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Those Little White Lies!

How to do genealogy research - tips from members who have been there, done that ...
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Posts: 354
Joined: 02 Jun 2020, 18:19
Location: Lincolnshire, but Hampshire born and bred!

Those Little White Lies!

Post by meekhcs »

As Family Historians we strive to produce accurate, verified, Family Trees, however even so, in all innocence, we can sometimes be thrown off track by LWL, even more so with the popularity of DNA testing, in all its forms. We probably all have illegitimacy in our heritage. Some is obvious, but some is hidden.

(DNA will form a separate Topic.......or 3!!)

To give you 2 examples.

1.For ages in My Husband's direct line I became stuck with a birth record in 1845. The details all pointed to the child being the son of my Husband's 4 x gt Uncle, who is still quite an elusive character. The child disappeared after the 1851 census when it was with its grand parents. Long story short after several years, and pages and pages of notes I suddenly found a possible baptism for the child. Then I found a marriage for my Husbands 4 x gt Aunt, and when I found the corresponding census records for 1861 onwards for the couple, there was the child again with the new husband's surname!

Returning to the birth record. It had been totally fabricated. 4x gt Aunt had the child out of wedlock, gave him a fictitious Father and used a fictitious Mothers Maiden name on the certificate. Having checked out all the relevant info, and adding it to my knowledge of the Family line, I am sure this is what happened. It wouldn't happen nowadays ....or would it?

Fast forward 100 years.

2. I was lucky enough to grow up knowing 3 of my grand parents as well as my parents. When starting my ancestral Tree I spoke to Family members, noted down details, bought birth, marriage and death certificates and plotted all my grandparents lines line back through to 1800 absolutely certain that everything was correct. Then I took a DNA test. Sadly, it destroyed one of my Family lines, and all because a birth certificate in the 1930s contained a lie. I was both sad and happy at the discovery. Sad for the obvious reason, but eventually happy that I knew the truth, and could alter my line accordingly.

Both of these examples concern births, but there were many fictious marriages as well. Simple examples could be one or other partners, although separated, was already married. Divorce was frowned upon, and the church would not re marry a divorcee. Women would say they were married and widowed but had never married their children's Fathers, and so on.

So however careful we are we can never be 100% certain can we?
Norfolk Nan
Posts: 295
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: Those Little White Lies!

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Absolutely agree! I bought the marriage certificate of my maternal great grandfather twice because I couldn't believe I'd got the right couple the first time. The facts didn't match the information on the certificate in so many ways. But after a while I discovered a backstory of bigamy and illegitimate children and saw the need for this couple to appear to be respectable. In the beginning I thought less of them for the LWLs but when I understood I felt nothing but sympathy.
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