Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

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ajcris13
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Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby ajcris13 » 26 Aug 2010, 23:05

I have a good friend that had a great-grandfather (GGF) who was illegitimate (birth circa 1880's). It was claimed by the GGF that his biological father was a nobleman. My friend further explained that written on the corner of the birth records was a note stating that his GGF was the son of this nobleman. However, it was told to me that this amendment was added years later, after the GGF was an adult and a year or two after he emigrated to Argentina.

I am suspicious of this claim and the story, though I have not seen the birth records. I find it hard to imagine that a city clerk would amend a birth record twenty years after the fact and add the name of a prominent nobleman as the father. To do such as thing would have smeared the nobleman’s name, embarrass the nobleman’s family and also have someone lay a potential claim to the estate.
I was curious if anyone has seen or heard of a similar event.
Your thoughts please.

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maestra36
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Re: Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby maestra36 » 26 Aug 2010, 23:31

On the Italian birth record of a foundling, the parents are not named. However, if years later the natural parents did come forward and acknowledged that the child is their natural son, then there would be a notation made years after the birth on the record to that effect, and their names would then be given in that notation as well. It was not uncommon for noblemen, clergy, and married men to impregnate poor peasant women who worked in the fields. Sometimes the natural father was not free to marry, if he was already married or a priest; at other times, he may have eventually married the child's mother and then, with her, come forward to recognize the child as his offspring. However, since there was no DNA in those days, the person coming forward and claiming that he was the natural father would have to prove it by telling the town clerk or official exactly what was left with the child when it was abandoned. At the time of abandonment, everything that was with the child was recorded by the town officials. Sometimes a colored ribbon, medal, or special blanket was left with the child. The child may have had certain identifying marks on its body such as a scar, a beauty mark, etc. All of this information was initially recorded and then the person claiming to be the father years later would have to tell the official all of this information. If there was a match between what he told the official and what had been recorded by the official years earlier, this would be sufficient proof that he was the natural father and the original birth record would be amended in the margin with the date that the amendment had taken place.

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MaurizioPerrone
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Re: Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby MaurizioPerrone » 26 Aug 2010, 23:45

In the situation of illegitimate child, when the father recognize the child as his own son, he go to the notary and make a formal act of recognition. On the margin of the original birth act, there will be some notation of the act of recognition. It was a formal process, the official in the town cannot make this notation without the declaration of the father to the notary.

It does not matter if the act of recognition happen many years later when the child was adult, of course this happens sometime, so this is no concerns to find this. To find the detail of the original birth act you friend can request a complete copy of the birth and it should include any notation on the margin of the act.

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maestra36
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Re: Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby maestra36 » 26 Aug 2010, 23:58

Yes, Maurizio, I should have mentioned that the town official was a notary. I have such a situation in my own ancestry with my paternal grandfather who was a foundling. His natural parents married 6 weeks after his birth but it took until he was 2 years and 10 months old for them to go to the town notary to reclaim him, at which point the act of recognition was created. But there was also a notation in the margin of his original birth record, with the names of the natural parents and the date that they had recognized him as their natural son.

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Italysearcher
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Re: Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby Italysearcher » 27 Aug 2010, 07:38

In your case as in many others, the person who was the foster mother was also the natural mother. Sometimes the town clerk refused to name the parents because they weren't married but the child was raised by a natural parent even if the records didn't reflect that.
If the nobleman who fathered the child never had a male heir he might well recognize his bastard son 20 years later.
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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ajcris13
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Re: Mystery regarding an illegitimate child

Postby ajcris13 » 28 Aug 2010, 01:30

Thank you all for your thoughts.


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