I think the family put the inconsistencies down to granddad being a bit eccentric.

I pointed out that the abbreviation for June was JUN and the abbreviation for July was JUL, Joseph could be shortened to JOS while James can be shorted to JAS, and that, as these old documents were hand written, mistakes could have been made quite easily.

When I spoke to Aunt Kay she told me that the original certificate was in her safe deposit box at the bank, but she remembered most of the details, including the date and place of birth.

The only other information I had, which didn't come from the birth certificate, was that granddad may have had a sister called Maude.

He apparently only mentioned his sister once, in passing. As the story goes, my mother and grandmother were discussing possible names for a baby. My parents had chosen a name for a boy but were undecided on a girl's name. My grandfather suddenly suggested the name Maude. When asked what made him think of that name he replied, "That was my sister's name". My grandmother, who had been his wife for over 30 years, turned to him and said, "You never told me you had a sister!" [Note]

I flew to London in August 1987.

After settling in to a "cheap and cheerful" hotel in central London my first step was to visit St. Catherine's House to obtain another copy of the birth certificate.


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