Jones the Blacksmith

WHILE THE Sheffield side of my family tree is turning up plenty of clues, the Welsh side of my mum’s family is proving difficult to research. So far I can find only two records of my great grandfather John Jones, born about 1846 in Prestatyn; my grandma Ann Jones’ birth certificate and the 1881 census.

Until I tracked those down we thought that he was William Jones.

As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of John Joneses in the records for Wales but working out which of them might be our John Jones is tricky.

From my two definite records I know that he was a blacksmith, living near the Coach and Horses (still there over a century later) on Quay Road, Wepre, Connahs Quay, Flintshire.

My mum identifies this photograph in one of our Victorian albums as being of John and his wife Sarah (maiden name George) and I think she’s right because it was taken by ‘J. Brown, Photographic Artist, 3 Kinmel Street, Rhyl’. Rhyl is only 20 miles along the coast from Connahs Quay.

According to my mum they were Welsh speakers but their children all attended the English school so if John and Sarah wanted to keep something to themselves they would discuss it in Welsh.

It seems rather dour to modern eyes but could this be a wedding portrait? From the age of their children, I’d guess that they were married in the early 1870s, so John would be in his mid twenties and his bride Sarah George in her early twenties.

Betty and Arthur Jones. I’m guessing that this was taken c. 1900 – 1914. I can see a resemblance in the shape of Betty’s face and in her eyes to her grandma Sarah.

My mum identifies these two children (below, left) as Betty and Arthur Jones, grandchildren of John and Sarah.

Their father William Jones, born in Wepre in about 1875 worked as an engine driver . . . in the days of steam trains. Wish that I could have joined him on the footplate!

If one of these children looks like your grandparent, great grandparent or, for that matter, parent, we might be related!

I’m hurrying to finish this post because I’m going to watch the latest programme in the BBC genealogy series Who do you think you are?

If only I had a film crew and a team of researchers to help me . . .

But really the fascination is finding loose ends then following the threads.

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  1. His marriage certificate would give you his father’s name, which might be helpful in identifying the family on earlier censuses. is the best place to search because it will allow you to search for a John Jones whoes spouse might have had the surname George, whereas Ancestry doesn’t search on this criteria at such an early date. Also useful is this list of registration districts – not searchable, but you can use it to check the likelihood of various possiblities if you’re not sure. Good luck!

    1. Thank you Lauren. It wasn’t until I’d written my post and I was lying awake thinking out my next move that it occurred to me, having got those basic facts, I should go for the marriage certificate next. It could be my big breakthrough in keeping up with the Joneses!

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