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brentor boy
30-03-2010, 10:13 PM
When he married in October 1894, William John's age was recorded as 29 and his place of residence shown as Blaengarw. The space for his father's details was endorsed "deceased".

Whilst census records show minor variations in his year of birth, his place of birth is consistently shown as Cwmavon - allowing for some idiosyncratic spelling. In 1871 and 1881 he was living with his mother, Mary John, b Merthyr Tydfil 1826, in Merthyr Tydfil and Ferndale. In 1871 George John, b Merthyr Tydfil 1856, was also in residence. I am still looking for Mary and George in 1861.

I have a birth certificate for a William John, s/o Mary John, formerly Evans and an un-named father, born at Riverside, Aberavon (adjacent to Cwmavon) on 17 February 1863. Although it appears a reasonably close match I am hesitant about accepting it as correct without further corroborative evidence.

Despite the the helpful and tolerant assistance of Register Office staff, I have been unable to trace a George John born at Merthyr Tydfil to a Mary Evans/John. Nor have I found a William John born in Cwmavon, near Blaenavon. The only other clue I have, which I have yet to turn to advantage, is that a witness to the marriage was Ann John.

I feel I am going around in ever decreasing circles with this fellow, until I am at a stage where I am not sure which way is up, and it is quite possible that I am missing something that is staring me in the face. I hope somebody can help me, before I completely lose the plot! Perhaps if I could find Mary and George in 1861 that might give me lead. Or is there another Cwmavon I don't know about? Anything - please!

Mags S
31-03-2010, 2:58 AM
Could it be the Cwmavon near Port Talbot? I've found a few people who were born in that area and moved to the Bridgend Valleys area.

Waitabit
31-03-2010, 3:13 AM
brentnor boy, 1871 has a William JOHN age 7 b. Cwmavon c.1864 ...Mother MARGARET JOHN, 45 Colliers wife., b. Merthyr Tydfill. Son George 15 a haulier, b. Merthyr Tydfill.
No. 2 Wellingon Court. Merthyr Tydfill
Class: RG10; Piece: 5402; Folio: 2; Page: 1 (copywrite of TNA)

Waitabit
31-03-2010, 3:46 AM
1881 census
Margaret JOHN ..Widow ..55
William JOHN ...son.........17 a collier. b. Cwmavon c.1864
Danygraig Ferndale
Class: RG11; Piece: 5294; Folio: 84; Page: 11 (copywrite of TNA)

Mags S
31-03-2010, 3:59 AM
brentor boy, could you post the census references you do have, it may help if we could see those.

Waitabit - I see you refer to William John with mother Margaret, who I may have found in 1861 with son George (both born Merthyr Tydfil) but brentor boy refers to the mother as Mary, so if Margaret is the right mother this is the reference for the 1861 RG9; Piece: 4008; Folio:9; Page: 8 (copywrite of TNA). It's getting late now I'm confusing myself.

Waitabit
31-03-2010, 4:43 AM
brentor boy, could you post the census references you do have, it may help if we could see those.

Waitabit - I see you refer to William John with mother Margaret, who I may have found in 1861 with son George (both born Merthyr Tydfil) but brentor boy refers to the mother as Mary, so if Margaret is the right mother this is the reference for the 1861 RG9; Piece: 4008; Folio:9; Page: 8 (copywrite of TNA). It's getting late now I'm confusing myself.

Yes Mags, I've been sitting here contemplating that one too. The Father here is a brewer, yet in 1871 'Margaret' is a colliers wife. Changes happen tho'. Just haven't found 'John' in 1871 yet. several to choose from.

Possibly found John John b. 1828 Swansea. now in 1871 in Pontypridd ,John a Gen lab'r . Clydach, Glamorgan.
Sub-reg. dist: Ystradyfodwg Class: RG10; Piece: 5385; Folio: 12; Page: 17

(where a possible George John is found, lodging in 1881 at 30 Parry St
Class: RG11; Piece: 5302; Folio: 151; Page: 66;)
(coywrite held bt TNA)

Mags S
31-03-2010, 4:59 AM
Hi again,

Just looked at the 1861 census (as reference above) and see that the family are living in Trevethin, Monmouthshire (now Gwent), which according to googlemaps is 3.3 miles from the Cwmavon near Blaenavon and 1 mile from Pontypool. Would Pontypool be the registration district.

brentor boy
31-03-2010, 7:16 AM
Mags S and Waitabit,

Thanks, you have confirmed it - I am losing my mind! Mother's name should be MARGARET. The 1871/1881 census references are the ones I was quoting from. So sorry.

