Author Topic: Modern standards hindering research  (Read 3327 times)

Offline greenvalley

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Modern standards hindering research
« on: Tuesday 01 March 16 09:44 GMT (UK) »
Am I the only one who sometimes gets things wrong because I think in modern standards when looking at the past?

It took me a while to realise that the fact that baptism records were in say "Balquhidder Parish" is not the same as that person having been born in the town now known as Balquhidder. And even knowing this and the fact that parishes sometimes had little "bits" dotted around the landscape, miles from the church still doesn't stop me from getting things wrong and looking for relatives in the wrong locations.

But now I am beginning to wonder about single mother's in say 1780. If she had a child out of wedlock and the father was already married who would look after the child? The mother? The family of the father?

Thomas Elder was born as the illegitimate son of Alexandrina (Lexy) Walkinshaw and Thomas Elder in 1779, Thomas lived in Glenbeich and the child was baptised in Balquhidder. The couple never married. In 1791 Lexy marries Mr Thomson in Port of Menteith and 10 years later her son Thomas marries and his marriage is registered in both Menteith and Comrie (where his bride came from).

In my mind I always had a picture of young Thomas moving with his mum from Balquhidder to Port of Menteith. But is this really what happened? And if it did how would he have met his future bride from Comrie, which is much closer to Balquhidder than Menteith? And after years of looking at his offspring it only struck me yesterday that he names his first born son Thomas after his own father but none of the girls after his mother Alexandrina. The girl who should have been named after his mum is called Martha. Could that mean he was raised by someone named Martha and not by his mother?

So does anybody know who looked after the children of unmarried mothers? Did they grow up in an institution or with family? Was there a norm or does it all depend on circumstances?

Greenvalley
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline jaybelnz

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 09:50 GMT (UK) »
Maybe grandmothers?  Seems to crop up in a few census entries!
"We analyse the evidence to draw a conclusion. The better the sources and information, the stronger the evidence, which leads to a reliable conclusion!" Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

MATHEWS, Ireland, England, USA & Canada, NZ
FLEMING,   Ireland
DUNNELL,  England
PAULSON,  England
DOUGLAS, Scotland, Ireland, NZ
WALKER,   Scotland
WATSON,  England, Ayrshire, Scotland, NZ
McAUGHTRIE, Ayrshire, Scotland, NZ
MASON,     Scotland, England, NZ
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Offline greenvalley

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 11:29 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your suggestion.

Couldn't check that I'm afraid. Miss Walkinshaw seems to have come out of nowhere: no birth record so no names for her parents, no death record (she died before they were kept) and she isn't on any census either. Not even a trace of any other Walkinshaws in that area. And Thomas Elder seems to have lived in West Calder before farming in Glenbeich, so no grannies there either.

Still, I may keep searching for a Martha Walkinshaw, But was it common practise that the grandparents looked after illegitimate offspring?
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline groom

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 11:52 GMT (UK) »
Quote
But was it common practise that the grandparents looked after illegitimate offspring?

I don't think we can say, as it must have depended very much on the circumstances - who the father was and whether he helped support the child, situation of the mother, age of the grandparents and whether or not they disowned their daughter and perhaps whether they could afford to take in another child.

The fact that Thomas was called Elder rather than Walkinshaw must have some significance, as most illegitimate children take on their mother's name, especially if the father wasn't free to marry. Or did Alexandrina Walkeinshaw and Thomas Elder live as a couple for the first years of young Thomas's life so that he was close to his father, after all he was 12 when his mother married? When did father Thomas die, before or after Alexandrina's marriage?
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline greenvalley

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 12:11 GMT (UK) »
My theory has always been that Thomas Elder was married - he was the farmer in Glenbeich and I think that he had a number of other children. I have been unable to trace them properly, but there is an entry showing that Glenbeich farm was leased to Thomas and Thomas Elder in 1777, There is also a will, dated 1785 in which a Thomas Elder in Bents (West Calder, Lothian) leaves money to his son Thomas Elder in Glenbeich, I therefore assume that he was a co-signer for the lease of his son.

There's a William Elder in Glenbeich, son of Thomas the farmer, and I have therefore always assumed that he is a half brother of the illegitimate Thomas.

Whether the farmer himself was married or perhaps a widower I do not know, but somehow I don't think they lived together as a couple. She married John Thomson a farm labourer in Port of Menteith when her son was 12. I always assumed that she had worked on the Glenbeich farm when Thomas seduced her and that she was not allowed to stay when her pregnancy became apparent. At the time of the christening she is "late of Glenbeich". The info of the will from 1785 indicates that this Thomas Elder died in 1808, but it isn't clear if that is indeed when he passed away and there are no other records of his death.

Alexandrina remarried in 1791 and I have always thought that this was before the father of her child died, but maybe that wasn't the case.

Interesting, have to give that one some  more thought.
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline groom

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 12:42 GMT (UK) »
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I always assumed that she had worked on the Glenbeich farm when Thomas seduced her and that she was not allowed to stay when her pregnancy became apparent.

The thing that seems odd to me is that Thomas took his father's name, so obviously, not only did Thomas senior acknowledge him as his son, he was also mentioned on the baptism, so wasn't a case of paying her money to go away. Presumably there is no mention of Thomas being the illegitimate child of Alexandrina on the parish records?
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline clairec666

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 13:07 GMT (UK) »
But was it common practise that the grandparents looked after illegitimate offspring?

It seems to crop up quite often in censuses, young children living with their grandparents - sometimes the (unmarried) mother of the child is still there, sometimes not.

I guess it's different for every family. I've been puzzling over my illegitimate g-g-grandfather (see http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=739114.msg5853832) - I think his mother died when he was young, but he was married by 1841 so I don't know who he was brought up by. An earlier census would be amazing!
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Offline greenvalley

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 13:13 GMT (UK) »
the records say:
 
Alexandrina Walkinshaw, late in Glenbeich, had a child baptised Thomas, whom she fathers upon Thomas Elder in Glenbeich

All records then name the child as Thomas Elder, not Walkinshaw. I never thought about it because I always assumed that the child would automatically get the father's surname. Another modern assumption that got me on a wrong trail maybe.

Thomas died in 1863, but the name of his mother entered then is actually the name of his wife.
ANDERSON: Moray & Jamaica
ELDER: Stirlingshire, Perthshire & Glasgow
WILSON: Glenisla, Alyth & Dundee
GRANT & ATKINSON:Northumberland
HARRIS: Dron and Glasgow
MATSON: Glasgow and Belfast
OLIVER, HARDY & GIBSON: Ireland, Antrim Belfast
TODD: England and Jamaica
McGRIGOR, McILCHONNEL: Perthshire

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Modern standards hindering research
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 01 March 16 13:42 GMT (UK) »
the records say:
 
Alexandrina Walkinshaw, late in Glenbeich, had a child baptised Thomas, whom she fathers upon Thomas Elder in Glenbeich

All records then name the child as Thomas Elder, not Walkinshaw. I never thought about it because I always assumed that the child would automatically get the father's surname. Another modern assumption that got me on a wrong trail maybe.

Thomas died in 1863, but the name of his mother entered then is actually the name of his wife.

Why do you assume the couple were not man and wife?

In Scotland until 1 July 1940 couples could form “irregular marriages” by mutual agreement or by a public promise followed by consummation.
The third form of irregular marriage, by cohabitation and repute, was a legal form of marriage until 2006.

Cheers
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