I have met this situation several times, a family has several children baptised at a traditional Anglican church but then for some reason they switch to a non-conformist church. Some times they will then return to the Anglican church for the baptism of later children.
The latest occurrence of this concerns my 2x great-grandparents Thomas and Ellen DRIVER. At East Sussex Record Office I confirmed that two of their six children were baptised as Wesleyan Methodists.
I had initially found these records on the SFHG Data Archive where it appeared that they had been baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Lewes, Sussex. On checking the original baptism register last week I discovered that the baptisms weren’t necessarily in Lewes itself, but within the Lewes Circuit, something that wasn’t clear in the data archive entries.
As usual this information provides more question than answers. The big one of course is why? Why did they decide to switch to Methodism? It is difficult for me to imagine that this was an important decision for my 2x great-grandparents, the church means nothing to me other than a place where my ancestors once stood and where most of them were baptised, married and buried, but it doesn’t mean that my ancestors didn’t consider it important.
I need to find out where the nearest Methodist Chapel was and see if there might be any record that they were members of that chapel, a quick scan of a few county directories should hopefully help me answer that first bit and then it will probably be a question of visiting the archives again.
There is still the question of where their other children were baptised. There were six in all, and I only have baptism details for three of them:
- Kate DRIVER (baptised 28 March 1880, Framfield, Sussex)
- Asher DRIVER (born 1882, baptism unknown)
- Minnie DRIVER (baptised 26 May 1884, Lewes Circuit)
- Ambrose DRIVER (born 1885, baptism unknown)
- Herbert DRIVER (born 1888, baptism unknown)
- Anna DRIVER (baptised 8 November 1891, Lewes Circuit)
So I need to learn a bit more about Methodist records, the local Methodist “scene” at the end of the 19th Century and then search the all the parish registers for the local churches regardless of denomination.