Author Topic: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?  (Read 1116 times)

Offline chris_49

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #9 on: Saturday 27 March 21 13:41 GMT (UK) »
My great great grandmother Ann Davies, single had SIX illegitimate children in 1847, 1849, 1855, 1858, 1864 and 1867.

Because of the gaps, we wondered if this was the result of three different relationships, or if she just slept around and that there would be unaccounted for, deceased ones inbetween (even if registered, would be hard to find amongst all the Davies-Davies births).

One theory is that her youngest, my great-grandfather William, was actually a son of his eldest sister Margaret before her marriage - they were close: he lived with her after her marriage and afterwards next door, we knew descendants of her legitimate children but none from the siblings inbetween her and William.

Our thinking was that saved Margaret's shame but one more base birth to Ann (by then past 40) would be unremarkable.



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Offline BillyF

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #10 on: Saturday 27 March 21 14:12 GMT (UK) »
I believe I`ve already answered this question, so this may be a duplication!

My gt gt grandmother Margaret Milson had 6 illegitimate children. The first, Robert was born November 1859 nad was buried at 5 days; the youngest child Lilly was born in 1873.

My gt grand mother Alice, as far as I know was the only one with a known father. In fact she was brought up by him and his wife whom he married when Alice was 4. I don`t know what happened to Alice in her first 4 years, but her father was living with her and her family when he died.

Offline lydiaann

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #11 on: Saturday 27 March 21 14:46 GMT (UK) »
A great-aunt had 2 illegitimate children; she worked (I believe) at the 'big house' and one was possibly the son of either the owner or one of HIS 3 sons.  Her mother looked after the bairns (they were Scottish) while my Gt aunt continued to work (evidenced by censuses).  Earlier, her sister had given birth to an illegitimate child but moved away to have it and, as far as we can see, didn't return home.  I think that it was almost 'reasonably normal' for this to happen and they didn't seem to have the hang-ups that there were in the early 20th century.
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Offline iluleah

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #12 on: Saturday 27 March 21 15:17 GMT (UK) »
I don't think it was so unusual... having researched my ancestry I have found sisters of direct ancestors who had several children outside of marriage and never went onto get  married.

Even my great grandparents who claimed to be married on census but I could never find their marriage record and they had 5 children eventually I found they had married some 18 yrs after their last child was born, so all their 5 children were illegitimate
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
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Offline Milliepede

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #13 on: Saturday 27 March 21 15:21 GMT (UK) »
I found one who had two sons in the 1840's and never married.  At the time I thought it was unusual that far back.  Managed to trace the father for one but not the other who died young.
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Online coombs

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #14 on: Saturday 27 March 21 16:03 GMT (UK) »
My great grandmother had at least two illegitimate children in the early 1860s. The two I know about both died in infancy, but I suspect there may be more.

She married on Boxing Day 1868, when she was already pregnant, and had a son early in 1869. In June 1875, she had fraternal twins, whom DNA testing now shows to have been fathered by someone from a neighbouring village.

Plus ça change and all that.

Was she still with her husband when she became pregnant with the twins?

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LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
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Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #15 on: Saturday 27 March 21 22:58 GMT (UK) »
I have a lady who had four children between 1913 and 1921, believed to be different fathers.  She married in late  1925 and had four more children between 1925 and 1932.
A lady ? was she ?  :o
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Offline antonymark

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #16 on: Sunday 28 March 21 00:30 GMT (UK) »
I am finding that it is not at all unusual.

My 2xg grand aunt Mary Ann Holden never married and worked as housekeeper to a Mr Ward for over 30 years. Between 1867 and 1875 five children were registered with her surname. Interestingly, four of the children have Ward as one of their middle names. On census returns the children variously have the surname Holden or Ward. Mary Ann never assumes the name Ward and is always recorded as housekeeper.

Meanwhile..... Mrs Ward is always lodging or working nearby. In 1881 she is just a few houses away. One can only wonder as to what pleasantries were exchanged between Miss Holden and Mrs Ward if they chanced to pass in the street.

Tony.


Hoare, Milsted, Peacock, Herbert, Crampin, McIlroy, Holden.

Offline Meelystar

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #17 on: Sunday 28 March 21 02:08 BST (UK) »
I have an ancestor, Mary, who had 5 or 6 children out of wedlock, the first three had the same father’s name on their birth certificates. Having said this her son, my ancestor did not name a father on his marriage certificate and alternated between surnames. DNA research has proved that the man on his birth certificate was indeed his Father. The births of the later children were not registered.
When I researched the family further I found that Mary was one of three surviving daughters. The other two daughters both had families but neither married their partners which to me seems fairly unusual in 1840s/50s London.
Recently I managed to find some court records which revealed that Mary’s Mother had been a victim of domestic violence and appeared to have fled to London to escape her husband. That gave a very different slant on why those three sisters had never married and had all had multiple illegitimate children.