Merry Christmas

A Blogger I Am Not!

The tag line “keeping you up to date” is somewhat misleading! I am pretty useless at this blogging lark as it is over 5 months since I last posted an article here. A lot has happened in those months and I can’t remember all of it – it’s an age thing!

The Jones Family

The Jones Family Tree took off very quickly and has gathered 462 individuals.

There is now a Facebook Group called Aberdyfi Jones where you can view a lot more information about the Jones Family.

This particular Jones family is not related to the Williams Family of Aberdyfi but I have enjoyed researching it nevertheless and gained a few more friends because of it.

As and when time permits I will continue the research because you never know what will crop up …

William James Jones
(1904 - 1993)

New Contacts

A number of new contacts have been made since July and I have been able to put more cousins in touch with each other. Additionally, communication with some “old” contacts has been renewed. This all helps to make the whole concept of The Williams Family Tree a worthwhile effort. I won’t name any names here as I don’t want to offend anyone by missing them out or embarrassing them by including them! Suffice to say that I have acquired a lot more information about many of the branches of the tree and, as ever, I am extremely grateful for all the new information and the corrections to existing data.

The picture to the left is of Isadore Daniel Lunn (1848 – 1904)

The Williams Family Tree Statistics

Individual Target


As you can see, a lot has been achieved but we are only just over halfway to our “new” target of 200,000 individuals.

Your continued contributions will be greatly appreciated.

New Entries
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A long winter and a hot summer. Whether this has anything to do with the computer problems I’ve been having lately I don’t know. Suffice to say that an upgrade on my main server failed and so I decided to utilise my old laptop as my new ownCloud and local website server. Hopefully, everything is now up and running with the latest versions of everything. Time will tell. Those of you with ownCloud accounts will be notified once all the data has been re-installed. You will be issued with temporary passwords which should be changed as soon as possible.


My sister-in-law, Helen, is the 7x great-granddaughter of William Redshaw born about 1670. A lot of the information ‘borrowed’ from The Redshaw Family Tree turned out to be incorrect. I have been hacking away at this branch of the family from time to time and I believe that the information on the website is now pretty accurate. Thanks to all who have helped with updates and corrections.

Other Branches

Research continues with the Rattenbury and Maidment families. Other branches are also being updated and added to as and when time allows. Again, many thanks for all the contributions.

The Jones Family

After reading a post on FaceBook, I decided to quickly delve into the Jones family from Aberdyfi. Well, one of them! As far as I am aware, there is no link to the Williams family but in no time at all the Jones tree grew to over 300 individuals. Surnames include Allingham, Bate, Brown, Carter, Cowley, Edwards, Ellingham, Evans, Fowles, French, Gordon, Henderson, Humphreys, Johnson, Mulliner, Nelson, O’Hara, Parry, Prince, Rogers, Shaw, Smith, and Wyatt. If you are linked to any of these families please get in touch.


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Edward Edwards the Builder

Of the Clock Tower in Machynlleth

Machynlleth Clock Tower (

Cara Grant got in touch with me recently regarding her great grandmother, Mary Ellenor Rust (nee Edwards). Mary Ellenor was the daughter of Edward Edwards and Elizabeth Jones. The question being whether this Edward Edwards was the builder of the Machynlleth Clock Tower. The investigation began.

Edward Edwards, my grandaunt’s father-in-law, was born about 1845 in Machynlleth and died in 1890. We don’t know exactly when he was born as there are three possible birth registrations for an Edward Edwards around the same time and it is an expensive exercise to obtain birth certificates for everyone. However, Edward features in the 1851, 1861, 1871, and 1881 census returns, so we know that he was initially a joiner, like his father, and went on to become a builder, and that he lived in Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth.

According to an article in the Cambrian News and Merioneth Standard, the foundation stone for the Castlereagh Memorial Clock Tower was laid by Viscount Castlereagh on 15th July 1874. The grand opening of the Clock Tower took place on a rainy Thursday, 31st August, 1876, as documented in the Aberystwith Observer the following Saturday. Both of these articles mention Mr. Edward Edwards of Machynlleth being the Builder but nothing else of value about him.

