Author Topic: Parentage problems!  (Read 2028 times)

Offline itsrobert

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #36 on: Saturday 18 August 18 22:49 BST (UK) »
I think the ID of John as "grandson" and not "son" (of Amelia) in that first census is quite telling.

His relationship to the head of household was grandson. It can be a bit of a grey area and exact relationships are not always given, eg "visitor" rather than "wife's sister".

I suppose anything is possible and it comes down to whether you believe the registration of birth or the record of baptism. Hopefully something more will come to light to prove it one way or another.

Can I confirm that you believe Ellen may have had her first child at age 12 and her second child at age 29?

Yes thatís right. Setting aside John for a moment, Ellen was single until she married at 29. Three months later she gave birth to a boy. Then her husband died the following month and she appears to have had another son 3 years later with someone else who she obviously didnít marry. She retained her married name until she died. Iíve requested that birth certificate because I would like to see what it says.

The first census is interesting. There are two households living in the same house. The first is headed up by Johnís grandparents and also contains their children, Ellen and Mary Jane. Mary Jane has a son living with them but her husband is missing. There is also a nephew of the head of the house (his brotherís son). Then the next head is Ameliaís husband, Amelia and her two legitimate children after marriage. The curious part is that John is not listed under them on this census. But by the time of the next census, John is living separately with Amelia and the rest is history.

The other detail is that Amelia married about 5 months after Johnís birth. I have to question why they did not marry before John was born...unless Amelia wasnít the mother.

Another curiosity is that Amelia had another elder sister Ann and they both ended up marrying brothers! So the family was very intertwined. No wonder they couldnít keep track of who belonged to who!!

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Offline Sloe Gin

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #37 on: Saturday 18 August 18 23:12 BST (UK) »
I think the ID of John as "grandson" and not "son" (of Amelia) in that first census is quite telling.

The relationship of each person to the Head of Household was supposed to be given on the census. John's relationship to the head of household was grandson, so this is correct.

Yes, but the point is that Amelia, her husband and children are also in the house (shown as a separate household) but John is not included as part of her family.

I suppose anything is possible and it comes down to whether you believe the registration of birth or the record of baptism.

They could easily have got away with giving false information at the registration, but not at the baptism.
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Offline Ruskie

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #38 on: Sunday 19 August 18 07:03 BST (UK) »
I understand that SG, but as we don't know the names to look at the census entries ourselves, it makes things a little more difficult. We don't even know which "the first census" is which Robert is referring to.  :-\ (or I may have missed that)  :) Relationships given in the census are not always set in stone anyway ....

I'm sure you have already done this Robert, but have you looked to see if there are other families with the same surname (and possibly forenames) christening children in the same church at the same time? Sorting people into family groups can sometimes help - cousins, brothers, sisters, all living the the same area at the same time, same names, children given the same names, same occupations .... it can be very difficult to unravel.

One more thing - if you could trace living descendants of Amelia and Ellen or their siblings, do you think any of them may have heard family stories? It must have been a bit of a scandal for a 12 year old to have a baby. There may have been "talk" and if one claimed to be the mother when the birth was registered, and another claimed to be the mother when the baby was baptised, it might have been something they tried to cover up, though one sister would have been pregnant and the other not, so they wouldn't have fooled anyone).

What I don't understand is, why not register the birth giving the mother's name as Ellen if she was the mother? (particularly if the registrar was a stranger .... why fib?)

It is a puzzle ....

Offline rosie99

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #39 on: Sunday 19 August 18 09:07 BST (UK) »
In 1901 John was not with Amelia and her husband & children in their part of the dwelling but was listed with his grandparents in their part and showed as John with Amelia's maiden surname followed by her married surname.  John was possibly sharing a room with another grandchild of the same sort of age and as Amelia now had 2 children sleeping space may have been limited in her part of the dwelling.

The following census he still showed both surnames but as you say included in the 9 children that Amelia had supposedly given birth to.

As Amelia signed the birth certificate as mother of the child why would she not be his mother.  :-\
You have a document signed by her stating she is the mother which you are comparing with a document completed by an outsider with another name on. 

Interestingly when Amelia married her marriage certificate was signed by the couple who are entered on the register after her, she and her husband signed theirs.  Surely that is proof that church records can be wrong  ::)
I should add these are the signatures of the couple who married and not the witnesses
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Offline LizzieL

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #40 on: Sunday 19 August 18 09:39 BST (UK) »
It seems that whilst unlikely, it is possible that Ellen could have given birth at a very young age and that Amelia could have raised the child as her own. Then again, it could just be an error on the baptism register. I really have checked every possible record I can find and I don't think any document will prove without doubt who John's biological parents were. Sadly, there is no one left to ask who would remember.

If Mary Jane was married at the time of John's birth, it would be more likely that she (for the sake of decency) would take him on than another unmarried sister.
I think the priest made a mistake on the baptism record.
If they were his parishioners and regular churchgoers he might have known the three sisters names but got them muddled up.
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Offline groom

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #41 on: Sunday 19 August 18 09:56 BST (UK) »
I think those last 3 posts sum it up well:

1. Why would Amelia register the birth as mother, but the baptism be under her sister's name? f the
    sister acknowledged she was the mother, why didn't she register the birth.

2. In 1911, Amelia counted him as a child born to her.

3. Why would an unmarried sister take on the child when there was a married one? The chances are
    that if a 12 year old had given birth, her mother would have claimed the child as hers, and
    registered him under her name. Something we see quite often.

I think you could well be reading too much in to this and that it was a simple mistake by the priest, especially if he completed the baptism record after the service.
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Offline itsrobert

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #42 on: Sunday 19 August 18 10:22 BST (UK) »
Thank you all for the latest replies. Youíve all made some very persuasive arguments. I hadnít considered some of these and it has made me think of it in a different light.

Although I will probably never get 100% proof, I do think now that reading too much into one parish register when all the other documents say something else is a bit silly. If I were a historian, I would be drawing a conclusion based on the weight of evidence, not one document!

I know some of you have worked out the family I am talking about so thank you for not posting surnames etc. There are other living descendants of John kicking about and I wouldnít necessarily want them to find this discussion. Iíll show them the weight of evidence once Iíve got it all together.

Offline rosie99

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #43 on: Sunday 19 August 18 10:33 BST (UK) »
I know some of you have worked out the family I am talking about so thank you for not posting surnames etc.

It just shows how easy it was for you to unintentionally post something that gave us the information we needed to follow the trail  ;D   ;D
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Offline bearkat

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Re: Parentage problems!
« Reply #44 on: Sunday 19 August 18 11:00 BST (UK) »
 The age that puberty begins is decreasing (quite scary).  Looking at this article it would have been about 15 years in 1900/1910.


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/04/why-is-puberty-starting-younger-precocious

a study by Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens found that in 1860, the average age of the onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years. In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5.
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Hants - SMALL, HAMMERTON, GRIST, FRYER, TRODD, WOODFORD, CROUTEAR, BECK, BENDELL, KEEPING, HARDING
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Devon - TOPE, BICKFORD, FOSTER
YKS - QUIRK, McGUIRE, BENN
Nott/Derbs - SLACK
Herts - BARNES
L'pool- PLUMBE
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