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ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN

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Guest

Hello all.

Can someone please clarify the position of an illegitimate child born in the UK to an unmarried private.

The soldier in question is Pte Arthur Robert Fox 34638. 23rd & 7th Battalions Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) K.I.A. 14th November 1916, Battle of the Ancre.

Arthur's daughter was born out of wedlock in December 1915 and there was no subsequent marriage prior to his enlistment.

I employed a researcher to obtain any information relating to Arthur's military record but unfortunately his personal details are among the "Burnt Series". From his medal records it seems likely he was a first wave conscript around March or April 1916.

Are there any surviving military records that may show his daughters existance and could he have claimed her as a dependant?

His daughter's birth certificate states "Father unknown".

Regards,

David.

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truthergw

Hi Lord Lucan. Father unknown rather suggests that he was not being pursued for maintenance or at least that he had not acknowledged paternity. Any allowance he made would have been a private arrangement between him and the mother.

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Heid the Ba

If her birth certificate states "father unknown" then there is no legal connection between them. The only way the child could have become his dependant would be by him marrying the mother or by adopting the child. I'm assuming the mother was unmarried as there is a presumption that the child of a marraige is the husband's, so there doesn't look like any legal reason for them not to marry.

As the parents were unmarried the only way he could be named on the birth certificate was if he was present at the registration. As he wasn't conscripted at that point take your pick from:

1. he wasn't the father,

2. he denied being the father,

3. family pressure stopped him acknowledging being the father.

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Guest
Hi Lord Lucan. Father unknown rather suggests that he was not being pursued for maintenance or at least that he had not acknowledged paternity. Any allowance he made would have been a private arrangement between him and the mother.

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Your answer is along the lines of my thoughts, but I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

Thanks again

David.

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PhilB

In a recent radio discussion, the point was made that, legally, the man named on the birth certificate need not be the natural father. I had rather assumed that to be the point of a birth certificate!

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Guest

Hi Heid the Ba.

I agree with your options.

We have lately proved he was her biological father, but the relationship between parents is unknown.

The daughter was left photographs of Arthur. Her mother eventually married and emigrated to Australia with her husband and their two children, leaving her illegitimate child with her Maternal Grandparents.

Arthur's younger sister also confirmed his paternal involvement in a letter. (in my possession).

The problem with this sort of situation, is that it just raises more questions!

Regards,

David.

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Heid the Ba

Phil B:

To expand on my earlier answer:

If the woman is married, in the absence of other evidence the husband's name will appear. There are numerous examples of husbands being so named who could not be the father including husbands in POW camps etc. at the relevant time.

If the woman is unmarried anyone who is present at the registration can declare they are the father and be so named.

Anyone named on the birth certificate is assumed to be the father, which is why they have to be there if they are not married to the mother.

David:

Sorry, we posted at the same time. Good luck sorting it out.

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Guest

Hi Phil B,

You would think so, wouldn't you, but a medical survey carried out in a small town (unnamed) in England, found 29% of the named "fathers" on birth certificates, were not the biological fathers at all. As is the case with my birth certificate.

The person supplying the information is normally the mother or mother in law, and the recorder does not ask for proof!

The phrase "a pinch of salt" comes to mind.

Regards,

David.

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sandymae

1. Maybe it's possible that he didn't know of his daughter...............?

2. Perhaps the mother wasn't sure/didn't know who the father was (sorry about any implications that comment may bring).

3. Perhaps he signed up at about the same time of her birth, and hoped to return and marry the mother but sadly never came back.

4. Perhaps the mother and father had a disagreement and they went their seperate ways.

I have 2 birth certificates of deceased family members dated early 1900's - neither certificates name the father, both of the mothers worked 'in service'. One mother went on to marry the father - but not until he had returned from 'being sent away for misdemeanours', so we speculate.

The other mother registered her son giving him three names - using the fathers surname as a middle name, she subsequently married the father, and the son dropped his birth surname (her maiden name) and took on his father's surname.

Remember that in 'the old days', any child born out of wedlock carried a stigma for mother and baby.

Sandra

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Heid the Ba

'lord lucan'

You would think so, wouldn't you, but a medical survey carried out in a small town (unnamed) in England, found 29% of the named "fathers" on birth certificates, were not the biological fathers at all. As is the case with my birth certificate.

It was somewhere in the North East; Hartlepool or Middlesborough somewhere like that. There were flaws with their methodology (sorry can't find a link) but generally the figure is between 5 and 15%.

'lord lucan'

The person supplying the information is normally the mother or mother in law, and the recorder does not ask for proof!

But if the mother is unmarried they did require the person named as father to be present before 1953 and since then the father has to sign a declaration if he is not present. The proof is the declartion by the father that he is the father. Remember this pre-dates DNA and if no proof were required then no-one would claim Private Fox of the Londons when they could claim the Prince of Wales as the father.

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John Cubin

Soldier's Will? He might have acknowledged the kid there.

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alliekiwi

Along the lines of what Heid the Ba' says, it depends on what the laws were at the time as to what could be put on the birth certificate and by whom.

Similar to the rules in the UK where the father must sign a delcaration or be present, in New Zealand it depends on if the parents are married. If the parents of the child are married, either of them can fill in the form and sign it. (We don't need to go into a registry office these days - one posts the birth registration form.) If the couple are unmarried, the mother must fill in the form and cannot put the father's name on there without him signing the form as well acknowledging that he is the father. If the father doesn't sign, the birth certificate lists either 'father unknown' or a blank spot or dash where the father's name should be.

Allie

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Guest

Thank you to everyone who contributed.

My understanding of the legal position re unnamed fathers is much clearer.

Regards,

David.

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