Waitabit
31-03-2010, 9:19 AM
No apologies brentor boy, we ALL do a whoops with names etc. from time to time. Important thing is , are we getting there yet?

We have Mags on the trail & she's a 'local' Lass. A win is on the way!

Mags S
31-03-2010, 9:57 AM
brentor boy, assuming Pontypool is the registration district, have you been able to rule out these births -

Dec 1863; JOHN William; 11a; 123

Jun 1865; JOHN William Henry; 11a; 154

I may be local (ish) but the welsh part of my familiy give me the most problems, too many common names and finding them on the census is a nightmare with all the bad transcriptions of place names.

brentor boy
31-03-2010, 10:57 AM
About a year ago I asked Pontypool Register Office to check two entries for birth of William John against given criteria. Both produced negative response. Unfortunately I did not keep a record of the entries I wanted checked nor of the criteria I provided. It wass possibly the two you quote, but I can not be certain.

If the ages given in 1871 and 1881 are to be relied on, William must have been born between late April 1863 and end of March 1864, so Dec Q 1863 looks attractive. Also, given the age difference between George and William, there is a chance that George's father may have died and Margaret had William as a single mother. William's marriage certificate could be interpreted as evidence of this. That being the case, it is also possible that Margaret may have been staying with friends away from Cwmavon during her confinement. So many variables!

I think I will re-submit a request for examination of the Dec Q 1863 entry, perhaps with more flexible "known" facts.

Mags S
31-03-2010, 11:03 AM
Good Luck

brentor boy
13-04-2010, 7:50 AM
Have now heard back from Pontypool Registrar that they have not been able to find a match for the information I gave, but some details are close. I realise that because the search criteria are a little vague and with no particularly distinctive feature, it can be difficult for them to determine the relevant entry. Does anyone know, is it permissible for personal search of the register? I could then make a balanced judgement on the merits of an entry.

I did ask if a search could be made for a "William", born to a "Margaret John", and who might have been illegitimate and registered initially in his father's name, but was advised that they search by the child's registered surname so could do nothing without that. I cannot even be sure what name Margaret was using when she registered the birth.

I have found a Margaret John b c 1826 and son George B(enjamin) b c 1856 living with her father, George Davies (b c 1790), in Merthyr Tydfil in 1861. Shown as a dressmaker, her occupation in 1851 before she was married.Then living with parents George and Margaret, as she was in 1841. (Sorry, not clever enough with references)

This does seem a possibility, but find it a little difficult to explain why, in 1871 and 1881, when she appears to be on her own, she describes herself simply as "colliers wife" and "widow". With such a skill, I would have thought she would have continued in it to support herself. I have not been able to find George B John in 1871/1881 to prove/disprove they are same family. And what would she have been doing in Cwmavon in 1864? - apart from giving birth to William!

brentor boy
23-04-2010, 6:52 PM
Hi Waitabit,

In post #6 you make a reference to a John John, of Swansea, in Clydach in1871. I am wondering why that particular entry caught your attention because it might just be significant.

I have received a birth certificate for a William John, born 1 Aug 1863, at Pwll y Glaw, Michaelstone Lower. Michaelstone-Super-Avon (Upper and Lower) was the historical parish in which Cwmavon was a hamlet. Pwll Y Glaw still exists and is on the northern edge of the modern Cwmavon. I am quite hopeful this is my man.

His parents were John and Margaret (Davies) John. Two people of those names appear on the G R O Index for Merthry Tydfil in 1853 and I have already discovered that a Margaret (Davies) John had a son George in Merthyr in 1855, so I think I am on the right track. Hopefully when I receive these two certificates my theory will be confirmed.

So, was it just by chance that you picked on John John or do you have a particularly advanced deductive capacity?

Waitabit
24-04-2010, 4:52 AM
So, was it just by chance that you picked on John John or do you have a particularly advanced deductive capacity? Oh I do like that,...want to say yes but am unaware of such. Place names caught my eye!

1871 John John was visiting Rees Hughes & Wife Ann. a marriage between Rees Hughes & Ann John was listed on reeBMD for Dec. 1865 at Neath..11a-841.

(A Kelly & a Mc Neil were on the same page.)

A wander on IGI found a John John christened 17 Mar. 1828 Parents William John & Ann. LLantrisant Glamorgan 35 miles -Swansea.
Ann John ? don't know yet.

