CORNWALL ONLINE PARISH CLERKS - helping bring the past alive
Over the centuries, some families used the following naming pattern:
Others named children after people who had been influential in their lives, such as friends and neighbours. Not everyone adhered to the above patterns, especially if some family relationships were "strained"! Biblical names were also popular for some time, as were those of famous heroes such as Napoleon and Nelson.
For children, it is very important to check for burial records as, when infant mortality rates were high, if a child died the next child born in the family (of the same sex) was often given the same name. These apparent duplications are very common.
When the use of second (middle) names became more common (sometimes due to the increasing population and the necessity to distinguish between individuals) the maiden name of the mother was often used. Therefore, a name such as Henry Yeo Trewegen gives a very good clue to the mother's maiden name.
It also became popular for unmarried mothers to use the
father's surname as the second name of the child, Care is needed here, though,
as this is not always the case. Because of the various Poor Law Acts passed over
the centuries. parishes were loathe to take
responsibility for any 'illegitimate' children (understandable when some women
produced such children year after year!), and mothers
were encouraged to disclose the name of the father, so he could be charged for
support. It's worthwhile searching our bastardy bonds section, to see if any
records exist. Alternatively, when old enough, the child might have been
apprenticed to someone else in the parish. There is a searchable section in our
those records, too.