Edward married Elizabeth Jones in 1865. She was from Bala, Merionethshire – although one census return has her coming from Liverpool. Not much was known about her, because of the difficulty in tracing her by name. However, in 1881 her sister, Gwen, was with the Edwards family in Machynlleth. From the 1891 census, her brother, a Calvanistic Minister, Cadwaladr Jones, was staying with the recently widowed Elizabeth. Finally, in 1901, there was another Cadwaladr Jones from Bala visiting, it turns out this was Elizabeth’s father. Elizabeth passed away in 1908.

The Family Notices of Y Goleuad for 25th November, 1908, contained the following:

Death notice for Elizabeth Edwards

Which (roughly) translates to:

Edwards.– Thursday night, November 19, after a long illness, Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards, widow of the late Mr. Edward Edwards, Builder, Machynlleth, and sister of the Reverend C. Jones, Salem, Meifiod, aged 65. She left 6 sons and 3 daughters to mourn her.

It’s interesting to note that Edward Edwards was referred to as a Builder and not an Adeiladwr. Funny people these Welsh!

In the 1891 census for Machynlleth, a few months after Edward Edwards died, there are only three people of the same name and the right sort of age listed and none is a builder. All this information convinces me, and Cara, that our relative was indeed the Edward Edwards responsible for building the Machynlleth Clock Tower – unless, of course, you know differently…

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Replacement for WFT Toolbar

My WFT Toolbar extension to Firefox has been a valuable tool for genealogical research for many years enabling quick access to a number of websites and/or specific pages within those websites. Unfortunately, the toolbar is not compatible with the latest versions of Firefox and it is not wise to keep using old versions of Firefox due to security issues. It is no longer feasible to try to maintain the toolbar. An alternative had to be found – and here it is.

Firefox, even the latest version, allows the use of a bookmark sidebar. Normally this would be used to display a bunch of bookmarks, as you would expect. However, it is also possible to use a single webpage in place of the normal bookmarks and so I have created such a page here:

To install the menu in Firefox click on Bookmarks from the top left of Firefox, select Other Bookmarks from the dropdown menu, then right click in the box (or on one of the existing links) and click on New Bookmark. A new box will pop up where you can enter a name for the bookmark (always a good idea!), don’t make the name too long as it may affect the width of the display. I called mine WiFaT – Wi(lliams)Fa(mily)T(ree).

Then you need to add the Location. In this instance, it is You can add Tags, Keyword and Description if you like but make sure you select ‘Load this bookmark in the sidebar’ then click on Add. Once you have done all this, to load the bookmark menu click on Bookmarks from the top left of Firefox, select Other Bookmarks from the dropdown menu, and finally click on the Bookmark you named earlier.

I will be making changes every now and again but every time you reload it like this you will get the latest version.

If there are any links to websites that you would like to see on the menu please let me know and I will try to include them.

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Family Albums

Photo and Postcard Albums

I feel privileged to have been loaned two family albums by my cousin Mike. They belonged to his late mother, my aunt Rene. The first album contains many photos of family and friends but we are not sure of exactly who some of them are. However, CSI Fleckney, and a few friends, have been on the case and we now know a lot more than we did to start with.








The photos above are of our grandfather, Thomas (Tom) Ellis, on the right, grandmother Leah (Dolly) Ellis (nee Barker) on the right, and possibly one side of our great-grandparents in the centre.

The second album mainly contains postcards sent to, or by, family and friends but only a few have anything written on them. However, the postcards themselves are quite interesting. I would hazard a guess that it was cheaper to send postcards than the folded, enveloped, card that we are familiar with today.

Unto thy form most lovely, And thy sweet face divine,
I supplicate most humbly, And ask- Wilt thou be mine.

“Dear Charlie, Just a P.C. hoping to hear from you soon being Leap Year. From One who knows Nothing.”


