Monday, 17 December 2012

Seeking closure for William Henry Ball

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/

William Henry Ball has been my man of mystery for sometime now. Recently, I've been scouring UK death registrations in the hopes of finding him sometime between 1932 and 1947, when his wife, Matilda Kate Bowcher, remarried. This is, of course, assuming that he did, in fact, die before her 1947 marriage to Bertram Cox.

Based on what I have learned from a family member, William may have met a tragic end involving a jump from a railway bridge, at an early age. However, finding evidence of that tragedy has been difficult. Initially, I had thought that his demise may have tied to some involvement in the Great War or military service, but I could not find any evidence showing his enrollment, discharge or death. After learning that he was married in 1921 and still alive in December 1931 when his father died, I decided to throw the net a bit wider and further. Could William have died tragically outside of Penarth or Cardiff?

Searching several death registration indexes for the UK, I did find one that matched his birth year and age. The certificate was indexed with the name "William H. Ball", so I was not sure if I would find a William Herbert or Horace listed. With some trepidation, I ordered the certificate in late November. It arrived this past Friday.

Much to my delight, the full name on he certificate shows "William Henry Ball". Of great interest, the place of death is listed as Ealing Broadway railway station. Sadly, the cause of death are injuries sustained due to a fall in front of a train - confirmed by a coroner's inquest. Is this my William Henry? What was he doing in Ealing in 1941? Could this have been a suicide? An accident? I cannot say at this point. I've started the process of tracking down an obituary and news stories of the event and will post once I have more information.

Stay tuned...

Cheers, K.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Wedding of William James Ball and Mary Shepherd - 1879-1880

One of the best things about writing this blog is that I get to meet (in the virtual sense) many kind and generous people. One such person is Vivienne. She had seen my posts about William James Ball and his stay in the Glamorgan Asylum. As a former Reynoldston resident, she contacted me and shared her childhoood memories of seeing William and Mary's former home on St. George's Terrace and the Ball burial plot in the local cemetery.

Vivienne also sent me a reference to a blog entitled "Dear George" written by Frances Bevan, which examines the correspondence between George Bevan, who left home at age 15 to begin an apprenticeship in his uncle’s ironmonger’s shop in Llandudno, and his family in Gower. Their correspondence carried on for over 50 years.

Vivienne pointed out that the marriage of William James Ball and Mary Shepherd was mentioned in the letters of late 1879 and early 1880. The first reference to the couple can be found in a letter dated 15 Dec 1879 The second reference to William and Mary's wedding is found in a letter dated 26 Oct 1880.

I was really excited to see the references and want thank Vivienne for all of her insight and memories of Reynoldston and Gower.

Cheers, K.

Monday, 3 December 2012

John and Ruth (Thomas) Ball - Headstone

I've been caught up the past few weeks doing some research on my Dad's baseball and university career and have regrettably have been away from the blog, but I hope to remedy that by getting back into the swing of things.

I wanted to update the burial information for John and Ruth (Thomas) Ball at St. Andrew's in Dinas Powys. John was an older brother to my great-grandfather, Thomas Huxtable Ball.

John is buried with wife, Ruth Thomas, and their children, Nelson and Gwendoline. The headstone at St. Andrews Major Church reads as follows:

In loving memory of JOHN BALL died May 4th 1928 aged 68 years
And his dear wife RUTH BALL died December 28th 1959 in her hundredth year.
Also their son NELSON BALL, beloved husband of Linda, died June 2nd 1963 aged 60 years.
Also their daughter GWENDOLINE CHARLOTTE died September 19th 1986 aged 85 years, beloved wife of Captain BOBS THOMAS.

The blog post about their final resting place can be found here.

Cheers, K.