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Whatever happened to Fred Llewellyn?

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by Bob Spiers, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I would like to know what other Forums members make of my dilemma in trying to trace someone and wondering if the person found is the right one, and when and where did he die?

    I sought a Frederick Llewellyn (FL) born to a single mother (no father named) in a Workhouse Infirmary 24th Mary 1911 in Birmingham. I have the Birth Certificate. I know Frederick was in an ‘Emigration’ Home from an early age and was sent out to Canada aged 13 in 1925. For a reason still to be discovered, aged 17 ½ he returned to the UK docking in Liverpool in October 1928. I have no idea who paid his passage home and the Passenger List gives no clues; but at the moment that is a secondary issue.

    With no Censuses available I turned to the 1939 Register and there struck gold, or thought I did, for I found a Frederick E Llewellyn (FEL) (my Frederick had no middle initial, or at least not given at birth), with the same birth date, married and living in Southend on Sea, in Essex.

    Whilst still pondering whether they were one and the same I spotted a marriage annotation against his wife Phoebe Llewellyn, showing she became Mrs McDonald in October 1945. So, inevitably, given wartime, presumed FL had died, and likely had been a casualty of war?

    I had no luck with civilian deaths and nothing discovered for Army or RAF casualties of war, but I had more luck with the Navy and found an Able Seaman Frederick E Llewellyn who died on the 26th October 1946

    I know strictly post war, but it happened when his ship hit a mine in the Mediterranean and the incident is well documented and the mining date coincides with his death date.

    So if this was Phoebe's husband how could she remarry exactly a year earlier in 1945? They may have divorced of course but at the time divorce was quite rare (and expensive) and although she may have re-married bigamously, I thought it unlikely. But what had happened to FL (or even FEL)?

    I returned to his place of birth and found in a 1945 Birmingham Electoral Roll a Frederick Llewellyn living in Lodgings, and of course had no age to determine if my FL. He would have had family (of sorts) in Birmingham but in the absence of records, found nothing to determine he ever contacted them.

    I came across a death for a Frederick E Llewellyn (back to the middle initial) in 1958 with a birth year of 'about 1912'. So apart from the middle initial again entering the fray, a sort of acceptable conclusion; or is it? I am troubled by the whole matter so thought it wise to seek the opinions of other Forum members who may spot something I missed, or can suggest another course of research. So, opinions please. Am I on the right track or barking up the wrong Tree (literally)?
  2. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Hi Bob, Is Frederick's mother named Minnie? There is a public tree on Ancestry with a Frederick Llewellyn, mother Minnie Llewellyn 1892 - 1961 and a marriage to a Phoebe Thomas 1906 - 1981 but on checking that marriage Sept qtr 1930 is to a Frederick E Llewellyn.
  3. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Yes Heather and thank you. You are bang on with Minnie Llewellyn being his mother and highlighting the problem of an additional middle initial that I conveyed in my posting. My Frederick (Minnie's son) was given her surname and NO middle initial. That said, Frederick E Llewellyn who married Phoebe Thomas in Southend in 1930 had exactly the same birth date as my Frederick, and the mystery deepens when Phoebe remarried in 1945. Presumably Frederick E Llewellyn died but the only death that fits for a seaman shows he died in 1946. The remainder of the story is as told in my posting...What happened to Frederick Llewellyn after 1928 when in the UK and is Frederick E Llewellyn (with the same birth date) one and the same?

    I think probably not, but that is what I seek to find out.
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    There is no Frederick E Llewellyn birth registered in 1911 so there seems a reasonable possibility that 'your' Frederick had later adopted a middle name with initial 'E'.

    Also, by the 1940s (and before) divorce was more common and within the reach of ordinary people. If there was a divorce you should be able to track this down - though not necessarily online, or for free, unless you can find a newspaper entry.
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    Have you checked newspaper reports of the 1946 mine incident? Apparently Frederick E Llewellyn was of 8 Hermitage Road, Staple Hill, Bristol.

    And the Commonwealth War Graves site identifies him as son of John and Nellie Llewellyn, of Staple Hill, Gloucestershire, aged 20.
  6. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Star

    I wouldn't get too hung up on middle initials. A DNA match of mine spent years searching for his grandfather from his marriage certificate which gives his name as William Vincent Higgs, but could find no record of a William V Higgs in birth indices, baptisms or censuses. Turns out the Vincent was a red herring; before his marriage he appeared in censuses as plain William or Willie (in fact his birth was registered as 'Willie Higgs'). As I was coming at this from another direction (and knowing we had a '3rd cousin' type DNA match) I found William corresponded to a 1st cousin of my grandfather, born in the same place, same year, with a father who matched (1st and middle name) that on the marriage certificate, so we are confident that it is the same person, despite that odd middle name. He appears with the 'V' initial on the 1939 census too, but his death record just has plain William.

    On a quick check in the GRO birth index, I can see your Frederick Llewellyn but I can't see any Frederick E Llewellyn birth recorded for the relevant period (1909-1913) anywhere in the country, which I think is significant. I think you can ignore the E and focus on all the other strong evidence you have which points to FL and FEL being the same person.

    As for his death, that is a conundrum. The marriage of Phoebe Llewellyn to Joseph McDonald in Jun-Sep 1945 in Southend (freeBMD) confirms the remarriage year given on the 1939 register. Could Frederick have been missing at sea, feared dead, so she remarried thinking she was a widow? I think that sort of thing did go on during the war.
  7. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Thanks Pauline for your pointer to the Bristol Frederick E Llewellyn. He was originally on my list but I discounted him because of wrong parentage. But I had not associated the seaman who died in 1946 with the Frederick from Bristol, so that is welcome information and I can cross him off the list.

