A wild goose is stalked

I can’t help it.

I must find Philip Robinson (1746) and I have a straw to which to cling. There remains the slight (and I mean slight) possibility that he worked in the Royal Dockyard at Chatham as a rigger, at least if this letter is about him and not some other Philip. While I have nothing directly to link my ancestor to the miscreant in the letter, equally nothing I have found so far explicitly rules this out. As a bonus, and if I’m going to chase this wild goose to its full extent, he may have even worked on HMS Victory – built at Chatham and launched in 1765 when Philip would have been about 18.

It seems there are employment records for Chatham at Kew (ADM 42) so there may be more to find, hopefully leading to more information about his background. A visit to Chatham Historic Dockyard itself may also be in order. Of course, I’m fully aware that I must link any new clues directly to what is known or it will remain mere speculation for ever more but nothing ventured…

Clearing up anomolies

To mix a metaphor, much of the last few days has been spent chasing a red herring over hill and dale. The report of a will mentioned in this post has to be examined and explained. And now it has been. The will in question refers not to Philip Joseph Robinson of Kimberley but to plain old Philip Robinson of Middleburg.

This is another example of someone taking some shared speculation and passing it on as fact, even embellishing it with middle names and a spouse. Somehow this original communication:

Philip [b4c3] left only tools of trade (£15) and a bicycle (£3) and stated in his Will that should Sir JB Robinson make any bequest to him, it to be equally divided between his son Philip [b4c3d1] and daughter Margaret Elizabeth Botha [born Robinson married to Zeiler Botha], and his grandson Philip Robinson [b4c3d1e1] and all his cattle to his grandson. Sir J.B. Robinson was the uncle of Philip [b4c3] and the brother of Philip [b4].

became this:

He (Philip Robinson) left a will in South Africa; He left only tools of trade (15 Pounds) and a bicycle (3 Pounds) and stated in his Will that should Sir JB Robinson make any bequest to him, it to be equally divided between his son Philip, married to Louisa Anderson, and daughter Margaret Elizabeth, married to Zeiler Botha, and his grandson Philip Benjamin Robinson, and all his cattle to his grandson. Sir JB was his uncle.

As you know if you’ve read the “Where it all began” section, I had made the mistake of thinking that this Philip was my ancestor when he turned out to be a great grand uncle so I suspect I share a portion of the blame for passing on the will and wondering out loud if it did refer to my great grandfather.

What’s the first rule of genealogy? Accept nothing as fact without proof!