Saturday, September 29, 2018

Proving the Generations 4: Robert Louis Robbins

In the first post of this series, Proving the Generations, I wrote how my goal is to use the Genealogical Proof Standard to show my ancestry through my great-great-grandparents' generation.

In this fourth post, I will be proving that my paternal grandfather, Robert Louis Robbins, is the son of William Bryan Robbins, Sr. and Marie Lewis.

My grandfather, Robert Louis Robbins (holding the kitten), with his parents, Marie (Lewis) and William Bryan Robbins, Sr, and his younger brother, William Bryan Robbins, Jr.
Taken c. 1924-5, probably in Muskegon Heights, Muskgeon Co., Michigan.
Digital copy held by Miriam J. Robbins, Spokane, Washington, 2018.

I was personally acquainted with my grandfather, as well as my great-grandmother (I met my great-grandfather at least once, maybe twice, but I was so young I don't remember him).  My grandfather told me that he was born on 21 September 1920 in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon Co., Michigan.  However, none of us are expert witnesses of our own births, since although we were there, none of us can remember the event!

Besides my own memories of my grandfather and his mother, my dad, aunts, uncle, and a great-aunt all have shared their memories of my grandfather and his parents.  Additionally, I have original and digital copies of many photographs of my grandfather with his parents.  Most importantly, my grandfather's birth to his parents has the following documentation:

  1. A Certificate as to Birth issued by the County of Muskegon on 3 July 1942*, certifying "upon a careful examination of the original records on file in the office of the Clerk of said County and Court" a record as to the birth of Robert Louis Robbins, born 21 September 1920 in Muskegon Heights, whose parents' names were Wm. S. [sic] Robbins and Marie Lewis (maiden), the latter of Muskegon Heights.  It also states the original record was recorded with the county on 1 November 1920 in Liber 10, page 40.[1]  I have a copy of the index page of the liber, microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, which corroborates that his birth was recorded in Liber 10, page 40.[2]  You can view the Certificate as to Birth in this post.  The liber record is not yet available to the public, and will not be until 2020 or later.[3]
  2. A birth announcement published in the local paper, The Muskegon Chronicle, on 2 October 1920, stating: "ROBBINS--To Mr. and Mrs. William B. Robbins, 1134 Hoyt street, September 21, a son, Robert Louis."[4]
  3. My grandfather appears with his parents, three younger siblings, and a paternal uncle during the enumeration of the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.  They were living on East Broadway in an unnumbered house (but not a farm) in Norton Township, Muskegon County, Michigan and were enumerated for the official census day of 1 April on 6 May 1930.[5]
  4. My grandfather appears with his parents and four younger siblings during the enumeration of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.  They were living on a farm in Wright Township, Ottawa County, Michigan and were enumerated for the official census day of 1 April on 11 April 1940.  Unfortunately, the enumerator did not mark who provided the information at each household that day, as required.[6]
*At the time of all four of my grandparents' births, the law regarding birth registrations that was in place in the state of Michigan was Public Act 330 of 1905, which required the attending physician or midwife to file a certificate of birth with the local registrar within 10 days of the birth.[7]  Now filing a certificate of birth and issuing a copy to the family are two different things.  It's apparent that my grandfather did not have a copy of his birth certificate until he was almost 22 years old.  The date of 3 July 1942 coincides with his registering for the draft for World War II, for which he would ask a deferment due to his daughter's (my aunt's) impending birth in August[8], after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 13 October 1942.[9]

Additionally, DNA tests results from FamilyTreeDNA for my father and me show matches consistent with the degrees of relationship to a Robbins cousin who is a descendant of my great-grandfather's youngest brother, Don.  Also, my test results from AncestryDNA show a match consistent with the degree of relationship to another descendant of Don Robbins, as well as to a Lewis cousin who is a descendant of my great-grandmother's younger brother, Percy.

My grandparents, Robert Louis Robbins and Jeanne Marie Holst, on their wedding day,
12 October 1940, Coopersville, Ottawa Co., Michigan.
Original photo held by Miriam J. Robbins, Spokane, Washington, 2018.

Finally, I am providing some information on my grandparents' marriage, even though I am not using it to prove my grandfather's parentage.  My grandparents' Marriage License/Certificate of Marriage[10] states my grandparents obtained their license and married on the same day, 12 October 1940.  The license would have been obtained at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven.  They married in Coopersville in the Methodist parsonage[11], and my grandfather's best friend, Ray Adams, and the minister's wife were the witnesses.  I know that my grandmother's best friend, Geneva Parrish, stood with her[12], but like my grandmother, was underage, so she would not have been able to sign the Certificate of Marriage.

Marriage License and Certificate of Marriage of Robert Louis Robbins and Jeanne Marie Holst.
See footnote 10.

Conclusion:
Family stories and photographs, documents created at or near the time of birth or referencing an original record created shortly after birth, and DNA test results all provide conclusive evidence that my paternal grandfather, Robert Louis Robbins, was born 21 September 1920 in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County, Michigan to William Bryan Robbins, Sr. and Marie Lewis.

Sources:
  1. Muskegon County, Michigan, Certificate as to Birth, citing county birth liber 10, page 40 (1920), Robert Louis Robbins; Muskegon County Clerk's Office, Muskegon; original document held by Miriam Robbins [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington, 2018.
  2. Muskegon County, Michigan, Index to births L-Z, 1867-1949 continued: 1920, Robbins, Robert L.; FHL microfilm 1,320,091, item 1.
  3. Carol McGinnis, Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources, Second Edition (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2005), 50.
  4. "Heights Births," birth announcement, Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle, 2 October 1920, p. 14, col. 3.
  5. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Muskegon County, Michigan, population schedule, Norton Township, enumeration district 42, p. 21A, dwelling 416, family 442, William Robbins household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 November 2008); citing FHL microfilm 2,340,750.
  6. 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Ottawa County, Michigan, population schedule, Wright Township, enumeration district (ED) 70-45, p. 5B, dwelling 97, household of William Robbins; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 March 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1809. 
  7. McGinnis, Michigan Genealogy, 49.
  8. Bryan H. Robbins, interview by Miriam Robbins, undated (between 1996-2018).  Bryan stated that his father had received a deferment to enlist until after his daughter was born; at which time, he persuaded his brother, William Bryan Robbins, Jr., to go to Kalmazoo to enlist with him.
  9. Access to Archival Databases, "World War II Army Enlistment Records," database, U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (http://aad.archives.gov : accessed 22 Apr 2005).
  10.  Ottawa County, Michigan, Marriage License and Certificate of Marriage, no. 527, Robbins-Holst, 1940; duplicate document held by Miriam Robbins [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington, 2018.
  11. Robert Louis Robbins, interview by Miriam (Robbins) Midkiff, 1989.  Bob stated that he and Jeanne were married at the Methodist parsonage.
  12. Bryan H. Robbins, interview by Miriam (Robbins) Midkiff, 1990.  Bryan stated that at Bob and Jeanne's 50th anniversary celebration which he attended, Ray Adams and Geneva Parrish, who were introduced as the best man and maid of honor, were also present.

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2 comments:

Marian B. Wood said...

Enjoying your series on applying the GPS to these nearer relatives/ancestors!

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Thank you, Marian. The next one will be much harder: my paternal grandmother was an adoptee!