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Illegitimate children

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Thunder
Posts: 184
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 01:43

Illegitimate children

Post by Thunder »

This is a good article, to which I would add that in Scotland there are the Kirk Sessions registers which although not indexed by name give details of alleged fathers. On a sadder note the criminal records at The National Archives or in newspapers contain details of alleged murders or of infanticides by mothers which lists such cases.

https://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine ... ancestors/

David

AntonyM
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Jun 2020, 12:44

Re: Illegitimate children

Post by AntonyM »

"If a father’s name is missing from a birth certificate, it could just be that the father failed to turn up to register the birth and came up against a particularly immovable official."

No - the law (in E/W) is very clear that an unmarried father cannot be named on a birth register entry unless he is present to sign the entry as a "joint informant" with the mother .....not something the official (registrar) has any discretion about !

Specifically introduced in 1874, and is still the law today.

meekhcs
Posts: 270
Joined: 02 Jun 2020, 18:19
Location: Lincolnshire, but Hampshire born and bred!

Re: Illegitimate children

Post by meekhcs »

No - the law (in E/W) is very clear that an unmarried father cannot be named on a birth register entry unless he is present to sign the entry as a "joint informant" with the mother .....not something the official (registrar) has any discretion about !
Unless the "wife" lies!

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Guy
Posts: 90
Joined: 01 Jun 2020, 19:14
Location: Wakefield
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Re: Illegitimate children

Post by Guy »

Or unless their father registers their birth on his own as if he and the mother were married.
This is what my grandfather did for his son and 3rd daughter, he registered these to by giving the mother's maiden name correctly and the name she was using at the time (his name) and the registrar assumed this meant they were married.
In the case of their first two children they both registered the births together, there third child was a boy and I think that is why my grandad decided to register the birth on his own.
My grandparents did not marry until 1934, twelve years after the birth of their 4th and final child, due to his first wife's refusal to divorce him, she died in 1933.
As with most regulations the rules were not always followed.
Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.

AntonyM
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Jun 2020, 12:44

Re: Illegitimate children

Post by AntonyM »

All rules can be circumvented through setting out to lie or deceive, which is why lying to a registrar for the purposes of making a registration is a specific offence under the Perjury Act.

Guy - re "the registrar assumed this meant they were married" .... that is unlikely - GRO mandate very specific questions that have to be asked to establish whether the parents of a child at a birth registration are married or not (or at least claiming to be). Your grandfather would have to have stated that he was married to the mother, otherwise he would not be a "qualified informant" - one of the key things the registrar is required to check before the registration can go ahead.

But who really knows what was said in a closed office many years ago - we can only look at the documents left behind.

meekhcs
Posts: 270
Joined: 02 Jun 2020, 18:19
Location: Lincolnshire, but Hampshire born and bred!

Re: Illegitimate children

Post by meekhcs »

One answer would be to produce a marriage certificate when a registering a birth, but then I suppose, certainly before 1874, children would have remained unregistered. It may have removed some of the stigma around illegitimacy. There was an awful lot of it out there!!

AntonyM
Posts: 27
Joined: 15 Jun 2020, 12:44

Re: Illegitimate children

Post by AntonyM »

There is no requirement (even today) to prove you are married - just confirming it verbally is sufficient.

GRO encourage registration offices to ask for documents, like marriage certificates, to be brought in to registration appointments for births/deaths, and many register office websites tell you they are needed, but there is no legal basis for that and the registration can still go ahead without.

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