If a child is born out of wedlock, it is possible he or she was later legitimized when the mother married. Legally, the mother’s husband would then be the father. But that doesn’t mean he was the biological father.
In these situations, there are several things you can do to verify if the legal father was also the biological father:
- You can compare timelines of the mother and the legal father to see if they were in the same place around the time of conception.
- You can research the mother and legal father to see if there’s an explanation why they couldn’t marry sooner. For example, he may have served in the military or could have been away at sea.
- If the child was male and has living strict male-line descendants, you can use Y-DNA testing to compare them to other known strict male-line relatives of the legal father, for example descendants of later children or of brothers of the legal father.
- If the illegitimate child was born just a few generations ago, autosomal DNA testing of the child’s descendants may show DNA matches on the legal father’s side, which could help to confirm he was indeed the biological father.
See How to Find the Father of an Illegitimate Child for more tips.