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Genealogy "Clincher" evidence.

benny1982

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#1
Hi

I have had lot of instances where I have had just theories and assumptions in genealogy.But then a new piece of evidence comes along to confirm my suspicions and theories. I have quite a logical mind when it comes to genealogy.

Its like my success story where I found the father of an illegitimate child, namely my great, great gran who was born in Dec 1863 under her unmarried mothers maiden name in Sussex. Her mum Mary Ann Walder suddenly moved to London and wed Kent born Thomas Roberts in July 1864. Thomas was a servant and widower according to the marriage cert. 4 months after the mother married the baby was baptised as "Mary Ann Kate, Daughter of Thomas & Mary Ann Roberts" on the 6th November 1864 at the London church they wed at. I thought, well if he baptised her as his daughter, then that increased the probability that she was his daughter if he said she was in her baptism.

He was a widower and when I found Thomas lving in Brighton in Sussex, the same county as Mary Ann Walder was in the 1861 census, but was still married to an Esther, another piece of the puzzle came together. I then found that Esther died in the Dec Quarter of 1863, and Thomas's next wifes baby was born on the 31st Dec 1863 in Warninglid, a few miles north of Brighton. Thomas's job would have involved him travel, or she may have worked where he worked.

Some people wouldnt worry to spend £7 on Thomas first wifes death cert and just have a hunch. I spent that £7 and the cert said that Esther died on the 14th Nov 1863, wife of Thomas Roberts a servant and footman, and she died of "Phthisis, years, certified". That was the clincher cert. Mary Walder was 7 months pregnant when Esther died, explaining illegitimate birth and the delay in the parents wedding because the fathers wife had just died 6 weeks preious to the birth.

The length of Thomas previous wifes illness stated on the cert made the idea of an affair totally plausible and everything else fell into place. The baptism after the marriage and the move away to London before the wedding and Thomas would have been under pressure and depressed if his wife was dying of phthisis so he needed comfort.

Sorry to keep going on but this is one of my most favourite FH success stories. The clincher evidence can be found you know.

Ben
 

pejay

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#2
Hi Ben and many congrats on your success stories, I too like to think I have a logical mind [well perhaps sometimes]. I like to be able to verify exact dates etc, as I think we cannot assume anything in genealogy.Maybe one of these days I too will have a success story, good luck with future searches :)
 

benny1982

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#3
Hi

When I first found that Mary Ann Kate was baptised as Thomas's daughter, that was probably one of the largest chunks of the puzzle. I, being a professional genealogist searched for further clues before I could reach a proper conclusion. Then the times and events all fitted in once I found the further evidence:- Thomas's previous wife very ill, the length of her illness, the fact that men (and women)can stray for comfort if their loved ones are ill, Mary giving birth just after Thomas's wifes death explained the illegitimate birth because the babys father had just lost his terminally sick wife. The move away to the anonymity of London also tied it all up as well as Thomas marrying Mary as soon as he could.

Ben
 

marie44

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#4
Hi

I have had lot of instances where I have had just theories and assumptions in genealogy.But then a new piece of evidence comes along to confirm my suspicions and theories. I have quite a logical mind when it comes to genealogy.

Its like my success story where I found the father of an illegitimate child, namely my great, great gran who was born in Dec 1863 under her unmarried mothers maiden name in Sussex. Her mum Mary Ann Walder suddenly moved to London and wed Kent born Thomas Roberts in July 1864. Thomas was a servant and widower according to the marriage cert. 4 months after the mother married the baby was baptised as "Mary Ann Kate, Daughter of Thomas & Mary Ann Roberts" on the 6th November 1864 at the London church they wed at. I thought, well if he baptised her as his daughter, then that increased the probability that she was his daughter if he said she was in her baptism.

He was a widower and when I found Thomas lving in Brighton in Sussex, the same county as Mary Ann Walder was in the 1861 census, but was still married to an Esther, another piece of the puzzle came together. I then found that Esther died in the Dec Quarter of 1863, and Thomas's next wifes baby was born on the 31st Dec 1863 in Warninglid, a few miles north of Brighton. Thomas's job would have involved him travel, or she may have worked where he worked.

Some people wouldnt worry to spend £7 on Thomas first wifes death cert and just have a hunch. I spent that £7 and the cert said that Esther died on the 14th Nov 1863, wife of Thomas Roberts a servant and footman, and she died of "Phthisis, years, certified". That was the clincher cert. Mary Walder was 7 months pregnant when Esther died, explaining illegitimate birth and the delay in the parents wedding because the fathers wife had just died 6 weeks preious to the birth.

