October 6th, 2009

Marrying your adoptive sibling in the UK; attitudes to this in the 1920s

Hi everyone,

The story I'm planning is set in the UK in the 1920s (probably 1925, not exactly sure yet). Would it be legal for adoptive siblings to marry each other then? I can’t even find a definitive answer on whether it’s legal today.

Either way, does anyone know what attitudes people would have had towards a relationship between adoptive siblings? I realise said attitudes would depend largely on the character, but would they be similar to today, generally more supportive or generally more negative? Would the couple want to hide their relationship? If it helps the family is upper middle class and the girl was adopted when she was ten.

Have tried googling "adoptive siblings marriage UK" "legal marry adoptive sibling UK" "marriage laws UK" and several variations thereof. I've found contradictory responses, mostly on yahoo answers/wiki answers which are anecdotal or don't cite sources.

Looked at wikipedia pages on "consanguinity", "marriage laws", "prohibited degree of kinship", "siblings" - found nothing useful.

While I’m here, if anyone has any useful links about 1920s England in general (fashion, society, everyday technology) they would be gratefully received. I’m trying to read up as much as possible.

Thanks in advance :)

ETA: I have just found this:

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/history/documents/3._keating_struggle_for_identity.pdf

which says at the beginning:

Until the 1920s, adoption in England was an informal arrangement. Eighteenth and nineteenth century novels frequently feature stories of orphans, benefactors and guardians but in fact, apart from rare wardship and guardianship proceedings which only the rich could afford, the only adopted children with any legal status prior to 1926 were those placed for adoption under the 1899 Poor Law Act by the Boards of Guardians. Other children living as family with people who were not their parents remained the legal responsibility of their natural parents.

...but it doesn't say anything else about the formal adoption procedure pre-1926. Any help on that would also be appreciated.

What to use for pre-Columbian yarn...?

I'm working on a fantasy novel whose invented culture somewhat resembles the Mandan, and whose setting strongly resembles the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Briefly, my fictional people are a bronze-age society that build permanent settlements and farm food crops such as squash, beans, etc in a forest setting.  They also conduct quite a bit of trade with the people of the great plains, who have different customs. 

For plot reasons, they need to have yarn.  (No, seriously, my plot revolves around yarn.  They don't necessarily have to have woven fabric, but dye-able cording is a must.) 

Who's got a reasonable plausible idea for what fiber they are using?  It can be either grown/husbanded within their small fortified town (goats?), scavenged from the forest (cedar bark?) or obtained in trade.

ETA:  This is one of those fantasies set in an invented world with no "our Earth" charaters popping round to it.  And it's not an alternate history.  Since there's no history to be faithful to, picking a fiber is mostly a matter of getting the right feel.  I am trying hard not to default to the European.  And generally trying to write about people of color without being a jerk.  

Thanks for all the help below.  I'm starting to lean towards either goats or skin cording instead of yarns. 

One of these days I'm going to write a novel that's vaguely Celtic and under-researched, just like everybody else.