How does one deal with suspected illegitimacy?

+8 votes
224 views
BERESFORD.  I have come across a female ancestor who may have been illegitimate.  The daughter, Caroline BERESFORD (b, c1815 at Shoreditch) has the same surname as her mother's surname at birth.  Her mother's given name was also Caroline (1787 - .27 Dec 1882)   As far as I can see, the father has the same surname but is untraceable.  He may be an invention (name Benjamin BERESFORD).   Any help with this would be appreciated.
WikiTree profile: Geoffrey Beresford Hartwell
asked in Genealogy Help by Geoffrey Beresford Hartwell G2G1 (1.5k points)

Hi Geoffrey, it seems Catherine Ann had a sister:

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NK5F-SYK

Harriot was baptized in the same date on the same place as Catherine Ann was. Harriot's mother´s name was also Caroline Beresford.

Less colorful (or more recent) illegitimacy can be handed very simply by adding a different father to the profile's parentage. This person will show up on a list of the mother's children but will be listed under the father (without the half siblings) on a corresponding paternal list. Half siblings don't require legitimacy. You can place info in the notes, but it isn't required.  See Paschal Cook (Cook-12362) and his multiple wives for an example, though documentation suggests that he married each wife.
I have a similar problem with my Cornwell line.  We know that most of the children belonged to John B. Cornwell, but that the last three children were born after his death.  He died in a prison camp during the Civil War.  The children were given and went by the Cornwell surname which was their mother's married name, but it is not known who their real father is.  I simply made a notation that John B. was not likely the real father and that further research was needed.  Of course, no amount of research will probably help to find their real father.
Thank you.  I had noticed that the two were baptised at the same time.  Caroline was an adult by then.  I need to pay more attention to this.  We have a possible match for Benjamin BERESFORD, but I haven't confirmed him yet.

More clues:

Three daughters of Caroline were baptized in the same day and same place: Catherine Anne, Harriet and Caroline.

Benjamin is listed on the marriage records of his daughters Harriet and Caroline on 1840.

IMO Beresford was Caroline's married surname not her maiden surname.

According to what I have:

Thomas Beresford married Ann
Their daughter was Caroline Beresford (1787) married Benjamin Beresford.  More of Benjamin I haven't yet found.  Perhaps wrongly, I wondered if he was an invention, perhaps a pseudonym.  Carolyn (1787) seems to have been a woman of property - did she have a lover of substance?
Their ('Benjamin' and Caroline) daughters were Caroline (b c1815), Catherine Ann (d 1835) and Harriet.  I think all were baptised on 17 Oct 1832.  Thak would coincide with what you have.
Caroline (b c1815) married George Bye and was my great-great-grandmother.

1 Answer

+7 votes
Take the speculative out of the name.  Leave him as the father.  Add a section called ''Research Notes"

In that section add you theory about illegitamacy.
answered by Maureen Rosenfeld G2G6 Pilot (180k points)

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