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You may recall I posted on this forum a few years ago about my maternal great grandfather William Henry Roberts and it became apparent he was a controversial character around the 1920’s and 30’s as he abandoned his young family, left them destitute and vanished without trace afterwards.
I am here again seeking assistance this time with trying to go further back in time to try and identify his birth record so I can (hopefully) purchase his birth certificate and potentially trace long lost relatives that may allow me to understand a little more about the life of my elusive and much misunderstood forebear. I’ve discovered he has a military record (32983 West Riding Regiment) that is available on Ancestry. It is stated on his record he was born in Sheffield. He married Ruth Osborne on 17/3/1912 at St Philip’s Church, Shalesmoor and on his marriage certificate (that I’ve purchased from the GRO) it states his Father’s name is Henry Roberts. He (William Henry) was 22 and lived at 6 Watery Lane at the time of his marriage to my great grandmother Ruth who also resided at the same address as that was her family home.
I’ve identified the following births of William Henry’s and William’s around Sheffield at that time but they are not my William Henry:
William Henry Roberts – dob 8/5/1882 56 Trafalgar St. Father James, Mother Ellen. Vol 9c page 431.
William Henry Roberts – dob 12/1/1883 9 Rutland Rd. Father Charles, Mother Elizabeth. Vol 9c page 540
William Roberts – dob 5/6/1888 95 Wallace Rd. Father Albert, Mother Mary. Vol 9c page 469
William Roberts – dob 2/8/1888 10 Newcastle St. Father Charles, Mother Sarah Elizabeth. Vol 9C page 387
William Henry Roberts – dob 13/8/1888 108 Capel St. Father Richard, Mother Hannah. Vol 9c page 317
Could anyone help me in trying to locate my great grandfather’s birth certificate information please or even anything about great grandfather William Henry?
In short, he states he was 22 in 1912, resided at 6 Watery Lane, born in Sheffield and his father’s name was Henry Roberts. He married Ruth Osborne on 17/3/1912 and had two daughters, Ruth (Aug 1912) and Minnie (Jul 1917) – Minnie being my maternal grandmother, dod 1960.
Hope that makes sense?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Dave, Have you considered the possibility he was not born in Sheffield? I have followed a William Henry Roberts born 1890 in Southowram, Halifax to James Henry Roberts and Amy Florence R Gibson. In 1891 census is with Grandparents and the 1901 census is with Grandparents and the 1911 census was stepson to Amy Brook and George Brook. He may have travelled to Sheffield. Regards Barry
Who registered Minnie's birth and where were they living then?
Barry's suggestion is a good one, but could he have been upto no good before he married?
Could William Henry have been born out of wedlock and took the name Roberts when his mother married?
Could also the fact if he had been up to no good be have called William Henry Roberts and of course when he left his young family reverted back to his true name so could not be traced.
I presume therefore you do not know when he died.
I have considered that he was not born in Sheffield and for a year or two I was convinced he was born and raised in Abertillery in South Wales but on discovering his military record on Ancestry I revised my opinion as it states he was born in Sheffield and there is a date of 30/1/1888 written on one of the pages as well as specific evidence that he married Ruth and had two daughters at 6 Watery Lane which I had hoped would have corroborated his identity especially by getting hold of his marriage certificate.
However it appears there is no record of a William Henry Roberts being born to a father named Henry in Sheffield at that time.
Specifically I’m not sure who registered Minnie’s birth but I can get hold of his daughters Ruth’s and Minnie’s birth certificates to clarify. Eldest daughter Ruth departed Sheffield for London and never returned but we understand she married and had a family down there. Minnie married in 1943 and resided at Court 2 6 House Watery Lane which according to research was the same property. On her marriage certificate she records her father as William Henry Roberts (deceased).
I am uncertain where and when he died. It’s starting to appear that he may have been born out of wedlock.
You could consider buying Ruths marriage cert to see what she said about her father. She married John McKay, a carpenter, in 1935 Finsbury, She died Surrey 1979.
Thank you, that's really interesting.
I've ordered Ruth's marriage certificate as well as both hers and her sister Minnie's birth certificates. My mother's brother recorded on his first marriage certificate his surname plus “(formerly known as Roberts)” so I agree there could be a distinct possibility of proof of a previous given surname on hers when it arrives.
I'm a little bit wiser regarding William Henry Roberts but I'm definitely older since the last time I posted. His eldest daughter Ruth names him William Henry Roberts on her marriage certificate to John McKay in 1935.
However, in my quest to discover William Henry Roberts I have stumbled upon something quite fascinating that I have focused on for the last few months. Ruth and John McKay(Palmers Green, London) had a son in 1939 who was christened Gordon Osborne McKay (Osborne being the maiden name of Ruth and Minnie's mother, also Ruth, who married William Henry Roberts). Gordon Osborne McKay is my late mother’s cousin. He lived in Saffron Walden in the late sixties at 51, Castle St and was a licensed victualler at The Axe and Compasses in 1969. He married Christine J Proudlove in 1967 and she died at her parents’ home in Hendon after suffering an allergic reaction to eating cheese (as stated on her death certificate). Gordon Osborne Mckay by all accounts was a popular figure and remained in Saffron Walden until the early seventies where he worked as a picture framer and organised jazz and music events.
From sometime around the early 1970's he moved away from Saffron Walden (possibly to Enfield) and there is no further recorded trace of him. I've been searching for him for the last few months now and I have access to a FreeBMD and a subscription Ancestry package. He could still be alive. I've ruled out a Gordon McKay who was married in 1980 near Saffron Walden as he was only 20 at the time of his marriage and was also known as Gordon Frew and the Gordon Osborne McKay who lives in New Zealand is in his mid-sixties and not mine.
I'm going to renew my efforts to focus on William Henry but for the moment may I enquire with anyone who may be able to locate any additional information about my mother’s cousin, Gordon Osborne McKay. I have in my possession his birth and marriage certificate as well as his wife's death certificate.
Has he changed his identity and emigrated?
Thank's in advance.