skötsætubarn (OSw) noun

Literally, ‘child set in the lap’, translated as ‘adopted or legitimized child’. This act was a sign of formal adoption, particularly of children born before the marriage of a couple, in acknowledgement that the husband accepted the wife’s pre-existing child as his own. This was the case even if there had been an intervening marriage to other parties. In UL, a further situation is envisaged in which a couple were engaged and the man dies before a marriage takes place. With general acceptance or with appropriate witnesses to testify to the betrothal, the children would be accepted as the legitimate heirs to the dead man. In GL, a similar procedure is described but relating to the adoption by a grandfather of children whose own father had died.

legitimized child OSw UL Äb Refs:

KLNM s.v. ættleiing; Peel 2015, 132 note 20/16; Schlyter 1877, s.v. skötsætubarn; SL GL, 266 note 5 to chapter 20; SL UL, 85 notes 57−59

  • ‘skötsætubarn’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.