Ah the joys of digging through old records! [Who says I don't do things appropriate to the time of year?]
As the library offers free access to Ancestry.Com and the databases it contains, I have had to learn how to use it (to help members of the public) and the best way seemed to do real research into the family.
I found my way back to Great Grand-Parents on my mother’s side, and feel pretty convinced by all the evidence – but the Philpott family have proved more elusive. Apart from anything else, this surname gets spelled so many different ways. I remember when still getting my name in the papers (!) how rarely anyone spelled it ‘correctly’ (and when they did they often called me ‘Tony’!)
So anyway, my Great-Grandfather, Richard T Philpott becomes a perfect example.
The 1881 Census has him as Richard T Phillpot
The 1891 Census has him as Richard T Philpott
The 1901 Census has him as Richard T Philpot
He seems to have died in 1908 as Richard T Philpotts
And I just found him, getting born in about 1841 as Richard Theophilus Phelpots
Now I have to search Phelpot, Phelpots, Philipott, Phillpath, Phillpotts, Phillpots, etc – you name it!
I reckon I got his parents (unconfirmed) but data runs out about 1837, and you have to start going around looking at parish records, etc. And a tree like this doesn't begin to trace brothers and sisters, cousins and downright lies (!)