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Re: Natural Child

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  • Sharon
    Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender Perhaps, but in my years of being on the genealogy lists, what I ve been hearing is it
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 29, 2005
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      Please note that your reply will now only go to
      the original sender


      Perhaps, but in my years of being on the genealogy
      lists, what I've been hearing is it usually refers to
      illegitimacy.

      Sharon
      --- Charles W Aubin <cwaubin1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Sharon:
      > I am sorry I disagree with you. When you say
      > the natural parents or
      > natural child you mean the child is the child of
      > those two parents. You
      > may have a natural mother and a step-father for
      > instance Not
      > necessarily illegitimate, but in this particular
      > case they would be.
      > Just my thoughts Charlie







      __________________________________________________________
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    • Xenia Stanford
      Please note that your reply will now only go to the original sender To interpret the meaning of natural child you need to know the location and date for the
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 30, 2005
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        Please note that your reply will now only go to
        the original sender


        To interpret the meaning of "natural child" you need to know the location
        and date for the record and understand the terminology used by the
        record-makers of a particular type of record.

        Originally the term was used in describing a family formally, where one
        could have a natural (birth) child of the father, a natural (birth) child of
        the mother, a natural child to both and/or an adopted child of either or
        both. A natural child of the father but not of the mother was a stepchild to
        the wife/mother of the family and vice versa. Also on records some children
        were described as "grandchild", another relationship to the head of
        household (e.g. niece, nephew...) or "stray" (if not a direct familial
        link).

        Since many women came to a marriage with children born outside of that
        particular marriage (some from a previous marriage or often not from a
        marriage at all), this became used synonymously with illegitimate child -
        since the child was not the child of the husband either as natural, step or
        adopted. Of course, many of these children were born to unwed mothers and
        the term became so "muddied" that it became "recognized" as a child born out
        of wedlock. Because of this, today the tendency is to use "birth child" or
        use "birth" to indicate the natural relationship, just as we say "birth
        mother". The other euphemism used to indicate child by birth in common
        vernacular was "real child" or "real parent" but this was never accepted
        formally or legally because all children are real and all parents are real.
        Their relationship, however, can be a direct familial link or not.

        Since the term "natural" was used in inheritances in some countries at
        various times (and in some still are) to separate those who would directly
        inherit while those who were not related by birth were not considered to be
        legitimate heirs. Again the term became muddied because a "natural" child of
        one parent would not necessarily be an heir, particularly to a throne, to
        the other parent (usually a father). In fact, in some records illegitimacy
        was indicated as an "unnatural child" of the person whose estate was in
        question, while the "natural child" would be a legitimate heir of that
        person.

        Also in many records, such as baptisms or birth registrations, a child was
        listed as the child of the legitimate marriage of ... (father) and ...
        (mother) or in the case where the mother only was known as the "natural
        child" of ... (mother). Since very few fathers would step up to the plate
        and have their illegitimate children baptised without listing the name of
        the mother but many women were in this situation where they presented the
        child for baptism or registration but did not name the father, the term
        "natural child" became what was considered a sullied term.

        So it is important to know context to determine the exact meaning. One may
        conclude if it was used in the informal sense in the past few centuries, it
        could mean illegitimate, but in a formal document, such as a census record
        or church record, it may not.

        For example in Australia on most 20th century census records, "natural
        child" is used as the broader sense, i.e. opposite of "adopted" or
        "step-child". This is also true in other countries, states/provinces at
        different periods. "Base born" used to be a term generally used as a true
        indication of illegitimacy and of course from that came the term "bastard".
        Now we just say illegitimate.

        The most recent example where I ran across the situation where it would have
        been a mistake to regard the term "natural" as meaning illegitimate was a
        family in which all 5 children were baptized on the same day. They were all
        listed as the "natural children" of the mother but only 2 were listed as the
        "natural children" of her, then, current husband. The other 3 were listed
        with the natural father as the woman's previous mate. The date and place in
        question was 18th century Quebec. Yet in this same century and location,
        many children who were born out of wedlock are indicated as enfant
        "naturel(le)" of ... (mother) and of ... (father). Again the definition of
        birth as well as legitimacy are in these cases expressed by the one word.

        So my advice is to interpret carefully for each situation by verifying
        family relationships through additional records rather than jumping to an
        immediate conclusion.

        Xenia Stanford (president@...)
        A.G.E. Ancestree Genealogical Enterprises
        Local genealogy book sales, professional research & writing:
        http://www.knowmap.com/age/
        Column: "Nos Racines Francaise" http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette
        Scrapbooking & preservation techniques
        Phone: (403) 295-3490; Fax: (403) 274-0564




        -----Original Message-----
        From: owner-dist-gen@...
        [mailto:owner-dist-gen@...]On Behalf Of Sharon
        Sent: October 29, 2005 7:00 PM
        To: dist-gen
        Subject: Re: Natural Child


        Please note that your reply will now only go to
        the original sender


        Perhaps, but in my years of being on the genealogy
        lists, what I've been hearing is it usually refers to
        illegitimacy.

        Sharon
        --- Charles W Aubin <cwaubin1@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Sharon:
        > I am sorry I disagree with you. When you say
        > the natural parents or
        > natural child you mean the child is the child of
        > those two parents. You
        > may have a natural mother and a step-father for
        > instance Not
        > necessarily illegitimate, but in this particular
        > case they would be.
        > Just my thoughts Charlie







        __________________________________________________________
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        http://www.afhs.ab.ca

        http://www.family-roots.ca
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