Outside the Law? Illegitimacy 1700-1987
This talk explains the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation and the legal and social implications for children born outside marriage. It shows what family historians can expect to find recorded in parish or civil records, and – drawing on large-scale cohort studies – what inferences can be drawn from what is or is not recorded.
Professor Rebecca Probert is the leading academic authority on the history of marriage law in England and Wales. She has taught at the University of Warwick for the past decade and is the author of many scholarly articles and monographs. She has also appeared numerous times on TV and radio, and her work has been widely recognised as rewriting modern understandings of past marriage practices. Vitally for family historians, her research into marriage practices in past centuries is grounded not just in analysis of case-law but in a great many detailed, large-scale cohort studies of communities across England and Wales.