Intriguing Data

I’ve been digging into the family tree roots again, and discovered some interesting facts and figures for my forebear’s family. My husband also got his DNA results back today and is tripping through all the family info — and mis-info — on his side. Names garbled on old records, etc. Dad was Walter Frank and wouldn’t appreciate being listed as Wally T!

Facts and dates, spellings and census records all make for interesting reading and quite a few chuckles as you try to sort out how great-great grandmother had her first child at age seven, or another had her last baby at age 56.

There were some interesting age spreads back then, as there are today. My gr-gr-grandma Ruth’s sister, Rebecca, was 24 when she married John Pepper, a widower aged 44. It really interested me to learn that the couple lived in Fullarton, Ontario, the small town we lived in for some years, thirty-odd years ago.

One of their brothers was Jonathan Burnham Dobson. Confusingly, I’ve discovered two men by that name, one lived mostly in New Brunswick and one in Ontario. That may take some sorting out, if I really want to go there.

I’ve been following the life story and descendants of the Ontario fellow. I’ve learned that his wife was Ann Blatchford (Ontario marriage record — can’t argue with that.) Ann was — if you believe half a dozen Family Tree records the daughter of Thomas Tapson and Jane Blatchford. Or did someone cross a wire there?

Depending on whose record you believe, Ann was born in Lydford, Lifton, or Bridestowe, all in Devon. According to all accounts she was married in 1842 to William Blatchford.

One record says they had 7 children, born from 1845 to 1857. And William died in 1852.
One record says they had five children from 1845-1853, and William died in 1854.
One record shows they had three children widely spaced and William died in 1858.

Her children were for sure William, Elizabeth Ann, George, and Mary Jane, give or take a Richard, Louisa, Joanna, or Thomas Charles.

All agree that Ann (Tapson) Blatchford married Jonathan Dobson in 1859. (Thank you DVS!) Born in 1831, he would have been 27 and she 38. Except that the Ontario Marriage registration gives her age as 28. I’d like to know how lost those ten years. 🙂

I’ve found record of their one daughter, Margaret. Some family trees list her as Margaret Marguerite. I’ve spent this afternoon discovering her spouse, their children and spouses. Don’t ask me why? 😉

One researcher covered all the bases in the info they posted:
Ann was born at Lydford, Devon, England, married William Blatchford in 1842. The couple had six children before William died in 1852. At some point they immigrated to Ontario.
Children’s names and birth years:
William (44), Elizabeth (47), George (49), Thomas C (51), Mary Jane (53) and Richard (63)
Oh, wait — don’t forget Joanna, supposedly born in 57.

Then Ann married Jonathan Dobson and their children were:
Louisa (33), Henry (54), Sara (56), Margaret Marguerite (59) Ann (59) and Emma (63), when Ann would have been 43. Possible — but talk about prolific! It will take some serious DNA research to sort out all those offspring.

While I’m speaking of things being rather a mess, have you all come to terms with the newest update in Word Press, where we have to go through the Stats to get to the WordPress Administration instead of having the left-hand drop-down menu like we used to? I find it a pain.

14 thoughts on “Intriguing Data

  1. I smile as I read this. Yea, you soon learn not to trust other people’s results but to check their sources (where given), if not, do the search yourself. Otherwise, you’re in for a lengthy wild goose trek. And when it comes to the census, best to remember many entries were made by an agent on hearsay and/or guesswork, and truth was seldom told about place of origin for, should a person need to claim poor relief off the parish it must be the parish of birth. Far easier to stay in your present home than to trek across the country. And if it’s a transcript you’re reading, go to the original. The transcriber may have made an error. And again, if someone isn’t where you’re sure they should be, the original record might reveal the truth. I found surnames totally mangled by the transcriber. Above all, enjoy the search.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Crimson Prose. It appears some census takers were much more literate than others, but some just made guesses as to ages — especially age of wife. I usually go to Marriage Birth, and Death Records to verify what I find in the census.

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  3. That is a fascinating trip! I have a hand-written family tree that is quite interesting as well. I have not fact-checked a single one as of yet but may in the future. If I find the energy.

    As for WP, I never changed to the “new” so…

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    1. I have a hand-written Tree of the Turner family, starting with John Turner, a single young man, coming to Canada and marrying Alice Doyle. I can’t find any record of him before their settling in Lanark County — and it appears his family came with him, as a bunch of turners settled there.
      Then some long-lost relative at Ancestry.com claimed that John Turner’s branch of the family changed their name from Farquarson. Now Bob tells me I must be related to Charlie Farquharson (aka Don Harron). 😉

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  4. DNA research certainly has made information available that we may never have known. I’ve never felt the need to investigate, but I have a daughter-in-law who has done tons of research on both her family and ours.

    I was unaware that WP has moved the Admin option over to Stats. I wonder why. They’re kind of like Walmart. You just get to know the layout, and then they have a big revision project and you can’t find a thing. 🙂

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    1. Generally it’s been a good thing, but I was reading online about the embarassment and grief some people have come into when their DNA results came in. Sperm donors suddenly found themselves with children wanting contact; one daughter who was sure she knew her father suddenly found she was the product of a weekend fling. Etc. While for some of us who always wondered, it’s great to have the matter settled.

      Obviously some DNA tests are much more precise than the results you get from Ancestry. Here I can only see who I’m related to, but not how or on which side. Last names don’t always tell it, because they may be a Turner, but related only through the Harmons (mom’s side)

      As for Word Press, I’m not sure exactly wha’s different, if we’re now going through the stats or if they’ve moved the stats to what was once the main Admin page. But I’m having to go through a couple of steps now just to get to my site.

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