Who was William Robson?

15 January 2015

Each Sunday in 2014, I blogged about one of my ancestors. The ingenious master plan (#52Ancestors) was hatched by Amy Johnson Crow and, as regular FWL readers will know, it was a very successful mission for me (MD@FWL). When you are looking for more information about your ancestors, what do you do? If you are already an amateur genie, you might put the name into Ancestry or FindmyPast. But I bet you put it into Google too, eh? Well, I can tell you one thing I learnt in 2014 – Cousin Bait works! I have ‘met’ (both virtually and physically) new cousins and engaged with other researchers across the globe who have assisted in breaking down – in some cases very – long-standing brick walls. The most exciting find for me in 2014 was the second marriage of Ann Codling, a brick wall which I first blogged about May.

She married my 4xgreat grandfather, William Robson, in 1825 and was widowed in 1841. As far as I am aware, the couple had two children together: William (born and died 1827) and my 3xgreat-grandmother, Margaret (born 1829). Just before Christmas, the brick wall was obliterated and the icing on the cake came a few days ago when I received Ann Knox’s death certificate, with the informant recorded as ‘grand niece, Margaret Mackay of 19 Bridge Street, Morpeth’:


This all tied in with the information I had from a letter written to my great-grandmother, Dorcas, in 1924 by her mother, Ellen Laura, which stated:

‘Miss Margaret Robson …. had cousins in Morpeth, the proprietors of the Morpeth Herald …. they took care of her mother who was over 80 when she died …. they had a draper’s shop as well as a printers …. her mother married a second time, I forget her second name but she had no children after she was thirty….’

But there is one question which remains unanswered: who was William Robson, grandson of Ann Codling/Robson/Knox? As far as I know, William and Ann Robson’s only surviving child was my 3xgreat-grandmother, Margaret. She was living in Guildford, Surrey by 1851 and married James Foulds Gosling in 1854. But in the 1861 census, Peter and Ann Knox have William Robson, aged 6, living with them in Union Place, Morpeth – Ann’s grandson (Source: RG9/3871/75/12):


Ten years later at the same address are the same family unit, with William Robson’s occupation recorded as an ironmonger’s apprentice. But, who were his parents? Any assistance greatly appreciated to solve the last remaining mystery of Dorcas’ Great Grandma Robson!

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