William Fletcher, who I believe to have been my 6th great grandfather was baptised on 27 Sep 1713 at St Mary, Brewood, Staffordshire, England.

The image of that baptism, from FindMyPast's Staffordshire baptisms (Archive Reference D4014/1/3 Page 40), appears below, and to me it can be seen quite clearly that the christian name of his father has been omitted:

enter image description here

However, FindMyPast presents an England, Births & Baptisms 1538-1975 Transcription (presumably based on FamilySearch information) which says:

Father's first name(s)  Jo
Father's last name  Fletcher

Ancestry.com's England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (based on England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.) says:

Father  Jo Fletcher

and FamilySearch says:

Father's Name   Jo Fletcher

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J3M7-DM6 : 6 December 2014, William Fletcher, 27 Sep 1713); citing SAINT MARY,BREWOOD,STAFFORD,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 417,174.

Is there another image, or paper record, that these three websites (all citing the same England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 database) could have been trusting as their source to transcribe William's father's name as Jo?

I note that a father named John appears a few rows down suggesting that the writer of these records did not abbreviate that name to "Jo".

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    Do you know if the image is from the original register or the Bishop's Transcript? Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 10:44
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    @sempaiscuba On page 170 0f 440 at familysearch.org/ark:/61903/… it looks like it says Jo. I hope you are able to write an answer that includes that information since you lead me to it.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 10:59
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    Foolish to be dogmatic, but I have never seen John abbreviated to Jo (actually Jo:). I suspect but wouldn't like to put money on it, that it should read Jos: - in other words, Joseph. Wonder if that's why the name got omitted from the final copy of the Parish Register? The (presumed) rough copy had Jo: which got copied onto the BT and when the time came to write up the PR, the clerk said, "What's that?" and, not understanding, left it out. All speculation.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 18:29
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    Jno or Jno: - perhaps with optional superscription - is always John so far as I know. Hardly seems worth the abbreviation!
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:44
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    In the spirit of "write the title last" I've made another edit to the title. Trying to get it to be shorter, and something that is more likely to turn up in a search.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


It's always worth double-checking to see whether the online image comes from the original register or the Bishop's Transcripts.

I've certainly sometimes found that the transcriptions on sites like FindMyPast don't always quite match the images available on the site. Sometimes this is just an error in transcription, but on other occasions it has been because the transcription seems to have been made from the original register while the available image shows the Bishop's Transcripts (or vice versa).

In this case, the film number quoted for the FamilySearch record is for the Bishop's Transcript, rather than the original register for Brewood.

As you found, checking the image on FamilySearch on this occasion does indeed show William's father as Jo Fletcher:


This isn't the first time that I have seen several sites in agreement over a transcription of a record where that transcription doesn't match the available image on some of those sites. Personally, it does make me wonder how much of the transcribed information available on the various search sites has been "shared" in some form or other.

These days, where I can I always try to check both the original images from both the parish registers and the Bishop's Transcripts. Sometimes there is just that one extra nugget of useful information ... :)

Staffordshire Archives have a useful guide to their holdings of parish registers and Bishop's Transcripts.

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    I think it is a mistake to categorize this situation as "several sites in agreement" when we have a clear case of two sites sharing the same database with a third site. If Ancestry and findmypast are both citing the same collection on FamilySearch, this is three copies of one site, not three independent sets of indexers all arriving at the same thing.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:27
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    @JanMurphy Hence my point about "shared" transcriptions, although I've found that the citation isn't always as clear as it is in this case. The point is that the transcription doesn't always match the images on a particular site. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:34

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