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01-05-2019, 23:59   #16
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Agreed, giving children away happened in the 50's and probably continued later also. My friend was given away to a relative and she is now in her 60's and still doesn't know why. My own husband was given away in the 50's as a toddler, also to a relative. I asked his mother why and although she gave what she felt was a practical reason, I still felt it was a cruel decision. None of his family ever knew how that actually affected him even to this day. And he will never inherit anything from his family even though he is the eldest.
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02-05-2019, 00:06   #17
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Kids also might be too sick to travel on long seajourney or would face rejection at immigration abroad. For this reason too the youngest child was left behind until they recovered.
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02-05-2019, 09:47   #18
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My eldest cousin lived with us. We knew he was our cousin but he may as well have been our eldest brother. What happened was my aunt had him and then another baby within a year - Irish twins. The granny who lived at our house took him as a way of helping out her daughter I suppose. The granny couldn't move to her daughter's house because there were already the husband's mother and father living there. My mam married into that situation ie a small baby in her home when she arrived home after her wedding. He never went home despite there being nine of us and only five in his own family. The thing is I suppose who a baby knows in the first year or two effectively is his family and his own mother & father quickly became more of a stranger/visitor than those at my house. However it did cause some resentfulness between my parents because my cousin was adored by my father and the little boy was always at his side and my mam felt her husband liked his nephew more than his own children. Also my cousin has become neither fish nor fowl, he isn't quite one of us and he definitely isn't quite one of his own family either.

Last edited by Mrsmum; 02-05-2019 at 09:52.
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02-05-2019, 11:50   #19
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My father told me a story a while back.

When he was a child, maybe 5 or 6. A young man used to call to the house every morning to drop off a bucket of Milk. The young man used to be all about him and all chat but my father was shy of this stranger. One day, he just asked his mother who the Milk boy was. It was his eldest brother. He was sent to live with the Grandparents to help them out. Funny thing is, the houses were only about 500m apart.

That was about 1960 in the midlands. Seemingly it was common place.

My mother was raised by her older cousin until she was 13 too.
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02-05-2019, 20:23   #20
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In the case of my great grandfather's family, all his siblings emigrated except an older brother. He would have presumably stayed to work on the farm and eventually inherit it. However, he died of TB. My great grandfather was the youngest and most recent to travel to America so he returned to Ireland to help his parents on the farm.

The brother of my 2x great grandmother had two wives. The first wife died less than weeks after the birth of their sixth child in 1901. By 1911, the child was living with his aunt while the rest of his siblings were living with his aunt around 3.6 km away from his father. This aunt lost all four of her children in 1890 due to diphtheria. She had four more children after that. The nephew that was staying with her in 1911 had the same name as her second eldest child who had died. He was still living with his aunt in 1911 and attending school. His father, step-mother, full and half siblings all emigrated to America.

In another case, the brother of my 2x great grandfather had his 5th child in 1895. His wife died the same day that their last child was born in 1897 but the child didn't survive. More than likely due to his young age being 2, his father was unable to look after him. The child lived with his grandmother, two uncles and a wife of one of them in 1901. The two houses were about 2.1 km apart. By 1911, he was still attending school but was now living with his aunt and her husband who had no children. The house was about 9.5 km from his father's house. He inherited his aunt's house and farm.

My great grandfather's cousin was living in my great grandfather's house for a few years. I don't know how long but she was there in 1911. She was a child from the first marriage of the man above who had two wives. Another girl was living with them too and she was the granddaughter of my 2x great grandparents but still had both parents living. However, there were 9 other children in the family while my 2x great grandparents just had two adult sons in their 30s living with them. They were still living there when my grandfather was born there in 1915 and my grandfather remembered living with them. Both girls eventually emigrated. They seemed happy there and I think that they liked living with their grandparents/aunt. They were very good friends and both frequently wrote letters back and forth with my grandfather.

My 2x great grandfather's sister returned to Ireland to bring her niece with her to America. My great grandfather's sister was brought to America when she was 15 in 1912. Her aunt was a servant/companion to a wealthy man in America. Her aunt brought her over to work in a hospital but her employer refused to allow that happen and instead insisted that she continued going to school where she also learned to speak French and play the piano. The employer continued to look after her after her aunt died in 1915. The employer erected a headstone for the aunt who died in 1915. My great grandfather's sister did very well for herself and actually inherited a lot of his money when he died. However, she became a bit of a snob. She returned to Ireland frequently with her own chauffeur but she made him stop at the head of the road of my great grandfather's house and she walked the rest of the way. She was too embarrassed to let her chauffeur see the house that her brother and his family lived in which was just a three room house!

Last edited by srmf5; 02-05-2019 at 20:33.
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