Tuesday, 31 January 2012

John Ball, 1861-1928

John Ball was the second eldest child of Charlotte and William Huxtable Ball. Born late 1860 or early 1861, John was raised in Gower, Glamorgan, likely in the village of Scurlage Castle. The first glimpse of John is in the 1891 Census of Wales (1871 for Gower is unavailable and finding him in the 1881 Census has been difficult - no clear matches on age, birthplace and occupation). In 1891, John is recorded as a farmer and head of household, which contained his sister, Charlotte, younger brother Thomas Huxtable, nephew Robert John Edwards, and Samuel Williams, servant. John was living in St. Andrews/Dinas Powis, close to what was noted as 'Arga Farm'.

This is where St. Andrews/Dinas Powys is located on Google maps:

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This is street view of St. Andrews Road, between St. Andrews Major and Dinas Powys to give you an idea of the countryside in which John farmed:

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John's birthplace is noted as South Molton, Devonshire in the census. However, given the family's move to Wales following William James' birth and John's birth registration in Gower, I would presume that he was born in Wales.

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Death of William James Ball (1858-1922)

William's incarceration at the Angleton Asylum continued for many years. In early 1919, his wife, Mary (Shepherd) Ball, passed away in early 1919 in Reynoldston, Glamorgan, at the age of 75. She was buried on 27 Feb 1919 in the St. George Church cemetery in Reynoldston.

Was William aware of his wife's passing? Did his daughter Mabel Charlotte visit her father or keep in touch with the facility's staff? We may never know.

On 10 January 1922, in the County Asylum, William James Ball passed away. On his death certificate, his age is noted at 63, and his address/occupation was listed as "of 2 St. George's Terrace, Reynoldston, Gower, Swansea, C.B., a Pensioned Letter Carrier". The cause of death is given as " Bright's Disease, duration unknown, (Mania) P.M. Certified by D. Finlay, M.D.". The informant was Mabel C. Ball, daughter, 140 Plassey Street, Penarth. The death was registered on 14 January 1922, by Margaret Davies.

William was buried on 14 January 1922, presumably with Mary, at the St. George (Anglican) Cemetery in Reynoldston.

Bright's disease is a historical classification of kidney diseases that would describe acute or chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). It is typically denoted by the presence of serum albumin (blood plasma protein) in the urine, and frequently accompanied by oedema (swelling due to fluid retention in the body) and hypertension (high blood pressure). I suspect that Bright's Disease was a later diagnosis which hastened his demise. The exact nature of his mental illness is not discernible from his death certificate.

Such a sad end. I wonder how his father, William Huxtable Ball, would have felt to have lost a son. It must have been very sad.

Take care, K.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum

After learning about Wiliam James' incarceration in the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum, I was curiuos to find out more about the facility.

According to the Archives Wales catalogue, the asylum was opened in November 1864 in Angleton, Brigend. Prior to the hospital's opening, a number of patients were accommodated at an asylum in Briton Ferry at the County's expense, as early as the 1840's. The Angleton facilitiy was run by a committee appointed by the Glamorgan Court of Quarter Sessions, a body responsible for judicial matters and civil administration. Initially, 350 patients were housed at Angelton, but it soon became apparent that the facility was inadequate to meet the demands made upon it.

In 1887, a new building was erected at Parc Gwyllt, Bridgend. The Glamorgan County Council inherited responsibility for the administration of these two institutions in 1889. The name was later changed to the Glamorgan County Mental Hospital. A third hopsital (Penyfai) was later built to deal with admissions. The hospitals became part of the National Health Service in July 1948. The three buildings were called Morgannwg Hospital, with Angelton being renamed as Glanrhyd Hospital (the name it still retains), and Parc Gwyllt abbreviated to Parc Hospital. Recent events have led to the closure and demolition of the Parc and Penyfai Hospitals. The only remaining building is Glanrhyd Hospital, which was the original asylum built in 1864. It is currently administered by the Bridgend and District NHS Trust. The records of the hospital are found at the Glamorgan Archives.

This is where the Glanrhyd Hospital is located:

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And this is a photograph of part of the hospital (© Copyright John Finch and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence):

The facility has undergone some recent redevelopment and information about the current facility can be found here

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

William James Ball (1858-1922) .... continued

William's story is continued in the 1901 census, where we find William, Mary and Mabel still living in Reynoldston, Devon. By this time, William is age 44 and he is a rural postman. Mabel has reached age 19 and works as a dressmaker. Mary is now 58, according to the census entry.