Mags S
24-04-2010, 2:27 PM
John John b. Swansea shows up with Margaret in the 1861 census (refs previousl posted). Name wise everything you found seems to match up but I would be worried about the locations.

George born in Merthyr, then over to Cwmavon (Port Talbot area) for the birth of William? As the roads are now it seems (to me) pretty unlikely, tho' don't suppose impossible. Are you able to view the actual census by the refs. posted, if you'd like any help with that let us know.

Sorry if I've put a spoke in the wheel but I'm sure that you'd like to make everything as accurate as possible, I think this needs a lot more evidence but don't know how - sorry.

Waitabit
24-04-2010, 8:02 PM
Wary am I too Mags, after spending a BG-less day on maps of GLamorgan & censuses. So many same-name people with similar family members names. John John was hard to find with certainty on census & in marrriage lists. After time spent on IGI,...offeriings were even greater.
Brentor Boy I hope I haven't led you into false hopes.

brentor boy
25-04-2010, 8:15 AM
Mags S and Waitabit,

Thanks for your continuing interest and words of caution. I, too, am troubled by the locations - see my final comment of post #13 - and that the only two known children were born 8 years apart. In the absence of any obvious alternative, I am assuming that the Margaret and George John living with the Davies family in Merthyr Tydfil in 1861 is my couple, which begs the question where was husband/father in 1861/71 because it is not until 1881 that Margaret describes herself as a widow.

I have been struggling with this for some time now. My excitement is that at last I may have some hard evidence which could be valuable even if it is only for elimination purposes.

I will keep you posted.

brentor boy
21-05-2010, 10:03 AM
At long last I received certificates which seem to answer my questions about William John's parentage. If Waitabit and/or Mags S pick this up, perhaps they will scrutinise my conclusions.

In 1891 William declares his pob as Cwmavon, Glam (as opposed to Cwmavon Mon). This persuades me that the cert. I refer to in post #14 could well be him. As we have seen in 1881 he is with mother Margaret and in 1871 brother George B 1855/6 is also present.

When we come to 1861 we have an interesting situation. In the period 1852-57 there is only one registration of a birth in the name of George B John yet the census has two entries for George B John, age 5 born Merthyr Tydfil. RG9/4008/9/8 and RG9/4060/26/4 In one he is living in a household that contains, amongst others, John John. In the other he is is the household of George Davies. At both addresses there is also listed Margaret John, dressmaker, born Merthyr Tydfil. I now have the birth certificate of George B John, born 2 July 1855, Merthyr Tydfil, son of John and Margaret (Davies) John. I think this is all one and the same family. Perhaps the normal place of residence was Trevethin but on census night Margaret and son George were visiting her father, George Davies.

The marriage certificate for John John and Margaret Davies at Aberdare on 16 May 1853 shows the father of the bride as George Davies, miner. Father of the groom is given as John John, collier.

Waitabit's reference to John John in Clydach (post #6) seems a possible explanation for his absence from his family in 1871. Incidentally Margaret appears in the same location in 1891 (RG/12/4426/124/35) but I have yet to determine if she is related in anyway to her hosts.

If this is the same family, they certainly seem to have been rather unsettled, and there is little consistency in John's declared occupations although they are all unskilled labouring jobs - except for "brewer" in 1861! Don't know what to make of that.

Waitabit
22-05-2010, 3:17 AM
I think this is all one and the same family. Perhaps the normal place of residence was Trevethin but on census night Margaret and son George were visiting her father, George Davies.

This has happened to other people with their Families found recorded twice. "Put the name down because he/she lives here"...."Must put the name down because he/she is here at this time".

I like what you've written brentor boy, not just because it falls in so neatly but it's also plausible. This Family possibly had to move around for employment, unless the Brewer was making illegal brews, ( definitely joking here)
Onward to define Margaret!

brentor boy
22-05-2010, 6:41 AM
It has been fairly easy to trace Margaret as in both 1841 and 1851 she is living with her parents George and Margaret, and other siblings appear on both records. John John is a bit more problematic. In both years I can find only one person of a matching name, age and pob. In 1841 he is living with mother(?) Mary, whose description as a widow appears to have been deleted, and a brother(?) David, living in Swansea Lower. In 1851 he is recorded as a visitor in the household of David in Aberystruth, Blaina. It is tempting to think that this is my man but I would like to find some other corroborating evidence before accepting this fully.