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Any genealogy experts/fans or ancestry users who can help me?

(23 Posts)
mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 16:58:27

I'm researching my family tree.
I've found an ancestor - I'll refer to her as Mrs Smith - who filed a divorce petition in 1899. The record has the petition and divorce papers including her full handwritten statement about the cruelty and adultery she suffered from her husband - the woman he is accused of adultery is listed by her full name within this, I'll refer to her as Mrs Brown.

Within this divorce petition there is a random birth certificate for a female child born the same year as the petition was put forward. She appears to be a love child borne out of the affair as on the birth certificate she is listed under both their surnames so XXXX Smith Brown.

However, despite having the specific date of her birth and registration area, plus the full names of her parents I cannot find anything else about her. I'm stuck! Any tips? I was wondering if she died at birth? Or whether as she was illegitimate she may have been adopted by Mrs Brown's future husband [I can't see any records of the affair turning into a marriage after the first divorce.]

WigglyBlossom Tue 19-Jun-18 16:59:17

No death certificate for her?

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:03:45

Nope. Can't find anything. I've tried to full doubled surname, the surnames individually, searching with and without the parent's names...she doesn't seem to exist aside from that birth certificate within the divorce petition!

Eddierussett Tue 19-Jun-18 17:05:39

Have you tried all the individuals in the 1901 and 1911 census? If you can find Mrs Brown in the 1911 census that is often good because they are asked how many children they have had in total and how many are still living which gives clues to whether a child has died or just wasn't in the same house as the parent for census.

If you can find Mrs Brown on earlier censuses with her parents and siblings you could look at them in the 1901 and 1911 census to see if they have a grandchild/relative with them. Of course this may not be that easy if it is a very common name and the individuals move around the country.

ArnoldBee Tue 19-Jun-18 17:06:46

If it's a UK divorce in 1899 I would suggest that you check newspapers as it must have been a family with money.

Eddierussett Tue 19-Jun-18 17:07:47

Trying to find a marriage certificate for Mrs Brown might also help as then you can see if her child is in later censuses with the new husband surname. If you're theory is right. It did happen in my family.

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:10:34

I've looked on the census and find a few entries that would match Mrs Brown but because I don't have any other details about her [ie birth date etc or who she ended up marrying] I'm unsure it's her. The ones I've found also don't have a child listed that matches the one on the certificate which is frustrating.

@arnoldbee It is a UK divorce- I wondered that - I was really surprised to come across it, especially since it seems to have been a woman who petitioned for divorce which struck me as unusual although I've only just started on this so could be completely wrong. I will see if I can find a decent newspaper archive as I know the area it happened. I think I've found Mrs Smiths' parents so I'm going to look into it more to see if I can find out more about their professions [wondering if she was somehow independently wealthy from her then spouse]. Interestingly the husband she divorced seems to completely disappear from the records after the divorce too!

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:11:13

Thank you for trying to help by the way smile I'm so caught up in this mystery now!

MaunderHunt Tue 19-Jun-18 17:11:46

You can search the 1939 register by birth date which might be useful.

Dumbledoresgirl Tue 19-Jun-18 17:11:55

If she had died at birth, her birth would not have been recorded. Stillbirths were not recorded until 1926, I believe.

I think the most likely scenario is that she was adopted and known henceforth by another name. Are there adoption records you can access?

I know it is frustrating, but how interesting too. All my ancestors are squeaky clean, honestly, the most upstanding, decent, church going lot you could find. Which is kind of nice too, but not that exciting. I am yet to find the skeleton in the cupboard.

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:12:28

The only other thing I found was one of the possible matches for Mrs Brown would have had her at age 13 at the time of the 'affair' and childbirth - could it potentially be something like that, where she didn't keep the child? I'm unfamiliar with adoption etc in the 1800s or what would have most likely happened in that instance.

MaunderHunt Tue 19-Jun-18 17:12:57

pm me if you want, I have a find my past sub which has newspaper archives

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:13:28

Thanks for the tip @maunderhunt

Ooh good to know @dumbledoresgirl I know, I've been completely obsessed since I discovered the divorce papers by accident when I was searching for something else.

Dumbledoresgirl Tue 19-Jun-18 17:13:42

If the husband (and father of the love child?) disappears too, the most likely bet is they emigrated. To escape the scandal? To start a new life where no one knows them?

MaunderHunt Tue 19-Jun-18 17:14:02

Adoption was not formalised until 1926 so no records before this, it would be informal

mmmgoats Tue 19-Jun-18 17:16:08

Thank you @maunderhunt I will definitely take you up on that if I can't find anything.

ChristineAndMaryBeth Tue 19-Jun-18 17:16:25

Have you tried wildcard searches and checked for alternative spellings? There’s also the parish registers, I wonder if a baptism/burial record exists for the child. Later on there’s also the 1939 register which is on Find My Past. I would be happy to have a look for you if you’d like to pm me, I’ve done lots of tricky family history!

WigglyBlossom Tue 19-Jun-18 17:20:20

Passenger lists?

ArnoldBee Tue 19-Jun-18 17:44:58

Wiggly beat me to it!

mmmgoats Wed 20-Jun-18 08:01:57

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I found a lot more info about Mrs Brown, but have drawn a bit of a dead end with the horrid ex husband. Am going to spend some time today trawling archives, and may well get in touch with those of you who have offered to lend a hand with your newspaper archive subscriptions etc.
I did not realise genealogy was so addictive! I was up so late last night researching!

LoveProsecco Wed 20-Jun-18 08:26:16

This sounds fascinating! Good luck and let us know your progress

mmmgoats Wed 20-Jun-18 10:11:38

I will do! If I actually find anything and don't just hit a dead end! smile

LoveProsecco Sun 01-Jul-18 18:43:04

Any luck OP? 🍀

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