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unmarried mother/prostitute?

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unmarried mother/prostitute?

Postby psibson » Wed May 09, 2018 6:17 am

My 3x great grandmother, Elizabeth Askew, was born in 1815 in Fenny Stratford, Bucks to John Askew and Joanna Hebbs. John died in 1823 when Elizabeth was 8 and her mother re-married a year later.
Elizabeth had a daughter, Ellen, in 1836 and a son, Joseph in 1838 but never married.
In 1841 she lived in Hanslope, Bucks with her 2 children and another single woman, Mary Denton (1796), her daughter, Elizabeth Denton (1821) and her daughter Mary Denton (1840-1841) plus Jane and Emma Smith aged 5 - The twin's mother was Louisa Denton who married Joseph Smith but did not live at the same address.
By 1851 Elizabeth was living at the Union Workhouse, Hanslope with her son, Joseph and another son, John (1845).
In 1861 Elizabeth lived with her daughter, Ellen in Hanslope.
In 1871 she lived with Ellen and her son, John in Hanslope.
She died in 1878 from heart disease.
Elizabeth never married and had 3 children who each show only a mother's name on their birth certificates.
It is frustrating not knowing if Elizabeth was the local "Madam" as having 3 children and being unmarried was not usual. I have a brick wall for my 3x great grandfather who I would like to know about. I have not found any bastardy bonds to help.
Any suggestions are welcome.
Thank you
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Re: unmarried mother/prostitute?

Postby AntonyM » Wed May 09, 2018 7:46 am

psibson wrote:It is frustrating not knowing if Elizabeth was the local "Madam" as having 3 children and being unmarried was not usual.

I don't think it is particularly unusual - and an assumption that she was a prostitute (without other evidence) isn't really one you can make.

Have you looked for any parish/poor law/workhouse records that may shed light on her circumstances ?
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Re: unmarried mother/prostitute?

Postby elsabels » Wed May 09, 2018 8:46 am

I too have the local village ? who had 5 children and when she married it was to a toy boy, someone 15 years her junior, and 2 further children.

I found from the Parish Register PR ( not the Bishops Transcript BT's) that the officiating minister had written in the column 'spurious father and his name' for my ancestor, his half sister had father entered as did 1 other child.

The parish like to know who the father is/ was as he would be held responsible for maintenance and the mother and child would not be a burden on the parish for Parish Relief!
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Re: unmarried mother/prostitute?

Postby ianbee » Thu May 10, 2018 8:42 am

No baptisms of the Askew children found in Hanslope. ... tIntro.php
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Re: unmarried mother/prostitute?

Postby avaline » Fri May 11, 2018 1:57 am

psibson wrote: I have not found any bastardy bonds to help.

Where have you looked? Most are not online or even listed by name in the archives catalogue, and rarely make a mention in the newspapers either. Buckinghamshire FHS has compiled a Poor Law Index CD that includes Bastardy Bonds, which may be worth investing in.
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