Guidance for modern illegitimate children

+7 votes
According to the description of the illegitimate category, anyone who is born to unmarried parents is an illegitimate child, regardless of if the parents later marry.

Nowadays, however (starting from about the 1990s), marriage has become less common and more and more children are born outside of marriage. My parents never married, for example, but I'm not sure I would consider myself an illegitimate child, and this also applies to my brother and many of my paternal cousins.
in Genealogy Help by Anonymous User G2G6 Mach 3 (31.5k points)

Only 291 profiles in that category, I would not consider it a widely used one. The children you talk about will mostly be alive with closed/non visible profiles as well. Would you want the definition be changed, or advice on when to use this category?
Advice on when to use the category. The profiles are all pretty much closed, living, individuals, but I still want to categorise them.
Why is there a "need" to so categorise anyone?  A child is a child, whether their parents ever married or not.  I would not have ever thought to look for such a category, let alone use it.

Possibly this is a concern for some, born in wedlock, born outside of wedlock, but I don't see that it matters whether the parents were legally espoused at the time by the statutes prevailing at the time.  

There are PM who would quick to point out that customs and laws vary across nations and throughout time. That cannot be refuted, it is fact.  That matter of whether a couple are "married" or not has been discussed more than once. 

In the WT profile, there is no provision to mark a child legitimate or not; there is no requirement for any couple to be legally married either.  It is left to the PM to put a note or comment within the Biography of that person about these facts, if they pertain. and if they are deemed relevant 

Genealogy is more about the lifespan of an individual rather than about the marital status of the biological parents 

I agree with Melanie and Susan. "Illegitimate" is not a term I would apply to any person now living, much less assign them to such a category here on WikiTree. In some cases biological relationships still have to be established for legal reasons (child support, inheritance) but the biological relationship is not dependent on whether the parents were legally married.
There are no illegitimate children.  Sometimes there are illegitimate parents, but as you said, sometimes that is a personal family choice.
"regardless of if the parents later marry" -- this is incorrect. Legitimacy was a legal status that determined what surname a child was allowed or obliged to use, and legitimization by later marriage of the parents was an option.

In most places nowadays, parents choose the child's surname just like they choose the given name, and the existence of any sort of legal relationship between the parents is not a factor, so this category is completely irrelevant to modern profiles.

2 Answers

+7 votes
When you want to include private profiles in a category system you might find the personal categories be of more use than public ones.

See for some pointers.

Biological parents do not have to be married in order to be linked to a child here on Wikitree. Unfortunately the marriage block is only limited to marriage. It does not fit recent (post 1970) ways of forming families in the Netherlands for instance.
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
+6 votes
I would not put any profiles under such a category, it carries too much judgemental baggage with it.

Nowadays, even if a couple don't go through the motions of a marriage before judge or clergy, many countries have some sort of statutes on the subject, x number of years together gives the couple common-law spousal status.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (480k points)

Related questions

+5 votes
3 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
183 views asked Mar 26 in WikiTree Help by Bob Shepherd G2G3 (3.2k points)
+8 votes
2 answers
224 views asked Jul 5, 2018 in WikiTree Help by Ian Dykes G2G Crew (810 points)
+4 votes
1 answer
+10 votes
1 answer
+8 votes
1 answer
+5 votes
2 answers
113 views asked Aug 2 in WikiTree Help by Nick Courtnadge G2G Crew (710 points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright