View Full Version : Russian ancestors?
20-03-2006, 2:50 PM
I am helping a friend to trace his family and it appears that in 1870 his G Grandparents came to Wales from Minsk. We assume that the family changed their name when they arrived in Wales. Does anyone have any idea how to track down the original name?
20-03-2006, 3:29 PM
You might try this site:
20-03-2006, 3:40 PM
What is the name you have?
20-03-2006, 8:31 PM
The only name I have it Watts. Not much to go on !
20-03-2006, 9:37 PM
Would they be Allison and Matilda?
Allison married William John Wadmore in Portsea Island, Hampshire in Dec qtr 1871 (vol 2b pg 753). Maybe the certificate would give an alternate name...
20-03-2006, 9:57 PM
The mans name is more likely to be joseph as this has been carried on in the family - they arrived in Wales in 1870 aqnd had a son Joseph Thomas in 1871 but that is all I know.
20-03-2006, 10:00 PM
I wondered if there were any records such as passenger lists for that period as I would gues they would have arrived in Cardiff by boat
21-03-2006, 5:22 AM
There's this birth:
Joseph Thomas Watts
Year of Registration: 1871
Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
District: Kings Norton
County: Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
Perhaps getting the certificate might help - it would have both parents' names on it.
I had searched the 1871 census for Watts born in Russia, which is how I got the 2 girls' names, b: 1849 & 1850. They were the only ones, living with their mother Jane (a widow), a niece (Blanche Collins, age 4), and an orphan (Alice Tribe, age 8). The mother was from Portsea, originally. No husband was present, so must not be your lot. It LOOKED good, though!
21-03-2006, 8:19 PM
Thanks very much for your help I will keep looking
22-03-2006, 8:58 AM
I am helping a friend to trace his family and it appears that in 1870 his G Grandparents came to Wales from Minsk.
Do any census returns indicate if he was a British Subject? After the birthplace, you might see the letters (BS) to indicate this.
27-03-2006, 3:44 PM
Sorry had computer problem!
We don't know if he was British subject. But I think the original Russian name may have been Watz or Vatz - as far as I know the family came to Wales in 1870 from Minsk and Joseph Thomas Watts was born in 1871 but in Newtown Montgomeryshire but I cant find any one of that name born in that area I have only found was born in Kings Norton
27-03-2006, 4:06 PM
I think I found his birth!!
Thomas Watts, b: Mar qtr 1871, Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Powys, Wales (vol 11b pg 207).
Hope this helps-
27-03-2006, 4:12 PM
Thanks so much ! I suppose they registered him as Thomas rather than Joseph - how confusing! I will get the certificate and see what it reveals then I can concentrate on my family tree! which is much easier to research.
I see you are based in Canada I only have one family connection there the rest are mainly in New Zealand and Australia.
27-03-2006, 4:30 PM
I've only lived here in Canada for 13 years - I'm originally from Massachusetts. I have one branch that goes into Australia, but haven't researched it at all, yet. Everything takes time...
27-03-2006, 4:56 PM
In the 1871 census, 3-mo-old Thomas Watts is living with his parents and older brother in Kerry, which is in Newtown:
Thomas Watts abt 1826 Bettws, Shropshire, England Head Drefor and Feen and Kerry Montgomeryshire
Hannah Watts abt 1832 Kerry, Montgomeryshire, Wales Wife Drefor and Feen and Kerry Montgomeryshire
Richard Watts abt 1867 Kerry, Montgomeryshire, Wales Son Drefor and Feen and Kerry Montgomeryshire
Thomas Watts abt 1871 Kerry, Montgomeryshire, Wales Son Drefor and Feen and Kerry Montgomeryshire
Registration district: Newtown
Sub-registration district: Kerry
ED, institution, or vessel: 6
For Richard to have been born in 1867, Hannah must have returned to have her first child near her mother? Later being joined by her husband... Hence the gap between births (in an age when b.c. meant abstinence - or absence). Bettws, where Thomas Sr. was born, is also in Newtown.
