Monday, August 16, 2010

Docu-Challenge: William Warner Player baptismal record

Well, it's that time again. Are you up for another Docu-Challenge from Ol' Myrt here? Study the records of baptism for 1793 and note the entry for March 30th on my oldest known Player ancestor.

Click the image for a larger view of this document from the author's personal research.

  • How would you describe the document itself?
  • What, if anything, is missing from this digital image?
  • What could be implied by this image?
  • What information can be drawn from this document about William?
  • What else might this document lead researchers to do?

Crash Course in Family HistoryTHE WINNER
ALL RESPONSES are to be posted as comments to this blog entry, and NOT sent via email to Ol' Myrt here. Entries will be judged 10 Sept 2010 after midnight, so be sure your entries are posted before that time.  Even though a previous comment may sound good to you, remember the judges choose randomly from among great replies. The judges reserves the right to reject entries, and the decision of the judges is final. The winner must be willing to give his/her mailing address to Ol' Myrt to receive the prize.

The winner of the "Docu-Challenge: William Warner Player baptismal record" will receive a copy of  Crash Course in Family History 4th Edition (2010) for his or her personal library. The book will be shipped on or about 15 September 2010 from Ol' Myrt's "satellite offices" at to a US address only.

So, DearREADERS, go forth and dissect the baptismal certificate. Let's see what you come up with.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. 1. How would you describe the document?

    There isn't a whole lot to the document, it looks simply like a listing of those people that were baptized from 1 March 1793 to 31 March 1793, much like some birth records I've come across.

    2. What if anything is missing from this digital image?

    Well, since it is just a listing of names, the first thing that jumps out at me is that the mother's have no maiden names listed. The second thing is that only 5 of them actually list the date of birth for the person. The baptism date is sometimes used as a substitute for the actual date of birth when that is not immediately known and until it can be found. Which can also cause problems because the person may not have been baptized as a baby.

    3. What could be implied from this image?

    It could be assumed that William was born AND baptized on the same day which is entirely possible. But you can't take that as fact until you find a date of birth.

    4. What information can be drawn from this document about William?

    That his middle name is 'Warner' and that he was the son of Charles Player and Ann. It is possible that Warner was Ann's maiden name but won't be known until more research is done.

    5. What else might this document lead researchers to do?

    Find out where the name Warner came from and if it is in fact Ann's maiden name. See what other records can determine when William was born and if it was close to the date of his baptism. See what other records can be found at the parish where the baptism took place.

  2. How would you describe the document itself?
    The document appears to be a hand written baptism record from the Parish of St. Lukes, Chelsea in the County of Middlesex in the year 1793. This is assuming the note entry is from the same book. The records are fairly legible and in good condition.
    What, if anything, is missing from this digital image?
    The first child has a birth date next to her name and none of the other children do. Also it also does not state the sponsors (which is often a relative and gives clues on further research)
    What could be implied by this image?
    It is implied that these children were probably born in late Feb or early march for their baptisms to be on these dates. It also shows the names of the parents and implies that they were members of the Parish of St. Lukes.
    What information can be drawn from this document about William?
    We can deduct that William is being raised by Charles Player and Ann and that he was born sometime in March of 1793 and baptized March 30th 1793. We also see that his name is William - Warner L.
    What else might this document lead researchers to do?
    I would first do research on the time and area to understand if there was a reason they would hyphenate his name. Could Warner be a name from his mother’s side? Was this something common of the time? I also noticed that all of the other males stated "son of" while the female names did not. It was odd that William-Warner did not say son of. Could William be a girl's name? Odd, but a possibility. I would have to look at other previous research to know this.
    Additionally I would find out if the church had marriage records and look for records of Charles and Ann. I would also look to see if Charles and Ann may have had other children baptized in the church.

