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Conundrum...

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by jorghes, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    My Christmas card from one of my maternal cousins who knows I research our mutual branch of the family tree included a conundrum.

    I wanted to see what the venerable brains of this forum thought about this before I offer what I think may be the explanation to my cousin.

    Our mutual ancestor William Williams was born in about 1832 in Newport, Monmouth, he possibly married Ann Jenkins around 1860 (I say possibly, as I have never managed to find a marriage for them both), she was born in approximately 1828 in Glamorgan (presumably Cardiff though unconfirmed).

    My cousin sent me the 1871 census entry for them, which has them living at 20 Baldwin St in Newport with four children:
    William H Turner, 9
    Charlotte A William, 6
    Frederick A Turner, 4
    Joseph W Turner, 1
    All the children are listed as being born in Newport.

    The boys match the names and ages of their children:
    William Henry (1862), Frederick Augustus (1867) and Joseph (1870); they didn't have a daughter Charlotte, however they did have a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, born in 1862, which would match "Charlotte A". There is also possibly an older daughter, born about 1860/1861 called Mary Jane.

    They appear on the 1881 census together at 4 Robert St, Newport, with their children as follows:
    Wm. Henry, 19
    Elizabeth Ann, 16
    Fredk. Augustus, 14
    Joseph, 11

    (as a side note, I just noticed that in the same house in 1881 lived Benjamin Thomas and his wife Mary Jane with daughter Louisa... may need to investigate this!)

    By 1891, they are living at 46 Robert St with two children:
    Frederick Augusta, 24
    Joseph, 21
    and a grandson, another William Henry, aged 7.

    I have searched the GRO and can't find a matching set of "Turner" children for the ages given, although I have a set of Williams children with a Jenkins mother for William Henry, Elizabeth Ann, Frederick Augustus and Joseph (And a possible for Mary Jane). I have both William Henry & Elizabeth Ann's birth registers and have ordered those for Frederick and Joseph just to confirm.

    I believe that the 1871 census record is a very strange error, giving the children a "Turner" surname as opposed to "Williams", though I can't explain how it occurred.

    I have not found William or his wife Ann Jenkins on any earlier censuses than 1871, though I probably should be able to find them as a married couple in 1861.
    Ann died in 1895, and William appears on the 1901 census at 3 Robert St, with Benjamin Thomas & Mary Jane.

    I don't know where or when William died (difficult to find the right William Williams in Wales...), but I haven't discovered him, as yet, in 1911.

    Would I be right in suggesting to my cousin that the 1871 census is a rather strange anomaly? Or is there another explanation?
     
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'd suggest focusing on the possible reasons why you haven't been able to find the marriage - you may find that the Turner surname is part of the solution.
     
  3. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I was having a search for Mary Jane and her parents in the 1861 census, and I may have come across the reason that I can't find the marriage - I found an 1861 census return with a William, an Ann and a Mary Jane all of the correct ages, in Newport - but with John, 9; and James, 6.

    So I moved back in the marriage records (from 1860) and a reasonably wide sweep found a possible marriage in Newport for the first quarter of 1847 between William Williams and Ann Jenkins. I've added it to my current spurt of orders from the GRO, and in order to confirm a possible extra bunch of children, the Williams/Jenkins births for a John (1852) and a James (1855) from Newport which I discovered in the GRO records that match the 1861 census returns.

    That may solve my marriage conundrum, but doesn't answer the "Turner" conundrum. (It may also add a bunch more children to William and Ann's marriage if the certificates match, although with the Williams/Jenkins match it doesn't make it easy to find children in Wales!)

    **on a happier note, if the 1861 census return does come through, it may also have solved my brick wall of William's parents, as they're living on a farm called (?) Mendell Gief, with another William Williams, 54, his wife Jane, also 54, and their three unmarried daughters aged between 20 and 25.
     
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Ann would probably not have married for the first time in 1860, since she would have been 32 (based on the 1871 Census). That's why I suggested you considered the reasons why you couldn't find the marriage - one of which was that it wasn't her first marriage.
    If William and Ann did indeed marry in Q1 1847 then William's age (39) in the 1871 Census is almost certainly wrong - which seems fairly unlikely given that Ann was older.

