Second Guesses

So there always comes a time (hell, multiple times!) during one’s genealogy journey where one realises that perhaps the ancestors they *thought* were theirs were in fact NOT. And hey, I think it’s super important that as soon as it’s realised, the mistakes are rectified, because we want our family story to be complete and correct. Right? Right. Read on, this genealogy rookie has an admission to make…

So you may recall one of my recent posts regarding Charles Homer Martin and Ann Forrester – I am not all too sure now if they are my ancestors! I’ve come to that conclusion, as when looking through the book Southwark Luck by Louise Wilson, it appears that their granddaughter, Mary Ann Nicholls, my supposed 3rd great grandmother, married an Issac Hopkins and died in Queensland in 1918. MY Mary Ann Nicholls married Christopher Reus, and died in NSW in 1902! I have a death certificate to that effect, stating her death as being on the 22nd of September 1902, her husband being Christopher Reus, all her children including my great great grandmother Elizabeth…the one thing that initially stood out was that her father was listed as James Nichols and there wasn’t a mother listed at all. Considering that the informant on the certificate was one of her sons, I just assumed initially that perhaps he wasn’t 100% sure on that detail, and in his grief had given the wrong name. I struggled to find a record of a James Nicholls being the father to a Mary Ann Nicholls born in Sydney, which is something the death certificate also states. The most glaringly obvious parentage option for my Mary Ann Nicholls really did seem to be Frederick Nicholls and Jane Martin! So, I went with that. By the time the book came though, the doubts had begun to cloud my mind. And upon reading the chapter about my supposed direct ancestor, the critical thinking well and truly kicked in.

I ordered Mary Ann Nicholls and Issac Hopkins marriage certificate, and there it was, her parents were listed as Jane Martin and Frederick Nicholls. I looked at the marriage certificate for my Mary Ann Nicholls to Christopher Reus…no parents were listed for either of them. (Come on…not helpful guys!) The years of marriage are a bit different, but there’s nothing to suggest a second marriage had occurred, these Mary Anns are definitely two different people. Which means I, along with a tonne of others who are researching the same Mary Ann Nicholls as I am, are wrong!!

…but just how wrong? I was just about ready to delete Jane Martin, Frederick Nicholls and Jane’s parents Charles Homer Martin and Ann Forrester from my tree, when a new Shared Ancestor Hint showed up in my DNA match list…guess who my shared ancestor was with this match? None other than Robert Forrester and Isabella Ramsay, Ann Forrester’s parents! Couldn’t believe my eyes. So am I connected to this flipping family or not!? And how!? The DNA match is a 5th cousin twice removed, so they won’t be able to help me out with my direct line exactly…I have emailed them and we will see what can be worked out.

I hope this not so little spiel has been worded as clearly as possible! To sum up, I thought Charles Homer Martin and Ann Forrester were my fifth great grandparents, and their daughter Jane Martin and her husband Frederick Nicholls were my fourth great grandparents, leading to my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Ann Nicholls. Then I was certain they weren’t my line. Now I’m not sure what to think with this new DNA match-perhaps I’m connected to the Forrester side another way, I’m sure there are many, many descendants of that couple, they would be my sixth great grandparents! I just think it’s important that my tree is CORRECT, not only for myself and my family, but for all my other distant relatives who may also be researching. When looking at the Family Trees in the Hints section of Mary Ann Nicholls profile, it can be noted that her parents on everyone else’s trees state Jane Martin and Frederick Nicholls as her parents…and some of these trees have only got other people’s trees as sources. I think this is dangerous practice. Verify your information everyone and don’t be afraid to acknowledge mistakes when they are made!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. chmjr2 says:

    Genealogy and family history is such fun. I really mean that, for it is the thrill of the hunt that I enjoy so much.


    1. Agreed! It is very immersive, isn’t it?


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