Bert & Essie Roberts – 1931 & 1932

Where was Bert Allen Roberts in 1931 & 1932 and why was Essie a “widow?”

Roberts Research
By Don Taylor

Research Question

The 1931 Polk City Directory for Terre Haute, Indiana, indicates Bert’s wife, Essie, is a widow living at 460 S 13-1/2 Street. It also suggests Bert is residing at 803 North 3rd. This appears to conflict with other records. (See Research Plan – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949). Can I explain the discrepancy?


Bert Roberts, late 1940s

1929 – The 1929 Terre Haute City Directory lists Bert A (& Essie Roberts) living at 613 North 15th.

There is also a Bert H Roberts listed as a manager with Roberts & Sons and residing at 803 North 3rd.

1930 – The 1930 Census includes Bert, Essie, and the children living at 613 North 15th. Essie’s mother, Marada, lived with them.

1931 – The 1931 Terre Haute City Directory lists Bert H A Roberts is living at 803 N 3rd. Bert A is not listed. Because of the 1929 directory, it is clear this Bert Roberts is the Bert associated with the Roberts & Sons business and not Bert Roberts, the husband of Essie (Barnes) Roberts.

Essie Roberts, circa 1945

Essie P Roberts is listed as the widow of Bert A, working as a cook at J Vern Stevens and living at 460 S 13½. J Vern Stevens was a retail baker and a delicatessen located at 1603 S 7th. Because Essie’s mother, Marada, lived with Bert and Essie during the 1930 Census, I presume she took care of the five children, ages 2 through 9, while Essie worked.

1932 – The 1932 Terre Haute City Directory again fails to list a Bert Roberts but does list Essie as Mrs. Essie Roberts residing at 1466 S. 11th.

1934 – The 1934 Terre Haute City Directory lists Bert A (and Essie) Roberts as a taxi driver. They live at 1354 Chestnut.

Family Search indicates that Polk did not publish Terre Haute directories in 1930 and 1933. So further searching for them is futile.

Family oral history suggests that Bert may have had a second family. If so, it could have been during this period, 1931-1933.


The city directories definitely suggest something occurred between Bert & Essie during those years. Something serious enough that has them separated and Essie claiming to be a widow rather than having the stigma of either being divorced or abandoned with five children. In 1931, the children ranged from two to nine years old. Marada died in May 1932, so it may be it became too difficult to continue as it was, and Bert and Essie got back together then. In any event, it must have been a tough time for Essie.

I have not found any records suggesting where he may have been for those years. Further research into Bert & Essie’s lives will hopefully provide insight.


  • City Directory (A), Com, Terre Haute, IN (1929) – Page 411 – Roberts, Bert A. Accessed 21 Jan 2016.
  • 1930 Census, Family Search, Bert A Roberts, Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana, United States, citing enumeration district (ED) ED 22, sheet 9B, line 71, family 248, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 635; FHL microfilm 2,340,370.
  • City Directory (A), Com, Terre Haute, IN (1931) – Page 387 – Roberts, Essie P (Wid Bert A). Accessed 28 Sep 2022.
  • City Directory (A), Com, Terre Haute, IN (1932) – Page 332 – Roberts, Essie [Barnes]. Accessed 28 Sep 2022.
  • City Directory (A), Com, Terre Haute, IN (1934) – Page 323 – Roberts, Bert A. Accessed 21 Jan 2016.

 Lewis – Surname Saturday

Roberts-Barnes-Taft-Sutherland-Lewis Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Lewis is a common name with many different potential sources. It may be an Americanized form of the French Louis, Irish Mac Loughaidh, or Welsh Llywelyn. As my Lewis ancestors appear to have been English, it most likely from the Middle English and Old English personal name Lewis.[i]

Direct Surname Ancestors

I have two independent sources of Lewis ancestors. Both Mercy Eliza Taft’s parents have Lewis ancestors, but they do not appear related.

