Hugh Ellis Roberts (1884-1908), The 1900 Census, & Family Search Duplicate Merging

Family Search Duplicate Merging

I like to control and manage my family tree information. As such, I’ve never been a fan of systems where family trees are managed by many individuals. I tend to be concerned that other individuals aren’t quite as thorough as I like to think that I am. I also like to work from sources and not rely on other individual’s family trees for anything other than “hints,” so I don’t really use other people’s family trees much.

Family Search – Family Tree – Find

I was researching Hugh Ellis Roberts and couldn’t find much information. I was having such a bad time that I decided to use Family Search Family Trees to see if I could gain any leads there. After selecting [Family Tree} [Find], entering my subject’s name and year of birth the system returned 50 different entries. Four of the first five entries were my particular Hugh Ellis Roberts. They all had the same birth year, all had the same death year and they all had the same spouse. None of the entries had any sources for their information at all. Sigh…. I decided I couldn’t let four entries for the same individual stand so I selected the one that had the most information, parents and children names, and began merging the other entries into that one. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I also corrected the marriage date from “Oct 1900” to “7 Oct 1900” and associated my source to that fact. There is still a problem with his being married to three different people, Clara, Clora, and Cora Dell Scott. I’ll merge those identities up when I work on Clara’s biography and decide on what I really think her name was. (Different records all are interpreted differently.) There are still other issues with the family unit on Family Search Family Trees, such as one of his sisters being duplicated, but I’ll fix it as I work on the family unit.

The 1900 Census

Because Hugh Ellis Roberts was born after the 1880 Census and he died in 1908 finding him in the 1900 Census was a must. I knew that his father died in 1887, so using his name wouldn’t help. I searched and searched and never found him. I also knew that he was married in 1900 in Illinois, so I figured he had to be in Illinois somewhere, probably in either Jefferson or Franklin County. Still no luck. Then I decided to search Illinois for people born in Illinois in 1884 with the surname “Roberts” and nothing else. I then looked closely at any individuals born in July. I found a “Heine” Roberts, living with his mother Anna and a sister Talaramer. His mother’s name was Patience Anna. Could it be? Looking closer at the entry,

I saw that Talaramer was a transcriber’s attempt to read a nearly illegible Florence. The birth year and place for Anna matched Patience Anna, the birth date matched the month, year, and place for Florence, and the birth month, year, and place all matched Hugh. Last, but not least, it was in Franklin County (which borders Jefferson County), Finally, I had found Hugh Ellis Roberts in the 1900 Census.

Hint: When looking for someone in a census, try ignoring the first names of individuals and just search for a surname with other identifying criteria.

RB-08 – Hugh Ellis Roberts

2 July 1884 – 30 August 1908

Hugh Ellis Roberts[i] was born in July 1884 in Illinois. His marriage license indicated that he was 18 when he was married in 1900; however, I think it is more likely that the 16-year-old Hugh lied about his age in order to marry without parental permissions. One on-line source indicates that he was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, however, the marriage license of his son, Bert Allen Roberts indicate that he was born in Benton (Franklin County, Illinois.[ii] According to other researchers, Hugh died on 30 August 1908.,[iii] Several of his children’s marriage licenses identify their father was deceased when they married in the 1920s, thus confirming the early death. Additionally, Hugh’s wife remarried in 1909.

He is the fourth known child of Asa Ellis Roberts (1835-1887), aged 49, and Patience Anna Marshall (1845-1919), aged 39. Asa and Patience had three other known children together, Charles Wilson, Rosa Della, and Florence Elizabeth Roberts. Asa was married previously to Cynthia Minerva Toney and that had six children so Hugh was the youngest of ten children of Asa. His six half-siblings were William, George, Margaret, Calvin, Sarah, and Monroe.

When Hugh was only three, his father, Asa Ellis Roberts, died (8 October 1887 – Spring Garden, Jefferson County, Illinois).

