I have a couple of questions regarding illegitimate children in England. My g-g-g-grmother had 2 illegitimate children [she died a couple yrs later]. Her sister, 17 yrs older than she, had 5 illegitimate children. All these children took the surname of their mother [Bickerstaff]. However, the older sister gave her children 3 names in addition to Bickerstaff-- i.e. Thomas Edward Culley Bickerstaff; Catherine Hester Webb Bickerstaff.
My questions are:
1) is my understanding correct that these women could not lawfully put the father's name on the birth certif.'s of illegitimate children? [My g-g-g-grmother's kids just had a line drawn through the space for father's name.]
2) is it possible that the additional name described above for the sister's kids, was actually the surname of the father?
3) Would the father's name show up anywhere, at a later date, such as when the child died or was married?
4) my Bickerstaff family was, as far as I can tell, poor. Were illegitimate pregnancies common in the 1800's? [My g-g-g-grmother's kids were b. 1858 and 1860; her older sister's kids were b. 1840's-1850's.]
5)One of the illegitimate children of my g-g-g-grmother presumably heard rumors from family over the yrs as to who her father was [her mother died when this dau. was 5]. She returned to England from the U.S. supposedly to fight a court case where a man's Will was being probated; family lore has it that she failed to prove her [paternity?] case, and "10,000 pounds went to Chancery". Does anyone know how this might be researched?
Thanks for any information!