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Re: [Peterhead] Question on OPR Birth records

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  • 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 1 of 3 , Aug 25 7:19 AM
      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

      Forenames website  www.whatsinaname.net
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