Ancestry Public Trees

When I am researching a new area I find it useful to see who has been looking there before me, and what they have found. One way to do this is to look for significant characters in Ancestry’s Public Trees. But I’ve also found it pays to check what you find.

I am developing the Partington clan at the moment. This is believed to be central to a group of clans within the Cheshire Group that descend from William, son of Piers de Werberton and his second wife Harwise de Heffield, who was granted land in Partington in 1320. It incorporates the previously published Pennsylvania clan. A major line of the clan consists of the descendants of Richard Warburton of Heatley in Lymm. He was born in 1667 so I had a look for Richards born in 1667. I was astonished to find that 228 trees on Ancestry include Richard born in 1667 in Lymm. These trees included a number of variations and inconsistencies, which I will discuss in more detail at a later date.

However it was another search that demonstrated the variability that can be found in the published trees. I was looking at the Monumental Inscriptions for Lymm and was interested to find if a Peter Warburton who died in September 1892, aged 89, connected to my Partington clan. A search for Peter born in 1803 uncovered 29 trees. A number of these trees are private so the information can only be accessed via the tree owner, but 21 of them are public

Two Peters were baptised at Lymm in 1803. The son of John and Martha was born on March 27th and baptised on April 24th. The son of Peter and Betty was born on July 4th and baptised on on July 31st.

Many of these trees give the March 27th birth date for Peter, but 8 of them opt for an October 1803 date. This is mystifying as I can find no matching birth or baptism record, even in IGI genealogies. At least one tree opted for both dates, and the only sources given for the October dates are censuses, and the registration of Peter’s death. I can best explain it as a logical error in that it was assumed that because Peter died on September 11th 1892, aged 89, his age meant he must have been born later in the year. In fact he must have been born before September 11th 1803 to be 89 on September 11th 1892.

Things are more curious when you consider Peter’s parents. Ten trees name them as Richard of Wet Gate, a member of the Partington clan I am working on, and Mary nee Holt. Eight name them as John and Martha nee Harrison, whilst one opts for Richard and Martha, one for John and Mary, and one for Thomas and Katherine. As the Peter born on March 27th is clearly the child of John and Martha, then all the others must be discounted.

The next question is who are John’s parents. Of the 9 trees that identify John, 5 say he is the son of John Peter, and Mary nee Peers, 2 identify them as James and Sarah nee Allen, and 2 say they are unknown. Now Mary Peers is from my own Greater Hale Barns clan, and I only know her husband as John. He is part of the Mobberley branch of the clan which descends from John of Hale Barns, brother of my 6x great grandfather Josiah. The five trees reflect this descent more or less accurately.

The problem is the husband of Mary Peers was buried at Mobberley in 1801, in the same grave as his wife, and 3 sons, and a daughter-in-law. Two of the sons died in infancy, and the third is John., the supposed husband of Martha nee Harrison. The daughter-in-law is John’s wife Ellen nee Dooley. So the supposed husband of Martha Harrison has a completely different history.

We are left with just 2 trees that identify John’s parents as James and Sarah nee Allen, and extend the line back a couple more generations to a John, son of James, who was baptised at Lymm in 1667. In fact when I did an exercise on the Lymm and Warburton parish records to identify families and best fit links, I had already identified James and Sarah as John’s most likely parents.

I have no conclusive proof that the line from Peter to John son of James is correct. Lymm parish records are particularly cryptic so in the absence of additional information from wills, Monumental Inscriptions, etc. it is impossible to be absolutely sure. However it has the advantage that all the known events are local and are a reasonable fit. Also none can be shown to belong to one of the other known lines in Lymm. There is nothing to indicate the linkages are wrong.

The conclusion is we have a new family line in Lymm which has not been linked to the Lymm elements of any other clan. At some point it needs to be explored further, and documented. Maybe living descendants can be found that can be DNA tested for clues as to where it fits in.

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