Hello Dai and Listers
I've been subscribing to the Dyfed (digest) list for some time, without
submitting anything but just trying to learn what I could from the
exchanges and hoping that something relevant to my lineage might "crop
up" to give me a lead, but it hasn't, so here's my connection with Wales
and my plea for help.
My gt.g'father, Evan THOMAS came to Australia from Wales in 1852,
leaving the UK on the "Deborah" from Bristol on 5/6/1852, giving his age
as 27. He came on the same ship as a friend, Thomas LEWIS. I don't
know whether they had been childhood friends or had met after one or
both had left home (or even on board the ship). They reputedly worked
at a brickworks in Geelong, Victoria and later tried their hand at gold
digging and somewhere along the way met up with a Thomas RICHARD(S). In
early 1857 the three of them settled on two farms near to each other and
not far from the Forest Creek goldfields, amongst rolling hills in
central Victoria; Tom RICHARDS was initially in partnership with Evan,
but sold his share and moved on after Evan married.
Evan reputedly came from Carmarthen (county or town?), born c.1824,
although ages quoted on shipping, marriage and death records give a
range from about 1823-26. His marriage certificate (7/6/1859) gives his
age as 35 and says his parents were William THOMAS and Sarah THOMAS ("as
before marriage") and that he was born at Carmarthen, Wales. The "No
impediment" declaration on the back of the form states that the bride
(Mary RYAN, an Irish lass working on the next-door farm) was free to
marry Evan THOMAS, "son of William THOMAS of Tin-Gate, South Wales,
Farmer" (my punctuation).
I've not been able to locate a place called Tin-Gate. However,
Tin-Gate comes from my reading of an English parson's 19th century
handwritten interpretation of a Welsh placename, as quoted by a Welshman
who could not check the parson's comprehension or spelling because (at
least at that stage) he could neither read nor write. Trying to
decipher the parson's writing in different ways suggests that the
capital T could possibly be an L or an S (but then, surely not
"Sin-Gate"?). A volunteer from the mid-Wales Lookup Exchange, with whom
I had contact on another matter, suggested that it might be Llandingat.
To confuse the issue further, one of Evan's younger sons was the
informant responsible for registering his death (21/6/1905) and stated
that his father was aged 82 and born in Glamorganshire. I'm more
inclined to believe the marriage record, but it perhaps suggests that
Evan THOMAS may have spoken of some time spent in Glamorgan(-shire?)
before emigrating to Australia.
Evan and Mary named their children Sarah, William, Thomas (after Mary's
father), David, John, Evan, Edward and Denis (after Mary's bachelor
brother, who lived with them).
Evan occasionally visited a ROBERTS family (2 brothers), some 25-30
miles away who were said to be related, possibly through William
ROBERTS' wife, a Hester PHILLIPS from Llanfair y Bryn.
"Submitted" IGI Family Search files on-line include the marriage of a
William THOMAS and Sarah THOMAS at Llandefeilog CMN on 3/11/1820.
Birth/ christening entries in Family Search include one for an Evan
THOMAS b.10/1/1825, chrs. 4/2/1825 at Pentretygwyn Independent,
Llanfairarybryn CMN Wales, parents William THOMAS and Sara (sic). Is
Llanfairarybryn the same place as Llanfair y Bryn (above)? Another
entry is for an Evan THOMAS b. abt 1826, Llanfanfawr, Breconshire,
parents William THOMAS and Sarah Mrs THOMAS (sic). I recorded the
Breconshire one only because his friend Tom LEWIS gave Brecon as his
place of birth when he married an Ann THOMAS (b. Glamorganshire, not
known to be related to Evan), also in 1859, in Australia.
As our family prepares to celebrate the 150th birthday of Evan's farm
(where I still live), I would be grateful for any information that would
help me to start tracing my Welsh roots and, if possible, make contact
with any living Welsh relatives. Thank you.
-- Ian Thomas, Australia.