Friday, 18 July 2014

Whippertie--Doo-Dah

I've been researching the burial of Thomas William Hardingham in Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery. He was born in my old home town of Great Yarmouth. The information on the gravestone is that his parents were Charles and Whippertie Hardingham.

It doesn't take long with Ancestry to establish that his parents were Charles Stephen Hardingham and Jane Dennis Hardingham nee Rackham. So where does the unusual name Whippertie come from?

Searching FreeBMD finds only one person with that name, first or last. Whippertie Maude Fowler's birth is registered in the 3rd quarter of 1906 in Mutford registration district, south of Great Yarmouth, and there's a marriage in the adjacent Lothingland district in the last quarter of 1935. I expected to find her in the 1911 census - no luck on Ancestry.

It's often helpful to look for siblings, FreeBMD is much better for this than Ancestry. There's a birth registration in the Mutford district for Dorothy Dennis Fowler, notice the same distinctive middle name as Jane, and two later Fowler births had the mother's maiden name as Rackham. Mother's maiden name is only given in the birth registration indexes starting in the 3rd quarter of 1911.

Going back to the Ancestry 1911 census and searching for Dorothy Dennis Fowler I found Whippertie had been transcribed as Whipperlie. Findmypast has the correct transcription but the error is understandable. I could also have found it using a wildcard in the Ancestry census search.

It turns out Whippertie Maude Fowler was the niece of Jane Dennis Hardingham and might well have been given the unusual nickname used by her aunt. But I still don't know how and why Jane got that nickname which was established enough to put on her son's gravestone.

In case the title makes you yearn for the song that inspired it here's an upbeat version of the original.



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