Monday, January 30, 2006

Crawling along the second branch!

... so where did we leave off?

Nana and Grampa Carey in Majorca

Ah yes, it's all coming back to me now. You'd just met my Nana and my Grampa Carey-o. That's them in the photograph taken right back when it was still ok to have your photo taken whilst enjoy a fag and a beer! They had met at college, married in 1940 and lived in Swansea. Grampa Carey-o wasn't from Swansea. He was born in Carmel ... between Llanelli and Llandeilo* the 4th of 6 children. He had polio as a small child and always wore a caliper on his leg.

I have a wonderful photo of his father (I think he looks so dapper and jaunty, full of fun) John EVANS but none of his mother Edith. Unfortunately Evans is an incredibly common name in Wales and lines are almost impossible to follow … so that’s a branch I am putting away for now!

John, my great grandfather

My nana on the other hand was Swansea born and bred, her parents too. She was born in August 1916, the 7th of 11 children (3rd daughter) of Thomas James BAYLIS and Ruth HACCHE. She had rickets as a child and spent much of her childhood in splints, having a number of painful operations. As a child she lived in a small street in the very centre of Swansea called Gomerian Place ... if you look for it on a current street map you won’t find it as it was destroyed in the blitz, but if you know Swansea ... it's pretty much where the lane between Littlewoods and Top Shop is!

Her father Thomas James (that's him with his mother and sisters) was a French polisher and met his wife (my great grandmother) at the factory where they both worked. Ruth suffered from asthma and living in the slum area of Swansea with 11 children in a tiny "2-up, 2-down" with a cellar kitchen must have taken its toll on her health. She lost 4 of her sons in infancy / childhood (the dreaded TB) and died herself at only 57. My nana has only kind words to say about her mother ... quite unlike the memories she has of her hard-drinking father! The photo below shows my great, great grand-mother Ann, her son Thomas James and my nana's oldest brother Thomas Edward (Ted). And below that, a slightly earlier photo of Thomas James's wife Ruth again with Ted.

Ann, Thomas James and Ted

Ruth and Ted circa 1908

Thomas James was one of 3 children, his sisters Elizabeth and Ethel both married and lived in the St Thomas area of Swansea. Ruth however only had one sister, her parents (unfortunately I don’t have any photos) had married very young and her father died when she was just six weeks old.

Ann, Thomas James, Ethel and Elizabeth

I do though have some beautiful photos of Thomas James’s father ~ also named Thomas he was born in Thornbury, Gloucestershire the eldest son of Fanny (daughter of Benjamin)… no father recorded. There are all kinds of rumors about his birth ~ talk of twins left on a door-step, of his illegitimacy being linked to a “famous” Bristol family. The first photo must have been taken just after he arrived in Swansea, he looks so young and full of hope ~ I have him listed on the 1871 Census of Thornbury as a lodger (fancy letting your 15 year old son leave home at that tender age!) and 10 years later, he’s already living in Swansea … next door to his future wife! I think they look so happy in the photograph of them taken together ~ almost a smile, unusual for photos from that time! **

Thomas Ann and Thomas

Unfortunately, Ann’s life wasn’t happy; Thomas died aged 49 in an accident at the grain store where he worked. The final picture I have of her is with my nana’s youngest brother Henry George (Harry) circa 1928. She was a kind lady who was always happy and smiling with her grandchildren.

Ann with Harry

So, branch #2 … a little more scandal (twins on doorsteps, famous families?) and still the hard-drinking Irish sailing side to come! If anyone out there is researching BAYLIS (Thornbury, Gloucestershire / Bristol / Swansea) or HACCHE (South Molton, Devon / Swansea) … do get in touch :o)

* I know you don't know where these places are, I just wanted to impress you with the amount of l's that the Welsh can put in one word!

* And I cannot explain how much I luurrve the moustache!!


Walker said...

wow you bringing up some cool family stuff.
It's great how what you don't know adds so much to the mystery. You get to guess and make assumptions on the parts that remain blank because there is no record.
Makes you wonder WHY doesn't someone know.
Or maybe they don't want you to know so then you wonder. What's the secret.
Great post :)

Cheryl said...

How wonderful to have the photos!


Fizzy said...

I love this especially all the photos. My welsh family name is JOnes. I have Jones marrying Jones in my family tree

Le laquet said...

Walker ~ it's wondeful to have those mysteries BUT ... I do wish someone out there knew!!

Cheryl ~ aren't they beautiful, I just wish I had more!

Fizzy ~ see there's a problem right there and then! Finding a Jones in Wales, needle and haystack spring to mind!