Saturday, 29 January 2011

Double-barrelled names

In his latest Irish Roots column for the Irish Times noted Irish genealogist John Grenham reflects on some of problems, past and future, of double-barrelled surnames. It attracted my attention when he mentioned ‘William Leigh Clarke’ and questioned whether it referred to two forenames or one two-part surname.

I've recently been researching William Clare whose spouse was last name Leigh. Children followed in breathtaking succession, each given the middle name Leigh. By 1832 when the seventh son came along they seemingly ran out of inspiration and named him Septimus.

Octavius followed and rose to prominence in the legal profession. At his second marriage he adopted the double-barrelled surname Leigh-Clare. While I doubt it was for the convenience of future genealogists he did also keep the middle name, becoming Octavius Leigh Leigh-Clare. He subsequently served as a MP.

He proudly named his son after himself adding Cedric as first name. Cedric Octavius Leigh Leigh-Clare was commissioned during the Great War and served as a senior official in the GPO.

You can have too much of a good thing. Subsequent generations of the line reverted to the surname Clare while keeping Leigh as a middle name.

1 comment:

Caroline Gurney said...

In 1811 Rev John Halkett married Grace Hay in Coupar Angus, Scotland. Their second son was called Charles Hay Halkett. He inherited land from the Hay side of the family and changed his name to Charles Hay Halkett-Hay. Meanwhile his brothers had descendants who called themselves Hay-Halkett. Most of the family moved to Australia where they are recorded under all four surnames.