Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jonas Aspinall's mistaken family tree

Jonas Aspinall, b. 1857 in Chester, Cheshire, England
I made an unfortunate discovery at the library on Saturday. I was there using Ancestry Library Edition to find some sources, and one person I did a search on was Jonas Aspinall. Jonas is my great great grandfather. I got as far as him in my tree through first hand knowledge from my grandparents. As I got in touch with some of my second cousins, I was sent trees that had his ancestry filled in for quite a few generations. I figured I'd hit the gold mine.

Unfortunately, it looks as though someone may have made a mistake somewhere along the way, which led to a whole tree that probably isn't connected to my family.

Jonas' father's name was also Jonas Aspinall. I know that for sure from his marriage record, which lists the fathers of the bride and groom. According to the trees I've seen, his mother's name was Ann Kangley, and his father's parents were Jonathan Aspinall and Hannah Stake. However, on Ancestry I saw two marriage records for people named Jonas Aspinall (the age of the older one). One was to an Ann Rangley (maybe Kangley was a typo?), and showed Jonas' father as Thomas Aspinall, and the other was to Susey Sykes, and showed his parents as Jonathan Aspinall and Hannah Stake.

So, what this tells me is that either my 3x great grandmother was actually Susey Sykes, and Jonas Sr.'s genealogy is correct, or Ann Kangley (or Rangley) is correct, and the rest of the family tree is wrong. Unfortunately, I suspect the latter is the case. I found a blog called Aspinall Family History that has the genealogy of the Jonas that married Susey Sykes. It lists their children, and there is no Jonas among them. Granted, he could just be missing from this site, but my hopes aren't very high.

So, I ordered the birth certificate for the younger Jonas Aspinall. Ancestry only had the FreeBMD index, not the whole record, so I had to order it from the UK on the GRO website for something like £9.50 (thank goodness the GBP isn't as insanely higher than the CAD these days). It should ship this Thursday or Friday, so hopefully I'll have it by the end of next week.

With any luck, the birth certificate will state the name of Jonas' mother, and from there I'll know for sure whether Thomas Aspinall or Jonathan Aspinall is my 4x great grandfather.

This just goes to show that you can't assume you've found the right person based on name alone. Every relationship must have a record proving that link. I find that marriage records are great for that, as they often include the names of both parents of both the bride and groom, and if you've already got the names of the bride and groom, you can be pretty confident that you've got the right record.

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