A Dubious Dad

It was Mary Elizabeth COCKSWORTH’s birthday on the 22nd of March and I got into a real tangle attempting to place her on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. I made mistakes – and a promise of sorts to clear up my mess. Such are the demands of trying to research five anniversaries a day, I have not yet made the necessary corrections. Today, however, it is the wedding anniversary of Mary Elizabeth and Arthur GARDNER. I can’t hide my shame any longer.

Mary Elizabeth GARDNER has only one source attached to her record – and I put it there.

I did this after becoming convinced that her father and paternal grandparents were correct, realising later that they were not.

Mary Elizabeth has a duplicate ID.

If only Robert had not married another Ann!

This Mary Elizabeth has 13 sources and one is for her 1866 christening (Bempton, 27 May). Another places her in the household of “Willard Gardener” in 1871.

1871 Census; Scarborough Road, Filey © Crown Copyright The National Archives

I think this is sufficient information to make corrections to the representation of Mary Elizabeth Gardener on the Shared Tree. But what should be done about Dubious Dad?

I am not alone in the small army of contributors to the Shared Tree who can be easily fooled.

If you look again at the first of today’s screenshots, you will notice the “down caret” by Ann Agar’s name. Click and you get this –

Six Blue Hints suggest this is kosher. It isn’t – and my fingerprints are all over it.


It took about three hours to separate the two Roberts, marry them both twice and allocate children to the right mothers.

Robert GARDNER. Remembered, with Ann the Second and their infant son William Scott, in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Robert Wilson GARDINER. At his first wedding, this Robert signed the register “Gardner” and at the second “Gardiner”. He died in 1924 aged 82. His second and much younger wife, Emma, lived through the Second World War. In early July 1946, her three children and their spouses were chief mourners at her funeral in Carnaby.

The oldest inhabitant of the village, Mrs Gardiner was a native of Bempton but had resided at Rock Farm, Carnaby, for over fifty years. Bothe Mrs Gardiner and her husband were staunch Methodists. And in their younger days were strong supporters of the Liberal party. She is survived by two sons, both of whom are farming in the village, and one daughter.

Driffield Times, 13 July 1946

(This Gardner/Gardiner line goes way back on the Shared Tree to a King of Denmark in the 7th century AD.)

Eliza WHEELER is an aunt to yesterday’s Mary of that ilk, common ancestors again being William Wheeler and Mary Dent.

Insect 45 · Spotted Crane-Fly

Nephrotoma appendiculata

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