Monday, 20 August 2012

My mystery man - William Henry Ball

In going back over some research notes, I came across William Henry Ball, son of Henry Ball and Anne Evans. Given the propensity to hand down names in the Ball family (especially, the name 'William'), I was particularly flummoxed in my early days of research with sorting out which William was who. (I should be honest and say that the legacy of repeating names is not purely a Ball tradition. I am named after my mother's sister, who named one her daughters after my mother - my poor Grandma never got my name right on the first try - I learned to answer to both names - it just made life easier for her...)

William Henry Ball was born on 7 November 1892 in Newton, Brigend, Wales, in the area near Porthcawl:

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His father, Henry, was a dairyman. His mother was Ann Evans. Henry's address was given as 52 Windsor Road, Penarth and it is noted "as per Declaration dated 21 December 1892". William Henry's birth was registered on 28 December 1892, almost 2 months after his arrival in Newton.

Sorting out his identity from of his cousin, William Spickett Ball, was bit of a tangle as they both often appeared in the census as "William Ball". They appear to have worked together in the Evans (a relation to William Henry's mother, Ann, I suspect) bakery in Whitchurch, Cardiff in the 1911 census.

Family lore had it that William Henry had died in the Great War or by tragic circumstances, at a young age. He turned up as the informant of the death of his father, Henry, on 8 December 1931. There's a William Henry Ball listed in the 1937 Western Mail Directory for Cardiff, living at 8 Bridgend Street, Splott, one of the four inner city suburbs of Cardiff, born of the industrial revolution.

Recently, I came across a marriage registration for William Henry Ball, of 96 Plassey Street, Penarth, dated 26 Dec 1921. He was married to Matilda Kate Bowcher, who lived at 34 Plymouth Road, Penarth. The marriage took place in the Parish Church in Penarth. Interestlingly, the witnesses to the marriage were William Spickett Ball, Henry's cousin and Arthur William Bowcher, Matilda's older brother.

I have not yet been able to find a death for William Henry Ball - but now know that he had been married. My next steps are to trace down any possible children and Matilda's death or second marriage. I will be sure to let everyone know if anything turns up.

Cheers, K.

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