Illegitimate children expose illicit relations (update 2020)

illegitimate-child-21

Image borrowed from this genealogy blog, original source unknown

I ran across this old post the other day, which I’ve always found interesting and pretty tragic in its ramifications ….

Researching Lucy has given me an opportunity to learn many, many things about our history, including the court’s attitude toward illegitimate children in the early 1900s.

The following came from the Superior Court of California (County of Humboldt) probate record for Charles Mulberg (Lucy’s son) , who died “on or about March 23, 1928″.

…Inheritance in all other cases is eliminated on account of public policy founded upon a moral reason.  If every illegitimate child could claim inheritance from his brothers and sisters, public scandal would be placed upon the head of many otherwise decent and respectable citizens.  The legislature therefore evidently considered it a better policy to lessen public scandal and deny inheritance to an illegitimate, than to throw open the doors of public scandal and gossip, subject many persons to questionable ridicule and permit an illegitimate to expose the  illicit relations of his or her ancestors, merely for the purpose of sharing the estate of his parent’s kindred.   It therefore left the right of inheritance of an illegitimate to these cases where the parents themselves had exposed such illicit relations by admitting parentage. …

 Sucks for the poor children  whose fathers didn’t want to claim them.

2020 Note: I did find this interesting article on the history of child support in 18th and 19th century London (from the University of Cambridge) while looking for an image for this post… 

 

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