Bringing the past into the present!

Surname Saturday – Hughes

This week the focus of Surname Saturday is the patronymic surname ‘Hughes’. While the origin of the name is apparently in Wales my Hughes history has taken me out of Wales into the Black Country.

Follow my ancestor’s journeys from Shropshire to Worcestershire and Staffordshire then on to Monmouthshire.

My earliest Hughes (so far) is John Hughes.  John married Sarah around the turn of the 19th century, possibly in Shropshire. They had several children including Thomas (1809), James (1811), Joseph (1813), Richard (1815), George (1820) and Sarah (1821).  These children were born and baptised in Hinstock, Shropshire.
I have found little out about the lives of this family and have not yet confirmed they belong to my line.

John and Sarah’s third known child, Joseph Hughes, was baptised in Hinstock on 3rd October 1813. He moved to Worcestershire prior to his marriage in December 1835, to Hannah Jones.
Joseph and Hannah started their married life in Old Swinford with John working as a labourer.
The couple had numerous children including John (1836), William (1838), Ameliah (1840), Elizabeth (1842), George (1846), Joseph (1849), Thomas (1850), Clara (1852), Sarah (1855) and Thomas (1857).
John changed occupations a number of times, being a labourer, coal miner, nail maker and back to a labourer until his death in 1888 in the Stourbridge Registration district.

George Hughes, the fifth child of John and Sarah, was baptised in Lye on 21 January 1847. He became a nail maker, like his father at the same time, and married Prudence Knowles, a nail maker’s daughter, on 16th December 1867 in Old Swinford, Worcestershire.
George, Prudence and their children; William Joseph (1868), Elizabeth (1870), Foley (1873), Daniel (1875), Norah (1878), John Thomas (1880), Mary (1884), Selina (1889) and Mary (1890), lived in Wollescote, Worcestershire.
George died in 1911, followed in 1926 by his widow, Prudence.

The most unusual named child of George and Prudence, Foley, was born on 29th October 1873 in Lye, Worcestershire. He grew up as the son of a frost nail maker and became a bucket maker before he was 17.
Foley married Henrietta Evans at Christchurch, Lye on 24th October 1892.
By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to South Wales and Foley was working as a miner, living in Maesycwmmer.
They are recorded as having 7 children, 3 sadly deceased.  Their remaining known children, Norah (1901), Alice (1903), George Henry (1905) and Florrie May (1909). The first 3 named children were born in the Black Country while Florrie was born in New Tredegar, around 7 miles from Maesycwmmer.
Henrietta died 10 years later.  Foley continued living in Monmouthshire until his death in 1965.

Norah, the first known child of Foley and Henrietta, was born in Lye on 13th May 1901. I doubt she was the first child but my search for any siblings before her is postponed.
Norah married on 22nd March 1920 at Holy Trinity Church, Ystrad Mynach.  Her husband was Edward James Hodges, a local lad, born and raised in a mining family.
Norah and Edward suffered so much heartbreak during their married life.  They had four children, Oliver Hughes (1920), Ralph (1922), Mary (1924) and a still living great Auntie.  Of their four children, only one survived her parents.
Oliver, a Sergeant (Air Gnr.) in the RAAF, died on 4th September 1943 when the Lancaster MKIII he was in was shot down en route to Berlin. He is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.
Ralph, previously unknown to us, was born on 4th June 1922.  He died within a month of his birth.
Mary, my grandmother, was taken on 11th June 1970 by breast cancer leaving her husband and young children.
Norah died in 1977 followed by Edward in 1989.

The Hughes families have added much to my research and brought their fair share of sad stories, it would be lovely to be able to trace the Hughes line further back.

More than a name

When one ventures into the murky waters of family history, one never knows what skeletons may jump out of the closet or what treasures may be uncovered.
When I started my research I knew very little of my family history, I even knew little about my own grandparents.  Throughout my journey I’ve discovered more about my living relatives as well as discovering their forefathers.
While I have census returns, BMD certificates and parish records, the stories of my ancestors lives are still not complete.  Certificates and other similar records only confirm their existence.  What really adds life to the name in the tree?

Last week I received an email with the subject ‘Selina Bruce nee Haynes’.  My stomach somersaulted as I clicked on it.

Selina Haynes is my great great grandmother, born in 1868 in Greens Norton, she married Joseph Bruce in 1886.  My great grandmother, Maude, their fifth child.
I knew little of Selina’s life and simply gained snippets in time from census records.

The email I received from a lacemaker, Kate, living in Northamptonshire was my first physical link with my great great grandmother.

Selina was the daughter of brickyard labourer, John Haynes and lacemaker, Jane Kingston Bevis.  She grew up in Greens Norton like her siblings, John, Matilda, Annie, Julia, Harry, Willie, Nelly, Tom, Emma Louisa and Clara.

Lace making was flourishing in the mid 19th century and girls were introduced to their pillow from the age of 3. Selina’s family made no exception. Selina’s oldest sister, Matilda who was 7 years old in 1871, was already described as a lace maker.  Ten years later, Matilda, Annie and Selina (aged 17, 15 and 13 respectively) were lace makers along with their mother.

Many lace makers at the time had lace making bobbins made for them, often inscribed with their name (or that of a loved one) and sometimes a location and/or date.

Kate recently acquired such a bobbin, made from cow bone and marked with ‘Selina Haynes Greens Norton’. My great great grandmother. She even sent me a photograph of the bobbin.

Moments like these are rare but so exhilarating. I have no need for a bobbin, I’m happy that it has an owner who cares enough to make contact and let me know of its existence.

Not only did Kate provide me with a photograph but she brought my great great grandmother to life for me.  I can never express my gratitude sincerely enough. Looking at the image of a bobbin over 100 years old, I see Selina as more than just a name in my tree.



