View Full Version : 1902 adoption

15-11-2008, 12:44 PM
Apologies for this query being just over the 1900 deadline but I hope you will understand why I've posted it when I explain...

My grandfather, William Henry Fitzgerald was born in 1901 in the Chelsea Workhouse but was raised by a William Henry Davison, whose name he later took. The father's name on his birth certificate was his mother's husband, but not his father (who was in South Africa) which I think explains why my grandfather was raised by someone else. My question is whether this 'adoption' could have been an informal arrangement or if there must be some legal record left somewhere? I have no idea when he actually became part of the Davison household but I should imagine it was pretty soon after his birth. It is possible, given the fact that both boy and man shared the same name, that he was raised by his natural father but could a child just be handed over without any paperwork?

Any ideas would be helpful and gratefully received.

15-11-2008, 12:51 PM
Hi there Ashbee,

Have a read of post #10 in this thread (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37244), in which Maximilian refers to the 1926 Adoption Act.

Before 1926 informal, in the sense of non-statutory and unenforceable, adoptions were made in a whole variety of ways and through a variety of third parties, or without third parties, and for a variety of reasons, although illegitimacy was always a predominating one, and young infancy was the predominating age.
Maximilian provides quite a comprehensive explanation, which may help with your query.

15-11-2008, 12:54 PM
Thanks for the pointer, Jan...

15-11-2008, 3:01 PM
I've come across a couple of entries in church baptism registers recently where it says the child is adopted. It might be worth looking through the local church register.

15-11-2008, 4:24 PM
Thanks, Wirral. Something to think about...