Genealogical curiosities: boys or girls?

During my research, I’ve come across an odd phenomenon where girl children appear to have been registered as male at birth. So far I’ve found three examples, all different families, places and dates. In each case, the civil register states that the child is male (and has a typically male name), but by the time of the baptism or next census, the child is female.

Looking at the register entries on either side of the birth, in each of the cases twins can be ruled out, and I haven’t found any death registers or other records for the male children post-birth. In at least two of the cases, the girl would go on in later life to have children, which doesn’t suggest that there was an obvious physical or medical issue that might have caused confusion.

Did the registrar mishear and no-one checked (or was able to check) the birth certificate? Is there any reason why it might have been done deliberately? I would love to know the answer!

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