The 1900 census indicates that Hugh may have had a nickname of “Heine.” The 15-year-old was living with his mother, Anna, older sister Florence, and a niece, Nellie Roberts. It is unclear whose child Nellie was. The 1900 census indicates that only five of Anna’s six children were living, so it is possible that Nellie was the child of her dead child. Mother and son were farming in Barren Township.[iv]

On 7 October 1900, Hugh married Clara Dell Scott (1884-1945), daughter of Samuel Vaden Scott (1863-1931) and Amanda Jane Hale (?-1889) in Ina, Jefferson County, Illinois)[v]. They were both 16-years-old, however, they both indicated that they were 18 on the marriage registration.[vi]

A quick seven months later, Hugh and Clara had their first child.[vii]

The Children of Hugh and Clara included:

Harry Ray Roberts, born on 22 May 1900 in Franklin Co. (Franklin Co., Illinois). He married Lillie Vernea Higgins in 1922. 
Carrie Mae Roberts, born in 1901. (I have not researched her further, yet.)
Bert Allen Roberts, born on 20 September 1903 in Sesser (Franklin, Illinois), died on 1st May 1949 in Elwood (Madison County, Indiana), aged 45. He married Essie Pansy Barnes on 13 May 1922. They had 5 children: Pansy, Bert, Hugh, Helen and John.
Mabel Ilean Roberts, born on 2 June 1908 in Lena (Stephenson County, Illinois, United States), USA. She married Olan B Hart on 3 January 1925.

It appears that the Roberts family moved from Franklin County to Stephenson County between 1903 and 1908.

Several researchers indicate that Hugh died on 30 August 1908 at the age of 24. I have been unable to confirm that; however, his wife, Clara, is reported as remarried in 1909 per the 1910 Census.[viii]

Continued Research

Confirm death date. 
Determine cause of death. 
Confirm day of birth. 

[Note: I ordered a death certificate from Stephenson County Clerk & Recorder on 19 Feb 2016, which should answer all the above questions. If unsuccessful, will try again with Franklin County.]

Find Property Record for Anna’s farm ownership.

ENDNOTE

[i] Note: Family Search ID: 93BW-B8T
[ii] Source: Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 – Family Search (Other)
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Source: 1900 Census; Anna Roberts, Barren Township, Franklin, Illinois, United States; citing sheet 10A, family 182.
[v] Source: Family Search (Other) – Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 / Ellis Roberts & Clara Dell Scott, 1900 – Family Search (Internet)
[vi] Source: Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934; Ellis Roberts & Clara Dell Scott, 1900
[vii] Note: They say the first child can come anytime, the rest take nine months.
[viii] Source: 1910 Census; Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0178, Hosea Adams

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

Photos and Due Diligence

A case look: Photo of Essie Barnes, her parents, and her siblings?

There are very few things as exciting to find as a photograph of an ancestor.  In the best of all worlds, we would have a complete provenance for the photo.  Who took the photo, exactly when and where the photo was taken. We would also know who is in the photo and who identified the subjects of the photo. Sadly, this is the real world and we often don’t have all that information. Often genealogical photos are over a hundred years old so there is no one who can confirm who is in a photo; rather, they rely entirely on what they have been told is the subject of the photo.
I recently received a photo from a cousin and wondered what my due diligence should be as I catalog and source the photo.

 

“Essie, her parents and her siblings, we think.”
My first assumption is that the photo is a reasonable reproduction of the original, it hasn’t been Photoshopped or otherwise digitally manipulated. There isn’t any reason to think that is the case.  If the photo was of a family member with a celebrity or at a famous place, I might consider the possibility, but, there isn’t any conceivable reason for this photo to be fake in some way.
The photo was passed to me as “Essie, her parents, and her siblings, we think.“ Due diligence would require that I confirm that this is likely to be Essie and would validate the individuals in the photo.
Getting a new car is an exciting life event. When I purchased my last new car, I had some photos taken with me in it. I did so with the new car before that too. I think the process is an American tradition and I believe this photo documents that life event.
I am not an old car expert, but my looking at the car make me think of 1915. I first thought of a Chevrolet, but looking at photos of the windshield hinge made me consider other vehicles. A 1915 Ford Model T Touring seems to have a similar running lamp on the side and a similar windshield hinge. Photos I saw online for a 1914 Touring T had a different running lamp. The 1923 Touring T seemed to have different wheels, so I believe the photo is from 1915-1922.
Back to who is in the photo. Typically, the youngest person in a photo is the easiest to determine the age of.  In this photo, the youngest girl appears to me to be about nine or ten. Essie’s younger sister, Mabel, would have been nine years old in 1915.  Essie would have been about 12-years-old. The girl in the back appears to me to be about 12 or so. The grown-ups are obvious in the picture, that leaves the young man behind the steering wheel. At first, I thought it could be Nelson, but then was reminded that Nelson died in 1902 and the boy looks older to me. So, the boy must be Ray, would have been 20 in 1915. The photo aligns with the individuals in the family.
The 1910 Census and the 1920 Census both indicate that the Barnes family lived in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana, so the photo was likely taken there. Also, Joel Barnes owned his farm so it is likely that the family had enough money to be able to afford a car.
I always identify people in a photo or image from left to right. So, I would identify the photo as:

