Monday, 12 July 2021

The Watkins/Llewelyn Family Saga Continued

 In my last blog post I wrote about a lady named Mary who had married a Daniel Watkins in 1840. The birth record of their first son had stated that his mother was recorded as “Mary Watkins late Evans formerly Williams.” That made sense after I found the marriage record of Daniel and Mary which recorded her as “Mary Watkins late Evans formerly Williams.”

But I still had a problem of where they had come from. For Mary, all I really had to go on was her father’s presumed name of Robert Llewelyn and that he had been a mason by trade. I mentioned before that there was a Llewelyn family living in the area of Newton Nottage where many of the men were masons. In fact, there were several generations of men who became masons. For that reason, I kept being drawn back to that area as being the place where Robert Llewelyn was from and perhaps Mary had been born.

I finally found a burial record for who I think was the right Mary Watkins. She died in 1848 in Llanfabon Parish and her residence was shown at Yr-Hen-Berthlwyd which, in Welsh means the old place. It appears to be in the same area as the home the Watkins family lived when their three sons were born.

This Mary was 35 when she died, so that put here birth year as 1813, which fits the circumstance perfectly. Now I had to find where she came from. The date of her death would explain why her children were taken in by friends and relatives particularly if Daniel Watkins was still alive and unable to care for them (I am still looking for him). As I mentioned before, the boys were found living with others on the 1851 and subsequent censuses.

The Mary Llewelyn found in the same household as Hezekiah Watkins in 1861 I now think was his aunt and daughter-in-law of Robert Llewelyn. She would have married Thomas Llewelyn, one of Robert’s two sons. Thomas was born in 1799 and died in 1848.

Back to Newton Nottage.

There is an 1814 entry in the Newton Nottage baptism register that shows four names: Catherine Eleanor Ann Mary. Parents were Robert and Catherine and he was a mason. There is also a note the information was “copied to this” which I took to mean that the original baptism was perhaps from another source or possibly another area.

It is very unusual for a child to have that many names which made me wonder if, in fact, we were dealing with four different children, all baptized on the same day. If I could find people of that name in other records, that might support the interpretation.

I searched for all four names and found both Catherine and Eleanor on marriage records both indicating their father was Robert Llewelyn, a mason. All of them can be found on censuses with birth years ranging from 1896 to 1814, which fits with the baptism entry. Ann appears to have been living with her mother, Catherine on the 1841 census. Catherine was shown as a widow.

I found a burial record for Robert. It reads as “Robert Llewelyn Mason” and has been transcribed with the surname Mason rather than Llewelyn. Adding occupations or other notes to burial records is not a normal occurrence but, in this case, I believe this was for Robert Llewelyn, a mason. The 1826 death date would fit with Catherine shown as a widow on the 1841 census.

I found baptism records which I believe are for Catherine and Robert, in 1771 and 1772 respectively. They match with a 1792 marriage record. The marriage took place in Pyle & Kenfig parish, where Catherine was born. It is just three miles from Newton Nottage where the family ended up living.

Catherine died in 1849 in Newton Nottage. Her age at death of 80 years fits exactly with the 1771 baptism entry and the age shown on the 1841 census.

While we may never be able to prove the relationships, they do all fit with the circumstances of births, marriages and deaths. I am confident now I have interpreted the various BMD and census records and defined the Llewelyn family and how it connected with the Watkins line. That is what you have to do sometimes - interpret - rather than accept literally what is written.

Now to find out what happened to Daniel Watkins and complete the story.