Nurse child

Discussion in 'General Family History Queries' started by KathrynB, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. KathrynB

    KathrynB Member

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    Hello

    I'm doing some research for a friend. My friend's mother (Dorothy) was born in 1897 in Peterborough. I have seen her birth certificate and there is no father's name. My friend knew that her mother lived with the Burton family in Peterborough. Here's the query: in the 1901 census, Dorothy is with the Burton family, aged 4, and listed as Visitor. In the 1911 census, she is 14 and listed as 'Nurse child' (no occupation given). Now, I have seen the phrase 'nurse child' before in my own family tree but only for a very young child who was not living with his mother. Perhaps significantly, the Burton family had had 7 children, but 5 had died. Did they 'take in' Dorothy? My friend says she was treated as a sister by the two Burton 'boys'. How common was it to use the term 'nurse child' in these circumstances? Any other observations about 'nurse child' term?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Daft Bat

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

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    I have seen the phrase used more than once, generally referring to a child that was adopted, albeit informally.

    Legal adoption did not start until 1st January 1927 as a result of the 1926 Adoption Act, so it was not uncommon for such children to be referred to in this way. :)
     
  3. KathrynB

    KathrynB Member

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    Thanks so much, Jan. I didn't know about the date for legal adoption. You have convinced me that she was informally adopted.
     
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  4. Daft Bat

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

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    You're welcome. :)
     
  5. Lusmum

    Lusmum Active Member

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    My grandmother is listed as a nurse child on the1881 census, she is with her mother and sisters. They were all baseborn and then her mother married. I have always understood that her father was paying maintenance for her. She was given the forename of Knight although her surname was Lane. When she married she used the name of Lane Knight as her surname and listed her father but he wasn't on the birth cert.
     
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  6. Bonzo Dog

    Bonzo Dog Still the Mad Scientist?

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    I have a relative listed as a Nurse Child in 1871. He was aged 1 and living with an aunt and uncle. There is a death registration for his mother in the same year quarter as his birth but the "adoption" seems to have been a temporary measure as in 1881 he was living with his father, who had remarried in 1874.
     
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