Watkins and Griffiths Welsh lines

No doubting the Welshness of Watkins. Our line comes from Brecknock, aka Breconshire, Talgarth area.

The 1841 census has the ‘original’ Levy Watkins (born about 1838) at Cuminbach, Llandefalley South.  See Mid Wales page.

Levy married Phoebe Griffiths in Merthyr Tydfil 13th June 1859 and lived in that town until at least 1875, working as a coal miner. (See Merthyr, more than a temporary abode). By 1881 the family had reached Tonypandy. Levy died 1912 in the Rhondda. Phoebe had died following an accident in 1892 – see There’s no news like old Welsh news.

Children:

  • David Griffith Watkins b 1862 Merthyr, m Gertrude Phillips 1885, died 1932 Trealaw. Children Levi b 1886 Merthyr, Phoebe b 1892.
  • William Watkins b 1863 Merthyr, m Elizabeth Jenkins 1886. Children born Rhondda: John 1887, Phoebe 1889, Thomas 1892, Tabitha 1897, Gwenfron Annie 1900.
  • Thomas Watkins b 1865 Merthyr.
  • John Watkins b 1868 Merthyr – see Ancestors section below.
  • Griffith Watkins b 1875 Merthyr, m Margaret Ann Davies 1895, d 1937. Children: Elizabeth Ann b 1897 Trealaw, Thomas John b 1898 Trealaw.

Both David and John briefly went to Pennsylvania for work late 1880s/early 1890s – see Putting all the Levis in order.

Levi ‘Len’ Watkins

Born 23rd September 1894 Rhondda – 1901 he is at 33 Court Street, Tonypandy. Parents John (b 1868, listed above) and Margaret.

Started in the coal mines 1906, and was working for Cambrian Colliery at 1916. Although his involvement is not known, clearly he was around at the time of the Tonypandy Riots in 1910/11.

Len and Mary Watkins

Len married Mary Ann Scott 18th November 1916, Clydach Vale parish church.

Len’s war service: Signed up February 1916 (living at 21 David Street). Called up May 1918, 1st Reserve Cavalry Regiment, 16th Lancers – Curragh Camp Ireland for training. Transferred to Tank Corps Wareham September. Discharged December 1918. Fortunately he never went to the front line (the tank corps had a particularly low survival rate), but son Vivian was born shortly before his discharge date, on 1st December in Tonypandy (15 Brynhynfryd Street).

He was a pit Fireman in his last years in the industry – checking for dangerous gases in the mine (see Occupations page). Sometime in 1926 he became an insurance agent and worked his way up to branch manager, taking that role in New Cross office of Scottish Legal Insurance in 1940 – moving to London from Llanelli, when others were going the other way.

Mary Ann died 1956. Granddad married twice more, to Florence May Warren and Alice Kathleen Symons (not sure about precise names – both known by middle names). Died 1986 in Paignton, Devon.

Offspring:

  • Vivian, Dec 1918 – May 1925 (buried Trealaw);
  • Irene Maud July 1925 – May 1970, married Charles T O’Brien (1912-1988) in 1948, son Geoffrey 1960 – 2000;
  • Norma 1930 – 2010.
In the park, Llanelli – Irene, Norma, mum Watkins

Ancestors and cousins

Note: see Tonypandy page for more on Trealaw cemetery.

Parents of Levi/Len: John Watkins (b 1869 Merthyr son of Levy and Phoebe, d 1939, buried at Trealaw) and Margaret Hughes (b 1871 Cadoxton, d 1939, buried Trealaw), married 1890 Neath district. Their other offspring:

Watkins tribe: David, Eurfron, Miriam, Mary Hannah, Ceinwen, Frank, Phoebe
  • Mary Hannah born 1889 Neath. Married William Robert Parry 1908 Pontypridd, d 1977. Children probably Robert John, David William (Bill), Margaret.
  • William b 1891 Skewen. d 1923. Married Margaret McDougall (Maggie) 1918 Pontypridd district. Children John and Mary.
  • Phoebe Ann b 1897 Pontypridd district. Married William Bowden 1920 Pontypridd, d 1972. Both buried Trealaw Cemetery. Children Ivor (1921-1941), Tony (adopted).
  • Miriam b 1900 Pontypridd. Married Bill Walters 1925 Pontypridd, lived in Llanelli (see The Electrical Connection). Children Bryn (Brinley).
  • Ceinwen b 1902 Pontypridd. Married Danny Rees 1937 Neath, d 1984. No children.
  • Margaretta b 1905 Tonypandy. Married John Roberts 1931 Pontypridd district, d 1983 Plymouth. Children Glyndwr Roberts, Megan Roberts.
  • David John b 1908 Tonypandy. Married Gwyneth Hickman 1936 Pontypridd. Children Dwynwen, Islwyn.
  • Eurfron b 11 Sep 1909 Rhondda. Married Willie Holley 1936 Pontypridd, died 1983. Both buried in Trealaw Cemetery. Children Willie John Holley, Ivor Dennis Holley, Leslie Holley.
  • Francis (Frank) b 1913 Tonypandy. Married Marjorie Jones 1938 Llanelli, second wife Brenda (Lloyd?). Radar developer during WW2, then ran radio and TV shop/service in Llanelli (Thomas Brothers). Died Llanelli 1997. See The Electrical Connection.
Phoebe Watkins (Bowden) grave on the left, John/Margaret on the right

More of a muddle than a match has a number of wedding photos for the above, although they need further identification.

