What are these Papers?
When a mother was expecting an illegitimate child, parish officials subjected her to an examination to try to determine the name of the father. They would then attempt to have him sign a bastardy bond which meant he was responsible for the maintenance of the child. The father would then have to pay a weekly sum to the mother to support the child. If the father refused to pay maintenance an application could then be made, by the mother, her family or parish officers, to the Justices of the Peace for a maintenance order. Bastardy records were, therefore, important documents in providing evidence as to the parentage of a child. After 1839 bastardy cases were heard in Petty Sessions Courts where Justices of the Peace issued maintenance orders. Unfortunately very few of these records have survived. From the latter part of the nineteenth century you will find brief details of maintenance orders in the registers of the courts of Petty Sessions and Magistrates.
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LYDIA SNAPE (Sneap) Father Thomas Tivey, Male child born 1812.
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