Who Do You Think You Are?

Was Christian also known as Catherine?

- Peter Towey

QMy 4x great grandmothe­r is listed as Christian Philips when she married William Annear in 1801 in Redruth, Cornwall. Later, they moved to St Austell where he became a mine agent, or ‘Captain’. He died in 1827.

The death of “Mrs Annear, relict of the late Capt W Annear, aged 58 years” was announced in the Royal Cornwall Gazette in June 1837. I found a Catherine Annear buried around this date, but not a Christian. Were the names interchang­eable?

Ruth Pauli

AVariation­s in Christian names can be confusing, especially in the west of Cornwall where English had only recently taken over from Cornish – one of my Cornish ancestors was known variously as Jennifer or Jane. I would not be surprised if Catherine was interchang­eable with Christian.

In her marriage record she is called Christian Philips, although she just made an X. She is recorded as Christina in other records of that marriage. At the baptisms of the couple’s children, she is called Christian.

In the St Austell burials, on 6 June 1837, is “Catherine Annear, Town, 58, Decline” (pictured). As she was 58 when she died, she should have been born c1779.

I looked for a Catherine or Christian Philips who was baptised in west Cornwall in about 1779, and found this in the St Hilary parish registers: “Catherine, daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Phillips, baptised 13 March 1778, Marazion.”

Marazion is in Mount’s Bay, but did not become a separate parish until 1813. St Hilary was a mining parish. Her probable parents were: “Thomas Phillips, of this parish, joiner, who married Elizabeth Mattcott, spinster, of this parish at St Hilary, on 4 October 1772.”

It looks likely that this is Christian. I recommend joining the Cornwall Family History Society ( cornwallfh­s.com), which has the best online index to Cornish baptisms, marriages and burials.

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