How to find fathers in illegitimate births (1890s)

Discussion in 'Looking for Ancestors' started by debbenye, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. debbenye

    debbenye New Member

    Hi, I was looking at the online parish records from the Brno archives and discovered that both my grandmother and great-aunt were listed as illegitimate births with no fathers shown.

    Are there any other available records from the 1890s that might have the paternal name or names?

  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

  3. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    As a matter of interest, where are the on-line records?

    The parish records should have all the official information available. Up to 1918 there was no difference between state and church records except for Jewish records.

    In fact, the note on legitimacy is of no importantance here. Only the record on the father matters. If it states that the father is unknown it means he was always unknown, because the recognized paternity was disputable only by means of proving somebody else’s paternity.

    I’m afraid that the father-unknown-note is a deadlock for you. At the most, you can check the court records for unsuccessful dispute on paternity, or to consider the possibility of foreign origin and to check records in another country.

    Naturally, you can try also unofficial sources like newspapers, chronicles etc. But that could be difficult.
  4. debbenye

    debbenye New Member

    Thanks for the link--the information was very interesting.
  5. debbenye

    debbenye New Member

    There are direct links to Brno and Třeboň archives (and information on how to access them) at under Online Databases

    They also have links to partial records for Opava and Litoměřice that the LDS church has digitized and put on its Family Search website.

    The interersting thing was in the church book, there were many instances in the early periods (1850s-1860s) where there was a father listed for illegitimate births, but by the 1890s, all of the illegitimate births had blank fields for fathers (and noted svobodná dcera for the mother, rather than just dcera). The only exceptions were the births later legitimized by marriages. Perhaps the priest at that time chose not to record the fathers' names?

    Thanks for the reply--I'll probably have to dig up more American records (both my grandmother and great-aunt immigrated to the United States) and hope that somewhere will be the truth (if they knew it themselves).

  6. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    The former records were purely-church records recognized by the state as official, the latter records were kept by the church on behalf of the state and the priests were bound by law to reflect the legal status - i.e. not to record paternity based on mere declaration by mother, and to recognize all state-recognized marriages.

    One more point, what’s the confession in your records? Protestant churches were allowed to kept duplicate records.

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