Archiver > ABERDEEN > 2010-06 > 1277331111

From: Ray Hennessy <>
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] illegitimate children
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 23:11:51 +0100
References: <mailman.49.1277245255.3855.aberdeen@rootsweb.com><4C21D958.7020402@kinhelp.co.uk><24766D8031994B89BE6B8B478BCBF509@computer>
In-Reply-To: <24766D8031994B89BE6B8B478BCBF509@computer>

On 23 June 2010 17:06, goldie and Lido Doratti <> wrote:

The mother to the female child lived with her parents on their croft, and
> her parents were witnesses to baby's baptism. She was raised by her
> father's parents......he lived and worked at their croft. I suspect both
> were needed by their families to work on their own crofts. But what
> surprises me is that the little girl spent her childhood with the paternal
> grandparents. It is as if she existed and the maternal grandparents
> recognized that by being witnesses to the baptism......yet it looks like she
> didn't really belong to them. Just odd how things turn out.

Hi Goldie

Your final statement "... it looks like she didn't really belong to them
..." is possibly a bit extreme. There are many possible reasons for such an
arrangement. The paternal grandparents may have had more room [room was
always at a premium], they may have had more help in the home [domestic
servant?]. Perhaps the maternal grandparents were physically unable to look
after a baby. Were they much older? infirm? penurious? unhoused?

Any of these possibilities would modify your assumption. Our experience of
such children is that the extended family rallied round and made
arrangements in the best interest of all concerned. Some examples:

1. A girl, whose (married) mother died before the child was in her teens,
was defined as "imbecile" on a census. She lived with her father and two
later step mothers and was then cared for by several of her many step
sisters. She was born in 1821 and died aged 69 when her death certificate
was signed by her step sister's husband.

2. An unmarried girl had her child, born in 1884, living with and eventually
"adopted" by her married sister as her husband had a good job and a house in
Aberdeen [round the corner from ANESFHS]. I say "adopted" because his
surname was changed to the uncle's in the 1901 Census although formal
adoption wasn't made [or possible?].

3. A child born out of wedlock in 1868 lived with her father and his family
until the father married the mother's niece! So the familial relationships
were obviously very close even if the mother's family took - apparently - no
part in the child's upbringing.

4. A man was widowed in Longside and several neighbours each adopted one of
his many children as he was not of an age when remarrying was feasible. He
obviously had to work to keep himself and the remaining children were of
working age. [early 20th century, details unknown.]

5. A son born "in fornincation with his servant girl" in 1787 stayed with
the father [aged 17 at the time] and grandfather but we are unable to
discover what happened to the mother. Both the son and his father were
hauled before the Kirk Session at the same time around 1810 so the family
tradition seemed to continue!

These little vignettes from one tree show that there may be a vast number of
reasons possible for the many family situations we discover in the bare
bones of the OPR and Census records.

Best wishes


>From Ray Hennessy
Forenames website: www.whatsinaname.net
Preferred Email address:
Hints for Scotland's People at http://bit.ly/WIAN-SCP

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