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General => The Common Room => Topic started by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 09:11 GMT (UK)

Title: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 09:11 GMT (UK)
I have been researching a particularly knotty branch of my tree and have come to the following conclusion but do not know how likely it is......

A woman was born in Norfolk in 1795 and in 1825 gave birth to an illegitimate son. The parish record states base born.

In 1829 the lady marries, in the same parish, and the parish record states that she is a widow.

Her husband is 13 years younger than her and they have a daughter together the following year.

I have researched using freereg, ancestry, findmypast and the genealogist and can come to no other conclusion but my question is.......

How likely is it that a lady would state she is a widow...when she clearly is not....and that the marriage would take place in the same Church as that of her illegitimate sons baptism?
Surely the priest would realise that she is not being truthful?


Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Kiltpin on Monday 04 February 19 09:35 GMT (UK)
Base Born does not always mean illegitimate. It could denote the lowest social standing. 

Regards 

Chas
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Greensleeves on Monday 04 February 19 09:41 GMT (UK)
I never realised before reading Kiltpin's response that base born was also used for children born low-down in the pecking order.  That must have been very subjectively used too: if you didn't like someone, you could blight their reputation - and that of their offspring - for all eternity by an entry in the parish register.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 09:54 GMT (UK)
I didn't know that either. I thought baseborn meant the child of a single mother.

The baptism record gives the names of the mother but no fathers name so I assume in this case it means illegitimate.

In the process of untangling everything I found no marriage for the mother, either before or after her son was born.......apart from the marriage where she states she is a widow. I also found no burial for a previous husband with her son's surname. Then I found a baptism record for the mother which ties in nicely with subsequent censuses and her death record.

It really does look likely she lied when she stated she was a widow but I just wondered how likely this was.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Gadget on Monday 04 February 19 10:02 GMT (UK)
https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=109168.0

Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Viktoria on Monday 04 February 19 10:04 GMT (UK)
Could it be possible that between 1825 and 1829 she did indeed marry,
became a widow and re married shortly after.?
Second marriages were almost necessary for widows with children,life was hard and women paid lower than men.
I know you have searched extensively but my paternal G. Grandmother appears in the 1891 census as a widow,but she was not, her second marriage must have broken down as she had moved from Nottingham to M/c
with her son who had his real name but hers is totally different,not her maiden name ,not her married name nor her second married name  described as a widow ,whilst her second husband is on a boat off Hull saying he is unmarried!!!
But It would be strange for  the priest not to know and parishioners not to comment as banns would surely have been read.
Perhaps she went into service out of her area so those years between would not be known to all and sundry .
What a mystery,that will keep you out of mischief for a year or two!
Do let us know how you go on.
Viktoria.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 10:10 GMT (UK)
Yes 'tis indeed a mystery!

The only marriage for her is the one in 1829 and the same surname is used then as on her son's baptism and her own baptism...... if indeed it is her.

Then the 1841 census has her with her husband. daughter ...... and son with her previous surname.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: dawnsh on Monday 04 February 19 10:13 GMT (UK)
Is the vicar the same on both events?
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: locksmith on Monday 04 February 19 10:16 GMT (UK)
I do not see any possible context in a parish register for using the archiac meaning of 'lowly born' for base born. I don't think there would be any confusion as to what was meant as baseborn in a baptism record ie the mother was one of unmarried, possibly married but had a child with another man, or widowed.

Simon
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 10:19 GMT (UK)
Thanks for the link to the previous interesting thread Gadget  :)

Unfortunately dawnsh I didn't view an image of her son's baptism but found it on freereg as a transcription so I can compare with the image of her marriage. I will check later on another site if the image is available though. It may seem more credible if it is a different vicar.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: mowsehowse on Monday 04 February 19 10:25 GMT (UK)
Is the vicar the same on both events?

I was going to ask that, and even if it was the same vicar, how do we know that he was a bright, sober individual. Could have been very hazy of memory for whatever reason? 

And before people start shouting, we are repeatedly told the reason for omissions and mistakes in the registers could be due to poor memory, poor sight/hearing or (less usually,) poor character.

But more importantly, I have an illeg Bap in Totnes church, whose mother was married there by special licence the following year.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Gadget on Monday 04 February 19 11:00 GMT (UK)
I do not see any possible context in a parish register for using the archiac meaning of 'lowly born' for base born. I don't think there would be any confusion as to what was meant as baseborn in a baptism record ie the mother was one of unmarried, possibly married but had a child with another man, or widowed.