Surname Saturday : Bruce

This week, the name that is the focus of my Saturday post is the one that I’ve (rather ashamedly) given the most time, the most thought.  Part of my reason is down to the story of Robert the Bruce…. Braveheart!!!  What a family story that would be!  However, the realist in me says that is never going to happen.  I’m not THAT deranged.  😉

The earliest Bruce in my tree is William Bruce.  William’s place of birth is still eluding me, as is his year of birth.  However, by 1785, he was living in Easton Neston, Northamptonshire.  He married his first wife, Rosamund Gardner, on 22nd September 1785.  The couple continued living in Easton Neston while raising their children, John (1786), Robert (1787), Joseph (1789), William (1792), William (1798) and Jane (1799).
Rosamund was buried on 11th Mar 1799, just 7 days before her daughter, Jane, was baptised.  The following year William married Mary Cross.  He died 11 years later.

William and Rosamund’s 2nd son, Robert Bruce, was born in 1787 and baptised on 28th October 1787 in Easton Neston.  Sometime before 1810 he married Frances.  They also continued to live in the locality and had children, Mary (1810), William (1812), Charlotte (1814), James (1816) and Joseph (1819).  Frances died in 1821 in Easton Neston and 2 years later, Robert married his 2nd wife, Jane Newton, on 5th May.  7 years later, Jane, too, died.  Robert lived out the remainder of his life in Hulcote, Northamptonshire, working as an Agricultural Labourer.  He died in 1865.

James Bruce, the 2nd son of Robert and Frances, was baptised on 5th January 1817 in Easton Neston.  He married Elizabeth Redley, on 13th June 1842 in Great Brington, Northamptonshire.  He brought his wife back to Hulcote where he worked as an Under Game Keeper and they brought up their children; Frances (1843), Martha Redley (1845), Sarah (1847), Robert (1850), Rosannah (1852), Rebecca (1854), Elizabeth (1856), Mary Charlotte (1858), George (1861) and Joseph (1862).
James died on 5th April 1895 in Hulcote and his wife, Elizabeth, died in February 1897.

The youngest child of James and Elizabeth was Joseph Bruce, born during the last half of 1862 in Hulcote.  He, like his father before him, grew up in Hulcote.
In 1886, he married Selina Haynes in the Towcester Registration district.  Joseph and Selina lived in Hulcote until sometime between 1898 and 1900, when they moved to Wood Burcote.  The couple had around 10 children, including; Rosa (1887), Rebecca (1888), Joseph (1890), Sarah (1892), Maude (1894), James (1896), Jane (1898), Frances Mabel (1900), Phyllis May (1904) and Lizzie Mary (1908).
Joseph worked as an Agricultural Labourer until the later 1890’s when he was unable to work due to an illness.  Quite what his illness was is still a mystery to me.  He and his family were in the receipt of Outdoor Relief from December 1896 until his death on 11th January 1911.  On the 1911 census, Selina, a recent widow, was recorded at her daughter, Rebecca’s, marital home.  She passed away in 1928 in London.

My great grandmother, Maude Bruce, was the fifth child of Joseph and Selina.  She was born on 23rd November 1894 in Hulcote.  I know little of her life before she met my great grandfather.  They met, like many young couples at the time, as a direct result of World War One.
My great grandfather, Edward Evans, was a soldier with the Monmouthshire Regiment.  Maude was in service, living in Bedfordshire.  Edward and Maude married on 30th October 1915 at St Paul’s, Bedford.  Soon after the wedding, Edward went to the front line and, disowned by her family, Maude moved to South Wales to live with her in-laws.
According to family stories, Maude was disowned by her own family because she married a Welsh man.  She received a frosty reception from her in-laws because she was English.  My poor great grandmother had an awful lot.
Edward and Maude lived in Pengam, South Wales where they raised their family.  Edward died in January 1940 from pneumonia.  Maude died in December 1985.

Maude completes my Bruce line.  She came from a long line of Agricultural Labourers who were born, lived, worked and died in Hulcote.  The Bruce’s have held many of my fondest thoughts for a long time.  My biggest brick wall here though is, where did William Bruce come from?  Was he a Northamptonshire boy born and bred?

What is wrong with this family? Why you shouldn’t believe everything you read.

I’ve been researching my Family History for almost 5 years (wow, I’ve never had a hobby that’s been this consistent) and in that time I’ve seen some funny/strange/frustrating “facts” that are simply not true, not possible or simply just downright wrong.  The following has to be my crown (family) jewel..

William Bruce (son of James Bruce and Elizabeth Henderson) was born 23 Dec 1796 in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, and died 28 Jul 1871 in Newburn St, West Hartlepool, Durham, England. He married Rosamund Gardner on 22 Sep 1785 in Easton Neston, daughter of John Gardner and Jane.

More About William Bruce and Rosamund Gardner:
Marriage: 22 Sep 1785, Easton Neston.

Children of William Bruce and Rosamund Gardner are:

  1. +John Bruce, d. date unknown.

This William Bruce is my 5x great grandfather, which would make James Bruce and Elizabeth Henderson my 6x great grandparents, or would it?
This particular tree is one of Ancestry’s favourite “hints” to give a researcher complete with a glaring error (have you spotted it yet?).  This particular tree appears to have ‘gone viral’, the list of researchers adding this misinformation to their tree including myself and a close relative continues to grow yearly. Yes, I admit, I fell into the trap way back in 2007 (do you have any idea how long it takes to delete family members on Ancestry?).

In case you haven’t already discovered the mistake… this William Bruce married 11 years BEFORE he was born.  What a clever man! 😉 I believe he is the only man to have ever been able to achieve this.  On a serious note, who really is William Bruce?

Firstly, I have no doubt that the William born in 1796 in Alloa, Clackmannanshire really exists and yes, I’m sure James and Elizabeth were his parents.. It’s also probable that he died in 1871 in Durham.  However, this man is most certainly not the William who married Rosamund Gardner.

‘My’ (I use my in the loosest sense of the word) William was living in Easton Neston at the time of his marriage to Rosamund Gardner on 22 Sep 1785.  It’s not certain when or where he was born.  Rosamund was indeed the daughter of John Gardner and Jane Newman.  She was christened on 8th Jan 1759.
William and Rosamund had 6 children, John (1786-1879), Robert (1787-1865), Joseph (1789-1846), William (1792-1793), William (1798-1798) and Jane (1799-1836).
Rosamund was buried 11th March 1799, a week before Jane was christened.
The following year William married, Mary Cross.  He died in Easton Neston in April 1811.

I don’t own my ancestors but if I’m going to claim them it’s my responsibility to record their details accurately.  These mistakes in other people’s family trees are a huge frustration simply because the misinformation is still out there.   I’ve spent the last 4.5 years trying to put people straight on this… but my efforts have evidently failed so far.

I implore you, as one researcher to another, check your facts, read your tree and if you don’t want to delete the incorrect information then you really must rethink your choice of hobby.  That’s not to say that my family tree is perfect, there may be mistakes…. However, I don’t know of these mistakes at the moment.

1861 Census Transcription – Chepstow Union Workhouse


Name Rel. C. Sex Age Occ. Place of birth Disability
WHITE, William Head M M 44 Master Dursley, Gls  
WHITE, Caroline Wife M F 30 Matron Axbridge, Som  
TAYLOR, May Schoo U F 60 School mistress Chepstow, Mon  
PRICE, Jane Nurse U F 38 Nurse Chepstow, Mon  
FLOWER, Henry Porter M M 42 Porter West Harptree, Som  
FLOWER, Hannah P.wife M F 44 Porter wife Abercarn, Mon  
MILLS, George Patient U M 82 Labourer Kingston Seymour, Som  
PEDDLEHAM, John Patient M M 68 Labourer Lydney, Gls  
HARRIS, John Patient W M 81 Paper Maker Newchurch, Mon  
JONES, James Patient M M 60 Basket Maker Chepstow, Mon  
BULL, William Patient W M 76 Blacksmith Aylburton, Gls  
PASK, James Patient W M 72 Woolstapler Bristol, Gls  
HATHERLEY, Samuel Patient W M 71 Labourer Brockweir, Mon  
COX, William Patient U M 70 Jobbing Labourer Portskewett, Mon  
CLIFFORD, Thomas Patient W M 81 Paper Stainer Dublin, Ireland  
NICHOLAS, John Patient W M 68 Sawyer Mathern, Mon  
ELLIS, William Patient W M 76 Carpenter Stellon, Gls  
SMITH, Thomas Patient U M 69 Labourer Dixton, Mon  
JOINS, John Patient W M 72 Labourer Lacock, Wil  
RICHARDS, Benjamin Patient U M 51 Sawyer Chepstow, Mon  
HEWLIN, Christopher Patient U M 59 Painter St Briavels, Gls  
WATKINS, William Patient W M 59 Mason Chapel Hill, Mon  
JONES, Edward Patient M M 44 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  
JAMES, Noah Patient M M 23 Labourer Breclan, Mon  
PRIEST, Edward Patient U M 17 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  
GILBERT, Thomas Patient U M 27 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  
YOUNG, William Patient U M 27 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  
ESSEX, Samuel Patient U M 26 Labourer St Briavels, Gls  
THOMAS, Joseph Patient U M 23 Labourer Undy, Mon  
BIDDLE, Ephraim Patient W M 41 Labourer Malmesbury, Wil  
POWELL, Mark Patient U M 12 Shoemaker Cardiff, Gla  
EDWARDS, John Patient U M 8 Child Grey Hill, Mon  
MORRIS, George Patient U M 7 Child Lydney, Gls  
EDMONDS, David Patient U M 7 Child Lydney, Gls  
MITCHELL, William Patient U M 7 Child Lydney, Gls  
JONES, James Patient U M 7 Child Chepstow, Mon  
FLETCHER, William Patient U M 9 Child Crick, Mon  
BIDDLE, Charles Patient U M 8 Child Aylburton, Gls  
FLETCHER, Alfred Patient U M 8 Child Crick, Mon  
JAMES, James Patient U M 9 Child Tidenham, Gls  
ROOK, Henry Patient U M 8 Child Lydney, Gls  
ROOK, Eliza Patient U F 9 Child Lydney, Gls  
ROOK, Benjamin Patient U M 5 Child Lydney, Gls  
HIGGINS, James Patient U M 10 Child Chepstow, Mon  
HALFIELD, Henry Patient U M 11 Child Princes End, Sts  
TAYLOR, William Patient U M 9 Child St Briavels, Gls  
WIXEN, Mat Patient U M 8 Child Lydney, Gls  
ATTEWELL, Isaac Patient U M 5 Child Lydney, Gls  
HAYARD, Benjamin Patient U M 5 Child Lydney, Gls  
WILLIAMS, Harry Patient U M 14 Child Shirenewton, Mon  
POWELL, John Patient U M 9 Child Cardiff, Gla  
THOMAS, Ann Patient U F 14 Child Brockweir, Mon  
BUD, Mary Ann Patient U F 9 Child Chepstow, Mon  
JAMES, Mary A Patient U F 7 Child Tidenham, Gls  
DORRS, Fanny Patient U F 8 Child Lansoy, Mon  
EDMUNDS, Fanny Patient U F 8 Child Lydney, Gls  
TAYLOR, Harriet Patient U F 7 Child St Briavels, Gls  
LANE, Jane Patient U F 5 Child Chepstow, Mon  
LIGHT, Helen Patient U F 6 Child Chapel Hill, Mon  
TOWNSEND, Emma Patient U F 6 Child Chepstow, Mon  
BIRD, Martha Patient U F 6 Child Abergavenny, Mon  
COLES, Alice Patient U F 7 Child Chepstow, Mon  
TROWBRIDGE, Maria Patient U F 6 Child Bristol, Som  
MORRIS, Sarah Patient U F 10 Child Brynmawr, Mon  
COLES, Elizabeth Patient U F 12 Child Chepstow, Mon  
WIXEN, Elizabeth Patient U F 8 Child Lydney, Gls  
SCRIVENS, Mary Ann Patient U F 21 Servant Poolmeyrick, Mon  
HARRIS, Prined Patient U F 18 Servant Killcrook, Mon  
SIMMONDS, Mary Ann Patient U F 25 Servant Whitebrook, Mon  
SIMMONDS, Caroline Patient U F 25 Servant St Arvans, Mon  
TROWBRIDGE, Elizabeth Patient U F 27 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
TAYLOR, Mary Patient U F 35 Servant Woolaston, Gls  
COOPER, Charlotte Patient W F 55 Servant Caldicot, Mon  
MORRIS, Agustus Patient W F 37 Servant Brockweir, Mon  
MORRIS, Robert Patient   M 2   Brynmawr, Mon  
TROWBRIDGE, John Patient   M 3 Child Clifton, Som  
TAYLOR, John Patient   M 3   Chepstow, Mon  
MURPHY, Agnes Patient U F 22 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
HORTON, Jane Patient U F 22 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
HORTON, William Patient   M 10m   Chepstow, Mon  
MARSH, Ann Patient U F 47 Servant Bruton, Som  
MARTIN, Jane Patient U F 19 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
MARTIN, William B Patient   M 5m   Chepstow, Mon  
JONES, Rosa Patient U F 25 Servant Shirenewton, Mon  
JONES, Eliza Patient   F 2m   Chepstow, Mon  
HOPKIN, Ann Patient W F 80 Servant Brockweir, Mon  
PACKER, Jane Patient W F 81 Servant Forest Dean, Gls  
JONES, Charlotte Patient M F 48 Servant Clifton, Som  
HARRIS, Mary Patient W F 40 Servant Clifton, Som  
ADDIS, Sarah Patient W F 63 Servant St Briavels, Gls  
PHILLIPS, Catherine Patient W F 70   Trellick, Mon  
JONES, Aneatte Patient M F 27 Servant Lydney, Gls  
JONES, Stephen Patient   M 11m   Newport, Mon  
JONES, Fanny Patient   F 3   Tintern, Mon  
JONES, Alfred Patient   M 2   Chepstow, Mon  
SIMMONS, John Patient   M 5   Chepstow, Mon  
NEWTON, Annie Patient   F 5   Chepstow, Mon  
DOORS, Alfred Patient   M 2   Chepstow, Mon  
GREENISH, Naomi Patient   F 2   Chepstow, Mon  
GREENISH, Selina Patient   F 2   Chepstow, Mon  
BIRD, Epaida Lunatic U F 19 Servant St Briavels, Gls  
JOHNS, Elizabeth Patient U F 20 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
WIXEN, Mary A Patient U F 19 Servant Woolaston, Gls  
JOHNS, Margaret M Patient   F 14d   Chepstow, Mon  
DAVIS, Susan Patient U F 60 Servant Killgerry, Mon  
REYNOLDS, Harriet Patient U F 26 Servant Tidenham, Gls  
WALLIACE, Jane Patient W F 84 Servant Woolaston, Gls  
THOMAS, Matilda Patient M F 39 Servant Brockweir, Mon  
ATTEWELL, Mary Patient U F 56 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
VAUGHN, Ellen Patient U F 51 Servant Tidenham, Gls  
TOWNSEND, Eliza Patient U F 36 Servant Brockweir, Mon  
POWELL, Elizabeth Patient U F 60 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
CHRISTOPHER, Ann Patient W F 57 Servant Pembroke, Pem  
CROCKETT, Ann Patient U F 64 Servant Trelleck, Mon  
PRIEST, Winifred Patient U F 54 Servant Chepstow, Mon  
SMITH, Thomas Patient U M 61 Labourer Furnham Green, Mdx  
DIX, Thomas Patient U M 62 Labourer Colchester, Ess  
MORGAN, George Patient U M 20 Labourer Earlswood, Mon  
SOUTH, William Patient U M 26 Labourer Eaton Bishop, Hef  
WILLIAMS, Henry Patient   M 4d   Earlswood, Mon  
MITCHELL, Nehemiah E Patient U M 50 Labourer Shaftsbury, Wil  
SEALY, William Patient U M 69 Labourer Corsham, Wil  
POWELL, John Patient U M 10   Cardiff, Gla  
POWELL, William Patient W M 72 Labourer Tidenham, Gls  
JONES, John Patient W M 78 Labourer Undy, Mon  
MORGAN, William Patient U M 46 Labourer Shirenewton, Mon  
BULL, Thomas Patient U M 44 Labourer Woolaston, Gls  
WILLIAMS, William Patient W M 75 Labourer Newchurch East, Mon  
WATKINS, William Patient U M 87 Labourer Monmouth, Mon  
SAUNDERS, Luke Patient U M 50 Labourer Llantrisant  
MORRIS, George Patient U M 74 Labourer Mathern, Mon  
PROSSER, John Patient U M 56 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  
ROWLAND, Thomas Patient U M 68 Labourer Chepstow, Mon  


Surname Saturday : Weeks

Weeks, an English surname that is topographical and/or occupational, has been one I’ve enjoyed researching.  Interestingly, my Weeks I have (thanks to FreeREG) managed to follow the line back to Stowey, Somerset.  However, this is based on parish records already transcribed, there could still be more and the information is only as reliable as the information that has been uploaded.

