Bastardy Records.

Discussion in 'Illegitimacy' started by The Artful Dodger, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Currently I am researching 2 people involved in Bastardy Bond issues.

    One involved a woman who would appear to have been involved with several different men over a period of time and had several children as a result. These births were in Cornwall and I have checked the OPC site with no success for her name as the instigator.

    Where else may I find information?
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Contact the County Record Office/Archives, but you might wish to consider this book, when funds allow. :)

    By the way, have you seen this? ;)
     
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  3. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Thanks for part #1 of your reply - it is on my wish list for Christmas as is membership to a couple of FHS's.

    As for the 2nd part I'll study it later, but I think I've read it before.
     
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  4. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Poor Law records can be of help Colin if the father(s) were reluctant to pay any support or if they moved from parish to parish and were the subject of Removal Orders.
     
  5. Malcolm Webb

    Malcolm Webb Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried newspapers for the local area?

    I stumbled across a bastardy order against my 2 x great grandfather in 1843 in Ampthill Petty Sessions (found on British Newspaper Archives). It was only a single line in the report in a Northampton newspaper but sufficient for me to get confirmatory information from Bedfordshire Archives. It referred to John Webb of Houghton Conquest being ordered to pay 1s 6d per week, plus the cost of the order, for the bastard child of Charlotte Traveller. That's all it said, but it explained why John and his wife (my 2 x great grandmother) separated, she moved to Rugby to be near her sister and re-married as a "widow" in February 1846, probably to explain away a 2 year old child -- my great grandfather.

    Whilst this was brilliant information after losing John following the birth of his son, it hasn't got me any nearer to finding his death.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  6. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Rather than INSTIGATOR the lady was the INIATOR against each of the men involved. Since I cannot find her as an active participant, all I have is a first, a middle name [purported Father] and her surname.

    I've tried under her sxunamed but nothing came of it and likewise with the middle names of her children.

    Where do I go from here? I have found records relating to her and some of the children for removal orders from one parish to another. Would this indicate a lack of success in her actions against a possible father?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2014
  7. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Colin, I have never seen those terms used in any poor law records or even in quarter sessions records. Usually if a person moved from one parish to another and fell on hard times, they would be removed back to their originating parish if they needed support. Parish officers were very keen to track down men who had fathered children out of wedlock so if the woman named someone (generally) it would up to him to prove he didn't father the child. How do you know she had these children by different fathers?
     
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  8. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Right now all I have is her surname - and the middle name of the children. - one of whom was blessed [or cursed with the name COCK - fortunately he was a son].

    I really don't want to post more potential surnames of people
     
  9. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    fair enoughski
     
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  10. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Based upon what I have:
    1] 3 children baptised with middle name that could indicate the father.
    2] A mother - who appears to have never married

    That my dear is all I have
     
  11. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    I am being CAREFUL - I don't need a law-suit for Libel or Slander.
     
  12. Figgs

    Figgs Well-Known Member

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    Colin........I am sure the Statute of Limitations has run out by now. And just want to say I have never, ever seen the words "Instigator" or "Initiator" used in this sort of thing. Usually it was the man who "initiated" the deed. :D

    Good thing you don't do Jamaican research, as I do. A totally different world and one in which I have never seen Bastardy Bonds. Lots of illegitimate children, though. Men will be men. :p And Jamaicans use the expression "outside children"......sounds nicer.
     
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  13. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Once again - the Joker hasn't made 'clear' his intentions so I will try again with a different approach - which includes my interpretation of what a Bastardy Bond was.

    "A woman gets pregnant and this would usually involve a member of the opposite sex. Sometimes she knows his name or identity - sometimes not. If she is unmarried, then possibly she would approach the Parish Poor Law overseers for Relief. If the father is not known, she may get help from the Parish. If she knows or suspects a certain man by name or identity she must prove his liability to the satisfaction of the Parish and if successful, then an order for a Bastardy Bond and a set amount of money is stated".

    Is my understanding correct? If so, then the person who 1st made the application for such an order was the female - call her the Agitator then, if you are not comfortable with my choice of words - Initiator or Instigator.
     
  14. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Not really, I'm afraid! The woman in bastardy cases didn't "take action" or instigate/initiate/agitate proceedings in any way. This isn't about the mothers of illegitimate children trying to get money for themselves. It is all about the parish trying to minimise their expenditure on supporting those who couldn't support themselves. It was in their interests to try to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and get them to contribute to supporting the children.