Essie, Mabel, Marada, Joel, and Ray Barnes with a new car, c. 1915, likely taken in Turman Township, Indiana. Photo by unknown. Digital image received January 2016, via Essie’s grandchild MR* who gave her source as KS* another of Essie’s grandchildren. See file: Barnes Family in car c.1915.jpg.

Have I done due diligence in my assessment of the photograph? Is it a different vehicle than my estimate? Please, let me know if I missed anything in my assessment that I should have considered.
* Note: Initials used in place of names for living individuals.

 

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

Getting to Know an Ancestor – Essie Pansy Barnes Roberts (1903-1982)

Getting to Know an Ancestor: 

Starting with Ancestry and Family Search

My primary reason for genealogical research is to get to know someone, an ancestor. Often the ancestor is mine or my wife’s but occasionally the ancestor is a friend’s or, not nearly often enough, a client.  Census records are a key starting point to know an ancestor. Census records also situate the individual in time and place, which then provides a context for other searching and getting to know the ancestor.  Information about my presentation, “Getting to Know You: Ancestors through Genealogy” is on my website.
I like to use Ancestry.com as my baseline regarding an individual.  Many of their collections include images, which make validation of the transcriptions easier.  Family Search is also an excellent resource. Because of indexing quirks, sometimes you can find an ancestor on one system and not the other. Family Search also has many of the Census records images available through them at no charge. For census records that they don’t have the image for, Family Search often directs you to the images on Ancestry or Fold3. What is really cool is you can save records you find, when the image is not available from Family Search, to a personal Source Box (you need a free account with Family Search).  Later, you can visit your local library, most of whom have access to the Library Edition of Ancestry.com and/or Library access to Fold 3, access your Family Search account, then access your source box. From there you should be able to select the images you have been wanting, download them to a thumb drive and have the images you desire. Personally, I find having an Ancestry.Com account well worth the expense and I recommend getting one. If you are an AARP member and want an Ancestry.com account, CALL Ancestry and tell them you want the one-time AARP Member discount.  If you haven’t used the discount already, you can use it for a renewal too.
I find it difficult to write about an ancestor I’ve never known, nor met in person, when there are many other people who knew the ancestor in life. With the exception of the photo, the below story of Essie Pansy Barnes Roberts is based almost entirely on what I have found on Ancestry.com. My goal was to follow Essie through all the Censuses during her life and then fill in some details based upon stumble on finds on Ancestry (got to love those shaky leaves). Next time I’ll use what I learned here and use social media, scour newspapers, and search other sources for relevant information to fill in the texture of her life, but here are the basics of Essie’s life.

RB05 – Essie Pansy Barnes Roberts (1903-1982)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 6

