Look to the father

This guide was last updated in 2009

You may be able to speculate – and probably no more than speculate – about who the father of your illegitimate ancestor might be.

Although you may never be able to prove your theories, there are sometimes signs that are worth serious consideration.

Does the child have a distinctive first or middle name that they share with someone associated with the family (even if associated only by geographical proximity)?

Does the mother marry soon after the birth of the child, and is there any connection by name between ‘stepfather’ and child? Was the mother working for someone, perhaps as a domestic servant, who is a candidate for the father? Again, certificates and census returns are the major tools here.

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