Author Topic: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy  (Read 874 times)

Offline ladyk

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #9 on: Thursday 12 November 20 15:00 GMT (UK) »
I agree with albufera
Tho my derective instincts would want to find out and prove my story

Very hard to call .
You could always test the water by telling them a rootschat.or ancestry  Story about someone whose father wasnt who they thought and  see how they react .

Its the same if you find half siblings the other person didnt know they had .

What if your theory is wrong and the child her father was given a biblical name for a totally different reason .Theres also the added  uncomfortable truth being revealed to the."Timms" family
Leave it for the next generation to discover

Actually, the name Jonah I just made up, it wasn't that actual name. But I get your point, and that was only a vague theory on the fly anyway. I certainly wouldn't suggest to him that I had any idea who the father may have been, just based on that little bit of general research.

Kat
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Offline ladyk

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #10 on: Thursday 12 November 20 15:02 GMT (UK) »
I have a friend who several years ago happened to mention that there was a family secret but that she  didn't know what it was! Being a genealogist, I immediately thought of illegitimacy, and had a quick look at what I could find, and sure enough, her mother was illegitimate. I didn't tell her, because she wasn't asking.

Several years later, she came and asked me if I could find anything. So I had another look, and drew up a family tree. Not only her mother, but one of her aunts turned out to be illegitimate, but it was obvious from the records that both girls had the same father, and that her granny had married the man who was their father.

When I presented her with the results of my search, I gave her the facts, and left her to draw her own conclusions, which took her less than a minute! Her sadness was for her mother, who had felt compelled to hide the secret of her birth all her life, but she was relieved to see the secret cleared up.

For her, it changed nothing, because her grandfather was still who she thought he was.

But for your friend, it could change a great deal, so unless he is asking, or there's a genetic disease somewhere in the picture, I would say nothing.

That's right, this could change his sense of identity, since it would mean he could have a totally different heritage than he has thought all his life (this guy is in his late 60's). That's why I've not said anything about it. I just kind of wish he'd would ASK! LOL
Kat
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #11 on: Thursday 12 November 20 15:27 GMT (UK) »
I am sorry but I am of the view that people who hide illegitimacy are guilty of perpetuating the myth that an illegitimate child is something to be ashamed about.
My mother, her brother and sisters were all  illegitimate as my grandfather's first with refused to divorce him. My grandmother and grandfather did not marry until after she died and their youngest was 12 years old and the eldest was 22. There are more than a few illegitimate births in my family history and every one is just as important and precious to me as their legitimate brothers and sisters.

I am not saying shout it in the streets but please don't try to hide the facts by a lie by omission, that will only embarrass you and is just as unethical as any other distortion of the truth and always causes pain and suffering further down the line. This is even more important in family history, if someone asks you to help with their research prepare them for the chance that you might turn up unwanted information.
If you can't face the truth don't even think of doing any research for anybody hiding the facts is as hurtful as those people who cannot look at and talk to a disfigured person without feeling  embarrassment.

Cheers
Guy
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Offline Albufera32

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #12 on: Thursday 12 November 20 15:27 GMT (UK) »
I would also like to suggest a perfectly plausible alternative suggestion.

You mention that your suspicions came about largely because the first child is born when the mother was 15, and that her marriage to the "Handley" husband is three years later. Were she rather older, I would probably agree with your assumption that the father is not the same person as the husband, and certainly there is no proof there of who the father of the first child is.

When we consider the age, however, it is entirely possible that the two young people were a couple all along, but could not marry because either his or her parents would not consent. They certainly could not marry when she was only 15, nor is it likely that his name would be included on a birth register, since that would be tantamount to admitting to what, legally, constitutes statutory rape.

I suggest that a perfectly reasonable alternative is that two young people, carried away in the moment so to speak, had a child by accident, remained together and were married as soon as parental consent was forthcoming (or perhaps when he reached 21?) After all, even three years later she would still only be 18.

I have at least one instance of a couple who were together for about 25 years (until he died) and had at least 11 chidren before getting married 14 years after the birth of the first child.
Howie (Riccarton Ayrshire)
McNeil/ McNeill (Argyll)
Main (Airdrie Lanarkshire)
Grant (Lanarkshire and Bo'ness)
More (Lanarkshire)
Ure (Polmont)
Colligan (Lanarkshire)
Drinnan (New Zealand)

Offline Albufera32

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #13 on: Thursday 12 November 20 15:38 GMT (UK) »
I am sorry but I am of the view that people who hide illegitimacy are guilty of perpetuating the myth that an illegitimate child is something to be ashamed about.
My mother, her brother and sisters were all  illegitimate as my grandfather's first with refused to divorce him. My grandmother and grandfather did not marry until after she died and their youngest was 12 years old and the eldest was 22. There are more than a few illegitimate births in my family history and every one is just as important and precious to me as their legitimate brothers and sisters.

