Merry Christmas – Again!


Really? 12 months?

I can’t believe I’ve not updated you for the last 12 months! So much has happened since the last episode. Being retired seems to mean I have less time for writing about the family tree. Walking, brewing, creating a website for the village, more walking, more brewing … it goes on and on!

Some of the Fleckers!
Some of the Fleckers!
Some booze!
Some booze!

Of course, research has continued with over 2,100 new entries so far this year. Loads more individuals, family members, parts of family trees, and new contacts. As ever, I am extremely grateful for all the imformation you have provided. It’s been a great year.

Admittedly, most of the updates have concerned distant family members but over fifty of them are ancestors of my second cousin’s husband, Jack Cowley.

The pedigree of Mair Clare has been known for some time, at least going back to Joseph and Hannah Clare in the very early 1800s. Now, after a stroke of genius luck I have taken Jack Cowley’s ancestors back to the same period.

6 Maesnewydd
Outside 6 Maesnewydd about 1958 - courtesy of Peter Clare

I was always told that I was born in Snowdon – it’s a small house in Church Street, Aberdyfi. We must have moved to Maesnewydd (number 3) shortly afterwards. The Cowley family occupied number 6. That’s Jack gasping for air at the bottom right of the picture with Mair directly behind him. Our family have known their family forever! We used to pop round on Sundays to watch a programme or two on their TV – we didn’t have one at the time. Tea and scones were on the menu, lovely! Happy times.

I digress, the Cowley family: Jack was born in Sheffield, as were his parents, Fred and Lillian. In 1939 Fred was a widower, Lillian having died two years earlier. He, and his son Jack, were living at 46 Dundas Road, Sheffield.

At this time, Jack was an Apprentice Turner and his father, Fred, a Packing Case Maker.

Fred’s parents turned out to be Jabez Cowley and Ann Robinson. No! Not that Ann Robinson! Jabez was a Timber Merchant from Thurleigh, in Bedfordshire. His wife, Ann Robinson, was a Sheffield lass and they married in Sheffield in 1875.

Jabez and Ann had (at least) nine children. Four girls and five boys. As yet, I have not had the time to trace Fred’s siblings but you can bet there are a lot more cousins out there ….

More cousins? You bet! Jabez was the son of Thomas Cowley and Sarah Armstrong – and they had twelve children! Five girls, seven boys. Phew!

46 Dundas Road, Sheffield
46 Dundas Road, Sheffield

Thomas was an Agricultural Labourer and his wife Sarah a Lacemaker. In 1845, before they married, Thomas was “a bit of a lad”. He was 5′ tall, had black hair, hazel eyes, a sallow complexion, and a scar on his right knee. How do we know? This is how he was described when he was committed to gaol, the Bedford New House of Correction, for breaking glass windows. His sentence was two calendar months hard Labour in the mill at the gaol. He must have been ‘reformed’, as when he died in 1901 he left his effects, £123, to George Chandler, a Baptist Minister.

Fathers Tree of Jack Cowley
Jack Cowley's Ancestors

And finally, for now at least, Jack’s great, great grandparents, John Cowley and Sarah Darnell. Married in Thurleigh, Bedfordshire in 1819, they only had nine children that we know of – three boys, six girls. It will take a lifetime to track down all their descendants!

Thomas was also an Agricultural Labourer. There may have been more children as the gaps between their ages is uncommonly large. At least, in 1841, mother-in-law was living next door to lend a hand!


A massive 123 of the aforementioned additions to the tree are named Dudley. Research is still in progress but Dean Dudley published The Dudley History back in 1886. This documents much of this Irish family.


If you zoom up to about 400% you can read the text of this large but miniaturised tree section. Just hover your mouse over the bottom of the tree and set the desired magnification and then drag the tree around inside the box. Clever, or what?!?

This lot are distantly related to my sister-in-law, Helen, via the Lambert, Redshaw, and Staniforth families.


sutton coat of arms

Sir Edmund Sutton (1425–1483) was a knight of Dudley Castle and Gatescombe. Sutton was born in Dudley, England, a son of John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley, K.G, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Berkeley.

Edmund married Joyce Tiptoft, daughter of John Tiptoft, 1st Baron Tiptoft, ultimately coheir to the baronies of Cherleton and Tiptoft. She transmitted to the Dudley family the quarterings of Tiptoft, Cherleton, Holland, and that of Edmund of Woodstock, youngest son of King Edward I of England.

Edmund Sutton’s exact date of death is not known, but it was after July 6, 1483, but before that of his father (who died 30 September 1487). He had a son Edward, (b. 1459), who was to become the 2nd Lord Dudley.

