Author Topic: Grandmother's Paternity  (Read 198 times)

Offline geordiewesterby

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Grandmother's Paternity
« on: Wednesday 13 May 20 11:56 BST (UK) »
Hi everyone. I have a puzzle which I cannot resolve and while I think I have aired it before, I thought why not try again as you never know, someone might be able to point me somewhere.

My Grandmother was born Charlotte Gilroy in Gateshead, Co Durham on 20th June 1900. Her birth was registered by her mother Mary Ann Gilroy, who was unmarried and there is no mention of the father. I understand that the father would have had to have been present when the birth was registered for him to be on the certificate: anyway he's not mentioned. Mary Ann Gilroy's occupation at the time of the 1891 Census was 'Rope Factory Girl' and on the 1901 Census she is living with he father, occupation 'Rope Spinner' and no mention of a daughter: I can't locate a Charlotte Gilroy on the 1901 Census who would be my Grandmother.

The family story was that Charlotte's father was Thomas Drummond, who came from farming stock in Northumberland. The family moved to Gateshead and I think had some resource, as they lived in 'a big house near Saltwell Park' in Gateshead. The family disapproved of Thomas' relationship with Mary and he was not allowed to see her but they married after Charlotte's birth.

Problem was that when I started to research properly, I discovered that Thomas & Mary didn't actually marry until the June quarter of 1904, and my Grandmother's sister Margaret was born on 25th September 1904, so that looks to me like they were getting married because there was another child on the way. Anyway on the 1911 Census there is my grandmother with the family, named as Charlotte Drummond.

The next problem came was when I got to see my grandmother's wedding certificate: she married my grandfather in 1922 but is shown as 'Charlotte Gilroy' and where the father's name and occupation is shown,  it just has a line drawn through it as if her father was unknown. Yet Thomas Drummond would undoubtedly have been at the wedding and indeed one of the witnesses was a Thomas Drummond: the only other person of that name in the family was my Grandmother's younger brother who was only 14 at the time so I can't imagine a 14-year-old child being a witness at a wedding, so I assume the witness is her father/stepfather Thomas Drummond.

My Dad's cousin originally said that 'if you'd know my Grandad Drummond, there was no way he would have said a girl was a daughter of his if she hadn't been' and in addition I have one of those '4 generations' photos which shows my Dad, my Grandmother, Thomas Drummond, and Thomas' mother: but after 10-15 years or so she has changed her views and she now accepts that Thomas Drummond wasn't the father. Thinking about the physical similarity between my grandmother who was very fine-featured and her siblings who were quite heavy-featured have altered her opinion.

So I have finally detached Thomas from my Grandmother in my tree and made Mary a 'Single mother' to my Grandmother but the doubt remains in my mind, part of me says yes he was and part of me says no he wasn't.

Does anyone have any thoughts. Would DNA testing be of any value does anything think? My second cousin is into the family tree as well and would links between her and I in testing reveal anything?


Any thoughts anyone has would be

NORTHUMBERLAND/DURHAM: Westerby, Kirkland, Younghusband, Brown, Beck, Leith, Dixon, Gilroy, Roseburgh, Sheriff, Shield, Turnbull, Renwick
CANADA: Delahoy, Westerby

Offline jim1

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Re: Grandmother's Paternity
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 13 May 20 12:21 BST (UK) »
It was quite common for young children from a previous relationship
to be given the name of the step-father.
Some people retained that name while others reverted back to their birth name.
By 1922 more accurate information was required from individuals so while
it wasn't a problem with the previous generation now it could be problematic.
Although a birth certificate wasn't a requirement at a marriage mothers maiden
names were now included in any births from that couple.
She would have regarded her step-father as her dad & may even have discussed
with him what name to put.
Whether or not he is her natural father or not would be as you say down to a DNA test.
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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Grandmother's Paternity
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 13 May 20 12:58 BST (UK) »
I think the fact that she omitted a fathers name on her marriage cert is confirmation Thomas was not her father.

Even though she married as Gilroy - she could have named him as her father if he confirmed that to whoever married them. 
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from