Author Topic: Children after Fatherís Death  (Read 644 times)

Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #9 on: Monday 14 June 21 22:46 BST (UK) »
In answer to your original question bfrance99, I have many examples like this in my family history.

I'm currently looking at one branch of the family living in the North East over the Victorian era.

Nearly all the women were pregnant when they got married. A couple of them were abandoned by their husbands. One had a relationship with another man, who she eventually married when she became a widow. She had one child with him.  Another woman had several children after her husband left her. She claimed he was the father of these children, but he was abroad at the time so he can not have been. I have no idea if the children were by one man, or many men. Where female ancestors on that line didn't have children out of wedlock, at least one of their sisters did.

It's certainly opened my eyes.

In terms of being shamed by their neighbours, I don't think they were in some cases. The people I am writing about were in poverty. Women's wages were terrible if they could work at all, and I do wonder if more than one woman shacked up with a man simply because it was the only way she could survive financially. Would you judge your neighbours if you were in exactly the same position, and it could be you having to make that choice the next week? The women I have researched all seem to have carried on being normal members of society, so they don't seem to have been shunned.

I remember reading a book written by a domestic servant, who was writing about the early 20s and 30s IIRC. She went home to visit her family one day, to find her Dad had abandoned the family. It was pretty common and her Mum was not the first women on the road that had happened to. I think that the past is more complicated than we realise.
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Offline majm

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #10 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 00:08 BST (UK) »
....... She claimed he was the father of these children, but he was abroad at the time so he can not have been. I have no idea if the children were by one man, or many men.  .......


When registering a birth,  was the baby's mum asked "what is your husband's name and occupation" or was she actually asked   "who  got you pregnant" .....   

JM.
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Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #11 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 01:24 BST (UK) »
The only birth certificate I've seen, she left that section blank.

However that child grew up to claim this man was her father on her marriage certificate. Whether the child ever knew the truth or not is not clear.

Also, the woman in question had another child, also not her husbands, who sadly died aged just two. In the newspaper announcement about the death, it claims that the father was her husband, but this simply isn't possible.

So it seems she told different things to different people.
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Offline majm

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #12 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 02:39 BST (UK) »
The only birth certificate I've seen, she left that section blank.

However that child grew up to claim this man was her father on her marriage certificate. Whether the child ever knew the truth or not is not clear.

Also, the woman in question had another child, also not her husbands, who sadly died aged just two. In the newspaper announcement about the death, it claims that the father was her husband, but this simply isn't possible.

So it seems she told different things to different people.

No, it only seems that different people, at different times, asked questions about "who was the father"   

So please consider .... re

 :)  that infant death announced in the newspaper .... do you know that the baby's mum reported the death to the newspaper.... could it have been a neighbour, a funeral director, a clergyman, a grandparent .... did the reporter assume/guess ::)
 :) when the daughter married, did the bride's mother provide the clergyman with the info, or was it assumed by the clergyman, based on his own church notes about his parishioners....
 :)  or perhaps the bride gave the info, if so was it based on her mum telling her, or perhaps the village gossip,  :-X.

Many other possible scenerios also could be considered that could suggest the mum was not the one telling fibs about who was the bride's dad.

JM
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Offline brigidmac

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #13 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 05:53 BST (UK) »
Why is it not possible that the husband occasionally came back from foreign parts and was actually the husband * father (i mean ).i have exampls of individuals travellimg back and forth in 1850's to SA +. America.
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Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #14 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 08:21 BST (UK) »
Thanks brigidmac and majm.

I don't want to go into this too far as I only brought it up to answer OP's question and to show that they were not alone in their findings.

However I am 100% certain that the alleged father was not the father. He was serving abroad and his military record includes locations of where he was serving and when. He was not in the country during the possible conception dates. I've had this confirmed by a professional researcher so I didn't just jump to conclusions. Also, he lied about being married, so it seems that the relationship had entirely broken down. (Yes, I am sure I have the right persons record). There is other evidence too, a child taken into care for unclear reasons, Mum living with another man who is not a family member and so on.

Obviously I can't be 100% if it was her who told the lie to her daughter about who the father was. As I said in my earlier post, it's not clear whether or not the daughter in question knew the truth or not. She may have been in on the secret but gone along with it for appearances sake in what was such a judgemental time.
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Online bfrance99

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #15 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 13:26 BST (UK) »
Thanks everyone for your responses!

I have done a DNA test, but to be honest I struggle with the overwhelming number of matches! I am not sure whether anything would come up anyway, as I am descendant from Annie Reeves (second child of Fanny and Freestone), so presumably Dymock Reeves is only Annieís half brother. But I will keep an eye out!

