Adoption records prior to 1927

This guide was last updated in 2012

As there was no legal framework for adoption during this time there will be no guarantee of finding any adoption records.
If there was a dispute between the adopted parents and mother that found its way into a court, then it’s worth searching the British Newspaper Archive to see if anything was reported locally.

Other records may surface if any adoption was organised by a local charity or orphanage. For example, the Thomas Coram Foundation (now Coram) retained a register for children admitted to their Foundling Hospital from 1974 onwards. Although their older records are held with the London Metropolitan Archives, details of their more recent holdings can be found here.

Another charitable organisation heavily involved in the care of children was Dr Barnardo’s. If your ancestor was taken in by this organisation then you can contact them to see what records they may have.

Adoption records after 1927
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