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to the History of
The Robbins Family

ORIGIN OF THE ROBBINS NAME
The word "robin" means "fame, bright, red, flame", and as a name is a diminutive (nickname) of "Robert", which means "bright-hearted".  When you think of a robin, you invariably think of a robin redbreast.  The bird's name probably came about because of its coloring.  It is possible that way back in the middle ages, our ancestor was red-headed, or was known for wearing red.  Or perhaps our ancestor was originally named Robert (because he was warm-hearted? or hot-tempered?), but was known familiarly as Robin.  At any rate, this individual was probably living on the isles of Great Britain at the time surnames started to come into use.  Surnames came about in order to simplify communication and clarify meaning.  For example, "Jack, Robin's son" was used to differentiate him from "Jack, John's son".  (We call the type of surname based on the father's name a patronymic surname.  There are also descriptive, occupational and location-based surnames.) Later, the "-son" was dropped from our surname.  Because there were no spelling rules, and few common people were educated, the name was spelled both as "Robbins" and "Robins".  As late as the early 1900's, our particular family's name was still occasionally spelled Robins.

MY FIRST ROBBINS LINE
One of the many surprises I encountered when I began to research my family history was discovering that I had TWO Robbins family lines on the same side of the family!  My direct paternal line has been traced back to George Robbins, father of my 4th-great-grandfather Joseph Josiah Robbins, who was born in 1820 in Cherry Valley, Westford Township, Otsego County, New York.  Some other Robbins researchers believe my George Robbins may be George Washington Robbins (c. 1778 - c. 1854), who was born in Connecticut and moved to Westford Township, where he married Abigail Hicks.  There is some evidence that points strongly in favor of this theory.  Both Joseph Josiah Robbins and some of the children of George Washington Robbins moved from Otsego County, New York to Western Pennsylvania at around the same time.  George Washington Robbins' son Steven Van Rensselaer Robbins served in the 58th Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War, as did Joseph.  Other descendants of George Washington Robbins emigrated west to Michigan after the Civil War, just as Joseph did.  Therefore, I conclude until further evidence shows differently, that Joseph was a close relative, if not a son, of George Washington Robbins.

MY SECOND ROBBINS LINE
Joseph Josiah Robbins' second wife was Miranda Robbins, daughter of Uzza Robbins.  Uzza was supposedly born in Vermont, so if and how his Robbins line connects back to George Robbins is not known at this time.  Uzza was convicted of the murder of his second wife and executed by hanging.  To read more about his conviction, execution, and grisly exhumation, click here.  It's a story you won't forget!

Go here to see a list of all known deceased descendants (and their spouses) of Joseph Josiah Robbins.

Pick an Ancestory:

Robert Lewis Robbins
(1920 - 2003)

William Bryan Robbins
(1896 - 1972)

Angelo Merrick Robbins, Sr.
(1874 - 1923)

Charles H. Robbins
(1844 - 1934)

Joseph Josiah
 Robbins
(1820 - 1905)

Miranda Robbins
(1827 - 1912)

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Miriam Midkiff, 2003 - 2005