Essie Barnes Roberts aka “Gran”
to her many grandchildren.
Photo courtesy of granddaughter.  
Essie Pansy Barnes was born on 15 March 1903 in Graysville (Turman Township, Sullivan County) Indiana.[i] She died on 20 November 1982 in Mount Clemens (Macomb, Michigan), aged 79[ii].
She is the daughter of Joel Clinton Barnes (1857-1921), and Marada Mae Lister, (aka Marady, May, Morady, & Maranda) (1867-1932).
The 1900 Census indicates that before she was born, her mother, Marada, had three children before 1900. One was John Lister, whose father is unknown. One was an older brother, Ray, whose father was Joel Barnes. The third child was born and died before 1900. It is unclear of that child was Joel’s of if he or she had a different father. [iii]
Likewise, her father had three children by another wife, Sarah Josephine Conner. The children were Flora, Flava, and Anna/Alma.  Flava was born in 1881 and died in 1882.  This set the stage for Essie’s birth in 1903.
1910 Census indicates 7-year-old Essie living in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana with her father, mother, paternal half-sister Anna, maternal half-brother John A, Lister, older brother Ray, and younger sister Mabel. Essie was attending school. The 1910 Census also indicates that her mother had six children, four of which were living. The implication of this is that Marada had another child between 1900 and 1910 that had died.[iv] 
1920 Census indicates the 16-year-old Essie living in Turman Township, Indiana with father, mother, brother Ray, and sister Mabel Bessie. Essie was attending school.[v]
In May, 1922, Essie married Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949), son of Hugh Ellis  Roberts (1884-1908) and  Clora D  Scott [roberts] [adams] (1884-?) in Sullivan County, Indiana[vi]. Her marriage registration indicates that her father was dead. Subsequent research found that her father, Joel, died in 1921. The registration also indicates she was living in Graysville, which is an unincorporated community in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana, the same place she was born.
The 1930 Census finds the young couple thirty miles to the north renting a home at 613 North 15th Street in Terre Haute, Indiana. Bert is working in construction as a plumber’s helper. Their oldest child Pansy is attending school. Their oldest son, Bert and their twins, Hugh and Helen, and Essie’s 63-year-old mother, Marada (“May” in the Census) round out the household.[vii] Marada died in 1932.
Ancestry.Com’s City Directories for Terre Haute show the Bert and Essie living at 354 Chestnut in 1934 and 1936. [viii] [ix]
The 1940 Census finds the family living at 1719 Chestnut Street, Terre Haute. Because they are living at the “same place” as in 1935, it appears that they moved up Chestnut Street and didn’t have the street renumbered. 
Their oldest daughter is listed in the 1940 Census as “Penny” and not Pansy. She is 17 years old and attending high school.
Bert Junior is 15 years old and also attending high school.
The twins, Helen & Hugh, are 13-years-old and are attending grade school (7th grade)
Finally, 11-year-old John is in the 5th grade.[x]
Sometime in the 1940’s the Roberts’ moved to the Detroit, Michigan area.  Essie’s husband, Bert, died in a fiery motor vehicle accident in 1949.

Essie lived Ferndale (Oakland County, Michigan) sometime before 1982 when she died at Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan.[xi]

Further Research

The name, birth, & death of the child born before 1900 that died.
   Ada Barnes was born on 21 March 1898 and died on 19 December 1899.
The name, birth, & death of the child born between 1900 and 1910 that died.
   Nelson Barns was born on 14 April 1901 and died 22 November 1902.
Trace Essie oldest daughter’s name from Pansy to Penny and determine what her name actually was. It may also give insight into Essie’s middle name of Pansy.
Trace the children of Bert & Essie through the school system.

Endnotes
[i] Sources: Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 – Family Search (Other) – 1930 Census / Indiana, Vigo, Terre Haute, Page 9A – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other) – 1940 Census / Terre Haute, Vigo Indiana – Bert Roberts – Ancestry.com  (Other) – 1910 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 178, Page 8A – Joel C Barnes – Ancestry.Com (Digitizing) – 1920 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0270, Sheet 1B – Ancestry.Com (Digitizing) – U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 / Essie Roberts – 384-20-4983 – Ancestry (Other) – Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996 / Essis P Roberts (1903-1982) – Ancestry (Internet)
[ii] Source: Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996 / Essis P Roberts (1903-1982) – Ancestry (Internet)
[iii] Source: 1900 Census, Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, ED 138, Sheet 7B – Joel C Barnes, Ancestry
[iv] Source: 1910 Census, Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 178, Page 8A – Joel C Barnes, Ancestry
[v] Source: 1920 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0270, Sheet 1B – Ancestry.com  (Digitizing)
[vi] Sources: Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 – Family Search (Other) – 1930 Census / Indiana, Vigo, Terre Haute, Page 9A – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other)
[vii] Source: 1930 Census / Indiana, Vigo, Terre Haute, Page 9A – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other)
[viii] Source: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 / 1934 – Terre Haute, Indiana – Bert A Roberts. – Ancestry (Other)
[ix] Source: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 / 1936 – Terre Haute – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other)
[x] Sources: 1940 Census / Terre Haute, Vigo Indiana – Bert Roberts – Ancestry.com  (Other) – U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 / 1940 – Terre Haute, Indiana – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other)
[xi] Sources: U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 / Essie Roberts – 384-20-4983 – Ancestry (Other) – Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996 / Essis P Roberts (1903-1982) – Ancestry (Internet)
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Compulsive searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949)

