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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2008-03 > 1205426427

From: "Caroline Bradford" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 16:40:27 -0000
References: <001d01c88500$18120ef0$191b4454@user5bnplbh1sy><><002b01c88508$1bf47fa0$191b4454@user5bnplbh1sy> <BAY108-DAV4F68C8794EFF390C43DA9B7090@phx.gbl><001001c88523$1d190e30$7e9b5947@FVOSE1>
In-Reply-To: <001001c88523$1d190e30$7e9b5947@FVOSE1>

Hi Frances

It was not mandatory for a father's name to appear on a birth certificate.
On the contrary, in fact, at the time in question, the only way that a
"putative" father could be so named was if the man in question went along to
the Registrar with the mother and signed the certificate.

Universal elementary education came into being with Forster's Education Act
of 1870. Although this was still not free, the cost was relatively low, and
school boards could set fees on a sliding scale so that the poorer families
were subsidised by the richer ones. Payment was made weekly, so most
children could afford to attend at least some of the time.

Unless your great grandmother chose to take the father of her child to court
for maintenance (a pretty rare occurrence), I am afraid you may have to
accept that you will never know his identity. It is possible (sorry to have
to say this!) that your great grandmother might not have known herself.
Babies conceived out of wedlock were more common in the mid nineteenth
century than we often imagine. In very many cases, a wedding would have
been hastily arranged. Where this did not take place, there would probably
be a good reason. The mother may have refused to divulge the identity of
the father, the father might already be married, be an itinerant worker
passing through the area or (as I think you may be theorising) someone from
a higher social status.

Hope this helps


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:essex-uk-
> ] On Behalf Of Fran Vose
> Sent: 13 March 2008 15:59
> To: ;
> I have a birth certificate for my grandmother who died in the l960's in
> Essex. She was born 1870 in Northants. when my g. grandmother was
> age
> 20 no doubt working as a servant at the big manor house next door to
> where
> she lived. . There is no mention of the biological father's
> name on
> grandmother's , nORTHANT birth certificate- just an empty space.
> My
> grandmother attended school when young which makes me wonder if the
> bio
> father provided money for her to do this as probably few people were
> attending schools in l870 until it became required in later years -
> think
> l880. My g. g. grandparents lived in a very small village in
> Northants
> which had a large manor house, so in all probability my g. grandmother
> was a
> servant in the "big house" when all this happened.
> Is there any way at all I could learn more? I have baptism record
> from the
> parish church and also contacted the manor house which of course was in
> different hands then. -Seems like there is almost a code of
> silence.
> Why would no name appear where the father's name is usually written on
> her
> birth certificate? Was this not mandatory in l870.
> Frances ( U.S.)
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