Author Topic: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland  (Read 1526 times)

Offline Nick93

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Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« on: Tuesday 04 October 16 18:02 BST (UK) »
If a woman were in a town where nobody knew her, and she was pregnant with an illegitimate baby, when the baby was born and she went to get it baptized might she lie and claim her and the baby's father were married? I ask because I have an ancestor who we believe was illegitimate. He was baptized in 1854 in the rural town of Belturbet, near the border with Ulster. We know the name of his father, who was a soldier, and we've found records of a man with the same rank, same name, stationed in places at the same time as the family stories suggest, however there is no way he could have been married to the child's mother (he married another woman in 1855 while he was in India, and, as per the family story, doesn't seem to have had any contact with his son born in Ireland). I've found no people with the same surname as the baby's mother living in Belturbet, leaving me to assume she wasn't from there. Her son used his father's surname all his life, the transcript record of his baptism uses his father's surname and doesn't record him as illegitimate (though I've heard since 1919 transcripts have stopped copying that word) and I was wondering how likely it is that to save shaming, a woman might just say her 'husband' was away in India, a half-truth, and thus couldn't be present for the baptism.

Offline iolaus

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 04 October 16 21:05 BST (UK) »
One of my relatives at a similar time scale claimed her child was her late husband's - he died 4 years earlier, so don't think it was asked to be proved

Offline Nick93

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 04:44 BST (UK) »
Thank you Iolaus, was your ancestress from the town that her baby was baptized in? Or were most parish clerks probably not particularly thorough anywhere?

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 07:26 BST (UK) »
Parish clerks, priests, etc were only interested in baptising the child.

It wasn't their remit to check into the background of those wanting such a service?
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)


Offline Galium

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 10:06 BST (UK) »
If your ancestor was living in Belturbet, rather than just happening to be there when she had her child baptised,  a bit of misinformation as to her marital status was probably necessary anyway among her neighbours.  If it was generally understood that she had a husband, and that her child was legitimate, she would not want to undo that by having the truth recorded in the parish register.
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Offline Blue70

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 10:34 BST (UK) »
He was baptized in 1854 in the rural town of Belturbet, near the border with Ulster.

Cavan is in Ulster. It's one of three Ulster counties that are in the Republic of Ireland. The nearby border is with Northern Ireland but that was not introduced until the 20th century.


Blue

Offline myluck!

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 11:34 BST (UK) »
If your ancestor was living in Belturbet, rather than just happening to be there when she had her child baptised,  a bit of misinformation as to her marital status was probably necessary anyway among her neighbours.  If it was generally understood that she had a husband, and that her child was legitimate, she would not want to undo that by having the truth recorded in the parish register.

I'd agree from what I have uncovered along the way
If she lived as Mrs Whatever in the town she'd have established a reason to state Mr. Whatever as her husband and the child's father.
Also if she happened to just be there when she went into labour unless there was someone who knew her to contradict what she said she could have claimed anything really!

As KGarrad mentions the baptism was the important part to the priest!

I have a relative born premature in the 1960s in a rural town
He and his mother were driven about 60 miles to a hospital for medical attention
However they stopped on the way to have him baptised!
Kearney & Bourke/ Johns & Fox/ Mannion & Finan/ Donohoe & Curley
Byrne [Carthy], Keeffe/ Germaine, Butler/ McDermott, Giblin/ Lally, Dolan
Toole, Doran; Dowling, Grogan/ Reilly, Burke; Warren, Kidd [Lawless]/ Smith, Scally; Mangan, Rodgers/ Fahy, Calday; Staunton, Miller
Further generations:
Brophy Coleman Eathorn(e) Fahy Fitzpatrick Geraghty Haverty Keane Keogh Nowlan Rowe Walder

Offline Nick93

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 21:11 BST (UK) »
Awesome, thank you very much you guys. Yeah this has been a source of confusion for me for a while now, as the family stories all mesh well with the records, it's just that I always thought 'bastards' were supposed to be registered by their mother's name. I guess moving around so much with the military made it easier to conceal. The father was a lieutenant in the British army, later promoted to a captain while in India. The relationship seems to have been long term-ish as the unit first came to Belturbet in 1850, then to Dublin, then Devonport (which was part of the lore, though it was initially believed he was from Devonport), and didn't go to India until 1854 when the baby was born. And I didn't know that about Ulster, Blue, thanks. I always assumed the whole region was the dividing point between the ROI and UK.

Offline iolaus

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Re: Lying on a baptismal certificate in 19th century Ireland
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 05 October 16 22:17 BST (UK) »
In my case she was local, but while married they had moved to France where several of the children were born, at some point after his death (1838) she moved back with the children to her home town, as they were on the 1841 census and the youngest was born in 1844 it's pretty clear it wasn't his and I would have thought anyone would have worked it out