Could we discuss Tabitha Jones and her husband John of Henrico, Goochland, and Cumberlnad Virginia?

+9 votes

There are a number of issues to be resolved in order to reconcile duplicate profiles for John, the husband of Tabitha Jones,  There are currently 4 profiles for John connected as the husband of Tabitha. These are Robinson-1852, Robinson-2847, Robinson-5967, and Robertson-840.

My understanding of the situation follows below.  Thank you for any assistance anyone may be able to provide.

‚ÄčThere seems to be a general consensus that Tabitha Jones married one time to a man named John, as 3 of the 4 attached profiles share the same estimated marriage date and place.

The first issue appears to be a conflict as to the spelling of the LNAB with variations for the surname of Robinson, Robertson, and Roberson,  It seems no document has yet been found with an actual signature for John. Deeds, wills, and other court records show him using only his mark. The mark used was either JR or R. The variation in spelling seems to be at the whim of the clerk or other official who wrote the document for him.

Chronology of records found for John

20 Dec 1718 John (JR) Robertson witnessed the will of  Charles Scruggs.Step-father of Tabitha. (Weisiger, Benjamin B, "Colonial Wills of Henrico Co VA, Pt 1 (1677-1737)", Richmond 1976 p 163)

4 Apr 1720, John (JR) Robertson consents to division of 2 tracts on North side of James River, each 220 acres formerly in tenure of Charles Scruggs. (Henrico Co VA Misc Records (1650-1807), Book 2, p 481) 

14 Jan 1731 Goochland  Co VA Chancery court case (1733-001), Admin of John Griffin VS John Robinson et al) a lawsuit

20 Jul 1738 Patent for 400 acres on Muddy Creek Goochland VA for John Robinson (Land Office Patents No 18, 1738-1739, p 56 Reel 16)

20 Jul 1738 Patent for 580 acres on Deep Creek Goochland VA for John Robinson (Land Office Patents No 18, 1738-1739, p 69 Reel 16)

1741 John Robertson conveyed to son Thomas Robertson 200 acres on Deep Creek Goochland VA

1743 John Robinson conveyed 200 acres to son Field Robinson and conveyed 125 acres to  son Christopher Robinson (Goochland Co VA Order Book 1741-1744)

28 Aug 1749 John Robertson of Cumberland & Thomas Robertson now of Chesterfield  sell 200 acres on upper side of Deep Creek in Cumberland to Henry Hatcher of Chesterfield. John (R) Robertson, Thomas Robertson, Tabitha (J) Robertson, and Jane (X) Robertson. Land was originally conveyed to Thomas as recorded in Goochland but Tabitha failed to sign original. In selling the land John's wife and Thomas wife were required to sign (Cumberland Co VA Deed Book 1, p 64-66, FHL film 30745)

1759 John Robinson charged with 2 tithables ("Cumberland Co VA Tithable list 1759", The Southside Virginian Vol 2, p 112)

24 May 1760 Deposition of John Robinson of Cumberland , aged about 70 years (Cumberland Co VA Chancery court case (1761-001), Michaux vs. Anthony Morgan)

6 Feb 1763 John (R) Robinson  a negro woman Hannah and her increase to son Hezekiah Robinson (Cumberland Co VA Deed Book 3, p 354-355, FHL film 30746)

17 Feb 1763 John (R) Robinson 200 acres on Deep Creek to son Edward Robinson (Cumberland Co VA Deed Book 3, p 380-381, FHL film 30746)

17 Feb 1763 John (R) Robinson 200 acres on North Branch of Deep Creek to son Joseph Robinson (Cumberland Co VA Deed Book 3, p 382-383, FHL film 30746)

11 Dec 1767 Will of John (R) Roberson (Cumberland Co VA Will Book 1, p 343, FHL film 30738)

My understanding from the help pages is that the recommended LNAB, lacking original source of birth or marriage, should be earliest known record of contemporary use of LNAB.  My suggestion would be that the LNAB should be Robertson, with Robinson in other last names and Roberson as the current last name.

Questions? Complaints? Suggestions? New sources available?

