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Tip of the day...Adoption records

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Sarah Report 24 Feb 2012 13:26

my grandmother was adopted, and I would love to find out more information on her birth parents. My nan died 17 years ago, of cancer, and I think one, or both, of the biological parents are of Mediteranean origin. Although I wouldn't wish to make contact with any relatives, as I suspect they wouldn't have known about my nan's existence as she was illegitimate. I have no idea where to start though, as all I know is what her date of birth is and her adopted parents names


Suzanne Report 29 Jun 2011 22:25

thank you jonesey for that very interesting information,to answer a few points that you brought up
ive always thought that maybe my grandfathers adopted parents knew my grandmother,but ive not come up with anything yet,
also you mentioned you thought it strange that grandads adopted parents adopted him very early in their marriage,well ive got their marriage cert,but im only guessing when he was adopted,because all i really know is,that he was born in feb 1915,no father and mother a domestic servant(his birth mother reg his birth)and he was adopted,of course it was not a formal adoption,so no paper work hadto be done and he just could have been given away.anyway thank you for that useful info on adoption.x :-) :-) oh and i forgot to mention,i live in anglesey,so if you want me to check anything out for you,please just ask.x


Jonesey Report 29 Jun 2011 20:35


As there was no formal adoption in England/Wales before 1927 any arrangement regarding your grandmother whilst still a child would have been an informal one.

As far as her surname is concerned, if whatever arrangement was reached was considered to be a permanent one then it is probable that she would become known by the family surname of the family who were caring for her. If on the other hand it was envisaged that the arrangement was to be only temporary then I would have thought it more likely that she would retain her original name.

Regarding why at the time of her first marriage no fathers name was recorded on the certificate but on the occasion of her 2nd marriage a fathers name was recorded. Firstly if she had been raised by people other than her birth family she may not have known who her biological father was. Secondly as far as I am aware it never has been, even to this day, a requirement to give your fathers name when getting married. She may therefore have declined to give her fathers name even if she knew it. Why then would she give a fathers name second time around? Who knows? Many possible explanations, Did she now know who her father was, did she no longer wish to decline giving his name, did she do what many others did I.E. "Invent" a father for social reasons.

I see that Jane Ellen went under the surname Kelly at the time of her 1st marriage. Have you found her under that name in the 1911 census?


Jonesey Report 29 Jun 2011 10:03


As you say it probably would have been very difficult for your single 17 year old great grandmother to cope with the raising of her son. He may indeed have been placed in a childrens home or perhaps placed into the temporary care of a child minder by his mother, possibly a relative. I am sure that you have probably heard of the terms "Nurse child" and "Baby farmer"

What seems a little strange is that he was "Adopted" in 1916 by a couple who had only just been married. Could one of the couple have been a relative of your great grandmother? Formal adoption did not begin until 1927 so unfortunately it is unlikely that you will be able to find any documentation relating to the arrangement that resulted in your grandfather being handed over to the couple. My understanding is that most of these unofficial "Adoptions" were either arranged through the child's family or through the church or charitable organisations.

Just as a matter of interest within my brother in laws family his great grandmother had his grandfather illegitimately in February 1881. At the time she was working as a servant in a hotel in Anglesey. She registered the birth and somehow managed to raise him herself. Oddly, although I found her in Anglesey on the 1881 census which was taken at the end of March that year the child did not appear to be with her. In fact I cannot spot him anywhere in 1881, perhaps she was hiding him under the bed or in the wardrobe (lol). Mother and child then returned together to her family home in Warwickshire. Unfortunately the mother died in 1884 and her son was then raised by her sisters.

Good luck in your quest to find where he was in 1915.


Suzanne Report 28 Jun 2011 23:23

hi jonesey
my question is,how would a 17yr old domestic servant in 1915 cope with a illigitimate child(my grandad,born 1915 and adopted sometime in 1916)we know that his adopted parents were not married until jan 1916,would my grandmother have been able to keep him(i think not )if not where would he have been?.x :-D

 Sue In Yorkshire.

Sue In Yorkshire. Report 28 Jun 2011 18:29


Thanks for all the info you have put on here,,

I have just sent the last Paragraph about Birth Relatives can request the info to a friend who needs her mothers adoption info as she has a disease that hey think has come from her mother's birth mothers side...



Peter Report 28 Jun 2011 18:10

I know this is an old posting but as you are still around Jonesey I'd like to ask you a question.
You say...........................children themselves were rarely in any way to blame for their adoption.............

Please can you tell us when you believe a child IS responsible for their own adoption, thank you


PS this is the second time I have sent this, the first one just disappeared, sorry about that.


Jonesey Report 28 Jun 2011 15:39


I cannot give you specific cases of where a child might have been to blame for their own adoption. All I can offer is that I have read of instances where a parent has sought to have a child "adopted" because the child's behaviour was such that the parent could no longer cope with it.

As I stated I am sure that such instances were however, very rare.


Under current legislation it is now a requirement that Adoption agencies are required by law to keep their records for at least 100 years.

New legislation also makes it possible for any birth relative of the adopted person to request the services of an agency licensed to offer an intermediary service to act on their behalf. The Adoption and Children Act 2002, defines a birth relative as being any person who is related to the adopted person by blood, including half blood or marriage.


Geraldine Report 28 Jun 2011 12:59

Adoption Records are NOT protected for 75 years. However, it is a legal requirement that Adoption Records are KEPT for 75 years. These records can only be accessed by the adopted person.

The Freedom of Information Act does not include access to Adoption Records.


littlelegs Report 28 Jun 2011 11:50

hi jonesey
your very good at this [tip of the day ]
thank you for all the advice it has helped so many people
keep up the good work
all the best


Jonesey Report 28 Jun 2011 09:34



TootyFruity Report 15 Jan 2011 19:14



TootyFruity Report 15 Jan 2011 18:53



Katie Report 15 Jan 2011 18:37



TootyFruity Report 15 Jan 2011 18:16



Jonesey Report 14 Jan 2011 08:22


A good question about rights of access once the 75 year protection period has expired.

In truth I do not know the answer. I suspect however that should anyone wish to access a record they may be allowed to do so under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I am glad to note that you have no intention of trying to access the lady's adoption records whilst she is still alive and I hope that your consideration and restraint is an example followed by others.


Madmeg Report 14 Jan 2011 00:39

The wife of my husband's cousin was adopted almost at birth, she has always known that. Her husbands family are keen on family history and I've provided them all with what I've found so far. This lady expressed an interest in getting her birth and adoption records, so I furnished her with the information to do so, but she thought about it and decided not to.

Is that the end of it? You say adoption records are protected for 75 years (this lady is in her 80s), so does that mean that at some point I would be able to access her records? I have no intention of doing so while she is still alive, that would be insensitive.


~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~  **007 1/2**

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~ **007 1/2** Report 13 Jan 2011 22:27

A useful post to nudge....i think someone mentioned adoptions earlier


Jonesey Report 11 Jan 2011 15:46

Hi Sheila,

Yes I am still alive and kicking and a fully paid up member of GR.


Sheila Report 11 Jan 2011 10:16

HI Jonsey;

Are you still around on this site ? :O)