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JoBarrington
14-06-2019, 11:01 AM
Hi

I am trying to find out what the usual adoption process was back in 1890-1891.

I know my great-grandfather was adopted by a family called Barrington in St Helens, Lancashire (either late 1890 or early 1891).

I have a Certificate of Baptism for 17 March 1891 for William James Barrington (my great grandfather). The Barrington family had him baptised at St Mary's, Lowe House, St Helens on 17 March 1891. His date of birth is unknown but on the Baptism Certificate it's written as "April (?) 1887". Oddly enough, his adopted parents christian names aren't on the Baptism Certificate. Where it says Father's Name its been handwritten as "(Father by adoption) --- Barrington", similar to Mother: "(Mother by adoption) Mrs Barrington".

I have in my possession, letters written from a Mrs Herberts to Mrs Barrington. In these letters Mrs Herberts asks "please let me know your lowest terms would be to take him as your own", which indicates Mrs Herberts was to pay Mrs Barrington a small allowance of sorts.

I don't know if the christian names, William James were his original ones as his name was never mentioned in any of the letters (I have 5 in total).

I'm trying to find out how they would have made contact? Was it something advertised in newspapers? Or the church?

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated as I have hit a wall with him in my family tree.

Megan Roberts
14-06-2019, 11:45 AM
Unfortunately prior to adoption being given a statutory framework in the 1920s there was no one set of rules. Adoptions could be informal or formal; they could be arranged privately or through third parties. To give you an example of the type of things that I am talking about, my grandfather was orphaned when he was 6 or 7 years old. He and his 3 older siblings were then effectively in the care of their elderly widowed grandmother. She couldn't take care of the 2 younger siblings so they were adopted out to 2 separate families. Although they both moved out of their original village to near by ones all the siblings stayed in contact. One of the younger children had her surname changed, not through deed poll or anything formal, but just through custom and usage. The other one didn't even though it was different to the adoptive parents.

Given that you have documents it might be worth doing a newspaper search to see if there were any references to the agreement.

emeltee
14-06-2019, 1:14 PM
The Mrs Herberts mentioned in the letters might not be the birth mother but someone acting as a go-between, a broker for the adoption. Therefore it is quite possible that the Barringtons may not have known who the mother of their adopted son was.

Emeltom

shippo
14-06-2019, 7:11 PM
Did the letters have dates on them? Also is there an address on the letters for Mrs Herberts?

JoBarrington
14-06-2019, 9:27 PM
Thank you Megan

Yes. I’ve started searching newspapers as I’m assuming Mrs Barrington had contacted her in writing given the opening paragraph in first letter. Here’s a transcript from the first letter:

Poste Restante
Walsall
Mrs Barrington
Dear Madam
Your letter to hand. I shall be please to let you have the child if we can come to terms. My reasons for waiting to find someone to adopt him are, we have no settled home of our own. We are travelling about every week & I thought it would be better if I could find one for him.
He is a fine little fellow & will scarcely give you any trouble. He can walk about by himself, goes to bed at 6 o'clock & lies until about 8 in the morning, during the day he plays for hours.
Please let me know for return of post what your lowest terms would be to take him as your own. They must be reasonable as our means are very small.
Hoping we shall be able to come to terms. I remain
Yours sincerely
Mrs Herberts

Thank you once again for responding Megan.

JoBarrington
14-06-2019, 9:38 PM
Thank you Emelton

I did think of this. One of the lines of thought in our family is if these letters were written by his natural mother, she would have come from a family with money as not everyone could write copperplate back then. They need a good education.

Another idea is that she paid someone to write the letters on her behalf. So many scenarios.

Thank you for your time.

JoBarrington
14-06-2019, 9:45 PM
Did the letters have dates on them? Also is there an address on the letters for Mrs Herberts?

The letters aren't dated which I found odd.

In each letter, she tells Mrs Barrington where to send her reply letter to. They are all Post Offices within the Lancashire area.

I'll keep searching old newspapers for a possible private advertisement.

Thank you for your time.

shippo
14-06-2019, 9:53 PM
Thank you Megan

Yes. Iíve started searching newspapers as Iím assuming Mrs Barrington had contacted her in writing given the opening paragraph in first letter. Hereís a transcript from the first letter:

Poste Restante
Walsall
Mrs Barrington
Dear Madam
Your letter to hand. I shall be please to let you have the child if we can come to terms. My reasons for waiting to find someone to adopt him are, we have no settled home of our own. We are travelling about every week & I thought it would be better if I could find one for him.
He is a fine little fellow & will scarcely give you any trouble. He can walk about by himself, goes to bed at 6 o'clock & lies until about 8 in the morning, during the day he plays for hours.
Please let me know for return of post what your lowest terms would be to take him as your own. They must be reasonable as our means are very small.
Hoping we shall be able to come to terms. I remain
Yours sincerely
Mrs Herberts

Thank you once again for responding Megan.

