Monday, April 4, 2016

The third step in my A-Z of quirky ancestor antics - C is for Chameleon

This is the third step in my Blogging from A-Z Challenge (April 2016).


One of my particularly elusive and illusive ancestors was a bit of a chameleon in the first name department. So, this is why I have chosen

C is for Chameleon

as the third step in my A-Z of quirky ancestor antics.

Source: Morgue File graphic (http://mrg.bz/WRZDjg)

Although he always used the same surname (Northcote), my great grandfather took a creative approach to how he recorded his first name. Throughout his relatively short life of 45 years, he used quite a few different first names but William and Walter were definitely his favourites. He was a bit of a chameleon in that way. His varied first names were recorded in family documents during and after his life.

Year
First name
Source
1872
Walter
Government Gazette, NSW
1876
William
His son, Alfred’s, birth cert
1878
William
Land grant records, NSW
1878
William
Land grant records, NSW
1879
Walter Henry
His son, Carew’s, birth cert
1881
Walter Henry
His son, Perc’s, birth cert
1881
William H
NSW Census records
1882
William H
NSW Census records
1883
William
Police Gazette, NSW
1884
Walter
His son, Arthur’s, birth cert
1886
Walter Stafford
Bankruptcy records, Bourke, NSW
1887
George Bede
His son, George Bede’s (Leo’s), birth cert
1888
William Walter
His own death certificate
1888
William Walter
Bourke cemetery info
1910
Walter John
His son, Carew’s, marriage certificate
1927
William Walter John
His wife’s death certificate
1930
Walter
Leo’s wedding certificate
1954
Walter John
His son, Walter John’s, death cert.
1970
William Walter
His son, Leo’s death certificate

Some of the names given to his seven sons were reminiscent of some of the names he used himself:
  1. Walter John Northcote (1871-1954)
  2. William Montgomery Northcote (1875-1933)
  3. Alfred Joseph Northcote (1876-1961)
  4. Aloysius ‘Carew’ Standish NORTHCOTE (1879-1937)
  5. Percival Ernest Phil NORTHCOTE (1881-1958)
  6. Arthur Francis NORTHCOTE (1884-1960)
  7. Leo Bertie Bede Bernard Northcote (1887-1970)
Although I still don't know if my great grandfather was related to the NORTHCOTEs of Iddesleigh in Devon as he apparently claimed, some of their names are similar to the first names he used and the names of his sons:

  • Sir John Northcote, 1st Baronet (1600–1676)
  • Sir Arthur Northcote, 2nd Baronet (1628–1688)
  • Sir Francis Northcote, 3rd Baronet (1659–1709)
  • Sir Henry Northcote, 4th Baronet (1667–1730)
  • Sir Henry Northcote, 5th Baronet (1710–1743)
  • Sir Stafford Northcote, 6th Baronet (1736–1770)
  • Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 7th Baronet (1762–1851)
  • Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 8th Baronet (1818–1887)
  • Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh (1818–1887)
  • Walter Stafford Northcote, 2nd Earl of Iddesleigh (1845–1927)
  • Henry Stafford Northcote, 3rd Earl of Iddesleigh (1901–1970)
  • Stafford Henry Northcote, 4th Earl of Iddesleigh (1932–2004)
  • John Stafford Northcote, 5th Earl of Iddesleigh (b. 1957)
Source of the above list of names: Earl of Iddesleigh, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Iddesleigh


Of course, two of my biggest questions about this man are ... why did he continually change his first names and which NORTHCOTE family did he really belong to (if any)? There are many possible answers to these questions but I don't have firm evidence for any of them (yet).

Some other related blogposts about my great grandfather, WW Northcote:
Oh Carole! Thanks for bringing this ghost to life
Shakiest branch on the family tree - Walter William Northcote
Land grants of Private William Northcote (1878 and 1880) in the New South Wales, Australia, Land Grants, 1788-1963 records


3 comments:

  1. What an annoying ancestor! I wonder why he chopped and changed like that. Or was he indeed William Walter Henry John?

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  2. I had a William Walter Forfar who was also known as Dick. All good fun!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, that's a tricky one. Makes the search more interesting, that's for sure:)

    ReplyDelete