View Full Version : Adoption 1891-1901 Birkenhead Mcgain/Harding

01-11-2008, 4:08 PM
Seeking details of my grandfather's adoption in Birkenhead he was born april 1891 Tom Mcgain and was adopted by Job Harding [shows on 1901 census as Tom Harding]
thanks Maureen

Marie C..
01-11-2008, 6:27 PM
I do not think formal adoptions were in place at that time. It was a case of someone taking a baby in need into their homes and that was that. Sometimes they were arranged by relatives or churches etc. My Gt, grandmother has a baby aged 1 as a lodger on 1891 census. By 1901 he was her adopted son aged 11. Since he had no known birthplace there is no way of tracing him.
You have his original surname and place of birth so yours shouuld be easily traced but I do not think you will find adoption papers. However someone who knows will put me right I expect. M

01-11-2008, 6:44 PM

I dont think formal adoptions took place until 1926. Before that, it was informal adoptions. Sometimes a solicitor arranged it. Quite often, the adopted parents were blood kin such as aunts, uncles, older siblings or cousins or grandparents. Normally there is a clue to informal adoptions in census, parish registers etc.

Marie maybe your ggran's child was a foundling or something, or even a relative whose parents had died.


Marie C..
01-11-2008, 9:26 PM
I don't know Ben.
The baby's surname was Henry. One census gives birthplace unknown and other one gives born Tunbridge(wells?). I have looked for an Alfred Henry born 1889 but no luck. Roll on 1911 census!

A baby known to be born in Birkenhead with surnameMcGain and date is perhaps easier to find even if there are no adoption papers. There may be something written in baptism record/ And there may be a family connection there. Getting the baby's birth certificate would be the best thing as it would give his parents and address where born. Were the Mcgains and hardings related I wonder?M

02-11-2008, 12:33 PM

That is possible. Goes to show that many relatives did take in orphaned grandchildren etc. I reckon it was easier to form a bond due to them being blood kin.


02-11-2008, 3:20 PM
Hello everyone
thanks for the input,I hadnt considered that Job Harding was related to my grandfather Tom Harding [Macgain- Harding , this form of the names still persists today] but I suppose that it might be possible.Job was an Ag lab in Gloucestershire from a large family all of whom had large families, but he and his wife just had Tom.What made him come to Birkenhead I dont know.
Tom was born a few days before the 1891 census,and is registered as Tom Macgain, [father William MacGain civil engineer ]born 118 Borough road Birkenhead . The family story is that he is illigitimate.His mother was living in a lodging house prior to his birth in 118 Borough Road Birkenhead [1891 census] but she is listed there as Mary Macgain born in Wolverhampton. Toms birth certificate gives her name as Martha MacGain formerly Watson , and again the family story is that she is Irish,so when I discovered the Borough rd, plus wolverhampton birth place plus Mary? Martha? there was a whole heap of unbelieving surprise amongst the family.so unless someone somewhere has a small piece of the adoption paper trail I dont feel that I will get any further with this one.
I have found a Martha Macgain working in 1901 as a parlour maid in a 'big House' [another family tale] in The Isle of Man,whether she is my great grandmother I will never know !
Hey Ho
These brick walls eh?
Thanks for you interest