Thursday, 21 September 2017

So Proud he registered her twice?

The arrival of Marjorie Flett as a toddler in North America in May 1916 as recorded in one of her mother's letters has already been referred to on this blog.

... We bought a nice small American pram which was most useful - you should have seen Joe pushing it down 5th Avenue ...
Joe (well over 6' tall) pushing the "small American pram" down 5th Avenue must indeed have been a sight to see. His pride in his first-born daughter is further documented when the family reach their destination in Newfoundland:

Joe is quite balmy about Marjorie - I found that everyone in the place had seen her photo & knew her name, age & weight & one kid had a doll called after her.

Although the spelling 'Marjorie' is consistently preferred by her mother, in the family she was usually 'Marjory' (except on the occasion of her marriage in 1946, when 'Marjorie' appears). It was as 'Marjory Joan Flett' that the baby's birth on 5th February 1915 was registered - twice.

Surname   Forename           Gender      Year         Ref                        R[egistration] D[istrict] 
FLETT MARJORY JOAN   F              1915       168/3 140             Rubislaw              
FLETT  MARJORY JOAN  F              1915       126/ 10                 Bellie

Images from the double search result (below) confirm that the same birth is recorded in each case.

How and why this came about remains something of a puzzle. The details supplied by her father match exactly, so that at first sight it looks as though he may have assumed she needed to be registered in her place of residence as well as her birthplace and done so on his own initiative. At the time non-home births were the exception, still more so if occurring away from the family's home parish, and it is not known why the nursing home in Aberdeen was chosen - possibly there were fears for the mother's health, or Joe may simply have wanted what seemed to be the best care for her since, then, he could afford it.

A closer look, however, shows that far from being unaware of the duplication, the Registrar for Bellie transcribed the entry himself (or just possibly herself?), presumably from the original certificate issued in Aberdeen. This appears to be an unusual proceeding, and it would be interesting to know of any similar examples. Could the Registrar have been new to the job, replacing someone who had joined up, since this is a few months into the First World War, and unfamiliar with this sort of circumstance?

Nowadays it would no doubt be illegal, whether or not it was then, because of the potential it suggests for fraud, e.g. claiming benefits in different places, or identity theft - not the sort of thing that would have occurred to Marjory of course!

Middle record on this page: Marjory's birth in a nursing home in Aberdeen
Top record here: Marjory's birth also registered in home parish, Bellie:
"Transcribed at Fochabers" by the Registrar.
Marginal note: Dist. of birth: Rubislaw (Aberdeen)

(As it happens, this item has been posted on the 124th anniversary of Marjory's mother's birth.)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Prelude to 1968? - Lake Como, Italy, summer 1967

The anarchist summer camp that took place in Italy 50 years ago this summer seems to have virtually disappeared from the historical record, at least as far as online sources are concerned, despite the fact that the following year, around the time of the May Events, it briefly acquired an aura of notoriety when it emerged that Daniel Cohn-Bendit and his brother had been among those attending. Had it been, as alleged, an occasion for international conspiring or even a training-ground to foment unrest, leading to riot and revolution?

Well, no, or no more so than the more optimistic anarchists might normally hope to make it, although no doubt lively discussions took place and useful contacts may have been made.

This small set of tattered photographs is a reminder that it did happen, even if it didn't look much like the popular idea of revolutionary anarchists a-plotting, and that a good time was had by many.


A peaceful setting
"The boat of the camping".
(Advance publicity claimed it would be possible to cross to Como by boat)

Not even a nudist orgy

A family-friendly cafe.
Useful Italian phrase: Due panini con burro.

Or of course communal cooking, even if it sometimes took a while...

... to the occasional despair of famished campers, as in
"Je ne crois plus aux frites!"

The local population remained largely unimpressed.