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19 June 2013

That Last Baby?

Is that last child your great-great-grandparents had really a "surprise child" or was it a "surprise grandchild?" It may be difficult to prove, but if there were daughters in their teens in the household, it's possible that last "child" was actually a "grandchild."

18 comments:

  1. I have one of these....all sources say it's their child; but a descendant seems to think otherwise. This was back in 1781.

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  2. How do you post them on your tree without hurting someone's feeling now?

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    1. One has to be careful in posting this, especially when there's really no paper trail to back up the theory that the "child" was actually a grandchild. Even more care has to be taken when some of the individuals are involved are still alive.

      One approach would be to simply indicate the age of the "mother" at the time of the birth, any "gap" in time between the "last child" and the one born right before the "child." Of course, if there are birth certificates or other evidence that supports the "grandchild" theory, then those documents should be included. The difficulty comes in when the only "proof" is a 55 year old mother having a "child" when she's got two daughters in their late teens living in her household.

      For living people, I would record things exactly as the records indicate sourcing everything as you go. It's generally not advised to record supposition as fact.

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  3. There is a grandchild raised as a child in my sister-in-law's family tree. It was a big family secret passed from mother to daughter on her deathbed until this last generation. the daughter who had the child had died shortly after the birth and the grandparents raised the boy as their child.

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  4. There is such a child in my husbands family tree. The "unspoken" information explanation is that teenagers will be teenagers. This child is the youngest listed of his grandparents and that bored siblings on a farm are not always bored. As stated above, how do you list them.

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  5. I strongly suspect I have found one of these in the past 3 weeks. Mother/sister would have been 14-15 at the time of the birth, while the grandmother/mother would have been aged 50. Not impossible either way, but far more likely to be grandchild.

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  6. My grandmother had a child single. She was listed as her mothers child.

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  7. Leave it alone. If the parents raised this child it is basically the same thing. If you have a birth certificate saying otherwise. post it. If you are so worried about being that accurate, you better start considering how many children were born in wedlock but the husband isn't really the father. He might not even know.

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  8. I have one in my tree that is 14 years younger than the next eldest child, the "mother" was 52. Family gives two versions: 1) she was a foundling; 2) she was the child of the youngest girl, age 15 at the time. I have her listed with the "parents" that raised her noting that on the census after the "mother" dies she is listed as a granddaughter and on the previous census she is listed as a "daughter". No birth record has been located yet.

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  9. This kind of information is interesting to geneticists for the inheritance of diseases and traits, but I want to understand the connections in order to tell the story of the people and their times. My recent discovery of the Danish records from the 1840's listed the legitimacy of the children and how many illegitimate children the woman had, plus the names of the fathers. On page after page of baptismal records, I saw about half of the children listed as illegitimate. This makes me want to investigate what family life was like then, since I had not expected this data.

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  10. I suspected this when I couldn't find my great grandfather's birth record. After 30 years of searching, I've concluded that the "sister"/mother wasn't living with the family, which made it more difficult. In addition, they were living in a town that I hadn't even known to be a residence. The evidence is strong, but I still can't prove his parentage, but it's tantalizing because it seems to involve bigamy!

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  11. My youngest child was born when my oldest child was 19. At the time I also had a 17 year old daughter and everyone thought she was the mother.They kept telling her it was ok to admit that she had a child already. Well, I was and still am the mother. That said, I think it could be either in the census, so unless you are sure who the parent is, don't change it!

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  12. I have an instance of this on both sides of my family as well, and I have puzzled over how to handle it. In both cases, it was well known in the generations in which it happened, a fact I discovered when, in one case, I began to gingerly ask questions of someone I considered "safe." Neither child was the youngest of their grandparents' children. In my tree, I have listed them correctly together with my notes that indicate how I "verified" that finding. (It was before birth certificates were issued in their state, and that probably wouldn't have helped anyway.) But they are everywhere else listed as children of their grandparents. It's another reason why I'm reluctant to make my tree public because subsequent generations may not be as willing to acknowledge the circumstances. And, in one instance, I don't know who the father was.
    Ellen

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  13. Here is a different twist.... A dear friend of mine, her daughter got married, had a child, got divorced, became hooked on drugs, couldn't/wouldn't care for the child. My friend (the grandmother) then legally adopted her grandchild, thus making the grandchild into her child. Makes for an interesting twisted branch in that family tree.

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  14. I also have a case in my great great great grandmothers family. Her sister had a child out of wedlock. She lived with my gggrandmother's family and the child was brought up with the other children. She died when the child was 8, my gggrandparents adopted him and raised him as their own. He died in the flu pandemic in 1918 and his birth mother is on his death cert. Father is listed as unknown, but there were rumors that he enlisted in the Union Army and was killed. No way of proving it, just a family story. His birth certificate is non existent, so far.

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  15. My father's youngest sister is 12 years the junior of the next sibling. Her only elder sister at the time was 17, and married 4 years later her 2nd cousin, while she was pregnant. Since the elder sister had her father's tiny nose, while her brothers and younger sister have their mother's huge nose, I have no doubt that my youngest aunt was actually a child of my grandparents, even though my grandmother is said to have shown hardly any interest in her youngest daughter, but neither did she in her eldest 2 children (only her younger son was her favourite). So, be careful with conclusions like that.

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  16. Lots of things to think about the next time an unusual age gap shows up.

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