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Using an assumed surname on the census

Location
Walsall
From
England
My great grandmother lost both her parents aged around 6/7 years old when they lived in Keighley. She, somehow, ends up in a circus family listed on the 1881 census as the daughter of, presumably, the head of the family even though there is no apparent link to this family. All the performers, including a couple from the USA, are using the same surname even though it's false. My question is was it legal for them all to use this, assumed, surname on the census form?
 
The child would more than likely take on the guardians name. No formal adoptions back then. How old was she in the 1881 census, was she part of a circus act.?
Is it possible that one or more of Circus family were related.?
 
The child would more than likely take on the guardians name. No formal adoptions back then. How old was she in the 1881 census, was she part of a circus act.?
Is it possible that one or more of Circus family were related.?

She was aged 10 years old in 1881 and eventually became part of the act. To my knowledge, and I may be wrong, she wasn't related to any of the troop although this is possible and I will look into this.
My main question was is it legal for all the "family" to use what is in essence an assumed surname on the census?
 
In the 'good old days' things just happened - unless something involving the police etc then there was no one to check. I don't think even a school would check as to the census the collector would just collate the info etc.
Legally you have to answer correctly but who is to check!
In the 1911 census my gran used her stepfathers name but there was no legal adoption and no marriage for another 10 years - so who would check!

See this https://deedpolloffice.com/change-n...xt=In law, you can simply,be in your new name.
 
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In the 'good old days' things just happened - unless something involving the police etc then there was no one to check. I don't think even a school would check as to the census the collector would just collate the info etc.
Legally you have to answer correctly but who is to check!
In the 1911 census my gran used her stepfathers name but there was no legal adoption and no marriage for another 10 years - so who would check!

See this https://deedpolloffice.com/change-name#:~:text=In the U.K. you can,child's name) at any time.&text=In law, you can simply,be in your new name.
So lets see if I've got this right.
Child A becomes an orphan and is taken in by Person B to look after as there's no one else. Person C comes along and says, look I'll take her off your hand and bring her up as one of my own, taking my surname and she can learn the circus business and that was just "the done thing" and as long as there's nothing illegal that was seen as ok??
 
That's about it in a nutshell.
Obviously there are some safeguards, but basically a trade or calling for the child to learn, and possibly earn a living from, but this was very flexible. If the child was in the poorhouse, or orphanage, the Governors would wish to make room for more orphans, and the needy.
Possibly the prospective Guardian may need to pay a fee.
 
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