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.
- 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 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 to 16th Lancers – to Curragh Camp (Ireland) for training. Transferred to Tank Corps Wareham in September, discharged December 1918. Fortunately he never went to the front line (the tank corps had a particularly low survival rate). 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.
- 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.
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:
- Mary Hannah born 1889 Neath. Married William Robert Parry 1908 Pontypridd, died 1969 or 1977? Children probably Robert John, David William (Bill), Margaret, with a possible 2nd daughter (Phyllis?).
- 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) 1926-2006.
- Ceinwen b 1902 Pontypridd. Married Danny Rees 1937 Neath, d 1984. No children.
- Margaretta (Grett) 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 1937-2011, Islwyn 1938-2018.
- 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. Children Arwyn, David, Anne.
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.
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.
- Tony Watkins website has some family history, Welsh Borders.
Related on Cutlock and Co
- Squaring the circle Connecting from Cummins to Watkins
- A tribute to Islwyn His contribution to Knighton and beyond
- Newspapers ablaze with minor family insights Passing educational references, and an indepth story
- Picturing the moving home front A London to and fro in WW2
- Islwyn’s picture puzzles Rediscovering negatives from the fifties
- Islwyn Watkins, 1938 to 2018 Welsh artist and more
- Pitching for a job Work is unclear, but wedding photo sorted
- A proud pit fireman A hundred year old certificate
- Putting all the Levis in order Another tale of Welsh miners in America
- Not taking a hint on Griffith Watkins Highs and lows in a Rhondda life
- Finding a Reason for this solicitor
- More of a muddle than a match Holley and Watkins wedding snaps
- There’s no news like old Welsh news
- A bunch of artists
- American as candy corn
- Staying together in Wilkes-Barre A Welsh community in America
- Merthyr, more than a temporary abode
- The electrical connection Welsh bright sparks
- Cracking a family myth Wales to Wilkes-Barre USA
- A recognised anthracite miner of Pennsylvania
- A quick look at family gravestones at Trealaw
- The Tonypandy that Mum knew
- A birthday memorial
- Taking the tree further in Brecon and Norwich
- Looking ahead to look behind