RootsChat.Com

General => The Common Room => Topic started by: sharv22 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:03 GMT (UK)

Title: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: sharv22 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:03 GMT (UK)
Good afternoon from a very wet & windy Bristol. I think I may have found an illegitimate birth in my family tree & have a couple of general questions. The year is 1867 & the place is the West Country mill town of Trowbridge. The mother is Ann Lindsey, aged 20, who gave birth to a son, Frederick, in November of that year but there is no father's name on his birth certificate.
My first question is: If he was illegitimate, would there have been any stigma surrounding the mother or the child?

In 1888, when Frederick was 20 years old, he was baptized and the register shows his father's name as James, occupation of school teacher.

Frederick becomes a teacher at a local school he married in 1895 but there are blank spaces where his father's name & occupation on the marriage certificate.

My second question is: Could Frederick's mother, Ann, have invented a father's name & occupation for his baptism ceremony? Incidentally, Ann's father's name was James.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: rosie99 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:14 GMT (UK)
School admission lists in April 1874 and 1877 give parent/guardian as Ann Lindsey of Cross Street.

Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: avm228 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:16 GMT (UK)
In short:

1.  Yes, there was a stigma associated with illegitimacy.
2.  Yes, because of the stigma a fatherís name might well have been invented to save blushes in the church context.  On the other hand, Ann might have misunderstood what was being asked for and thought she being asked for the name of her own father, rather than the babyís.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: rosie99 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:18 GMT (UK)
If he was baptised when he was 20 it is possible Ann was not even present.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: avm228 on Saturday 27 January 18 17:19 GMT (UK)
Oops sorry - hadnít noticed his age at baptism! So yes, entirely plausible that he made up a father so as not to have to own up to his own illegitimacy.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: sharv22 on Saturday 27 January 18 18:42 GMT (UK)
Thanks for all the helpful replies. rosie99: I hadn't thought of that. 
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: jfchaly on Saturday 27 January 18 18:55 GMT (UK)
Oops sorry - hadnít noticed his age at baptism! So yes, entirely plausible that he made up a father so as not to have to own up to his own illegitimacy.

A few suggestions
Had his mother married, he may have named his stepfather.
Biological father may have become acquainted with son.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: Tin man on Saturday 03 February 18 15:23 GMT (UK)
On the subject of illegitimate births, if the father is not named on the birth certificate what is the possibility of finding out who he was? And how could I find out?
My great grandmother was born in 1865, at Helston workhouse, father not named.  ???
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: Viktoria on Saturday 03 February 18 23:37 GMT (UK)
We think of Baptism as a baby being received into the family of the church,but not all babies were Baptised very young.It is not really a naming ceremony,I know the minister says "I name Thee=="
Baptists believe that someone being Baptised should fully understand what it is they are doing,hence for them it is adult Baptism by total immersion as John The Baptist did.
Is it possible your young man was a Baptist?It would account for his age but also being Baptised was a requirement in certain circumstances. Perhaps his apprenticeship with a firm with strong Christian values,or a school founded by a devout Christian.He would not have  been allowed to attend if he was not baptised.
Even today church Schools require a pupil to have been Baptised,attend Sunday School and the parents to be regular churchgoers.
He may have joined a Christian fellowship group as many young men did in those days so again Baptism may have been a requirement.
Best of luck with your enquiries. Viktoria.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: KGarrad on Saturday 03 February 18 23:44 GMT (UK)
On the subject of illegitimate births, if the father is not named on the birth certificate what is the possibility of finding out who he was? And how could I find out?
My great grandmother was born in 1865, at Helston workhouse, father not named.  ???

You can hope that a baptism record will name the father? Some vicars named the culprit!
Or that a Bastardy Order exists, requiring the father to pay what we now call maintenance.


I attended an Anglican Christening a few years ago, and had an interesting conversation with the lady vicar.
She said that a Christening and a Baptism are in fact 2 distinct services! But that in nearly all cases, the baptism follows immediately after the christening, without a break.

The Christening part is giving a name to the child.
The Baptism part is welcoming the child (or person) into the family of the Church.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: brigidmac on Sunday 04 February 18 00:14 GMT (UK)
Baptised as an adult...would he have known who his father was ...his mother may have told him a name and that his father was dead.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: sharv22 on Sunday 04 February 18 00:49 GMT (UK)
Thank you for your suggestion Viktoria, I shall look into his religious background. I'm amazed that even after over ten years of family research, I'm still learning new things.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: AngelFish on Sunday 11 February 18 22:18 GMT (UK)
On the subject of illegitimate births, if the father is not named on the birth certificate what is the possibility of finding out who he was? And how could I find out?
My great grandmother was born in 1865, at Helston workhouse, father not named.  ???

I had this in my family but lucky the child was given a middle name which turned out to be the fathers surname. Also, the mother and father married several years later. The child continued to use the surname he was born with (the mothers name), but it was quite obvious who his father probably was. I've since had DNA prove the theory.
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: iolaus on Sunday 11 February 18 22:36 GMT (UK)
I have one who was named on the baptism (well kind of - it was written as son of Thomas Williams alias William Thomas)
Title: Re: An illegitmate birth -a couple of questions
Post by: andrewalston on Monday 12 February 18 18:02 GMT (UK)
I have one who was named on the marriage certificate. An unusual name too, which made tracing him quite easy.

Another illegitimate girl had an associated bastardy order, and there was a retrospective one on the same day for her elder sister.

Another couple had three children but never married. The father was named on all their baptisms.

And then there's the one whose baptism and marriage have the father left blank, and there's no birth registration at all. Mum died young, still unmarried, so no clues there.  :(

Your mileage may vary!