    I also found no birth registrations for a Frederick E Llewellyn (and I see Helen found none either) so I am left with the main conundrum. Was the FL of Birmingham the same as the FEL of Southend, if so, what happened to him to allow his wife to remarry in 1945 and, as you say, possible divorce may be the answer. Finally who was the FEL who died in Birmingham in 1958?
  8. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I try not to but even so it still leaves me feeling uneasy. As he spent some time in an Emigration home (probably with a religious grounding) perhaps he was baptised and given his middle name, one never knows?

    Otherwise I take your point about names varying over time, and confirming my own research that there appears to be no birth registration for a Frederick E Llewellyn. And I also note now that Pauline confirms that the seaman who died in 1946 was from Bristol, not Southend. I shall plod on but thank you for your assistance which is most welcome.
  9. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    It is possible that Frederick E was registered with a different surname and always used the name Llewellyn, not knowing otherwise.
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Not quite sure what you mean Phil, but am attaching a copy of his birth certificate to show the name given at birth -Frederick Llewellyn. Born to Minnie Llewellyn, no father shown and given his mother's surname. He was born 24th May 1911 in Dudley (then a Workhouse) Infirmary, (Birmingham). The informant was the Infirmary Master. He was always plain Frederick Llewellyn so suspicious as to how, when, why a middle initial/name was given, if it ever was of course, as Edward E may be a totally different person.

    Edit: His birth was registered as Frederick Llewellyn, 1911-Apl-May June : Birmingham.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  11. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    There was a Frederick Edward Llewellyn buried in 1958 at Witton cemetery in Birmingham. I am guessing this may be the same FEL whose death entry you found.
  12. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I agree with Helen7 about added names or initials. Perhaps your Frederick missed having a second given name so added the "E" himself. To make it look more distinguished? As I have said previously, I searched for years for my grandmother as Dorothy Ann, Dorothy Annie or Annie Dorothy, only to learn that she was never Dorothy except in her own mind. Just Anne.

    And Bob, your comment about being baptised and given a middle name has me wondering if that is how my Dad and aunts got the surname they used here in Canada. At least when my aunts were married, they were baptised in the church before the actual marriages (or so I am told by someone else who did some digging for me years ago) I have no knowledge though of how that name was chosen since there is no DNA match at all.
  13. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    Yes Pauline, that is the one I found. Witton cemetery was also the cemetery closest to where the rest of the Llewellyns lived.
  14. AdrienneQ

    AdrienneQ Moderator Staff Member

    Your comment about the baptismal name ring true. My uncle did just that on his Marriage certificate in 1959. In his case it was Mary
  15. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I wonder were your parents/ancestors part of the several Emigration Home Schemes prevalent from the 1870's up to the 1930's as the Frederick Llewellyn I am searching? (I attach a record from the BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Ottawa) site which records his departure from the Birmingham Middlemore Homes enroute (in his case) for New Brunswick). The Age date shown is that when he reached the emigration age of 13, not his birth date which was 24th May 1911.

    Whilst I did consider he may have been baptised in the Home (unless that was done in the Workhouse as a baby which I doubt) and given a middle name, it appears not as the record shows him as plain Frederick. And indeed when he returned in 1928 the Ships Passenger list also records him as Fred Llewellyn. So the middle name is still a mystery.

    Noting you comment on 'surname change', I have an incidence of surname change in my own ancestry where an 'Abrahams' father, mother and 3 young sons (leaving older siblings brother & sisters in the UK) emigrated to Canada (in their case under their own steam). To avoid anti antisemitism (sadly ripe at the time in the early 1900's)they elected to be known as 'Cartwright'... Cartwright being the mother's maiden name. Eventually the mother returned to the UK (as Cartwright) as did one of her Cartwright sons (complete with his Canadian wife and family), only to settle in the UK in the same area as their Abrahams siblings and extensive families I am sure that will give some research headaches in the future.
  16. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    I forgot the attachment mentioned above so here it is now LLEWELLYN MIDDLEMRE.JPG
  17. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Bob, my youngest aunt came to Canada with her mother and step-father at age of about 2-3. My other aunt came in 1924 at the age of 11, accompanied by Guardians of something, to join her mother. Her emigration form lists her next of kin as her brother, at the National Sea Training Houses in Walllaby? He then allegedly came in 1925 at the age of 17 but I have no information on how he got here. He obviously knew where his mother was, as he joined her and his sisters at some point before he married my mother in that same town. I am still trying to learn where the name came from that they were all given here in Canada, and what it should have been.
  18. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    That rings a bell and I am sure it is the Lancashire & Sea Training Homes at Liscard, Near Wallasey (Cheshire). It was a home set up for 'poor deserving boys' and founded in 1902. You can find out about it here Liscard I was not aware this was other than, what it says, a home to train boys in seafaring, so perhaps both brothers were 'deserving boys'?

    The boys after training eventually qualified to join the Merchant (or indeed the Royal) Navy so that may be an indicator as to how they reached Canada. Hope that is helpful?
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  19. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Since my Dad was illegitimate and put into foster care by Barnardo Homes, I guess he would have been considered "deserving". Where he went after I found him at the age of 2 in the 1911 census I do not know, just where he was when my aunt emigrated to Canada. I was told he was in the Merchant Marine and that is on his Canadian Army discharge papers. Would he have been in the M.M. at the age of 17 when he came to Canada? Perhaps he jumped ship. :).
  20. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Bob not sure if you know this..... The T M Hardie who was the informant on Frederick's birth certificate was the Infirmary Master at the hopital/workhouse at 99 Dudley Rd.

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