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Question on OPR Birth records

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  • iain.birnie
    I ve looked up an OPR birth in Peterhead which has two witnesses but also lists another person as a sponsor can anyone tell me what is meant by this?
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 24, 2011
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      I've looked up an OPR birth in Peterhead which has two witnesses but also lists another person as a "sponsor" can anyone tell me what is meant by this?
    • Christine Tregonning
      Hi Iain, I have a couple of baptisms from Fraserburgh where an Alexander Ritchie was named as a sponsor in the absence of the child s father who I am assuming
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 24, 2011
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        Hi Iain,

         

        I have a couple of baptisms from Fraserburgh where an Alexander Ritchie was named as a sponsor in the absence of the child’s father who I am assuming was away at sea.  From this information I am supposing that a sponsor is a person who is standing in for a parent.

         

        Regards,

         

        Christine

         

        From: Peterhead@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Peterhead@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of iain.birnie
        Sent: Thursday, 25 August 2011 6:42 a.m.
        To: Peterhead@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Peterhead] Question on OPR Birth records

         

         

        I've looked up an OPR birth in Peterhead which has two witnesses but also lists another person as a "sponsor" can anyone tell me what is meant by this?

      • Ray Hennessy
        On 24 August 2011 19:42, iain.birnie wrote: I ve looked up an OPR birth in Peterhead which has two witnesses but also ...
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 25, 2011
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          On 24 August 2011 19:42, iain.birnie <i.birnie@...> wrote:

          I've looked up an OPR birth in Peterhead which has two witnesses but also lists another person as a "sponsor" can anyone tell me what is meant by this?
          ============================================

          Hi Iain

          We recently had a discussion on this on the Aberdeen {Rootsweb] List.

          It would appear that the reason for sponsorship was that women couldn't present their child for baptism and, if the father wasn't present, other male had to stand in.  **

          The reasons floated for an absent father were (at least):
               Father not named or not known
               Father denied paternity
               Father had moved away not knowing of the child
               Father had absconded/flitted to escape responsibility
               Father was working away, e.g. at sea, the army, distant farm
               Father in prison
               Father deceased

          The sponsor was not predetermined; it might be
               The mother's father or other relative
               The father's ditto
               One of the Kirk Elders
               The laird or main landowner or employer.

          **  I don't know if the exclusion of women from this role was (a) Kirk misogyny or (b) the presumption that presenting the child as early as possible after childbirth might be too much for the mother.  Since it is possible baptisms were on occasion performed at the mother's home, the latter reason seems unlikely.  While I haven't made a detailed or rigorous study, in looking through dozens of OPRs I have never seen a baptism where the child was presented solely by the mother.  It would be good to hear if in fact some Ministers did accept maternal presentation.

          --

          Best wishes

          Ray
           
          Forenames website  www.whatsinaname.net
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