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When I first began my research in 1994, all the records I had pertaining to my great-grandfather, Frederick Clive Paul, listed his place of birth as Middletown, Orange County, New York, with a date of April 15, 1896.  For years, that was the date I used because it seemed to be correct.  However, that all began to change when I started obtaining different kinds of records from various online and offline sources, such as and the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton, New Jersey.  The main giveaway was Fred’s marriage record from 1916, when he married my great-grandmother, Hazel Catherine Wasdyke.  His place of birth was given as England and his age was 23, three years older than he supposedly was.  It turned out to be one of the only times when he gave a true answer in regards to where he was born and how old he was.   Another giveaway was the “birth record” that was recorded in Middletown.  Fred was listed as Frederick Clive Paul, born April 15, 1896 on Ridge Street in Middletown.  He listed his mother as Marion Roberts, born in Scotland, and his dad as William Paul, a Textile Worker, born in England.  The oddity on this record is that Emma Wasdyke, who was Fred’s mother-in-law, was listed as the medical attendant and helped file the record on August 19, 1940.  Emma has no documented medical training or background and coupled with the fact that she was the mother of Fred’s wife, that appeared to be very odd to me, especially now with the theory that Fred was born in England.

Knowing that he had an older brother, Wilbert Clive Paul, who was born in England, I figured it was worth a shot to see if Fred may have also been born there and not in Middletown, New York.  After a few quick searches, I located an indexed birth record for a “Frederick Olive Paul”, born on the same day—April 15th—but different year—1893.  I requested the record from the General Registrars Office (GRO) in the UK and a few weeks later, the birth record arrived and proved my theory:  Fred was born in England, not in Middletown!  The record clearly showed that his name was Frederick Clive Paul, so the index stating that his middle was Olive came as a result as someone mistaking the ‘C’ in Clive for an ‘O’, thus erroneously changing the name from Clive to Olive.  The birth record stated that the names of Fred’s parents were “William Paul” and “Mary Ann Jemima Paul, formerly Clive.”  Mary Ann’s middle named proved to be key in following her through the years.


Knowing that Fred’s birth certificate stated that his mother’s maiden name was Clive made sense, but I still had some doubt about whether or not that was accurate.  His marriage record stated that her maiden name was Robertson, while other records stated that she was a Roberts.  With this in mind, it was time to look elsewhere for the names of her parents, as well as William Paul’s.  I decided that I was going to start by focusing on Mary Ann’s parents and would then search for William’s family once I was satisfied with my research on Mary Ann’s side. 

My first thought was to check the 1901 UK Census because I figured that I should be able to quickly find both Mary and William together, with both sons and (hopefully) other family members that would provide clues into who her family was.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find any member of the family in England in the census, but the two documents that I did find ended up being even more important to my search:  An entry in the 1900 United States Census and a passenger list to the United States, from England, in 1901.  

As it turns out, Mary Ann left England in 1901 and was headed for Middletown, Orange County, New York where she stated that her and her son, who was listed as “Freddie”, were going to stay with Henry Roberts, who she listed as her father.  She was also listed as a 30-year-old widow—a clue into the fate of William Paul.  It also turns out that she lied on the passenger list and said that Frederick was born in the US and was “returning home”.  Oddly enough, there was no sign of her older son, Wilbert, but because I already knew that he died in 1947 in Connecticut, I assumed he was with other family members; I just wasn’t sure where he was at that time.  Seeing the passenger list and the fact that it listed that Henry Roberts was Mary Ann’s father definitely pushed me in the direction of thinking that her maiden was actually Roberts.  


That’s where the fun began.  

The Roberts name made sense.  In various other documents pertaining to Wilbert and Frederick, I had seen their mother’s maiden name be listed as Clive, Roberts and even Robertson, so I was not surprised to see Henry Roberts show up as her father on the passenger list.  However, what I started to realize was that when I would look at documents where Mary Ann was the source of the information provided, most of the time her maiden name was given as Clive.  When I looked at instances where her sons would provide information, I typically saw her maiden name given as Roberts, so there appeared to be some kind of disconnect between her and her sons and what her maiden name was.  That’s when, thanks to a fellow genealogist and cousin of mine, it was pointed out that there may be a step-father situation that both Wilbert and Frederick were unaware of.  Knowing that Mary Ann left the United Kingdom in 1901 to visit her “father”, Henry Roberts, I then looked into the 1900 US Census, just to see if Henry may have been in the US.  Sure enough, he was.  Enumerated in Middletown, Orange County, New York, and living at 20 Myrtle Avenue, I found Henry Roberts, age 53, living with 6 children, two nephews, a sister-in-law, and most importantly, a grandson:  "Wilbur Paul"!


