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The Secret Mystery of Names in the Bird Family
Can I use a Different Name to my Birth Name?
A person in England or Wales may be known by any name they wish and they will acquire a right to that name by usage and reputation. The Registrar General is advised that there is no reason why a name acquired in this way should not be used for all purposes (except for fraudulent ones).
A child's surname should not be changed if there are any existing legal restrictions, court orders etc about the name(s) by which the child may be known, and it is advisable to obtain legal advice about making such a change.
Changing your name:
Under English Common Law, one could change one's name at any time, as long as the intent was not to hide from the law. In order to change your name, you only had to start using a new name. Everything else is merely to prove the name change has taken place. This is generally true in most former colonies, as well.
· A Deed of Change of Name (the official name for what is commonly known as "Deed Poll" is a legal contract in which one binds oneself to using the new name.
· Other types of evidence of a change of name: A letter from a responsible person such as a priest, doctor, member of parliament etc.; Public announcement such as an advertisement in a newspaper; A statutory declaration.
Pansy Florence Gertrude Ellen Mazasitisz Wallace Byrd Rothermel Watson aged 80 yrs
Harry and Dorothy's daughter was named after Dorothy's mother Florence and Gertrude, Harry's wife, who probably delivered her in Brighton. Ellen was an old Bird family first name. She also took Mazasitisz , Dorothy's father's name as a Christian name. Her surname was Wallace like some of her brothers and sisters (never Bird officially), although she used Byrd as a stage name. Harry Bird's first son Norman born 1913 had the middle names Alexander Mazastisz after Dorothy's father. Also three other siblings carried on the name. She was also known affectionately as 'Pansy' and 'Blossom' when younger. The family may have returned after the birth to either 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road or Praed Street in London where Harry ran shops before they had to move on for the birth of the next baby, probably in lodging houses rented by Harry. But it is more probable that this was the start of the family's migration south with the name change and Harry's avoidence of being called up for WW1. He listed himself as an Electrical Engineer which at the time was a protected occupation.
We have now discovered that the family were 'Wallacites' and followed the Reform Diet and Health regimes of this organisation. Hence the name change to William Wallace and Dorothy as 'Mrs Wallace' keeping a separate identity to Harry's wife Gertrude Bird.
link to Watson pages for more stories of her life
A brother's business
Birth Certificate - What a farce !
If a mother signs the birth register and the father is mentioned on it they have to be married.
Pansy at 3 months
Vine Place Brighton where Pansy was born, quite far from Vauxhall Bridge Road London
Pansy at 21 yrs
Pansy with her father Harry Bird
Harry refused to attend his daughter's wedding as she was marrying a Chemist and a meat eater, another snub for her, only a brother and sister attended from the family
Florence lived with these jumble of names for all of her life. She felt she did not have a true identity. The secrets and lies surrounding them affected her profoundly in her later years especially her mental health and wellbeing. She told her children that Harry Bird was not her father, hers was 'William Wallace' Dorothy's first husband who was killed in the war'. Did she know the truth or didn't she, was she sworn to secrecy in order to save face in the Torquay community as she was growing up? She then had to pass on these lies to her children. Janice was unaware of the truth when she registered her mother's death in 1996.
It is now widely recognized that the body stores memories of intensely stressful experiences, such as living with secrets and lies, particularly in certain regions at the core of the brain (the limbic system, which is the seat of our emotions). We may not care to speak of these events to anyone, but memories of themwhether vividly recalled or lost to awareness colour many aspects of our daily existence, often without our conscious realization.
The older generation were very keen to prevent any scrutiny of the Bird family. It was emphasisied by Thora what a very happy family it was and she loved all 8 of the children having assisted in bringing them up as the oldest. She was heartbroken to find out very late in life from Gertrude what a sham and cruel life she had had to put up with. They decided to keep the secret out of respect for the Dorothy children who were entirely innocent.
Until well after his death Harry was considered to be Dorothy's children's grandfather. Ours was the fictional deceased brother.
Warren had known for years that Harry had fathered all nine children but had no idea about the names (Mazasitisz and Wallace) which were kept secret.
Janice did not know until 2001 that Harry Bird was her true grandfather, her parents, aunts and uncles had kept the secret from her until well after her parents died. She was not in contact with her Childs cousins and her 'Bird' cousins had been told a variety of stories over the years, it is possible that some on the Bird side still do not know today. Her quest to find out who her grandmother really was has unravelled the mystery. The creation of this website hopefully will clarify things for all the family.
click to see Janice's story in pictures
"Despite the sentimental glorification of motherhood, childbirth during the early 1900's was a serious risk for women. Contraceptive information was relatively hard to obtain. In 1913 more women between the ages of 15 and 44 died in childbirth than from any other cause except tuberculosis. Childbirth regularly threatened a mother's life and health - yet left the father physically untouched. Witholding of sexual favours put a wife in jeopardy of losing her husband and it was not unusual for a man to seek physical fulfillment elsewhere.
It could be difficult for many husbands to understand the apprehension with which some wives approached sex and possible pregnancy.
In return for simple housework - cooking, sewing etc - the wife could expect to receive food, shelter and a clothing allowance. Yet if a wife failed to perform her duties, she was the legal chattel of her husband - he could beat her rape her or divorce her as he willed. If a husband failed to perform his duties, the wife had little recourse, for a married woman was almost entirely dependent upon the generosity of her husband."
Extract taken from 'Sunshine for Women'
Was this why Harry turned to Dorothy?
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