    I only order marriage certificates as a last resort - so many marriage registers are online these days. Did you remember to check Monmouthshire marriages at Findmypast? There was a marriage in 1851 between a William Williams (haulier, father William, farmer) and an Ann Jenkin(s) (father John, labourer) at Malpas, a mile or two north of Newport. Both were shown as of "full age" which is often a clue that at least one of them wasn't.

    This marriage ties in more closely with William's stated age in 1871 and the birth of their first child (if it was their first child) in 1852.
     
  5. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I didn't consider that Ann could have been married before - but then I couldn't find any matching records for Turners with the appropriate first names on the GRO (William Henry, Frederick or Joseph), either with or without matching maiden names for the mother (regardless of what it was). I did find matching Williams/Jenkins births for all three of the boys - and I do already have William Henry Williams birth entry from a previous search to do with the grandson that appeared in 1891. I can't find a single "Charlotte A Williams" or "Charlotte A Turner" in the GRO for Newport in approximately 1862. It is of course possible that this isn't my ancestor, but everything else matches when Elizabeth Ann Williams (birth register which I have) appears on the 1871 census.

    Admittedly, I do have a instance of a great-grandfather in my tree who married at 16 (I checked it about three times - but I have both his birth register entry and his marriage entry, and his death entry) to an older woman who seems to have been nearing her twenties (possibly as old as 24). It feels a little freaky, even more so when you realise that his first child was born in 1874 and his last in 1914 - his last couple of children were younger than some of his grandchildren. (and if you think that may be a little impossible, he did have two wives)

    Thank you for finding that, I have now discovered it. I kept searching for this particular William Williams from the 1861 census, and discovered the 1851 census return where he's suggested to be 20 and unmarried, which would fit with the 1851 marriage in November. I had forgotten that there are parish records on FMP - I search through so many different parishes and counties that I can forget where I can access different things - I should start keeping a list.

    Unfortunately that marriage certificate doesn't give a Turner either (had a look at the witnesses), neither does looking for a Williams/Turner birth for any of the possible younger siblings of William from the 1861 census - Amy, Mary and John (discovered there is a stroke which might make "7" from the transcription into "17" - although "Thomas" still looks to be 3, and possibly is an illegitimate son of one of the sisters), unfortunately most of the records that might match are all similar: Jones, Jenkins, Morgan and for some there are more than one (there were about three Marys with a Morgan or Jones on the GRO for Newport in the same 2 year period!) Which unfortunately makes it slightly more impossible, that and the girls may have been using nicknames, as the 1851 (and possible 1841) census returns I have found seem to change the names - The 1861 census has Jane, Amy and Mary; the 1851 census has Jane, Emma & Mary with slightly different ages.

    The birth entries for James & John are due on the 11th, and those I discovered for Frederick and Joseph in a couple of days.
     
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The witnesses may not be family - one of them also witnessed the next marriage in the register, which was the following month.

    Turner may be an error by the enumerator caused my muddling up the schedules during the copying process (look at the schedule numbers on that page). You could try looking at the same location in other censuses to see if there were any Turners living there.
     
  7. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    The same witness appears three times on the two pages - along with another two "Pallingers", probably was a "go-to" witness for the vicar.

    I will have a look around at the pages and see if I can find any Turners.
     
  8. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    In the 1871 census, at number 22 Baldwin St (the next page), there is a William H Turner, aged 8, a visitor at a Turner household, where the enumerator had to change surnames a few times.
     
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I agree, it looks as if Turner was an error by a confused (or drunk?) enumerator.
     
  10. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Thank you for your helpful suggestions Peter, I’m going to wait for the birth registers to come in before I offer this answer, and hopefully some new information on marriages, parents and new children we didn’t know existed to my cousin.
     
  11. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Confirmation has arrived, both John (1852) and James (1855)’s birth registers match what I currently know about the family - William Williams, labourer of some description, Ann Jenkins, neither of whom could write.

    Looks like the 1861 census was correct and I can take a step back another generation, although searches for a possible marriage between the elder William Williams and his wife Jane, brought up the possibility that they may have the same surname...

    Thanks again for your aid, Peter!
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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