Help! I really opened a can of worms when I started looking into the WRIGHT family in Alton, Hampshire at the London Family History Centre this weekend.
I had only been able to find GRO birth index references for a few of the younger children of Henry and Sarah WRIGHT in Alton Registration District. From the census I knew that the family had started in Kent, so I assumed the older children were registered there or somewhere in between Kent and Hampshire.
What I discovered when I started searching the Alton baptism register was surprising to say the least. Almost every child had a slightly different surname! I was sure they were the correct family because everything else tied up with what I already knew.
I had to go through the microfilm twice to make sure I had picked up all the baptisms. The first time I was just looking for the surname WRIGHT, the second time it was a case of carefully checking the other names and occupations. It didn’t help that the handwriting was rather smaller and indistinct, so some of the letters were not clear. The surnames I found were WRIGHT, SHORDEN, WRIGHT-SHALDEN, WRIGHT-SHAWADEN and WRIGHT otherwise SHORDEN.
My next step was to check the Ospringe baptisms, under a variety of different names and spellings, but the closest I could find was a Mary-Ann Hannah SHORNDEN in 1836. She could be their first child, but her fathers name is William not Henry.
Likewise the Ospringe marriages didn’t really come up with any likely marriages. There was a marriage of George WRAIGHT to Sarah COULTER in November 1836, where the witnesses were John and Lucy WREIGHT.
So where does that leave my search for my WRIGHT ancestors. Well, it explains why I have been unable to find them in the 1841 census yet. I don’t know what name to look for! Armed with another batch of names and spellings I hope I could find them, even if it means going through the census for Alton, Hampshire and Ospringe, Kent page by page.
I have however located a GRO birth index entry for Harriet WRAIGHT in Q4 1839 in Faversham District, which is a good match for my 2x great grandmother. I can now go ahead and order her birth certificate, that should make interesting reading to say the least.
For now I will wait until I have these two records before I start speculating on why they had such a variety of surnames!