Compulsive searching…

I think the more passionate we are about something the more likely we can be compulsive about it. We can put hours and hours into something with no results and still keep going. At some point, we just need to set it aside and say, “I’ll come back to this later.” Such is the case with my research regarding my potential grandfather Bert Allen Roberts. (See My Paternal Brick Wall for details regarding “potential.”)
I have many key facts regarding Bert and his life. I know about his birth, marriage, children. I even followed him through all the censuses and through many city directories. I just wanted to find his death information.  It can’t be that hard….
newspapers.com
I thoroughly searched Family Search, Ancestry, and several of my other regular genealogical sites and didn’t find anything. He just like vanished after the 1940 census. Then, I turned to one of my favorite sites, Newspapers.Com. I quickly found an article about a Bert Roberts who died in a motor vehicle accident on 1 May 1949. 
The Terre Haute Star (Terre Haute, Indiana) ·
Mon, May 2, 1949,  Page 1
Via Newspapers.Com
The article indicated that this Bert lived in Detroit. I know that at least two of his children were living in Detroit in the late 1940s so imagining that my Bert moved to Detroit during the 1940s is quite imaginable. So, could this article’s Bert Roberts the same Bert Roberts I am researching? With the name and date of death, it should be easy to confirm that this is the right Bert Roberts and I will have the answer. After searching for hours… and hours… and hours… I just couldn’t find anything.  Sure, I found other articles about the accident but nothing that mentions next of kin. One article said that the body was shipped back to Detroit (NewspaperArchives accessed via MyHeritage). I thought I should find a death certificate in Indiana records – No such luck. Maybe an obituary in Detroit/Michigan records – Again no luck. I searched this way, that way, and the other way but no success. I found it incredulous that I couldn’t find a link as to who this Bert Roberts, who died in Elwood, IN, was. I kept searching. I got more and more compulsive about finding if this Bert was my Bert.
After spending the better part of three days (probably over 20 hours searching), I have finally come to the conclusion that this is not time spent well. I have other fish to fry and need to move on. Will I return to searching for my Bert’s death information? Of course, but I will also hope that my research into other individuals in this family will prove (or disprove) my Bert and this Bert are the same person.

Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2

Bert Allen Roberts was probably born on 20 September 1903 in Sessor, Franklin County, Illinois[i]. I say “probably” because, although his marriage records indicate his birth as 20 September 1902, every census indicates him to be born consistent with a birth in September 1903 (age 6 in 1910 Census, age 16 in 1920 Census, etc.).  It is not clear why he would make himself 19 instead of 18 when he married, but it appears that he did.  I believe him to be the third of four children born to Hugh Ellis and Clora D (Scott) Roberts. His older siblings were Harry Ray and Carrie Mae. His younger sibling was Mable Ilean.
Family of Hosea Adams with Roberts children.
I believe his father died sometime between 1907 (conception of his sister) and 1909.  In any event, By the 1910 Census, his mother had remarried for a year and Bert was a stepson in the household of Hosea L. Adams living and attending school in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.[ii]
In 1920, his is still living with his mother and step-father, in Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois, but now working as a farm laborer for wages[iii].
He married Essie Pansy Barnes about 19 May 1922[iv].  He and Essie show up in the 1929 City Directory for Terre Haute, Indiana. He and Essie also appear in the 1930 US Census in Terre Haute.[v] [vi]
The 1931 Terre Haute Directory is something of a conundrum. It shows Essie P Roberts (wid Bert A) working as a cook[vii]. I think this is in error for a number of reasons as follow. 
The 1934 Directory brings Bert back to life as a taxi driver living with Essie at 354 Chestnut.[viii]. Likewise, the 1936 City Directory has him and Essie still together and him working as a driver for the Circle Cab Co. [ix]
The 1940 Census has the Roberts family living at 1719 Chestnut Street, Terre Haute, with Bert working as a laborer in the enameling and stamping industry[x]. That is the last solid entry that I have for him.
We know that his youngest son, John Harald Roberts married Isabell Jean Matcher in May of 1947 and lived in Detroit.[xi]  We also know that his son, Hugh Eugene married Janet Marie Dion in Detroit in 1950.[xii] With at least two of his children living in Detroit in 1949, it is easy to imagine that Bert was also living in Detroit.  If so, the vehicle accident on 1 May 1949 could have easily been his death.
I know that I was being compulsive placing so much time trying to connect the 1949 death of a Bert Roberts to my Bert Roberts. I thought, my goodness, I should be able to find something about the death of Bert Roberts of Detroit who died in Elwood, Indiana on 1 May 1949. I will put it aside for now and come back to it after I’ve researched more of the family.  Hopefully, my overall genealogical research process will intercept the information I am looking for later and everything will fall into place.

