Re: Researching and documenting apparent change of Family Surname

Jenny Cochrane

I would approach this by gathering as many separate pieces of evidence as you can from BMD / census / electoral role etc to figure out the chain of events

I think I have the right person who was christened Olive Mabel Grace BROWNING on 26 Aug 1888 in Maidstone. The family were also BROWNING in the 1891 census at 5 Waterloo Rd, Maidstone. Her sisters Evelyn and Gertrude were also Browning.

So... at some point between 1901 and 1911 the family changed county and name as Olive was married as Brown. Why - who knows, but it peaks my curiosity. Did they want to disappear and hence take on the anonymous Brown name? Did people assume their name was Brown and they got tired of correcting? Was the original name Brown - How was Thomas baptised and married? It was clearly not just a slip of the pen on the 1911 census.

Is there anybody still alive that could shed light?

There are several ways you could treat the name in FH depending on what you want to see in the property box.

- You could leave as Browning and add Brown in the "more +" option 
- or - do the same but with Brown as the main name
- Input the name as Brown(ing)  
- Input the name as "Brown or Browning"

Hope this helps.


On Friday, 19 February 2021, 14:08:44 GMT, colin.brook@... <colin.brook@...> wrote:

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.


Join to automatically receive all group messages.