Researching Illegitimacy Roger Moore OU Family History Club April 2009
Notes for my book group, last year… I got into family history some years ago when my dad asked/told me: "You know everything about the Internet, son, can you find out who my real grandfather was?" Foolish, boastful child that I am, "Of course, Dad, I can do that." Well, tracking down the errant father of my bastard* granddad has proved more than a little tricky and I've been sidetracked by the ease of hunting the rest of my Moore (and Mee) predecessors back to the early 1600s. To cut a long story short I have now found the…
Illegitimacy What is illegitimacy? Legal, social & religious issues Researching illegitimacy Grandfather’s story Scope – 18 th C. to 1927
What is illegitimacy? What’s in a name? English common law (and some US states) Scottish (and continental) law 13 th C - filius nullius Time of birth Time of marriage
Legal Legal definition Act of Parliament “to bastardise” Inheritance law – wills Divorce State support of children – Poor Laws Adoption Criminal records Bigamy Rape Immorality & prostitution Infanticide
Social issues Incidence of illegitimacy Varying social mores – time & place Church & Parish authority Male lineage & female rights Sexual exploitation Shame & Discrimination
Church & Parish Church Courts Fornication Bastard bearing Penances Parish relief Paupers, elderly & afflicted too..
Research plan 1 Are you sure? What do you want to find? Errant father? Both parents? Basic information – family legends Basic information – birth data GRO, Baptismal records Census data Workhouses
Research Plan 2 Before 1640 – Church & Manorial courts 1537 - 1834 – Old Poor laws Parish records – settlement examination Bastardy order – Petty sessions Appeals to Quarter sessions 1834 – 1844 - New Poor Law Poor Law Union records (workhouse) After 1844 – mother’s rights re-established Affiliation order Bastardy returns to 1858
Poor Law overseer 12th, Wednesday. My brother stayed and breakfasted with us and then went home. In the forenoon Mr Jer. French and Mr Jos. Fuller came and informed me that Robt Durrant was in custody of the parish officers of Waldron on account that Eliz. Day, belonging to Waldron, but a certificate person to this parish, being big with child, and which she hath sworn upon Robert Durrant, they accordingly desired Mr Burges and I would go and give the officers security on account of this parish in behalf of the man, and we both accordingly went. And when we came there the man being so ill that he could not go before a justice, and they seemed not willing to take anything less than an indemnifying bond, so that I came back again to consult the people of this parish (leaving Mr Burges there). And it was agreed I should go and ask Mr Courthope the most they could oblige us to pay per week which I accordingly did. But when I came to Uckfield, Mr Courthope was not at home so that I could have no advice from him. So that after staying at Uckfield and getting some mutton chops (having had no dinner), I went to Waldron again where, to my great surprise, I found Mr French, Mr Piper and Tho. Fuller come to treat with the officers. They then offered to take our bond for 15d. per week for the maintenance of the child and 40s. for her lying-in, but Mr French was obstinate and would not permit us to give above 12d. per week and insisted for it to be left for Mr Geo. Courthope to decide. Mr Burges and I accordingly gave Mr Nich. Attwood our note of hand to forfeit £20 if we do not meet him or some other of their parish officers on Monday next at Uckfield in order to have Mr Courthope's determination, and if he will not determinate it, then to deliver them up the body of Robert Durrant again. I come home, but wet enough, about 10.15, and very sober. Spent this day on the parish account 23 d...
Research Plan 3 1870/80s – 1926 - urbanisation After 1927 - Adoption Act Personal papers
Cornelius Moore born 1836, died 1882 Elizabeth Lowe Moore (nee Geary) born 1838, died 1901 George Harry Moore born 1870, died 1923 Jane Osborne Moore (Smith) born 1873, died 1957 Clara Gladys Moore bap. Aug 11 1895 Ellen Moore born 1874, died May 5, 1895 Married, Anstey, Aug 4, 1894 ?? William Cornelius Moore born March 23, 1895, Anstey Father to Hugh, Barbara & Roger.