One of the greatest problems in genealogy is reading the handwriting on old records. They writing can range from really clear on easy to read to virtually illegible. And it’s not just the writing itself, it’s also the way it was written. I can’t read Latin to save my life and why did they have to write so small and bunched up (OK I know this was to save paper).
I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes I find it very difficult to read the writing on the records.
The study of old handwriting is called palaeography. There are many courses available and I have done the free one run by The National Archives.
These courses are designed to help you interpret what people have written.
We should remember though that writing didn’t start on paper or even papyrus or animal skin. It started on stone and wasn’t necessarily even writing. Cave painting are the oldest know form of writing in a way. The pictures passed on the information that was needed. From here people started to make makes on stone such as cuneiform (which was a series of marks such as lines in a pattern giving an early form of alphabet) to hieroglyphics which used pictures for words or sentences. It wasn’t until the Greeks and Romans that a style of writing like we use today began when Latin developed. This was written down on usually animal skin – parchment or vellum using a quill pen and ink. Paper as we know it didn’t develop in Europe until the 11th century, although it had been available in China since approximately 100 AD.
In my experience as time has progressed the writing of people has improved greatly, but is this due to peoples handwriting improving or is it due to improvements in the writing equipment?
Let’s look at for want of a better word pens. They started out with quills which are made from the feathers from birds such as geese. The feather is cut down to a point and the hollow centre of the feather is used to hold the ink. These must have been dreadful to use as they would break easily and must have need a lot of practice to use, and with ink and paper being expensive not many would have been able to get hold of them and thus practice.
Next came the fountain pen. I hated using a fountain pen. I got more ink on me than on the paper. It came into use in the 1600’s. It worked very similarly to the quill but was made with a metal nib so was more stable. It sucked ink up like a quill until the cartridge version was developed using plastic in the 1950’s.
The 20th century brought my saviour with Laszlo Biro, when he developed the ballpoint pen in the 1930’s. A pen that didn’t smudge and could be used by anyone and most of us use them most days for notes etc. and are the go to for everyday use.
Then finally the one we mainly use now. The keyboard started on the typewriter and progressed onto the computer. Most of us use a computer or tablet every day, but they all use a keyboard. I know I couldn’t run my business without a keyboard. My handwritings awful and if I had to write report by hand no one would know what it said.
Education also brought about improvements in writing. In the Victorian times only basic writing was taught, but now neat handwriting is taught. This shows in the records. The later the records the more legible they become. The 1939 register is mainly easy to read as the style of writing and the pens used is good but the 1841 census can be really difficult to read due to the poor writing and pens used.
In general, practice makes perfect, so the more you read old records, the better you become, but doing some practice is the key. You learn styles and generally get you eye in and it gets easier.
I’ve had this thought many times over the years. I’ve thought it through from all angles and made my decision. Let’s see what you think.
Link to the past
We all studied history at school and if you’re like me it was fascinating. I especially like doing the local project on St James church in Sheffield. At the time I didn’t know I had family who were parishioners of the church and thus had baptisms and marriages at the church. If I had known this then, it would have been even more interesting for me. Also if you’re, for example, reading about the mills in Yorkshire it will mean more if your ancestors worked in mills. It will give you a true sense of what their lives entailed.
Shows patterns in family
Some families lived in one place and never moved, or they had the same occupation. If this is the case then it may surprise you if you work in a similar industry or live close to where they did. I found I had ancestors living close to where I grew up in the 1800’s. I had no living family living there when my family moved in as my maternal family weren’t from the city and my paternal family lived the other side of the city. This links in to above as another link to the past.
Shows interaction between families
They say the family that plays together, stays together. The same was true in the past. Most families lived on the same street as one another and even lived in the same houses even after they have married. Also it can show how families club together at times of hardship and to help improve lives of the children. My great grandfather was raised by his grandmother after his father died and his mother had to find work and his brother lived with a distant relative where he trained to be a dentist.
Shows hereditary aliments
We now know about hereditary illnesses and through looking through our ancestor’s lives and deaths we can find out how far back the condition goes. This could help with the conditions as they use the information to try and map out the illness throughout the family. It can not only show things such as sickle cell anaemia but also susceptibility to certain cancers or even mental health issues – it does run in families.