Sound to me that Mrs Herberts is the mother.
quote" MY reasons for waiting to find someone to adopt him are, we have no settled home of our own. We are travelling about every week & I thought it would be better if I could find one for him.

Megan Roberts
14-06-2019, 11:08 PM
I did a quick search of birth records for Herberts born around 1887 and there are not that many – just half a dozen. Those that there are can be tracked and found with their birth families in later censuses.

So I think that either his birth was not registered or he was not the natural child of Mrs Herberts, or that was not her real name.

My guess is that for you one route to consider is the DNA route. I don’t use it and know little about it, but there are others here who know more. However, I think that in essence you would sample your own DNA and upload it to an DNA genealogy web site and hope that either now, or at some point in the future, you find a match.

christanel
15-06-2019, 2:37 AM
Is this your ggrandfather in the 1891 census? If so note that his middle name on the image is Jno. John not James?

RG12 Piece 3020 Folio 12
11 King St, Windle, St Helens
William Birch 28 Coal miner St Helens
Alice Birch 25 St Helens
Mary Birch 6 St Helens
Maggie Birch 4 St Helens
Patrick Barrington 41 chemical labourer born Ireland
Elizabeth Barrington 40 born St Helen's
William Jno Barrington 3 Born - Not Known.

I also see that Patrick and William are with Patrick and his new wife Esther Roughley nee Shufflebotham and her 3 sons in 1901. Elizabeth died age 46 Sept 1/4 1896


In each letter, she tells Mrs Barrington where to send her reply letter to. They are all Post Offices within the Lancashire area.
Poste Restante
Walsall
Mrs Barrington
Dear Madam

The only Walsall google maps is giving me is in the county of West Midlands. Which Wikipedia tells me is historically part of Staffordshire, Does anyone know of a Walsall in Lancashire?
Christina

shippo
15-06-2019, 7:47 AM
Do any of the other letters give any hints? Such as any mention of other children.

Dundee10
15-06-2019, 1:15 PM
Having seen the letters on an Ancestry family tree the name signed is HERBERTE not HERBERTS. I think that there is a better than average chance that he may have been the son of actors Charles HERBERTE and Violet SMYTH. Charles and Violet married in 1896 (West Ham district) but had at least two children prior to their marriage and there is a third child for Violet who survived to at least 1911 that I haven't identified.

The two known children were Charles Steer HERBERTE (1890 Greenwich) and Dorothy HERBERTE (1893 Birkenhead, surname indexed as HERBERTS). Charles' middle name may have come from Janette STEER who acted with Charles HERBERTE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janette_Steer

There are lots of mentions of Charles' acting in the newspapers and in early 1891 they were in the north of England (newspaper articles in Jarrow, Birmingham, Hartlepool, Blackburn, Manchester etc.) It certainly fits with the story of travelling.

In 1891 Charles and Violet are in Durham

Class: RG12; Piece: 4042; Folio: 141; Page: 31

Charles jnr is in Tottenham with Esther QUINTIN and family enumerated as a nephew.

Class: RG12; Piece: 1071; Folio: 105; Page: 24

In 1901 Charles and Violet are in Islington with son Charles

Class: RG13; Piece: 189; Folio: 66; Page: 20

I believe Dorothy is in Croydon with Richard and Ada HOLLAND as 'adopted' even though it has her place of birth as Greenwich. The reason that I am confident is that Ada was formerly QUINTON and was Esther's daughter (see 1891 census above). I have not looked to see what the actual relationship was between Charles, Violet and Esther.

Class: RG13; Piece: 646; Folio: 102; Page: 10

William may have been the son of either Charles or Violet or as a couple, or may have even been the son of someone else in the theatre company. If any of this scenario is true then finding a birth for him may be challenging.

christanel
15-06-2019, 8:22 PM
Great work Dundee10. :smile5:
What a difference to a search one letter in a name does, although I did do some searching for Herbert* I didn't get a Herberte in the results. I'll blame ancestry and its quirks.:biggrin:
Christina

christanel
15-06-2019, 8:44 PM
Third child of Charles and Violet?
Nora Violet Herberte Sept 1/4 1891 reg dist Edmonton vol 3a page 354 MMN Smyth

There is a tree on ancestry with this information which I haven't checked yet
Nora Violet Herberte
Spouse - Albert Cyril Cheesman married 1917
Father Charles Herberte
Mother - Violet (no maiden name)
Birth 9/1891 England
Death- New Zealand
Residence - 1963 Fendalton Christchurch Canterbury New Zealand
Christina

Dundee10
16-06-2019, 2:32 AM
Thank you Christina, I thought I had looked properly but obviously not. Nora married as SANDERS in NZ, the only daughter of Mrs M. SANDERS, so if she was Nora HERBERTE then it appears she was also adopted out.