2nd Great-grandmother, Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884) paternal ancestors include my:

    • 3rd Great-grandfather:  Joel Cruff Taft (1800-1849)
    • 4th Great-grandfather: Asa Taft (1774-1839) * Note footnote [ii]
    • 5th Great-grandfather: Silas Taft (1744-1812) *
    • 6th Great-grandmother: Mary Lewis (1714-1795) *
    • 7th Great-grandfather: Samuel Lewis III (1684-1760) *
    • 8th Great-grandfather: Samuel Lewis II (___-___) *

2nd Great-grandmother, Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884), maternal ancestors include my:

    • 3rd Great-grandfather: Tamise Fanny Sutherland(1796-1864)
    • 4th Great-grandmother: Mary Lewis (1771-1804) * Note Footnote [iii]
    • 5th Great-grandfather: Morris Lewis (1733-1807) *
    • 6th Great-grandfather: Isaac Lewis, Sr (1701-1749) *

My Lewis’ in History


Mary (Lewis) Taft’s (1714-1795) husband, Stephen Taft, was a lieutenant in the Militia in Massachusetts.[iv] Her father, Samuel Lewis, III, died before the Revolution,

Immigrant Ancestor

1. Mary (Lewis) Taft’s father, Samuel Lewis (1684-1760), was probably born in Middlesex County. Massachusetts Bay Colony (MBC).

    • His father, Samuel Lewis (1641-1698), was born in Charlestown, MBC.
    • His father may have been John Lewis (1603-1657). If so, he immigrated to MBC about 1635, probably from England.

2. Mary (Lewis) Sutherland (1771-1804) was born in Dutchess County, New York. Her father, Morris Lewis (1733-1807), was likely born in Massachusetts Colony.

    • His father, Isaac Lewis, Sr. (1701-1749), was also born in Massachusetts Colony.
    • His father may have been Barachiah Lewis, born 1663, in MBC.
    • His father may have been John Lewis, born in 1635 in MBC.
    • Finally, his father may have been William Lewis, Jr, born in 1599 in England. He immigrated to the MBC in 1635 or 1636.

Both of my immigrant Lewis ancestors were apparently from England and came to America during the “Great Puritan Migration” of 1620 to 1640.


I haven’t discovered any of my “Lewis Cousins” yet. However, I’m sure I’ll find more as I continue to research my Roberts/Lewis ancestors.


2014 – Snapshot in Time

The vast majority of Lewis in the World today (actually 2014) live in the United States; most live in Texas, California, and Florida. The greatest incidence of Lewis’s is in Louisiana (1 person in 298).

Famous Lewis’s

There are many famous Lewis. From entertainer Jerry Lewis to author C. S. Lewis. From explorer Meriwether Lewis to Abisha Lewis, Jr. & Sr. (both of whom are Revolutionary War Patriots).

Studies, Societies, & Key Lewis Websites

Lewis is not in my Y-DNA or mtDNA, so studies relating to those DNA groups will not help my genealogical research. Because my closest Lewis ancestor is a 4th great-grandmother, the closest relation I’d have living today would be a 5th cousin. A 5th cousin and I would typically share only 25 cM and fall within the range of 0 to 117 cM. Ancestry indicates they have six matches for me that have the surname of Lewis and share 25 cM or More. None of them have a public family tree extending into the 1700s.

My Direct LEWIS Descendants

I have 295 known descendants of Isaac Lewis (1701-1749) in my tree; 27 Barnes, 21 Roberts, 17 Ransford, and 15 Taft.

I have 352 known descendants of Samuel Lewis II, including 47 Tafts, 28 Barnes, 21 Roberts, 17 Ransford, and 9 Childers.

Because both lines converge at Mercy Eliza Taft, 226 of these known descendants are duplicated in both lines.

I have previously written about five of them.

Ancestor Photographs[v]

Essie Pansy Barnes

Joel Clinton Barnes

Essie (Barnes) Roberts c. 1975

Joel Clinton Barnes
Cropped from photo Courtesy: Ken Smith



Bert Allen Roberts & Franklin County, Illinois, Births 1900-1904

Roberts Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My paternal grandfather, Bert Allen Roberts, was born in Sesser, Franklin County, Illinois, on 7 September 1903, the third child of Hugh Ellis and Clora Dell (Scott) Roberts. I already had a copy of Hugh’s delayed birth certificate, but I thought I’d see if there were any other birth records from the county during the time.

FamilySearch has many records and images available for Franklin County Births. The certificates from 1900 to 1904 are indexed, so I looked at all the birth records regarding Roberts’s children during that time.