For anyone with an interest in history what better subject to learn about than your own family. Yes we can learn everything we want about say Cleopatra, but not many people even know their great grandparents names. Surely knowing who we are descended from is just as important and who knows what we made find out and what avenues our studies will take. Also we learn from the experiences of others, so why can’t we learn from the experiences of our ancestors? If they went through something bad and survived it we could use their experience if we’re in the same situation. I’m not saying we won’t handle it differently, but it could give use some pointers.
Find living relatives
Your family history research may lead you to finding living family members you never knew about. You may feel you want to contact them electronically or even in person. They may know things about your family members that you don’t and may be able to help fill in the gaps.
Let’s face it, anyone with a love of history will find their own ancestry even more interesting than generic history. I adore reading about the history of the monarchy and probably have read far too many books on the Tudors. This is great, but now I know more about my own family I can link it in with what I have read and in a sense put flesh on the bones of history.
So what decision have you made? I think that no matter what you feel about history you can make a case for saying that genealogy is important and I think learning about yourself and your past can help you understand yourself and help you in the future.
So there is to be another royal birth in the UK with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting their 3rd child who will become 5th in line to the throne.
This got me thinking which monarch of England/Great Britain had the most children. So being the sad Muppet that I am I had a look. I started at King William I and went up to the present day. Since 1066 there have been 41 monarchs who had 215 legitimate children between them. Of these, 9 had no children (mainly as they died young or never married). So who was the most prolific monarch? Well the winner is……. King James II. He had 20 children by 2 women. He had 8 children by Anne Hyde including Queen Mary II and Queen Anne, and 12 by Mary of Modena including James the Old pretender (the father of Bonnie Prince Charlie).
The man who is supposedly had the most amount of children was Genghis Khan. It is alleged he fathered over 1000 children, and as many as 2500. It’s a wonder he had time for all the fighting he did. Good job he didn’t have to raise them all at home. Can you imagine all the shoes lines up by the door?
The most prolific European Monarch was either King Augustus of Poland (1670 – 1733) or King Philip IV of Spain (1605 – 1665). Augustus is rumoured to have fathered between 356 and 382 children (only one of which was legitimate) and Philip had 13 legitimate children and 30 illegitimate. Whether these figures are true or not is conjecture as unless the recognised the children we can never be sure.
But it’s not just royalty who had large families. It was not unusual for a couple to have 10 children before the modern times. The most I’ve found in my family is 12. So I took to the internet and found out in the UK the couple who had the most children was John and Elizabeth Mott of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire. Between 1676 and 1720 the couple had 42 live children. Can you imagine having that many children? It must have been crowd control. I suppose the raised each other. Assuming Elizabeth was say 20 when she got married she either popped one out every year for the rest of her life or she must have had multiple, multiple births. Poor woman would have needed a cushion.
But surprisingly other couples have produced more kids. In Russia between 1725 and 1782 Mr Vassiyev fathered 87 children. By his first wife he had 69 children. There were 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quads. So in total she was only pregnant 27 times, but even so. When his first wife died My Vassiyev remarried and had 18 more children from 8 births. Wife 2 had 6 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets. The couples must have needed ear plugs and deep pockets to raise them all. I know there were none of the things kids want these days, but just feeding and clothing them all must have cost a fortune. They must have been producing most of the food they ate themselves and the kids must have lived in hand me downs.
In nature it’s not uncommon for animals to have lots of children as unfortunately most will not survive infancy. It’s not uncommon for mice to have around 10 pups at a time and can have up to 10 broods a year so that’s 100 kids a year. Since mice only live about a year that make them more prolific than the Vassiyev’s. But then I suppose the mouselets are on their own within weeks so it does make life so much easier for Mr and Mrs Mouse.
Whatever the number of kids in a family the award should definitely go to Mrs Vassiyev for producing so many kids!
So it’s nearly that time of year where the kids go back to school and embark on the next phase of their education. Be it at primary, secondary, college or university level.
Education of the masses first became compulsory in 1880 in England. Before that the only education children would get would depend on their place in society. Children of the rich would have access to tutors and the best education establishments the country had to offer. Those from the poorer sectors of society would have attended Sunday School at the local church, or if they were really lucky they may have got into a ragged school (this was a free school started by John Pounds in 1818 which could be found in various places throughout the UK. The building for the school in Chesterfield still stands today).
From 1880 all children between the ages of 5 and 10 and from 1893 the age was raise to 13, had to attend school. This wasn’t well received in the poorer families who needed their children to work to help support the family. The financial loss to the family of a child going to school could be great, especially since children as young as 8 could work full time.
