I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, if not I would certainly appreciate a point in the right direction.
My Great-Grandfather was bon in 1907. I have a birth certificate for him and know the names of his parents and his fathers occupation. But so far I have drawn a blank on them any other record of them. I have my suspicion that the family may have travelled quite a bit, but in the UK they were based in South london.
Something happened to the family, I do not know what, and my Grandfather was given over to a lady, possibly called Mrs Beattie, who looked after him in New Malden, Surrey. From what I know of his care and upbringing it seems as though he was put into private foster care.
In the 1990's a man visited my family once or twice as he was researching Mrs Beattie who took in many children in the new malden area. He gave a relative a letter from the mother in response to a letter the foster mother had written asking if she would now like her son back. The answer sadly, was no. This was when my great-grandfather was 11 so in about 1918.
My first question is, if anyone knows about this lady and her work then I would love to learn more, my Great-grandfather was never one for talking much about his early life and what we know was passed on to us by his wife. So the details are very scetchy.
The second this is more general information about private fostering at this time. Before I knew about the letter I had looked into a number of options, orphanages etc as a place where he grew up. But none of them seemed to match with the experience of a woman who had always cared for him.
So I heard of private fostering and thought that sounded the most likely. But what sort of person put there child in this type of care? I heard that women may do this initially and pay but then as funds grew tight then payment would stop and the child would end up in an orphanage or workhouse. This does not seem to have happened to my great-grandfather. I don't know if she paid for his care after the letter but his mother clearly had paid or at very least kept intouch up to that point ( I don't know how long he had been in care).
The foster Mother at some point informally adopted my great-grandfather (as formal addoption did not exist then). or at least became his mother figure. He lived with her into his 20's and brought his future wife to meet her. He was also visited by his 'sister' (not a real sister) called Annie or Maragret (or may be there were two).
We would love to get clues to where our family name come from but more than that I would personally like to understand better the story of this unfortunate, yet extreme lucky and loved little boy and the woman who brought him up.