Several things are telling about this family enumeration.  First, we see that Henry is widowed by 1900 and that he and his wife had a child, Bould Clyde, in April of 1895, so it can be assumed that she died sometime between Bould’s 1895 birth and the taking of the 1900 US Census, which in this case was June 8, 1900.  Second, “Wilbur” Paul, who is of the right age as my Wilbert Clive Paul, is living in the house and recorded as the grandson, another good fit that these are my Roberts family.  Third, a clue that would be very helpful down the road:  Henry’s sister-in-law, Mary A. Tyler, is living in the house.  In order to be Henry’s sister-in-law, Mary would have had to been married to Henry’s brother (which doesn’t seem logical given her different last name) or she would have been his wife’s sister, which makes sense given the different  surname.  I also had key immigration dates for the family.  Since this census was taken in June and the family had stated that they had been here for only 2 months, I was able to determine that they likely arrived in April of 1900 and around 1887 for Henry’s sister-in-law, Mary A. Tyler, since she claimed to have been here for 13 years.

Now armed with this new information and expanded view into Henry’s family, I next decided to look for the Roberts family in the 1891 UK Census.  Given the fact that they stated they came to the US 2 months before the 1900 Census was taken, it seemed likely that they would have been in England in 1891.  It didn’t take long to find the entire family there, which now included Henry’s wife, whose name, up until this point, was not known.  The census clearly showed that she was named Eliza and she, like Henry, was born overseas.  The census showed Henry and Eliza at home with 6 children – Emily, David, Thomas, Charles, Herbert and Harry.  It also showed something interesting in that the couple’s son, Thomas Ernest Roberts, had been born in “Middletown America”, which, based on the 1900 Census, was likely Middletown, Orange County, New York.  

Knowing ahead of time that Mary Ann would not appear in the census with her parents and siblings because she was already married to William Paul, I then head to go back another 10 years and see if could find her living at home with her parents.  Another quick search for Henry and Eliza Roberts brought up the family in 1881, living at 101 Compton Street in Farnworth, Lancashire.  However, Mary Ann was still absent from the home.  My initial thought was that she may have been away at boarding school but with the three younger Roberts children listed as being scholars, that didn’t seem right to me.  Granted, Mary Ann would have likely been their first child and could have been away since she was older, but that still did not seem likely, so I decided to visit and start searching their general collections pages.


I started searching for ‘Henry Roberts’ with spouse ‘Eliza’ and it brought me two immediate hits.  The first was a marriage record for Thomas Ernest Roberts in Rockland County, New York in 1912.  Thomas’ parents were listed on the marriage record as Henry Roberts and Eliza Clive.  Clive!  There it was.  It made perfect sense!  Mary Ann was sometimes listed as “Clive” and other times as “Roberts”, but now it seemed as though she was a Roberts and her mother was a Clive.  With Wilbert and Frederick bearing that as a middle name, I felt as though I was really on to something.  However, I still didn’t understand why Mary Ann would have listed herself as ‘Mary Ann Clive’ when her sons were born, especially if she was a Roberts – it just didn’t make sense.  


That’s when I went back to my cousins’s comment:  “Gotta be a stepfather in there somewhere.”  I suddenly began to think that maybe Henry Roberts wasn’t her biological father.  Maybe he was her step-father and both Wilbert and Fred were unaware.  That would have caused them to think that their mother was a Roberts since their “grandfather” would have been one, but if they didn’t know that he was actually their step-grandfather, then one could easily see how they may have just figured their mother was a Roberts because their “grandfather” was one.  The second thing that I found was a death certificate from Detroit, Michigan for the same child, Thomas Ernest Roberts.  His birth date matched was had been listed on the 1900 Census (March 1883) and gave me a full date – 03 Mar 1883 in Middletown, New York.  It also stated that he died on September 5, 1937 at the young age of 54 at Women’s Hospital in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.  He died of peritonitis due to a perforated gastric ulcer and was cremated on September 8, 1937 and just as I had hoped, his parents’ names were listed on the record as Henry Roberts, born in England, and Eliza Clive, also born in England.  I also found his interment information on Find A Grave, which confirmed that his cremains were entombed in White Chapel Memorial Park in Troy, Oakland County, Michigan.


