Certified Muddle

Came across something interesting today…

Leah Yeomans birth date on the 1939 register is listed as 5 Jan 1896. However, on her official birth certificate, the year of birth is recorded as 1897. Since you would imagine a birth certificate to be more accurate, I’ve always recorded her year of birth as 1897. But as I was going through the records again, I wondered which was more accurate. Human error needs to be considered in both cases here.

Leah Yeomans in the 1939 register – recorded under her married name, Lamb
Certified Copy of Leah Yeomans’ birth entry

It was only minutes later that I came across another example within the same family.

The marriage certificate of Leah Yeomans’ parents lists their year of marriage as 1874.
Today, I found an image of the original marriage entry from the parish records that shows the year may actually be 1875.

Certified copy of James Yeomans & Mary Johnson’s marriage entry
Original image of James Yeomans & Mary Johnson’s marriage entry

In this case, the confusion stems from the year in the title being 1875 and the year within the entry as 1874. The other 3 entries on the image all have the same anomaly (both being recorded as 1875 and 1874). Fortunately I was able to see the previous & following pages and it seems to be an error only on this particular page – the title year should actually read 1874.

My decision is to record Leah Yeomans birth year as 1897 (since the year is repeated 3 times within the entry, it’s less likely to be a mistake) and her parents’ marriage as 1874.

Yeomans of Brum

St Philips Church, Birmingham c.1829 (where William & Catherine Yeomans were wed)

While tracing back through the life of James YEOMANS recently, I came to a standstill at his birth.  There were two likely baptismal records of Josephs whose fathers were both called William but which one was the correct one? One had a mother called Mary, the other, Elizabeth.  Never mind, I thought, I’ll just use the censuses.

Possible baptismal records of Joseph Yeomans side by side

The problem was however, that I couldn’t find Joseph YEOMANS in the 1841 census – the one that could give me his parents names and take me another step back in the line. I had Joseph’s marriage record so knew he was married in St. Philip’s Church, Birmingham in 1845 (now Birmingham Cathedral) and the ’51 and ’61 censuses located him there. A general name search (variants on and off) and an area limiting search came up with nothing. It’s possible he was living/staying elsewhere that night but also possible the transcription was askew.

Marriage certificate of Joseph YEOMANS & Catherine SANDFORD

The marriage certificate gives his father’s name as William YEOMANS – a tin plate worker. Joseph’s precise age is not given, only ‘of Full age’ to indicate he was at least 21. The 1851 census gives 27 which means he would only be 17 in 1841 and likely (although not guaranteed) still living at home. Locating it would hopefully solve the issue of which mother was his.

William and Mary YEOMANS were found quite easily, yet I could not find William and Elizabeth.

1841 census entry of a William and Mary Yeomans

Presuming it was likely a different spelling of the name, Yeomans, I searched using a variety of name combinations.  Finally, I searched for Jos* Yeomans and huzzah! There he was WITH his father William and mother, Elizabeth, who had been recorded as Wm & Elizth. For further proof this was the right family, both Joseph and his father were recorded as Tin Plate workers AND they were living on Summer Lane (the address given on Joseph’s marriage certificate).

1841 census entry of Joseph Yeomans, with his parents William and Elizabeth

His age was a couple years out from the birth years given on subsequent censuses but it fit very well with the 1822 baptismal record.

Interesting to note that he gives his age as 1 year younger than his wife, Catherine on the 1851 census and 1 year older than her on the 1861 census which are both 2/3 years younger than his actual age.