  3. This is a primary source for the baptism itself on March 30, 1793. What's missing? I would love to see the page before and the page after to get a feel for the record and the minister's handwriting. It is implied that Charles and Ann are married. The only information drawn from the document is William was born before March 30, 1793 and Charles Player and Ann are his parents. I would look for a marriage record for Charles Player and Ann; and look for other baptism records of children for this couple.

  4. William’s parents are Charles and Ann Player. I would guess that Ann's maiden name was Warner. I would assume that William is a newborn and there may be more siblings baptized at this parish. I would look for more parish records for the Player family and continue looking for other census, birth, marriage and death records.

    Interesting tidbit - there's an online reference about Sir Walter Raleigh bringing a young Guyana boy back with him to England and the boy was baptized at the Parish of Saint Luke on February 13, 1597. Obviously this church had been around for ages by the time that William Player was baptized.

  5. The page is quite legible, checking other names on page and the way they are annotated makes me wonder. Why the hyphen? Is it possible William and Warren are twins? The date of baptism is clear on the page, I would wish for the date of birth, but would search for other records for that.
    The implied marriage for Charles and Ann would have me look for the marriage record in this parish in Middlesex and then broaden the search if nothing is found.
    Questions to answer: other children, grandparents, residence, ages

  6. 1. How would you describe the document itself?
    The document is an image of a hand-written chronological list of baptisms for the month of March 1793, recorded by the curate, E. Middleton. The image appears to have been copied from a multi-page, bound volume.

    The ink and writing are even, and would imply that the list was made at one sitting, more or less, rather than on a day-to-day basis. Comparing to other months presumably included on other pages of the same source might be interesting in order to see if there is more variation in the ink or handwriting, perhaps indicating how often the list was updated and therefore how fresh the information was that was recorded.

    2. What, if anything, is missing from this digital image?
    The names of sponsors/godparents are not given.

    The maiden name of the mother is not given.

    The location: is this England or Massachusetts or... this might be easily determined by checking maps, etc., but the image itself does not provide this information.

    With 5 exceptions, birth dates are not given, including that of William Warner Player.

    The birthplace: the baptisms occurred in the parish, but the baptized were not necessarily born there.

    The location of the original document and when and where it was copied.

    3. What could be implied by this image?
    William Warner Player is one of the 8 children (out of 33) listed with a middle name; 3 of these were boys. This might narrow down the religion or regional practices to places where middle names were not unheard of but also not common.

    Is that a splotch after the name William or a hyphen? If the latter, how common was that at the time and what does it mean?

    The possibility that Warner was his mother's maiden name should be looked into.

    With 5 exceptions, only one child of each set of parents was baptized; 2 from one family (baptized on the 1st), and 3 from another (all baptized on the 14th). Only 5 entries include the birth date, including 4 of the 5 just mentioned as baptized on the same date as their siblings . Do these observations imply that infant baptism was the general practice, or at least that baptisms were always performed at a specific age and those that were not were noted by providing the birth date?

    According to a perpetual calendar, a bare majority (17) of the baptisms listed occurred on a Sunday, the rest were all over the week (William was baptized on a Saturday). Would this indicate that many (if not all) were performed at home-- perhaps done ASAP after a birth due to the high rate of infant deaths?

    4.What information can be drawn from this document about William?
    His full name (unlike most others),
    His parents' names (but not his mother's maiden name),
    His baptismal parish location and date of baptism; possibly his approximate birthdate if the theory that all were infants (with the few noted exceptions);
    A possible family name (Warner), a candidate for his mother's maiden name.

    5. What else might this document lead researchers to do?
    A map or location search to find out exactly where this is. Although, presumably the specific location is already known, why else would this particular document have been searched? :-)

    The possibility of Warner being his mother's maiden name or a family name.

    Learn about the local customs for the usual age and the usual location of baptisms to see if there is any significance to William's baptism occurring on a Saturday.

    Check this parish's records for more mention of his parents and possible siblings.

  7. Hi Myrt, who won this Docu-Challenge?

  8. Here's the link to the announcement of the winner: