Bringing the past into the present!

Author Archives: Beth

“The Land of My Fathers”

There has been talk for a while that my paternal line has a link to two important men in Welsh history.  The dates all tie in and it seems likely that this link is correct.  However, I have not personally verified the information but would like to share it anyway. On 29th August 1773, my 5x great grandfather, Evan James was born in Pencader, Carmarthenshire, however there is some uncertainty about the place of birth.  He was the son of […]

I wouldn’t change a thing…

The nature of family history research means that collaborating with others is almost a necessity.  I have used Google in the past and discovered new information about my ancestors as well as vital information about the areas they lived in and their social lives.  I love ‘meeting’ distant cousins just as much as I love finding out about my ancestors.  By finding cousins I feel I am also finding and reinforcing links to the past.  My links to the areas […]

Brick Walls -> William Lewis & Ann Williams

I’ve been attempting to trace this family for a few months but I don’t seem to be getting very far. Ann Williams was born around 1828 in Preston, Herefordshire.  With such a common name I’ve been unable to locate her in 1841 and 1851.  There is a chance that she would have been a domestic servant prior to her marriage to William Lewis.  Ann died in 1890 in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire (probably Ebbw Vale). William Lewis was born around 1829 in […]

#Surnames Saturday 1 – Boulter

Boulter is believed to be an occupational surname that originated in England.  In 1881 there were 241 Boulter’s in London; however, the surname was most prominent in Leicestershire.  Currently there are around 2000 Boulter’s in the UK. Today, we are visiting the Boulter’s who lived in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire during the later 1800’s. Thomas Boulter was born about 1829 in Newbridge-on-Wye, Radnorshire, until the first quarter of 1851, nothing is known about his life.  He married Mary Daniel before 30th […]

Strength on Sunday – The Hodges

The one thing about researching the family tree that fascinates me most is that you never know what you are going to find.  Some hidden stories could be scandalous, others could be intriguing and then there are the ones that are sad and poignant. My paternal great-grandparents are Edward James Hodges and Norah Hughes. Edward was born 24th May 1898 in Fleur-de-Lis in the county of what was then Monmouthshire.  Norah was born 13th May 1901 in Lye, Worcestershire. Norah […]

How common is your surname?

How common is your surname? The fact is everybody will have a ‘common’ surname somewhere in their family tree.  I’m currently researching for those Welsh ancestors.  This branch is made very difficult by them having ‘common’ surnames. The top 20 surnames in Wales are: Jones (5.75) Williams (3.72) Davies (3.72) Evans (2.47) Thomas (2.43) Roberts (1.53) Lewis (1.53) Hughes (1.23) Morgan (1.16) Griffiths (0.96) Edwards (0.93) Smith (0.85) James (0.82) Rees (0.81) Jenkins (0.69) Owen (0.67) Price (0.67) Phillips (0.65) […]

Chepstow Municipal Cemetery

When a feeling of sadness descends, I find a trip to a cemetery calming and today was no different. I visited Chepstow Municipal Cemetery with the intention of finding 3 graves.  The first burial in the Old Cemetery was on 1st October 1857 of Henry Langley.  The graves that were of interest to me are much younger than this first burial.  The New Cemetery, on the opposite side of the road, contains burials from 1857. Wandering around, rather aimlessly at […]

Searching the BMD Indexes

Searching for your ancestor’s records in the birth, marriage and death indexes is, in the most part, straightforward.  However, occasionally the entry can prove elusive.  The elusive entry could be down to something as simple as a misspelled surname.  Other explanations could be, when searching further back, errors on census records, whether they are deliberate or accidental.  After 4.5 years of searching for my ancestors within the indexes, I’ve learned a few things that make searching so much easier. Remain […]

1841 Census Transcript – Chepstow Union Workhouse

Workhouses and Poor Law fascinates me, so I couldn’t help but take a look at the census returns for various workhouses.  Here is my transcription of the 1841 Census for Chepstow Union Workhouse. Name Sex Age Occ. Place of birth LEWIS, Joseph M 40 Master LEWIS, Elizabeth F 40 Matron Monmouthshire LEWIS, Winefred F 15 School Mistress HODGE, Richard M 85 Pauper Monmouthshire MARTINS, Edward M 75 Butcher Monmouthshire MORGAN, Thomas M 70 Labourer Monmouthshire PRITCHARD, Henry M 20 Labourer […]

BMD’s (Births, Marriages & Deaths)

Researching your Family History is rewarding and exciting, discovering where your family originate from provides a feeling like nothing else. Civil Registration in England and Wales for births, marriages and deaths began on 1st July 1837, although this was not rigorously enforced until 1875 and it has been estimated that up to 10% of births between 1837 and 1875 were not registered. The birth of Civil Registration meant that almost everyone left a basic paper trail from birth.  However, the […]