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Adoptions in the 1800's

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Claire Report 15 Aug 2013 20:20

Hello ,

I wonder if anyone can help. I have traced family members back to the 1881 census. In the household there is a female listed as neice with a different family name. By the 1891 census she has taken on the family name and is listed as a daughter.

Any ideas as to how I could find out if this was a legitimate change or just an in family agreement.

Any ideas welcome, thank you


patchem Report 15 Aug 2013 20:37

Welcome to the boards, Claire.

Have you bought her birth certificate to see who her parents actually are?

Nothing legitimate before 1926..:

'Adoption Act 1926

Various bills and several parliamentary committees during the 1920s had tried to arrive at legal procedures for the adoption of children. Although adoption did take place, it had no legal sanction and adopted children did not have the rights of natural children.

The Adoption Act which was passed in 1926 introduced adoption procedures for the first time.'


BeverleyW Report 15 Aug 2013 20:42

Sometimes a niece was actually a step-daughter.


Claire Report 15 Aug 2013 21:10

Hello patchem, I haven't bought her birth certificate as she is straying off my heads of the households path, and I have to put boundaries in somewhere or i'll need a second mortgage ! Nonetheless she caught my interest and it's helpful to know there's nothing legal before 1926. Just good families hopefully ! Thank you.

BevereyW Thank you for the step-daughter lead. It's quite possible as on some of the info i've gained the maths doesn't add up and it appears there is another child the current wife could not be the mother of due to her age. I may have found a previous wife, but the male i'm researching so far has 3 different birth years on three census's although i'm positive it's the same man.

All good fun !


jax Report 15 Aug 2013 21:26

I had one recently where a child was listed as granddaughter in 1881 and daughter in 1891. When she married she gave her poss grandfather as her fathers name.

I gave in and bought her birth cert as it was impossible to work out who she belonged to as there were 5 unmarried daughters at the time of her birth and the grandmother would have been 50 so doubtful it was her...turned out to be 21 year old daughter number 3

So although she wasn't adopted, I wonder if the grandparents bought her up as one their daughters as she didn't live with her real mother