The school buildings were basic, with benches with tables attached and a black board at the front. The children would write on small chalk boards and have had access to very few books. They would have been taught the 3R’s or reading writing and arithmetic. How they could call it the 3R’s when only 1 started with an R is beyond me and surely implied bad education.
They would have been taught the basics which would have been enough for most for when they went back to the factories and fields. For some it would have perhaps lead them on to further education and maybe even a scholarship to go to university and given them a real chance to make a better future for them and their families.
I don’t envy the children going off to school. I hated school. The best part of the school day was the end. I wasn’t so much the education I didn’t like, although I still don’t get maths that’s what the calculator was invented for, no it was the other kids I didn’t like. School would have been fine without them. When they pulled my old secondary school down the other year to rebuild it I would gladly had done it for them. Same with my old college when it was pulled down this year.
I was lucky at primary school in that I had the best teacher in the world in Mrs Pryjomko. She really was great and I liked the 2 years she taught me for. I also loved the head teacher Mr Clark, he was like a granddad to us all.
The primary school I went to was built in 1928 and is still standing and used as a school today, although I think it has been modernised a lot. The old leaking classrooms in the playground have gone. Kids don’t know what their missing with buckets in the classroom when it was raining. Same to with the 1960’s secondary school I went to. Broken windows which didn’t shut and a ¼ mile walk between building in the pouring rain. My favourite is the college I went too. Most of it was built in the 1960’s but part of it was built in the 1990’s while I was a student there. They pulled it all down this year!
So good luck to you all with your studies, and good luck to the 4 munchkins of my extended family who start school this year. May you have a great time and learn all you can and enjoy your education. It’s only 12 years till you can leave or carry on if you want.
I was thinking the other day how cool it was that we were having another total eclipse of the sun, and how I wish it was in the UK again. It was 1999 since we had a total eclipse and it was so eerie. It was the middle of the day but it felt like dusk and all the birds went quiet. I remember watching it on TV and out in the back garden. It was even better for me as the Dean of the Faculty I was in, Professor Parkin, who I always got on with, was on TV explaining what was happening. We had a partial eclipse in 2015 and it was as surreal as although it didn’t go quite so dusk the birds still went quiet.
It got me thinking, we have the media and they were able to tell us the eclipse was going to happen and show us pictures of it from around the world, but what happened before we had TV and radio. How did our ancestors react to an eclipse?
So for example on the 3 May 1715 Britain had a total solar eclipse (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_solar_eclipses_visible_from_the_United_Kingdom#21st_century_.28AD_2001_.E2.80.93_2100.29) but what did the people think. It would have been OK for those who could afford to purchase a newspaper and read about the forthcoming event, but what about the rest of the population. How did they react to it going dusk in the middle of the day? They would probably have had no idea as to what was happening. Did they think it was the end of the world?
Another partial eclipse that occurred was in 1485. It happened on the day the queen consort of England, Anne Neville, the wife of King Richard III died. At this time it could only mean one of two thing, the eclipse caused the death of the Queen or the eclipse was the result of her death. It must be a sign form the heavens. The people must have flocked to the church in fear when they found out. But they probably found out weeks later by the time the news filtered through to them.
I suppose what I’m getting at is how our ancestors reacted to events they had no knowledge of. We have an eclipse and it’s all over the media with live views from space and think it’s interesting. But if you don’t know what it is how do you react. I suppose it depends of your station in society. Someone higher up in society will probably have had a better education and have learned some astronomy and had knowledge of what was happening, but the farmer in the fields would wonder what the heck was going on.
This works with other major events though if you think about it. We know when something has happened as we have 24 hour rolling news and nothing can happen without a reporter there in hours bringing us all the latest news live, but how many major events happened that most of our ancestors never new anything about, or did not now about but had to wait months, if not years to find out what happened.
So for example, most people would have known about major wars as the army and navy would go around amassing the army. Men and boys would go off to war and fight for King and Country, but would their family ever find out what was happening to their loved ones or even if they were still alive. They couldn’t watch the news, they had to wait for news to get to them. This could mean they had to wait for the men of their village or town to come home to find out their family’s fate.
We may moan about how the media is affecting our lives and how technology is getting in the way of our lives but at least we know what’s going on and what’s happening that affects us directly. Our ancestors didn’t have that luxury and it must have caused a lot of heart ache and pain. So in a sense we’re luck even if the media can be annoying, but I suppose there is always the off button.