At this point I felt confident that Eliza’s maiden name was Clive.  The only point that I was still stuck on was the fact that Mary Ann never appeared with her parents and siblings and that she also listed herself as Mary Ann Clive when she was married and gave birth to her sons, when one would think she would have listed herself as Mary Ann Roberts.  But again, keeping the theory that Henry Roberts may have not been her biological father, I decided to try something that I had never had to deal with before when researching my family:  searching for an unwed mother giving birth to a child.  A quick search of ‘Mary Ann Clive’ with mother ‘Eliza Clive’ gave me the ultimate jackpot:  A baptismal record for a child listed as Marianne Jemima Clive who was listed as the daughter of Eliza Clive.  This was great because, other than the spelling of the first name, the name was exact to what appeared on Fred’s birth certificate in 1893.  


My guess was right:  Eliza gave birth to Mary Ann before she was married.  Now it all started to make sense.  Mary Ann was given the Clive surname because her mother was still a Clive when she was born.  Eliza likely married Henry Roberts after Mary Ann was born and he was either Mary Ann’s biological father or came into her life shortly after she was born and acted as a father, even though he may not have been her biological father.  Henry obviously considered Wilbert to be his grandson, as per the relationship stated in the 1900 US Census, so no matter what the literal relationship was, it didn’t really matter because I was quickly learning how these people all cared for each other.  


With just a few known things about Eliza, I began my search for her.  I was going on four key attributes about her:  

  1. She was born about 1851 in Aston, Birmingham

  2. She likely died between 1895 and 1900, assuming that all Henry’s children who appeared in the 1900 Census were hers as well.

  3. She likely had a sister named Mary A. who married someone named Tyler

  4. She was in the Atherstone/Baxterly area around 1871, when Mary Ann was born  


The first thing I actually stumbled upon was an 1881 UK Census record for who I believed was Eliza’s mother, who, oddly enough, was also named Eliza.  Enumerated in the house were several family members:  Mary A. Tyler and her husband, Thomas; their their sons, William and Lawrence Tyler; Mary A. Tyler’s mother, Eliza Clive, age 72; her niece, Mary A. Clive, age 9; and two nephews, George Sharratt, age 24, and Thomas Bitcher, age 17.  This census answered a lot of my questions.  To start, I now knew why Mary Ann was not with her parents in the 1881 census that I had found – she was living with her aunt, uncle, cousins and grandmother.  It also confirmed my theory that Mary A. Tyler, who I found in the US living with Henry Roberts and family in 1900, was indeed a Clive.  It also gave me names for the Tyler family members – her husband, Thomas, and their sons, William and Lawrence.  At this point, I was hot on the trail of this family and everything was falling nicely into place.

Now that I was quickly building my timeline around Mary Ann’s life, I needed to take a step back and see if I could find her as an infant and her mother in the 1871 census.  Her baptism gave me a clue that she was probably born in the Atherstone area, which gave me a good starting point.  Keeping that location in mind, I searched for Eliza in the census and found a strong match:  An Eliza Clive, aged 19 years, a boarder, living at Nelson Yard in Atherstone and working as a Hair Net Maker.  Her place of birth was listed as Birmingham in Warwickshire, so it was very likely that this was her.  However, the proof is always in the pudding and what I needed in this case was Mary Ann’s birth record and a place of birth of Nelson Yard or somewhere nearby.

Using the website, I attempted to search for a birth record for Mary Ann.  I quickly located a index entry for a “Mary Ann J. Clive” born in the first quarter of 1871 in Atherstone.  Although it seemed like a perfect fit, there’s never a guarantee when ordering vital records from the UK that the person on the record is the person one hopes for, since the index literally just gives a name, a year and which quarter of the year that the birth took place in.  Still confident because this seemed to be a good fit, I risked the $15.00 and ordered the record.  Two weeks later, it arrived and proved to be my Mary Ann and also helped me prove that the Eliza who appeared in the 1871 census as a Boarder was indeed my 3rd great grandmother.  The birth record showed that Mary Ann Jemima Clive was born April 9, 1871 not just near Nelson Yard but actually at Nelson Yard, so I had a perfect match!  As expected, the record did not list a father for Mary Ann and simply started that her mother was Eliza Clive and that she was then residing in Baddesley Ensor in Warwickshire.  

This was great.  So I now had solid information that Mary Ann was indeed born out of wedlock and took her mother’s maiden name because there was no father present.  The tricky part was going to be how I would figure out who her father may have been.  I started looking for marriage records using Find My Past, but was completely unable to find any record between two people named Eliza Clive and Henry Roberts.  However, when I changed my search strategy and did a search for a Henry Roberts with a wife named Eliza (no surname), I stumbled upon a marriage between a Henry Roberts and an Eliza Shilton.  It suddenly dawned on me that Eliza could have very well been married before Henry Roberts so I started doing some digging.