Simon

I agree. The link I gave earlier also supports this.


Gadget
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: andrewalston on Monday 04 February 19 11:18 GMT (UK)
Is it possible that the mother had already been widowed before the birth of the child?

That would imply that the 1795 baptism is of another person, or that her first husband had the same surname - not uncommon in rural districts.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 11:24 GMT (UK)
No I searched a wide window for a marriage to someone of that surname also for his death either side of the child's birth.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 12:23 GMT (UK)
Just to update......found the images of both the child's baptism and mothers subsequent marriage and it was a different vicar at each ceremony.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: IJDisney on Monday 04 February 19 13:26 GMT (UK)
Is her surname common for the area you are researching? Could you have conflated two individuals?

If this were my research I might wonder at her being 30 when her illegitimate (first?) child was born, and the 13 year gap between known husband and wife. I would wonder whether she could indeed have been a widow when the illegitimate son was born, and therefore whether I have got the wrong baptism name.

Or could she have left the parish in disgrace in 1825, married somewhere else to someone with the same name, and then been widowed and sent back to the parish she came from? Did her son marry and give a father's name on his certificate? (although he too might lie to maintain respectability).

Is there both a marriage banns record and a marriage service record? Do they both call the lady a widow? I have an ancestor who is called a widower on one, and a bachelor on the other (don't know why). Could be a scribal error, or maybe the clerk had a vague memory that she had already borne a child and took it upon himself to define her as a non-spinster in some way.

Or she could have just lied. A new vicar; a young husband; influential friends; overconfidence... Perhaps she thought she'd chance it.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 13:46 GMT (UK)
Well, thank you for all of your thoughts so far.
Another update......

In 1818, 1820 and 1822 there are baptisms in the same parish. A father is named on the record and the mother would seem to be the lady I am researching.

Then there is the son I found who was base born in 1825.
Then there is another son born in 1828, also base born.

I widened my search and found a marriage in 1815 in a parish 25 miles away.

Absolutely cannot find a burial record for the dad named on the 1818,1820 and 1822 baptisms though!

The research is tricky as the surname is spelt differently on each record and so there could be anther variation which is meaning the result is not appearing.

Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Andrew Tarr on Monday 04 February 19 14:00 GMT (UK)
Base Born does not always mean illegitimate. It could denote the lowest social standing. 

Perhaps it might mean that 'everyone' knew the woman's husband/partner was not the father - for example he was away at sea ?
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: IJDisney on Monday 04 February 19 14:09 GMT (UK)
Well, thank you for all of your thoughts so far.
Another update......

In 1818, 1820 and 1822 there are baptisms in the same parish. A father is named on the record and the mother would seem to be the lady I am researching.

Then there is the son I found who was base born in 1825.
Then there is another son born in 1828, also base born.

I widened my search and found a marriage in 1815 in a parish 25 miles away.

Looks like she was telling the truth after all.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 14:34 GMT (UK)
Yes telling the truth after all.

I can't find what happened to her husband though and also cannot find a baptism for her in the parish she says she was born in. There is a baptism in the parish. ....25 miles away....where she married for the first time.

That's probably a little lie for poor law reasons though.

So I've probably untangled her....apart from the demise of her first husband!

Thanks for your help everyone.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Andrew Tarr on Monday 04 February 19 15:40 GMT (UK)
So I've probably untangled her....apart from the demise of her first husband!

It's always difficult to reach a definite conclusion about most old records.  If the record you want IS present (a) it could be someone else (depending how unusual the name is), (b) it is probably not the original and may have been mis-copied, (c) it may have been falsified (less likely I think).  If you can't find it (a) it may have been mis-copied, mistranscribed or not yet indexed at all, (b) the records may have been lost or destroyed, (c) the event was never recorded in the first place, or (d, again) false details may have been given or the recorder entered them incorrectly.

