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Illegitimacy and adoption 19th C

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    Illegitimacy and adoption 19th C

    If a woman has a child out of wedlock (Wiltshire, England 1865) and then subsequently marries the possible father shortly thereafter, does the child still carry her name or is the name changed to the father's surname either automatically or by adoption? The child is listed as "bastard" on the christening records but the mother married 6 weeks after giving birth. There is no way that I know of of verifying whether or not he was the child's natural father.
    Anybody know?

    #2
    Hello Priscillian and welcome to FTF.

    There was no legal adoption procedure before 1927 in the UK.

    Anyone can use any surname they choose, provided that is not done for felonious purposes, no formality involved back then.

    As she married six weeks after the birth, that points to the groom.being the father of the child, but of course it isn't proof and there are many other possibilities. Have you followed the child forward to see what happens?

    OC

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      #3
      If new hubby was indeed the father, the child should have been reregistered with the new surname. If you get that cert, it will have wording on it that the re-registration was made following a sworn declaration by the mother’s new husband that he is indeed the father. The details of to whom the declaration was sworn should be be mentioned as well. In England a new cert is registered whereas in Scotland, the original cert remains as is with “illegitimate” on it and the changes were recorded in the Register / Record of Corrected Entries - an RCE. The ref. number of the RCE was then recorded in the left hand margin of the original entry in the birth register. If, at any date in the future, a copy of the birth certificate was purchased it would be made out with the corrected details as per the instructions of the Sheriff that were noted in the RCE. No mention would be made of the original illegitimacy. In Scotland, marriage of the actual parents following a birth legitimised the child.

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        #4
        Statutory procedures for re-registration didn't come in until 1926 (where the parents had later married) and 1953 (to add an unmarried father), before that it could only be done by special application to the Registrar General. So at that time it would be extremely unlikely.

        Birth register entries don't show any surname for the child anyway before 1969. What surname the child uses or is brought up under is a matter for the parents to decide.
        I am a professional researcher, and ex- deputy registrar, based in Buckinghamshire - please contact me for any help/advice or research via PM or my website www.chalfontresearch.co.uk
        Follow me on Twittter @ChalfontR

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          #5
          here is an example of a child with Mother's maiden name at birth and on first census, and there after he refers to his mother's husband as father in census and at marriage.

          https://www.familytreeforum.com/foru...omplete-muddle
          Carolyn
          Family Tree site

          Researching: Luggs, Freeman - Cornwall; Dayman, Hobbs, Heard - Devon; Wilson, Miles - Northants; Brett, Everett, Clark, Allum - Herts/Essex
          Also interested in Proctor, Woodruff

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            #6
            It also seems that often illegitimacy was not the scandal that one might think in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in country areas.

            A farming or even peasant family, for example, often seems to have seen a pregnant bride to be evidence that she was fecund and would give birth to many children to help support the parents and grandparents later in life, even if the groom was not the father.

            There is one family line in OH's ancestors where it was all but unknown for the bride not to be pregnant at marriage. Most of the ones in his direct line seem to have been 4 or 5 months pregnant, but a contact I had with someone descended from a sibling line said that some of her brides had the midwife waiting at the door of the church, they were so close to full term.

            We can assume that in our case that the groom was the father, certainly the children all received the father's surname at baptism.

            Of course, an illegitimate child later being shown with the husband's surname doesn't prove that he was the father, just that a) the census taker assumed that all children in the house had the same surname, or b) it was easier to use that surname, c) the child really felt that the husband was his father, true or not.

            Adoptions were basically ad hoc ........... someone took the child, and if s/he was lucky it would be good, many many times it was not. There were orphanages, but no official records kept of children who left because of "adoption". Many child chimney sweepers were "adopted" from a local orphanage, and very badly treated. Same for factory owners who would adopt child labour from an orphanage.
            My parents at my brother's wedding, March 1952

            Researching Cadd, Schofield, Cottrell in Lancashire, Buckinghamshire; Taylor, Park in Westmorland; Hayhurst in Yorkshire, Westmorland, Lancashire; Hughes, Roberts in Wales.

            Comment


              #7
              In my research today I found the bride who married my relative was living with him and her parents (the Greens) after they married. Everyone has assumed she was called Matilda Green, hers and her parents name on the censuses before her marriage. However she says on the parish marriage cert she is Matilda Nuttall (no father named) and all the children's births are registered with mmn Nuttall. I at first thought Mrs Green had been married before, or had Matilda before she married Mr Green. This was not the case ..... Matilda was baptised as the illegitimate child of Emma Nuttall in the same village. I do not believe Emma was related to the Greens and can only assume they adopted Matilda informally.
              Anne

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                #8
                Originally posted by AntonyM View Post
                Statutory procedures for re-registration didn't come in until 1926 (where the parents had later married) and 1953 (to add an unmarried father), before that it could only be done by special application to the Registrar General. So at that time it would be extremely unlikely.

                Birth register entries don't show any surname for the child anyway before 1969. What surname the child uses or is brought up under is a matter for the parents to decide.
                A 2nd cousin of my mother was registered twice, once with his mother’s surname and no father and again a few years or so after the mother married my mother’s relative. It look a while to sort out as child and his mother had gone to Canada to live with the man and they were married over there. The man came back to UK to the same reg district as the birth was first recorded in and had been to the Registrar General to swear an oath that the child was his. I believe he had also sworn in front of the Canadian equivalent and brought that document with him.
                The child’s mother had had another 2 children out with marriage but my Mum’s relative was not their father. The girl stayed in UK and married and had a family which eventually emigrated to the same town in Canada where get mother went. The boy was brought up in Canada and as a school child went by his stepfather’s surname but was never adopted nor did he change his surname by deed poll to the stepfather’s surname. However he did go on to change his surname later by deed poll to something entirely different!! The current generations are still a complicated family and no mistake LOL

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