Edward Davies has been a brickwall for research for over 20 years.
He was born in that awkward time for UK research, just before official registration of life events and before census data was recorded and kept. He does appear in three census years, but does not help research much.
In 1841 he was in Liverpool with his wife and two young children. His age was rounded to the nearest 5 years so he was born 1813 to 1818 and his birth was given as not in Lancashire. In 1851 he was in Wrexham age 36 and born in Wrexham but in 1861 he claims to be 44 and born in Birkenhead. It could be I am looking at different Edwards but the wife and children all match.
He died sometime before 1871 but there are about thirty Edward Davies’ that died in Wrexham between the two census dates and some can be tied to a birthdate in the right range but nothing conclusive.
A similar problem occurs with his marriage, there are a dozen or more marriages with an Elizabeth in the two years before the birth of the first child and I cannot be sure if they married in England or Wales. The first two children were born in Liverpool so they moved there just before or after they married. His wife is consistent in giving her birth as in Hamner, Flintshire and she could have married there if she lived there until her marriage, often the marriage would be registered in Wrexham if it was after 1 July 1837 and the parish record would probably be listed under Chester in Cheshire. I used to be fairly certain they married in Holywell Flintshire but over the years it has become less certain.
The next step is DNA testing to try and find a Davies male line match behind the wall.
For genealogists 15 years ago is like yesterday, not all that important in research terms. Unless of course your house was burned down and all your previous work, together with all your possessions, was gone.
Clothes, furniture, well most things really, can easily be replaced once the insurance company decides to pay out, but some thing can never be replaced, photographs, original certificates and perhaps all the genealogy data you have collected over the years.
I was, somewhat, lucky as I had been converting my manual system to a computer based one. The computer was toast and so was the data but I did have an online backup. The main problems were that, as is now the case still, online service use that ‘spawn of the devil’ GEDCOM file format so loss of data is inevitable and images and media have to be readded manually, but six months later my tree was back as it was or I thought it was.
Over the past 15 years I spent most time adding more people and branches, I just assumed the work from before the fire was as complete as it could be. In the last week a question was asked about my grandparents and I noticed that some events that should be linked to other people were not, maybe something to do with the GEDCOM transfers and some sources were not cited.
I spent most of this week checking and correcting my parents, grandparents and their siblings data, not only adding data I had 16 years ago but there is a lot more online now that was not available 20 years ago, church records and the 1939 register, I had even missed the 1911 census for some people, so a big update this weekend.
A tip – go back and check previously ‘finished’ research every few years, there may be more available now.
Source: Geleick – Davies Family Tree plus related branches – Hasquencort, Dilean J.
A problem guy, no real idea of his parents or his early life. No idea why he moved to Birkenhead after he married. No idea what happened to his family while he was in prison or why he changed his name after release. The rest was easy!
When a genealogist comes across a person with a name like Thomas Reuben Whitfield Burn they get a good feeling, this is an unusual name and should be easier to research than John Smith.
Thomas is a common name but Reuben is less so, and Whitfield is more of a family name than a given name. It was common to use a mothers maiden name as a middle name in 19th century Britain. Even the family name is less common than the usual Burns and ties the family roots to Northeast England or Southern Scotland.
A quick search does bring up a problem, the name is not unique, there were two people with the name, but then you see they are father and son and this leads to census entries and lots of information about the son, but what of the father, where did he come from?
A census entry for 1871 shows him, age 11, living in Newcastle on Tyne with his grandparents, so we can produce a family tree like this.
No record has been found him and his parents for 1861, the grandparents were at a different address in Newcastle with daughter Ann, 20, and sons James and Thomas who are both under 10 years old. Further research shows they had two other daughters but no older son. This family group were left on the backburner for some time, until the 1911 census was released/ This showed the family group with a visitor widow Ann Whitfield.
With renewed vigour it was discovered that Ann Burn had married Thomas Reuben Whitfield in 1871, a short while after his father had died, which lead to a couple of generations back on his line. The first guess tree is redrawn as this.
And the moral of the story is when you get stuck on a line leave it alone for a year or two then try again.
After 10 years of hitting a brickwall with Susan and Sarah Anderson I made a break though with some parish records that links to census data and vital data. The Anderson line in Norfolk is now back to the 1700’s.
I am still adding sources and places to the Geleick line, and have proved several spelling variations, and found a previously unknown 20th century cousin in Nederland.
The plan is to work on the Northumberland Seton line to prove or disprove the family connection, if proved it will take the tree back to King Henry I, admittedly through a couple of illegitimate births, but I already have Fergus of Gallway’s (c1090 – c1161) connection to the Seton line. It is just the link from George Seton to any of my line that is complex.
In any ‘spare’ time I might look again at the Potts Trust descendants, Ancestry has a lot of rubbish about these people, typically poorly sourced. I know I have a couple of errors to correct and many generations to add.
After initial setup some tidying of data was needed, more is needed still, but that will happen in time.
Added several new places to the Geleick family, so maps are beginning to work better.
New line of Routledge family added, ancestors of Durham Grist’s via Hewson.
Work started on the Davies line, added war record for Arthur and shared some events that were only with one partner.