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Unusual circumstances of Birth

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Unusual circumstances of Birth

Postby Funkydoowopper » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:47 pm

I am trying to understand the circumstances of the birth of an ancestor in rural Worcestershire in 1844.

The child was born in September 1844 (as confirmed by his birth certificate) to his 21 year old unmarried mother. Despite the father not being named on the certificate, the child was baptised with the surname of the man his mother would marry, less than a month later, in October the same year.

The mother gave her name as “Hannah Jenkins formerly Williams” and the child's name was recorded as Edwin Williams, ie Edwin Williams Jenkins.

Both parents came from large families of modest means. They went on to have ten more children together.

If Hannah's husband was the father of Edwin, what would have caused them to delay marriage until after the birth? And why was his name not included on the birth certificate?

If he wasn't the father, what circumstance might have given rise to him marrying a woman who had just given birth to another man's child?

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Re: Unusual circumstances of Birth

Postby brunes08 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:17 pm

There are several reasons why such situations arise. A little more information about the father might help us to help you. However, some of the reasons that might have occured: the father might not have been free to marry ie married to someone else who then died; he could have been under 21 years and did not have his parents' permission to marry; he might have been away from home and returned to find the situation before him, etc etc. What was his occupation when they did marry? I have seen several instances where the baptism comes before the marriage and the details on the parish register are somewhat economical with the truth.
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Re: Unusual circumstances of Birth

Postby Sylcec » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:36 am

For the father of an illegitimate child to be named on the child's birth certificate, he would have needed to be present with the mother and been the informant of the birth.
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Re: Unusual circumstances of Birth

Postby carobradford » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:37 am

Not in 1844. The original 1836 legislation was ambiguous about the registration of illegitimate births, stating that "it shall not be necessary to register the name of any father of a bastard child". The 1850 Act attempted to clarify the situation by declaring that "No putative father is allowed to sign an entry in the character of 'Father'". It was not until 1875 that things were finally sorted out with the requirement that fathers of illegitimate children could be named on a birth certificate if, and only if, they were present at registration.
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