For anyone dipping a toe into family history a great free source of information is the 1881 census, and at the moment it’s the only one which is always completely free. It’s available on several sites but I tend to use familysearch.org which has a good search facility. I tested a family member with a very common name- Thomas Evans, gave a 5-year window for his name and the correct one was on the top few results. Thomas George Evans, born 1875 was Ivy’s father, so he was my great grandfather. He was born in Wellington, Shropshire as were most of his siblings but I haven’t found any online christening records to confirm this. He lived at 27 Neath Yard Road, Llansamlet in 1881 but it doesn’t exist any more, so I’m not sure exactly where it is. Looking at the area around Llansamlet it was all small collieries and canals and railway lines. Probably the same as many square miles of south Wales at the time. I wonder what they would make of us, with plenty to eat, gas central heating, few people with manual jobs like they would have known, life expectancy of over 80 and watching, tapping and prodding several interactive screens at once. How bizarre.
So, I knew that my Grandmother (Ivy Evans) was Welsh, and born just outside Maesteg in 1910. When I had a quick scout for her family I found them on the 1911 and 1901 censuses in the Bridgend registration district, and saw that they were both English and I thought ‘that’s the extent of the Welsh then’ and resigned myself to it. I met up with my only Uncle from this side of the family over the summer and it prompted me to do a bit more research. My great grandmother Jane Williams was only English (born in Cheltenham in 1867) because she was illegitimate and probably sent away from home to have the baby. Margaret Williams, who was Jane’s mother and was 22 at the time was from Aberystwyth and both of her parents Richard and Elizabeth were also Welsh, from Ceredigion and Conwy.
Some of the most interesting sources I have found have been in connection with Richard Williams who is described on the census as either Grocer or Confectioner. Welsh newspapers have been put online (and more importantly, indexed) by the National Library of Wales at http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/home and there are plenty of references from descriptions of court proceedings through the 1860s and 1870s with Richard not paying his poor tax or water rates and leaving the shop that he rented with a confectionary machine that did not belong to him. I have found a few other people who share this part of the family tree and it’s always nice to feel (however vaguely) connected to other people, Anyhow, an eighth of the family tree is Welsh at least back to 1800. I currently live in a cottage built in the 1790s and it’s quite comforting in some way to think that I have something in common with them.
There are a number of myths that I have no way of substantiating- Ellen Hamilton (nee Collins) was from Cork, so obviously there is a family legend that she was a cousin of THE Michael Collins. Related to this is the story that James was disowned by his family for marrying a Catholic- certainly his children were raised Catholic and his daughters married the Eedy brothers who were Catholic Irish immigrants.
There is a similar theme of the fall-out from a Protestant-Catholic marriage on the Eedy side of the family a couple of generations before this. Again the man, Robert Eedy is the Protestant and his second wife Catholic. They live on Eedy land, a farm (in Cork again). The myth here is that she had their children christened in secret and the family then got asked to move to a house some distance away. I will have to do some more work to be certain where the children were christened. Not for the first time, I wish that so many Irish records hadn’t been destroyed!
But back for the moment to the Hamilton family- I mentioned in the previous post that there may have been a child born to Ellen and James before their wedding in 1864. There is certainly a James Hamilton born in Q1 (so Jan-March) 1864 in Cardiff and his parents are called James and Ellen Hamilton, but Ellen’s maiden name in Fenton and on the 1871 census, baby James (and a second child, Ellen) are with grandparents in Roath. I haven’t found the parents in 1871. Everyone should have at least one middle name which they use consistently so they can be found generations later! Sometimes you just have a feeling about what you find- I don’t think these identically-named people are related to mine! Back to Cork’s birth records…
This is my partner’s Great-Great-Grandfather and all I originally knew about him was that his name was James Hamilton and he was allegedly disowned by his family for marrying a Catholic.
He was quite easy to trace on the 1901 census in Cardiff, and the back through to the 1871 census and his marriage to Ellen Collins in Llandaff Cathedral in 1864. On the 1871 census James has the occupation of ‘Chelsea Pensioner’ so I looked at the military records and was very lucky…I found his full pension record so I was really excited about that- the details are the thing really. Height, eye colour and all that. Also the hints like he had good conduct but had been mentioned 22 times in the regimental book.
