Saturday, March 29, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ ROBERTS of Leeds, Yorkshire, England and Beverly, Massachusetts

The John Peter Bowden Roberts Family
circa 1897 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England
My grandmother, Bertha, is the baby in this photograph
ROBERTS is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name.  She arrived in the United States, through Ellis Island, in 1915 when she was a teenager with her brother and parents.  Her father, John Peter Bowden Roberts, was one of ten children born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  He was a stationary engineer in a brewery in Leeds, and married my great grandmother in 1890.  They had three children, and they all removed to Massachusetts to follow several relatives who had come to America for jobs in the first decade of the twentieth century.

I was able to trace the Roberts family back several generations to Samuel Roberts, born about 1775 in Leeds, Yorkshire, my 4th great grandfather.  I used census records and several vital records from Leeds to trace this family, but I’ve hit a brickwall.  To continue this research I will have to “cross the pond” to do some research in Leeds.

I have several extensive oral histories on tape of my grandmother telling about her family and her childhood in Leeds. Her father received his unusual name because a gentleman named “John Peter Bowden” rescued him from a pond when he was a little boy.  Every year the gentleman would visit the Roberts family and gave the other children a shilling, but my great grandfather would receive a gold crown.  He changed his name to “John Peter Bowden Roberts”, even though he had a brother named “John William Roberts”.   I don’t know his original name, so I haven’t found his original birth record.

Another brother, Harry Roberts, came to Beverly, Massachusetts, along with some cousins. They wrote back to the Roberts family about the job opportunities.  My grandmother’s sister, Hilda, had already married a cousin who had come to Massachusetts and she emigrated sometime before 1915.  Her parents, and her siblings (including Bertha, my grandmother) decided to come to Beverly, too.  They left Leeds and boarded the steamship Orduna in Liverpool in and arrived at Ellis Island on 16 August 1915.  They lived at 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly, the same house where my Dad grew up, and where I lived until I was about seven years old.

My Roberts genealogy:

Generation 1:  Samuel Roberts, born about 1775 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England

Generation 2:  John Roberts, born 24 December 1803 in Leeds, died after 1851; married on 22 October 1832 in Leeds to Hannah Westerman, daughter of Samuel Westerman and Elizabet Fearnley.   She was born about 1811 at Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England and died after 1881. Six children.

Generation 3:  Samuel Roberts, born about 1829 in Leeds, died before 1891; married on 21 March 1853 in Holbeck, Yorkshire to Mary Anne Stott, daughter of James Stott and Sarah Heseltone.  She was born 7 October 1835 in Leeds, and died after 1911 in Settle, Yorkshire.  Ten children.

Generation 4:  John Peter Bowden Roberts, born August 1865 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, died 23 August 1925 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 24 May 1890 at St. Clement’s church, in the Sheepscar neighborhood of Leeds to Emma Frances Warren.  She was the daughter of Obed Thomas Warren and Betsey Hannah Stimson, born about 1870 in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England, and died 1927 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Four children.

Generation 5: Bertha Louise Roberts, born 30 September 1897 in Leeds, died 17 March 1990 at Long Beach, California; married 26 November 1926 at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts to Donald Munroe Wilkinson, son of Albert Munroe Wilkinson and Isabella Lyons Bill.  He was born 23 October 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 24 July 1977 in Long Beach, California.  Three sons, including my father, John Warren Wilkinson.

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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