This could be a message to Charles Brotherton from Rosina Ellis. They married in 1928, a leap year.

There are far too many items to list here but another that intrigued me is this one:

Lismore Castle (from the River) Lismore, Ireland.

26 Jun 1914

Mrs. G. Barker,
11 Gower Street,

“Dear Mother, I am going on to D. ward on Friday and pops also. I have heard that Ethel his coming home on Friday. With love from Son and pops.”

26 Jun 1914 was a Friday. Was there some kind of illness or accident that put Son, Pops, and Ethel in hospital? Mrs. G. was Eliza Barker (nee Farley), and presumably Pops was George Edwin Barker. Ethel would be their daughter, who would have been 8 years old, but which of the lads was Son? Charles Stewart would have been 24, John Joseph would have been 20, Philip Henry would have been 17, Victor George Henry would have been 13, Albert Arthur would have only been 2, which pretty much leaves him out. A mystery that we will probably never solve.

Then there is this series of postcards with nothing written on the back of them. Who were they sent by and to whom?

1. A Loving Greeting: There’s never a time of absence That’s so long, But can be shortened by Love’s old sweet song.

2. My All in All: There’s only one thing I shall miss, You’ll miss it too – and that’s a kiss.

3. For Ever and Ever: Though seas may divide us, Our thoughts will unite us.

4. True Blue: The stormy ocean roaring wide, Between my love and me. Can never, never yet divide My heart and soul from thee.

5. Love’s Token: Never sigh, You and I Will meet again By and by.

And finally, another mystery.

Seale Church, near Farnham. St. Laurence, Elstead Road, Seale, GU10 1HX.

Postcard sent from Birmingham and then forwarded from Tidworth Barracks, Andover, 11.15AM, 14 Oct 1912 to No.11 Gower Street, Lozells, Birmingham.

Pte J. Barker, G. Coy, Worcester Regiment, Lucknow, Tidworth

Dear Jim, Just a P.C. hoping you arrived safe and that you are quite well as it leaves me at present. Jim. Sorry I did not have more time to talk to you but you could see I was busy. Hoping to hear from you by return of post. Jim when you write do not mention this P.C. as they don’t know I have wrote it. Yours Sincerely Elsie. Write soon Jim xxx. My address Miss E. Sydenham, 36 New Summer Street, Birmingham.

I don’t know who Jim Barker was, yet, but Elsie Sydenham was the daughter of William and Sarah Sydenham. The family were living at 36 New Summer Street for the 1911 census. It would appear that Elsie died a spinster in 1970. Perhaps Jim never came home? Or was he known by another name? At the time, 11 Gower Street was the home of George Edwin and Eliza Barker. Could Jim have been John Joseph Barker (1893-1965)? As yet, I have not been able to find any mention of J. J. in the 1911 Census or the 1939 Register. Nor are there any obvious military records for him. The search continues …

Many thanks to Mike and Ann who lent me the albums. I will endeavour to continue my research as and when I can but if anyone reading this has any information to add please let me know. The full albums can be viewed by following this link:

Other News

I have more updates from cousin John Oliver Thomas who continues to work tirelessly on branches of The Williams Family Tree. Thank you John, I think I am pretty much up-to-date with you now and I have made a few additions to your data. I still have a lot of checking and editing to do but I will get there eventually.

Thanks to Janette Dienhoff members of the Trenfield family have had a lot of information added or updated. There is, of course, always more to be done as work like this is never-ending. Just as well I enjoy doing it so much!

Many other people have also been in touch which has led to more updates and additions. I would like to say thank you to all who have contributed in one way or another.

We have had a few new members to our little ‘club’ bringing our membership up to 384. Registered users enjoy a few more privileges than passers by. If you would like to join us you can apply via the link below. There is no charge and if you, or a family member, features in the Tree we can add a link to ‘Your Page’.

All that remains is for us to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy the festive season, eat as much as you like (not my mince pies!), and please drink responsibly.

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