Archives for paternity fraud

Family history: the paternity question

People have been having affairs – and illegitimate children – since the world began. For me, this means hundreds of story ideas for the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series. For family history researchers, paternity fraud presents a big dilemma: whether to believe what the records say. Adultery is notoriously difficult to trace through the records, with many women giving birth to babies whose father is not her husband. How do you spot a problem? Look out for:- Family rumours. Is it spiteful gossip, or is the rumour confirmed from different sources? Where was the father nine months before the birth? Did the birth take place a suspiciously short time after the wedding? Why is the paternity questioned? Physical likeness, does a child look like its father? Not a reliable measure, as often children are genetic throwbacks and resemble neither of their parents. Is it known that the mother had affairs? Check the divorce records for evidence of adultery. Are the parents living apart, so suggesting a marriage separation. Check the Census. A marriage breakdown is often evident in a person’s will, an estrangement may be mentioned. Or there may be a bequest to someone not in the immediate family. Was the
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Categories: Family history research.