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Category Archives: Indexing/Transcribing

Unwed motherhood in 1809 — #genealogy #history

So I’m on the Family Search indexing site indexing a record from Sussex, UK, Church of England, indexing a parish record from 1809. Right smack dab in the middle of the record is a female child born to a woman with no husband… in 1809. Where all the other children have a father listed, this one does not.

1809

What was it like in 1809 for a single mother and child? I imagine they were both probably shunned by the local society. She had the baby baptized, but would anyone sit near her in church?

 

 

 

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Child mortality in history

We are fortunate in current times that child mortality in the United States and Europe is fairly low. Unfortunately, our ancestors weren’t so fortunate.

While indexing historic records for FamilySearch.org, I’ve noted so many infant deaths. Imagine a young mother carrying a child to term only to have that baby be still born or die before their first birthday. My grandmother, pictured below, had two babies who died before her four surviving children were born.

Ruth (Stearns) and Vincent Jordan with baby Vincent 1922

Ruth (Stearns) and Vincent Jordan with baby Vincent 1922

Grandma was very tender-hearted and I can imagine the overwhelming sadness she experienced when her first two children died shortly after birth. Mothers through history must have experienced the same soul-crushing sadness.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in History, Indexing/Transcribing

 

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