Thursday, 15 December 2016

Week 50: Head Scratcher

Sometimes when searching for family members in the family tree, it is not as easy as connecting the dots.  There could be all kinds of brick walls that a genealogist could face from incorrect dates of birth to names being misspelled.  Sometimes even the first name is given incorrectly. 

Joseph Palin was born in Coppenhall in 1838 to Joseph Palin and Elizabeth Parker.  The baptism record clearly shows his name as Joseph.  Joseph was one of 10 children.  There was Mary born in 1831, Thomas born in 1832, James in 1835, Hannah in 1836, then Joseph in 1838, Hannah born in 1840, Samuel born in 1842, Sarah born in 1847, John born in 1849 and finally George born in 1851. 

We can find Joseph in the 1841 and 1851 census.  In 1851 his father’s occupation given was agricultural laborer and Joseph’s occupation was that of a scholar.  This is somewhat surprising to see because back in that time children were out at work or even an apprentice at that age.  In the 1861 census Joseph is out working.  

In 1864 Joseph marries Elizabeth Maddock in Hanley.  I cannot seem to find “Joseph” in the 1871 census but we do find him in the 1881 census.  (Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth) I am a tad concerned that the location of birth is given as Cocknage, Cheshire so then I compared it to the 1891 census and it clearly shows where his birth is from Coppenhall and the age is accurate.  We find his wife and three children listed Mary, Joseph and Louisa in both census and both give the street address as Well street.

In the 1891 census we find Joseph and Betsy and the children have moved out.  The next thing we find on Joseph is his date of death which is 1909 in Stoke on Trent district.

Then I went to check on Joseph’s wife Betsy in the 1911 census and this is when the head scratching occurred.  The only possible fit was the one above at 82 Well Street.  It shows where the daughters Mary and Louisa have married so then I went to search for their marriages. 

This is where it gets really weird, the only possible marriages that would fit gives their father’s name as John.  Time to go back to the drawing board.

I found Mary’s baptism in 1869 in Hanley showing her parents as Joseph and Elizabeth and they are living on Windmill Street.  

Louisa’s baptism in 1880 shows the father’s name as John but the address at 86 Well Street is the same as seen in the census. 

So why would the fathers name be given as John????  We have learned from the past where sometimes a person could go by the middle name but Joseph’s baptism in 1838 does not show a middle name plus he had a brother John so chances are he did not have John as a middle name.

Perhaps that is why I could not find Joseph in the 1871 census and should look for “John”. Sure enough found him and he address is the same as listed on Mary’s baptism record – Windmill Street.

The siblings’ names all fit in and the address is consistent in the records so we know we are not dealing with two different families.  Why Joseph’s name is give as John on only some of the records is any one’s guess – but it just made family research a whole lot more challenging!!!!

(On the 1911 census it showed that Betsy had marked that she had 10 children and only 5 were living.  I will now have to see if I can find the other children with parents names as John and Elizabeth/Betsy or Joseph and Elizabeth/Betsy)

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