Monday, October 15, 2012

Mystery Monday - Northern Robins in a Southern Nest

It's true that birds of a feather flock together, so when I came across an obituary for John H. Robins who died in Llano, Texas in 1916, I thought he might be part of my Robbins line.  I copied the information and started doing a little research.  If there's a connection, it isn't an obvious one,  but I thought I'd post what I found in case it helps another Robbins/Robins researcher trace him from England to Connecticut, to Georgia, to Texas. 

Here is the information I found in the obituary for John H. Robins in The Llano News published on September 21, 1916:
  • He was born at Gunnis Lake, Cornwall, England on 6 August 1855
  • His parents were John and Mary Anna (Deeble) Robins
  • He moved to Stony Creek, Connecticut in 1870
  • He came to Texas from Georgia in 1909 to oversee the granite work of the Harris County Courthouse
  • He was over the Gooch & Wells granite quarry in Llano
  • He had been sick for about two years
  • He was a member of the Episcopal Church
  • Survivors were his wife, 
    • two daughters, one son, four brothers and one sister who all lived in Connecticut 
    • and one stepson in Llano
    • five children preceded him in death

The next step was to look on and luckily I found his death certificate.  Information on it confirmed what I'd found in the obituary and had a little more information.
  • He died in Llano, Llano County, Texas on September 13, 1916.
  • His occupation was listed as a quarryman and an employer
  • His mother's birthplace was Plymouth, England
  • The cause of death was pneumonia with a contributing cause of pneumonia in Nov. 1914
  • It did not have the information filled in about where he was buried
My next search was on There is a John Robins listed in Stony Creek Cemetery in Branford, New Haven County, Connecticut but there is no photo of a marker and the birth and death dates are listed as unknown.  There are no links to family members.  I contacted the manager of the page and asked if she would mind transferring it to me since I have information to add even though I don't fall under the guidelines of being a direct relative.  It has been transferred to me, but I do not know if John was actually buried there or not.  The page was created for him based on information found in the Hale Collection which was published in 1937.  I have submitted a request for a photograph of his first wife's marker since she died in 1903, but if it happened to be a double marker with only his name on one side, that would not mean he was buried there.  If I wanted to research this further, I would try to locate the cemetery records and newspaper articles in Connecticut about John Robins in 1916.

There is no other record on for this John Robins.  A search of the City of Llano Cemetery Records yielded no entry for him either.

A search of listed two more articles about John Robins in The Llano News in 1916, but my subscription had expired.  One is dated May 11, 1916 and one September 11, 1916. The Llano County Public Library also has this year of the paper on microfilm where they can be viewed at no cost. 

Since I was still interested in finding more, I looked on and found a few family trees for this John Robins, but little other information on them.  Since I do not have the World Explorer Membership, I cannot view the census records in England for him on Ancestry, but located him in 1880 in Connecticut, 1900 in Georgia, and 1910 in Llano.  Having his occupation listed as "stone cutter", "quarryman", or "granite cutter" was a tremendous help.  Had he been a farmer, it would have been much more difficult to identify him.

Now I can look for passenger lists and even try looking for him in the census records in England on if I decide to continue the research.

Why spend all this time on someone I probably cannot link to in my research?  That's no mystery.  I have enjoyed the research and it has opened new possibilities for me to explore.  Since most of my research has been focused on Texas and Arkansas, I've only listened to others talk about researching passenger lists and census records other than the U.S.   In addition, my nephew submitted a DNA sample for our Robbins line, so who knows what connections we may find in the future.

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