Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lavinia Ann Roberts : an addition but no relation


I  have noticed that many online trees, linked to my family have recorded a Lavinia Ann Roberts, as a daughter of John Thomas Roberts and Emma Clifton (my Great, Great Grandparents), born in Hartley NSW on the 8th July 1870. Lavinia married Thomas Veal Lawry in Orange in 1895, and died in Auburn (a Sydney suburb) in 1949. There are many records on Ancestry that verify these details; and only one tree that gives her different parents.

However, another child of John Thomas Roberts and Emma Clifton, Edward John Roberts was also born in 1870 - on August 25, in Maitland!

I was confused! Hartley is near Lithgow in NSW, almost 300km SW of Maitland where our family lived. How could Emma give birth to two children with in months of each other, in towns so far apart? Something was definitely wrong.

Maitland to Hartley NSW; from Google Maps

A cousin of mine, who has been doing research into our Roberts Family for many years, had previously sent me a CD with all his research notes, certificates and photographs - Thanks Mark! My main line of interest however lay in my own line, so I had previously not taken time to check the details of my Great Grandfather's siblings and their families. As I am currently "tidying up" my own tree off line, I finally came to Lavinia and the dilemma noted above became an obsession.

So out came Mark's CD, which I had decided to check more thoroughly and low and behold an absolute gem was staring me in the face - scans of pages from the Family Bible, which has come down through my Great Grandfather's sister's Line - Edith Roberts who married Percival Weeden. A brilliant find from an item I didn't know existed, but now know is the safe hands of my newly found cousin Stuart.

The first page details the marriage of John Thomas Roberts and Emma Clifton in 1865. The second page details the birth of all their children. It was from this evidence that my suspicions were confirmed - no mention of Lavinia Ann!

Cropped image from the Family Bible detailing the births of the 11 Roberts children

This was not really proof enough though. Why had Lavinia been added in the first place? Why had no one bothered to question the births? Why do people just COPY information from tree to tree without ANY evaluation of the information they are adding?  Just duplicating mistakes!

I eventually found a copy of the birth certificate for Lavinina Ann Roberts, born in Hartley in 1870. Her parents were John Roberts and Emma Jane Williams - not Clifton if she belonged to our family.


Birth Certificate of Lavinia Ann Roberts, showing parents as John ROBERTS and Emma Jane WILLIAMS


So please, when you think you have found someone who you think belongs to your family, do some checking first. John Roberts is a common name as was Emma - that does not mean that they are the same John and Emma that belongs to your family tree.