Has anyone seen in ancestry records a child who took the last name of the mother instead of the father?

+8 votes
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SOLVED (see my comment below for the answer)
Question was: Has anyone else seen in their ancestry records a child who took the last name of the mother instead of the father? Are there substantiated cases of this happening or should I be suspicious of this record? (In my case it's an ancestor born in Hanover in 1803). Although I don't have the source, it is said to be from the church parish documents. It seems unlikely to me that 200 years ago a German Lutheran parish would accept that a child receive the surname of her mother instead of from the father...
in Genealogy Help by Jason Clements G2G Crew (420 points)
edited by Jason Clements
Are you sure the parents were married? The most common occurrences of a child having the mother's last name are when the mother is single.
This has happened once in my maternal ancestral tree in 1830. The German Parish Document was noted with the symbol: "O-O" which means illegitimate.(The symbol "OO" means legitimate).

No other comments were made on the document about the father.

No fathers name was listed on the document, only the mother's name, and her child was given the surname of her family.
Hi,

I've found the answer, and have since found a few other examples of this in the German branches of my tree:

When the man married a woman who was heir to the farm, he adopted her surname in accordance with regional custom. I have also an example of a family that adopted the name of the farm as their surname when they became holders of the estate.

6 Answers

+2 votes
 
Best answer
A child taking the last name of his mother was actually a fairly common practice in the Netherlands before 1811.  Sometimes the family didn't want a specific name to disappear; in some areas the family inherited the mother's property and the last name went with the property.  Sometimes no reason is apparent.  Check to see if other families in the Hanover area have the same thing happening in the early 1800's.  I know it was happening for property reasons in Grafschaft Bentheim on the border of the Netherlands, considered to belong to Hanover at that time.  

I have one ancestor from this time period who went by 6 last names: his father's last name and the names coming with his wife's 2 properties, all in Dutch and in German.  His daughter inherited the property in Grafschaft Bentheim, so she and her husband also took the name of the property as their last name.
by Bertram Sluys G2G6 Mach 3 (30.8k points)
selected by Jason Clements

Yes, I've since found the answer to my family's riddle, and have come across several more examples of this happening in my tree. In all cases the men actually took the name of their wife when they married in line with local custom at the time, as she was the heiress to the farm. I also have an example of a family that took hold of a farm (not via marriage), and they changed their surname to the name of the farm.

I'm so glad I could help you!
+10 votes
I have seen it a few times in cases where a mother's family was of importance and the fathers family wasnt. The children and even I have seen a husband take the wife's family name. It's not often though. Only other time I have seen it is when the parents are not married.
by Misty Musco G2G6 Mach 2 (26.1k points)
I agree.  Sometimes it appeared in the Will that in order to have the estate, the husband had to take the wife's name.
Your right. I have seen it in my own family tree. The head of a prodominant family had no male heir to continue on the title and property. He had his daughters husband take her surname to inherit it and so that their children and and namesake and title would carry on.
I've seen this in Scottish clan families. A man marrying into a higher ranked clan would change.
That's where mine came in on my family.
Yes, I've since found the answer to my family's riddle, and have come across several more examples of this happening in my tree. In all cases the men actually took the name of their wife when they married in line with local custom at the time, as she was the heiress to the farm. I also have an example of a family that took hold of a farm (not via marriage), and they changed their surname to the name of the farm.
+6 votes
A couple instances in my family tree:

1. a child was born out of wedlock and later records have both the mother and child with the mother's maiden name.

2. a woman was abandoned by her husband, and she reverted to her maiden name, and listed her children with the same name.
by Bruce Veazie G2G6 Mach 5 (57.6k points)
+1 vote
I have a Third Reich document showing an ancestor where her child took her maiden name. My German cousin explained her husband was a soldier and couldn't afford the money to marry her.
by Phillip Jares G2G6 Mach 2 (21.3k points)
+1 vote
During the 18th and 19th century i saw the following possibilities for the famil name for children born by a woman not married:

- the family name of the unmarried mother (sometimes when she didn't say the father's name)

- the family name of the unmarried mother even when the father's name is known (in erlier times, 18. century)

- in the 19th century most children got the father's family name also when the parents weren't married

- in my family (19.th century) a father legitimated a son lateron, the parents wouldn't marry because the widow wouldn't loose her pension after a marriage.
by Albrecht Kauschat G2G1 (1.2k points)

My father's surname was Hilse and I'd found during the time before I left my parents' home that it was, for new friends, unpronounceable, unspellable, and just too much trouble to live with, consequently. So after two marriages (and two other--but easy--surnames to live with), I took my mother's surname, which was also my middle name at birth. My father sputtered but wasn't angry (or he kept it politely smothered). And so I now have no middle name.

+1 vote
I just ran across such a case last week.  Surprisingly, it was for a child born in the U.S. in the 1950s.
by

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