Friday, April 3, 2009

Who is Father?

Charles Taylor, Jr. says "Father: Charles Taylor" and gives all sorts of information on him and his brothers. Assuming that his information is correct...why then do all of the Christening records state the parents names as Charles & Mary (Ann), surname: Moore?

William in 1860:

Anne in 1865:

Charles in 1868:

All three were christened at St Peter's Church in Liverpool.

Maybe the best answer comes from their birth certificates:

William in 1860:

George Henry in 1862:

Charles in 1868:

None of the boys have a father listed. The obvious conclusion is that Charles & Mary Ann are not married. Where does that leave us? Well, one of two things; they were married and Mary Ann was still hiding out (remember the story about leaving France?) or they were not married and all of their children are technically illegitimate. I say "technically", because a relationship that extended through all the time which would account for the births of all five children could be classified as a common-law marriage. However, that doesn't change any of the data. Divorce happens, as well, and Mary Ann and Charles were clearly separated by 1881, as he claims another wife and child, while she is now working for her living and Annie, at least, is a servant in another household. William, we understand, is already in the United States.

So, now is Mary Ann hiding out? Why would she be hiding out for so long? Wouldn't using her husband's name be a better way to hide out? Were they married but by special license? The most simple explanation is that all the records are correct and what they state is exactly what happened. Mary Ann Moore and Charles Taylor had a long-term relationship that was never qualified by marriage. At some point (mid 1870s) they split up. Charles found another woman to be with him, and Mary Ann Moore took her children and raised them on her own, ostensibly a widow. Even after her death the children did not go back to their father, but went on to America to be with their brother. Perhaps he went to America to earn money to help them all come over later.

Why would the christening records give a father's name, but not the birth certificate? I think it is a technical issue. The christening record asks for parents first names and then the surname is in a separate column in which they could easily record the "child's surname" rather than the "parents' surname." Can you see it happening? The priest (or the sexton) asking "Child's name? Parent's given names? Surname?" Very easy to tell the child's surname rather than the father's. In contrast the full name of each parent is given in the birth certificate in totally separate boxes. Harder to disguise the difference.

With the track record Charles had, I don't think I like him very much. His first wife died young, the second wife left him, the third wife died young. But that may be unfair.

Apparently, the family knew that Charles had this relationship with Mary Ann and knew that the children had gone to America, because the family information passed down to me said that the children were "written out of the will because they wouldn't go back to England." Well, we know now that there was no will. Charles died intestate. All of his estate of 539 pounds went to Mary Collis Taylor. The Admon papers do not mention anything about any other children. But it stands to reason that if the Moore children did not go back to England to fight for their rights, then they wouldn't have any, since there were no legal records to tie them to Charles Taylor, Sr.

Now we just have to find out about the four youngest children!

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