top of page
  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

The nightmare of the "too difficult" list

I rashly accepted a challenge on Twitter’s #AncestryHour this week! We’d been discussing those common surnames which tend to get side-lined to the “too difficult list” because it’s so hard to pin down who’s who – names like Smith or Brown and Welsh names like Jones, Davies, Williams, Evans and Roberts.

Throwing down the gauntlet

I can’t quite remember how it happened now, but after a bit of banter with fellow blogger, Jane Hough ( about being brave enough to have a go one day, Natalie at laid down the gauntlet by challenging us to “go for it!”

So, my mission – having agreed to accept it – is to try and learn more about my Roberts line, with the hope (as I said to Natalie) to uncover some Welsh ancestry. Which is perfectly feasible, given that my Roberts family lived close to the Welsh border in rural Shropshire.

What I know so far

My paternal great-grandmother (pictured above) was Eliza Roberts, born in 1858 in Pontesbury, Shropshire (right hand photo), the youngest of 7 children, the others being: Ann, Sarah, Jonathan, Mary, Thomas and George.

Eliza’s father was Timothy Roberts, a coal miner, born in 1812, in Pontesbury like his daughter, and his father was Samuel Roberts. And that’s about the sum of my current knowledge!

I do know a little about Eliza’s older sister Mary, who played a key part in the life of my great aunt Annie, but apart from that, I know nothing about the other siblings.

So, what will my research uncover? Will I find some Welsh ancestry? Or will I simply hit a brick wall? We shall see.

And if you’ve had some success researching a common name on your tree, any tips would be gratefully received!


Click on the image below to find out more about the Esme Quentin Mystery series

bottom of page