Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post on Foundling Children in Glasgow after coming across some early 19th Century baptisms of foundling children in Glasgow's Town's Hospital. Whilst researching at the ScotlandsPeople Centre this week, I was once again struck by a record of a Glasgow foundling, this time in the Statutory Registers of Births.
It’s an unusual birth record as it shows not a date and place of birth but rather when and where the baby girl was found. In the column where parents’ names are usually recorded it simply states ‘Parentage unknown’.
An associated entry in the Register of Corrected Entries (RCE) gives a slightly amended name, apparently following her baptism, and a note in the margin shows that she was later adopted.
What particularly interested me what that she was not a newborn when found but believed to be over a year old and chances are her birth was registered in the usual way when she was born.
This means that in just the first few years of her life this baby was probably known by three different names (her original name, the name given to her as a foundling and her later adopted name) and may in effect have three birth records (including her entry in the Adopted Children Register).
Yet, with nothing to connect her original birth entry to the later records, she is almost certainly impossible to trace. Anyone who comes across the original birth record and wants to find out what happened to her in later life will probably not be able to connect her with the foundling known by a different name. Whilst any descendants, even if aware of the circumstances of her adoption, will have little chance of identifying her birth parents without even a date of birth to go on.
So this leads me to a question: Is a foundling child the ultimate in genealogical brickwalls?