Author Topic: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?  (Read 1765 times)

Online coombs

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Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« on: Wednesday 24 January 24 17:04 GMT (UK) »
I know we will all find an ancestor who was illegitimate, a baby born to an unmarried mother with no father mentioned. A distinctive middle name may occasionally be mentioned, which can give a clue, or the putative father was even named, but often the baptism was just for example, "Samuel Davis, son of Ellen Davis, baseborn". Bastardy bonds are helpful, and maintenance orders etc, but there may not always been one made, and the mother raised the baby with help from her family, or she married the father/another man perhaps months or years after the birth of the child or children.

In advances in DNA testing it is getting easier to trace fathers of illegitimate children. And of course the baby may have been born illegitimate but was baptised after the parents married, or occasionally the man the mother wed may have just said he was the father to save face.

But sometimes I wonder if the anonymity of the father is what is compelling. For instance my ancestor Mildred (known as Amelia) Wickham was born in 1801 in Twineham, Sussex, to an unmarried mother Mary Wickham who was born in Bolney in 1779. So far I have never found any hint as to the baby's father. Mildred married in Bolney in 1818 aged 17.

I have an ancestor Phoebe Johnson born in 1807 in Rochford to an unmarried mother Sophia Johnson. Sophia wed Samuel Coote in 1809 in Rochford, and he was soon subject to a settlement examination, and it says he was recently married but no mention that he was Phoebe's father.

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 bevj

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 24 January 24 20:19 GMT (UK) »
I perhaps had a bit of luck with my 4 x great grandmother Harriet Rogers, 1797-1868 in Dorset, mother Susannah Rogers.
Her baptism records states 'base born from the workhouse'.  She was considerate enough to marry for the second time (first husband died young) as late as 1844 and named her father as John Hawkins on the marriage certificate.  I haven't found a John Hawkins who could be a likely candidate in Sherborne where she was born, but it seems to be a rather specific name to have been invented, and also mother Susannah was living with Harriet in Shepton Mallet until fairly close to the time of the wedding so I presume she would have asked her mother for this info.

More circumstantial evidence with my 5 x great grandmother Sarah Love Startup,  approx 1776-1851 in Kent.  Her mother Jane had three daughters by different men while single and later married another man.  The oldest daughter Mary Love Startup was fathered by one Robert Love, confirmed by bastardy proceedings, and it would be logical to think that he was the father of Sarah too, but I've found no evidence.  Between these two girls there was another daughter fathered by William Monktelow;  again I have the evidence for this.  There must be some documentation out there somewhere.

I agree with you that the puzzle of the father's anonymity is compelling! 
Bev
Weedon - Hertfordshire and W. Australia
Herbertson, Congalton, Paterson - Scotland
Reed, Elmer - Hunts.
Branson - Bucks. and Birmingham
Warren, Ball, Jones - Birmingham
Fuller, Bourne, Sheepwash - Kent
Brittain - Beds. and W. Australia

Online coombs

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 24 January 24 22:12 GMT (UK) »
I also have a case where my 2xgreat gran Kate was born 31 Dec 1863 in Warninglid, Sussex. The likely father's wife had just died 6 weeks earlier after "phthisis, years certified" which was said on death cert. Kate's mother married this man in July 1864, but in London, and the baby was baptised as the daughter of the new husband as well as of the mother. He was a servant so I think they met through service. I believe he was seeing her when he was still married to his first wife and she died while his future wife was heavily pregnant. Only autosomal DNA may confirm, or perhaps deny it. But Kate's daughters do bear resemblances to her documented father's eldest daughter from the wife who died in November 1863 of phthisis.
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

Online coombs

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 04 February 24 18:23 GMT (UK) »
I have one ancestor born in late 1782 or very early 1783 baptised 19 Jan 1783 in Wethersfield, Essex, to a single mother who had been removed to Wethersfield from Rochford in 1782. The mother Sarah Page later married a Canewdon man, John Burchell, in October 1785 in Wethersfield but I do not think he was the father. But as Sarah had been removed from Rochford to Wethersfield in 1782, the father may have been living in the Rochford area.
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 LizzieW

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 06 February 24 15:52 GMT (UK) »
The only person in my tree that I think was probably illegitimate is my g.grandfather. 

From DNA contact with quite a few people, I've traced the family he was born into but have no idea  which one of the men of the right age is his father.  I can't find a birth certificate under the name he went by, so until, like the 1939 registration, I can search births by dob, I don't think I'll ever know his parentage.  It's possible I have found his mother as somebody popped up on Ancestry with DNA suggesting one of her female ancestors was my g.grandfather's half sister, sharing a mother.  That would have made the mother 16 at the time of his birth.  There is no shared DNA with the woman's husband who she married a couple of years later, so I'm assuming he wasn't the father and, in any case, he's the wrong religion, i.e. not Jewish.  Sadly, by the time I'd decided to contact the person who shared DNA with me, she'd taken her tree and DNA from Ancestry.

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 24 February 24 12:22 GMT (UK) »
Small update to my Sarah Page case, she was removed from Rochford to Wethersfield in October 1782 saying she had resided in Rochford but not gained settlement there. Her baby daughter Elizabeth Page was baptised in January 1783 in Wethersfield, and her mother was said to be a pauper from the workhouse. So she must have been in an advanced stage of pregnancy in October 1782. Her father was living in Rochford at the time. When Sarah married John Burchell in 1785, he travelled to Wethersfield for the marriage but was said to be of Canewdon.

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

Online KGarrad

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 24 February 24 13:05 GMT (UK) »
I suppose I am lucky?
The Manx Museum has twice yearly Presentments available.
The vicar (or religious person in charge) made a report to the Bishop outlining transgressions of ecclesiastical Law.
Amongst these were "Presentments for Fornication", when a baby was born out of wedlock.
The guilty woman was pressurised to name the errant father; do that the baby was not a financial drain on the parish.

These Presentments are not online, and have to be retrieved from the Archives.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Blue70

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 28 February 24 16:08 GMT (UK) »
I was able to find the name of my uncle's father from the affiliation register these events were from 1933/34. A visit to the archives and the use of my phone's camera got me the relevant images. The father denied he was the father and the mother 'went to town to state her case'. One ancestor was born in a workhouse to a single mother who married a couple of years later. The husband sometimes disappears from the household in census records, he was a slater and probably worked away a lot. I get the impression he was the father but wasn't much of a family man. Maybe he was a heavy drinker who knows. The illegitmate daughter was the informant on his death certificate and is recorded as his daughter so I think he was her father. These dodgy fathers often come across as dodgy, going back to that 1933 birth, The father was already married, later seperated from his wife and children and started another family.

C     

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Re: Finding fathers of illegitimate ancestors?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 02 March 24 13:12 GMT (UK) »
I was able to find the name of my uncle's father from the affiliation register these events were from 1933/34. A visit to the archives and the use of my phone's camera got me the relevant images. The father denied he was the father and the mother 'went to town to state her case'. One ancestor was born in a workhouse to a single mother who married a couple of years later. The husband sometimes disappears from the household in census records, he was a slater and probably worked away a lot. I get the impression he was the father but wasn't much of a family man. Maybe he was a heavy drinker who knows. The illegitmate daughter was the informant on his death certificate and is recorded as his daughter so I think he was her father. These dodgy fathers often come across as dodgy, going back to that 1933 birth, The father was already married, later seperated from his wife and children and started another family.

C   

Hence why ancestral DNA testing is getting more popular and it can often prove, or disprove, what we surmise.
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