Who is William? Part 3a – Evaluating the Evidence

Step 3 of breaking down a brick wall is to re-evaluate the evidence collected so far and attempt to find the original records themselves.

So, to begin I will start with the first event on William’s timeline.

The birth of William Williams

  • William was born on 7th February 1884.
  • William was born in Porth, Glamorgan.

The information for William’s birth comes from two different sources.  The date comes from the 1939 Register and the place comes from the 1911 census.

A transcription of the 1939 Register for William Williams.

A transcription of the 1939 Register for William Williams.

The 1939 Register was compiled at the outbreak of the Second World War.  National Registration Day was 29th September 1939.  It is one of the most important documents created during the twentieth century.

However, the date of birth is only as accurate as the person who supplied the information, however, I can take 7 February 1884 as a point of reference.

The information held in the register though does not give me place of birth.  For this, I need to rely on the only census return I can guarantee is ‘my’ William.

A transcription of the 1911 census for William Williams

A transcription of the 1911 census for William Williams

The 1911 Census was taken on 2nd April 1911.  The images available contain the handwriting of the person filling in the form (normally the head of the household).  Information may potentially be more accurate than on previous census images.

While the place of birth may not be entirely accurate, I have used Porth, Glamorgan as the centre point of my search for William’s birth certificate.

Locating a birth certificate

Porth was in the Llanwonno Parish in 1884.  Llanwonno civil parish is in the Pontypridd Registration District.

Now I have to consider what could be wrong with the date of birth.  The date being wrong alone wouldn’t cause us much of a problem… however, the month and year could mean that my results are completely out.

Since the beginning of civil registration in 1837, births are required to be registered within 6 weeks of the event or a fine will be enforced.  The four registration periods are January to March, April to June, July to September and October to December.

Assuming the date of birth is correct

If the birth date of William is accurate then the chances are that his birth would have been registered before the end of March.

There are just 2 William Williams registered in the first quarter of 1884 in Pontypridd.

  1. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/414

  2. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/404

There are also 6 Williams with middle names

  1. William Arthur Pontypridd 11a/406

  2. William David Pontypridd 11a/437

  3. William Edmund Pontypridd 11a/398

  4. William Henry Pontypridd 11a/407

  5. William Henry Pontypridd 11a/442

  6. William John Pontypridd 11a/446

‘My’ William does not have a middle name as far as I know.  I will put these Williams with middle names to one side just in case.

Assuming the day and month of birth are correct but the year is wrong

If I assume the year is wrong, I will search one year either side.

There is just 1 William Williams registered in the first quarter of 1883 in Pontypridd.

  1. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/395

There are also 2 William’s with middle names

  1. William Edward Pontypridd 11a/368

  2. William Watkin Pontypridd 11a/409

There are 4 William Williams’ registered in the first quarter of 1885 in Pontypridd.

  1. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/422

  2. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/451

  3. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/502

  4. WILLIAMS, William Pontypridd 11a/421

There are also 2 William’s with middle names

  1. William Daniel Pontypridd 11a/395

  2. William James Pontypridd 11a/426

Next Step

The next logical step is to follow through will evaluating the evidence I already have.  I don’t want to step too far ahead of myself.  However, I think I need to get the copy of the marriage certificate for William and Harriett and get ALL the information off that before going any further.   I have a transcription but it isn’t the same.

The next step of this series will be concentrating on William’s marriage to Harriett and the births of their children.

Series Navigation<< Who is William? The TimelineWho is William? – Part 3b – Evaluating William’s Marriage >>