Thursday, 29 December 2011

William and Charlotte's headstone at St. Augustine's Church Cemetery, Penarth

Charlotte and William were buried together at St. Augustine's Church Cemetery in Penarth. St. Augustine's Church is located on the headland in Penarth between Cardiff Bay and the Bristol Channel. You can see photographs of the church and cemetery on the Passionate about South Wales website. It was designed by architect, William Butterfield and information about the design and history of the church can be found here.

The transcription of the headstone notes that it is leaning and has a carved flower design. The "/" in the transcription indicates a new line of text. The headstone reads:

In loving memory of CHARLOTTE beloved wife of W.H. Ball, who died October 28th 1897 aged 66 years / "With Christ which is far better." / Also of the above named W.H. BALL who died Nov 19th 1927 aged 90 years. / "Peace perfect peace."/

It is lovely to know that they are resting in such a lovely setting. Another place to add to my list of places to visit... Many thanks to Glamorgan Family History Society volunteer, Andy, who did the monument inscription look up on my behalf. Genealogists are such wonderful and giving people.

Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Plassey Street, Penarth

I've learned through my research that Plassey Street plays an important part of Ball family life, particularly for the descendants of William Huxtable Ball. This is where Plassey Street is situated in Penarth:

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This is the current 140 Plassey Street on a map:

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And a street view:

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Plassey Street also held the Tabernacle Baptist Church, which William attended, along with his descendants. This is street view of the church, located at 97 Plassey Street:

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Plassey Street will definitely be one of the places which I will have to visit. Having grown up in a family that moved around for my father's work, I never grew up with a sense of 'place'. Home was where we were at that particular point in time. It's really quite lovely to be able to look at a place and say that we came from there/here.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 26 December 2011

William Huxtable Ball's Will 1927

In my research, I was delighted to come across the will and last testament of William Huxtable Ball as it opened up several venues of research for me and let me know that my great-grandfather, Thomas, had not been forgotten after leaving for Canada over 21 years prior to his father's death.

The will was probated in the District Probate Registry of His Majesty's High Court of Justice at Llandaff on 21 December 1927. John Ball of Tygwyn Farm, Saint Andrews, farmer, and Henry Ball, of 96 Plassey Street, Penarth, grocer's vanman, sons of William, were named as executors. The net value of William's estate was given as 532 GBP. Witnesses to the will were David Davies, 4 Victoria Avenue and Isaac Thomas, 138 Plassey Street, both of Penarth.

William owned the homes at 140 and 141 Plassey Street. His daughter, Charlotte Down, was bequeathed the house and contents at 140 Plassey Street. Upon her death or that of her husband (as long as he didn't remarry), the house was to be sold and the net proceeds equally divided between William's grandchildren, William Spickett Ball and Charlotte Agnes Down. Charlotte Agnes was to also receive the furniture in the house. The grandchildren were bequeathed 10 GBP each upon William's death.

The house and contents of 141 Plassey Street were to be sold at William's death, and along with his savings at the Post Office, were to be equally divided, after payment of all outstanding debts, between his other 4 children: John Ball, Henry Ball, Thomas Huxtable Ball and Elizabeth Ann Edwards, and granddaughter, Mabel Charlotte Ball. The will also specified that if Elizabeth died before before her father, her share was to be equally divided among her siblings, John, Henry and Thomas. Interestingly, if Thomas died before William, his share was to go to his wife.

The will proved to be a gold mine of information. For the first time, I learned of the identity of Charlotte's first (and illegitimate) child, William Spickett Ball. There had been many family stories that she had a child out of wedlock (also mentioned in my great-aunt Gwen's note), but there had been many William Balls listed in the UK birth indexes, it was difficult to pin him down (and after having ordered a couple of wrong birth certificates, I had put aside that search). I also discovered a daughter of William and Charlotte, Elizabeth Ann Edwards, of whom I had no knowledge as she did not appear on any of the censuses with family members. This discovery opened up a new branch of the family to explore.

It was reassuring to see that Thomas was mentioned in the will - not for monetary gain, but for the fact that he had not been forgotten. Living so far away from the family in Penarth, Thomas was a world away with a new life, community and family who had never met their Welsh relations.

