17 Nov: Ask the Genealogist Fleurieu
Peninsula Family History Group: AGM Church
Hall, William Street, Christies Beach.
22 Nov: UK ancestors Cultural
Centre Library Diagonal Road Oaklands Park 10:30am 2 hour session.
Genealogy is undertaking a new exciting venture and Adelaide
Proformat is delighted to be a part of the project. A new site is being
developed to be the major Australian History gateway with the following
• free content
• collaboration with others with associated interests
• shop front for products and similar services
• history and genealogy directory site
visibility for those involved
• complementing other related web sites
• housing others' home pages
Enhanced search capabilities
Enhanced search capabilities
at the Adelaide Proformat site are being introduced to allow
searching of all databases at the site via the search engine provided
by Atomz on
the gateway page.
At this time this search engine will pick up all names in all the
databases associated with Early BDMs and deaths. We will extend it
to other databases.
In this issue:
• NZ BDM access embargoes
in a surname?
A new field, Second person forename, has been added to the census forms. The
new search works by displaying results based on both of the forenames
entered appearing on the same image. If you know the forenames of two
persons in a household you will be able to greatly narrow down lists
of results by using this additional field.
BDM access embargoes
You may recall my report in the May 2007 Newsletter about a bill before
the NZ Parliament that among other things was to introduce access embargoes
on NZ BDM certificates:
• births 100 years
• marriages 80 years
• deaths 50 years or 80 years since the birth of the deceased
News to hand is that the NZ Government has backed down as the result of intensive
opposition. However, the watered down version introduces some novel ideas.
It is now proposed that:
a public register
will be established so people can
check who has accessed their records, and,
2) people will have the right to request that their records not be disclosed
to the public.
in a surname?
I was quite surprised
to recently read in a well known monthly English family history magazine,
where a reader sought information on the origin of their surname,
the writer suggesting that this origin and subsequent migratory history
would have suggested her ancestors emanated from the continent and
as merchants relocated to Scotland sometime in the 16th century.
At best this sort of advice maybe the start of a new family myth
and at worst the reader may take the material on board as serious
While researching the meaning and origin of your own surname can be great
fun, the finding should never ever be then attributed to your own origins.
There are just too many factors over the generations that make the likelihood
of the family name you bear today being the name borne by your first ancestor
to take on an hereditary surname that was retained by succeeding generations.
we could exhume
your first male ancestor to take on an hereditary surname, then we would
expect his DNA makeup to be a match with your father if there was an
unbroken line down through the generations to him.
There are a number of easily identifiable reasons why the genetics
do not follow the same pathway as an hereditary surname. The
fact that any
these may occur at any stage in your ancestry and as likely or not remain
unrecorded just emphasises the need to pursue ancestry in a proven step
by step process back generation by generation.
There are a multitude of examples
of surname changes under the following circumstances:
an illegitimate male child passed off as mother’s brother.
• an illegitimate male child within a marriage who discovers
his biological father.
a husband adopting his wife’s surname.
• stepchildren adopting their stepfather's surname.
• an adopted male child who takes the surname.
• a foreign name altered to resemble an existing local
a male purchaser of property adopting the seller’s surname.
• a mis-spelling at some point that switches to a new
• a condition for an inheritance.
• an admirer or lackey taking on a superior's name.
• a male hiding his identity for any number of reasons.
• a male rejecting his name for personal or societal
that first ancestor in a family who takes on a surname had the name attributed
to him by others and is a mere accident of history in itself. Originally
surnames were attributed to individuals to distinguish them from others
with the same forename in the same community. The church had seen to
it that a relatively small pool of given names were available for selection.
The add-on name, which is what surname means, was primarily occupational,
locational, descriptive or
based on a relationship with another person. Initially these were not
and hence Thomas [the] Weaver may have had a son called John [the] Chapman
travelling dealer in wares). At some point in time an ancestor retained
the surname regardless of his occupation but you can see that it would
be just by chance which name was fixed upon.
When did this happen? Well we just do not know except to say that upper
class Normans had surnames at the time of the conquest and every English
owner listed in the 1390 poll tax returns had a surname but whether these
latter ones were hereditary or not is unknown.
Locational surnames would seem to have been the most popular as it was
easy to identify a person by their place of work or home and hence William
By[the]church etc. A small group of locational names relate to place
names and were usually reserved for more important people. Thus persons
after a county as in Thomas [of] Lancaster would have been significant
individuals. No doubt some ancient called Jaunay after the french ville
of the same name was a significant local. Even such a distinctive name
like mine does not give me any licence to think my ancestry is tied up
with this village. Any of the above scenarios preclude me from making
that claim until I can achieve the impossible—namely, pursue my
ancestry in a proven step by step process back generation by generation
to the very
The French surname Jaunet is pronounced exactly like Jaunay. The former
is common and evolves from a descriptive name for a person with a jaundiced
complexion or yellow hair. Maybe my ancestor was a Jaunet but a scribe
wrote down Jaunay! Who knows?