By 1911 there are many sad changes for William and his family. According to the 1911 census, William is a patient in the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum in Angleton, Brigend. His infirmity is listed as "lunatic" in the census. He is shown as a retired postman, whose first language is English. Wife Mary, age 67, still resides in Reynoldston and is living on St. George's Terrace. Daughter Mabel now lives in Penarth with her grandfather, William Huxtable Ball at 18 Railway Terrace. She was a dressmaker and about 29 years of age.

What brought on William's condition? Was it hereditary, accidental, a result of stress or tragedy, or a disease that he developed? I can't but imagine how awful it would have been to have been living in such an institution. I also think of the sadness that it would have brought to his father - knowing that his eldest son would likely live out his days in an institution such as this.

Take care.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 23 January 2012

William James Ball (1858-1922)

The eldest son of William and Charlotte Ball, William James was born on 4 March 1858 in Bray Town, High Bray, Devon. William lived in Devon for his early life, then moved to Scurlage Castle, Glamorgan, Wales by 1861. As the 1871 census for Glamorgan is not available, the first glimpse of William is a first quarter 1880 marriage registration to Mary Shepherd. They both appear in the 1881 census in Reynoldston, Glamorgan. This is Google map of Reynoldston, located about 2.4 miles north and slightly west of Scurlage:

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This is a street view of Reynoldston:

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In 1881 census, William is age 23, and a blacksmith, like his father. Mary's age is 36, making him 13 years his senior. Her birthplace is Oxwich, Glamorganshire. No children are listed in the household.

In the 1891 census of Wales, their address is Frogmore, Reynoldston. Frogmore likely refers to a cottage or house. William is shown as age 33 and his occupation is "Post Man". Mary is age 46. A daughter, Mabel Ball is age 9, and her birthplace is listed as Frogmore, Reynoldston.

More on William James to follow.

Cheers, K.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Some interesting news about Eliza Balment (1846-?)

I thought that I would share the interesting information that arrived in today's mail. I received the birth certificate for Eliza Balment, the 4 year old living with Charlotte Balment (my great-great-grandmother) and her parents in 1851. In the 1851 census entry, Eliza is shown as "granddaughter" and I had learned from the High Bray Parish OPC (Online Parish Clerk) that Eliza's baptism showed her mother as "Mary Anne Ballman".

Interestingly, the birth certificate shows that Eliza was born on 7 October 1846, in the Barnstaple Workhouse. Her mother is shown as Mary Ann Balment. The name of the father is blank and only a horizontal line appears in the entry. The informant is noted with an X - "The mark of Mary Ann Balment, mother, Union Workhouse, Barnstaple". The birth was registered on 14 October 1846.

This opens up many more avenues of research - who was Mary Anne and how did she end up in the Barnstaple workhouse? Why, how and when was Eliza brought to her grandparents, William and Elizabeth Balment in High Bray to live? What ever happened to Mary Anne?

I'll post when I have more details.

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Death of Charlotte Balment 1897

By 1891, Charlotte and William had moved to 54 Windsor Road, Penarth. According to the census for that year, Charlotte was living with husband William and son, Henry.

On 28 October 1897, Charlotte (Balment) Ball, age 66, died, at home. Home was now 18 Railway Terrace, Penarth. Her death certificate states that the cause of death was "morbus cordis", certified by Charles John, MRCS. The informant of the death was H. Ball, her son, Henry. He is noted as being present at the death. His address is given as 50 Plassey Street, Penarth and the death was registered on 30 October 1897.

What does "morbus cordis" mean? It is the Latin term for "heart disease". It is important to note that older death certificates will use Latin to state medical conditions rather than common terminology.

Knowing that William lived until 1927, it is sad to know that Charlotte died 30 years before him. How did her passing affect the family? The 1901 census points to the fact that daughter Charlotte, son-in-law, William Down, and grandson, William Ball, had moved in with William.

Charlotte was buried in the cemetery at
St. Augustine's Church, Penarth.
Her 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".

Cheers, K.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Charlotte Balment - Life in Wales with a growing family

Sometime between after March 1858 and early 1861, Charlotte and William moved from Bray Town, Devon to Scurlage, Llanddewi, Wales. It must have been a big change to moved household across the Bristol Channel and to settle in a new place. What pushed or pulled them? The lure of a job, better home, family, friends or a tradegy? If I ever come across the answers, I will be sure to post.

Following their move to Gower, Charlotte gave birth to John (1861), Henry (1863), Elizabeth (1865), Charlotte (1868) and Thomas (1875). The family lived in Scurlage Castle as late as the 1881 census, before moving on to Penarth.

