Cracking a family myth Wales to Wilkes-Barre USA

Great excitement at Cutlock Towers. Wednesday’s visit to cousin Islwyn in Knighton didn’t just fill in missing details on already known relations but, with just the briefest further research, has now revealed where the tales of Pennsylvania connections came from. These connections had become rather mythical to me, as the idea that a part of the Watkins family was born abroad just didn’t stack up.

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A recognised anthracite miner of Pennsylvania

Family tales of ancestors on the Watkins side of the family are beginning to have some substance. At the weekend, mum’s cousin Islwyn handed over a photocopy of a ‘Certificate of registration of Sub-Board No 1’ for my great grandfather John Watkins (given as “of Forest City”, although he came from, and returned to, Tonypandy in Wales).

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All at sea with a new cousin

So this makes the nice large wall chart of dad’s family “out of date”, if that’s the right phrase for having newly discovered historic information. With a bit of help from the Ancestry Facebook page {1}, I’ve downloaded the 1911 census form for my ‘half great great uncle’ William John Cullum from the actual Ancestry site. And yes, there is another offspring who was not recorded in the 1901 version. I had guessed there would be two, so I won’t make any great claims here.

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Wedding fashions through family photos

There are of course a number of wedding photographs in the family collection, dating back over a hundred years. I thought it might be interesting to look at the differences, from changing fashions and fortunes. The variation is no doubt as much as about what they could afford as personal taste and the conventions of the times.

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Theophilus Farrall shipping agent and electrical inventor

One family connection I hadn’t previously pursued very far was that of my cousin Geoffrey and aunt Irene (Watkins). Their father/husband was Charles O’Brien, revealed to have a middle name of Theophilus on his wife’s death certificate – I have a feeling he hated this name.

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