May peace, health and happiness be yours during this holiday season. Cheers, K.

Friday, 23 December 2011

William Huxtable's death, 1927

Great-great-grandfather, William Huxtable Ball died on 19 November 1927 at his home, 140 Plassey Street, Penarth. He was 90 years old. The cause of death was listed as 'senile decay'. The informant of the death was A. Ball, daughter-in-law, who was present at the death. She lived at 96 Plassey Street. A. Ball was Ann Ball, the wife of son Henry.

William's obituary, which appeared in the Penarth Times of 24 November 1927, read as follows:

Mr. W.H. Ball, Penarth

The death took place on Saturday morning at
140 Plassey, Street, Penarth, of Mr. William Ball
aged 90 years, the husband of the late Mrs. Charlotte Ball.

Mr. Ball, a native of Devonshire, having learnt
his trade in his native land, commenced business
as a blacksmith at Gower, where he remained for many years.
Upon taking up residence at Penarth some 40 years ago,
Mr. Ball entered into the milk business and was highly successful.

Deceased, a great lover of children, was an
ardent worshipper at the Plassey Street
Tabernacle Baptist Church.

He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

William was buried in the St. Augustine's Church cemetery, alongside his wife Charlotte, who predeceased him in 1897.

Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

William in the 1911 Wales Census

The 1911 census, taken on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911, did show some changes for the household of William Huxtable Ball of Penarth. William is shown as 74 years of age, still working as a milkman, and a widower. His address remained 18 Railway Terrace. He was living with son-in-law, William Down, age 44, workman, his daughter, Charlotte, age 42, and granddaughter, Charlotte Down, age 9, who was attending school. Charlotte's birthplace is listed as Penarth, so presumably, she was born and raised in her grandfather's home. Also with the family is Mabel C (Charlotte) Ball, a dressmaker, age 29, who had been born in Gower, Glamorgan. She was the daughter of William's eldest son, William James Ball. As to the reason why she appears in her grandfather's home in 1911, I will investigate further and post once information is available.

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

William in the 1901 Wales Census

The 1901 Wales Census reveals some significant changes in the Ball household. William's spouse, Charlotte, passed away in October 1897. I did find a 1897 Wright's Directory of Cardiff which showed William's address as 18 Railway Terrace, Penarth. This address corresponds to William's household address in the 1901 census.

According to Ancestry Library Edition, the 1901 census was taken on the night of 31 March 1901. William is shown as age 63, with a birth year of 1838 and an occupation of dairyman. With him in the house are the following people: Charlotte Down, his daughter, age 32, son-in-law, William Down, age 34, who is a railway labourer, and William Ball, grandson, age 8 (there's a real interesting story about William, which I will save for later).

This is a map of their household address in Penarth:

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And this is a street view of house (or at least the current address for the house:

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The house on the left is number 17. I suspect that 18 may have been next door on the right. Across the street, you will see the train tracks.

Did Charlotte's passing bring daughter Charlotte, her husband, William and son, William Ball into the household? Or where other reasons?

Much still to learn...

Cheers, K.

Monday, 19 December 2011

William in the 1891 Wales Census

By the time of the 1891 Wales Census was taken on the night of 5 April 1891, there had been many changes in the Ball household. William, now shown as age 51, was working as a dairyman (oddly, he only aged 7 years between the 10 year census dates! Census can be great tools for finding people, but the data in them can be faulty. Back in the 19th century, many people did not know the year that they were born, especially in the days prior to civil registration when the government started recording births, marriages and deaths). Living in the household are his wife, Charlotte, shown as age 59 and son, Henry, age 27. Henry's occupation is shown as dairyman too. Presumably, Henry and his father were in business together.

The address of the Ball household is listed as 54 Windsor Road, Penarth. Scurlage is approximately 100km from Penarth. To give you some idea of the distance between the villages, please see the map below:

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This is a map of the 54 Windsor Road, Penarth:

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And a street view of the address. The view is down Windsor Road. Railway Terrace intersects Windsor Road on the right:

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What prompted them to move east towards Cardiff? The trade of blacksmithing had gone into decline with the Industrial Revolution, as machines and factories replaced men and tools. Why the move into milk? What would have drawn William and Henry into the milk trade? Older brother, John Ball, with whom Thomas Huxtable Ball was living in 1891, operated a farm. Was there a family connection to the milk trade?