Thomas (the Younger) Weeks was buried in Stowey, Somerset on 21st February 1781.  His wife, Sarah, died 13 months earlier than he did.  Together they had at least 8 children, 7 sons and 1 daughter; Thomas (1733), Samuel (1736), William (1737), Paschal (1739), Sarah (1741), William (1742), Peter (1744) and Shadrach (1746).  All these children were baptised at St Nicholas & the Blessed Virgin Mary in Stowey.

Thomas and Sarah’s fourth son, Paschal, was baptised on 1st August 1739.  By 1765 he had settled down with Christian.  Paschal and Christian had at least 6 children, 4 sons and 2 daughters; William (1765), John (1775), Sarah (1777), Isaac (1778), Elizabeth (1780) and James (1782).  Like the generation before, Paschal’s children were also baptised at St Nicholas & the Blessed Virgin Mary in Stowey.

Paschal and Christian’s first son, William Weeks, was baptised on 7th May 1765.  He married Catherine Stickler, when he was 25 on 10th May 1790 at Holy Trinity, High Littleton, Somerset.  William and Catherine stayed in High Littleton for the remainder of their lives, having 7 children, 4 sons and 3 daughters; William (1792), Sarah (1793), George (1795), Elijah (1798), Jemima and Martha (1804) and Shadrach (1806).
At the time of the 1841 census, William and Catherine were living at Hallatrow Down Farm, High Littleton.  He was recorded as being 70 years old and his occupation a Sawyer.  Shortly after, in July 1841, William died.  He was buried on 18th July 1841 at Holy Trinity, High Littleton.   Catherine lived on for another 17 years and was buried in the same place on 8th April 1858.

William and Catherine’s first son, another William Weeks, was baptised on 8th April 1792 at Holy Trinity, High Littleton.  He married Harriett Parfitt on 14th February 1811 at St Paul’s, Bristol, Gloucestershire.  The couple had 8 children, Mary Ann (1813), Shadrach (1815), William (1817), Francis (1821), Meshach (1824), Abednego (1828), Jonah (1831) and Harriett (1833).
William died in 1833 and was buried at Holy Trinity, High Littleton on 5th April 1833.  His wife, Harriett, continued living in Hallatrow until her death in October 1846.  She was buried on 30th October 1846 at Holy Trinity Church.

Shadrach, the first son of William and Harriett Weeks, was baptised at St Augustine, Clutton on 15th October 1815.  His early life is a bit of a mystery at this stage, however, in 1839, he was living in Brynmawr, then a part of Breconshire.  Shadrach married Sarah Edwards on 10th June 1839 at the Parish Church, Llanelly, Breconshire.  Shadrach and Sarah lived at various addresses in Brynmawr, some of which still exist today… Tram Road, Clydach Street and Fitzroy Street.  Shadrach moved away from the trade of his father and grandfather (sawyer/carpenter).  He started off as a miner but later became a Farmer and Butcher.  In 1871 the family were living at Old Crown Farm in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire.
Shadrach and Sarah had at least 11 children, Harriett (1844), Abednego (1846), Shadrach (1848), Mary Ann (1850), Meshach (1852), Emma (1855), James (1857), Sarah Jane (1859), Jonah (1862), William (1863) and Joshua (1865).
Shadrach died in 1876 in Bedwellty.  Sarah remarried Isaac Sim(m)s later that same year.   She died in 1896 in Bedwellty.

Jonah, born around June 1862 in Brynmawr, didn’t follow his father into the farming life and became a coal miner.  He married a Cornish girl, Selina Matthews, in 1884 in Glamorgan.  They lived in the Rhondda but by 1911 were living in Cwm, Ebbw Vale.
Jonah and Selina had 15 children including, Joshua (1884), Harriett Ann (1886), William Henry (1888), Albert (1890), Oliver (1894), Garfield (1897), Annie Maud (1901), Dora (1903), Stanley (1904), Doris Mabel (1907) and Gladys May (1908).   Their daughter, Dora, lived for 108 years and died in May 2011.
Selina died in 1920, Jonah lived a further 30 years and died in 1950 in Ebbw Vale.

My great great grandmother Harriett Ann Weeks, was born around Dec 1886 in Ogmore, Glamorgan.  She married William Williams in 1903 in Bedwellty Registration District.  Their 3rd child, my great grandfather, Ivor was born on 14th March 1908 in Cwm.
William died on 25th July 1954 in Cwm.  Harriett moved from the area after his death and a death has not yet been located.

Harriett Ann Weeks is my closest Weeks relative.  There are still a lot of Weeks’ living in the area and there is a company called Weeks Meats whose vans I see regularly and each time I wonder whether they are connected to my family.
One day, I will find the connection.

What happened to Kate?

One big mystery concerning The Man’s family tree is that of his great grandmother’s “disappearance”.

Catherine Eliza Pagett Bown, Kate, was born in Leicester around 1861 to Henry Pagett Bown and Ann Blakesley.  Henry and Ann had at least four other children, John William (1848 -1923), Samuel Henry (1851-1889), Thomas Pagett (1853-1916), Arthur Garrad (1855-1875) and Annie (1866).

She appeared to have a normal life with her family until her marriage, aged 24, to James Davidson.  They married on 25th October 1885 at St Mathews Parish Church, Leicester.  Over the next 6 years Kate, and James, had three children, Wallace Henry (1886-1954), Stuart James (1888), and Maggie (1891).
In 1891 Kate was living in Bilston, Staffordshire with her husband, James and sons, Wallace and Stuart (later known as James).  This census is the last record I have been able to find thus far that relates to Kate.

