ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2007-05 > 1178546988
From: "C P Biggam" <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Christenings
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 15:09:48 +0100
>I have noticed that when the term "Spurious child of" is used this usually
>refers to the father named by the mother of an illegitimate child. You
>might read something like "John son of Jane Smith spurious child of James
Not always the case in the the records I've been reading, i.e. Harwich
parish registers. One example (and there are others) reads "James spurious
son of Elizabeth Clark".
> A child can't be the spurious child of the mother as she would have borne
> him but he could be the spurious, or supposed, child of the father named
> by the mother,
***I imagine you're thinking of the definition of 'spurious' that is listed
under sense 3 in the 'Oxford English Dictionary' (I mean, the full version).
It reads: 'Superficially resembling or simulating, but lacking the genuine
character or qualities of something; not true or genuine; false, sham,
counterfeit'. However, sense 1 reads as follows: 'Of persons: Begot or born
out of wedlock; illegitimate, bastard, adulterous'. The earliest recorded
example of this usage is 1598, and it extends to the end of the nineteenth
century (perhaps later, when this part of the dictionary has been revised).
I agree about some of the awful comments which creep into these records -
quite shocking by modern standards.
All the best,