You start of researching and are happily finding past ancestors right left and centre and then you come across a living relative. Then you start thinking should I contact them. It’s a difficult question to answer. There are so many things you have to consider. Will they want to be contacted? Will contacting them cause problems in the family? You may want to get to know them, but your immediate family may not want you to as they know more about what went on than you do. How far do you want to take the contact? Do you just want to email back and forth or do you want to meet up? Just because you do doesn’t mean they will.
I know first-hand this is a difficult one to answer. My Grandma left home when she married my Grandpa and never went back. He brother had left home at 16 and she never saw him again (or so we thought until I found a photo which shows them when they were older).
When I first saw this photo the other week I assumed the man on the left was Edith Staton (in the middle) future husband. But then I thought Edith was only a young teenager. So I downloaded a piece of face recognition software and compared this gentleman with the man of Edith’s wedding and it wasn’t the same man. So I though, it must be Grandma’s brother Fred.
Fred was born in 1905 and Grandma was born in 1912. In July 1918 their mother Eva Dent died from an appendicitis and peritonitis after having a laparotomy 2 days earlier. A year later their father Percy Staton remarried. He married a 21 year old when he was 41. From what I can gather the 2 children did not like their step mother (and who can blame them from letter I have that she wrote to her step daughter). Edith was born in December 1919 and was the only child of the couple.
Now from my research I know Fred had 2 children. I know who they are but should I contact them? My dilemma is will they want to be contacted. I assume they know about their aunt, but I don’t know that for certain. It may be that if I contact them it may cause problem as they may have been told different things by their father and have a different view of the family. This brings up another dilemma as I don’t want to cause problems within the family. I can only go on how I would fell. I would like to be contacted.
In fact I have been contacted. Last year I was contacted by a lady in Australia whose mother is my late Grandma’s cousin. In 1924 when he was 16 Edward Wardle left Sheffield and moved to Australia. Here he led an interesting life to say the least as I found out from my new cousin.
I felt so wonderful to be able to email back and forth with my cousin and get to know about a family member who appeared to disappear. I fascinated me how much we were able to fill in the blanks for each other and how little each side knew about the other.
I’ve also been contacted via both my website and Ancestry by people who share common ancestors with me and they too have been able to help me fill in the blanks as I have for them.
I suppose you can only go with your gut. I never have made contact as I have to consider what others may want, but when I’m contacted I think it’s wonderful. It can take a lot of soul searching to make contact, but you have to be prepared for your contact to be ignored.
Now I know graveyards are the resting places of our ancestors and should be respected but they should also be places to enjoy.
A graveyard is a special place to visit. They can give us some much. An afternoon wandering amongst the graves learning about the people who now live there is a relaxing time. It’s a great way for kids to learn about their local history and for them to meet their ancestors. A graveyard can also attract so much wildlife and nature into a town or city. They are great places for wildlife to live and for nature to thrive.
Graveyards come in several forms. There is the cemeteries that many of us are familiar with where hundreds, if not thousands are buried.
In many places they are the traditional graveyard with the graves around the parish church.
These graveyards appear to have a hierarchy to them. It always seems to me that the nearer the church or main path to the church the more important the person was. It seems the only way a person can deem more important in death is by being buried in the church itself.
Another way a person can show they importance in life is by the grave itself. A plane grave stone can show the importance of the person by the size of it. The bigger the stone presumably the more important they are, although if there are many family members on it then this could also be the reason. Any time spent in a grave yard shows that there are some really fancy graves out there.
I suppose someone with a lot of money can afford a fancier memorial to themselves and so demonstrates their wealth in life. I wouldn’t think many, for example, farm labourers on a massive farm could afford a large gravestone, if any at all, but the farm owner may be able to. This demonstrates one of the ways graves can use symbolism.
The subject of symbolism is massive. The symbolism can range from a small portion of the grave to all of it. From example an owl on a grave shows a wise person and a broken urn can mean a person was very old when they died. If you want to know more there are 2 excellent website:
It’s amazing how much symbolism there is.
Graveyards also can be great places to view nature. There is debate as to how graveyards should be managed. Some argue that disused graveyards should be left to become overgrown and allow nature to take over, others feel the graveyard should be kept neat and tidy. I’m somewhere in between. I feel the graves themselves should be kept nice and if the grave stone has to be laid down then they should be done so the writing on the stone can be seen, but the surrounding grounds could be left more informal so that nature can move in (or be introduced. Some graveyards have sheep to keep the grass cut).
