Help. I am stuck with inexplicable christenings.

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Help. I am stuck with inexplicable christenings.

Postby NigelC » Mon Nov 13, 2023 10:39 am

I am researching the surname Copage (and various spellings) and have got stuck.

The earliest proven ancestor was a William Copage who was born in 1753 in the village of Tanworth in Warwickshire. His parents were John and Mary.

There are no records of any marriage between a John and Mary in Tanworth itself but there is one record of a John and Mary marriage in nearby Solihull in 1745. So far so good…

However during the years following 1745, there are a large number of baptisms in Tanworth with parents John and Mary Copage. Some of these are close together and there are 2 instances of a Mary being baptised 4 years apart. All these records are in the same Tanworth register (and written in the same hand).

Specifically these children of John and Mary Copage were all baptised in Tanworth:

John 5-10-1747 (buried the same day)
Sarah 11-6-1749 (buried one week later)
Elizabeth 14-1-1750
Mary 13-10-1750
William 18-12-1753
Mary 11-2-1754
Joseph 11-2-1759
Edward 25-2-1759

Clearly some of these baptisms are too close to each other to have both taken place soon after the birth. For example why were the last two baptised 2 weeks apart?

And of the two children baptised as Mary there is no record of a Mary being buried before the second was baptised.

One explanation is that there were two “John and Mary Copage” couples living at the same time in this small village although this seems unlikely.

Is there any other plausible explanation for the proximity of the christenings and the fact that two of them were called Mary?
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Re: Help. I am stuck with inexplicable christenings.

Postby gardener » Tue Nov 14, 2023 2:30 pm


I'm afraid I can't work this out either!
Certainly it is hard to fit in Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary!
I suppose the parents could just have been very sloppy about the matter, baptising Sarah only because she was ill, so the baptism dates do not reflect the births very closely.
Or as you say there could be two sets of John and Mary.

Have you tried looking for wills that might mention family members?
"The present is the key to the past" - Charles Lyell
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Re: Help. I am stuck with inexplicable christenings.

Postby NigelC » Wed Nov 15, 2023 4:41 pm

Thanks Gardener - I'll try searching for wills.
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