Working backwards from the dates of his army record which are quite precise, he was born in the parish of Seapatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland between Nov 1829 and Jan 1830. His father was named Samuel and was a hansom cab-driver. James joined the Royal Artillery in 1847 when he was 17 years and 9 months and underage to qualify for the service pension and joined up in Lisburn, County Antrim. He didn’t leave the army until Tuesday 26th April 1870, a total of 22 years, 159 days and was a decorated serviceman who had Lucknow and Sebastapol clasps for service in India and Crimea. By the time he retired he was a Serjeant.
I don’t know the dates that he was in Crimea, but the war was 1853-56 (and James served 1 year 2 months) and quite soon after that he went out to India (2 years 11 months) probably 1857-59. An obituary in the Western Mail on Monday 27th Dec 1909 says that he was then a drill serjeant at Maindy Barracks in Cardiff.
He died on Dec 23rd 1909 in Cardiff and left no will. I couldn’t find an obituary in the South Wales Echo but there was one in the South Wales Daily News (below) He was interred in Cathays cemetary Letter R, No. 2839 but there is no headstone.
The family lived at Clive St and then Bryon St but looking through the maps this was actually the same place as the road changed names sometime between 1881 and 1891. There are no old houses on that street now but I imagine they were similar small terraced houses like the rest of the area. One family researcher has James and Ellen’s first child being born three months before their marriage and dying in early infancy but I haven’t verified this yet. Certainly the first two children who survived were Martha and Ellen who married brothers Abraham and Stephen Eedy.
More about this family to follow…
Today not much has happened in the bubble. The baby is in bed, the dogs have been walked, man is watching Man Utd so I get to organise my makeup drawer and for extra fun I might wash my makeup brushes. You may think this is ironic, but oh no- I love organising cupboards and drawers. This weekend I have tidied every cupboard downstairs apart from the one holding CDs and DVDs (it’s on the list for next weekend). Yay for opening a drawer and seeing neatness. Can you tell that I also love stationary? This picture combines two things I love- pretty patterns and buying stuff…
Etsy is a pretty recent discovery for me, but I love the variety of pretty things to look at! When I was about 8 I wanted to own a shop and knit toys. Instead I am an administrator and my knitting is rubbish- I can’t even get the hang of doing pearl stitches. I used to love the first day of a new term when you got to open the new pack of felt pens and use a new bag, pencil case and get all new books in lessons. I don’t know why I always made a spelling mistake on the first page. I wonder whether kids still have set squares and compasses for maths. They probably have a computer program instead and are missing out on the total disappointment of not being able to draw a perfect circle- ever.
Back to tidying the bubble.
I have always loved maps, mostly old maps. They can be of anywhere, although the more I know about the history of a place, the more interesting it is that it was captured in time. I have just found the maps that have been georeferenced (old and new maps lined up so you can go from old to new or vice-versa) by the British Library
The house I grew up in is on an 1810 map of Pembrokeshire but the Cardiff map doesn’t extend far enough to see where I live now although the house should have been built by then.
What I would really like is a map where you can scroll through time and see the development of the railways, roads, houses etc. If anyone knows of one then send me the link!
On a totally different note I bought a lovely new nail varnish today. Yay.
The title of this blog is the nickname that my other half/ partner/ significant other/ man I live with who isn’t my husband calls my tendancy to not pay attention to things that I don’t care about- the washing up for instance. So this blog is going to be about all of the things that are in the bubble. Hopefully it will be a way of linking to people who I will never meet otherwise who like similar stuff- family history, books, jewellery, words, beauty products, cake- just to take examples.
Firstly, some wallpaper. I love old wallpaper patterns. I have never lived in a house that has had much wallpaper as they have mostly been stone cottages so everything is just painted. In a total sidetrack from doing the online banking I should be doing- here are some pictures of wallpaper the National Trust have. Aren’t they gorgeous…