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John ROBERTS

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John ROBERTS

Postby SDV » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:08 pm

I am having great difficulty with my 4x and 3x Great Grandparents.

After much research and hard work, I have concluded that my 4x Great Grandparents were John BIRD and Ann(e) HEAD. I have no idea when John was born, but believe that Ann(e) was born 22 Nov 1773 in Shoreditch, being baptised on 24 Nov 1773 at St Leonard's in Shoreditch. In any case, John BIRD and Ann(e) HEAD were married on 14 Nov 1802 at All Saints in Edmonton.

As far as I can find, John and Ann BIRD had three children: John BIRD (1807-1850), William BIRD (1812-1873) and Mary Ann BIRD (1814-1896). All three were born in Edmonton and baptised at All Saints. On the baptisms of their three children, John is described as a soldier.

I think John must have died before 1824, as on 05 Sep 1824 there is a marriage between John ROBERTS (widower) and Ann BIRD (widow) at St Andrews in Enfield. The newly married couple appear to have two children: Eliza (1818-1823) and Elizabeth (1821-?), both born in Edmonton and baptised at All Saints.

Ann ROBERTS (née HEAD) died on 01 Feb 1838 in Edmonton and was buried at All Saints.

Mary Ann Bird - who I believe to be my 3x Great Grandmother - married James MARDELL on 07 Jun 1830 at All Saints, Edmonton. Even though she married under the name BIRD, the name she gives on the birth certificates of her children - at least those born after the start of civil registration - is ROBERTS. I am fairly convinced that Mary Ann BIRD and Mary ROBERTS are one and the same person.

James and Mary MARDELL set up home at Eaton Place, Fore Street in Edmonton, the same address as where Ann ROBERTS (née HEAD) died. Interestingly, in the 1841 census they are living with one John ROBERTS (70, not born in Middx) and one Elizabeth ROBERTS (20, b Middx). By 1851, John ROBERTS (75, unmarried, b Beds) is still living with the family, but Elizabeth has moved on.

So many questions, always assuming the above logic relating to relationships is correct:

1. John BIRD
when and where was he born?
with which regiment did he serve
when and where did he die?
presumably he died between 1814 (birth of Mary Ann BIRD) and 1818 (birth of Eliza
ROBERTS), certainly before 1824 (Ann BIRD's re-marriage).

2. John ROBERTS
when and where was he born?
when and where did he die?
can't find him after the 1851 census.
who was his first wife?

3. John and William BIRD
whilst I am confident on their births/baptisms, I'm not so sure about their deaths.
have sent for the death certificates which may reveal more
not sure whether either married

4. Elizabeth ROBERTS
what happened to her after 1841 census?
did she marry?
did she die?
Last edited by SDV on Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:28 am

Re the regiment of John Bird.

It strikes me that for him to be in the same place for 12y (marriage to 3rd baptism), even if not necessarily continuously, would be odd if he were a soldier in the Regular Army. I guess that he might have been serving at a depot. But an alternative that he might have in one of the auxiliary forces such as the Militia - all too often the world soldier means anything. Regular Army documentation is thin enough - that for the auxiliaries is thinner.

You could try looking for his name in the Regular Army pensions stuff on FindMyPast and see if you recognise any of them. If he didn't get a pension, any surviving mention of him will probably be in muster lists which seldom have anything to distinguish one John Bird from another. Muster lists for militia, volunteers, etc, have the same problem.

The Record Office may also have militia documentation, but the question will still be - is it him, or someone with the same name?

Sorry but it's unlikely that you're going to find much in military documents without some more data from civilian life.

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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby sdup26 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:31 pm

In view of AdrianB38's comments regarding John claiming to be a soldier - "odd to be in the same place for 12 years" - could this item from findmypast's MIlitary records be relevant?
"His Majesty's 5th Royal Rgt of Veterans. Pte John Bird of Hazleworth, Middlesex, having served for 11 years, as a consequence of the Regiment being disbanded, is rendered unfit for further service and is hereby discharged. John Bird, about 58 yrs (document is dated 1814/16 making him born about 1757) 5ft 8 ins, grey hair, grey eyes, and by trade a tailor."
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:37 pm

Unfortunately I can't find that John Bird reference on FMP - any idea what the sub-category or record-set were?

The Royal Regiments of Veterans are covered on http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/organization/Britain/Infantry/Regiments/c_Veterans.html - there are 2 candidates for what the disbanding of the 5th RV (Royal Veterans) might mean:

The original 5th Royal Veterans was disbanded at Chelsea in July 1814 having been raised in 1802 on Guernsey and served throughout in the Channel Islands.

A new version of the 5th RV was then formed in June 1815, based on 3 companies of the 11th RV, was stationed at the Tower of London in 1816 before disbandment at Deptford in June 1816. Prior to 1815, the 11th RV had been at places such as Guernsey, Winchelsea, Bexhill, Isle of Man, Anholt (1812/13).

In the end, the simple fact is that there could have been lots of John Birds in the Army at this time.... Indeed, there is a collection on Ancestry UK, British Army Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1812-1817 which images Muster Books from the (Regular) Army at that time (though the indexing is odd). There are 65 John Bird references in that lot - though some will be the same guy indexed several times. It includes Veteran and Garrison references - though the Garrison I looked at was in Guernsey...

It is not impossible that, as with the FMP reference above, there will be genealogical data in the Army documentation. But we don't really know enough about JB outside the Army to know if any of them might be ours.
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby sdup26 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:20 pm

On FMP's 'Military, Armed Forces and Conflict' I entered John Bird + Middlesex. I thought one in 1744 was too early, so tried the next one - 1796, and I wondered if a 'veterans regiment' suggested someone who could claim to be a 'soldier' while not actually going anywhere. I know, very unscientific! But it would be interesting if SDV's John Bird was a tailor.
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:53 pm

The one indexed as 1744 is the tailor that you mention. The Army unfortunately omitted to record the discharge from the RV and so FMP have indexed his discharge as 1802, which is actually the date of his transferring out of his previous regiment and into the RV.

This guy was originally in the 3rd Foot Guards; seems to have been admitted to pension 6 Dec 1790; was called up out of pension 31 Jan 1793 to go into the ?R I Invalids?; left there 24 Dec 1802 when transferred into the 5th RV; finished there 1814. Aged 58 then, so b abt 1755/56, as said above but not as said by FMP who calculated DoB using the wrong date.

I have no idea what his R I Invalids (or whatever) was - it may have been the 41st Regiment of Foot, though that was supposed to have stopped using that title back in 1787. Not that the Army was ever any good in using current titles.

The Royal Veterans were genuine regular army soldiers in uniform but of lower grade fitness - and indeed, of any age, as soldiers of reduced mobility might still be useful as garrison troops, etc. And it has been pointed out to me that a tailor could still be useful mending uniforms - so long as he could see to sew, he didn't need to see to shoot.
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:00 pm

?Royal Irish Invalids? Apparently that was a unit somewhere, sometime...
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby sdup26 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:53 am

Many thanks Adrian - it needed an expert eye, but having got everything wrong, I'm still wondering: why does John Bird claim to be a soldier on his children's baptisms? Should we put the FMP man aside and keep searching?
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Re: John ROBERTS

Postby SDV » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:18 am

These are useful insights, but unfortunately still leave most of my questions unanswered. I'm not really sure of a way forward. I can't even pin down the death of John Bird, even though it presumably happened between 1814 and 1818.
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