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Tracing a missing (bastard) child...

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Tracing a missing (bastard) child...

Postby Scott_Torres » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:18 am

Hi All,

I was having a discussion with my Nan at the weekend and she uncovered some surprising and interesting snippets about my family history! Anyway, to cut a long story short, my Great Gran (so my Grandfather's mother) aparently had a child when she was unmarried. I believe that birth certificates have been found for the child, but no other evidence. I need to know how to go about tracing this!

In addition (the plot thickens!), a neighbour had a son that she had adopted and after this neighbour died, Great Gran looked after the son. When great Gran died, she made my great uncle promise to look after this son until he died, which he did, and now my Nan suspects that this child could have been Gran's bastard son.

Does this all sound a bit far-fetched, and would there be any way of finding out if the son was adopted, who adopted him to prove this?

Thanks for your help!!
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Re: Tracing a missing (bastard) child...

Postby AntonyM » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:54 am

If it was after 1927, an adoption would have to be through a court process and be recorded. before that, there may be no official record.

Start by establishing the names of the people involved - and find and order the relevant birth/marriage and death certificates for them and see what they reveal.
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Re: Tracing a missing (bastard) child...

Postby carobradford » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:46 am

As AnthonyM says, a good deal depends on whether this was a formal adoption or not. While the date (before or after 1927) may be an indicator, informal "adoptions" did take place after the official adoption process was introduced and sometimes informal arrangements prior to that were regularised when the child was older. If you have identified a birth certificate for the child concerned, buying a copy will answer the question of whether they were legally adopted at some point, as the word "adopted" will have been annotated on the register entry when the GRO was informed of the court order. BUT, establishing who adopted the child is a whole different kettle of fish, as the adoption process was carefully designed to prevent access to that information.

This may be a case where DNA can help, but it can only do so in conjunction with careful old-school genealogical research.
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Re: Tracing a missing (bastard) child...

Postby Guy » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:00 pm

Prior to 1927 if the mother did not look after her child, look for a Guardianship agreement in the parish chest.
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