Our problem may be in inventing elaborate but tempting scenarios to explain what we find  :D . I have a great-uncle who disappears from records about 1904.  The only pointer is a snippet of folklore which says he put his head in a gas oven.  He was about 30, single and still living with his parents in Liverpool.  Just make something up.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Monday 04 February 19 15:46 GMT (UK)
Hehehe....I'll go with bigamy then. ;D

Only joking!  I know I'm lucky to get that far back with accuracy and so am still accepting I may be wrong with what I've untangled but feel I'm in  better place with the details of her life than I was last week.
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Andy_T on Wednesday 13 February 19 00:55 GMT (UK)
I agree with some earlier comments from Greensleeves that labelling terms on parish records unfairly labels people for life and Andrewalson that it’s tempting to fill in gaps to explain what we find.
My 4 times great grandmother Hannah Thurman seemed to have had 2 children out of wedlock at Appleby Magna, Leics in 1776 and 1780. I always thought it was odd that the 1776 Appleby parish record, only names my 4 x great grandmother, no father mentioned, no “bastard (D)” entry and no “base born” or “natural born” entry.
In 1780 she had my 3 times great grandfather Richard Thurman and he’s described as the “base born" (S) of Hannah Thurman and JOSh Hear. The father was a joiner in Appleby and married to Mary Hear with 2 daughters. I recently found records in nearby Polesworth, Warwickshire where Hannha’s family lived and it seems she married twice in the parish of Polesworth and her 2nd marriage to a William Hull she was described as a widow on the Polesworth parish marriage  record.
Adopting Andrewalson’s point I am tempted to fill in the gaps and suppose that the 1776 birth of a daughter Elizabeth Thurman could have been that of her second husband William Hull but how odd that she reverted to given family name Thurman and not Hull?
By the way my 4 times great grandmother married for the third time to a William Smith in 1786 and she died a widow (again) about 12 years later age 66 in the Appleby parish deaths (I think she was 70 years not 66 years).

Andy_T
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: majm on Wednesday 13 February 19 01:06 GMT (UK)
Are you certain that that use of the word 'widow' actually meant she had been formally married and that her lawful husband had subsequently died prior to her next marriage ...

I explain ... is it possible that the clergy chose to give her that status on her m.c. as she was known to be a woman supporting a child without a husband present to support them both .... 

That broader meaning was frequently used by clergy in the British Colonies down  under until around the time that Queen Victoria became a widow when her husband died ...

Clergy were not expected to encourage 'criminal intercourse' in the colonies,  and were bound to follow church law ahead of civil law and similar broad interpretation may have prevailed for this lass.

JM
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Andy_T on Wednesday 13 February 19 01:35 GMT (UK)
In reply to majm: " Are you certain that that use of the word 'widow' actually meant she had been formally married and that her lawful husband had subsequently died prior to her next marriage ...

I explain ... is it possible that the clergy chose to give her that status on her m.c. as she was known to be a woman supporting a child without a husband present to support them both ....  "

She was married twice in the parish of Polesworth Warwickshire 1st time to Thomas Earp in 1767 and 2nd time on 19th October, 1771 in Polesworth to William Hull. I attached the transcript of that here.

What I am saying is odd is that on the birth registration of Elizabeth Thurman at Appleby in 1776, Hannah is not described as a widow she is simply described as Hannah Thurman. No "bastard" daughter, no "base born" or natural born descriptions either.
What I don't know is was Hannah a widow for the second time (had William Hull died) or did she leave him and revert to her given family name Thurman?
Also was William Hull the father of Elizabeth Thurman or was it somebody else - I don't know?

Andy_T 
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: majm on Wednesday 13 February 19 02:12 GMT (UK)
Sorry,  but may I note that My reply was not specific to AndyT's post,  but to the broader question first posed in the Opening post.

JM
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Andy_T on Wednesday 13 February 19 02:42 GMT (UK)
To majm, I apologize for jumping in on your reply and I will put my conundrum in a separate new post later.

Andy_T
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: majm on Wednesday 13 February 19 02:53 GMT (UK)
 ;D

No need to apologise to me,  but that is an excellent conundrum for a new thread.   :D

JM
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Rosinish on Wednesday 13 February 19 03:38 GMT (UK)
HL, on not finding a death for 1st hubby...

If he died e.g. at sea, body not found, there may be no record?

Annie
Title: Re: Opinions would be appreciated
Post by: Hampshire Lass on Wednesday 13 February 19 07:34 GMT (UK)
Thank you for all your replies everyone. This lady was tricky to fathom out and without all your input I would never have resolved it and maybe I haven't even now but the pieces certainly fit together so I can only assume I have everything correct now.

My only doubt centres on the fact that she is ambiguous about her age on each census.
   
As for her first husbands death record I still cannot trace it but his name has many variations on the spelling which is complicating things. Maybe he did die at sea but the parish is not by the coast, although it is not an impossible thought.