In Search of my "Gloran" Ancestors

When I first started my research into my mother's Jones family, I first obtained my grandfather David Jones' birth certificate, which told me that he was born in Tonypandy on the 12th October 1879 at Miskin Road, Trealaw, Ystradyfodwg.

I next had to search the Census Returns for 1881 (RG11/5306). These were then only in London and some county record offices or libraries. I had to travel to the then Public Record Office where the census Returns were held on film. There were then no street indexes to the film for places in Wales. As a beginner, I was not doing this knowledgeably, and had little appreciation how large the population of the Rhondda was at that time, or how skimpy the information was on the birth certificate.  I just jumped straight in enthusiastically and went grinding through the reels of film. Eventually and exhaustedly, at last I found the family living in 112 Miskin Road, Trealaw.

 The Census details I obtained were: 1881 (RG11/5306) 112 Miskin Road, Trealaw
William JONES Head 35 Builder Neath  
Ffrynswith (sic) Wife 26   Tonypandy  
Mary Dau 7   Tonypandy  
Elizabeth G. Dau 6   Tonypandy  
William Son 5   Tonypandy  
David Son 1   Tonypandy  
Margaret Morgan Visitor 37 Nurse Domestic Cardiff  
John Jones Son under 1 month   Trealaw  

Here were all my great uncles and aunts I'd known so well, Auntie Mary, Auntie Bessie, Uncle Willie, my Grandpa David 1 year old, and my Uncle Johnnie. Their mother's name is confusing, and is meant to be Ffryswith. This slightly unusual forename is prevalent in Glamorganshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire where in Oxford City, Frideswide is the Patron Saint. For easier reference, I shall use the spelling Friswyth which is how my mother spelt her name later in life.

The census confirmed that David's mother was Friswyth Elizabeth Davies, who was born in 1855 at Pandy, now Tonypandy. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Davies who later owned the Dunraven Inn, which was later known as the Dunraven Hotel in Dunraven Street, Tonypandy. By 1875 Friswyth's parents lived at "Maesyrhaf", Trealaw, with their sons Thomas, Richard, William and Letitia. (By the 1926 this house was destined to become a rehabilitation centre run by the Quaker Emma Noble.)

Friswyth Davies's Marriage Certificate shows she married a William Jones of Neath, on the 20th August 1873 at Carmel Chapel, Pontypridd.

Carmel Chapel, Pontypridd

Carmel Chapel, Pontypridd.

William was the son of John Jones, a Woodward of Neath. The likelihood of discovering a John Jones in Neath on the census films at that time, without further information was too daunting a task. Because of this I did not proceed with this line of research for many years and decided instead to concentrate my efforts on discovering Friswyth's family history.

Friswyth's younger sister Letitia had married William Morgan in 1886 at St Andrew's Church, Tonypandy. He was an Auctioneer & Estate Agent, and have a young son of 4 years, Ivor Montague and are living at 'Taff Villa', Berw Road, Pontypridd.

By the 1901 census they are shown with their young family of three living at 'Whitehall' 96 Brithweunydd Road, Trealaw on the 1901 census.

Unfortunately, Friswyth died when she was only 37 years old of 'Pthisis' which is the old name for Pulmonary Tuberculosis and is sometimes pronounced 'tie-sis'. My mother had in her possession an oil painting and photograph of her grandmother and her In Memoriam Card, which are mourning or remembrance cards, which showed that Friswyth had died on March 5th 1892 aged 37 years, and was interred at Ffrwdamos Churchyard, on March 10th 1892. My mother also had a copy of the Order of Service card for the Funeral of Friswyth's sister Letitia.

Their mother's early death must have been a sad time for her family, particularly her children. Mary and Bessie respectively would have been 18 and 17 years old; Willie 15 was in March and my Grandfather David who would be 13 in October, whilst Johnnie who shared the same birth month as Willie in March, was only 10. Imagine then, how they felt at the loss of their father William two years later in 1894, when he was 51 years old.

The now orphaned children were then split up between their relatives. David and his sister Mary and baby Johnny were brought up in the 'Royal Oak Hotel', Mardy, by Friswyth's brother Morgan Davies ( who was also to die in 1896) and his wife Annie, and the other children were brought up in "Maesyrhaf", with their Grandparents.

Morgan and his wife Annie had two sons. John M.[John Morgan?] and Sydney Bevan. This little boy aged 2 years died May 8th 1891. He was buried 12 May 1891 at Ferndale Cemetery. As the depth of grave was 9ft, I feel that his death was caused by cholera or typhoid. On the 1901 census John is at Cowbridge School.

Two years later on the 10th December 1897 came the death of their grandfather Thomas Davies, who was now 82 years. He died from acute pneumonia syncope. This was certified by Thomas Richard Llewellyn M.R.C.S who had a Surgery at Penygraig. William Morgan his son-in-law of 'Cynog Villa', Trealaw was present at the death and registered this for the family.

Morgan Davies had been buried at Ferndale Cemetery and also commemorated on the family tombstone at Zoar and his father Thomas was laid to rest with his daughter Friswyth and her husband William at Zoar Chapel yard. On his gravestone it actually looks as if he had a second name and this looks rather like 'Eustace'.

As Elizabeth and Thomas Davies had buried two additional children and named their two little boys 'Walter Bevan', and I wondered if Elizabeth had left me a clue to her maiden name, particularly as people named Bevan were buried in the next grave which I had recorded.

I now recalled that my mother and I used to visit my grandparents grave in Trealaw cemetery, and I had been shown a tomb to a family called Bevan, which my mother had said were her family.

Friswyth Davies' mother Elizabeth Bevan was one of a family of at least 11 children of Thomas Bevan and Jennet Thomas. Elizabeth had been born at Penygraig (Farm), on 1st March 1828, and baptised 17th April 1828 at Cymmer Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. Her brother and sisters were: Jenet b. 1826, Thomas b 1831, David, 1832, Mary 1833, Margaret 1834, Anne 1836, Sarah 1838, Catherine 1840, Richard 1844, and Lucretia 1852.

To find the maiden name of Eliza's mother Jennet, I needed to apply for the Registration of Birth of one of her children. To be within registration, which started in June 1837, I had to choose one of the older children, and so I chose Catherine.

Catherine's birth certificate shows that her mother's name was formerly Jennet THOMAS, and her father is described not as 'Farmer' as I expected, but as 'Agent'.

Curiosity not my purse, made me investigate further and applied for the birth certificate of Richard Bevan their son. Back came the information. Born 1st June 1843 at Ystradyfodwg, Richard, son of Thomas and Jennet Bevan formerly THOMAS, father a Farmer residing at Llwynypia. Was Thomas Bevan, acting as a Mining Agent at some time? In a letter from another researcher of this family Charles Bridges, found that on Elizabeth's sister Jennet's marriage certificate in 1842 it stated that their father was a 'Coal Agent'.

In May 1861 Thomas Bevan died, and in 1864 Glamorgan Colliery was opened by Archibald Hood. The Census, which was taken in April 1861, shows Thomas the elder son of Thomas and Jennet Bevan, farming 60a. at Glyncornel Farm, with his wife Margaret, and their children Elvyrah 4 Mary 2 and Thomas 6 months.