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At Upper Beeding, Sussex, England, my 4x Great Uncle, Henry Juden seems to have been baptised just before his death.

  • Henry Juden Baptism - 13th May 1842

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLR-GRC Henry Juden Baptism

  • Henry Juden Burial - 22 May 1842

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KG85-KM7 Henry Juden Burial

What is strange to me is that the family had a habit of baptising the children in 'batches' together. Two of his older siblings were baptised on the same day:

  • Sarah Juden and Mary Juden Baptism - 16 September 1838

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLT-HR3 https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLR-P41 Sarah and Mary Juden Baptism

Henry is not in the 1841 Census so must have been born after 7th June 1841 as the census was taken on the 6th and before 13th May 1842. Strangely I cannot find his birth record.

Three of his other siblings were baptised on the same day:

  • George Juden, Caroline Juden and Walter Juden Baptism - 22 October 1843.

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLT-DZQ https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLR-5MG https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJLT-DZC George, Caroline and Walter Baptism

George was born in 25 June 1843 based on his birth certificate. Caroline was born about 1839-1841 based on her census recorded age. Walter was born about 1837 according to his age at death. So he had living siblings that weren't baptised when he was.

Was it common for parents to baptise a baby/child if they knew he was sickly and likely going to die soon?

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    I'm assuming these are Church of England registers? Have you seen the registers, or are you working off someone's index? It's a good idea to cite your sources, no matter what you've seen. All you have here are a list of dates and names, with no place given -- it's impossible for anyone else to evaluate what you're showing us if we don't have context. – Jan Murphy Jan 22 '16 at 19:14
  • Added links to sources – Danny Barber Jan 22 '16 at 22:10
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    You seem to be also talking about baptisms occurring in batches. I think you should make clearer how this is significant to the focus of your question which is about whether baptisms were accelerated when children were not expected to live long. At first I thought it was an aside that distracted from it when on second reading it seems highly significant, especially your second last sentence. Are you certain that all "siblings" are from one family? – PolyGeo Jan 22 '16 at 22:44
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    Are these images taken from Callow, J. H., Index to Upper Beeding parish registers... ? -- familysearch.org/search/catalog/… The FamilySearch extracted data from the England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 database which you've linked to are derivative records with no images associated with them. You might get more information if you could see images of the original registers or bishop's transcripts. – Jan Murphy Jan 23 '16 at 1:08
  • Do you know where I might access the original images? I'm not close to a Family History Centre so can't order the Films from familysearch.org. I know they used to offer scans for free but discontinued it last year. Is there a relatively cheap service that will scan quite a few pages? I.e all of the Baptisms for this family? – Danny Barber Jan 23 '16 at 7:17
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To answer the question about baptising sickly children - yes, absolutely. The Church of England has an abbreviated form of the Order (i.e service) of Baptism to be used in homes etc. in such circumstances. Such baptisms are generally known as Private baptisms and may be marked with a letter P in the register.

Remember that there were once those who were convinced that an unbaptised child could never enter heaven - hence the urgency. I've even seen a private baptism used when it was the mother who was dying - clearly she wanted to see her child safely baptised.

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