Erin (natane) wrote in little_details,

Boats & Legalities

Googled various combos of: boat, sinking, shipwreck, 1900s, 1890s, france, england, 20th century, timeline...
Then: adoption, late 1800s, england, britain, citizenship
Checked Wikipedia, but it was absolutely no help.

Cut for longness. Ships in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Adoptions/citizenship/orphans in the same time period.

For plot purposes, I need a ship that sunk between the years of 1890 and 1905, off the coast of England. Must be close enough that someone could have, theoretically, survived and made it to shore. There's some supernatural stuff involved, and I'm planning to fudge history and say a lifeboat was used, but I'd say within 20 miles or so of the coast, just because anything further is a little implausible (if I'm wrong here, tell me...)

Am getting massive amounts of information on the Titanic and the Lusitania. Neither one, of course, is in my area/time limits... And TOO much on U-Boats and WWI. That's too late for me.

Historical accuracy... there do not need to be any real historical survivors. Once again, I can fudge it. However, of course, if the entire ship blew up suddenly, it'll be hard to say someone survived.

I need the ship to originate in mainland Europe (I probably just stated that horribly wrong and offended someone), preferably from France, but if not, somewhere pretty close, as the character is French. And it needs to be a passenger boat, obviously.

If this is entirely impossible, then I can make one up, but a real boat would make my job easier... I just need a starting point, a couple of names and similar situations. *crosses fingers*

Second question: the survivor is about 7 or 8 years old. She speaks only French, maybe some small phrases in English. She gets to the shore and is found.

What will be the effort exerted to find her family? Newspaper postings, I'm assuming? Will the government be involved, as it's a child, or will it just be the effort of the people that find her? How long will they attempt to find her parents/family, especially if she says they died during the shipwreck and she has no other family?

Will she be allowed to stay in the country, or will it be a problem? If she can stay, is citizenship neccessary, or will no-one really notice/care?

Will she be able to be adopted legally, or was it just informal at that point in history? Will she be allowed to stay with the family that found her, or will governement/clergy try to take over custody of her? Will anyone attempt to put her in an orphanage?

If it matters, the people who find her are a middle-aged couple, with two children, and are financially well-off and socially fairly well-connected. The mother speaks rudimentary French, so there is the critical communication of things like 'hungry' and 'tired'. They are perfectly able to take care of her, and want to.

Thanks in advance, 'cause I know someone here will know the answers... more later on the same situation, but I'll wait a few days till I get some advice on this particular quandry.

Edit: it seems this will be a bit more difficult of a plot twist to neogotiate than I though. Thanks for those who could help.
Tags: uk: history: victorian era, ~adoption, ~boats and other things that float, ~law (misc)

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