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Clark - James William or William James

Peter Dutch

I understand that my great grandfather, James William Clark, was born in Essendon, Herts (recollection of an elderly relative so not 100% sure).

My grandmothers birth certificate shows her father as James William Clark. I have his marriage certificate dated 4 feb 1882 marrying Selina Saunders. Several censuses from 1891 showing him as James W Clark born in Hatfield, Herts.

The difficulty I have is with his birth. I have a certificate for a William James Clark for 29 Jan 1859 in Batherdale, Hatfield, Herts but that is William James not James William. This William James' father is James and his mother is Ann Sarah nee Hill.

Looking at the census for 1861 in Essendon Village I find a James Clark married to an Ann S Clark with a son James W aged 2.

I can't imagine that if a boy is christened William James then just 2 years later be renamed James William but I can't find another birth that seems to fit.

Any ideas?

I cannot find a birth registration for a James William only the one for William James, which you have.

There is absolutely no reason why, after having registered the birth as William James, the parents couldn't change their minds about the name and call him James William instead. No difference to the way some people use their middle name rather than their first Christian name.

"Looking at the census for 1861 in Essendon Village I find a James Clark married to an Ann S Clark with a son James W aged 2"

.In 1871, Essendon, Hertfordshire.
James Clark Son Male 12 Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

All there other children seem to be born in Essendon but James is listed as Hatfield. Ann Sarah Clark,(Hill), was born in Hatfield and father James in Essendon.
I have looked at these census's and looked at Essendon parish records. It does seem to me that the birth that I have for William James in 1859 is my great grandfather later known as James William, even on his marriage certificate.