Owen, (love that name!)
Yes, my research strengths on this side of the Atlantic are fairly good. I have a
continuous set of census records from 1900 to 1930. I have spoken to my second cousins
(Richard Owen's grandchildren) and no one can shed any light on the Welsh origins of
the this Thomas family.
In 1870 I have a "Rich O." Thomas living with an "R.R. Morris" family
in Forest City, Howard Co, IA. I am fairly certain this is "my" Richard Owen
Thomas. He is living quite close to the Daniel T. (or F.) Rowlands (spelled Roland in
this census) where his future bride is a daughter.
I have had no luck "connecting" to the Morris family so I turned to an obit for
Edward Thomas Jones who came to the US in 1867 and was the "cousin" of "Tom
Rowlands". The Rowlands (Roland) family previously noted has an Edward Jones living
with them and I am fairly certain that this is the Edward Thomas Jones in the obit. It
notes in the obit that he was born March 17, 1844 in, and I quote here, "Glecheiddior
lano". Someone was kind enough to help me "decipher" this name and we
believe it is actually "Llecheiddior".
Someone found a birth in the September 1846 records for a Richard Thomas in the village of
"Ffestiniog" which would match the date on his death certificate of 7/23/1846.
I just found this out early this morning and I am now "clinging" to this bit of
I understand that "Ffestiniog" is a slate "mining" community which
would match up to the activity of many Welsh immigrants in the area of Howard County,
Iowa. Daniel Rowlands was noted as working a slate mine in Vermont in 1860. So I am
hoping something might come of this, BUT I am not resting! I am trying to trace the
families living near "Rich O." in the 1870 census to see if perhaps there is a
"connection" the aforementioned village.
The unfortunate thing is that I cannot find the Rowlands family (all variant spellings
included), nor the Richard Owen Thomas family in 1880. I know from the birth dates and
locations noted in the 1900 census that they should be in Iowa until at least 1893.
Sorry for the long explanation, but thought it might be of help.
I understand that I might now be in the wrong "section" of Wales when
communicating with this forum so I apologize if I wasted anyone's time. HOWEVER,
please allow me to express my heartfelt "thanks" for all who have responded and
encouraged me. I have little doubt that this will be the year of "discovery"
and I will finally claim my Welsh heritage with pride!!
Thanks so much, Everyone!!
Richard Owen Sergeant