One of the first things I found was a Marriage Banns record showing a marriage on August 12, 1872 at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Aston, where Eliza claimed she was born.  It showed Eliza to be of the right age and the daughter of David Clive, whose occupation was a Gun Maker.  Now with two new pieces of information, I went back to the England Census records.  Ideally, I was searching for the household of David Clive, a Gun Maker, with a wife named Eliza and daughters Mary A. and Eliza Clive.  It didn’t take long to put this part together.  In 1861, I found a David Clive, age 58, working as a Gun Barrel Borer, living in Birmingham with his wife, Eliza, and children Jemima, Jane, Thomas and Eliza.  There was another clue:  A daughter named Jemima.  Knowing that Mary Ann’s full name was Mary Ann Jemima Clive, it suddenly clicked that Eliza may have named her daughter after her two sisters, Mary A. (who I was already thinking was going to be Mary Ann) and Jemima.  However, I had still not found Mary Ann in the household with David, so I jumped back to the 1851 census.  

After a quick search, I also easily identified the family and this time confirmed what I was hoping for:  This was the right family.  In 1861, I found David Clive, age 48, living with his wife, Eliza, and children, Mary Ann, William Henry, Jemima, Louisa Jane and Thomas.  The family was living in Aston near Birmingham, so it fit like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle.  


So at this point I now knew that David Clive and his wife, Eliza, had at least 6 children – Mary Ann, William Henry, Jemima, Louisa Jane, Thomas and Eliza – and that David had a unique profession:  A Gun Barrel Borer or Gun Maker.  This information also helped me confirm that the Eliza Clive who married David Shilton was indeed my Eliza.  


Her timeline was now expanding.  I now knew that she was living at Nelson Yard in 1871 and in 1872, she was married in Aston to David Shilton.  My big question, which is still unanswered, seems like an obvious one:  Is David Shilton the biological father of Mary Ann Clive?  The timing is interesting, considering that Eliza would have had an 18-month-old at home when marrying David Shilton, so it seems completely feasible that he may be the father, but as of right now, all I have is circumstantial evidence.


Digging a little more into the marriage between David Shilton and Eliza, I found a death record for David Shilton in 1875 that seemed to fit him.  I ordered the record and after a few weeks of waiting, it arrived.  Although the record does not specifically state that the David Shilton listed was the husband of Eliza Clive, the age, place and circumstances make sense.  The record stated that David died in Bolton on September 15, 1875 at the age of 32 and his death appeared to be accidental.  It said he “was instantly killed whilst unlawfully unramming a charge of powder in a coal mine.”


Now I was at a point where it looked like Eliza had her daughter in 1871, married in 1872 and was widowed in 1875.  Upon receiving the marriage record of Eliza Shilton and Henry Roberts, I saw two things that were key and solidified this whole thing for me:  First, Eliza Shilton was a widow and of the right age.  Second, her father was listed David Clive (deceased) whose occupation was a Gun Barrel Maker.  This in fact was my family.  As an added bonus for confirmation, I also saw that the two witnesses to the marriage were none other than Mary Ann’s sister, Mary Ann Tyler, and a Theresa Tyler, whose exact relationship is not know as of now.  


At the same time that ordered these marriage records, I also ordered birth and death records as well.  Through those records, I was in fact able to confirm that Eliza Clive was born on March 13, 1853.  The birth record confirmed that her father was David Clive and her mother, Eliza Allerton.  David was listed as a Gunsmith which added for the second layer of confirmation that this was indeed the correct family.



22FCP 1896 Fake Birth Record.JPG
Exhibit 1: 
Fred's falsified birth record
22FCP 1893 UK Birth Certificate.jpg
Exhibit 2: 
Fred's actual birth record
22FCP 1916 Marriage Record.JPG
Exhibit 3: 
Fred's marriage record
45MAJC 1901 Passenger List with 14FCP [1
Exhibit 4: 
1901 Passenger List
90HR 1900 US Census.jpg
Exhibit 5: 
1900 US Federal Census
90HR 1891 England Census.jpg
Exhibit 6: 
1891 UK Census
90HR 1881 England Census.jpg
Exhibit 7: 
1881 UK Census
45MAJC 1881 England Census.jpg
Exhibit 8: 
1881 UK Census
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