What was life like for Charlotte with 6 children with 17 years between the youngest and eldest? Very busy, I would suspect.

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Charlotte Balment - Marriage 1857 and first born 1858

Charlotte Balment and William Huxtable Ball were married in the Parish Church in High Bray, Devon on 5 August 1857. Fathers of the wedding couple were identified as John Ball, tailor and William Balment, mason. Witnesses to the wedding were William Baer and Louisa Jane Ball. Louisa was William's younger sister, born 1839-1840. Charlotte signed the register with an "X" meaning that she could not likely neither read nor write.

The identity of the first witness, William, is another research task, added to my list. I am always curious to know if they are related to family, neighbours or other kinds of acquaintances. Once I have more details, I will be sure to post the information.

This is All Saints Church in High Bray where they were married:

Charlotte gave birth to William James Ball in March of 1858. The date of the entry is difficult to read, but I think that the date reads "4th". The next few years brought many changes to the Ball household, including a new home in Wales. More on that in my next post.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Online Parish Clerks

If you are looking for information on early births, marriages and deaths, then an online parish clerk (OPC) may be able to help you. Online parish clerks are volunteers in the UK who collect genealogical information about a specific parish and answer email enquiries without charges. In the days before civil registration of vital events (births, marriages and deaths), the local church kept this information for each parish.

In the UK, civil registration began in 1837 and started slowly. Church records are often the only source of informaiton for pre-civil registration events. Online Parish Clerks (OPC) are available in selected counties in the UK. The Devon OPCs are wonderful people. I've asked for look ups for Devon (South Molton, Filleigh, High Bray, North Molton) and always find them to be very helpful, providing suggestions for further enquiries, possible names and connections. You need to provide specifics on an individual that you are researching - name, date/place of birth, marriage partners, death etc., and they will let you know what they have found in their records. While not all records are complete or comprehensive, they can let you know what exists and other possible sources or neighbouring parishes/OPCs that might be able to help. So, why not try them out when you are doing your pre-1837 UK research!

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Charlotte Balment - 1851 England Census

The 1851 census reveals that Charlotte was still living with her parents, William and Elizabeth, in Bray Town, High Bray. Charlotte is age 20, and her birthplace still shows as High Bray. William, age 63, (birth year given as 1788), has the occupation "Mason" listed and his birth place is shown as Marwood, Devon. Elizabeth is age 57 with a birth year of 1794. Her place of birth is shown as High Bray.

A surprising addition to the household is Eliza Balment, age 4, birth year 1847, with a birthplace of Barnstaple. She is shown as "Granddaughter". My first inclination was to think that she could have been Charlotte's daughter, given the fit with their ages. However, having contacted the Online Parish Clerk (OPC) for High Bray, I have learned that High Bray Parish register shows a baptism on 15 Dec 1846 for "Eliza, base child of Mary Anne Ballman, East Buckland, servant." Base means illegitimate. This points to the possible existence of a sister to Charlotte. The name Ballman is close to Balment, so it's likely a match. I've ordered the birth certificate for Eliza to confirm her parentage (although given the parish baptism entry, I am not holding up much hope that Eliza's father will be listed on the certificate).

More on the Online Parish Clerk system in my next post...

Cheers, K.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Charlotte Balment - 1841 England Census

The 1841 census shows Charlotte, age 9, living with her parents, William and Elizabeth Balment, both shown as age 50 with a birth year of 1791, in High Bray, Devon. Charlotte is the eldest child of 3; the younger siblings being James, age 5, born in 1836 and William, age 1, born in 1840. The address of the household is given as Bray Town Cottage, High Bray, Devon.

Given the ages of the parents, I am beginning to wonder if William and Elizabeth are, in fact, her grandparents. The fluidity of age reporting in the early censuses means that their ages could have been over estimated by themselves or the census taker.

I've really just started to research this family and do not know much about them yet... So much more to do!,

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Charlotte Balment (1831-1897), wife of William Huxtable Ball

Charlotte Balment was the wife of William Huxtable Ball and the mother of Thomas H. Ball and his siblings. She was born around 1831 in the village of High Bray, in Devon. Like her husband William, Charlotte's age varies throughout the years, so her birth year is my best guestimate. It is believed that her parents were William and Elizabeth Balment, but I will post once confirmed. High Bray is located east of Barnstaple and north of South Molton:

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Information on the history of High Bray, from the Devon County Council, can be found here.

These are photographs of Highbray taken by Martin Bodman, and can be found on the Geograph.org.uk website:

This photograph, looking north, shows the view of the valley outside High Bray from the edge of High Bray churchyard. The village in the valley is Brayford. A public footpath links the two.