Ten years later, in 1901, James was living in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with an Elizabeth Davidson named as his wife.  Elizabeth, born as Elizabeth Deane, had a son, Tom Sutherland, born in 1894 in Small Heath, Warwickshire.
James and Elizabeth had four children by 1901, Donald Cory (1896), Olga Madge (1897), Laura Mildred (1899) and Nelly (1900).  Another child, Dorothy (1893), is with the family but a birth registration has not been located yet.
The 1911 census shows the family living in Newport, Monmouthshire with the older children and their latest additions, Enid (1904), Alan (1906), Vernon (1909) and May (1910).  James and Elizabeth claim to have been married for 18 years (they didn’t actually tie the knot until 1934) which would put the start of their relationship around 1893.  The year after Dorothy was born.  However, Elizabeth’s possibly illegitimate son, Tom, was born in 1894, after the supposed start of the relationship.
Did they simply say 18 years to make Tom seem like a child of their relationship?  (Tom married in Newport as Tom Sutherland Dean Davidson.)  Or was James really Tom’s father?

James’ first wife, Kate, “disappeared” between 1891 and 1895.  Was Kate Dorothy’s mother?
Through a descendant of James and Elizabeth I have been told that the family story was that Kate had gone “doo-lally” (forgive the political incorrectness) and was admitted to a Lunatic Asylum.

What really happened to Kate though?  If, as the family stories say, she went “doo-lally” then what was the reason for her illness?  Where were they living when she was admitted into the asylum?
I have a theory that could answer the first question… While searching for asylums in (and around) the families last known place of residence (Dorothy was allegedly born in Wolverhampton) I came across a comment by someone who had a relative admitted to an asylum for Puerperal Fever, a common but widely misunderstood infection resulting from improper hygiene (on the Doctor’s part) during childbirth.  This made me curious and on further reading I discovered a condition called Puerperal Insanity, or Puerperal Psychosis as it is now called.  Puerperal Psychosis, which has a close link with Bipolar Disorder, occurs within the first month after childbirth, and was the cause of hundreds of women killing their children during the 1800’s.

This leads on to the if’s……
If Dorothy was the product of James and Kate’s marriage then is it possible that Kate’s ‘madness’ could have actually been Puerperal Insanity?  A condition which, had she been suffering from now, could be treated effectively.
Patients in an asylum were recorded on census returns using just the person’s initial which really isn’t helpful in locating Kate.  A marriage or death record for Kate Davidson has not been located even using different variations of her names.

Throwing in another spanner, why did James and Elizabeth wait until 1934 to get married, he was 76 years old by then and the couple had been living together as husband and wife for 40 years and had nine children who were adults themselves.  Was it simply that James didn’t want to be a bigamist and waited until Kate died?  This is purely speculation as without a death there is no proof.

What happened to Kate? Why are there no records of her?  Where should I go from here?  This question will burn for as long as it takes to solve it.

