Tuesday, 17 May 2016

ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 7

Hilary Gadsby

QuickLesson 7: Family Lore and Indian Princesses    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 7: Family Lore and Indian Princesses,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-7-family-lore-and-indian-princesses : accessed 4 May 2016).

This lesson deals with the stories that pass down through the family.
These can either be backed up by the evidence or totally refuted.
Whatever we do we must be sure that the person we have found is the one we want and not just someone with a similar name.
We must also ensure that we look at all credible sources for the time and place we are researching.
If we miss that there is another person with a similar name, or don't consider them in our analysis, we will reduce the credibility of our research.

Stories get passed from one generation to another and as each person passes the oral history it can change and even become a totally different tale.
Oral history should not be dismissed as it can help us to deal with conflicts and changes from one record to another. 
Within my own research I have been told why a living person uses a different name to that recorded on the birth certificate. 
Sometimes social attitudes can be such that the truth is not recorded. During wartime many children were conceived whilst the husband was away and at least some of them will have been registered with the husband's surname. Children born to unmarried girls may have been brought up as a younger sibling by the grandparents.

Many like to believe that they are descendants of nobility or that there is a connection to someone with money. But finding a document does not mean that it is one that relates to your family. Does the information fit with what you already know or are there inconsistencies. Don't wait for someone else to point out your conflicts resolve them, if you can't explain them, highlight them, and think about how you may find out more so that you can resolve them. 

Only this last week I made contact with a third cousin who told me “ Joseph George Robbins was born on the 28th December 1887 in Warminster, Wiltshire. He left Warminster and went to London, became a window cleaner and then got a job as a waiter at The Strand Hotel in London.  He met Edith Fuller who later became his wife. Joseph travelled to New York and got a job as a waiter at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  At some point he sent for Edith and she obtained work in the hotel as a “hat check girl”.  They married in New Rachel, USA. Edith became pregnant and was sent back to stay with her mother in England. Violet Georgina Robbins was born on 5th June 1916.Grandfather also worked on ships as a chef and a waiter working for the Orient line and went to Australia on the Orantees and my aunts could remember he visited Fremantle, Adelaide and Brisbane. ”
I am now in the process of confirming the details.

Transcriptions can be easy to find but I always like to confirm things with originals or digital images.
The marriage transcription is on Family Search and here is the citation
New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2435-KDP : accessed 16 May 2016), Joseph Robbins and Edith Fuller, 21 Feb 1913; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,613,708

I have also found possible passenger lists for both of them travelling to New York she left on 12 February 1913 and he on the 4 December 1912, however the occupations do not fit with those I have been told about, and the Joseph on another ship leaving Southampton on the 11 March 1914 could be him as he is listed as a waiter. She is possibly following in April 1914 on the Olympic.
Did he go out in 1912 trying to find work and then end up doing something else?

Why did they go back to England after their marriage and return on different ships?

The information that is on the passenger lists is never enough to be certain that you have the correct person(s) particularly with common names.

I have found a record card CR10 which shows his Merchant Navy service on the Orontes this has a photograph of him on the card. (see link to Wikipedia page for SS Orontes)
Another researcher added some family photographs to their Ancestry tree in 2009 and the person on the CR10 matches the person in those photographs.

I have found a website for the Waldorf Astoria and believe there may be records in the New York Archives but I will probably have to wait and see if they become available online. 
I also need to check out the newspapers for any information.

Since Joseph and Edith were both born, and also died, in England, I might never have thought to search elsewhere for their marriage. 
Family stories can be useful but we need to be careful to follow up our hints with good documentation.

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