[Correction: One of the grand-daughters of Bert Allen Roberts, confirmed that her grandfather died in 1949 in this motor vehicle fire. 1/31/2016]

Endnotes:

[i] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Sullivan Co., Indiana, Bert Allen Roberts, 1922, GS Film Number 001906822-Digital Folder Number 004170594-Image Number 00614, Image, Family Search, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XXF1-HZN, 27 Dec 2015.
[ii] “1910 Census,” Turman, Sullivan, Indiana, Hosea L Adams,  Roll: T624_381; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0178; FHL microfilm: 1374394, Ancestry, 22 Dec 2015.
[iii] “1920 Census,” Hutsonville, Crawford, Illinois;, Hosey L Adams,  Roll: T625_364; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 29; Image: 66, Ancestry.Com, 22 Dec 2015.
[iv] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Sullivan Co., Indiana, Bert Allen Roberts, 1922, GS Film Number 001906822-Digital Folder Number 004170594-Image Number 00614, Image, Family Search, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XXF1-HZN, 27 Dec 2015.
[v] “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” 1929, Terre Haute, Indiana, 411, Bert A Roberts, R. L. Polk & Co., Ancestry, 22 Dec 2015.
[vi] “1930 Census,” Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana, Bert A Roberts – Head,  Roll: 635; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0022; Image: 637.0; FHL microfilm: 2340370, Ancestry, 21 Dec 2015.
[vii] “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” 1931, Terre Haute, Indiana, 387, Roberts, Essie P, R. L. Polk & Co., Ancestry, 21 Dec 2015.
[viii] “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” 1934, Terre Haute, Indiana, 323, Bert A Roberts, R. L. Polk & Co., Ancestry, 21 Dec 2015.
[ix] “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” 1936, Terre Haute, Indiana, 350, Bert A Roberts, R. L. Polk & Co., Ancestry, 22 Dec 2015.
[x] “1940 Census,” Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana, USA, Bert Roberts – Head, Roll: T627_1103; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 84-31, Ancestry.Com, 21 Dec 2015. 
[xi] “Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952,” John Harald Roberts, County File Number: 704264-State File Number: 381870, Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.-, Ancestry, 21 Dec 2015.
[xii] “Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952,” Hugh Gueene Roberts [Eugene], County File Number: 780165 – State File Number: 461232, Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.-, Ancestry, 21 Dec 2015.
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My Paternal Brick Wall

Is my biggest brick wall is shattered?

Destroyed Brick Wall by Trebor Scholz (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Thanks to genetic genealogy, I believe my biggest brick wall has finally been knocked down, shattered, destroyed. I now have a huge lead as to who my biological father is.

Searching for who my biological father might have always been a major purpose behind my genealogical passion. I have been trying to figure it out for decades without real success, until now.

In 2012, Y-DNA tests I took indicated that I was a “Roberts.” Family Tree DNA’s results indicated that my four closest relatives were all surnamed Roberts.