1851 Census Transcription – Chepstow Union Workhouse


Name Rel. C. Sex Age Occ. Place of birth
LEWIS, Joseph Head W M 50 Master Union Workhouse Tidenham, Gls
HODGSON, Elizabeth   U F 33 Matron Union Workhouse Chepstow, Mon
TAYLOR, Mary Ann   U F 30 Schoolmistress U.Workhouse Chepstow, Mon
BUTTERY, Jane   U F 28 Nurse Union Workhouse Halifax, N. Amer
TAYLOR, Elizabeth Pauper W F 89 Formerly Shopkeeper Aylburton, Gls
COX, William Pauper U M 48 Formerly Farm Lab Portskewett, Mon
LEWIS, John Pauper U M 13 Formerly Farm Lab Caldicott, Mon
STEPHENS, Thomas Pauper U M 14 Formerly Farm Lab Portskewett, Mon
DUTHERIDGE, John Pauper   M 7 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
WILLIAMS, Francis Pauper U M 39 Formerly Shoemaker Aylburton, Gls
CARPENTER, Margaret Pauper U F 15 Formerly Servant Shirenewton, Mon
CHARLES, George Pauper   M 11 Scholar Llanvairdiscoed, Mon
THOMAS, James Pauper U M 64 Formerly Ag Lab Llanvairdiscoed, Mon
BENNETT, Samuel Pauper O M 10 Scholar Lydney, Gls
TAYLOR, Hannah Pauper U F 38 Formerly House Servant Lydney, Gls
TAYLOR, Richard Pauper U M 13 Scholar Lydney, Gls
MARTIN, Jane Pauper U F 13 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
MORSE, Ann Pauper U F 40 Formerly House Servant Lydney, Gls
SIMMOND, Mary Ann Pauper   F 10 Scholar Lydney, Gls
SIMMOND, William Pauper   M 7 Scholar Lydney, Gls
SHEPPARD, Mary Pauper U F 18 Formerly Servant Lydney, Gls
PEDLINGHAM, John Pauper W M 58 Formerly Baker Lydney, Gls
HOPE, Caroline Pauper W F 42 Formerly Charwoman Marton Bahance, Gls
HOPE, William Pauper   M 9 Scholar West Dean, Gls
HOPE, Victoria Pauper   F 1   Chepstow, Mon
HUGHES, Mary Ann Pauper U F 24 Formerly House Servant Lydney, Gls
POWELL, Mary Pauper W F 60 Formerly Charwoman Much Marcle, Hef
PARKER, Leonard Pauper U M 18 Formerly Ag Lab Kilgwrrwg, Mon
HOWELL, Margaret Pauper W F 78 Formerly Charwoman LLandeilo Bertholau, Mon
EVANS, Ann Pauper U F 31 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
EVANS, George Pauper   M 3 Scholar St Arvans, Mon
WILLIAMS, Richard Pauper W M 80 Formerly Ag Lab St Briavels, Gls
HULIN, Christopher Pauper U M 48 Formerly House Painter St Briavels, Gls
WILLIAMS, Richard Pauper U M 45 Formerly Ag Lab St Briavels, Gls
DAVIS, Frederick Pauper   M 9 Scholar Chapel Hill, Mon
DAVIS, Samuel Pauper   M 7 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
JONES, Ellen Pauper   F 10 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
POWELL, Sarah Pauper   F 6 Scholar Tintern, Mon
POWELL, Eliza Pauper   F 5 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
COLE, George Pauper M M 66 Formerly Ag Lab Chapel Hill, Mon
REYNOLDS, James Pauper M M 51 Formerly Ag Lab Chapel Hill, Mon
WILKINS, Samuel Pauper W M 76 Formerly House Carpenter Tidenham, Gls
EDWARDS, Elizabeth Pauper   F 8 Scholar Tidenham, Gls
EDWARDS, Henry Pauper   M 7 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
GLYN, Hannah Pauper W F 83 Formerly Shopkeeper Tidenham, Gls
RAVENHILL, Thomas Pauper   M 11 Scholar Tidenham, Gls
POWELL, William Pauper W M 61 Formerly Farm Lab Tidenham, Gls
DAVIS, Rachael Pauper U F 30 Formerly Charwoman Woolaston, Gls
DAVIS, Mary Pauper   F 12 Scholar Woolaston, Gls
DAVIS, William Pauper   M 7 Scholar Woolaston, Gls
DAVIS, Albert Pauper   M 1   Chepstow, Mon
BAXTON, Susan Pauper U F 51 Formerly Seamstress Shirenewton, Mon
JONES, Theresa Pauper   F 10 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
MOSELEY, James Pauper   M 10 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
ATTWELL, Harriet Pauper   F 8 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
ATTWELL, Priscilla Pauper   F 4 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
JONES, William Pauper U M 47 Formerly Farm Lab Shirenewton, Mon
JONES, Frances Pauper U F 19 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
CARPENTER, Sarah Pauper   F 12 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
CARPENTER, Joseph Pauper   M 9 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
CARPENTER, Herbert Pauper   M 6 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
EDWARDS, Ann Pauper U F 22 Formerly House Servant Shirenewton, Mon
EDWARDS, Sarah Ann Pauper   F 14 Scholar Shirenewton, Mon
WATKINS, Edward Pauper W M 88 Formerly Butcher Chepstow, Mon
JACKSON, James Pauper W M 85 Formerly Gardener Portskewett, Mon
PYE, Martha Pauper M F 70 Formerly Seamstress St Danes, Mdx
PRICE, Ellen Pauper U F 33 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
RICHARD, Henry Pauper U M 33 Formerly Farm Lab Chepstow, Mon
BARRETT, Elizabeth Pauper U F 64 Formerly Charwoman Lydney, Gls
GREENING, Richard Pauper   M 10 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
JONES, Charlotte Pauper M F 41 Formerly Laundress Bristol St Augustine, Gls
JONES, Mary Pauper   F 9 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
THOMAS, Nathaniel Pauper M M 70 Formerly Bark Chopper Hereford, HEF
THOMAS, Mary Pauper M F 75 Formerly Charwoman Newland, Gls
YOUNG, Ann Pauper U F 30 Formerly Seamstress Bridgwater, Som
FRANCIS, John Pauper W M 69 Formerly Sawyer Chepstow, Mon
HARRY, Ann Pauper W F 42 Formerly Shoebinder Chepstow, Mon
HARRY, Mary Pauper   F 5 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
POWELL, Elizabeth Pauper U F 39 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
JONES, Eliza Pauper U F 20 Formerly House Servant Shirenewton, Mon
JONES, Louisa Pauper   F 1   Shirenewton, Mon
PRICE, Joseph Pauper U M 18 Formerly Ag Lab Chepstow, Mon
ELLIS, William Pauper W M 67 Formerly Shipwright Chepstow, Mon
YOUNG, Rosa Pauper U F 35 Formerly Seamstress Chepstow, Mon
YOUNG, William Pauper U M 16 Formerly Ag Lab Chepstow, Mon
JONES, Edward Pauper U M 27 Formerly Ag Lab Chepstow, Mon
LEWIS, Susan Pauper U F 26 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
LEWIS, Thomas Pauper   M 2   Chepstow, Mon
WILLIAMS, Martha Pauper U F 20 Formerly House Servant Chepstow, Mon
WILLIAMS, Martha Pauper   F 1   Chepstow, Mon
EVANS, John Pauper U M 26 Formerly Ag Lab Chepstow, Mon
PROSSER, William Pauper W M 61 Formerly Cooper Chepstow, Mon
WATKINS, Ann Pauper M F 22 Formerly Charwoman Tidenham, Gls
WATKINS, Mary Pauper   F 1   Chepstow, Mon
HALIN, Charles Pauper   M 5 Scholar Tintern, Mon
PHILLIPS, Henry Pauper   M 12 Scholar Itton, Mon
CARD, Ann Pauper W F 74 Formerly House Servant Bythorn, Hun
WATKINS, William Pauper U M 30 Formerly Baker Trelleck Grange, Mon
WILLIAMS, Phillip Pauper M M 47 Formerly Ag Lab Newchurch, Mon
WILLIAMS, Elizabeth Pauper M F 40 Formerly Charwoman Tintern, Mon
WILLIAMS, Isaac Pauper   M 3 Scholar Rockfield, Mon
WILLIAMS, Edwin Pauper   M 1   Rockfield, Mon
SAUNDERS, Luke Pauper U M 57 Formerly Ag Lab Newchurch West, Mon
JENKINS, William Pauper U M 54 Formerly Ag Lab Newchurch West, Mon
WILLIAMS, John Pauper U M 65 Formerly Ag Lab Llansoy, Mon
DIBDEN, William Pauper U M 62 Formerly Ag Lab Hewelsfield, Gls
BURTLE, Mary Pauper   F 11 Scholar Cork, Ireland
BURTLE, Daniel Pauper   M 9 Scholar Cork, Ireland
MILES, George Pauper   M 4 Scholar Chepstow, Mon
SULLIVAN, Catherine Pauper U F 22 Formerly Charwoman Chepstow, Mon
MORRIS, Richard Pauper U M 67 Formerly Ag Lab Whitchurch, Hef
ARNOTT, Mary Pauper   F 11 Scholar Cork, Ireland
PHILLIPS, Catherine Pauper U F 53 Formerly Charwoman Trelleck Grange, Mon
HOWE, Mary Ann Pauper   F 12 Scholar Bristol St James, Gls
DONOVAN, Mary Pauper M F 25 Formerly Charwoman Newport, Mon
DONOVAN, Jane Pauper   F 1   Chepstow, Mon
NORRIS, James Pauper M M 74 Formerly Ag Lab Sedbury, Gls
CRESSWELL, Sarah Pauper W F 58 Formerly Charwoman Tidenham, Gls
CRESSWELL, Frederick Pauper U M 16 Formerly Shoemaker LLangwsychan, Mon
DAVIS, William Pauper   M 14   Orleans, N America
WHITE, Susan Pauper W F 92 Formerly Charwoman Hewelsfield, Gls
CLIFFORD, Thomas Pauper U M 74 Formerly Ag Lab Dublin, Ireland
POWER, Mary Ann Pauper   F 4m   Chepstow, Mon
BRIAN, Ellen Pauper W F 69 Formerly Charwoman Kildare, Ireland
DONOVAN, Peter Pauper U M 29 Formerly Ag Lab Cork, Ireland
CLANCY, Robert Pauper M M 39 Formerly Millwright Liverpool, Lan
CLANCY, Daniel Pauper   M 9   Liverpool, Lan
CLANCY, Ellen Pauper M F 34 Formerly Charwoman Liverpool, Lan
SMITH, John Pauper U M 20 Formerly Ag Lab Bromyard, Hef
COOK, James Pauper U M 30 Formerly Baker Bristol St Phillips, Gls
HANBURY, Elizabeth Pauper U F 58 Formerly House Servant Shirenewton, Mon
SIMS, Frances Pauper U F 16 Formerly House Servant Mathern, Mon
SIMS, John Pauper   M 7 Scholar Mathern, Mon
WILLIAMS, Stephen Pauper   M 10 Scholar Mathern, Mon
WILLIAMS, Haggar Pauper   M 4 Scholar Mathern, Mon
EDWARDS, Ann Pauper U F 26 Formerly Seamstress Pontypool, Mon
NICHOLAS, Phoebe Pauper U F 18 Formerly House Servant Mathern, Mon
THOMAS, Edward Pauper   M 6 Scholar Mathern, Mon
THOMAS, Emma Pauper   F 4 Scholar Mathern, Mon
WILLIAMS, Elizabeth Pauper U F 18 Formerly House Servant Caerwent, Mon
HARRIS, William Pauper   M 15 Formerly Shoemaker Newchurch East, Mon
JONES, Hannah Pauper   F 1   Newchurch East, Mon
HARRIS, John Pauper   M 65 Formerly Ag Lab Newchurch East, Mon
HARRIS, Thomas Pauper U M 18 Formerly Ag Lab Newchurch East, Mon
WATKINS, Margaret Pauper U F 30 Formerly House Servant Newchurch East, Mon

