DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 2003-06 > 1055628753
From: Brian Randell <>
Subject: Re: [DEV] Found this Interesting - Devon - OFF TOPIC
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 23:14:16 +0100
At 4:51 pm -0400 14/6/03, Mike <> wrote:
>SOME NEW TERMINOLOGY FOR LEGITIMATE GENEALOGISTS
> By Theodore A. Klein, Jr.
>Since I got into genealogy some seven or eight years ago, I
>have been uncomfortable with the description of someone as the
>"illegitimate son of Jane Doe." The sometimes used "the bastard
>child of Jane Doe" is even more negative in its implications.
>As a language specialist (English as a Second Language), I tend
>to look past the basic usage of many terms and pay more
>attention to semantic implications. What real message is being
>Perhaps we have become accustomed to the use of "illegitimate
>child" over the years. However, the basic meaning of the term
>"illegitimate" is "illegal." When we put "illegitimate" in the
>adjectival position before the noun "child," the implication is
>that the person we are talking about is not legal, not
>authorized, or not warranted. Why not change the usage to "Jane
>Doe is the illegitimate mother of John Doe, who is an acceptable
>And decent human." It took many years for the late Edna Gladney,
>founder of a well-known home for unwed mothers in Texas, to get
>the term "illegitimate" removed from Texas birth certificates,
>to avoid embarrassment to adoptive parents as well as their
>When we look at the many reasons why parents are not always able
>to go to a justice of the peace or a minister to complete their
>paperwork before moving in together, perhaps the issue becomes
>a little more tangible. Wars, depressions, and other historical
>factors have entered the picture in various places at various
>times. Many parents of "illegitimate" children have stayed
>together longer than some families who went through all of the
>customary legal paperwork. Even when they didn't, why should the
>child bear the label?
>I would like to propose a new term for genealogists to describe
>those whose parents did not formalize their union. How does
>"CWF" sound? It means "conceived without formalities" and is
>certainly more accurate, more polite, and less offensive than
>the label "illegitimate." How does "the CWF child of Jane Doe"
>sound in comparison to the customary options?
Interesting perhaps - but appropriate for a general genealogy list,
not one that is specifically limited to Devon genealogy.
So follow ups direct to Mike please, NOT on the Devon-L list.
School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 7RU, UK
EMAIL = PHONE = +44 191 222 7923
FAX = +44 191 222 8232 URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/~brian.randell/
|Re: [DEV] Found this Interesting - Devon - OFF TOPIC by Brian Randell <>|