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Husband Abandonment 1891


Active member
Hi everyone.

I have recently been researching my grandmothers side. My second great grandmother was named Emma Louisa Wright who was born in 1870 in Dewsbury, west Yorkshire and married Dan Halstead of the same town in 1891. From what I can see, Dan then abandoned her to move to America with a woman also from Dewsbury and who i assume is their child.

In the 1901 census Emma is listed as the head of the house with her children who all have the double barrelled surname of Butterfield Halstead and is also living with a lodger William Butterfield who she goes onto marry in 1910.

I would love to know the complete story however I don't think that is possible. But for instance if William Butterfield was the father of at least some of the children (the children were born before William and Emma's marriage) would she have been legally bound to name the children Halstead? I have found my great grandmothers baptism record from 1897 and it says she is called Edith 'B' Halstead. However in the 1911 census William is listed as the stepfather of the children.

I assume the 'abandonment' law enabled William and Emma to marry 7 years after Dan had left the family which would be around 1903, meaning Dan was the father of the children but that is just me speculating.

Unfortunately William died only 3 years after they married. I feel so sorry for her !

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