With the 6 nations show down between Wales and England today its time to celebrate my Welsh ancestry! My great grandfather Owen Evan Jones was born in the town of Trefriw in the Conwy valley in North Wales in 1875.
His father Llewelyn Robert Jones had worked in the wood yards and the iron works as well as a lime burner. It must have been a tough life in this part of Wales and Owen left sometime after 1891 as a qualified teacher. His father had disowned him for teaching English which was the only language allowed in the schools so he moved to Lancashire.
This must have been a very strange place to a young man whose family had been in Caernarvonshire and Denbighshire for generations. Luckily he found love in the form of my great grandmother Hannah Honorah Audrey Spencer and started his own family. Here they are enjoying a family trip to the beach:
Despite moving to England he was always proud of his Welsh roots and taught his grandson (my dad) how to pronounce the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (and he can still say it!). It was partly the pull of this Welsh blood that led me to choose Swansea university and loved spending 3 years enjoying the culture and rugby!
This summer I finally got my first visit to Trefriw even though it was very brief. Some of it looked like is must have done when he was there in the 19th century. I wonder if they were church or chapel and which one of these religious buildings they used on a Sunday:
The current school was built after my great grandfather had left but I wonder if the original school was just this house:
One day I will get back and do more research to find out more about my Jones and Roberts ancestors and my Welsh roots.. Only problem is I may have to learn Welsh to do so and so far I am struggling beyond bore da and nos da…
This week I am looking at my mother's side of the family and the Linford surname. At one point we thought the name was dying out in our branch of the family so I double barrelled my maiden name to include it and then gave my children it as and extra middle name. This century there have been 3 Linford boys born to the family so hopefully it will continue for some time yet.
The name means dweller at the lime tree ford and there at least five parts of the UK it could have come from. This means we could have originated from Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire or Leicestershire. As yet we haven't traced back far enough to find out which.
My grandfather Vivian Haldane Bruce Linford was born in Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire in 1900. He was the youngest of 5 children born to Albert Wallace and Annie Mary Harrison Nash. My family seem to have the habit of using surnames as middle names and the Scottish tradition of using other family members names as well.
Tragically the eldest daughter Violet died as an infant. The others went on to either marriage and family or in the case of my great aunt Madeline a groundbreaking career as a journalist and first editor of the Guardian's women's page. There are some interesting articles on her here and on my cousin Paul Linford's blog. She also published a few novels and a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft.
Albert was a travelling salesman for a brewery and he had moved from Southampton to Scotland and then down to Manchester as he was posted to different regions. The family were very well off until he was admitted to an asylum around 1910. The former family home in Manchester is now a seminary for Catholic priests and was a substantial family home. Unfortunately medical fees used up most of his estate and my grandfather was unable to follow his siblings to university.
Albert was the only son of Henry Albert and Elizabeth Martha Forbes. He was born in Lewisham, Kent and lived in Middlesex and then at the Southwestern Hotel in Southampton which his father was the proprietor of. Albert had 7 sisters:
I haven't established how Henry went from being a clerk to running a hotel but it seems a strange career move! The hotel was built at the railway terminus from London and it was used to accommodate passengers before they embarked on a liner from the port (later on many first class passengers from the Titanic spent their last night in England at the hotel). Henry was a prominent local citizen and even spent time as mayor. Tragically he was only 56 when he died leaving his wife with children still of school age to raise alone.
He was one of 5 children born to John Thomas and Sarah Hamley Weeks in Canterbury, Kent:
John Thomas was a chemist and druggist in the city and at one point owned a shop in Burgate. His father-in-law William Weeks had been in the same business and for some years they were in business together. Things weren't always a smooth ride as John appears in bankruptcy records a couple of times. Like his son Henry he held public office and was a mayor of Canterbury in 1823.
John had been born in Vauxhall, Surrey (now London) to Samuel and Mary Butcher. Samuel was a butcher in Vauxhall and he also owned quite a few properties and had a complex will in 1832. Nothing much is known about his parents Joseph and Elizabeth Kitchinman other than their marriage in 1750 which produced three children.
I have to say that since being given an iPad I’ve discovered how good the Ancestry app is. It never really worked for me on the iPhone but on the iPad it really shines.
Once you have downloaded your family tree from Ancestry on to your iPad it then starts looking for hints for existing members of your family. When you review each hint it brings up an image of the relevant data such as census page or sheet from a church record. You can then review the information and either accept or ignore. If you accept you can then choose which items get changed on your tree. The source information is automatically added.
A very useful app but be careful as you could be on there for hours…
I am loving the free access to the 1911 Census on Ancestry.co.uk this weekend (11-14th May). I have discovered an ancestor was a soldier and added a new 4x great grandfather to my tree.
Get on there quick!
As far as this site is concerned here are my plans for 2012:
- Post at least once a week
- Add more about my personal family tree to break down barriers
- Provide more assistance to others in their family history and IT journey
What are your Family History plans for 2012
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The official wedding photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a great example of the treasure trove these photographs can be. The various relatives and their relationships to each other (or not) can help fill in gaps on family trees.
Not all family trees are as well documented as the Royal Family’s but it’s great to have such a happy family moment recorded for posterity however famous the family is.
Just remember to write names alongside your photographs and include them in your family tree to bring them all to life.
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If you are part of a group that would be interested in this course then please contact me for pricing.