Monday, March 9, 2015

Exploring British Records from America

John Peter Bawden Roberts and his wife,
Emma Frances Warren, and children, Hilda,
Horace and Bertha (the baby) circa 1898
Leeds, Yorkshire, England
(My great grandparents, and my grandmother (Bertha) )

A few weeks ago in the US offered a weekend of free access to the UK record collection.  The last time I noticed one of these offers we were on vacation, so I couldn’t take advantage.  This time we were snowed in for a long duration blizzard, so I had lots of time to peruse the collection.

Note: If it weren't for social media, I wouldn't have been notified about this sale.  Many of my genealogist friends were sharing the post about free access to the UK records on Facebook and Twitter or on their blogs.  There was probably an email from Ancestry, but I have a tendency to clear out my e-mail box of advertising without reading any of the unsolicited offers.  I almost lost out on this deal!

My grandmother was born on 30 September 1897 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  She, her parents and siblings came to America in 1915 via Ellis Island, traveling in steerage on board the SS Orduna from Liverpool.  My cousin and I had already found the passenger lists, which listed the entire family, and my grandmother as a 21 years old.  I remember her stories, and her brother and sister’s stories (my great Auntie Hilda and great Uncle Horace).   I've written about them HERE and HERE in previous blog posts.

And so I began my search for my grandmother’s family roots via the vital records and UK census records on Ancestry.  I had used this collection a few years back and had a copy my grandmother’s family listed in the 1901 British Census.   Now I could look for them in the 1911 census, and perhaps work backwards in time to previous generations. .    The British census is conducted on years ending in “one”, and online the records are available from 1841 – 1911.  This would be the last British census for the Roberts family before leaving for America in 1915.

The Ancestry collection was very easy to use, and even though I was working with very commonplace surnames I was able to pinpoint the records easily.  

Above is the 1911 census of the Robert Family in Leeds, Yorkshire.  I was excited to see that it was the original census form with my great grandfather's signature.  I was not excited to see that my 13 year old grandmother, Bertha, was missing.  However, I remembered that she had been "in service" as a undernurse in a vicarage since she was age 12, so by searching for her own name (I had previously searched under her father's name) I found her enumerated in the vicar's household.  See below, Bertha is listed on line 11 as a servant:

Previous to this weekend, my only copy of my great grandparent's marriage record was a photocopy given to me by an uncle.  He only had access to an 8" x 12" photo copying machine, so I had never seen the entire certificate before, just a partial view. This was a terrific find for me!

This image has two marriage records, my great grand parents are on the top:

"1890 Marriage solemnized at Sheepscar in the Parish of St. Clements in the County of Leeds
No. 401  
When married:  May 24th, 1890
Name and Surname:  John Peter Bawden Roberts  and Emma Frances Warren
Age:  25 and 25
Condition:  Bachelor and Spinster
Rank or Profession:  Engine Tender
Residence at the time of marriage:  1 Henbury Terrace Bistol Street and 45 Benson Street
Father's Name and Surname:   Samuel Roberts and Oben Warren
Rank or Profession of Father:   Engine Tender and Miller
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church
by --------- or after Banns by me, Henry A. Prem
This Marriage was solemnized between us:
John P. B. Roberts and Emma F. Warren  
in the Presence of us
Arthur Roberts and Ellen Roberts"  [John's siblings]

Again, I was thrilled to see that these were my great grandparent's signatures! 

Here is the 1853 marriage of Samuel Roberts and Mary Anne Stott, parents of John Peter Bawden Roberts and my 2nd great grandparents.  This image is slightly cut off, but you can see the dates, information and signatures, including the names of my 3rd great grandfathers:

I was not able to trace the Roberts family further back in time, nor the Warren family, but I had very good luck with the Stott family.  I found the marriage records for Mary Anne Stott's parents, grand parents and great grandparents.  This is the 1796 marriage of Jonathan Stott and Mary Brunyet, my 4th great grandparents, married in Leeds, Yorkshire. 

"No. 386   Jonathan Stott sawyer of this parish and Mary Brunyet of this parish spinster were married in this church by Banns this twenty ninth Day of September in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and ninety six by me Edward Watson, clerk.  
This marriage was solemnized between us Jonathan Stott and Marey Brunyet
in the presence of John Hardaker and Tho. Atkinsone"

With all the information I gleaned from the UK collection (mainly census and marriage records) I was able to start a pedigree chart for my grandmother Bertha Roberts. These are my roots in Yorkshire, England.  See below:

This was very exciting to me.  I have an audio tape made in the 1970s of my uncle interviewing my grandmother about her family in England.  Grammy Bertha had forgotten a lot of names, and also had the names of some of her grandparents incorrect.  These documents fill in the holes and extend her family back to the late 1700s!  And I didn't even have to cross the pond to find these ancestors.

After learning these new ancestor's names I joined a few Facebook groups on UK and Yorkshire genealogy.  I immediately had some help from genealogists living in some of the towns in Yorkshire where my grandmothers ancestors lived - Leeds, Dewsbury and Pontefract.  I also learned about a website called Curious Fox.  If you have UK ancestry, it is worth checking out with a free registration    

This blog post was also published at the Worldwide Genealogy blog on 7 March 2015

The URL for this post is
Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

No comments:

Post a Comment