To date we haven’t visited Mum’s family at all, so here goes …
. Mum’s mother Terry, our Gran, was Stockwood by birth and a Linehan by marriage
. her mother Eveline (Grannie Stockwood) was married to a Stockwood and was a Davies by birth
. Eveline’s mother Maria (Grannie Davies, so as to be distinguished from her daughter) was a Davies by marriage and a Price by birth. Not knowing Grannie Davies’ Christian name, asked our Peg who was convinced she was called Eveline, like her daughter. Uncle Den however, set me straight – she was Maria Price ~ Our Mum was called Gertrude Maria and Uncle Den was Dennis Price Linehan in her memory.
. Gran married a gentle Irish miner called Daniel Linehan who had arrived in Wales barely into his teens and found work in the pit at Coedely. They had three children – Dennis Price, Gertrude Maria (Mum) & Margaret Teresa – all three gave me as much information as they could - we even have an audio tape courtesy of Peg, of Gran singing all the ‘old’ songs. It has often occurred to wonder how she sang so prettily given she was rendered deaf when quite young.
Rather than attempt to unravel the Davies records in Wales for the moment, I chose to go with the Stockwoods, especially since apart from his name, no-one really knew a blessed thing about great-grandad Alfred John Stockwood.
One of the first places one looked for family back then was the 1881 Census for the UK (not including Ireland). There were a lot of Stockwoods ~ including a six year old Alfred John, born in Cardiff, listed as ”nephew”, living with a John Collins and his wife Sarah-Annie.
(herewith began the mass accumulation of paper – I kept every Stockwood listing from 1881, feeling that someday they would prove to be “mine” – and down the road a few years, most of the Welsh ones are!).
Must digress a wee bit to confess that I do “collect” Stockwoods. By this I mean that I research the name even when I cannot immediately prove a connection ~ in doing this I have details from all over the world, including a large family in our own province of Newfoundland ~ Florence, the researcher, ‘knows’ that an ancestor called John came from the UK, but not his actual origins. Similar families exist in parts of the UK, in Lincolshire & Essex where a William Stockwood married into the Moncar family – William’s father, whom I have never found, was Thomas, a bricklayer from Middlesex. Two Welsh Stockwood ladies married into the Hole family – one of these ladies we have absolutely identified, the other, because of a date discrepancy, is a bit of a problem.
Perhaps the best link, because it included contact with a living relative, was looking into Gran’s claimed connection with Arthur Mervyn Stockwood, late Bishop of Southwark. Peg said they did not really believe Gran, but research has proven that they should have, Gran & Arthur were in fact third cousins. His nephew David, who sadly has since passed away, lived in Toronto ~ we exchanged quite a few emails about the family.
Back to Alfred John
Mailing lists are wonders. I needed to know who AJ’s parents were and a list member with local access to parish records kindly presented me with their names – Thomas Stockwood and Annie Collins along with a bonus of two other children, both older than AJ, Thomas William (1867) and Annie Gertrude (1869).
In 1881, Thomas William, a fourteen year old clerk and nephew, was living at the Junction Hotel in Taff’s Well with the proprietors, John and Urina Davies.
Annie Gertrude at twelve, was in an orphanage – of their parents there was no sign, ominous if you take into account Annie Gertrude’s residence, the Muller Homes in Bristol.
The orphanage was to be my first BIG BREAK – the Muller Homes were still in existence, albeit as a museum and I was able to obtain and hold in my hand photocopies of handwritten correspondence from 1877, requesting that Annie be admitted, the information that had to be supplied, her acceptance and her dismissal in 1882.
From this I learned that:
. Thomas, her father, had drowned at sea in 1874
. our grandfather AJ was born after his father’s death
. her mother Annie (or Angelina) passed away in 1876
. Thomas’ father William who was helping Angelina, died two months later in 1876
All relatives, Grandparents, aunts and great-aunts, uncles and great-uncles, were enumerated along with their relationships and reasons why they could not take Annie in – some would be willing to take though her if for any reason she had to leave the Home.
Interestingly, one had blatantly lied as I was to discover later – Urina Hicks Davies states that she was a widow, yet in 1881, four years later, her husband John was alive, well & running the Junction Hotel with Annie’s older brother Thomas in residence.
The papers included:
. the death certificate for Angelina
. the newspaper article recounting Thomas death
. Thomas and Angelina’s marriage certificate
. Annie’s birth certificate
. statements of health from a doctor
. letters from town officials detailing the childrens’ financial situation
... a veritable goldmine of information. How sad that the necessity of placing a child in an orphanage would result in someone a hundred years later being able to tarce their family.
This set of documents with its myriad pieces of information, no matter how obscure, has allowed me to build a decent family history, albeit the “distaff” side as Dad would have said, tongue in cheek………