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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ambrosius' parents: The answer

From Mike Davis:
The listing in question is Ambrosius Jane Male F Nothous.  There are several other listings on this page and nearby pages that end in F NothusFilius Nothus, or Filia Nothus, with Nothus sometimes spelled Nothous.  In all these listings, the name in the second position (normally the position of the father’s name) is a woman’s name, for example, Marie and Jane.
The given names are often written in their Latin forms, for example, Henricus, Ambrosius, and Johannes.  This gives a clue that some of the other notations may also be in Latin.  Indeed, Google Translate shows that nothus in Latin means “bastard”, filius nothus means “illegitimate son”, and filia nothus means “illegitimate daughter.”
So, the correct interpretation of the listing is that Ambrosius is the illegitimate son of Jane Male and an unspecified father, and therefore Ambrosius’s last name is Male.  This interpretation is confirmed on FindMyPast, which has a record for Ambrosius Male, born in Somerset on 15 November 1741, whose mother’s name is Jane Male and whose father’s name is not specified.

t took me a while to figure it out.  It was strange that so many last names seemed to be a variation of F Nothus.  And I couldn't understand why FindMyPast didn't have a record for Ambrosius Nothous.  Once I decided that F Nothus was Latin, everything fell into place.  I eventually searched FindMyPast for anyone named Ambrosius who was baptised in 1471, and he came up with a last name of Male.
Now we know why Nothus is such a common surname!!

And something we didn't see, from Adrienne Smith
Mother: Jana Male (guessing that the name is Jana and not Jane because the “e” in Male looks quite different.
Yes, it does, Adrienne.  Good pickup!

We wondered how you could find this listing in the first place, since it's mis-transcribed.

Here's a trick:  Search with the child's first name, date of birth, and location.  NO surname.  It should pop up.

The original question:
What's wrong with this transcription on

Here's the original document:  

Source: Somerset Heritage Service; Taunton, Somerset, England; Somerset Parish Records, 1538-1914; Reference Number: D\P\pet.s/2/1/3;, Viewed: 2 May 2020.

We know from reading parish records that the format usually is:

Child's first name, father's first name, mother's first name, and surname.  For example, the last entry here is Gulielmus Johannis & Maria Comins. (Child, father, and mother).

The transcriber has attempted to follow this convention, leading to:

Child: Ambrosias
Father: Jane Nothus
Mother:  Male F Nothus
Surname: Nothus

There seem to be several Nothus families in this parish.  (!)

Ancestry shows 302 entries with this as a surname.  Many of them are in Germany and Finland.  But the odd thing is, frequently the parents have a different surname. 

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