The Curious Case of Crispin Dunbar Giles

One of the unexpected benefits of signing up to the RootsTechConnect event recently was discovering more than one hundred relatives had also signed up! 107, to be exact. Who were all these people, I wondered? And why were the vast majority (over 100) in the United States (with one in Mexico)? It appeared that that my 6 x Great Grandfather John Giles and his wife Mary Webb had a son named Crispin Dunbar Giles who emigrated across the pond… or did they? All my research up to that point (on Ancestry, My Heritage) had not revealed a son named Crispin. Nonetheless, at that point I was a little bit excited – maybe I’d missed something…?

Upon closer inspection of the records at Family Search, it transpires that the Crispin Dunbar Giles who emmigrated to Pennsylvania, USA, was born in Cornwall in 1745. His parents are noted in the Roots Tech links as John Giles and Mary Webb, but the only problem with that is that ‘my’ John and Mary were born and lived in the county of Berkshire all their lives, as did most of their children. It was starting to look as if one of the contributors on Family Search might have accidentally attached Crispin to the wrong John Giles. This impression grew stronger when I discovered a John Giles born in Cornwall…. I don’t yet know the relationship between Cornish John Giles and Cornish Crispin D Giles – the dates make it unlikely they are father and son, but I suspect Crispin belongs with the Cornish Giles, not the Berkshire family.

Screen grab typical of the majority of the Giles family connections. Are John Giles and Mary Webb of Berkshire really Crispin’s parents? Time will tell

I have left a note on the relevant tree at Family Search, and also sent a message to someone looking for the parents of Cornish John Giles. Whilst I couldn’t help them with the missing father, perhaps the appearance of Crispin might unlock a door or two for them. I haven’t taken the bold step of removing the relationship between Crispin and ‘my’ John and Mary yet – I am not that familiar with how the trees at Family Search work, they seem to be interconnected in a way that Ancestry trees aren’t and I don’t want to ruin someone else’s research. And besides, perhaps my 6 x great grandparents had a day trip to Cornwall and Crispin decided to put in an appearance… no, I don’t think it’s likely, either, but you never know, do you?!!

Footnote: The surname Giles is an ancient one, possibly originating from Normandy …. but since generations of ‘my’ Giles have been born and lived out their lives in and around the county of Berkshire, England, my next area of research for this line will be the Pipe Rolls for Berkshire.

Direct Line from John Giles to my Great Grandfather James K Thomson

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