Happy New Year!!

Where does the time go?  Here we are in 2012 and I’m still stuck in the 1800’s 😉

I’m hoping the next year will bring plenty of fruitful searches of various records being made available online, as well as trips to various Places of Worship, Cemeteries and Record Offices.

I have already given the blog a makeover this year and have given myself a few goals to acheive this year.  However, whether they will be successful remains to be seen.

  1. Order a maximum of 2 certificates a month….. This is purely to ensure that my lifestyle ‘hobby’ doesn’t take over my budget life.
  2. Blog a little more frequently.  Lately, I’ve forgotten how to blog/had bloggers block and getting motivated is tough.
  3. Continue adding sources to family tree.… As much as I love researching the source citations suck but it’s a necessary evil.
  4. Finish the blog makeover… What you see at the moment is just the theme, there is a lot more to be done yet and finally..
  5. Visit Gwent Archives and get as much info as I can. :)

An update

I haven’t been posting as much as I wanted to lately, things started to catch up with me I guess. However for the remainder of 2011 and the start of 2012 I have some exciting things happening.

I took the plunge last week and purchased The Next Generation (TNG) and uploaded/installed it onto Walking with Ancestors. This means I am in the process of moving my tree from Tribal Pages to this domain. I learned a lot while installing it as it was the first time I used FTP (file transfer protocol) for anything other than deleting unnecessary files. I plan to write my own little ‘how to’ in the near future.  Transferring to TNG hasn’t been plain sailing as the GEDCOM from Tribal Pages did something a little screwy and missed out dates of birth, deaths and marriages from many of my relatives so now I’m adding them as I go along one branch at a time.  It’s time consuming and tedious (if I’m being honest).

I’ve also taken on another challenge and volunteered to help with Family Tree Forum’s Places of Worship project.  I’ve received a lot of help from the folks on the forum and they are fabulous.  It’s easy for me to help them out with a 6 year old who loves Churches, Chapels and Graveyards. 😉

So I may well be missing in action for a while but please don’t forget about me.. My family tree can now be viewed here.  Now, back to work…. I have at least 100 families to add. 😉

Chow for now.