Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Henry Ball (1863-1931), marriage and a growing family

The year 1891 was a watershed in the life of Henry Ball. While recorded as living with his parents in April 1891, Henry seemed to embark on some big life changes - namely marrying Annie Evans in late 1891. Annie was born about 1868 and was from Cwmavon, Glamorgan, a small hamlet east of Swansea, close to Port Talbot. Their marriage was registered in the 4th quarter (Oct-Dec).

By the time of the 1901 census, Henry and Annie had a family of 5 children: William Henry, born in 1893, Lily Mae, born in 1895, Lettice Charlotte, born in 1897, Doris Charlotte, born in 1898, and Gladys Margaret, born in early 1901. They lived at 96 Plassey Street, Penarth. This is a Google map of their address:

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And this is a street view of the house:

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If you look across the street and down a little bit, you can see the Plassey Street Baptist Church, which played a big part in the life of Henry's father, William Huxtable Ball.

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I suspect that Henry and Annie were married at this church, but will need to do some more digging to confirm it.

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Henry Ball and the 1891 Wales Census

In 1891, on the 5th of April, when the census was taken in Wales, Henry Ball, age 27, was found to be living with his parents, William and Charlotte, in Penarth. They resided at 54 Windsor Road as shown on this Google map:

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Both father and son are listed as "dairyman". A dairyman could be a worker or owner of a dairy farm or a seller of dairy products. Given that Henry was living with his father in town, I suspect their dairy business was the latter - seller of dairy products. Knowing that older brother John was farming in St. Andrews Major, I suspect that Henry and William may have sold milk and other products from John's farm and perhaps others. Did they have a formal business? How successful were they? Alas, more clues to discover..

Cheers, K.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Henry Ball (1863-1931)

Henry was the third eldest son of William and Charlotte Ball. His birth was registered in Gower, Glamorgan in the last quarter of 1863. The family was likely still living in Scurlage Castle, Llanddewi, which is shown on the map below:

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This is a street view of the village:

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The first time Henry shows up in the census is 1881. (Parts of the Glamorgan census for 1871 are missing - along with the Ball family). He is shown as "Henery", age 17, and is listed as a rural messenger. Henry is living with his parents, sister Charlotte and youngest brother, Thomas in Scurlage Castle, Llanddewi.

More to follow.
Cheers, K.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Devon Family History Society

First off, I want to apologize for my lack of posts recently. I've been battling bronchitis for the past month and am now finally starting to feel like I'm back in the land of the living. I will endeavour to be more diligent with the frequency of my posts.

I was happy to receive my copy of the Devon Family Historian in the mail today. Its appearance was a wonderful reminder that family history or genealogy societies are a great resource in terms of expertise, local-on-the-ground information and support. While I haven't come across Ball family researchers working on my particular branch of the family, I have been helped by so many DFHS members via their e-mail (also known as 'mailing') list, website and the volunteers who staff their resource library called the "Tree House" in Exeter.

As I settle in to enjoy my copy of the Devon Family Historian, I would encourage researchers to join the local family history or genealogy society in the geographic area where their ancestors lived. You can really tap into great people, resources and local knowledge that you may not be able to access as a non-member, so far removed from your ancestors' county, state, province or country.

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Death of John Ball (1861-1928)

John Ball died in early May or late April of 1928 at the age of 68 in St. Andrews Major. He was buried in St. Andrews Major. This is Google Street View of St. Andrews Church, which was just down the road from Ty Gwyn:

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And this is the burial yard across the street:

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A lovely resting place...don't you think?

Cheers, K.

Monday, 13 February 2012

John Ball (1861-1928) in the 1911 Census

According to the 1911 Census of Wales, John and Ruth Ball were living at Ty Gwyn in St. Andrews-Dinas Powis. John is noted as age 50, and the operator of a dairy farm, while Ruth is noted as "married". Their children, Gwendoline Charlotte Ball, age 11, and Nelson Ball, age 8, are both noted having been born in St. Andrews and attending school. There is also a "cowman", named Edward Williams, in the home. Presumably, he was working for John on the farm.

Ty Gwyn still exists today in St. Andrews. "Ty Gwyn" is translated as "White House" in English. This is where the house is located:

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And this is what the house looks like from the back (notice the small sign that reads "Ty Gwyn"):

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This is a view of the house photographed in 2010 from the field at the front of the house:

I am told that John Ball rented the home and farm of approximately 50 acres from the Wenvoe Estate in 1884.

Many thanks to Matthew for the use of his photo of the house and the information on Ty Gwyn.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 6 February 2012

John Ball, 1861-1928 - Family and 1901 Census

In the years following their 1895 marriage, the family of John and Ruth Ball grew. Ruth gave birth to a daughter, Dorothy Ruth in 1896. Baby Dorothy`s birth was registered in the 2nd quarter (Apr-Jun) of 1896. Tragically, she only lived for 16 hours and was buried in St. Andrews Major on 15 Jun 1896.

A second daughter, Stella, was born in 1897. She was followed by another daughter, named Gwendoline Charlotte, who was born in 6 October 1899, in St. Andrews, Dinas Powis.

The 1901 census shows John, age 40, with an occupation of farmer, living in St. Andrew, Dinas Powis. Ruth is shown as 40 years of age, with Gwendoline L. Ball, age 1. I suspect that the middle initial "L." is likely a transcription error. Living with the family are the following people: Elenor Thomas, age 33, sister-in-law to John (Ruth's younger sister), whose occupation is shown as 'Dressmaker' and birthplace as Gower, John Howells, age 19, servant, whose occupation is farm labourer, and birthplace was Cardiff, and Eliza J. Wade, age 22, a domestic servant, from Somerset.

Where was Stella in 1901? I am not sure, but do know from a family member that Stella was not well and lived away from the farm. She later turns up with her aunt Eleanor in Cardiff in 1911 - but more on that later. If I do come across Stella in my travels, I will be sure to post.

A son, Nelson, was born in late 1902.

Cheers, K.

Friday, 3 February 2012

John Ball (1861-1928) - Brotherhood and marriage

When I received a copy of my great-grandfather's apprenticeship paper from my dear uncle, Bill, I soon realized that John Ball had played an important role in the life of my great-grandfather, Thomas. The copy of the indenture, dated 2 December 1891, states "This indenture witnesses that Thomas Huxtable Ball with the consent of his brother, John Ball, doth put himself Apprentice to Joseph Samuel Shepton..." With John's consent and signature, my great-grandfather began an apprenticeship as a plumber, bellhanger, gasfitter, painter and glazier, to Joseph Shepton, a Penarth builder. With his trade learned and registered, Thomas was able to move to Leeds and eventually to Canada. Had John withheld his consent, how would have Thomas' life turned out? Would he have remained in Glamorgan with the rest of the family? Would he have left Wales?

According to the marriage indexes for Wales, John married Ruth Thomas of Knelston, Glamorgan, Wales in 1895. Their marriage was registered in the 3rd quarter (Jul-Aug-Sep) of the year. John and Ruth were both about age 34 at the time of their marriage. Ruth was the daughter of a farmer and would have been accustomed to the routine and work of John's farm.

More on John to follow.

Cheers, K.