I am not saying shout it in the streets but please don't try to hide the facts by a lie by omission, that will only embarrass you and is just as unethical as any other distortion of the truth and always causes pain and suffering further down the line. This is even more important in family history, if someone asks you to help with their research prepare them for the chance that you might turn up unwanted information.
If you can't face the truth don't even think of doing any research for anybody hiding the facts is as hurtful as those people who cannot look at and talk to a disfigured person without feeling  embarrassment.

Cheers
Guy

Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the view that illegitimacy shouldn't matter, that isn't the point.

The question here isn't whether the person who discovers that their beloved relative isn't actually related to them at all SHOULD care, the question is whether they actually WILL care, and whether we, as unrelated people have a right to upset someone simply because we think it doesn't matter.
Howie (Riccarton Ayrshire)
McNeil/ McNeill (Argyll)
Main (Airdrie Lanarkshire)
Grant (Lanarkshire and Bo'ness)
More (Lanarkshire)
Ure (Polmont)
Colligan (Lanarkshire)
Drinnan (New Zealand)

Online brigidmac

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #14 on: Thursday 12 November 20 17:27 GMT (UK) »
Lady k yes I guessed youd picked the name out of the blue but thought it could be another old biblical name ....speculations aargh

Guy ..I think the question here is not about any stigma on births outside marriage  as Albu says its to do with possibility of the person he believes to be his father not being his biological father which could  have an affect on sense of identity .

It wouldnt take much.to find parents marriage certificate and realize he was born 3 years earlier and born when mother was 15 ....for all we know the parents may have told him that .

How many of us would jump to the conclusion that it must be a different man if we found that About our own parents

my aunt discovered she was conceived pre marrige I thought as a committed Christian she'd be mortified but seems to find it amusing, .it was her husband building family tree who turned this up .

Shes in her nineties now and when she agreed to do DNA was ready for half siblings to appear from.all around the world as her father was a sailor .....but so far no proof of any extra marital activities .

Its very hard to judge what people would want to know and what they wouldnt .
 except by talking about this kind of occurrence
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Offline Josephine

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #15 on: Thursday 12 November 20 18:21 GMT (UK) »
You could keep it really simple. For example, you could say that you were having a conversation with some other genealogy researchers, and the topic of family secrets came up, and opinions were split as to whether or not they'd want to be told if someone found evidence of a family secret in their tree. You could say that you'd want to be told, no matter what, but you know other people who'd rather not know. And then you could see what he says.

Some people do not want to know. My great-grandparents split up but never divorced; they each had second families with common-law spouses, but the children in the second families didn't know about the previous marriage and believed their own parents had been married. When I made contact with a member of my great-grandfather's second family (a grandson), he spoke to his father (my great-grandfather's son from the second 'marriage' and therefore my grandmother's half-brother) but his father wanted nothing to do with it. He didn't want to hear about anything that might change his high opinion of his father (my great-grandfather). I was disappointed because I would have liked to have met him but it was his decision.

Regards,
Josephine
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Offline roopat

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #16 on: Sunday 15 November 20 09:18 GMT (UK) »
My OH's uncle who has just passed away aged 95, got interested when I started researching OH's family. Aged uncle had always been very harshly critical of his parents even though the rest of the family remembered them fondly. One day he stated that he didn't respect them because they had to get married as his older sister (OH's mother) was born out of wedlock. This was news to OH! By now I'd got the marriage date & although it was just about 9 months before the birth and I could show him the proof he still refused to believe it.


My point is he was very judgmental about those matters and this assumption had coloured his feelings about his parents most of his life. He particularly blamed his mother & implied she must have been a bit of a trollop. Very sad. But your friend may react similarly & it could spoil his memory of his mother.


I'd let it be.


Pat
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Offline BillyF

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Re: Ethical Question About Finding Illegitimacy
« Reply #17 on: Sunday 15 November 20 10:23 GMT (UK) »
This is a difficult one !

Many years ago I discovered that my great grandmother was born illegitmately in 1864, one of 6 illegitmate children, although I didn`t find that out until later. My mother, her grandaughter, accepted it well, but my aunt said it should be left alone. My opinion is that my gt grandmother was part of "my" history" and I have a right to know.

If it was it was a find of a birth in more recent times I would proceed with caution, as said previously this could spoil people`s memories. Roopat`s relative was obviously raised by Edwardian parents, this was a time when illegitamacy was a different issue to how we think of it today.