I’d like to think that nature can help those visiting their loved ones in the graveyard and those buried there can enjoy the wildlife. Just think how the songs of the birds can make you smile, and who doesn’t want to watch squirrels running about and playing. It can help make a difficult visit more pleasant. It also brings nature into places where it might otherwise not be. In the cities graveyards give a space for nature and a place where we can go and experience it.
First and foremost graveyards are the resting places of our ancestors, but they are also places where we can go not only to visit our ancestors, but also to see nature and gives us some peace in the busy towns and cities and help distress us and hopefully mean it’s longer until we ourselves reside there.
We’ve all heard the expression the black sheep of the family, but do we have any in our ancestry. The answer is probably yes depending on what you think of as a black sheep.
When someone says black sheep, what do they mean? Most probably think of the shadowy figure of mystery in the family who’s rarely mentioned and through time no one really knows what they actually did to earn the title of black sheep. But where they really a black sheep or did they in reality just not conform to what the family wanted.
Ok take for example someone who went to prison. Now I know when you say they went to prison, it’s usually because they did something bad, but surely they is a scale of bad. So killing someone is bad they really are black sheep. But others?
Let’s take the example of Peter Arnold Wardle (or 3 times Great Granddad as I call him) Peter was an auctioneer in Werneth, Cheshire. In 1890 he was a defendant in the trail of Wych v Higginbottom (what the trial was about I’ve never discovered). He did not deliver certain documents to the court so the judge sent him to prison for contempt of court. He spent 9 months in Knutsford Jail until he was released in May 1891 after he produced the documents to the court.
In some families this would make Peter a black sheep, but I don’t think he is. A bit silly for not producing the documents and going to prison leaving his wife and 4 children to fend for themselves, but not really a criminal. And in the end, did the punishment fit the crime. Peter died just over a year later of TB which he’d had for 6 months, which presumable could be linked to the conditions in jail.
Also on the prison front is the debtor’s jail. Were they really black sheep? In some cases yes they were. They borrowed money with no intention of paying it back. But others just were at a point where they had to borrow the money in order to survive or face the workhouse, and when they couldn’t pay, they went to jail where they had to pay for board and lodgings, which they couldn’t afford and so the vicious circle continued.
Some women have also been portrayed as a black sheep due to their lifestyle shall we say. It wasn’t uncommon for women who had illegitimate children to be classed as immoral and caste out of the family. They name may have been passed down the generations as a black sheep, when in reality they had done nothing wrong.
People can be classed as a black sheep due to choices they made in life. If someone left the UK to live abroad in the Victoria times they were usually classed as one of three things, a pioneer, someone looking for a better life or a black sheep running away. The family may have classed them as a black sheep just because they didn’t do what the family wanted. For example, which would you rather do stay in the UK and work on a farm, or travel to say the USA and try and find your fortune?
So it all boils down to this in the end are they really black sheep? Or were they just someone who was not conforming to what society at the time told them they should do. It’s up to you to decide, but remember no matter what they allegedly did they are your ancestors and without them you wouldn’t be reading this today.
It’s well known that there are archives for all the precious old documents that need to be looked after, but did you know there are photo archives?
These are great sources of information for genealogists and local historians. They can give a great insight into the history and how a place has changed overtime.
I may be biased as they show photos of the places I’ve known all my life but my favourites are Picture Sheffield (http://www.picturesheffield.com) and Picture the Past (http://www.picturethepast.org.uk). So let’s look at each in turn.
Picture Sheffield is run by Sheffield City Council and is part of Sheffield Archives. It holds a fantastic collection of old and modern photos of Sheffield and the surrounding area. It also has some photos of further afield which have been donated. You can search by area, subject and date. So if you find you ancestors lived in say Woodseats (where I lived) you can search for just this area. If you do there are 669 photos found. Some are of people, some of buildings and some are just general views. Most of these photos can be copied and used for private use, and all can be purchased for a fee.
Picture the Past
Picture the Past is run from Derbyshire Archives in Matlock in conjunction with Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. It holds a wealth of photos covering the 2 counties. Again you can search by place, county or date and view the images. Picture the past also allows you to purchase the images where copyright allows. If you search for Dronfield as an example 518 images are found, with a mix of general, people and buildings.
