Michael Walsh  B.Sc (Econ), M.A.G.I.

This is the story of a mysterious birth record!

I was supporting an application for citizenship.  I searched for the birth of Christina Emily NOONAN who was born on 27 December 1901 to Patrick NOONAN and Hannah CROKE in Ballyclough, Co. Cork.

I found a baptismal record which showed that Christina Emily NOONAN was born on 27 December 1901 to Patrick NOONAN and Hannah CROKE and baptised on 29 December 1901 in the RC parish of Ballyclough in Co. Cork.

However, I also found a civil birth record (see below) which revealed that on the same day Annie NOONAN was born to Patrick NOONAN and Hannah CROKE in Ballyclough, Co. Cork!!!  The Informant was Mary CROKE who was the mother of Hannah.

Puzzling isn’t it?

Interestingly, the family already had registered the birth of an Annie born on 3 June 1893.

When an infant died, it was common practice to give the next child of the same gender the same given name.  However, I knew that this Annie born 1893 went on to marry, evidenced by her marriage record of 1919.  Could the birth registration of Annie in 1901 be an error?

The records also show that Mary CROKE, mother of Hannah, who was the Informant for both registrations at Ballyclough, could not read or write.  In these situations, where documentalists recorded what they heard articulated in strong accents and Informants like Mary were unable to check what had been recorded, mistakes were inevitable.

Crucially, the birth date on the birth record of Annie matched exactly the birth date recorded on the baptismal record of Christina Emily presented earlier and also matched the date of birth found on the UK 1939 wartime register entry for Christina Emily.

I became more convinced that this was an error and that this record related to the birth of the Christina Emily NOONAN that I was looking for.  In other words, the 1901 baptismal record of Christina Emily and this 1901 civil birth record for Annie related to the same person.

But how could I prove it?

I wrote to the parish priest of Ballyclough and he confirmed that it was Christina Emily NOONAN who was baptised in December 1901 and provided me with an authenticated baptismal record.

That was the easy bit over!

To support an application for citizenship, I needed a civil birth record for Christina Emily.  To issue a new certificate involved submitting 2 Statutory Declarations for a forename change and evidence that the name was Christina Emily and not Annie.  I won’t bore you with the details of this long drawn out process of changing the forename on a birth certificate, but we were successful (see below from

So, next time you look at a birth record, are you sure that it relates to who it says it does?