His younger brother was John Dudley of Atherington. His son Edmund Dudley (1462–1510) was married to Elizabeth Grey, whom after this Edmund Dudley’s execution wed Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, an illegitimate son of Edward IV. John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland was the son of Edmund Dudley and Elizabeth Grey.

Moving Forward

Cousin John Oliver Thomas is undertaking his own research into Dorset(shire) families that we believe are related but we’ve not quite found the link(s) yet. One of these families is named Forward. Over 50 individuals have been added to the Forward family recently and more research is being done.



Again you need to hover, zoom, and drag until you can see what you want to read.

The family stem from the Compton Abbas area of Dorset and are a mixture of Agricultural Labourers, Shepherds, and Beer Sellers! Roy Forward, a direct descendant of John Forward who died in 1780, has kindly updated much of J. O. T’s, and my, research. Thanks Roy, keep it coming.


Over 80 members of the Kirkbride family from Cumberland have been added this year. Matthew started it off back in 1636, at least that’s where we start! He married Magdalen in 1655. She was the daughter of John Dals(t)on and Eleanor Radcliffe – any relation to Paula? As far as we know, Matthew and Magdalen only had 7 children! Six boys!

I can relate to their great, great, grandson, Roger Kirkbride (1777-1853). He was a Maltster by trade. “The maltster selected cereals, mainly barley, from the growing fields, for malting. The barley could also be grown on a brewer’s premises. The maltster would then modify the barley, using nature as part of the process, to allow the brewmaster to be able to make beer from it. The barley was malted to the brewmaster’s specification, to ensure the brewmaster being able to produce the beer flavour, and alcohol content he desired.” Good man!

A Maltster hard at it!
A Maltster hard at it!

Roger married Hannah Robinson in 1798 and they had six children, five boys and one girl. The two youngest lads, George (a Joiner) and Edmund (a Shoemaker), lived together for a while. Edmund married Mary Ann Farrer in 1851 but he died in 1866. She didn’t do too well at this wedding lark as her first husband, Joseph Child, died at the age of 23! A bunch of Mary Ann’s ancestors have also been added this year.

Joiner George had similar luck. He married three times. Firstly to Elizabeth Sellers (any relation to Peter?), who gave him three children. Secondly to Faith Middlewood who gave him four children. Finally to Elizabeth Priestman who gave him five children. When I say “gave”, I really mean “shared” …

We are not sure whether Joiner George married Elizabeth before or after he moved to Canada but all his children with her were born there.

North Molton

Lastly, as I think I’ve probably bored you enough already, are some distant ancestors of my cousin Spike’s ex-wife. The Hoggett and Cook families married into the Moule line. They were from North Molton, Devonshire. At least that’s where our journey begins with them.


Yep! It’s BIG! The Moule we’re interested in is Henry (1746-1818), the son of John and Joan. Henry was not an only child but I have not researched fully into this family yet. I seem to be saying that a lot lately! However, Henry married Agnes Dowden in 1767 and they hatched six children, four boys and two girls.

Their son, Henry, turned into a Farmer and married Agnes Smith. Their son, Henry, was also a farmer and he married Ellen Goss. Do you see a pattern starting here? Their son Henry, became a Cow Keeper and Milk Vendor – gotcha! He married Sarah Ann Arnold Cheek and they lived in Neath, Glamorganshire.

This latest Henry’s brother, William, married Kate Jenkins in 1900. They lived in Neath, too. In the 1901 census he was described as a Club Steward. By 1911 he was a Publican and they had produced 5 children. I am actually researching this as I type so I have some (more) updating to do!

Guess what?!? William and Kate (that sounds familiar!) had children. One of them was named … Henry! He married Esther Gladys Gunstone in 1920. Their second son was named HENRY! He married Peggy Lester and they had twelve children! Keeping up the tradition of large families. Watch this space …

Merry Christmas

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.

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2 Responses to Merry Christmas – Again!

  1. Dawn cowley says:

    Hi my name is Dawn Cowley my dad was Jack Cowleys brother Fred Cowley. I can remember visiting snowdonia when I was a girl .My grandad and grandma Fred and Lillian Cowley had 3 sons from Ron Fred and Jack .
    My dad Fred lived In canada for many years he was married there and had 3 other children Joan Stan and Rodger .
    I have found out so much of my grand parents great grand parents and other family members thankyou
    Dawn Cowley

    • Jane Reynolds says:

      Hi Dawn
      Jane Reynolds from Canada here. Just a bit more info on your Canadian family.
      Stan and Joan were born in Canada, before my mother and her husband, Fred Cowley moved to England (just before WW2). Roger was born in England. They also had another son, Terry, who was born in England, but he died at the time of his birth.
      My mother had to come back to Canada as my sister, Joan, had scarlet fever. She came back during the war, a terrible trip by ship. The ship was surrounded by a convoy. She had to sleep on the deck of the ship with her three children.

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