    You need to do some reading on the Old Poor Law, settlement/removal, and so on, to try to get your head round what it was all about. I will try to find some references for you after I've had some lunch.

    The survival of records is very patchy, unfortunately. The relevant online parish clerk or the folks at Cornwall Record Office should be able to advise you on what has survived for a particular parish.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
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  15. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Thank you for explaining and believe me I would appreciate knowing a lot more about the subject.

    My next post on this thread will not involve the lady who I mentioned at the outset - but 2 men - one of whom is almost certainly one of my relatives and the other is a 'could-be'.

    Both were in Bodmin, Bridewell - after failing to comply with Bastardy Orders.
     
  16. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    The chap who I am 99% sure is mine - details as follows:
    Institution - Bodmin, Bridewell
    Date of Admission - 22-Jul
    Year of Admission - 1834
    Register # - 7497
    Forename - Thomas
    Surname - BARKER
    Occupation - Labourer
    Abode - Phillack, late St. Earth [sic]
    Committed By - Nic. Kendall, Clk.
    Offence Sentence &c - Disobeying an Order of Basts. to satisfy the Parish of Gwinear. 3 M HL or pay 5.9.3
    Personal details - agd 22, ht 5.7 1/4, eyes grey,hair brown, fresh compl., read and write - no , scars on forehead & on back of left hand. Little finger each hand crooked. Freckled. Single
    When Discharged - 14th
    Remarks Behaviour - Orderly
    Transcriber Notes - Part image missing.
    Transcriber - Name listed.

    So I have a very good description of a 22 year old man who would appear to have fathered a child in Gwinear and was previously from St. Erth and now residing in Phillack. He owed quite a sum of money so presumably the order was made by Gwinear c. 1832/1833. Nothing exists in Gwinear for such an order between 1830 and 1834 and the same can be said for both St. Erth and Phillack.

    So who was the lady and what was the name of the child?

    So far a search of Baptisms of Base-born children in Gwinear , St. Erth and Phillack for 1832 and 1833 revealed:
    Gwinear 1832 - 3 - all women involved were spinsters
    Gwinear 1833 - 3 - all women same status

    St. Erth 1832 - 2 - one was a widow and one a spinster
    St. Erth 1833 - 2 - all women involved were spinsters

    Phillack 1832 & 1833 - None.

    I doubt that I'll find anything about a potential father searching in marriages involving these children - but could I possibly hit pay-dirt if I searched on the mothers name for an order?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  17. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    First you need to be aware that bastardy orders are not the same as bastardy bonds. The Norfolk Record Office has a guide explaining these terms and others to do with illegitimacy:
    www.
    archives.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC098543

    Next you need to investigate whether any such records have survived among parish records of Gwinear and (if they have) whether any have been indexed for the OPC site. Perhaps try the Gwinear parish page on the OPC site to start with, and/or consult the online parish clerk or records office as already suggested.

    If there's nothing there, then other possible places to look are in old newspapers (not necessarily online) and in quarter sessions records.

    That's all for now . . . I started writing a thing about Old Poor Law records in general but it is turning into more of an essay, so it will be some time before it is finished. I'll probably post it as a separate thread: if so I'll post a link here in due course.
     
  18. Malcolm Webb

    Malcolm Webb Well-Known Member

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    That is my understanding. In the case of my 2 x ggf John Webb it was the parish of Houghton Conquest who initiated the action in Ampthill Petty Sessions against him following an application by the mother for parish relief. In the newspaper report I mentioned in my earlier post, there were 6 Bastardy Orders issued at the same sessions. In subsequent reports, 4 of those were before the court again for non-payment; unfortunately, John Webb was not amongst them -- he either paid up or (more likely) just disappeared and could not be found so no further action could be taken against him.

    All the best.
     
  19. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Thank you, Jane and Malcolm. Slowly --- very slowly - 'the penny is starting to drop' and I am getting closer to understanding the difference between a Bastardy Order and a Bastardy Bond.

    I do have some areas of difficulty understanding the relationship of the Surety to the person named in the Order - but if I can't find the answer, I know someone here will tell me where to find it
     
  20. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Have just sent an email to the Gwinear OPC
     

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