This image shows All Saints Church in the village of High Bray, looking west across the crowded churchyard:

High Bray is another place on my 'must-see" list - so tranquil.

Cheers, K.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Death of Robert Gordon Hynds - 1933

After a bit of digging, I found the obituary for Robert Gordon Hynds. He was the son of Gwen and John (Jack) Hynds. Gwen was Grandad William Huxtable Ball's younger sister. Originally, I had found the Bowell Funeral Home record for Robert Gordon.

Hoping to find more details on this tragic death, I ordered the British Columbian newspaper and searched the late November and early December editions. While all varieties of accidents were reported, I couldn't find any details of Robert's accident. What I did manage to find was a simple notice of his death in the 9 December 1933 edition of the Columbian, which read:

"Hynds - Passed away at his home, White Rock, B.C., on December 9, 1933, Robert Gordon Hynds, two-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hynds. Besides his parents he leaves to mourn his passing one brother, [living] at home.

The funeral will be held Monday afternoon, December 11, at 1 o'clock from the funeral home of S. Bowell & Son to the New Fraser cemetery, Rev. J.L. Sloat officiating."

As far as I am aware, Robert's brother is still living - so I haven't included his name. I found the small pieces of Robert's story very sad - so young and what seems to have been an awful accident. It must have been very hard for his parents to have lost a young child so tragically. It makes you think about how precious live is.

Take care of each other. Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Annie Amelia Ball - Laid to Rest - 17 Apr 1947

This is the Laid to Rest notice for Annie Amelia Ball, which appeared in the 17 April 1947 edition of the Columbian:

The identity of J. Hewlett, from Thomas' "Laid to Rest" notice seems to have been solved - it's Jesse Hewlett. How he is related to Albert and Sarah Elizabeth Hewlett will have to be further researched.

I don't have a good sense who Harry Page, George Brooks and E. Turnbull were - perhaps neighbours or friends. R. Byatt might be Russell Byatt, the son of Annie Amelia's sister, Eva (Turner) Byatt, who predeceased her.

As always, more information leads to more questions!

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Annie Amelia Ball - Obituary - 14 Apr 1947

I have also found the obituary for Annie Amelia Ball for her death on 14 Apr 1947. It was shown on the front page of the 14 Apr 1947 edition of the Columbian:

I am still a bit puzzled by the reference to two sisters living in England. As far as I am aware, there was only one sister (Alice (Turner) Boyle) left in Cardiff, Wales.

Her other sisters, Eva Byatt (deceased), Sarah Elizabeth Hewlett(deceased) and Edith Steed (Mrs. R.E. Steed) had all come to Canada with or shortly after Annie arrived here with grandad. Should I chalk it up to my grandfather's lack of accuracy? Or is there some truth to the matter?

Cheers, K.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Thomas Ball - Laid to Rest Notice - 10 Nov 1941

I wanted to wish everyone all the best for 2012. Thanks for following the Ball Bureau. If you have information to share or would like to comment, please feel free. If you wish to contact me off the blog, please do so at oldbookgal[at]gmail.com.

The following burial notice appeared for Thomas H. Ball in the 10 Nov 1941 edition in the British Columbian on page 5:

The pallbearers included sons-in-law, Jack Hynds and Hugh Sigismund, brothers-in-law, Albert Hewlett (husband of Annie Amelia's sister Sarah Elizabeth Turner), Richard Edward Steed (husband of Annie Amelia's sister, Edith Turner) and J. Hewlett - who is likely related to Albert and Sarah Elizabeth - and another mystery to solve.

Cheers, K.

Obituary - Thomas Huxtable Ball 1875-1941

In doing some more research on my great-grandfather, Thomas Huxtable Ball, I made an interlibrary loan request for the British Columbian newspaper. The Columbian covered New Westminster and the lower mainland of British Columbia. The film arrived in mid-December and I happily spent my morning off at work, trolling through the microfilm.

I was able to find the following obituary for Thomas in the 7 November 1941 edition (pg. 5):

The obituary helps to confirm that Thomas and Annie moved to White Rock in the late 1930's, which was was hinted in the city directories. I suspect that they may have moved in with daughter, Gwen Hynds and son-in-law, Jack Hynds, who resided in White Rock, but I will try to confirm.

The reference to two sisters in England is a bit puzzling. He did have two sisters still living - Charlotte Down and Elizabeth Ann Edwards - however, I believe that they were living in Penarth and Cardiff, Wales respectively. The reference to England may have been an error.

Cheers, K.