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On 6 September 1903, Flossy Maud Mary Ann Mogg was baptised in Stalbridge Parish Church, Dorset England. Her birth date was given as 10 December 1897, and her parents as Walter Mogg (Farmer) and his wife Ellen. On the same day, the same couple had 2 other children baptised: Harold Charles (born 2 February 1900) and Violet Ellen (born 16 February 1902).

In total, between August 1890 and July 1908, the couple had 8 children baptised in the same church. Or rather 9 children, because on 6 April 1898, Flossie Maud Mogg (born 10 January 1898) was baptised (by the same Rector). Neither of her baptisms are shown as 'private baptism'.

The birth dates given are close enough that this looks like the same child to me; there's also only one record in the GRO indices for a Flossie Maud Mogg born between 1895 and 1905, and no death record.

The 1901 census shows a single family living in Stalbridge with head of household Walter Mogg and wife Ellen; the children present are the five children that the baptismal records say had been born by that time.

So: I'm pretty sure this is one child being baptised twice in the same church by the same Rector. But why? Did the parents and Rector all forget that they had dipped Flossie once? Is it significant that she acquired the additional names Mary Ann the second time around (she didn't use these names when she got married in the same church in 1919, and no other Mary Ann Mogg appears in the records at Stalbridge). Or is there some ecclesiastical reason for baptising somebody twice in the Church of England?

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Another possibility is that they wanted a baptism recorded with the correct date of birth, whether for civil reasons or to make sure things went okay when St. Peter checked the books. –  RobertShaw Jan 23 '13 at 21:29
    
I really wish SE sites could share questions - this one might get some good information from Christianity.SE. –  fbrereto Jan 24 '13 at 21:18
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have an unprovable gut feeling that a lot of "private baptisms" were never marked as such. Unprovable because unless I hitch a ride in the TARDIS, I'll never see where the child was baptised. A gut feeling because if all children in a family bar one were baptised on a Sunday, why else would the odd one be baptised mid-week?

@ColeValleyGirl stated in a comment that "Every child in the family was baptised on a Sunday, except for Flossie's first baptism which was a Wednesday." This increases my suspicion that her first baptism was a private baptism, suggesting that in 1903, in that catch-up ceremony, someone remembered that Flossie hadn't gone through the full process and decided to catch up on her as well.

It is only a possible explanation, but I would not regard the lack of "private" marking on the first as invalidating the idea.

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Let me prefix this by saying I am no expert on the subject.

I am aware of a Catholic tradition where someone who is confirmed gets to choose their "confirmation name," which is oftentimes the name they were born with and one (or more) additional names. According to the (unverified, unattributed) Confirmation Wikipedia entry, this can happen as early as age seven. (Flossy would have been 5 1/2 years on 6 Sep 1903 if I did my date math correctly, so it's... kinda close.)

Some hypotheticals I can think of are:

  • Flossy was confirmed the second time around, and the baptism was part of that confirmation process. From the above page:

    A priest may confer the sacrament when he baptizes someone who is no longer an infant or determines a person already baptized to full communion and cognizance, or if the person (adult or child) to be confirmed is in danger of death (canon 883)

  • Flossy asked to be baptized again of her own accord. Perhaps she was old enough to embrace her faith more personally, and desired a conscientious baptism in addition to her infant baptism.
Of course, all of this hinges on the predicate that the Church of England practices the same traditions as the Catholic church.

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The Church of England was Anglican, not Catholic –  American Luke Jan 24 '13 at 15:31
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Err - if you read the creed in CofE services, it says "I believe in the ... Holy Catholic Church". The CofE is a Catholic church - it just isn't a Roman Catholic church. Despite the abbreviations that I'm probably just as guilty of... –  AdrianB38 Jan 24 '13 at 16:00
    
@AdrianB38 The term "catholic" can refer to the Roman Catholic tradition or the universal body of Christian churches, which are a very different set of folks. –  fbrereto Jan 24 '13 at 17:14
    
@Luke Hence my disclaimer at the end of the post about the traditions being shared between the two traditions. The Anglican church separated from Rome, so there's a likelihood they are shared... –  fbrereto Jan 24 '13 at 17:15
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The confirmation hypothesis seems plausible to me. I went to confirmation classes and was subsequently confirmed in a CofE church and some of those who were confirmed were also baptised at the same time. They would have been as young as 10. The vicar only baptised those who hadn't been done previously, but I would have thought he'd have happily done a repeat baptism if anyone had wanted it for whatever reason. –  Tim Long Jan 24 '13 at 20:01
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There's nothing wrong with being baptized twice. I've seen children baptized twice in the same day at different churches in different counties. Most likely the couple were having the two younger children baptized, and the parents and Rector decided to throw Flossy in the mix to make it a family affair.

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Perhaps the first baby died and they had another by same name? It's been done before: name another child the same name for the one that died. It's very confusing nowadays for us to try and find children. And was there no grave maker, or it was made of wood and is now long gone? That would be my take on two same-named children.

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Hi Cathy, welcome to GFH! I have taken the liberty to remove the all caps formatting from your post. While we welcome your contribution to the community, please consider formatting in the future. Thanks! –  fbrereto Jan 29 '13 at 21:50
    
As I said in the OP, no other child of that name born in the same time period, and no death record. –  ColeValleyGirl Jan 30 '13 at 8:25
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