Category: Making Memories

Surname Saturday: Doing the Deed!

Category: Making Memories

The Deed is done! What Deed...I hear you say. The Deed Poll, that's what!

No this isn't a riddle or a joke and it's not a hypothetical either. For some time now, I've been considering incorporating my maiden name back into my name. My interest in family history, together with a strong desire to identify with my heritage, has spurred this decision on. So I ordered a pack from UK Deed Poll Service - and now I'm officially called Anne Mary Hibbitt BARNES.

I'm an advocate for the institution of marriage and have no desire to have a different surname to my husband so Hibbitt is now my second middle name, although it was my surname at birth. For any married women out there who don't want to completely abandon their maiden name, a Deed Poll is an excellent way of keeping hold of it.

As to my Christian name, although informally I like to be known as Annie (and I shall continue in this vein), I decided that I should still formally be known as Anne. This is, and always has been, my proper name (given to me at birth and the one I was baptized with) and therefore, I don't think I should want to change it now. In effect, all I have done is put back what was mine in the first instance, not altering or adding to it.

Of course, most people won't notice anything different but I will know and that's important to me. From now on, I can put Hibbitt on official forms. I've yet to complete the task of changing all my official documents - for some this could be laborious and is what has made me hesitate until now. However, getting ones documents changed is part of the point of it, as well as being a legal requirement, so I've finally bitten the bullet and gone for it.

Once more, I have that connection with my blood line reflected in my name. Who knows, maybe a descendant will stumble across my headstone in 200 years time, or discover me in the paper trail (or digital footprint), see the name and make that connection too!

[Why Surname Saturday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

The 2011 Census - family history in the making

Category: Making Memories

The 2011 CensusMy household questionnaire for the 2011 England and Wales Census arrived this week and after thumbing through it I decided to put down a few of my thoughts, from a genealogical point of view that is.

This is your chance to be part of history. Many family historians appreciate the invaluable information contained within the 19th and early 20th century censuses, which are currently available to them. Although these records may contain only basic information they do help us to locate our ancestors and glimpse at their lifestyles via their addresses and occupations.

Turning to the new 2011 census, whilst it does supply a great deal more detail for the future genealogist, I was surprised and dismayed to find that middle names are to be omitted, although full dates of birth are required. Again, a specific place of birth is not requested, only the country. I began to worry for our descendants that they'll have a difficult time tracking down ancestors with common names who were born in England or Wales, etc.

Of course, by then, who knows what other sources will become available to support the particulars they find on us in the census? For instance, might they have access to old household bills in the same way that we can view old telephone and street directories now, or will this type of material still be viewed as confidential in 100 years or so?

What about our personal musings on Twitter, Facebook and the like? And of course, our websites and blogs? The Internet Archive is busy recording much of what it finds online by means of its 'Wayback Machine'. The 'Machine' has already captured my own family history site twice. Imagine how our descendants might feel if they search for their ancestors, to find all our efforts pop up on their screens (assuming screens are still in use at that stage) after we, and our websites, are long gone!

In view of this, why not publish your own reflections as you complete your census forms and maybe one day your future relatives might search for and discover this personal account to compliment your household schedule. You could post to your blog or to your favourite social networking site or even ask a friend to put your thoughts on their pages if you don't have access to these facilities.

We have a choice of whether to complete the 2011 census online or post back our paper questionnaires. In trying to decide which method to choose I endeavoured to find out what would become of our paper questionnaires. Apparently, they are to be destroyed after they have been scanned. However, images of the actual questionnaires are to be securely stored on microfilm and kept confidential for the usual 100 years. Therefore, if you like the idea of your descendants seeing your own hand (albeit printed) and signature, then you might want to use the old-fashioned method and put pen to paper.

You could copy or scan your questionnaire before sending it back and keep it in your family archive. Then perhaps some of those who come after you won't have to wait 100 years to discover that you have gas central heating!
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