Genealogical curiosities: how many babies?

I’ve just come across what seemed a very unusual birth register entry from Ireland.

Having found the entry I was looking for, for William Valentine (b.1880 in Lisburn), I noticed that next to it was another entry which was identical except for a line where the first name should be. My first reaction was to assume that this was a twin, possibly unnamed because he hadn’t survived, but there was no time of birth given for either child, which you would expect to find for multiple births.

My second thought was that this was an accidental duplication, made when someone was copying out the registers (the register pages you can download from Irish Genealogy are copies of the originals). However, checking with the index of births on the GRONI website (as Lisburn is in what would become Northern Ireland), both births were listed there too, as William and ‘Name Not Captured Male’.

The answer came by checking the GRONI deaths index – sure enough, the death of an unnamed male infant Valentine had taken place three days after the birth, which was before both the births were registered. I wonder if this was why the time of birth wasn’t recorded for either child?


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