Re: Researching and documenting apparent change of Family Surname

John Hanson


Unfortunately not what this list is really for as it is for issues with the software or the way it works


However having looked at the family on the 1911 and checked the birth registrations both in FreeBMD and the GRO’s own indexes both Olive and Percy were registered as BROWNING with a mothers maiden name of APPS. Why people changed their surnames is a mystery and providing that it was not with the intention of de-frauding someone there is nothing wrong


You may never find the solution but I would suggest that getting the birth certificate of either Olive or Percy might be a good start. Order a PDF copy via the GRO website and get one for £7 rather than the usual £11


John Hanson - researching the Halstead/Holstead/Alstead names
Researcher, the Halsted Trust -
Research website -

2021 Family History Conference -




From: <> On Behalf Of colin.brook@...
Sent: 19 February 2021 13:05
Subject: [family-historian] Researching and documenting apparent change of Family Surname


Hello, although I've used Family Historian for a number of years now I haven't previously joined this support group. I would appreciate help with a current problem I have.

I'm particularly interested in help with Olive BROWN; in the 1911 Census she is shown to be living with her parents Thomas and Elizabeth BROWN and her brother Percy T(om) BROWN at 23 Cromwell Lane, Maldon. She subsequently married Ernest Wilberforce TUNMER (also of Maldon) on Christmas Day 1913.
In the 1911 Census the whole BROWN family were shown to have been born in the Chatham, Rochester, Maidstone area of Kent. In the 1901 Census there is however no sign of the BROWN family in either Maldon, Essex or Maidstone, Kent. There is however an otherwise identical family with the surname BROWNING living at 103 Rochester Avenue, Rochester and Chatham with 'correct' ages and birthplaces. So, my big current challenge is to find some record of the apparent migration and renaming of this BROWNING family in Maidstone in 1901 to become the BROWN family of Maldon by 1911. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

Assuming that I'm correct in thinking these two families are one and the same what is the best way of handling this Surname change in Family Historian?

Looking forward to any advice about solving and documenting this mystery.


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