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX19171231.2.5

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/SUNCH19171208.2.12

Mrs SANDERS and daughter Nora aged 8 went to NZ n 1900 so she won't appear on any UK census.


I have not looked to see what the actual relationship was between Charles, Violet and Esther.

I think Charles HERBERTE was actually Charles KEMP, brother to Esther. In 1881 he is an actor living with his brother, mother and Arthur QUINTON in Edmonton.

christanel
16-06-2019, 4:07 AM
There is the birth reg of a Violet Smyth June 1/4 1868 registration district Lambeth vol 1d page 441 mmn Stamp

Marriage March 1/4 1860 St. Geo. H. Sq vol 1a page 276 Names on the same page Benjamin Price William Smyth and Hannah Maria Stamp.
Christina

Dundee10
16-06-2019, 4:29 AM
Yes it seems that Violet was using her birth name. It might be worth seeing an original copy of the 1896 marriage register to compare the handwriting though just her signature may not give much to compare. I am currently having a look at her 1911 handwritten signature and address - twenty years later and it is certainly not as neat and at this point I would say not the same hand.

christanel
16-06-2019, 6:15 AM
by Dundee10
I think Charles HERBERTE was actually Charles KEMP, brother to Esther. In 1881 he is an actor living with his brother, mother and Arthur QUINTON in Edmonton.

And in 1891
RG12 Piece 1071 Folio 105
Esther Quintin 46
Ada Quintin 23
John Quintin 21
Emily Quintin 19
Minnie Quintin 17
Jessie Quintin 15
Edith Quintin 9
Alice Quintin 8
John Kemp 58 single Brother
Arthur Holland 23
Charles S Herberte Nephew 10 months

I went looking for Violet in the earlier censuses and found this in 1871.
3 Liverpool Terrace Broadwater Worthing
1871 Piece 1107 Folio 7 Page 6
Henry Cheesman 40 Lodging house keeper Bracknell Berkshire
Elizabeth Cheesman 38 wife Thursley Surrey
Annie ElizabethCheesman 13 dau Marylebone (mmn Milton)
Ellen Cheesman 9 Bracknell (possible birth mmn Milton )
Kate Cheesman 6 Bracknell (possible birth Kate Emily mmn Milton)
Amy Wilthen 57 Aunt Pinner? Middlesex
Montrose Smyth 10 Bengal Allabeded, India
Ethel Smyth 8 Bengal Allabeded, India
Roble St Ledger Smyth 7 Bengal Allabeded, India
Percy Smyth 4 Briston, Surrey (can't find a birth reg for him.
Violet Smyth 3 Briston, Surrey (possible birth reg June 1/4 lambeth mmnStamp.}
Cousande Smyth 4 Months Briston, Surrey (actually Corisande mmn Stamp)
Fanny Lacke 20 Nursemaid

marriage Elizabeth Milton and Henry Cheeseman Sept 1/4 1856 Marylebone vol 1a 716

How the relationships stack up I haven't worked out yet but am intrigued that the surname Cheesman has cropped up again. (remember Violet's daughter married a Cheesman who was born in Tasmania to Albert Cheeseman and Agnes Shore.)

So what to make of it all?
Christina

almach
16-06-2019, 7:09 AM
Hi ladies,

A little more to add to your wonderful finds.

1881, RG11; Piece: 1001; Folio: 46; Page: 38
Benjn P.W. Smyth 60, Superintendent ???, Brackley
Hannah M. Smyth 41, Reading Berkshire
Noble St. Leger Smyth 17,
Percy Smyth 14
Violet Smyth 13
Corisund Smyth 10
Elizth. Ditton 42
Children's birthplaces as 1871.

Percy was registered and baptised as:
Benjamin Henry Percy Smyth son of Benjamin Price William and Hannah Maria
14 Nov 1866, Brixton St John the Evangelist, Lambeth, England

almach
16-06-2019, 7:28 AM
According to a tree on Ancestry Hannah Maria Stamp's parents were Henry Stamp and Elizabeth Wilshin, Elizabeth Wilshin has a sister Amy Wilshin who I think is the aunt Amy born Pinner on 1871 census #18

christanel
16-06-2019, 9:31 AM
And a couple of good finds from you Alma - thanks. :smile5:

1851 census for Esther Kemp and her brother John who is with her in 1891
HO107 Piece 1520 Folio 256 Page 41
Joseph Newton 34
Elizabeth Newton 39 nee Ware 1st husband James Kemp, married 24 June 1829.
James Kemps 20
John Kemps 19
Esther Kemps 6
Willam Newton 3
George Newton 3
Sarah England 16
Enez Meyer 63

1841 HO107 piece 667 Book 1 Folio 31 Page 20
Old Street, St Lukes, Finsbury
James Kemp 35 coach smith
Elizabeth Kemp 30
James Kemp 11
John Kemp 9
Henry Kemp 5
Charles Kemp 3
Albert Kemp 6 Months
All born in county.

Christina