View Full Version : Unofficial adoption?

19-11-2008, 12:34 PM
There's a huge brick wall in one section of my family tree, and I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to overcome it, or whether it will stay a brick wall forever!

My grandfather's mother was called Elizabeth Harrison. My auntie has traced Elizabeth's family back as far as she can take it- however, after having a chat with one of her cousins, she found out that Elizabeth's mother died in childbirth, and the story goes that she was handed to the nearest woman who would take her at her mother's funeral.

So Harrison is the surname of her adopted mother, and not her biological mother. I have no idea if it's going to be possible to trace her biological mother. I haven't delved into it in any great detail yet, and before I do so was wondering if anyone had any hints or tips for me? She was born in 1891 in Cardiff. There are no obvious hits on the 1901 census.

Greatly appreciated!


Peter Goodey
19-11-2008, 1:55 PM
I think you need to get the information and sources from Auntie and then tell us what the earliest confirmed sighting is.

19-11-2008, 1:55 PM
Hi Kelly

It is likely that the adopted mother was still a biological relative, ie an aunt, cousin or second cousin.

If her mum died in childbirth then the birth itself was probably still registered but I cannot say which name she would be under. Have you tried any likely births in the index?

As official adoptions didnt take place until 1926, then your search for the biological mum may be hit and miss but dont give up any hope.

You could try any personal family letters, certificates etc or even ask a few more relatives in case they have a clue.


19-11-2008, 2:42 PM
My auntie has no other info except that Elizabeth was handed over to her adoptive parents at the graveside. As far as I'm aware, that's all anyone knows, and my auntie wasn't even told until a few months ago. I'll ask her to re-ask the person she discovered it from. They might have more details, or whoever told them might.

I suppose finding out about Elizabeth's adoptive mother's family is a place to start- I didn't think that the biological mother might have been a relative, but I suppose it makes sense really.

I think it's going to be a toughie!

Peter Goodey
19-11-2008, 2:56 PM
My auntie has no other info except that Elizabeth was handed over to her adoptive parents at the graveside.

You do need to find out where she got that information from.

In the meantime let's concentrate on the genealogy. What is the earliest confirmed data from this family line? Is it Elizabeth Harrison's marriage certificate, for example? What does it say?

19-11-2008, 4:37 PM
Unfortunately, no marriage cert yet. I have found a record of their marriage, and intend to get an actual copy as soon as I can. I do know that they married in 1912 in Cardiff, and that her middle name began with an M.

I'm currently in an email conversation with my auntie to find out as much as possible about how she came to find all this out. Hopefully it'll turn something up.

19-11-2008, 5:03 PM

Good luck with your findings. I am sure that you will find something. Yes the adopted mother may well have been a relative.

The mariage entry will hopefully throw up a few clues.