Name Birthdate Father Mother Notes
Bert Allen Roberts 7 Sep 1903 Hugh Ellis Roberts Clara Dell Scott I already had this record.
Harry Ray Roberts 22 May 1901    “    “ Bert’s Older Brother – New Record for me. Harry had a twin sister also.
Claude Ray Roberts 15 Jan 1901 Charlie Wilson Roberts Clara Farmer Bert’s 1st Cousin
Harry Clyde Roberts 21 Mar 1904 Thomas Jackson Roberts[i] Mandala Eline Ashby Unknown
Randle Earl Doty 11 Oct 1903 Robert Marshall Doty Sarah A Roberts[ii] Unknown
Knox Edward Scott 17 Jun 1902 Francis Percy Scott Florence Elizabeth Roberts Bert’s 1st Cousin
Fred Everett Scarlet 19 Jun 1900 Jack Scarlett Kizzie Roberts[iii] Unknown
Eva A Scott 27 Jul 1904 Francis Percy Scott Florence Elizabeth Roberts Bert’s 1st Cousin

Because of this resource, I could add birth records for two of Bert’s siblings (Harry & Carrie) and three of his 1st cousins. There were three other Roberts children born between 1900 and 1904 in Franklin County; however, they are probably unrelated.

Bert Allen Roberts’ Birth Certificate, courtesy FamilySearch


[i] Thomas Jackson Roberts (1870-1928) is the son of George Anderson Roberts (1823-1900), who is also unknown and probably unrelated.

[ii] Sarah A Roberts (1874-1963) is the daughter of Reuben Derrith Roberts, Jr. (1834-1883), who is also unknown and probably unrelated.

[iii] Keziah “Kizzie” Frances Roberts is the daughter of James Roberts (1813-1900), who is also unknown and probably unrelated.

Research Plan – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949)

Roberts Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I am beginning a deep dive into my Grandfather Bert Allen Roberts. He died before I was born and before my half-siblings were born, so there are no direct memories of the man I know about.

Bert Allen Roberts, Sr.

Bert Allen Roberts was born on 20 September 1903 in Sesser, Illinois, as the third child of Hugh Ellis Roberts and Clora Dell Scott. He had three siblings: Harry Ray, Carrie Mae, and Mabel Ilean. He died on 1 May 1949 in Elwood, Madison, Indiana, USA (State Road 37, at the east edge of Elwood.). When he was 18, he married Essie Pansy Barnes, daughter of Joel Clinton Barnes and Marada Alice Lister, on 13 May 1922 in Sullivan, Sullivan, Indiana, USA.

Basic information regarding Bert includes Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates and the Census records for all censuses while he was living. I reported those in my initial post, Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949). I have reviewed the sources attached to him in his FamilySearch profile, L2HT-QN5. Bert appears in 52 Ancestry Public Trees. I have also reviewed all of the sources associated with those trees.

Conflicts I know about

Name: Some researchers indicate Bert’s name was Herbert. I have contacted both researchers and asked if they had a source for the name. All the records I have refer to him as Bert.

I received a response from both of them, they had no sources for “Herbert” and have updated their trees accordingly. 

Birth:  Some records indicate he was born on 7 September 1903; others show he was born on 20 September 1902. (See: Proof of Birthdate.) I have settled on 7 September 1903 as his date of birth.

Location: The 1931 Polk City Directory indicates his wife, Essie, is a widow living at 460 S 13-1/2 Street. And Bert is residing at 803 North 3rd.***

Burial:  There is a conflict in Bert’s burial location. He has a marker in Elwood, IN, where he died, but the newspapers indicate his body was returned to his home in Michigan.****

Laying out and organizing the areas for my research include:

Locations, Dates, & Events of Bert Allen Roberts’ Life

Family Search Locations Event Dates Events Research Years
IL, Crawford, Hutsonville 1920 Age 17** 1910-1922
IL, Franklin, Sesser 1903 Birth* 1903-1908
Illinois 1903-1922 Birth, School* – ** 1903-1908, 1910-1922
IN, Madison, Elwood 1949 Death 1949
IN, Sullivan, Sullivan 1922 Age 19 – Marriage 1920-1929
IN, Sullivan, Turman Twp 1910 Age 7 – School** 1908-1920
IN, Vigo, Terre Haute 1929-1940 Head of Household*** 1922-1940
Indiana 1908-1942 Marriage, Adult 1908-1942
MI, Wayne, Detroit 1942 Head & Residence at Death**** 1940-1949
Michigan 1940-1949 Adult, Death**** 1940-1949

* Records from birth until 1908 use his parents, Hugh Ellis and Clora Roberts.
** Records from 1908 until 1920 might use stepfather Hosea Lee and his mother, Clora Adams names.
*** Pay close attention to the city directories from 1929-1934 for his residence and the conflict between his residence and his wife’s residence.
**** Confirm the location of his body’s burial.

Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949) – Date of Birth Proof

Roberts Research
Roberts Line
By Don Taylor

Today I examine the conflict in Bert Allen Roberts’ birthdate. Some documents and researchers report he was born on 20 Sep 1902, some on 20 Sep 1903, and others on 7 Sep 1903.

Ancestor #4


1922 – Marriage License – 20 Sep 1902[i]

The earliest birth record I’ve found regarding Bert’s birthdate is his marriage license. It clearly indicates that his birthdate is 20 Sep. This record appears to have been copied by a clerk into a set form, because the signatures of Bert, Essie, and the clerk appear to be of the same hand, with the same pen.

Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 – Bert Allen Roberts, Date of Birth (via

1941 – Birth Certificate – 7 Sep 1903[ii]

Bert’s Birth Certificate clearly indicates he was born on 7 Sep 1903. Generally, a birth certificate is the best document, however, although not identified as “delayed,” it was not reported until 8 Jul 1941. The information was provided by William Alonzo Scott (Uncle). William Alonzo was not Bert’s uncle, rather he was Bert’s great-uncle (Clora’s uncle).

1942 – Draft Registration – 7 Sep 1903[iii]

Bert completed his Draft Registration. As I understand it, a Birth Certificate was required to register for the draft. That would be the likely reason a “delayed” certificate was created. It is possible that Bert used the same date as his Birth Certificate to eliminate registration problems.

1949 – Death Certificate – 9-7-1903[iv]

The informant for Bert’s Death Certificate was his wife, “Mrs. Bert Roberts – Detroit, Mich” (Essie). She supplied 7 Sep 1903 as his birthdate also.

Census Records

Because there is a year difference between the documents Census Records might provide further insight into his birth year and consequently his birth date.

    • 1910 – Age 6 – Suggesting birth in 1903 (presuming a September birth).
    • 1920 – Age 16 – Suggesting birth in 1903.
    • 1930 – Age 26 – Suggesting birth in 1903.
    • 1940 – Age 36 – Suggesting birth in 1903.

So, all of the Census records are consistent with the birthdate of 7 September 1903 and not 1902 (20 September)


Bert Allen Roberts was born 7 September 1903. I have set that date as my preferred birth date.


[i] Indiana Marriage, 1811-2019, Family Search, Bert Allen Roberts – Essie Pansy Barnes – Marriage License. citing: Sullivan, Indiana, United States, Marriage Registration, Indiana Commission on Public Records, Indianapolis; FHL microfilm 004170594.
Source: Derivative, Transcribed by a clerk.
Clarity: Clear, Item 4, clearly readable, “When born September 20, 1902.”
Information: Primary, The document indicates Bert Allen Roberts provided the information.
Evidence: Direct, Date is clearly stated.

[ii] Illinois Births and Christenings, 1824-1940, Family Search, Bert Allen Roberts – Birth 7 Sep 1903. See Image 970 of 1538.
Source: Original, Information was entered by a clerk, however it is clear William signed it.
Clarity: Clear, Item 7, clearly readable, “Date of Birth Sept 7, 1903.”
Information: Secondary, Although the certificate indicates William was “the Attendant at this Birth,” I just don’t find that likely. That was a prefilled statement required by all who reported birth information
Evidence: Direct, Date is clearly stated.

[iii] U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, Ancestry.Com, Bert Allen Roberts – Born 7 Sep 1903 – Registe3red 16 Feb 1942.
Source: Original, Information may have been entered by the registrar, but it is clear that Bert signed the card.
Clarity: Clear, Item 5, clearly readable, “Date of Birth Sept 7 1903.”
Information: Primary, The document indicates Bert Allen Roberts provided the information.

[iv] Indiana, U.S., Death Certificates, 1899-2011 (Indiana Archives & Records Administration), Ancestry, Bert Roberts – Death 1 May 1949. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1949; Roll: 06.
Source: Original.
Clarity: Clear, Item 8, clearly readable, “9-7-1903.”
Information: Secondary, the information was provided by his wife.
Evidence: Direct, Date is clearly stated.