You asked how the designation of illegitmate children varied over time. I
would not place too much reliance on the earlier years as there are only a
few registers in my sample from that period. Very broadly:
date most common description of illegitmate
up to 1700 reputed
after 1850 no description of child (eg no father, mother
described as spinster, parents having different
surnames & abodes)
In each time period the description "illegitmate", though not the most
common, was used for at least a fifth of the children.
At 23/09/2011 14:04 U+0200, yr achwr wrote:
I wonder if your database allows you to break down the use of the terms
into smaller time periods.
Up to 1700
1701 to 1750
1751 to 1800
1801 to 1850
1851 to end
It would be interesting to see how the descriptions have changed over
Message Received: Sep 23 2011, 11:52 AM
From: "Anna & Theo Brueton"
Subject: [Dyfed] Natural Children
For those who like statistics:
In my database of over 5,000 illegitmate baptisms in Carmarthenshire
between c. 1660 & 1870, the following are the most commonly-used
descriptions (including their Latin equivalents):
6% other adjectives such as supposed, spurious, specious.
In addition, 2% described the child as "notha" (having a
higher-status father) and 0.4% described the mother as a
concubine. Some 16% of the children were not specifically labelled,
but their illegitimacy could be inferred from the context - eg no
father's name, mother described as a spinster or similar, or, in
registers from 1813, the unmarried status of the parents was evident
from their different surnames and abodes.
I agree with Mary that the term used depended on the preferences of
the person recording the baptisms.
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