Many more mysteries solve! Answers will be posted when found....

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

William Huxtable Ball in the 1881 Wales Census

According to the 1881 Wales Census, William H. Ball is 44 years of age, earning a living as a blacksmith. His birth year is 1837. Charlotte, his spouse, is listed as age 49, whose occupation is shown as "Blacksmiths wife". The following individuals are listed as living in the home: Charlotte, daughter, age 12, Henery (misspelling of Henry), age 17, rural messenger, and Thomas, age 6, scholar, which meant that he was attending regular (but not necessarily full-time) school or being home schooled (although it is doubtful that he was being taught by his mother Charlotte as she continued to sign documents with an 'X'). The family is living in Scurlage Castle, Llanndewi, Glamorgan, Wales.

This was the first census in which my great-grandfather appeared and was the first real indication in my research that the family had been in Wales. One of the first websites that I found was the Welsh Family Archive run by John Ball (no relation). John's kind words and encouragement when we connected through his website furthered my interest in discovering my Welsh heritage - which continues today.

Cheers, K.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Birth of a son, Thomas Huxtable, 1875

The last child of William Huxtable Ball and Charlotte Balment was my great-grandfather, Thomas Huxtable Ball. Thomas was born in 5 July 1875 in Scurlage Castle, Llanddewi, Glamorgan, Wales. The occupation of his father, William, is listed as a blacksmith.

You can find more information about Scurlage here from the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust.

I've found an Ordnance Survey map which shows Scurlage Castle, which was located between Knelston and Scurlage. You can view it here here. The OS reference is SS462882, if you need to re-enter the reference code.

Cheers, K.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

William and the 1871 Wales Census

Well, I suppose that you would think finding William Huxtable Ball and his family would not be too hard. They emigrated to Wales sometime around 1858-1861 and seemed to have stayed put through the following decade...or so I thought.

I searched high and low for the family in the 1871 census, but kept coming up with dead ends. Looked for everyone in the family, looked for them in Devon, looked or them in neighbouring counties, checked the census on Find My Past - still nothing.Only when I read the source description in Ancestry, which detailed how parts of the 1871 for the county of Glamorgan had been lost, then I realized that my searching was in vain. It pays to read the fine print...and likely will save your eyesight and sanity in the long run.

In any case, my best guess would be that the family remained in Scurlage Castle, Glamorgan, as we shall see next...

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Birth of a daughter, Charlotte, 1868

William and Charlotte welcomed a second daughter, named Charlotte, in 1868. Her birth was registered during the second quarter of the year (April-May-June). The registration district was listed as Gower in the county of Glamorgan. I suspect that the family was still living in the Scurlage Castle area as Thomas Huxtable Ball, the next child born to William and Charlotte, has his birthplace listed there.

Cheers, K.

Birth of son, Henry Ball, and daughter, Elizabeth Ann Ball 1863-1865

William Huxtable Ball and wife, Charlotte, saw the birth of a son and daughter between the years of 1863 and 1865. Henry's birth was registered in the last quarter of 1863 in the Gower Disrict of Wales. Elizabeth Ann's birth certificate states that she was born in Scurlage Castle, Llanddewi on 28 October 1865. Her father's occupation is listed as "Blacksmith".

You may be wondering, as I did, about the place name 'Scurlage Castle'. While very romantic sounding, there is no actual castle at modern day Scurlage, only a Tudor farm reputed to be on the site of a castle dating from the late medieval period. This is a link to information from the Gower Magazine site regarding the Scurlage Castle site and village. This is a link to information from the Gatehouse website, a comprehensive gazeteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications, and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands on Scurlage Castle..

Cheers, K.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Birth of another son, John Ball and the 1861 Wales Census

The change of the decade brought many changes to the family of William Huxtable Ball. I could no longer find him in Devon. Knowing that Thomas Huxtable had been born and raised in Wales, I decided to search the 1861 Wales Census. I did find a birth registered in January-March 1861 index which showed that a John Ball had been born in Gower, Wales. Then, I found William Huxtable Ball living with Charlotte, William James, age 3 and John Ball, age 2 months, in Scurlage House, Llanddewi, Gower, Glamorgan in the 1861 Wales Census.

