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Lisa



Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Replies: 88

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:43 pm      Post subject: Illegitimate Births
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My great-grandfather was born to an unwed mother in the Zakliczyn area in 1870. His mother never married his father. Was it common for the father to leave the mother under such circumstances? Or was it common for the father to walk away from mother and child? Was it common for the mother to keep the child in this situation, or give the child up for adoption?

No one in my family can come up with an answer to this perplexing question. Any comments would be welcome and appreciated.
Very Happy [/b]
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James
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Joined: 06 Jul 2007
Replies: 226
Location: WEST VIRGINIA , USA

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:22 pm      Post subject: illigitimate births
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Hi Lisa,

I don't know what was the accepted course of action in an illigitimate birth , but I had similar thoughts.

My great grandmother had an older brother living at home, who had the same last name as my great great grandmother, not my great great grand father. A document showed his father as " unknown ", and his mother as my great great grandmother.

So in my situation, it could be that the older brother was illigitimate, or maybe his father died before marring his mother, and she gave him her last name, or ???

Please post it if you can find out anything
Thanks
James
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Lisa



Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Replies: 88

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:57 am      Post subject: Illegitimate Births
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Hi James,

Thanks for your response.

My great-great grandmother, after having given birth to my great-grandfather as a single mother, married a man who was not my great-grandfather's father just months after my great-grandfather was born. I'm sure it was an arranged marriage. She went on to have children with her husband. Throughout all this time - and for the rest of his long life - my great-grandfather kept his mother's maiden name.

My great-great grandmother died when my great-grandfather was 14. He continued to live in the same house as his step-father, yet never took his step-father's surname.

He always lived with the label "illegitimate".

Lisa : )
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Shellie
PO Top Contributor & Patron


Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Replies: 972
Location: Atlanta, GA

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:08 am      Post subject:
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Hi James and Lisa,

Whew! This is the first time I've really participated on this site since I got back from my wonderful tour with Zenon!

Although my family is from another village much futher to the south (Odrowąż, or Odrowaz if you don't have Polish characters on your keyboard), for a few years before coming to America, my family lived in the same village as Lisa's family (Luslawice in the Zakliczyn parish). This is where my grandfather was born in 1908. I ordered the microfilms from the LDS before I left on my trip to Poland and even though I've found only a few records for my family, I've found the records to be quite interesting and I've poured over them quite a few times. In addition, I also had the opportunity to examine the records from Odrowaz.

This does not make me an expert by any strech of the imagination, but I thought I'd at least share some of my impressions with you.

Both parishes recorded illegimate births the same. When the child was baptized, the priest recorded the child's name, date of birth and baptism, house number, mother's name (plus her parents full names including mother's maiden name). The space for the father's name usually had a zero, sometimes with a slash through it. The birth was also designated illegitimate (there was a column to put a check mark for this).

I also noted that in marriage and birth records, if one of the parents were illegitimate, it was often noted in the space because the parents were listed with the names of THEIR parents also.

So it appears that the illegitimate child took the surname of the mother.
I recently read that during the 18th century in Poland, premarital sex was not so taboo. That was a big surprise to me - and I'm intrigued by the social impact of this. I'm trying to find where I read that so I can share it with you.

Shellie
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Lisa



Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Replies: 88

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:54 am      Post subject: Illegitimate Births
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Thanks, Shellie! You're always a wealth of knowledge!!

I know the term "illegitimate" followed my great-grandfather to the end of his life. The space where his parents' names should be on his death certificate are blank for both his mother and father. The term "illegitimate" is listed on all the Baptismal records for the eight children (including the one who died as an infant) born in Poland. I don't know what the records are like for the five children born in this country.

It's interesting that in earlier times i.e. before my great-grandfather was born pre-marital sex was tolerated.

I keep looking for information on this topic along with life in general during my great-grandparents' lifetime. Fascinating subject!

Lisa : )
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Shellie
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Joined: 18 Feb 2009
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Location: Atlanta, GA

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:29 pm      Post subject: Illegitimate Births
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James,

I didn't post these images earlier because I first wanted to consult with Lisa about posting this sensitive information about her grandfather. She said she was OK with it, since it might help others.

Double click the image to enlarge.



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Shellie
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Joined: 18 Feb 2009
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:11 pm      Post subject:
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I found the book that mentioned pre-marital sex. Its called
Podhale: A Companion Guide to the Polish Highlands by Jan Gutt Mostowy.

From page 34:

The highlander practicality condoned a peculiar custom different from what was generally accepted. It was not considered sinful for a suitor to “try out the goods” before marriage. The reason for the “test” was to see whether the girl would be able to bear children, since a barren woman was held to be a cripple and a burden. The parents of a girl of marriage age allowed her to sleep in a separate (white) room or, during the summer, on the hay in the barn so that she could let her beloved in at night. If the result of the “trial” was a baby and the marriage did not take place for one reason or another, the “single girl with a baby” did not cease to be attractive. Just the opposite, she could enter into marriage with a dowry in the form of her own free work force. The clergy naturally tried to discourage this custom with varying degrees of success. One form of discrimination the priests applied to illegitimate children was to give them names not popular among the highlanders.

I find this information fascinating, but the book does not provide any references. I would like to know more about this interesting custom!


Podhale: A Companion Guide to the Polish Highlands
by Jan Gutt Mostowy. Published May 1, 1997 by Hippocrene Books
ISBN-10: 0781805228 ISBN-13: 978-0781805223

Link to book on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Podhale-Companion-Guide-Polish-Highlands/dp/0781805228

I have also seen this book at half.com and on ebay for about $4.
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dkupil



Joined: 01 Nov 2008
Replies: 16
Location: PA

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:17 am      Post subject: Illegimate births - Reason why Silesia region
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My ggrandfather was listed as illegimate on Catholic birth records LDS films Constadt Silesia Prussia. One reason the father was not mentioned was that the father was not Catholic and the child bore the surname of the mother. Other reasons was status or social class. Illegimate birth in the Prussian area of Poland was looked down upon to say at the very least a reason why many fleed to USA to avoid embassment.
dkupil
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Lisa



Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Replies: 88

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:42 pm      Post subject: Illegitimate Births
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I have no evidence who my great-grandfather's father was. It was a big secret. If m great-grandfather knew, he never said. In looking at all the Church records, he was listed as his mother's son and that was that! He took her surname and passed it on to his children and their children.

I guess that's why I find this topic so intriguing. It's a mystery that my family may never solve. I try to find general information on this topic just to see what I can come up with.
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