The second major issue is a conflict in parents for John. This conflict would need to be resolved before any merging may take place

Two of the profiles have no parents.  Robinson-1852 has father of Edward Robinson and mother of Ann West. Source listed is (Robinson, Causton H, "Robinson families, 1358-1975", Decator AL, 1975 p 1, 2, 15) I have not been able to locate a copy of this source and do not know what is shown on these 3 pages nor what sources might have been cited for the information.

Robinson-2847 has father John Robertson and mother as Mavel East.  Source listed for John Robertson is AFN: P6V8-JN.  Family Search shows this profile to have no sources listed.  There were 6 pedigree Resource files included all of which had the same entry "Searched Early Immigrants to Virginia from 1500's to 1600's  and found nothing).  Mavel East was listed with AFN:P6VC-8P Family search has no AFN listed as such.

A third theory as to the parents can be found on the profile of Tabitha's father Edward Jones , Jones-6850 There is a link on this page to Robinson Research which presents a case for the parents as Thomas Robertson and his wife Elizabeth.

My suggestion is to detach the parents from both Robinson-1852 and Robinson-2847 while including a disputed origins section  and inks to both sets of parents.  This would enable the four profiles to be merged and still allow for research to locate sources for the parents of John R.

Currently all 4 profiles for John R have unmerged matches among themselves.  I adopted Robertson-840 recently and included all the above notes in the profile with links to the available on line court records and Patents.  I also adopted Roberson-495 hoping to merge him with  these profiles, but decided against it until this situation can be resolved .  Roberson-495 had not yet been connected to Tabitha Jones.

I would appreciate hearing any feed back on these issues.  Looking forward to discussing this.  Thanks for reading.


WikiTree profile: Tabitha Robinson
in Genealogy Help by Karen Raichle G2G6 Mach 7 (77.3k points)

Hi Karen,

Just a comment about the "earliest known use" of the spelling of a last name at birth. I think you might be referring to the instruction to use "the spelling that appears in a birth record," or if there is no birth record, to use "other documents from at or near the time of birth."  This is on the page about Name fields: spelling conventions.

I don't interpret this as an instruction to necessarily use the earlier record among several written by clerks during the person's adulthood.

In that case, the spelling of an actual signature would be more compelling than the "earliest known" clerk's spelling.

What are your thoughts about it? (I may be misunderstanding)  Thanks!



I did interpret it as "earliest known document".

I believe that the document I found earlier in the court case with a signature of John Robinson is for a different man. This signature I believe to be of John Robinson who was a first cousin to Robertson-840.  Robertson-840 always made his mark on every document located thus far.  The cousin always signed his name in documents located so far.
If this is a cousin, isn't that still evidence for spelling (which cousin - no parents are attached or mentioned in the bio)?  Am I missing something?

You are not missing anything.  I have not entered anything about the cousin or other relatives. I have been working my way through deeds, wills, and court records in Cumberland Co. to try to add sources to the children of John and Tabitha. Cousins and other relatives are not high on my to do list right now.

I don't have conclusive proof of the parents. I removed the three sets of parents which had been connect over time, but left them entered in the bio in case someone ever finds proof.  I don't know what the proper spelling of the last name was.  I don't believe we will ever really know for certain.  The family spelled it multiple ways over the years. My ancestor signed his name as Robinson as did two of his brothers, but three other brothers signed as Robertson.  Which of them were correct? If someone has documentation for either name, it would be nice to see that entered here for discussion.

Thanks for your comments and interest.

Edited :    I had written a long  message about this subject, but decided it might appear as an attack on you personally. Since that was not my intention, I removed my rant.
It's not an easy task, and my responses have only been in an effort to be helpful (my apologies if they came across otherwise).

Lots of times I've had to try and figure out which (of many) spellings are "correct" by Wikitree standards, and it can be a real challenge. These early ancestors cared much less than we do about spelling, but then, there weren't using data bases and search engines!

We have a lot of "rules of thumb" - primary documents, contemporaneous documents, other family members closely related (if contributory), and even respected researchers can all come into play.  Not to mention other profile managers and descendants who sometimes care very much which way a name is spelled.

I think in the long run, we can only do our best, and ask for help (which you are doing), and then pick one.  Maybe a PPP will help (if applicable) and adding the alternate spellings, and a note at the beginning of the biography about spelling.  There will still be duplicates.  We can hope for fewer duplicates.

The other thing I've found useful is to link all the related profiles in the bio, especially children. That way, if they are "lost" later, they can be found.