So why are photo archives so cool? Well, if you are looking for pictures of a place you used to live you can just type the name in and reminisce about the past. They are also invaluable for research. Over time family’s move about and children move further afield and thus you end up with ancestors being spread all over the country, if not the world. Using the photo archives you can see if there are any images of the places they lived or even of them (if you’re really, really lucky!). From here you can build up a picture of what they’re lives and conditions were like. So for example you can see what the area was like. Take for example, you find you ancestors came from Sheffield. Now if you know absolutely nothing about the city, and to be honest most people forget about Sheffield, even though it’s the 5th largest city in the UK, then the photo archive can give you an idea. You can read all the information you want on the city but the old adage is true, a picture really does paint a thousand words. You can see the buildings they knew and the places they visited. You may also be able to see the road they lived and the places they worked. My Great Great Grandparents lived on Bowling Green Street in Sheffield. On Picture Sheffield there are pictures of the Street. (I’m ashamed to say that despite living in Sheffield for 27 years I’ve never been).
The Photo archive can also add photos to family stories. Now I know my grandparents were in the Abbeydale Cinema in Sheffield on the night of the Blitz. There are photos of this building on Picture Sheffield and so if you didn’t know the building you can see a place they had been.
These archives along with the document archives (or document retirement homes as I like to think of them) are so important to anyone with an interest in genealogy or history. They give us the primary sources we need to prove connections and bring out ancestors and pasts to life. The work the archives do is vital and long may it continue.
These days illegitimacy is not frowned upon, but in the past it was a big deal. Anyone tracing their family history will have no doubt come across it several times in their tree and with our modern eyes it doesn’t mean much but then?
Let’s start with what illegitimacy is. Well according to www.collinsdictionary.com “Illegitimacy is the state of being born of parents who were not married to each other” https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/illegitimacy
I suppose up until the 1960’ illegitimacy was frowned upon and the mother was deemed immoral, but now a lot of children are born to parents who aren’t married and no one cares as long as the kids are looked after and happy. But this has not always been the case.
In the past it was not unheard of for single women to be sent to the workhouse or worse for having a child out of wedlock, but nothing was ever done to the father of the child. There is some evidence of women being committed to mental institution for being a single pregnant woman especially if the father of the child was an important person. He wouldn’t want the woman to be listened to and people believe he was the father, must think of his reputation and all that.
The laundry’s and homes run by the Catholic Church were another example of how the women were treated. They were sent there to have the child and have it adopted and some never left. They spent the rest of their lives there. The author Steve Robinson covered this subject in his second Jefferson Tayte genealogical mystery novel “To The Grave”.
Thankfully most women had the child and raised it with the help of their family and went on to have a normal life and in some cases married the father of the child.
In my family illegitimacy is not uncommon. Take my great grandfather for example. He didn’t know he was illegitimate until he had to produce his birth certificate in order to be ordained as a Church of England vicar. When they found out about his illegitimacy they refused to ordain him, even though he had been working as a lay reader for years and thus he became a chemical factory foreman. We have copies of letters he wrote begging for help to achieve his dream of becoming a vicar. It’s a good Christian attitude if you ask me and ironic as if you believe the teachings of the Church. He was baptised so what did it matter. Now the subject of who his father was that is interesting to me. Just 3 years before he was born his mother was in service to the Canon of Norwich and Archdeacon of Norfolk. Now although there is no evidence that anyone in the church was his father, his mother was obviously linked to the church and so could his father have been part of the church? Mind you his mother was pregnant when she did get married 8 years later to the child’s father, so who knows.
The other case of illegitimacy in my family which I find intriguing related to my 3 times great grandmother Sarah. She had 2 illegitimate children one born in 1863 and the other in 1864. I’ve found the records of her and her first child entering the workhouse in Stockport in May 1864 and the reason for entering was pregnancy. He eldest daughter was released 2 days later by order of the parish and lived with her grandparents. Sarah and her new daughter were released in October 1864. Now in some respects she at least had the workhouse hospital to help birth the child, but really was it the best thing to do to 17 year old servant girl? I don’t think so, but perhaps it was to scare her into mending her ways? In any case she didn’t have any more until she was married to my 3 times great grandfather and her children lived with them as a family, including her eldest daughter’s illegitimate son!
Throughout history the stigma has been on the mother for being immoral, but surely the same should have been placed upon the father. The mother hopefully knew who the father was, so he should have shouldered half the blame, if not more as I reckon some of the girls probably either were too young to understand, too frightened to say no or just given promises he had no intention of keeping.
So if you find illegitimacy, don’t judge, just think that without that child I probably wouldn’t be here.