The length of Thomas previous wifes illness stated on the cert made the idea of an affair totally plausible and everything else fell into place. The baptism after the marriage and the move away to London before the wedding and Thomas would have been under pressure and depressed if his wife was dying of phthisis so he needed comfort.

Sorry to keep going on but this is one of my most favourite FH success stories. The clincher evidence can be found you know.

Ben
what is phthisis?
marie44:confused:
 

benny1982

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#5
Hi

"Phthisis" is lung tuberculosis. It would have been hard for the sufferer. Coughing up blood, wheezing, fatigue, and wasting away of the lung tissue.

No wonder why Esther's stressed out hubby Thomas got my ggggran pregnant in around April 1863 and my gggran being the result. But Thomas didnt abandon her as he registered her death in Nov 1863.

Then he made a decent woman out of Mary when he could but it had to be after the birth due to circumstances.

Ben
 

benny1982

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#6
Hi

People do say that you may never have 100% proof even with succes stories.

Regarding the above story, do you think that I actually have enough proof of Thomas being the father if I have all that evidence. Would another piece be necessary at all? He baptised the baby as his, and the fact that he was still married into the mothers pregnancy to a sick wife is enough.

Ie a poor law document.
 

JMR

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#7
Hi Ben,

I'm grappling with my own Gt Grandmother's illegitimacy and have been trying to track down this kind of detail for a while. She was born around the same time. Your relative was born after Bastardy bonds had been stopped and because Thomas was supporting both Mother and child I don't think that it would have been necessary perhaps for it to have been recorded in poor law records (I'd still check though.

One thing I have found is that parish records hold some amazing and often amusing records. For instance my GG had a stepfather who came into her life when she was 9. I decided to research him to see if there were any clues there. The parish records had been transcribed and were on line luckily. The Cleric had recorded many things about the families in his parish. He was the parson and also the school teacher. He had made many off the cuff comments which were very insightful and quite damning about the parents of this bloke and had nothing good to say about GGs stepfather or his siblings. Found out from this that said stepfather had been expelled from school, was a dull, unintelligent sort of a boy and the cleric had been glad to see the back of him and his brothers. Very politically incorrect, but hilarious.

Maybe it's worth a try to contact the parish and see what might be in the parish register. I would imagine that a story like yours wouldn't have gone unnoticed by the cleric!!!

Cheers,
Jill
 

benny1982

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#8
Hi

I am certain that I have all the evidence. His previous wifes death cert says a lot. She died when Mary was 7 months pregnant with the baby. They wed when the baby was nearly 7 months old. They had to get over the death of his first wife, a birth, the death of Marys grandfather and a move to London before they could marry. They still managed to wed within 8 months. Once they married, they baptised their baby.

Thomas's wife died when Mary was 7 months pregnant. She had been ill for a long time, hence recorded on her death cert. They then moved away and married in London by July 1864. The 8 months is explained because they had to get over his first wifes death, her funeral, a birth, a death on Marys side of the family in Feb 1864, a move away to London then the 6 or so weeks it took to arange a wedding.
That fully explains the 8 month interval between Thomas's wife dying in Nov 1863 and him remarrying to his mistress Mary in July 1864.

The baby was baptised as Thomas's daughter, I showed you the cert, she is named as his in the 1871 and 1881 census and he is named as her father on her wedding cert. I think that is pretty conclusive.

Ben
 
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JMR

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#9
I think you're probably right Ben! :) But playing devils advocate, there is always a percentage chance that he had the means and was benevolent enough to do the honourable thing and marry her and raise another mans child since he hadn't had any himself and saw this as a way to have a family to grow old with. Were there any subsequent children from this marriage? :confused:

Cheers,
Jill
 

benny1982

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#10
Hi

You cannot always get 100% evidence of anything but I think my story is pretty conclusive. My cousin also agrees and that they may have been in service together.

Thomas had an elder daughter aged 12.

There are too many coincidences for it not to be true.

Mary was 7 months pregnant when Thomas's wife died, and his wife was ill for a long time beforehand. This in itself would have made Thomas want to seek comfort in a single woman. That was probably his way of wanting a family to grow old with. If his wife was chronically ill, then Thomas would have been stressed out enough with it all so that explains why he strayed.

The illegitimate birth is explained because the fathers wife had just died. That explains why Mary was unmarried during the pregnancy.

Thomas did have more children with Mary. It is possible that if the elder baby wasnt his, then once he had his own children with the mum, then the eldest child would become a non entity or he'd treat her more coldly. Thomas baptised the baby as his. That is probably the most significant piece of evidence, the baptism showing a genuine tie with Thomas and the baby, a blood tie.

Ben
 

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