My Closest Y-DNA Matches on Family Tree DNA
Name
% Common Ancestor is
likely in 4 generations
Comments
W. A. Roberts
59%
Has a great tree available on-line.
D. R. Roberts
59%
Unable to Contact. Possibly deceased.
G. Roberts
30%
N. Roberts
12%
C. E. Lathem
4%
50% likelihood in 11 generations
From this and similar results on the now defunct Ancestry Y-DNA, I surmised that my ancestor was probably a Roberts. W. A. Roberts was kind enough to share his tree with me, so I began looking closely at his ancestors’ descendants, looking for potential individuals that might have been in the right place at the right time. No success. Nothing seems to fit.
The DNA is matching!
When Ancestry began its autosomal DNA testing, I was an early adopter. When Family Tree DNA began accepting transfers of results from Ancestry DNA, I did a DNA Transfer with them. I also imported my results into GED Match. I figured that the more places you have your DNA out there, the greater the likelihood you will have a match. Maybe even a close match. No such luck. There were a few, four to 8 generations away. Some had nicely developed trees; some only had a couple generations documented. I helped some of the latter improve their trees, but nothing I found seemed to connect with the Roberts “notional tree” I was working on – Until now.

This week, I rechecked my results on Ancestry DNA and couldn’t believe the results. There was a new person, T.C.[i] who was identified as a 1st or 2nd cousin. Wow! She and I shared 313 centimorgans across 20 segments. And she has a tree that included a grandmother and great grandparents with the surname of Roberts. Could this be the breakthrough I’ve been looking for?

I added the names and the general relationships to my “Roberts Notional Tree” and took note of some of her sources. Then I began researching this potential line. If we really are 1st or 2nd cousins, then we must share a grandparent or great grandparent. I was almost giddy in my excitement. The initial problem was I didn’t see anything that fit the dates and places that my biological father needed to come from. I knew it wasn’t going to be quick, but if I researched, I might find the link I was looking for.
I found that TC’s great grandparents had five children – two girls and three boys. Any of the three boys would be the correct age to be my biological father. So, the search was on.
Crumbling Brick Wall by John Schneider - https://www.flickr.com/photos/85941395@N00/3171038821 Seen at the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Crumbling Brick Wall” by John Schneider
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The first son I investigated was Bert Allen Roberts, Jr. He was born in Terre Haute, IN. He grew up there and relocated to Cleveland, OH as an adult. As I looked more and more closely at his life, I determined that he wasn’t likely.
The second son I investigated was Hugh Eugene Roberts. He was born in Detroit, MI, (like my mother) but moved to Terre Haute, IN, as a child. I found evidence that in May 1950, he was back in Detroit. From that, it is easy to surmise that he could have been in Detroit in October of 1949, when I was conceived.
The third son was J. H. Roberts[ii]. He was also born in Terre Haute. He married in 1947 in Detroit, MI. It appears that their marriage continued beyond 1950. I haven’t found much more about his life yet, but I don’t believe he is the “baby daddy” at this time.
Bert doesn’t appear to have located to Detroit.
J. H. although in Detroit at the right time was married and is a less likely candidate.
Hugh was in Detroit at about the right time and is a highly likely candidate.
I see two major directions for my research to take from here.

Research the ancestors of Bert Allen Roberts, Sr. and see if there is a connection into my known Y-DNA cousins. That would prove that the Roberts line in TC’s tree is the correct connection in her

atDNA

results.
Research the children of Hugh Eugene Roberts, contact them, and see if any of them would be willing to take a DNA test. If they are my half-siblings, as I suspect, we should share about 25% of our DNA. So, if they show up in that 787-2134 centimorgan range, I will have proven a very close relationship, probably half-siblings.

 

Oh, yes, also I will continue my research of this Roberts line.
Finally, am I certain that Hugh Eugene Roberts is my biological father? No, but I am certain that this finding is the biggest, best lead I’ve ever had in determining who my biological father is.

 

Talk about a Christmas present…  Wow.

Endnotes

[i] In order to maintain privacy, I am only including initials of potentially living individuals.
[ii] I have been unable to find death information regarding J. H. Roberts, so I am only

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