorothy=(dau)William/Sarah(Wirksworth)"Alias SMITH"
B 1815dec01 POYZER William(Wirksworth)[24]                   "alias GREATOREX"
M 1824nov20 MOTTERSHED Peter(Sutton CHS)/WAIN Sarah
                Witnesses: Thomas MATHER,Thomas PICKARD
                                                   Comment: M alias WARREN
B 1832may18 SHAW Tacy(Nottingham)[30]                        "alias MACGOURLICK"
B 1833oct27 HUZARD Elizabeth(Wirksworth)[26]                 "alias USHERWOOD"
B 1848jul16 BUNTING John(Wirksworth)[53],#437                "alias DAWSON"
B 1867jun27 WALTON George(Alderwasley)[29],#2133             "alias ASHTON"
B 1868mar11 DERRY Sarah(Wirksworth)[66],#2194                "alias FROST"
B 1882feb20 HARRISON Ellen(Wirksworth)[88],#752              "alias COLLEGE"

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