Q and A
HOW CAN I FIND AN UNKNOWN FATHER?I wondered if you could give my husband some advice as to his GUNNELL ancestry. We have hit a proverbial brick wall regarding the paternity of his grandfather, James Robert Holmes GUNNELL. His mother Harriet COUPLAND married Robert WATSON on 11th April 1864, one week before she produced J R H, although Robert was not his father: James’ birth certificate gives no father’s name. However, the landlady where Harriet was staying at the time of the birth registered the child under the name of GRAVES. We have no idea where this name came from. Within three weeks, Harriet asked the registrar to add a comment that she and the child were called GUNNELL, even though she was newly wed as Mrs WATSON. Why should she do this? Would it be possible to trace who his father was? There is a suspicion that in 1863, when Harriet was 20, she may have had an affair with one of her first cousins, who were GUNNELLs, living in Louth. On Harriet COUPLAND’s birth certificate, there is no father mentioned either, and she was born in Louth Workhouse to Sarah COUPLAND. She varied her story as to where she was born when supplying information for the census returns. Why should that be? Perhaps she was sensitive about being born in the workhouse. However, when she married Robert WATSON, the certificate stated that her father was William COUPLAND (deceased). Perhaps her father was a cousin of her mother’s? Perhaps the circumstances of these two births were a case of family history repeating itself!
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Q: Who invented the printing press in the Holy Roman Empire in 1440?