There is a marriage for Thomas Watts in Newtown in Dec qtr 1852 (vol 11b pg 397). This would certainly fit with Thomas Sr's age, as he was born abt 1826 according to the census...
27-03-2006, 5:07 PM
In the 1851 census, 26-yr-old Thomas Watts (b: Shropshire) was a farm servant at the home of Jane Pryce (looks like - could be Byce) in Cloddie, Montgomeryshire.
I don't have access to the 1841, but it would be interesting to know if he's on it - it would likely be in either Montgomeryshire or Shropshire.
27-03-2006, 5:14 PM
You have been busy! The only thing is that I know that Thomas/Joseph Watts father was born in Russia, we now think he was Jewish. Also Thomas/Joseph born 1871 was married in 1896 (just found this out!) in hackney London. I am confused!! I am getting bits of info given to me by my friend and each time it changes my searches!
The info you found matches with names etc but not places and some dates don't fit, but others do match. Hence the confusion!
27-03-2006, 5:33 PM
Another Thomas Watts, b: abt 1790 (age 60), POB not known, is an agricultural laborer in Chetton, Shropshire in 1851. He is married to 40-yr-old Mary, from Cundover, Salop (aka Shropshire). With them is a niece, Elizabeth Knowles, age 6, b: Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
Perhaps this Thomas was born in Russia? It looks possible that he may be Thomas Sr's father... but likely Mary is a second wife...
27-03-2006, 5:46 PM
Found a christening for Thomas Watts, born Bettws, Shropshire on 6 Nov 1824. Mother's name Eleanor. (from FamilySearch, listed as extracted from register, so should be confirmable through parish records for Bettws). Supposing Thomas' father was Jewish, but he married a Christian who remained so, she may have wanted her son christened, since he wasn't born to a Jewish mother, and so wasn't Jewish like his father... It would also explain why the father's name isn't on the record (if he were Jewish, he might have demurred). Just a few thoughts...
27-03-2006, 5:55 PM
Well, her Thomas Watts can't be the same one I found, then, as this one is living with his parents in Kerry in both the 1891 and 1901 census. How certain is she of the marriage in London? Is she a direct descendant of Thomas or is her Thomas a cousin of some sort?
27-03-2006, 6:26 PM
The Joseph Thomas Watts who married Florence Mary Selby in Hackney in Jun Qtr 1896 was, according to the 1901 census, born in Bethnal Green in 1871, and had a brother Charles who was living with them and their three daughters Mary (4), Maud, and Rose (the last 2 were twins- age 10 mos.). Charles, age 26, was also born in Bethnal Green.
27-03-2006, 6:43 PM
In 1891, Joseph and his brother Charles, both born Bethnal Green, are living with their widowed grandmother Mary Lewis in Mile End Old Town, London.
27-03-2006, 10:14 PM
This is definitely the right Joseph Thomas Watts!
Thanks so much for your help.
Getting late here in the Uk so I will resume the search tommorow -thanks again
17-05-2006, 12:52 PM
To find the 1891 census record, above:
Registration district: Mile End Old Town
Sub registration district: Mile End Old Town, Eastern
ED, institution, or vessel: 30
17-05-2006, 1:12 PM
As for Joseph's birth, you might try:
Dec qtr 1866, Newington (vol 1d pg 240).
It seems the nearest one to Hackney, and Bethnal Green contains a sub-district named Hackney Road...
Also: There is a Joseph Albert Watts born in Bethnal Green in Sep qtr 1871 (vol 1c pg 228). The age matches that on the 1901 census, along with the location, and it wouldn't be the first time the name on the index didn't match the one on the certificate (my gr-grandmother is listed as Elizabeth on the index, but her name was Martha!!).
17-05-2006, 2:57 PM
Thank you very much - greatly appreciated
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