My great grandparents, Charles Edward Robb and Louisa Bowman, had 10 children, of whom my grandfather, Arthur Ernest Robb, was the youngest. I knew from the family Bible that their oldest son, Charles William, born in 1878, was a marine who died at Aden in 1904, age 26, and this is confirmed by his naval records, found in my grandfather’s effects. I also knew that Marion Fanny, born in 1889, died in 1905, age 16; that Fanny Sarah, born 1891, died at the age of 2 months; and that Robert Henry, born in June 1895, only survived for 3 days. I’ve written extensively elsewhere about Thomas Bowman Robb, born in 1887, who emigrated to New Zealand, and with whose remaining family I’ve recently made contact.

Until now, my information about Charles’ and Lousia’s other children has all been based on family recollections (mainly from my father), undated and unconfirmed by official records. However, the publication of the 1911 census records has helped me to break through a number of brick walls. Yesterday, I managed to find the 1911 census record for Charles’ and Louisa’s third son, David Edward, who was born on 29th November 1881 in Canning Town.

At the time of the census, David, age 29, a manifold paper maker, was living at 53 Lancaster Road, Forest Gate, with this wife Maggie, 24, who was born in Blackfriars. They had been married 4 years. They had two young sons: Charles Edward, age 3, and Frank Everard, age 1, both born in Bermondsey.

Using this information as a starting-point, I’ve been able to discover that David Edward Robb married Maggie Everard at St. George’s in the East in the summer of 1906. Maggie could be the Ellen Margaret Everard born in Lambeth in 1885. Their son Charles Edward was born a year later, in September 1907, and Frank Everard on 10th June 1909. I know from my father that they had a daughter, Enid, and this is almost certainly the Enid M Robb born in Southwark in 1914 (her mother’s maiden name is given as Everard).

I don’t know what became of David’s and Maggie’s son Charles. However, I already knew from my father that their younger son Frank married Grace and that they had two children, Ian and Margaret. I also knew that Frank was a Methodist minister. Starting from this information, I’ve managed to discover that a Frank E Robb married a Grace Sainsbury in Depwade, Norfolk, in the summer of 1941. The location may seem unlikely, until you remember that Frank’s job as a Methodist minister would have meant relocating to a new circuit every few years. Also, it’s likely that his wife is the Grace Sainsbury who was born in Walthamstow, Essex, in 1901, the daughter of Alfred and Sarah Sainsbury, and who can be found in the 1911 census living with her family at 95 Forest Road, Walthamstow: only 3 or 4 miles from where Frank was living at the time.

Frank’s and Grace’s first son could be the Ian D (David?) Robb born in October 1947 in Narberth, Wales: his mother’s maiden name is given as Sainsbury. Their daughter Margaret could be the Margaret A. Robb born in 1944 in Manchester, to parents of the same names.

Frank Everard Robb died in August 1988 in Sefton North, Merseyside, age 78. Grace may have died in 2004 in Winchester, Hampshire (unconfirmed).

If they are still living, then Ian Robb would now be 61 and his sister Margaret 65. I would be really interested to hear from them, or from any of their relatives, if they would like to get in touch via this blog.