Well, I think I may have cracked the case of MY John Robinson and I can honestly say I probably should've thought of this sooner. I went through the Canadian census records again and noticed something that I didn't really pay attention to when I first found Edmund. For each of the census records in 1851, 1861 and 1871, as well as the 1881, John Robinson and his family, as it grows is living with a Harriet WILKINS.
The first census, 1851 has the Robinsons living with John Wilkins, his wife, whose name I can't read and three children and much like the Robinson family they are listed under initials, which makes it that much harder to figure out what their names are, and all the more so when the handwriting is poor. John Wilkins is only listed in the 1851 census and I would assume he dies between then and the next census in 1861 because Harriet is the head of household (so to speak).
But the kicker is this, I was doing some digging on the Wilkins just to see if I could find some kind of connection and I still don't know what to make of what I found except that what I did find helps to explain why the Robinson children have so many initials. I found a marriage record and between FamilySearch and Ancestry (at the library) I managed to find an image. The index at FamilySearch only shows the bride, groom and their parents. But the IMAGE shows much more. Not only does it show the couple and their parents but also WITNESSES to the marriage itself. And those two are what have me thinking that the Robinsons and Wilkins are connected in more ways than just living in the same household during the census records.
One witness is St. George John Wilkins Robinson. That's right, that's his ENTIRE name. Believe it or not, that helps make sense of the initials for George in the 1861 Canadian census. Although they are very hard to read, I could make out G J W and the first one could be an S or even 'St.' The other witness is a name I'd seen before, Harriet Annie Mary Robinson, George's sister. That is the name listed in her OWN marriage record. But this particular marriage record the bride's name is Minnie TALBOT Robinson, her father's name is John (go figure) but her mother's name is Mary TALBOT Robinson. Minnie was born about 1858, so its entirely possible that she is Harriet and George's sister, but I'm still not sure about that.
The fact that both Minnie AND Mary have the middle name (possible maiden name for Mary) Talbot, tells me that they are connected, and obviously from the marriage record they are mother and daughter, but how are the witnesses connected to Minnie, John and Mary. Its also strange that the groom, David Francis Henry Wilkins was born, at least according to the marriage record in West Virginia of all places. David and Minnie were married in 1881 but David dies 3 July 1892, 11 days shy of their 11th anniversary. I haven't found any children yet but then I haven't located them in the 1891 Canadian census either.
Harriet's own marriage record, which I also got a printout of, shows her mother's name as Mary Eliza, but there is no maiden name listed. Then again there's no maiden name listed for the groom's mother either.
I really don't know what to make of the information on the marriage records and its unfortunate that the handwriting on the census records is so lousy AND that everyone is listed with initials instead of actual names. I have never liked initials especially when that's all you have to work with. It seems that Minnie is NOT a sibling of Harriet and George because then she would've been listed in the 1881 census with them. I guess all I can do is keep digging and go back to the library on Monday.