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3698Re: [Peterhead] Births and Aliases

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  • Ray Hennessy
    Dec 17, 2005
      On 22 November Betty Murphy asked the Peterhead List:

      > If an unmarried woman gave birth, did she have to show
      > proof of who she was, or could she have used an alias on
      > the birth registration? This was around the early 1900's.

      Hi again Betty

      I got this reponse from a shy guru:

      "I'm not certain what level of proof of identity was demanded
      of anyone at that date when registering a birth (or anything
      else), nor what kind of proof would have been available to the
      individual anyway. Possession of the so-called "Birth
      Certificate" was entirely voluntary, and all that the original
      1854 legislation required was that all births be reported, and
      that whoever reported them (it did not have to be the mother)
      should supply the information "... to the best of his or her
      knowledge and belief", which sounds a bit loop-holey.

      "On the other hand, in anywhere other than the bigger urban
      centres, people probably knew more about each other's
      business than we tend to, and as the Registrar often doubled
      as the schoolmaster, so would be in a position to know the
      local young. The Registrar did have some vague powers to
      inquire further in cases of doubt."

      That seems to cover it! Actually, when I think about it,
      one doesn't have to provide idenfying documentation in
      the UK when registering a birth or death today either.

      Best wishes

      Ray Hennessy
      and my 'annyonomous' [sic] guru.
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