Author Topic: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?  (Read 1729 times)

Offline Davedrave

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Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« on: Saturday 27 March 21 09:15 GMT (UK) »
Whilst trying to discover the relationship of the sister-in-law who was the informant present at the death of my 2x great grandmother, I found something slightly odd. Eliza Bentley died in 1914, probably in Main Street, Thurmaston (her address in the 1911 Census). The informant was Ann Bentley. In 1911 Ann was living with Daniel Allott, wife Rosetta (and children) in Main Street. She is “single” and “mother-in-law”, aged 69.

Ann was living in Thurmaston in 1881, unmarried, with daughters Emily (21), Rosetta (9) and son George (2).

In 1871 she was living (with her daughter Emily) with her unmarried sister Jane and her two children (Emily, 8 and William, 1).

I know it is pretty common for a single woman to have the odd child outside marriage, but often the mother subsequently marries someone. But three children over a span of 19 years?

(Next door in 1871 were Ann’s and Jane’s parents William Bentley and Sarah (nee Allott). The other side were the parents of Eliza Bentley, nee Hurst.)

Offline casram

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 27 March 21 09:44 GMT (UK) »
My 3x great aunt Hannah Eden had 4 illegitimate children over a 10 year period between 1828 and 1838. I have traced the family through censuses etc and she never married. The vicar who filled in the baptism register helpfully noted the father of the first two. When I investigated him turns out he was already married.
Carolyn
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Offline suey

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 27 March 21 09:50 GMT (UK) »

I have a similar instance.  Married in 1897, by 1901 husband has either deserted her or she threw him out. Newspaper reports see him up before the beak on numerous occasions as drunk and disorderly.  1911 first child born in workhouse infirmary, registered under mothers maiden name, 1916 a second child ‘born in a hop pickers hut’ , mother returns to home parish where the child is baptised.  1919 a third child born outside of home parish again in a workhouse infirmary...and all this despite the woman’s mother helping raise the first two children.  Mother appears to be travelling about in order to find work, by 1921 she disappears from records.  Did she have more children ? Quite likely given her previous history.

I have another, mid 1880’s.  Three children all born out of wedlock, but their mother went on to run a grocery store, later a chicken farm, remained single, and died leaving enough money to warrant leaving a will.  Was the father not free to marry, did the children have different fathers? Were they supporting the mother?

Two women with very different life experiences.

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Offline Nanna52

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 27 March 21 10:31 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. 
James -Victoria, Australia originally from Keynsham, Somerset.
Janes - Keynsham and Bristol area.
Heale/Hale - Keynsham, Somerset
Vincent - Illogan/Redruth, Cornwall.  Moved to Sculcoates, Yorkshire; Grass Valley, California; Timaru, New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.
Williams somewhere in Wales - he kept moving
Ellis - Anglesey

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Offline coombs

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 27 March 21 12:50 GMT (UK) »
I have an ancestor in Wootton, Berkshire who had 3 illegitimate children inbetween 1822 and 1832, she then moved into Oxford. Maybe one day if I did a common DNA test for autosomal, I may find out who the father/s were. So it is quite common to find a lady having several baseborn children over a several year period.

Another ancestor in London was born in 1835 and I think she was an illegitimate grandchild, as the supposed mother was 51 at the time, and I think she was her grandmother. The child had a middle name that was of her much older sister Emma. Emma herself had 4 subsequent illegitimate children, and she lied on the birth certs. She was in poverty so maybe was a lady of the night at times. Or she received financial support from an unknown man. His surname may have been Gore as one of her children had Gore as a middle name.
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SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 27 March 21 12:54 GMT (UK) »
Whilst trying to discover the relationship of the sister-in-law who was the informant present at the death of my 2x great grandmother, I found something slightly odd. Eliza Bentley died in 1914, probably in Main Street, Thurmaston (her address in the 1911 Census). The informant was Ann Bentley. In 1911 Ann was living with Daniel Allott, wife Rosetta (and children) in Main Street. She is “single” and “mother-in-law”, aged 69.

Ann was living in Thurmaston in 1881, unmarried, with daughters Emily (21), Rosetta (9) and son George (2).

In 1871 she was living (with her daughter Emily) with her unmarried sister Jane and her two children (Emily, 8 and William, 1).

I know it is pretty common for a single woman to have the odd child outside marriage, but often the mother subsequently marries someone. But three children over a span of 19 years?

(Next door in 1871 were Ann’s and Jane’s parents William Bentley and Sarah (nee Allott). The other side were the parents of Eliza Bentley, nee Hurst.)

My grandmother & grandfather had 4 children between 1912 & 1922 but did not marry until 1934 roughly 6 months after the death of his first wife. She had refused to give him a divorce.
There are many reasons for a person not to get married, even being the child of an unhappy marriage can turn some off the idea.
Cheers
Guy
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Offline ansteynomad

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 27 March 21 13:12 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.

Offline Kay99

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 27 March 21 13:24 GMT (UK) »
Years ago when preparing a family tree for a friend I found that one of her ancesters had numerous illegimate children - from memory at least 6.   

The children were generally deposited with other members of her family at the time of the census who in contrast had few children.   They were never seen as a group in any census.   The ancester was often in the workhouse, never married and there was no sign of a partner

Kay

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Multiple illegitimate children: how unusual?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 27 March 21 13:29 GMT (UK) »
I have a Scottish relative with 3 children and no  marriages.
Scottish records helpfully refer to the children by their reputed birthfathers surnames or as middle names  sometimes and DNA has proved the connection in two cases .
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson