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foundling's identity

(10 Posts)
Loiria Tue 21-Mar-17 20:40:43

Seems likely that a mid-19th century relative was a foundling. Anyone know how foundlings were given an identity?

Grannyben Tue 21-Mar-17 21:18:35

I watched a documentary about the foundling children a number of years ago. I believe even children who had a name were given an new identity so that they were 'cleansed'. I really can't recall them saying how the new names were chosen and, whilst i appreciate this may be completely wrong, i do wonder if it was similar to the way Oliver twist got his name, the next letter in the alphabet. Sounds completely ludicrous but many Dickens novels reflected real life

trisher Tue 21-Mar-17 22:06:59

Loiria take a look at the Coram foundations website and the history of the Foundling Hospital. They have detailed records and offer help
I first came across it when I found Coram Fields in London a park specially for children where adults must be accompanied by a child.

suzied Tue 21-Mar-17 22:55:53

Different parishes would have different procedures. The foundling hospital museum in London is a fascinating place and well
Worth a visit. There they kept any notes or clothes the child was found with in case the mother came back later to claim them.

grannyactivist Tue 21-Mar-17 23:15:49

I used to work for the Thoms Coram Foundation and they have wealth of detail about their own foundlings and I'm sure will be very helpful. Some of their records are kept at the London Archives.

Grannybug Wed 22-Mar-17 09:42:27

The foundling hospital museum has a display of the tokens left with each child (often by the mother who was not in a position to support the child) in case they were ever in a position to reclaim their child . I think it was one of the saddest museum exhibits I've seen . It's a really interesting museum and well worth visiting .

Loiria Tue 16-May-17 20:36:08

Thank you all for your help and information. I hope to get to London soon - the Metropolitan Archives and the Foundling Hospital, too. More news then....

janeainsworth Tue 16-May-17 20:41:16

I agree grannybug, I found it very moving.
Good luck with your search Loiria

MargaretX Tue 16-May-17 20:57:23

I think parentage was treated differently in years gone by. Life was often short there were many orphans and those who were found knew that they had been lucky.
i know of two foundling children, one found in India and one in Africa. Both are now living as adopted daughters with families.
In the past, people just took in children as they wamted carers for their old age and they never knew if their own children would live. My owm GT Gmother was brought up by a couple not her parents.
Now there is enough collected DNA to tell a foundling where he might have been born geographically.
I hope you find enough material about your relative but I doubt if there will be info about the parentage.

Nelliemoser Tue 16-May-17 22:55:03

Foundling children are often given a surname which relates closely to where they were found. Say a particular parish or such. This still continues.