Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Meeting Family and History - Continued

Well, that was a long break! Yes, a year away from this blog - far too long. I've missed doing my own family history research and feel the need to get back to doing something that I've loved doing... So I'll dispense with the excuses and jump back into finishing my Wales holiday story.

To pick up where I left off....

The next day we drove back out to Penarth to explore. I was particularly interested in seeing Plassey Street, where 2x great-grandfather, William Huxtable Ball, lived with his family.  The skies were clear and the sun shone overhead - an auspicious start to a new adventure. We managed to make it to the town centre, after a detour to see the marina, and headed to a pub for a bite to eat.  On our drive up, I recognized several streets that I had researched and caught a glimpse of the end of Plassey Street.

After lunch, we left the pub, rounded the corner and arrived - Plassey Street!
Plassey Street, Penarth
I recognized the former Plassey Street Tabernacle  and passed by #96, where my great-grandfather's brother, Henry had lived with his family. As we headed down the hill towards #140, I could not help but think that I was walking the road where Thomas and his  family had walked before - how life had changed for Thomas from this quiet, quaint street to the bustle of Leeds, to a transatlantic sail to Montreal and cross-country train ride to Vancouver, where he and Annie raised their family in the shadow of the mountains, the smell of cedars and the fresh sea air. When we reached #140, I couldn't resist crossing the street to take a photo (it's the house with the open door).  It was special to be there and to take it all in.
Home of Wm Huxtable Ball 1837-1927 - 140 Plassey St.

We had made arrangements to visit a relative in Dinas Powys later that afternoon so we headed along Stanwell Road to the Penarth Library.
Penarth Library
William Spickett Ball (aka Billy Ball) had been the library caretaker for about 25 years and lived in the cottage behind the library. I also wanted to thank Marcus Payne, the Branch Librarian, for all his assistance with my research.  I left my husband and daughter to explore the shops while I stopped at the library. Marcus was a most gracious host, giving me a tour of the library, including the cottage which has been incorporated into the main building. We ended our tour in the former back garden. It as a lovely treat to meet Marcus and I shall be forever grateful for his assistance in solving the mystery that was Billy.

St. Andrew's Church, St. Andrews Major
After a few missed turns, we arrived in Dinas Powys mid-afternoon and met with my second cousin, once removed (his great-grandfather was my 2x great-grandfather). He suggested a quick drive out to Ty Gwyn, John Ball's farm in St. Andrews Major, just a couple of kilometers from his home.  As we came up to the the parish church, we stopped at the graveyard where John and Ruth Ball and children, Gwen and Nelson were buried. The beautiful Norman church in its bucolic setting seemed perfect - a lovely, quiet and peaceful place.

Ty Gwyn Farm, St. Andrews Major
 We walked around the perimeter of John's farm to get a sense of his holdings and stopped by Ty Gwyn, the old farmhouse where John and his family lived.  Our afternoon ended at my cousin's house for a cup of tea - which was the perfect ending to a lovely day retracing my family roots in Penarth.

As we drove back into Cardiff, I could hardly believe all the connections, sites and people that we had encountered.  Our evening was yet to hold more treasured moments. More on that soon...

Cheers, Karen

No comments: