Henry, William Henry or Henry William, now I am confused

23 Mar

Now I know I shouldn’t get too hung up over a name, but it really is making life tricky with my MITCHELL family research. Although I have been referring to my 2x great grandfather as William Henry MITCHELL, I am not really convinced that his name was William Henry.

I have evidence of him also being referred to as Henry William and just plain Henry, but curiously not just William by itself. So what should I call him?

Perhaps I should go for the most commonly occurring, which would make him Henry (11 out of 21 occurrences), but then his marriage certificate, and his GRO death index entry (still need to order the certificate) have him recorded as William Henry.

It looks like he was baptised with the name Henry (before civil registration started so no birth certificate), and there appears to be no common theme between the choice of names such as a change later in life. It looks like he had a brother named William (not sure what happened to him yet), so perhaps there is a story there why he borrowed his first name for his own use, or perhaps it was in honour of his father, also a William.

I do suspect that it may have changed depending on who actually gave the information. Perhaps it was down to Harriet, who did like to refer to him as Henry, because her father’s name was also Henry. Who knows?

If that wasn’t enough, one of their daughters appears to have been baptised with Harriet’s surname of WRIGHT, perhaps a misunderstanding or confusion rather than any other reason.

Anyway, I think I will carry on calling him William Henry MITCHELL for the time being whilst I gather more information, it will help distinguish him from either of his sons, father or brother!

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