Where is Llanddewi? Well, it is a parish is located 14 miles west and south of the town of Swansea in the County of Glamorgan, in south Wales. The population in 1861 is noted as 149. This is a map of the area:

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GENUKI also offers a number of map links to view the area. I suspect that the family lived closer to what is modern day Scurlage.

Here is a street view of Scurlage and the countryside surrouding it:

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What pushed or pulled William and his young family to Wales, I am not sure. It could have been the lure of a job, steady work, family ties or the influence of friends. Whatever it was, it started a new chapter in the history of the Ball family.

Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Birth of son, William James Ball (1858-1922)

William and Charlotte became parents to William James Ball on 4 March 1858. William James was born in Bray Town, High Bray, Devon. His father's occupation is listed as "Blacksmith Journeyman". The birth was registered on 13 March 1858 in the registration district of Barnstaple Union.

William Huxtable was a blacksmith for many years. You can read more about the history of blacksmithing on the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association website.

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

William gets married 1857

On 5 August 1857, William Huxtable Ball married Charlotte Balment in the parish of High Bray, Devon. According to their marriage certificate, William and Charlotte were married in the Parish Church. William's age is listed as 21, bachelor, his rank/profession is shown as "blacksmith" with a residence of High Bray. His father is listed as John Ball, Tailor. Charlotte's age is shown as 22, spinster, with the occupation "single woman" and residence in High Bray. Her father is shown as William Balment. His profession is difficult to read, but my best guestimate is "Farmer". William and Charlotte were married by banns. William signed the certificate, while Charlotte signed with an "X", meaning that she likely was not educated. The witnesses to the marriage were Louisa Jane Ball William's younger sister) and William (name indistinguishable, but begins with a B).

To learn more about High Bray, click here to read about the village on GENUKI. High Bray is located west of Barnstaple and north west of South Molton:

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This is a link to an image of All Saints Church the parish church for High Bray.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 5 December 2011

William Huxtable Ball - England Census 1851

In the 1851 England census, William is shown as age 14 (birth year noted as 1837). His occupation is shown as "Working home as a Tailor", which likely means that he was an apprentice to his father, John, who is shown as "Tailor and Draper". Living in the household are his father, John, age 54, tailor and draper, his mother, Elizabeth, age 53, his brother John, age 25, "Cabinet Maker, French Polisher" and sister, Louisa, "Scholar", which would have meant that she was attending school. The family is shown as living in Stags Head, South Molton, Devon.

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

William in the 1841 England Census

According to the 1841 England census, William was living in the hamlet of Stags Head, in the parish of South Molton, Devon, with his family. His father, John, age 40, is listed as a "taylor". Also in the household are his mother, Elzabeth, age 40, sister, Elizabeth, age 12, and younger sister, Louisa, age 1. William's age is shown as 4, with a birth year of 1837 - which seems to be the birth year most commonly used for him in later documents, despite the 1836 baptism entry from the Filleigh Index on GENUKI.

To get an idea of where the Balls were living click here to see a 1950's map of the area from Stag's Head is located between Filleigh and South Molton. The Stags Head Inn still exists and is operated as a pub/restaurant/B&B. This inn is definitely on my must-see list!

Cheers, K.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

William Huxtable Ball's Siblings

Born to John Ball, tailor of South Molton and his wife, Elizabeth Huxtable, were the following siblings of William Huxtable Ball, 1835-1927:

Ann Huxtable, daughter, baptized 27 Oct 1822, John, son, baptized 24 Jul 1825, and Susanna, daughter, baptized 5 Sep 1830,

according to the Filleigh Baptism Index 1813-1837 on GENUKI.

I was able to find two other daughters: Elizabeth, born ca. 1828, who was named as an exectrix in the will of John Ball Sr., and Louisa Jane, born 1839, who appears with William in the 1841 census.

Research on these individuals and their families continues. When I have more information on them, I will be sure to post.

Cheers, K.