Author Topic: Adoption, 20th century  (Read 3008 times)

Offline suttontrust

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Adoption, 20th century
« on: Friday 05 August 11 22:00 BST (UK) »
In 1943 my friend was born to an unmarried woman who gave her up for adoption.  (Ironically, it was another single woman who adopted her.)  Many years later my friend applied for her birth certificate.  It's the first I've seen of this kind, so I was interested to see that it says "Adopted" on the far right of the entry, and surprised that even her Christian name was changed by her adoptive mother.  She grew up as Judith, not knowing that she was registered as Angela.  How common was that? 
Godden in East Sussex, mainly Hastings area.
Richards in Lea, Gloucestershire, then London.
Williamson in Leith, Vickers in Nottingham.
Webb in Bildeston and Colchester.
Wesbroom in Kirby le Soken.
Ellington in Harwich.
Park, Palmer, Segar and Peartree in Kersey.

Offline dawnsh

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #1 on: Friday 05 August 11 22:24 BST (UK) »

It is very hard to quantify.

There are the children who are adopted as young babies by completely unrelated people. Those are the children who are more likely to have their forenames as well as their surnames changed.

Children who are adopted by other family members such as uncles and aunts or grandparentss or are older and aware of their first names may not have them changed. Or they may be changed on their adoption papers but still use their birth forenames.

Children who are adopted by step-parents are unlikely to have their first names changed.

Census information Crown Copyright, from

Sherry-Paddington & Marylebone,
Longhurst-Ealing & Capel, Abinger, Ewhurst & Ockley,

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #2 on: Friday 05 August 11 22:26 BST (UK) »
I think it is probably quite  common with children who are adopted as young babies by unrelated persons and are therefore not used to the christian name they were registered under

A couple I know adopted a little girl of 18months whose mother had called her Sherie so they changed her name to one that was similar in sound - Shirley

I think it would be less common with older children
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from
Carlin (Ireland & Liverpool) Doughty & Wright (Liverpool) Dick & Park (Scotland & Liverpool)

Offline Suffolk Mawther

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 06 August 11 00:09 BST (UK) »
The morning story on BBC Radio 4 this week has been a book written about a family with three generations of adopted children.   As the story unfolds with each generation, the rules and regulations on adoption change.

Very interesting story though  :D

'Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue: the story of an accidental family'

by Lynn Knight

(the title relates to the corner shop that the family ran).

Pat ...

Every time I find an ancestor,
I have to find two more!

SUFFOLK - Pendle, Stygall, Pipe, Fruer, Bridges, Fisk, Bellamy, Sparham - all link to  Framlingham 
DERBY - Bridges and Frost (originally Framlingham/Parham)
NOTTINGHAM - Lambert & Selby
BERKSHIRE/then Hammersmith LDN - Fulker
LDN/MDX - Murray, Clancy, Broker, Hoskins, Marsden, Wilson, Sale
GGfather Michael Wilson born Cork, lived Fulham London - moved to Boston USA 1889, what happened next?

Offline Billyblue

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 06 August 11 02:17 BST (UK) »
I think Dawnsh's assessment is spot on.

In our family, those brought up by other members of the family (sometimes adopted) retained their initial names.
Others adopted in from non-relatives, had their name changed.

We have one interesting one where the mother wanted to call the child a particular name but thought no, everyone I meet with that name I'll wonder if she's mine, so she called the child an unusual name she was sure would be changed.  Ironically, the adoptive parents renamed the baby - to the names the birth mother wanted to use!  (They have since found each other)

Dawn M
Denys (France); Rossier/Rousseau (Switzerland); Montgomery (Antrim, IRL & North Sydney NSW);  Finn (Co.Carlow, IRL & NSW); Wilson (Leicestershire & NSW); Blue (Sydney NSW); Fisher & Barrago & Harrington(all Tipperary, IRL)

Offline Gillg

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 06 August 11 09:21 BST (UK) »
My adopted brother was a few weeks old when adopted in 1936 and had his names changed by my parents.  Ironically, when he recently found the brother of his birth mother, he discovered that he had originally been named after him.  He appears on FreeBMD under his birth name.  Both my children were adopted as babies in the 1970s, and we chose new names for them which we would have chosen for any children born naturally to us.  I suppose we wanted to make them "ours" completely, and in any case they both had ghastly names originally!
Census information is Crown Copyright, from

FAIREY/FAIRY/FAREY/FEARY, LAWSON, CHURCH, BENSON, HALSTEAD from Easton, Ellington, Eynesbury, Gt Catworth, Huntingdon, Spaldwick, Hunts;  Burnley, Lancs;  New Zealand, Australia & US.

HURST, BOLTON,  BUTTERWORTH, ADAMSON, WILD, MCIVOR from Milnrow, Newhey, Oldham & Rochdale, Lancs., Scotland.

Offline LizzieW

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Re: Adoption, 20th century
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 09 August 11 12:47 BST (UK) »
I can give two sides of the coin, so to speak.  I had a daughter in 1960 when I was single, who was adopted and her adoptive parents gave her a new name. (I am now back in touch with her and her adoptive parents).  Then in 1970s, my husband and I adopted a little boy and kept the name his birth mother had given him.  This could have been because he was 3 months old when he came to us as a foster child with a view to adoption, so we weren't at liberty to change his name.  By the time he was adopted he was about 2, so too late to suddenly start calling him something else.  Mind you he was such a pain the neck and still is at 43, that I've often called him names other than his own.  ;D ;D