It would be great to hear from anyone related in some way to those mentioned here.

Griffiths

The Griffiths family was in Merthyr Tydfil by about 1811, when David Griffiths was born there. He married Grace James, 14 May 1831 Merthyr. Children all born Merthyr:

  • Phoebe b 1837, married Levy Watkins (see above), d 1891.
  • Mary b 1839 – died in childhood?
  • William b 1842. Probably married Jane Davies 1867 Merthyr. Iron roller in Merthyr to 1881 then Cleveland, Ohio, retiring to Wilkes-Barre, d 5 Jan 1911. No children.
  • Elizabeth, b 1844, married Rees Hughes, emigrated to  New Zealand, died Cambrian, Otago 1919. Her gravestone is inscribed “Native of Castle Square, Merthyr Tydfil”.
  • Anne b 1849, married Daniel Thomas, emigrated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, d 6 Mar 1923. Children Grace Thomas b 1885 Wilkes-Barre m David Phillips.
  • Mary b 1852, married Thomas Price, emigrated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Children Grace Mary b 1871 Merthyr m William Griffiths, Gwen Margaret b 1874 Merthyr m Harris Seibert, David b 1876 Merthyr, Tracey b 1888 Pennsylvania m Ruth Dickie, W Harold Price b 1893 Pennsylvania d 1916 Wilkes-Barre.
  • Ruth b 1855 married William Davies, emigrated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, d 14 Mar 1915. Children David Jenkin Davies b 1876 Merthyr m Elizabeth Ann Beaumont, Grace b 1881 Merthyr m James Morgan, William Griffiths Davies b 1888 Wilkes-Barre d 1918 France.
  • A further child Margaret died “shortly after childbirth” per comment from Jenny Heller – presumably in 1871. Her birth year is unclear, but before Phoebe in 1837? Margaret’s daughter Phoebe is with sister Elizabeth in 1881 and also goes to New Zealand. (This Phoebe had seemed to be the daughter of Elizabeth/Rees from some records.)

Cutlock & Co blog articles re Griffiths: Cracking a family myth on tracking down this line; Merthyr, more than a temporary abode – Merthyr Tydfil is a key place in the family history; Staying together in Wilkes-Barre – the close family ties.

Research notes

  • Tony Watkins website has some family history, Welsh Borders.

Related posts on Cutlock and Co

13 thoughts on “Watkins and Griffiths Welsh lines

  1. hi my name is anthony holley i am the grandson of eurfron and willie holley son of willie john holley

  2. Hallo Anthony. Great to hear from you, second cousin! I will drop you a line via the email address this site has collected, if I may (see the About page for my real name).

  3. Hello Anthony my name is phillip walters my late dad is a cousin to your father hope he s ok and your mother give them my regaurds saw your message,on the watkins and griffiths site just thought i would introduce myself.take care

    1. hi nice to hear from you am i right in thinking u r bryn walters son , Dad is doing fine playing golf as allways i told him of u getting in touch and he gives his regards

  4. Hi Anthony

    Sorry it’s now that I’m replying to your e-mail,I’m fairly new to it and it’s only now that I’m seeing it. You are correct I am Bryn’s son. I have been searching on the internet for dad’s two cousins, Dennis and Leighton
    Walters.but so far have drawn a blank. Not sure where they are living.

    Glad to hear that your father is ok and trust that everyone else is too.

    As you probably know dad died in 2006. Mam is nearly 85 and is keeping
    pretty well.

    Best wishes to all the family, it would be nice to keep in touch.

    .Phill

  5. Will get more info over Christmas…I know much more about the griffiths from Wilkes-Barre area. My great Grandmother and great grandfather were Griffiths. My great grandfather was eventually a foreman in the mines and they had thirteen children. I think my great uncle Robert is still alive. Also, we have a genealogy on the whole Griffith side. My daughter has it and will see her at Christmas.

  6. My dad born in Dina’s trealaw Rhondda he was b _15_7_1940 his name john Colin Griffith’s his dad n john Griffith’s a miner and pow in ww2 he married iris Jones in 1940s any info b nice they lived at 3 station terrace Dina’s trealaw

  7. Also I have 2 sisters by my father john Colin Griffith’s from first marriage like to know who they r all from penygraig Williams town Rhondda b abt 1950 s

    1. I’ve had more info on my gather john Griffith’s m iris Jones in 1939 pontypridd ref 11a/1726 they had son john Colin Griffith’s b 15 _7_1940 he born at 3 station terrace Dina’s trealaw Rhondda my gdad born in n wales origin can’t find nothing

    2. Is the bisgrove family any relation to my grandfather john griffiths he m iris jones 1939 same area or my dad john colin b 1940 trealaw or dinas also griffiths, he also got 2 daughters up that way penygraig I think they would be in they 50s my sister never seen them b nice to meet them any info,

  8. Out of interest Elizabeth Louise Bisgrove born 13th March 1911 43 Primrose Street Tony Pandy parents John & Louisa Bisgrove. Sorry but just found lots of info which we would like to find out

    Thank you

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