uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
Thread Tools Search this Thread
27-06-2018, 22:55   #1
Registered User
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 435
Slightly off topic but I was somewhat taken aback when I came across this today in church records from 1820s Westmeath. Is this common for the 19th century?

Attachment 454409
Griffinx is offline  
27-06-2018, 22:58   #2
Registered User
JDERIC2017's Avatar
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 148
Originally Posted by Griffinx View Post
Slightly off topic but I was somewhat taken aback when I came across this today in church records from 1820s Westmeath. Is this common for the 19th century?

Attachment 454409
First time I have seen that, shocked.
JDERIC2017 is offline  
27-06-2018, 23:06   #3
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 623
I've seen more colourful comments on parish registers
KildareFan is online now  
27-06-2018, 23:26   #4
Category Moderator
spurious's Avatar
It seems to depend on the priest. Some of them wrote the B word in HUGE letters, others just put the Latin illegitimato (or whatever it is).
spurious is offline  
28-06-2018, 00:02   #5
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 247
It's very common. I have seen it a lot in both Catholic and Protestant records. Often, they name the father and I always wonder how they knew. No secrets in small towns, I guess.  I suspect it was a legal matter--who was financially responsible for the child.
VirginiaB is offline  
28-06-2018, 09:39   #6
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,525
Yep have seen it and worse before.

Please keep this thread only for handwriting decryption.
pinkypinky is offline  
28-06-2018, 09:41   #7
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,988
@Mod – do you want to move #1502 onwards to the ‘Off topic chat’ thread?

Sometimes abbreviated to f.l. the terms ‘filius legitimus’ or ‘filia legitima (legitimate son/daughter) are always written in Irish baptismal registers of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, both urban and rural, so it should be no surprise that ‘illegitimate’ or ‘bastard’ would be encountered, although I’ve seen the Latin version (illegitimus/a) more frequently. As Spurious says it can be a minor mention ‘(fil. illeg)’ or bastard in bold.

It was not unusual (although not very frequent) for the father to acknowledge paternity. If that happened the child usually took the father’s surname, if not it was given the mother’s. Even if paternity was not accepted, the priest would sometime write ‘father believed to be John Smith‘ or whoever. Also, it was not unusual for a couple to live together, have a child and subsequently marry. (Depending on the date and the country this could legitimise any living children of the couple.)

The Marriage Act of 1753 and the efforts to stamp out clandestine marriages had a huge influence on the recording of marriages and the subsequent status of offspring. All this must be viewed in the social & legal context of the day, an era when illegitimacy defined the legal standing of illegitimate child, one who had almost no rights of inheritance, could not enter Holy Orders without a dispensation, etc. The social stigma also was huge. When home birth was the norm and clothing was more voluminous, the pregnancy often was hidden and the child passed off simply as another sibling and raised along with its ‘sister’.

In Ireland immediately post-Independence, two factors had a big influence. Firstly the Roman Catholic moral code was enshrined in the laws of the fledgling state. This was done subtly - the RC Church exerted a hugely powerful control on society (the electorate) which then elected officials who influenced state policy with legislation reflecting and upholding the views of ‘society’. Secondly, there was a conscious effort by the State to distance itself from anything considered ‘British’. Birth outside wedlock was viewed as ‘un-Irish’ and the resulting vision of what should constitute pure Irish maidenhood led to the shoving of the pregnant unmarried out of sight.

Becoming a member of the EU, growing sexual liberation and Ireland’s economic growth led to a change in outlook. As views, attitudes and beliefs changed, legislation had to adjust to reflect the changing societal stance. The impact of social welfare support has had a major influence, not just by simple financial support, but also the availability of housing.
About one third of Irish births are now outside marriage. Chart
pedroeibar1 is offline  
28-06-2018, 09:42   #8
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,525
Pedro you are terrible back seat moderator! Other mods would give you slaps!
pinkypinky is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Remove Text Formatting

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Share Tweet