By Don Taylor
My second look at an ancestor begins with a review of what I think I know. Census records are among the easiest to find ancestors, so I often verify them first. Next, I look at Vital Records (birth, marriage, & death). Do I have all the records, are they properly sourced, have I gleaned all of the data from the sources that I possibly can. Are they any conflicts between various evidence? If so, have I analyzed those conflicts? Have I followed up on any previous items for follow-up or continued research? Does the evidence I have suggest further lines of research?
Ancestor 8 – Great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts (1884-1908)
I originally wrote about Hugh Ellis Roberts (1884-1908) in my Blogger blog on 22 Feb 2016.
There is no surviving 1890 census, so the first, and only, census that Hugh appears in is the 1900 Census. The 1900 Census indicates that his mother owned the farm free, indicating I should look for property ownership. It also indicates her number on the Farm Schedule is #159, indicating I should look for her farm in the Farm Schedules. The census indicates that Florence could read and write, suggesting she went to school.
I initially based Hugh Ellis Roberts’ birth upon a pension file that his mother filed in 1888. It indicted that Hugh’s birthdate was 2 July 1844. However, I was able to find a birth registration entry for Hugh, which indicates he was born on 3 July 1844.
Conflicting Birth Info:
The birth register entry states Hugh’s birth was July 3rd, 1884 in Elk Prairie Township. His mother’s pension request file indicates he was born July 2nd, 1884. Also, some sources indicate Hugh was born in Spring Garden Township. (Elk Prairie and Spring Garden Townships are adjoining townships in Jefferson County.) The 1900 Census indicates that Hugh’s mother could not read or write, so it is certain that the information was second-hand in both cases. (One created by a Clerk, the other by a Lawyer.)
The registry entry was timely, within two weeks of the birth, however, it may have been provided by a third party. The Pension File was from November 1888, only four years after Hugh’s birth and the data had to have come from his mother as entered by her lawyer on a form. As such, there is no clear answer regarding Hugh’s birthdate. I am preferring 3 July as Hugh’s birthdate solely because the registry entry occurred closer to his birth. If new information comes forth regarding his birth I will reconsider what my preferred date and location are.
Hugh’s birth registration indicates his father, Asa Ellis Roberts, was 47 years old when Hugh was born, suggesting his father, Asa Roberts, was born in 1837. However, Asa’s marker on Find-a-Grave indicates his birth year as 1835. Additionally, the 1850 Census reports that Asa was 15 years old, again suggesting his birth year is 1835. So, I’ve decided to keep Asa’s birthdate as 1835 unless I find other compelling sources indicating otherwise.
Hugh’s birth registration indicates his mother, Patience Anna (Marshall) Dean Roberts was 38 years old when Hugh was born. That suggests she was born in 1845. During the 1850 Census, Patience was six-years-old suggesting her birth was in 1843 (assuming a December birthday). There was a birthdate affidavit (for civil war pension) which reported her birthyear being 1845. I’m not convinced that either birthyear is correct, so I’m leaving the 1843 birthyear as my preferred date.
Hugh’s birth registration states that Patience’s maiden name was Dean. However, Dean was the surname of her first husband. Patience’s maiden name was Marshall. In this case, I believe Hugh’s birth registration was entered incorrectly.
Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1940 provides a registry entry for the marriage of “Ellis” Roberts and Clara Dell Scott. Both are reported to be 17 years old. Hugh Ellis was 16 and Clara was either 16 or 17. Patience did give permission for the marriage. Of interest, one of the witnesses was Clara Bilbrey(?) whose relationship is unknown. Also, J. R. Clark certified the marriage; I wonder who he was.
A little less than seven months after their marriage, Clara gave birth to my great-aunt and great-uncle, Carrie & Harry, on 22 May 1901.
Bert Allen Roberts, my paternal grandfather, was born on 20 Sep 1903.
Great-aunt Mable Ilean Roberts was born 2 June 1908.
Further Actions / Follow-up
- Past Continued Actions
- Confirm Death Date with original source documents.
- Confirm Cause of Death.
- Confirm Date of Birth – Complete (See above.)
- Order Death Certificate from Franklin.
- Find Property Record for Anna’s farm ownership (also number 4 below).
- I need to determine the actual date and location of Harry Ray Roberts’ death.
- I need to determine the date and location of Mabel Ilean Roberts’ death.
- 1900 Property Ownership of Patience Anna Roberts.
- Look for Patience’s farm in the 1900 Farm Schedule #159.
- Look for Florence having attended school. Although Hugh could not read and write, he may have attended the same school.
- Who was Clara Bilbrey that was a witness to the marriage of Hugh and Clara?
- Who was J. R. Clark who certified the marriage of Hugh and Clara? (Religious?)
- Research locations for further information and background.
- IL, Jefferson County, Spring Garden
- IL, Jefferson County, Elk Prairie
- IL, Jefferson County, Ina
- IL, Franklin County, Barren Township
- IL, Franklin County, Sesser
- IL, Franklin County, Sesser, Hammond Cemetery
- Past Continued Actions
 Some records suggest Clara was born in 1883, other indicate 1884. I still need to do an analysis of her birthyear.