Author Topic: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate  (Read 458 times)

Offline decor

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Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« on: Thursday 08 April 21 12:56 BST (UK) »
My 2x great grandfather William Rolles/Rowles (later Louch) was born on 17th October 1869 in Eynsham, Oxfordshire.
He was baptised on 25th December 1869 in Steventon, Berkshire - where his mother grew up. In his baptism record, it lists his birth date and says he is the illegitimate son of Esther Rolls. Esther went on to marry Charles Louch in Headington, Oxfordshire in 1875 and William took on his stepfather's surname.
Out of curiosity I recently ordered a birth certificate which I thought perhaps might be his.
It turns out I was right, but interestingly his mother tried to cover up the illegitimacy. I was wondering how common this was as usually I have come across the father's name just being left blank on birth certificates.

On this particular certificate, his mother, who registered the birth, lists the father as William Rolls, a farm servant. Esther lists herself as Esther Rolls formerly Butler. It's interesting because Butler is her stepfather's name. Her own father died when she was a baby and her mother remarried a Richard Butler a few years later. Her mother than also died when Esther was 9.
So it seems she just picked some familiar names from the family.
Have others come across this too, and fairly often?

Sorry for all the waffle.
 :)
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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 08 April 21 13:04 BST (UK) »
From 1874, a putative father named on a Birth Certificate had to attend the registration, and give his assent.
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Offline decor

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 08 April 21 13:21 BST (UK) »
Yes, but I suppose a woman could just pretend to be married and then there would be no "putative father", just her "husband".
I'm wondering how often illegitimate births were covered up on the birth certificate. I'd have imagined less often than on marriage certificates.
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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 08 April 21 13:40 BST (UK) »
If a married woman registers a birth, it is assumed to be a child of her husband.
No "proof" has ever been asked for!
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Offline Girl Guide

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 08 April 21 13:54 BST (UK) »
I had one of those. 

Mum made up a maiden name and father.  This was in 1869 when I don't think it was necessary for the father to be present.

The surname of the child was in fact her own birth surname but she made out her maiden name was Smith.  I finally sorted it all out when I found mother and son on the 1911 census and her son was the informant on her death certificate.

She certainly went to some lengths to disguise the fact that her son was illegitimate.  ::)
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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 08 April 21 13:58 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the responses.
Poor women who felt compelled to hide the truth for fear of shame.
I doubt I'll ever know who 2x great grandfather's father was.

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Offline iluleah

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 08 April 21 14:21 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the responses.
Poor women who felt compelled to hide the truth for fear of shame.
I doubt I'll ever know who 2x great grandfather's father was.

Never say never!
My great great grandmother had a child, (my great grandfather) on his birth cert she named the man she married 6 weeks later, they baptised him as his parents BUT by the time he was 11 months old he was living with and always was brought up by her parents and his 'parents' went on to have 7 more children and remained married 50 yrs ( until he died) My great grandfather married twice he named his maternal grandfather as his father on the first marriage and his mothers brother on his second marriage as his father ( neither are correct)
A series of 'weird and unexplained finds' in records I started to beleive his named father was not his father but his father was her older sisters husband.
In records his 'father' is the name on his birth/baptism record but the sisters husband went to prison and it took me decades but eventually I got his prison record along with photo and it confirmed ( for me) he was his real father as looking back at me from that photo  was an image of my own grandfather and his son my uncle the family resemblance is unbeleivable and the fact he was also named after him just tagging on the end his mothers husbands surname on birth cert and baptism record
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
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Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend

Offline coombs

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 08 April 21 14:36 BST (UK) »
A woman in my tree born 1813 who I think is actually my direct ancestor (as opposed to a "much older sister" of my 3xgreat gran) had several illegitimate children inbetween 1840 and 1855. She used her mother's maiden name on some and even got her brother to pretend to be the father.

I think her first illegitimate child was born in 1835, and her named parents on her baptism were her grandparents as the mother was 51 at the time.
Researching:

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
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline Galium

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Re: Disguising illegitimacy on birth certificate
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 08 April 21 16:58 BST (UK) »
I have come across two births of unwed parents registered by the fathers.
The first man simply registered the birth as though he was married to the mother. (He was married, but not to her).
The second man for some reason gave the mother's maiden name as being the same as his own surname, which it wasn't. Again, he was already married to someone else, and I can't fathom what he thought he was concealing by not giving the mother's real name.
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