Thank you Stanwix for sharing similar stories. I have been surprised at how common it is for women to get married while pregnant (Annie Reeves had to get married 3 months before giving birth), but I suppose I have preconceptions about the past which arenít accurate. Sometimes itís hard to remember that our ancestors were real people with complicated lives, and were probably living in absolute poverty. I sometimes get bogged down with censuses and birth records etc, but understanding the context of their situation is so important - and interesting!

Of course, I will never know for sure if Fanny moved away to ďstart afreshĒ - but making an educated guess is still fun. I am guessing that she wasnít ďshunnedĒ from her neighbours, as she worked as a laundress, and presumably that relied on her being friendly with a number of people.

I also had an interesting thought about this particular case. Fanny gave birth to Arthur Reeves in 1899, when she was around 46 years old - not highly unusual, but still relatively old. She had teenage (unmarried) daughters at this time, so I did wonder if perhaps they got pregnant but Fanny made out it was her baby to avoid the shame. Again, I will probably never know, but it is a possibility nonetheless.

If anyone else has any stories about illegitimate children, I will be very interested to hear them  :)

Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #16 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 14:57 BST (UK) »

I'm currently looking at one branch of the family living in the North East over the Victorian era.

Nearly all the women were pregnant when they got married. A couple of them were abandoned by their husbands.  .....  Where female ancestors on that line didn't have children out of wedlock, at least one of their sisters did.

The people I am writing about were in poverty.


Similar with one of my lines. Husband of 3x GGM disappeared from records. I don't know if he died or went elsewhere. She had a daughter later, no father's name on birth certificate. 3GGM married as a widow to a widower with several children when her daughter was 3. Her daughter had stepfather's surname and was recorded as his daughter on a census when she was 13. Stepfather was dead before next census and daughter was recorded with her birth surname, that of her mother's first husband. Her marriage certificate has her mother's first husband as her father. She didn't name any of her 3 sons after her alleged father or her stepfather.
3xGGM had a baby by her future 1st husband when she was 18. Father was named on birth certificate but not in baptism register. (Baby was baptised at his mother's C of E. church, his father was R.C.) Baby died aged 6 months. His parents married when his mother was 21 and pregnant with her 2nd child.
3xGGM was 1 of 10 sisters. 3 of her sisters had babies outside marriage. Eldest was pregnant 3 times from late teens to mid 20's. Only surviving child was brought up by grandparents, seemingly as their son. They had children younger than him.
3xGGM's eldest daughter had 3 pregnancies in 5 years from age 17 while unmarried. Surviving children brought up by their grandmother and step-grandfather. Recorded with step-grandfather's surname and as his children on their 1st census. Reverted to their own surname and correct relationships on later censuses. A made-up father's name on their marriage certificates.
Al those women worked outside the home in the textile industry for most of their lives.
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Re: Children after Fatherís Death
« Reply #17 on: Tuesday 15 June 21 15:34 BST (UK) »
Thanks everyone for your responses!

I have done a DNA test, but to be honest I struggle with the overwhelming number of matches! I am not sure whether anything would come up anyway, as I am descendant from Annie Reeves (second child of Fanny and Freestone), so presumably Dymock Reeves is only Annieís half brother. But I will keep an eye out!

Thank you Stanwix for sharing similar stories. I have been surprised at how common it is for women to get married while pregnant (Annie Reeves had to get married 3 months before giving birth), but I suppose I have preconceptions about the past which arenít accurate. Sometimes itís hard to remember that our ancestors were real people with complicated lives, and were probably living in absolute poverty. I sometimes get bogged down with censuses and birth records etc, but understanding the context of their situation is so important - and interesting!

Of course, I will never know for sure if Fanny moved away to ďstart afreshĒ - but making an educated guess is still fun. I am guessing that she wasnít ďshunnedĒ from her neighbours, as she worked as a laundress, and presumably that relied on her being friendly with a number of people.

I also had an interesting thought about this particular case. Fanny gave birth to Arthur Reeves in 1899, when she was around 46 years old - not highly unusual, but still relatively old. She had teenage (unmarried) daughters at this time, so I did wonder if perhaps they got pregnant but Fanny made out it was her baby to avoid the shame. Again, I will probably never know, but it is a possibility nonetheless.

If anyone else has any stories about illegitimate children, I will be very interested to hear them  :)

My 3xgreat grandmother was born in 1835, and her mother in 1784. This means she was 51 when she had her final daughter, who was several years younger than the penultimate child. I think she was actually her granddaughter, and the illegitimate birth was concealed. The baby had her much older sister's first name as a middle name, and that older sister went on to have some more illegitimate children, and she lied on the certs.
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DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
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SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
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SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
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