 Sometimes it is more difficult to work with others, but so very worth it (IMO).  Thank you again for all the great work you are doing - we are doing.
Sorry, Cynthia,

It was just a bad day.  I was not offended by your comments.  I do appreciate all your suggestions, comments , and questions.

It just seems at times that too much emphasis and energy is being spent on the spelling of names, when our efforts might be more useful in trying to make the profiles better.

I like the idea of putting the note at the beginning of the profile as too the spelling variations.  I do usually use the links in the bio and will get those done soon.

I have no problem working with others.  It just feels at times as if I'm the only one working.

Thanks again for your input and all your help.
Karen, I think you're right, but when you're searching it helps if someone who enters a surname also enters the other possible spellings. For example, if you're doing a search on "Moorefield" the name "Morefield" won't come up, but "Morefield" was changed to "Mooreville" by an overzealous clerk of court in Halifax Co., Va. in the 1800s.

It would be easier to find relatives if they would all include both surnames on their entries.

2 Answers

+7 votes
Based on the only source that seems to have his complete name cited on this profile,

I would suggest that he was "known as" Robinson, and therefore should be the target.   There is also the issue of his "parents" as there are different parents listed on and    Then there is Roberson-495 in the mix.


In this kind of a situation, where you have some very inactive profile managers, you probably should propose an, this is the target LNAB because of XYZ....and address the fact that the parents are probably X, but could be Y.   Then post that on each of the Robinson/Roberson/Robertson profiles affected.  You have a better chance of getting those profile managers to either agree, disagree with reason or stay silent.   Right now, you appear to be the only profile manager that is working BE BOLD, but, communicate.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (740k points)
Thanks for the comment Robin.  I am a little confused by the statement "the only source that has his complete name cited"   His complete name is found on all the deeds, the will and both of the patents.  They just seem to be three different surnames.  To which specific source were you referring?
Sorry, I misread your post, I thought that you had not found sources with his name, just his initials.   Still, my suggestion to take a look at the parents suggested, and maybe the childrens' records....then make a suggestion based on what YOU think.
I was trying to show the initials that John placed as his mark on each document.  I thought it was distinctive as opposed to the X that people generally used as their mark.  I guess it wasn't as clear as I thought it would be..
+7 votes

Thank you for all the work you have done here - great job!

I think I may have found one thing for you - John's signature on his deposition given 24 May 1760 in the Jacob Michaux v. Anthony Morgan case.  Seems he spelled his name "Robinson" (with an elongated "s" that looks like an "f").

Looks as if the original source is Library of Virginia, and the image is in a downloadable zip file (which I have not personally downloaded), but this may be public domain within the USA, so could be added to the profile (whichever is chosen as the final profile). 

Given this, I would vote for Robinson-1852 as the lowest numbered profile with the correct spelling of the last name at birth (and of course, the Robertson spelling as an alternate).

by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (128k points)
Thanks Cynthia.  I have the files from the LVA.  When I first found that page I was truly excited thinking I finally had a signature for him. Since it did not specifically say that he signed his name, I took that to be the handwriting of the man who took the deposition from him. It would have seemed strange to me if all of a sudden he signed his name at age 70 when he had prior to this time only made his mark.

Is there a way to tell if this is his actual signature or the handwriting of the man to whom he gave the deposition?
Hi Karen,

Hmmmn  you raise an interesting question.  It looks to me as if the recorder of the deposition had different handwriting than the person who signed the name (notice how the name is written in the first line).  It also looks to me as if neither of the witnesses made the signature, and I do not see the typical mark substitute (in this case initials).

But I am certainly no handwriting expert and know precious little about how various documents were signed.  Maybe a separate G2G question?  I am always amazed at the wealth of knowledge among WikiTree members.
From a gentleman has been doing research on the Hammontree, Holloway, and Robinson family, I have received transcripts of Cumberland Co., Virginia court orders and Cumberland Co., Virginia Land Deeds. He insists that the name should be Robinson. Please contact me via private message so I will have your email address and I would be glad to share these documents.
I, also, have notes from a descendant of her son Hezekiah which states that the name is Robinson. I would be glad to share those notes as well.

The name was used interchangeably through the years by various members of this family.  I will be contacting you privately about these transcriptions.


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