Abandoned women, late 19th century

Useful places to look up facts

Moderator: Global Moderators

Post Reply
CDaleG
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:34 pm

Abandoned women, late 19th century

Post by CDaleG » Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:37 pm

My great grandfather left Glasgow for Canada in April 1890 with 6 children, aged 16 years - 20 months; my grandfather was the youngest
Growing up, my mother understood that her grandmother had died none of her aunts or uncles, or older cousins, had an answer for her about what had happened to her grandmother, or where she was buried.
We discovered, shockingly, that she had been left in Scotland, and died in 1922! So upsetting to think that my grandfather who was just a toddler had been taken from his mother and had not had the opportunity to know her.
I don't expect there were many social services available to women in such a situation. What would have happened to her? She would have been 41 years old at the time and, I presume, capable of work but without a home.

AndrewP
Site Admin
Posts: 6080
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:36 am
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Abandoned women, late 19th century

Post by AndrewP » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:16 pm

[TS_welcome]

A sad tale. I take it you have seen her death certificate. Was her home address on that a house, or a "poorhouse"? Who registered the death - a family member, a friend/neighbour, or a poorhouse attendant. If she was in the poorhouse, or in receipt of money from the parish, there could be records of that. Glasgow has good records for its poor, to be found in the Mitchell Library.

All the best,

AndrewP

CDaleG
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:34 pm

Re: Abandoned women, late 19th century

Post by CDaleG » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:38 pm

I have seen her death certificate. She had another child in 1892. Although she did live with her child's father, and is actually buried in the family lair, I don't believe she married him. She was living with her daughter and her daughter's family when she died.
I'm wondering, though, what would have happened to her, how she would have coped, between the time her husband left and her new relationship. Would she have been accepted at the poorhouse, as an able-bodied woman? Would that have been an option for her? Would she have gone to a workhouse? Is there much of a difference between the two?
I'm just trying to fill in some time-line blanks for her. It is very sad. I don't believe any of her children were ever in touch with her again, after the move to Canada.

Falkyrn
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:04 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Abandoned women, late 19th century

Post by Falkyrn » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:52 pm

The terms "Poorhouse" & "Workhouse" are basically interchangeable with the term Poorhouse being seen as a more Scottish Term.

It is extremely unlikely that if she was able bodied that she would have been taken "in house" if she applied for Poor relief - it was generally cheaper for the authorities to pay a small amount of money for a fixed period and for her to find accomodation outside. The Poor Relief Inspectors were also pretty strict when they carried out any interviews.

It is also very likely that she would not have wanted to go into the poorhouse regardless of her circumstances- the stigma of the place would have had a major influence there.

Unfortunately without further information any statements regarding her possible means of survival would just be guesses but there is one major sticking point - what was the cause of the split which caused her to be left behind by her husband. It must have been pretty major for him to have taken the children with him.

See http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Scotland/U ... land.shtml for background information about Scottish Poorhouses
~RJ Paton~

CDaleG
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:34 pm

Re: Abandoned women, late 19th century

Post by CDaleG » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:07 am

Thank you for clarification of the terms poorhouse and workhouse.

I wish we knew why she was left behind in Scotland. Her husband had been a police constable in the 1880s in Gorbals and then in Shettleston before he left with the children. From what research I've done, it seems large, brutish men were hired to police the poorer areas and, as I understand it, those were the poorer areas around Glasgow at the time. My sense is that he didn't want to be married to her any longer and so he just left her. I've done a preliminary search for his police work records but have had no success. I thought they might contain a clue, as well.

I guess it's a mystery we'll never solve.

Thank you to all who responded.

Post Reply