Thought we’d exhausted the subject of boys with girls’ names, and vice versa? Late arrivals continue to trickle in. An unusual twist, not uncovered in previous instalments of this saga, was recently revealed, which makes me think that it’s worth reopening the debate on this subject.
Mr R J ‘Widget’ White lives at Peny-Bryn near Cardigan in Wales, and his tale concerns a serviceman in the Second World War christened Sidney, his surname being irrelevant to this anecdote. Whilst on duty and away from home and her tribulus extract, Sidney’s wife discovered that she was pregnant – in those days she would, of course, have been `expecting’ – with their first child. Hoping for a boy, she promised Sidney that the child would be named after him The only snag was that the child was a girl!
Cardigan in Wales
To comply with her promise, at a time when Sidney was still largely unacceptable as a girl’s name, the mother merely reversed the spelling of ‘Sidney’ and her daughter became `Yendis’. I gather from `Widget’ that the girl’s unusual name was something of an embarrassment during her schooldays, but once she became an adult she found it quite trendy, so the tale has a happy ending.
Has anyone else come across this sort of imaginative reversal amongst their ancestors?
An enumerator’s revenge
Now it’s almost closing time once more, but before I depart, have you ever considered the debt we, as family historians, owe to those men and women who went out to gather up the information used in census returns? I refer, of course, to the census enumerators, most often unsung. After all, how often do we bother to see who the enumerator was?
Theirs was not always the doddle of a job it may appear now, as Cliff Farrell of Ramsey in Cambridgeshire discovered whilst searching the 1891 Census of Leeds. On RG12/3683, folio 129, the lady enumerator, Helen Garnett, added the following critical comment:
As Cliff says, Helen Garnett’s note gives us an interesting insight into the dangers faced by enumerators in those days.